Published on 17th July 2019


We chat to ION graduate Sophie Lett about nutritional therapy, her own diet, and working with clients. Sophie is a valuable member of the nutritional therapy team at ION’s Optimum Nutrition Clinic in Richmond. She also offers consultations at her clinic in Twyford, Hampshire, and online via Skype.

What drew you to nutritional therapy?

“After my father was diagnosed suddenly with a terminal illness, I started looking at ways I could help him to stay strong so he could endure the treatment he needed, improve his quality of life and prolong his time with us. I became fascinated by the role nutrition could play in supporting him both physically and mentally, and researched extensively. However, I really wanted to understand the science behind what I was reading so I could apply this knowledge confidently and realised I would love to help others support their health. So I looked into studying nutritional therapy with a view to starting a new career.”

What does a typical day look like?

“Each day is very different, which is partly what I love about my work. I see clients from home but also at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. If I’m seeing a client, I’ll spend some time preparing and researching their case or writing up their plans. Other days I may be doing some further training, either via webinars or attending a conference. I also work with corporates, where I deliver presentations or mini consultations to staff. Otherwise there is always marketing, admin and accounting to be done!”

What does healthy eating mean to you?

“For me it’s about enjoying food and trying to think about what I’m eating rather than focusing too much on quantity. I think it’s important to be aware of what we are putting into our body and the effect different foods can have on us, both in the short and long term. This means eating as little processed food as possible, focusing on getting lots of nutrients into my meals, making food tasty using lots of herbs and spices, and trying to include variety. It’s also important not to be too restrictive and enjoy some ‘less healthy’ foods as well. As long as I’m eating nutritious food most of the time, that’s what matters.”

What does your own food diary look like?

“Breakfast: Porridge/oats with nuts and seeds and berries or eggs with wholemeal toast and some avocado or tomatoes.

“Lunch: Salads with smoked salmon/mackerel, or a frittata/poached eggs, lentils — sometimes a slice of wholemeal bread on the side.

“Dinner: Usually chicken, fish or some lean red meat – I love making curries, stews, stir fries. Lots of vegetables and either rice, some sweet potatoes/potatoes. One cup of coffee in the morning, two herbal teas and two to four glasses of water a day (I must admit I don’t always drink enough water). I often have a square or two of dark chocolate most days.”

Top three recommendations you make to clients?

“One, focus on their digestion. It’s so easy to wolf down our food, not chew it properly and as a result our digestion and ultimately absorption of nutrients can suffer which can have a huge impact on our health. It’s such a simple tool and foundation for good health.

“Two, learning to balance blood sugar – it’s key to supporting so many health issues including weight, hormones and stress. 

“Three, learn to manage stress – if we don’t address stress it can be hard to support our health imbalances.”

How do you adapt your approach to different clients?

"Taking a detailed case history for each client means I naturally work differently with everyone. For example, if someone is interested in losing weight the approach will be different depending on their lifestyle (e.g. stress/activity levels), their family history, whether they have another imbalance that may be impacting their weight such as thyroid or a food intolerance. I also consider each clients’ likes and dislikes and what they are able to change. It’s really about working with each client to find strategies that work for them."

What would you like to achieve in your career?

“For now I’m happy building my business slowly as I have two young children. Ultimately, I’d like to run a busy clinic but combine this with more corporate work. I’m yet to specialise in a particular area, although I find female hormones and gut health particularly fascinating. I hope to develop a niche over the next few years and become an expert in that area.”

What would you say to someone interested in studying nutritional therapy? 

“It requires a lot of hard work so really think about how you will fit studying into your life – do you have another job, a family etc? You will need some good support along the way, so get that in place as much as you can before you study. Although it is challenging, with so much to learn (especially, if like me, you are not from a science background), it is incredibly interesting and it’s so exciting to be part of such a fast-growing industry. It’s also a lovely community to be part of and you will make some good friends while studying who will become key when you graduate.”

Sophie can be contacted at:

ION Optimum Nutrition Clinic:


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