Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

As a UK registered dietitian we are bound by the regulations of the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC). The HCPC exists to protect the public by regulating health and care professionals in the UK. A Dietitian is a protected title in the UK and all dietitians must be registered with the HCPC to work in the UK.

What is continuing professional development (CPD)?

CPD is the mean of learning and developing throughout your career, ensuring your skills and knowledge are up to date so that you can practise safely.

As outlined by the HCPC, to meet the CPD standards, dietitians are required to:
  • Carry out learning activities on a regular basis.
  • Carry out different kinds of learning activities.
  • Keep a record of these learning activities.
  • Carry out activities that might improve practice and benefit your service users.
  • Take part in an audit if asked.

Reflection is a key aspect of CPD and after completion of a learning activity it is always useful to consider how that learning may change practice or identify further areas for learning and development. As mentioned earlier, CPD is career long learning to ensure up to date knowledge and skills.

I am passionate about learning and developing my skills and knowledge to support my work as a dietitian. Some of examples of CPD activities that I have completed recently include:

  • Literature review of clinical research on the gut microbiome to support an article I was writing
  • Webinar on immunity and gut health
  • Webinar on telehealth in dietetics
  • Literature review of clinical research on dysphagia to support an article I was writing
  • Online update course on the low fodmap diet to support with private client consultations

When choosing where to obtain nutritional advice it is important to consider whether they are a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Nutritionist (ANutr, RNutr) rather than an unregistered nutritionist or nutritional therapist. In addition to this a commitment to continuing professional development and learning ensure that you are gaining advice from individuals that is informed and evidence based.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss how I can help you.

Gut health and Pre and Probiotics

If you ever read an article about gut health or do an internet search on gut health or gut related issues, more than likely you will come across reference to prebiotics and probiotics. Your friends might be talking about the probiotics they are taking and how amazing they are, making you think should I be taking them too?

Before we learn more about prebiotics and probiotics it is worth understanding a bit about the gut and gut bacteria.

The gut comprises of the organs in the body that are responsible for digestion of food. These organs include the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine. When we talk about gut bacteria, it is the large intestine that is of particular interest. There are approximately 10 trillion microbes in our body and these microbes consist of bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses.

So what are prebiotics and probiotics?

Prebiotics are types of carbohydrate that only our gut bacteria can feed upon and are found naturally in particular foods such as leeks, onions, bananas and asparagus.. Eating prebiotic containing foods are passed through the digestive system and into the large bowel where they are fermented by the good bacteria, probiotics.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. They are found in different formats such as yoghurts, capsules and powders. Probiotics are classified depending on their strain as the effects are strain specific.

What about fermented foods?

Some foods that are fermented in the gut are a natural source of probiotics. Examples of fermented foods are Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Kefir.

Are pre and probiotics useful for certain medical conditions?

There has been lots of research done on the use of probiotics in healthy people and also those people with certain medical conditions. This area of research is continuing to grow as we learn more about our gut and the bacteria present in our guts.

Not all probiotics work in the same way depending on the type and number of bacteria present in the probiotic you are taking therefore not all probiotics will help with all symptoms or conditions.

How do I decide what probiotic to take?

Depending on your reason for wanting to take a probiotic will determine which probiotic supplement to try. One size does not fit all as each probiotic supplement contains different strains and our existing gut bacteria profile is unique to each of us just like our fingerprints are all different.

When choosing a probiotic it is important to consider the following:

  • what health benefits are associated with the strain present in the product
  • the product contains level of probiotics needed for the intended health benefit
  • that it is safe for you take. Pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems should discuss with a healthcare professional before commencing a probiotic.

For example, individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), guidelines advise trying probiotics for a minimum of 4 weeks while monitoring the effects. Not all individuals with IBS will benefit from taking probiotics.

If you have an underlying gut health condition and feel you would benefit from dietitian input, please contact me here to enquire about my private online consultations.

The FODMAP Diet

If you have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) you may have come across the FODMAP diet as a way of managing your symptoms through diet. You may have asked yourself, is this a diet that might help you?

What is the FODMAP diet?

The FODMAP diet was developed by a team of researchers at Monash University in Australia. A FODMAP diet is a 3 step diet used to help manage the symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS.

A FODMAP diet should be followed under the guidance of a dietitian who has specialist skills in managing IBS and using a FODMAP diet.

How does a FODMAP diet help with IBS symptoms?

FODMAPs are a form of dietary carbohydrates, which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented in the large intestine triggering symptoms in sensitive individuals.

These carbohydrates are called Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides, And, Polyols, also known as FODMAPS.

The following table shows example of some of the carbohydrate foods that can be problematic:

Oligosaccharides e.g. wheat, pulses and some fruit and vegetables

Disaccharides e.g. lactose found in milk and yoghurts

Monosaccharides e.g. honey and various fruit and vegetables

Polyols e.g. chewing gum

Dietary intervention involves the strict elimination of FODMAP foods for an 8 week period.

Following the 8 week period of elimination, FODMAP containing foods are reintroduced into your diet to identify which particular foods you are sensitive to.

Will a FODMAP diet help resolve my symptoms?

The Low FODMAP diet is extremely effective in improving the symptoms in approximately 70% of patients with IBS.

It is essential you follow a low FODMAP diet under the guidance of a FODMAP trained dietitian as it is a complex diet to follow. The support and guidance from a FODMAP trained dietitian will ensure the diet is effective and nutritionally adequate.

Can you help me with my IBS symptoms?

Please use this form to contact me to discuss how I could help you manage your IBS symptoms with diet.

IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome – how can diet help to manage my symptoms?

Did you know that up to 10% of UK population can be affected by IBS? What is IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that affects the digestive system and presents with symptoms of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. It is important that diagnosis of IBS is made by your GP to ensure other conditions are ruled out.

What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It has no specific cause, no distinctive pathology and no single effective treatment.  The symptoms can vary from person to person and in the same person and often in response to what happens or changes in diet or life style ( https://www.theibsnetwork.org/ )

Can diet help manage my symptoms of IBS?

Dietary changes can often help manage IBS symptoms and there are some simply changes that you can try. It is recommended that you try these first line steps initially rather than making any unnecessary drastic changes to your diet.

Other helpful tips that can help manage your symptoms alongside diet are:

  • Take regular exercise such as walking or swimming
  • Take time to relax
  • Don’t rush your meals and ensure you chew your food thoroughly

If your symptoms persist following making general lifestyle and dietary changes, you may benefit from dietary intervention. Please contact me to discuss whether I can help you with further dietary changes.

Pumpkin season

During the month of October we are all busy prepping for the Halloween celebrations from planning any parties we are attending and what costume we might wear and what decorations to put up in our homes. Pumpkins have been a firm favourite in our homes and our interior style, where more than one pumpkin usually adorns the windowsill or doorstop.

With this in mind we need to think about how to make the most of the all this delicious pumpkin we have. I thought I would share my favourite ways to make use of pumpkins once Halloween comes to an end…

Pumpkin soup

Try this simple recipe here

Try replacing the croutons with roasted pumpkin seeds. Follow the instructions below on how to do this.

Pumpkin risotto

Simply roast your peeled pumpkin cubes and add to your cooked risotto.

To roast your pumpkin cut into 1.5cm cubes and place it on a baking tray, drizzle over some oil, then roast for 30 mins.

Pumpkin loaf

A nice seasonal alternative to banana bread. Try this pumpkin and ginger tea loaf here

Pumpkin seed salad

Add your pumpkin seeds to a lightly greased baking tray with olive oil. Bake until the seeds are toasted and crunchy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add to a salad of your choice for extra crunch

Nutritional facts

Pumpkins have a great nutritional value providing fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin E as well as the mineral potassium. An 80g portion of pumpkin also counts towards one of your 5 A Day.

Don’t forget that the seeds of a pumpkin are also a valuable source of nutrients. These little seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6. They also contain a good range of nutrients including iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene.

What are your favourite pumpkin recipes?