Jaimie: Well, my guest today is Jennifer May and Jennifer is a nutritionist and author a health speaker, a nutrition student mentor and a mom of two. In 2014, Jennifer founded an industry first internship that revolutionised how nutrition and diet dietetic students confidently enter the workforce. In 2017, Jennifer achieved a lifelong dream as working as a volunteer health worker in Myanmar. That's where she taught nutritional medicine to medical midwifery and nursing students by day and volunteered as local orphanages by night in 2018, whilst carrying her first child, a proud geriatric pregnancy of age 36. We have that in common same year and everything. Jennifer published her book pure health and happiness. Jennifer is founder, director and principal practitioner of Sydney City nutritionist and food intolerance Australia now with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional medicine, a background in live TV, over 11 years of experience and a mentor to hundreds of students and new graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics. I'm hoping pronouncing that right Jennifer offers a wealth of experience and knowledge and dedicated to improving the health and happiness of all. Jennifer works hard to educate and inspire through workshops, seminars, webinars, print media, and live interviews. Jennifer May welcome to Pitch Perfect.
Jennifer: Thank you, Jaimie. Thanks so much for having me on the podcast and I am definitely downloading the transcripts and using every one because it's such a lovely intro.
Jaimie: Oh, thank you. You wrote it. You wrote it. I've kind of added a little bit because I didn't realise until I read that out I've carried my first child in 2018 at the age of 36 as well. So we
know now as well and one thing I should also say is, you know you bought my pay to speak course in January this year and then you jump straight into PR club after that. I think you did it all in one here which you know, your absolute delight to work with alongside as my client as a PR club member and I love to hear about your marketing trials and tribulations. So I guess I just want to start like from the beginning, you know what got you into nutrition and maybe for those lay people out there who was scratching their heads thinking, what's the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist? Can you sort of set the scene for us?
Jennifer: Throughout the time, thanks for asking that question. I'm so glad you did. I sometimes forget to prompt people to ask that question. Because I forget that it's important. And then somebody asks me and I think Ah, so important for me to be able to explain the difference. So as a mentor of nutritionists and dietitians, I had a really good insight into the difference. And I'm really glad that I have because, you know, I would have assumed previously that I have some bias in explaining the difference. You know, that I think that nutritionists practise when I'm weighing dietitians practice and other way but really I have no experience with the other side. So how would I truly know? But now for mentoring both sides, I can really see very clear, obvious differences. So dieticians the way that they unique and I guess the special differences that they have is that they can work in hospitals. Now I wouldn't have a clue what needs to go in your drip if you need a skin graft. If you've got you know, a severe burn if you need guidance on nutrition. I have no idea how to formulate that I have not you built for that right. It was not trained. But a dietitian has that knowledge in addition to general healthy eating, but when it comes to formulating diets, they do have strict sort of diet plans that are for each individual condition. So with dietetics what I do see is that it is a little bit of a one size, one size fits all approach when they're taught. Now that doesn't mean that a dietitian can't then go on with years of practice and establish a certain nation you know, maybe look at things a little bit holistically many do but when they first come out of university, it is very much this is your condition. This is your diet, there's no flexibility, there's no personalisation, that isn't really part of the philosophy.
The other thing is that dieticians don't really study nutritional supplements and they don't study therapeutic dosages of nutrients. So as a nutritionist I'm taught that when a person has a particular condition, X, Y, Zed nutrients are needed and these are the therapeutic dosages that will alleviate those symptoms and optimise their health and really I guess what we could say as well is that nutrition is very much about health optimization. With dietetics. It's still very much in the medical model. So it is that one size fits all approach with nutrition supplements. There isn't a huge amount of training that even when it comes to nutrients, they're looking at the minimum level to prevent disease, whereas we're looking at that optimum level to optimise health. So you know, both sides of the scale are really, really important and that is a very, very big difference in terms of how we practise.
The other thing that I've noticed and dietetic students as well as they are taught because of the way the medical system is very overwhelmed and they taught the medical model they are taught things like you know, prescribe the diet follow up with that person in three months for example, whereas as a nutritionist, I'm taught to prescribe some initial changes meet again quite soon after make sure that they've established to habit of those changes make sure that those changes are actually helping them modify when needed, and then hold their hands through the following changes. So it's like you know, a step by step gradual approach and a lot of health coaching involved. So those are the really big differences with the disciplines but then there are other differences as well because whether a nutritionist has studied at a university or whether they've gone to a natural medicine specific college, which is what I did, there, again, a huge differences. So when we've done that, when we've practised in a natural medicine College, we actually do 250 hours of clinical practice before we graduate, whereas those who are in university jobs, so the university students come out and they're extremely nervous. They have very little real world experience really, and they feel quite lost and so a lot of those nutritionists end up going into jobs where they're working for companies basically so they might work for Nestle advising them on how to adapt certain products and you know, they might work on how to adapt flavours and adapt to the ingredients to improve nutrition and things like that, but they very rarely will work one on one with a patient those of us who've done the college's we're already working with patients before we graduate. So by the time we graduate, we're quite experienced in saying that there's still a huge gap in the knowledge and so that's one of the reasons that I founded my program, which I actually started when I was only two years into practice two and a half. But yeah, I hadn't been practising very long when I started mentoring other people. And that was the reason why because everyone's coming out going to know what to do next. Even with that clinical practice background.
Jaimie: Yeah, so interesting. And so well thank you for explaining that. That was a very sort of great way of understanding the difference is there. One of the things that you do is you you work with a lot of corporates, but when you talk about health and well being and as you mentioned, what foods going to maximise our health. How important really is the food that we eat? Even like for a lot of my audience is entrepreneurs time for business owners. You know, is it really a matter of the right foods will recharge your batteries and, and really make you as as successful as you can be by eating the right foods.
Jennifer: You've nailed it. That's exactly it. So, you know, it's funny because through my work with you, and even previous mentors as well, I've been practising, it's now 12 years as of this month, and that's a pretty long time. I got a bit of a veteran at this point. But through that time, I've had so many individual possible niches I guess, you know, I see my work is I'm a bit of a fruit salad. Not the chocolate strawberries. I like the whole fruit side. There's a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But I think if I was to look at like an overview, it really comes down to performance nutrition and health optimisation through a personalised diet.
So, what you will find is that yes, there are certain foods that do optimise energy but my personal diet that will optimise my energy will probably be quite different to yours, and different to your husband's and you know, the next person and the next person. So I guess what we what I really tried to do in my practice and what I tried to teach now the students that I mentor, I've got a new program that's actually starting in February, so let's chat about that. But what I teach people is that we need to optimise the diet to suit that individual person. So yes, they're really energising foods cherry for cherries, for example. They optimise yourself or toning pathways that can increase melatonin. So serotonin makes you feel very calm and at peace. Great if you're doing a lot of performance great if you're doing a lot of speaking melatonin helps you to go to sleep. So getting into that deep restorative sleep. So if you're very active, then that's going to really help to recharge and refresh, prepare the muscles etc. waking up feeling better the next morning, you know cocoa so whether it's dark chocolate with as little sugar as possible or whether it's actually raw cocoa put into a smoothie, for example. That's a fantastic way to optimise your energy as is beetroot. But each of these foods and every food that exists has a positive benefit and also has a potential negative effect as well. So even something as healthy as broccoli, wonderful foods so nutritionally dense, it's an incredible food, tons of research showing that they can actually reduce your risk of cancer can actually reduce oestrogen overload. Examples are great for those with PCOS and endometriosis. But, too much broccoli can destroy your thyroid, your thyroid. So, your thyroid gland controls everything gross in metabolism, repair of tissues brain function, immune function.
So what we find is that each food the benefit that it can offer will be seen with even small doses, whereas the negative potential negative that it carries is only with overconsumption in most cases unless there's an established health condition. So in most cases, a good very diet that has a little bit of everything and trying to really bury your fruits, your vegetables that will actually achieve optimum health optimum energy, but for most of us, you and I are prime examples of this. We work very, very hard. We've got two very young children. You know we were juggling multiple things. I mean, you've got the paid to speak course which is huge and then you've also got Yacht Club and then you've also got your speaking gigs. Mine is similar. I've got Sydney City nutritionist my general practice and patients I've been seeing for 12 years. I've got you know, within that I've got corporate executives, I've got athletes, you know, I help actors prepare for roles. For example, losing weight for particular roles. So that's quite a load in itself. And then I've got feeling towards Australia, which is a national organisation offering testing for the support programs to recover from food intolerances. And then like you there's also me as the individual brand that mentor students does speaking. So we're going to load it up like so for you and I having that personalised diet is so important because it allows us to continue functioning at this level without burning out.
Jaimie: Yeah, so interesting. Well, tell me about the program you've got going in February, if people want to work with you if you've got their interest right now. What are you doing in February?
Jennifer: So this is really exciting, and it's not actually what I planned. It's quite funny. So I do a lot of weight loss and you know, some of the people that I work with are quite public about it. So you know, I get a lot of media attention for my weight loss programs. So I've been planning to release a group weight loss program for some time, and that's coming. I also run a food intolerance recovery program, and that's already happening, but I need to do a better job of properly launching it and telling people about it. So that's kind of already there. And it's going to be optimised. But the big program that I'm working on now is actually for students and new graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics. So where I run my internship program and my mentor program for many years is what I'm currently working on is a profit group program that people will be working through step by step. And then at the end of that they will then be allowed to join my monthly membership, which will be a little it's sort of halfway between a mentorship at a mastermind, you know, so I'm going to have in my group program, I would love to have you as a guest speaker because people would learn so much from you and they all should be doing your course. So I'd love to have you that. That the idea is to take everything and package up what I've learned through my own years of experience, through the years of mentoring others the challenges that they face, for example, and how they've overcome that.
Also want to package up the things that I've learned through the various different programs and mentorships that I've actually signed up to as well. I've learned so much I've spent time on coaching and mentorship and I certainly believe in you and your programs have changed my life this year. Honestly, everything's changed. So I'm trying to sort of package up all of that so that people can come out of their studies, whether it is university whether it is the colleges, and they've got that clinical practice. Even with those they feel comfortable working one on one with patients, they might have a little bit of impostor syndrome because they're like, it's like this day everyone's gonna know. But they don't necessarily have that business background. They don't necessarily know the different avenues that they can take or how to structure a program or, you know, how often should I follow up with people or what are the typical questions people are going to ask me? How can I protect myself and my energy while working with others because it is a very energetically demanding job and the business aspect. I was quite lucky because I studied Business Administration in my teens, I took a long break travelling all over the place and doing various jobs. Then I also had my TV background as well so as comfortable with presenting as comfortable with any journalist came to me asking for an interview I jumped on it, whereas others might think or don't know. And then I also ran a health care centre while I was studying so I have five years of experience of management, managing other practitioners running the business, you know, do we I set up systems in that clinic that didn't exist before I was there. So by the time it came to run my own business, I had speaking experience in relative confidence. I had my qualifications. I had mentored other practitioners and saw what worked for them in terms of building a business. I also knew that it was important to have coaches and mentors so I had a few of those around me as well.
So I was really set up for success. So when I started on my own, my business flew within three months, and it's kind of had that same momentum ever since. And I thought that was normal until I started mentoring others. And then when, okay, I actually had a huge head start and I want to pass that on.
Jaimie: Yeah, yeah, that's great. I mean, gosh, the importance of mentors and coaches, I just think you can't put a price on that. You know, it's an investment but it just for me the return on investment. Luckily has always been there.
Speaking of marketing, and PR, and you know, you're getting into the PR world. Well, it already sounds like you were into it already. But joining PR club, you've written a book. I've written it down here because it's the ultimate bloat buster. Is that right? Tell me a little bit about that.
Jennifer: I'm so excited about this book. And I'm going to share with you a secret about this book. So I wrote it. And it's basically a shortened version of the food intolerance repair program, a food intolerance solution as it's now called, which is a 12 week program to help people to rebuild their digestive health. When they've been diagnosed with food sensitivity. So aiming to come away from managing your health just with a restrictive diet and move towards a time where you can start reintroducing foods. But what I want you to do is educate more people because I know for 12 years of working in this field and my lifelong struggles with food sensitivities as well, I know that there are a huge number of people who suffer with bloating, constipation and various other gut health conditions that are only suffering because they're doing certain things incorrectly. So it's really simple things like rushing their meals, drinking water during meal times, you know, not combining their foods correctly skipping certain foods that aid digestion. So people assume that you know, I've got a gluten intolerance or you know, I seem to react to every food maybe I'm FODMAP sensitive for example. And they go down these pathways of restrictive eating before they've ever really explored some of the really simple things that they can do to correct and optimise their gut health. So that's the goal of the book is to help people who are unnecessarily suffering that are quite easily treated, who would normally come in and see me and pay me $400 For A Consultation, who can now actually get a huge head start with the book and work through some of those steps and then maybe if they still seek a practitioner to support them, whether it's me or someone else or even if they come to food intolerance in Australia and get their gut health tested, or get their food sensitivity tests done. They're now walking in with a much clearer picture of their true baseline rather than the baseline they've started with, which is just because they were overly stressed drinking coffee, etc. Right. So yeah, that was the goal of the book.
But here's the funny thing. I wrote it. Then I released a press release. And I've got a really funny story about that, which I'll come back to in a second. But when I was releasing the press release, I took your tips of you know, gather the stats and have a catchy headline and so I followed through all the template and the statistics of people suffering with gut health issues, you will be blown away by this. The CSIRO so that's a very well respected Health Authority, have stated but one in two Australians suffer bloating, constipation reflex or some gut health issue. Now, I've seen this in my practice, but I assume that people are coming to me for this issue. Therefore, I'm seeing a lot of them because they're actively seeking me out. Because that's primarily what my works about. But actually, it's 50% of the population. And here's another shocking statistic. Dietitians Australia released that 30% of Australians have IBS, which is a much more severe version of the condition.
Jaimie: 30% have IBS percent?
Jennifer: Isn't that crazy? One in three of us are walking around with IDs, which means you know, where's the bathroom probably too far away from suffering with that terrible rumbling and pain and which you know, for your clients, for example, that's going to be quite debilitating. So if you're about to get up and present, everybody gets a little bit nervous. Yeah, that's gonna impact your digestive system. And now you're going to be standing around presenting thinking I really need to get to the bathroom right now, because it's triggered that response. But what I found is that even with people with IBS they again, even if it's medically diagnosed IBS, the term IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. The syndrome word means it's a collection of symptoms. It could be caused by multiple factors. We don't have a definitive cause and results. We just know that this collection of symptoms we can call IBS, right? So that's a syndrome. It's like irritable bowel syndrome. We don't know it's not this cause it's many potential causes. And so what I found in my practice is that people with IBS can often be very easily treated again. It's the right probiotic slowing down actually taking a lunch break even if it's five or 10 minutes doing nothing but eating during that time I get people to set timers. I'm not gonna say the person's name on the phone, but pay that person said and people do this because it allows them to switch off just enjoy their meal and the results are incredible. Like it is such a transformation with that very simple tactic. Do you take lunch breaks, or do you eat at your desks during meetings?
Jaimie: I eat it my desk. Guilty.
Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. I have to sometimes too. And sometimes we have no option. But when you it makes a huge difference. And what I noticed is that on the days that I do that, even if it's just checking emails, because that adrenaline and that cortisol is still pumping, because you know, we're in work mode, so we're fired up. We're trying to get as much done as we can in those hours. So we can go back to the family at the end of the day. And that's not really an optimal position for your digestive system to be able to work at its best. So what we want is we want that rest and digest phase. So next time, time for a lunch break. What I want you to do for me, is just close your eyes, take a couple of really deep breaths, relax, actively relax your stomach. It's actually your diaphragm. And most people don't know how to do that. So if you just kind of let go, imagine that you're pulling your tummy in, and then drop it try doing it now. Okay. Does that feel good?
Jaimie: Yeah, it does.
Jennifer: Can you feel the difference?
Jaimie: Just even taking that time to stop.
Jennifer: It's good, isn't it? I actually encourage most of my patients to do this multiple times during the day, most forget. So we know time it as like just before meals do that. And I punctuate certain points in my day by doing that, and it definitely has a huge impact when I don't have time or reminders to do it and so much more tired and burnt out to the end of the day. So that can compensate a little bit because now you're a bit more relaxed. But if you haven't taken time to remind your body that you're about to eat if you don't take the time to really choose if you don't take time to focus on nothing but eating. What's going to happen is your brain doesn't have the capacity to detect the flavours the textures in the meal and even the smells of the meal, so it doesn't know what's coming. Whereas when we slow down we look at the food before we put it in our mouth. We chew thoroughly. You're actually sending messages that you know this texture and taste is there. We need more stomach acid we need the gallbladder to activate. We need the pancreas to release protease, for example. So this is such a simple practice, but it has a profound effect on digestion. And that's what the book is all about is just those simple tips that you can integrate to relieve yourself of that unnecessary stress.
Jaimie: And so tell me a little bit of funny story about the press release then.
Jennifer: This is so funny, Jaimie, honestly, this was the best lesson for me and also for anyone else in your program or even just listening to this podcast, who has a fear and they'll putting themselves out there and maybe it's a bit of a perfectionist. I'm like that even though I'm like wildly disorganised. I'm also a perfectionist. So you and I spoken a few times and you're like why haven't you done this? And I'm like, I don't know I need to get it perfect. And I know this is a chronic issue for so many people and it's really helping back. So through your teachings I've been trying to let go of that. So when I sent out the press release, which secret to only the listeners of this podcast, I stayed up on a Friday night until midnight. Especially because I was solo parenting at the time with no childcare assistance. So it was like man don't have that right. So I stayed up late, you know, I was drinking my tea and drafting the press release. I used your template, sent out a batch and I got some good responses and that was great. Actually, in fact, that should be coming up soon. I've got a feature at Better Homes and Gardens magazine for the Christmas issue, which is great. So you know that was really good response. definitely paid off. So the next Friday, I thought I'm gonna do the same thing again. I'm gonna get in the habit of sending these press releases weekly. So I do that again. But after scheduling the first two now I didn't send them on the Friday night i schedule them for the Monday morning. So after scheduling the first two, I thought ah, it's still got last week's date. Will they look at that and think no one was interested last week. So now it's being sent again. What actually I was just working through the massive list of media content contacts that you've sent us right? So I decided to go back in and change the date. I was pretty sure I had it open and word went into my word there it was title the same first paragraph was saying so I changed the date and saved it again as PDF. Sent it to about 40 people. And on the Monday I had a response from a lovely lady at the Canberra weekly who said you seem to have attached a template of how to write had older recovered adults but older recovered an earlier version, where only the title in the first paragraph was drafted and the rest was Miss Abbott says in this section, you should put something like so this is the answer to all these people. I think I am absolutely mortified that that has happened. But the lesson in this is right even though that happened and even though I would have definitely done anything even not send a release rather than send an incorrect one like that.
The outcome was that Julie from the Canberra weekly asked me to write a guest column that was actually published a couple of weeks ago she's asked me to write another one that's gonna go left as well. So in reality, the outcome despite my era was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to reach a state that apparently I don't do much with Canberra but I'm all set up to serve Canberra very very well. You know, I've got partnerships with labs there I run consults on Zoom. There's no reason that I shouldn't be. So this was a fantastic opportunity and it came out of a hilarious mistake. That would have definitely stopped me from sending it in the image just trying to be perfect. So I think there's a pretty good lesson in that, but it's also a really funny story.
Jaimie: That's so funny. I mean, there's also another lesson there and that's PDF media releases before you send them out.
Jennifer: Well, I did PDF I did, but the original was in Word and of course you can't edit the PDF right so I went back to the word to edit that just resave it as PDF. So the second PDF, which was saved over the top of the first or last of this one.
Jennifer: Then had you all over it with your instructions and tips of how to write a good press release was quite funny.
Jaimie: That is hilarious. That is hilarious if I was a journalist receiving that I would call you up and tell you to so at least also wrapping up Is there anything else further you'd like to add Jennifer any other tips, tricks or any final messages?
Jennifer: Honestly, I just think one of the things that you said earlier about really making sure that you always seek mentors and coaches and support from the people who know best whether that's you know, going to a nutritionist because you want help optimising your diet because you're trying and it's not really working. Why isn't it working for me when it works for everyone else because no single diet will work? For any person you need to personalise it by your therapeutic foods by the foods that don't work for you and remove their own personalised diet should take into account your preferences, your lifestyle, your commitments, you know, anything that gets in the way for you and I that's going to be like quick and easy, right? We don't want to be meal prepping eight meals every Sunday for the whole family. We want to make it quick, easy, simple and sustainable. So needs to take all of that into account as well as any health conditions health goals, etc.
But also in business, whether it is public speaking coaching, whether it is you know, how to market how to get over the hurdles. A lot of like you said, I've been doing a lot of PR work since I started I think very fortunate probably with my location and some of the patients I've worked with. I've had great referrals. I've worked with reporters, but still what you've taught me is that there is a whole world of extra things that I just not doing, pitching for public speaking. You know, I'm not going to do more of it. What do I need to add to my website to make me get more bookings? Just tell people that you're around tell people that you exist, right. But it's those sorts of things that you get from a professional who's really, really experienced in that area. You can really advance your skills, your practice your business, and also refinance my business and my approach to my work has changed so much this year, and it's largely because of the things that I've learned from watching you in your business. And the things that you've directly shared and taught us as well is It's opened my eyes and I'm realising now so many mistakes and how I could have advanced my businesses are doing well. And I've been fortunate in my career, but I think I could be a lot further along again, if I found you well in.
Jaimie: Better late than never. Jennifer, thank you so much for coming on to Pitch Perfect. And we could talk all day in so many those lessons apply to so many different people across different industries. You're an absolute pleasure to work alongside. So thank you for coming along.
Jennifer: Thanks, Jaimie. It's been a pleasure to be here today.