ION graduate Catherine Pohl describes her days working remotely in Sweden, and what gives her purpose.

How did you become interested in nutrition?

“Through working with a nutritionist when I was living and working in London.

“I’d always had a sideline interest, having grown up in a farming community and in a family that grew their own vegetables and foraged and the like; but this really showed me first-hand the power that what we eat has over how we feel.

“I transformed from feeling tired and suffering with brain fog to really thriving — and so sparked my passion to learn more!”

What was your favourite part of the ION experience?

“Without a doubt the wonderful friends and community I met along the way. They really are my tribe now — not just my cohort but many of the lecturers too.

“Everyone is so passionate about what they do and they genuinely want you to succeed. Having come from a cut-throat corporate background, it is so liberating to be surrounded by people that want to work together for the good of everyone.

“Those friendships started there at ION, supporting each other to learn, complete assignments, practise in clinic, succeed together, and they endure in the same way.

“And that’s really not something that you find in most courses and careers!”

What's the best thing about having a clinic in Sweden?

“That I get to live the lifestyle I want to live. I can source good local food here, grow my own food and do the things that allow me to thrive daily — walking in the forest with my dog, swimming in the lake at the bottom of the garden, being in nature surrounded by clean air, space and quiet.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be that I’m in Sweden; the online clinic allows me to work from anywhere.

“I can work remotely from a cabin up in the mountains if I want to, and being based here means that’s just a couple of hours’ drive away so much easier to make happen.”

Do you have a particular food philosophy?

“My food philosophy is to eat real, natural, local food. There is so much hype around what’s good for what nutrients, or for what ailment, etc., but if you eat real, unprocessed, natural food that hasn’t travelled miles and miles and doesn’t need plastic packaging, you’ll give your body everything it needs.

“Right now I’m also working a lot with eating with the seasons. I think that as a society we have become so removed from the food we eat, not seeing how it is grown, raised, produced, that we have totally disconnected from it — and I love to help inspire people to get back that connection that allows food to be enjoyment as well as nourishment.”

What does a typical day look like?

“I really don’t have a typical day! In many ways that’s the beauty of it.

“Once the kids are on the school bus, I like to start with a walk in nature with my border collie, Bailey.

“Right now that’s through the forest and usually involves gathering some berries or mushrooms; in the winter it’s out across the frozen lake, throwing a ball and playing in the snow.

“Then back home to check my emails and start my work day.

“My work is so varied though — sometimes it’s client calls and research, sometimes it’s further study or giving a corporate webinar or cook-along, sometimes it’s marketing retreats and events, other times it’s cooking and hosting guests.

“Since I work some evenings and weekends as well, I also take time out in the week to do the chores, catch up with friends, paint or do some DIY.”

You also run retreats - what do they bring to your practice?

“Connection. Connection is a big deal for me and something I believe we all need.

“Living so far from town, it’s easy to go days without really seeing many people outside of my immediate family and neighbours.

“The retreats bring people to me and when people are with you for a few days, you get to know them so much better than if you are just speaking to them on Zoom for an hour.

“You get a real insight into what people do and how they think and feel about food and lifestyle. It’s a great practical experience that helps inspire me with new ways to help all my clients.”

What's the best thing about being a nutritional therapy practitioner?

“There are too many good things! But my top two – understanding how my own body works and how to best support it to thrive.

“This knowledge I also use with my children and feel like I am doing a great thing for them and their future health.

“And secondly, I love to help people and to teach them — I love getting feedback from people whose lives have changed through changing the way they eat and live.

“For me it’s important that I have a purpose, and helping people to feel and be well feels like a really good purpose to have.”

What advice would you give to those considering a career in nutritional therapy?

“It’s more than just a new career, it’s a new way of life, a step in your own personal development.

“It will be hard at times, not just workload but implementing changes in your own life that you didn’t realise you had to make.

“But ultimately you will come out feeling better and empowered to live your best life, helping others do the same.”

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