Yoga class details for Summer!

feel . flow . fierce . free

Please find below details of classes in the Dunwich/Southwold area.

Monday 9am – 10am. Monday Morning Flow. Westleton Village Hall. Suitable for all Yogis. Starting on Monday 25th April. Pre booking necessary. (Own equipment required) Please email me for all details. (see email below)

Monday 11am – 12pm. Beginners Yoga Henham Yoga Studio, Henham Park, near Southwold. A vinyasa flow aimed at beginners, blossoming beginners, returners and those looking for a gentler class to ease them into the week. (All equipment provided).

Pricing for Mondays classes- £11 drop in (Also available:- 10 class pass (£90) and 5 class pass (£47.50) payable in advance)

Friday 9.30am -10.30am, Dunwich Community Yoga, At The Old Woodyard. All levels welcome. This class is for residents of the Dunwich area, past and present and surrounding villages. Own equipment required.) (£5 for Dunwich residents) (£7.50 for non residents)

Sundays 9 – 10 am. Beach yoga. Starts May 21st . On Dunwich Beach. £10 per person. Own mat required (a beach towel will work too!) We usually go for a dip after….so bring your swimmers! 🏊‍♀️☀️

Please email me for further details and to secure your place. Payment required at time of booking. A completed waiver document will be emailed out which is also necessary for attendance.

My email is kbrookhouse66@gmail.com or you can message me on Insta @katherinebnutri

You can read more about my style of Vinyasa yoga and how I approach my yoga teaching on my Blog – link below.

A little bit about my style of yoga!

Menopause Yoga (MY) coming to East Suffolk!

A mindful Yoga class that can support you through peri- menopause and beyond!

I’m excited to share with you that I’m now a registered Menopause Yoga (MY Yoga) teacher. With its evidenced based approach,  MY Yoga gives teachers the tools to support women in their hormonal journey from peri-menopause to menopause itself, and beyond. As a MY Yoga teacher and Nutritional Therapist (Msc), I am now able to share information about the Menopause with the aim to Educate, Empower women so that they can Embrace their Menopause.

So what is MY Yoga all about?

Educate, Empower, Embrace

Menopause Yoga was envisaged by Petra Coveny and here she describes the ethos surrounding ‘MY Yoga’

MY Yoga aims are to educate and empower women so that they can embrace the changes in their minds, bodies and emotions. Underpinning MY is a positive philosophy:

Menopause is an opportunity to take a pause in your busy life…

to Nurture & Nourish yourself…to take time for Self Study and learn more about your changing body, mind and emotions…to look forward to the next stage in your life.

Menopause is a hot topic of discussion at the moment. And rightly so! It’s a period of huge change in a woman’s body, both physically and emotionally. Did you know that every cell in your body has an oestrogen receptor?

Furthermore it takes place at a time in a woman’s life when we are juggling childcare, teen-age angst, family life, a career and elderly parents. We can feel pulled in all directions, frazzled, angry and exhausted and sometimes a little lost. Some will move through this time effortlessly, but for many this transition can be filled with difficult to manage symptoms, way beyond hot flushes, to symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, frequent urination, loss of libido and painful intercourse.

This infographic below shows the myriad of symptoms.

In other cultures, Menopausal symptoms do not appear to be so impactful. It’s a time of celebration, your “Second Spring”, where a woman’s wisdom is welcomed and honoured. So we must ask ourselves what are the factors at play here? With my Nutritional Therapy knowledge, and now as a qualified MY Yoga teacher, it’s clear that how we experience the Menopause in the UK is multifactorial. It involves diet and lifestyle, stress management, cultural and societal perceptions, or perhaps it would be better to say misconceptions!

Self-care, improved health and wellbeing

MY Yoga is a specially adapted yoga practice with breathing techniques and mindful meditation exercises to help manage some of the main symptoms of Menopause.  Initially I will be offering weekly MY Yoga classes, and this will then lead on to offering workshops. In this setting, we as women we can come together to educate and support one another, to share insights and experiences and with my Nutritional Therapy hat on, we can delve more deeply into nutritional and lifestyle strategies to support you.

What to expect in a weekly MY Yoga class?

Targeted themed classes. There are 5 themed practices that look to support symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, lack of focus and low mood. The MY Yoga class combines vinyasa, hatha and qi-gong, breath work and meditation, and each class finishes with a restorative pose to soothe and reset the nervous system. It is suitable for all levels and abilities. The class is 75 mins long in order for us to be able to incorporate all these vital elements.

Targets Muscle loss & weakness, and osteoporosis. MY Yoga asana also supports the loss of muscle and bone density which occurs in menopause. The loss of oestrogen means women are at higher risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Through weight bearing yoga postures, research has shown that women can increase bone density, making bones stronger. Strengthening muscles also supports the skeletal system and helps with metabolism regulation.

A toolkit of techniques. You will leave each class with breathing and meditation techniques that can be used at home, or even when out shopping, at work or whenever symptoms arise.

Stress management. Stress is one of the main factors that exacerbates symptoms in perimenopause and post menopause and through asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), relaxation and meditation we can help to activate the ‘rest & digest’ side of the nervous system (the parasympathetic nervous system),  and to move away from “fight or flight”.

A time to reflect. Breath work and meditation encourage us to look inwards (interoception), becoming more in tune with symptoms and their triggers. MY Yoga enables us to be better prepared by coming into the present moment and becoming aware of the messages our bodies are giving us. Yoga can empower a sense of support and control, which can offer a change in perspective as a woman’s body begins and travels through this journey

Calming the mind. MY Yoga is a mind and body practice which supports our overall health. Practising yoga through peri-menopause and post menopause can be integral to supporting the journey into your next stage of life, to embrace your ‘Second Spring”, and to feel valued for the wisdom and life you have led.

Together in our MY Yoga practices,  I will assist you through this journey, to emerge stronger, more centred, to become the wise woman you truly are.

And now, if you’re interested here’s some sciencey stuff about Menopause

What is “Menopause” ?

When a woman runs out of her supply of viable eggs, her ovaries will cease oestrogen production, and she will go through “menopause”. Exactly when this happens depends on many factors. The medical term ‘menopause’ refers to the point at which a woman has stopped menstruating for 12 consecutive months. The perimenopause can last six years or more and is the time up until the menopause. Post menopause is the time after the menopause.

The perimenopause affects every single cell in a woman’s body as they all have an oestrogen receptor. Oestrogen levels fluctuate irregularly in perimenopause and we need oestrogen to regulate mood, body temperature, memory, and the menstrual cycle. Additionally it lubricates the vagina, protects the arteries and stimulates breast growth during puberty. Oestrogen also act has anti-inflammatory affects, so its loss, can lead to muscle and joint pain and leave us feeling more “allergic”.

Levels of progesterone and testosterone also begin to fall. Progesterone helps maintain the monthly cycle; it also prepares the uterus (womb) for pregnancy and supports the body during pregnancy. It also has a “calming” affect.

Testosterone is produced in the adrenal glands and regulates sex drive, supports bone growth, strength and muscle mass; it can improve mood, concentration, motivation, energy and memory.

The fluctuation of oestrogen can cause a myriad of symptoms. In Dr Lisa Mosconi’s ‘Book XX Brian’, she describes the brain as the orchestra and oestrogen as the conductor, so as oestrogen fluctuates, all the instruments of the orchestra are out of sync. Goodness knows I think we can all relate to that!

The changing levels of oestrogen affects the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. This part of our brain has key regulatory functions, and links the nervous system and endocrine (hormones) system. As oestrogen fluctuates, it affects the job of the hypothalamus in regulating body temperature, the stress hormone cortisol, the endocrine system and reproduction. Being perpetually stressed, with resultant high cortisol levels, is therefore going to impact this delicate balance in the body and lead to increased symptomology.

And this is where a  regular MY Yoga practice can help. Through movement, stillness, meditation and conscious breathing – many symptoms can be alleviated.

*At 12 weeks, yoga practitioners showed statistically lower scores for menopausal symptoms, stress levels and depression symptoms, as well as significantly higher scores in quality of life….These results suggest that yoga promotes positive psychophysiological changes in post-menopausal women and may be applied as a complementary therapy. (Elsevier: Science Direct: ) **The Menopause Charity. ***Dr Lisa Mosconi ’The XX Brain.’ **** Dr Loren Fishman M.D

Please email me if you have any further questions.


Beach Yoga – Starts May 21st

I’m back teaching on Dunwich’s beautiful wild beach! Sundays 9-10 am.

Come along and experience the sun, sea, wind and sand, as we practice on the beach.

Through May, June and August…. weather permitting!

Early Summer Dates

May 21st

May 28th

June 4th

June 11th

June 25th

Late summer Dates – Recommences July 30th through August and into September….weather permitting

A soulful vinyasa flow, suitable for all!

We often go for a dip in the sea after….so feel free to join us!

£10 per person. (Own mat required…a beach towel would work too!)

A 2 minute stroll down the beach towards Minsmere, at the foot of the cliffs. (As you come from car park onto the beach turn right)

For pre-payment and booking in, please email me at kbrookhouse66@gmail.com

Meet me in the soft place, where your footprints leave imprints in the sand, Where we reach out with our hands and draw pictures

A little bit about my style of yoga!

feel . flow . fierce . free


Hi! I’d like to introduce myself …🌊🧘‍♀️🏖🚴‍♀️🌳💐🥑

My name is Katherine Brookhouse, and I’m now living in Dunwich, Suffolk as a permanent resident by the sea, with my family.

I teach a vinyasa style of yoga called #fringemethod


Every week it incorporates a different sequence, which focuses on one of the following elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Each flow challenges a specific area of the body and chakra system.


During the class, the aim is to foster the connection between movement, strength, fluidity, flexibility whilst simultaneously quietening the mind, enabling a greater sense of mindfulness and embodied calm.


I like to describe the fringe.method as a monthly MOT for the Mind, Body and Soul.

In terms of my own practice, I had spinal fusion 20 years ago, so there are certain poses that I have to modify, and others that will never be for me! But that’s the beauty of yoga! All bodies are different and unique and this is how I approach my teaching.


Follow me here or on Instagram to find out about upcoming classes and together we can move our bodies, quieten our minds and embrace your body’s uniqueness.


Follow me on Instagram @katherinebnutri

feel . flow . fierce . free

Maggie’s Turkey Chilli

This is the perfect food for a cold wintry night. It’s super quick to prepare, fantastic for batch cooking, can be flexible in terms of the choice of beans and is a great way to use frozen vegetables and tinned staples. Its also a fantastic way to get a wide variety of plant based ingredients into your family, vital for feeding their microbiome and supporting immunity.

In fact if you wanted to you could easily swop out the meat, substituting it with sweet potato and then you’d have a vegan option too. This is what I love about flexible cooking, you don’t need to stick rigidly to all the ingredients and then you can make it fir your family’s dietary choices.

Remember too, that each spice that you use, is an additional plant based ingredient that not only adds richness and flavour, but also helps to feed you gut bacteria. And as the research shows, a healthy gut is a key to ensuring overall health!

Whenever I have this for dinner it reminds me of happy days spent in Westchester county, New York, where we used to live and my wonderful friend and amazing chef, Margaret, or as she’s also known to her friends, Maggie.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


500g ground turkey

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

4 cloves of garlic peeled and minced

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

2 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tins of tomatoes

2 tins of black beans

2 tins of cannellini beans

500ml of chicken stock

1 tin of sweetcorn (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional- 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (I use this when I’m cooking as my daughter is highly allergic to onions and garlic so I often omit these 2 ingredients from my cooking. This is a great taste substitute too for anyone following a Low fodmap diet.)

Remember that this recipe allows for flexibility too. You can use any beans of your choice. I didn’t have cannelloni beans so I added chickpeas (I know that’s a bit random but needs must) and some frozen butternut squash that I wanted to use up.

If like me you like to batch cook then you can just double the quantities, and freeze for a day your too busy to cook.



I like to use my InstantPot as it gives me such flexibility and produces nutritious food so quickly and easily. I browned the turkey meat on the sauté function, breaking it up into little pieces. You could also brown the onions and garlic.  Then simply added the rest of the ingredients. I selected “meat/stew” then hit the “Delay” function so that it will be ready precisely when we want to eat!

2. Slow cooker

A slow cooker would work just as well. As above, brown the turkey meat, breaking into small pieces (browning onions and garlic optional) and then simply added the rest of the ingredients. Set to cook on low or high depending how quickly you want it to be ready.

3. Conventional casserole cooking.

If you don’t have either of these then simply sauté your onions and garlic in a casserole dish for 5 mins, then brown the turkey for another 5 mins. Add the remaining ingredients and put in a pre-heated oven (180F) for approx. 2 ½- 3 hours. Check on it regularly, stirring and add additional liquid if needed.

NB, I didn’t use any additional oil to sauté the meat but you’ll need a splash of olive oil if you’re going to sauté any vegetables.

Serving suggestions:

Garnish with sour cream or plain Greek or coconut yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped fresh coriander. It also goes great with tortilla chips or corn bread. You could also add rice of your choice.

Healthy Nutrient Dense Sweet Treats

I have a sweet tooth…

But too much sugar, especially #refinedsugar is not my friend!

Over the Xmas break I’ve enjoyed the Xmas chocs….but now I want to enjoy something that’s a healthier #sweettreats

So here are my #glutenfree#vegan#refinedsugarfree coconut pecan oaties!

Delicious and nutritious, nutrient dense!

I always try to make my recipes “flexible”, as there’s nothing more annoying than deciding you want to make something and not having the ingredients.

So please add the nut butter, sweetener and nuts of your choice! If you don’t have coconut oil , then you could switch in butter…except for those of you who are vegans!


Prep time 10 mins. Cooking time 10 mins.

1. Oats (gluten-free if you have gluten issues) 
2. Almond nut butter (or any other nut butter) 
3. Coconut oil

4. A liquid sweetener (I used honey and date syrup). 6. A handful of nuts (I choose pecans)
5. Desiccated coconut (optional) 

Optional additions, raisins, dried mulberries (my new fav!) or cocoa drops.


Warm 1/2 cup of nut butter in a bain mairie, keep stirring until it loosens ( I used Tahini and Almond)

Add 2 tablespoon of melted coconut oil and stir through until combined

Add 2 tsp of liquid sweetener

Add 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut

Add 10 chopped pecans
Mix in 1 cup of  Gluten free oats 

Pat down very firmly in individual silicone muffin moulds or a small baking tray. Makes 6-8 depending how big you want them!

Place in preheated oven at 190 for 8 – 10 mins

Leave to cool in the muffin trays. (otherwise they may be a bit crumbly)

Enjoy with your favourite hot drink!

Maintaining energy and focus through better nutrition choices.

During these unprecedented times for you and your family members, lets explore strategies for cooking and preparing meals that will hopefully help balance both your energy, mood and stress levels.

Key to achieving this is balancing blood glucose levels!

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'BLOOD SUGAR'



When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into a simple energy form, glucose. This is often referred to as blood sugar. These levels are tightly regulated by the hormone insulin. It is insulins’ job to help the body use blood glucose from food, for energy, or store that energy in the liver and muscles, as glycogen (a short-term energy source). Any excess is stored in fat cells. (This is one of the mechanisms by which a high sugar diet can lead to potential weight gain.)

Carbohydrates however, are not created equally and the speed of this breakdown can vary based on the Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic load (GL) of the carbohydrate content.

• GI ranks foods on how quickly they are digested into blood sugars and how quickly it impacts our blood sugar, however whilst helpful… it does not reflect the portion size.

• The GL is based on the relative GI of the food in relation to the portion size.

In other words, the GI = is how quick, and the GL = how much and how quick.


Foods with a high GL, e.g. a slice of white bread, will be rapidly broken down into blood glucose causing a sudden spike. Consequently, insulin must quickly remove any extra glucose, which then causes a “sugar low”.

This creates what’s known as the ‘blood sugar roller-coaster’ (see image below) which can have a detrimental effect on mood, potentially making you feel more jittery and anxious. The “roller coaster” also causes sudden dips in energy, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after eating, increasing the desire to reach for sugary snacks and caffeine, only to create another unwanted “roller coaster” shortly after. Conversely, foods with a low GL keep blood sugar levels consistent, enabling both your mood and energy levels to remain more constant and controlled.

You may have noticed this “roller coaster” with your kids after they’ve eaten sugary snacks or drinks. One minute they’re buzzin around and then all of a sudden, they’re irritable and grumpy.



Imagine your digestion and metabolism as a fire!

• If you pour petrol on to it, it will burn bright and hot, but the flames will soon die
• If you feed it regularly with small well-seasoned wood, it will burn long and warm.

• High GL food is the petrol.
• Low GL food is the seasoned wood.


As well as choosing lower GL carbs……. supply permitting, here are my 5 top tips!

(I have included a link at the end of this article to a list of GL levels of common foods)

1. Choose a BREAKFAST that will KEEEP YOU FEELING FULL, your brain fuelled and reduce those mid-morning energy dips. Here’s some ideas:

• Yoghurt (ideally full fat and unsweetened)
Add toppings like fresh fruit, a handful of nut and seeds, a dollop of nut butter. Add some honey or maple syrup if you need a hit of sweetness.

• Poached egg on a slice of wholemeal bread
Add some avocado or spinach…. if you can get some! Sprinkle with seeds, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

• Overnight oats
Make this up for all the family the night before. Per person take approx. 50 grams of porridge oats, add 350ml of milk of your choice. Add ½ tsp of cinnamon, which has been shown in studies to help to reduce sugar cravings by controlling blood glucose levels. Leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning heat through on the hob. Add flacked almonds, sunflower seeds, or walnuts. Serve with a dollop of full fat Greek yoghurt and drizzle with honey.

• ‘Dippy eggs and soldiers’
Lightly boiled eggs with a slice of wholemeal bread and butter “soldiers”.


Imagine your plate divided into three sections:

Image may contain: food

Half, or more of your plate, should be a wide range of leafy greens, salad items and brightly coloured vegetables, basically anything that grows above the ground.
One quarter should consist of lean protein, roughly the size of your fist.
Final quarter, add complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, quinoa and root vegetables.

By doing this you will slow down your digestion and reduce the affects of any high GL foods on blood glucose and insulin levels.

Which in layman’s terms means….…. you’ll feel fuller for longer!

3. REDUCE your CAFFEINE intake, found in tea, coffee, chocolate.

It’s easy to forget that caffeine is in fact a drug and as such, at times of high stress can have a detrimental effect on both your energy and your mood…. plus, your sleep. We all love the hit we get from caffeine, but it is actually interacts with 3 powerful hormones in the body.

• Adrenaline: Caffeine causes the release of adrenaline into your system, giving you a temporary boost, but this will put you on the “roller coaster” that we discussed earlier. This is again pouring “petrol on your fire”! Right now, we also have many other reasons for surges in adrenalin so anything that adds to that may not be helpful.
• Cortisol: Caffeine can increase the body’s cortisol levels, the “stress hormone”, which in turn floods the body with glucose. The body will need to remove this rapidly. Another unwanted “roller coaster ride”.
• Dopamine: Caffeine increases dopamine levels in your system, which can make you feel good initially, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. It is this dopamine hit which makes coffee hard to give up.
If you love your cup of tea or coffee, avoid drinking after midday to ensure your sleep is not affected, and also think about reducing to 1 or 2 cups daily.
You could choose herbal teas such as Green Tea, which although still contains caffeine, it’s affects are offset by the calming affect l-Theanine. You could also try chamomile, peppermint or dandelion.


Sometimes when we feel stressed and anxious we look to food to help support these feelings. And with so many us at home self-isolating, the sweet treats in the kitchen are more easily accessible and seem to be calling your name! However, if you begin to better balance your blood glucose, with the advice above, your mood will be more stable, your energy should feel more consistent, so hopefully there’ll be less need to add “petrol to your fire”.

Here are some healthy snack suggestions:

• Half a slice of wholegrain bread with nut butter

• Raw veggies (carrot, pepper, celery, cucumber) plus ½ small tub of hummus

• Piece of fruit with 5-10 nuts

• Berries plus small tub plain full fat yoghurt

5. Remember to stay hydrated, 6-8 glasses per day.


When my kids were little and they asked for snacks, I would often suggest they have a glass of water instead. They still tease me about this now, saying how annoying it was, but actually the science supports this. Dehydration can make us feel tired and irritated, so have a drink first before you reach for a snack.

Choose filtered water if you can. Add some mint or lemon for some variation…. if you can get any….

If you struggle to drink water, then dilute your fruit juice, gradually increasing the amount of water you add. Avoid sugary drinks which will again pour fuel on you fire.

Set an alarm on your watch to remind yourself to stay hydrated with small sips taken regularly throughout the day.

Water is vital for keeping all our cells hydrated and allowing absorption of key nutrients and removal of waste substances.


Image may contain: food, text that says '80/20 20 Rule? The Gracious Pantry'

During this difficult period, it’s important to remember that food is more than just calories, nutrients and minerals. Taking time to sit down to eat with those you are self-isolating with is a precious time, a time to be thankful for what you have in front of you. Practice gratitude that you are able to share your mealtime with the those you love, those who are supporting you.

As such, let’s be sensible about the tips I’ve suggested. I like to apply the 80/20 rule, which means let’s try to stick to this way of eating 80% of the time. I will certainly be enjoying both a glass of wine and a few crisps (my guilty pleasure) this coming weekend…..and I hope you can too.

Wellness Wednesday. #MEawarenessDay & Living with #chronicdisease

A focus on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME, Lyme disease and whatever other names you want to use for Chronic illness.

Today is #MEAwarenessDay.  Today I planned to write a short piece to highlight ME and other chronic diseases…and that’s where this begins. However, as I began writing, it felt right to tell you more about how this has impacted our lives. I’m not a huge sharer. I don’t like to draw attention to what’s happened to us, however it’s where my writing has taken me today. I hope that by telling some of our story and sharing my Nutritional Therapy knowledge, it will give you a better understanding of chronic disease. Conventional medicine may be woefully unprepared and unwilling to help you….but know that you are not alone….

If you are one of the #millionsmissing know that I see you…know that I hear you and know that you are not alone.

Raising Awareness

Given the current situation with #COVID19, I’m hoping that this year’s awareness day will gain greater interest than normal. For some of you, the last few weeks of government imposed #lockdown, may have given you an insight into what it’s like to live permanently in isolation, when you suffer from a chronic long-term debilitating, disabling illness. This group of patients, abandoned by conventional medicine, have become known as the #millionsmissing….because living in a permanently sick body…. they have become missing from everyday life.

They are missing from the simplest of things like, walking downstairs, leaving their bedrooms, mealtimes, conversations, feeling the sun on their faces, trips to the supermarket, walks in the park, visits to friends and relations.

They are missing from the bigger things too…. Birthdays, Weddings, travelling the world, holidays… parties of all types, trips to pubs, clubs, bars, team sports, running, cycling, swimming.

They are missing from the building a future, the workplace, from studying, from school, from university, from gaining qualifications.

They are missing from relationships, boyfriends, girlfriends, life changing decisions like moving out of the family home, buying a house, getting married, having children.

They are missing from dreams, aspirations, hopes, careers. They are literally invisible… missing from life!

Today is a day when maybe those of us in #lockdown, those who are relatively new to this phenomenon, could reflect on the outstanding strength and resilience that this group of patients’ have to demonstrate daily. Ask yourself this……Would you cope if this was your daily reality?. Would you cope if you could see no end in sight? Would you cope if overtime, you were unsupported by doctors, friends, family and partners? Would you cope with the isolation, fear, loss of hope, pain, depression, drifting away of friends?

Something I’ve noticed, which is by no means unique to us, is the phenomenon which I call, “Illness fatigue”.

What is “Illness Fatigue”?

If someone has a heart attack, develops type 2 diabetes, or has a car crash, there are clear stages to what happens next. It mostly goes like this. You’re suddenly very unwell, you then get diagnosed, you get treated, everyone rallies around. In most instances you will recover. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to diminish their suffering, or how devastating any kind of illness can be and I know that sometimes people don’t make a full recovery. They could even die…but generally speaking this disease has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Chronic illness does not follow this pattern. It begins, everyone rallies round, you hope there’s a middle…..but then it goes on and on and on….where is the end? What are people supposed to do now? Do friends continue to check up on you regularly? Do they ask you how you’re feeling? Do they pop round to see why you haven’t been in contact?

Unfortunately, in many cases the answer to all these questions is NO! And this is “Illness Fatigue”.

Maybe it’s out of embarrassment…maybe they just don’t know what to do or say anymore? Maybe being friends with the new version of you is just not that much fun anymore? People lead busy lives, friendships fade…. I get that…but that doesn’t make it easy. Incidentally, this is not a “woe is me” observation. I’m not writing this looking for sympathy or pity…I’m just explaining a common phenomenon that occurs in chronic disease.

What hope is there for the #millionsmissing?

Well to be frank, for some all hope is lost. In Chronic Lyme Disease for example, one of the biggest causes of death, apart from the illness itself, is suicide. However, I have observed that out of this bleakness and isolation, there is still so much hope and positivity, strength and determination, to find a way to live a fulfilling life, despite all the difficulties faced.

In Business….it blows me away to see what some people with chronic disease still manage to achieve. I know of one young lady who has a highly successful designer bag brand, another who has trained as a yoga teacher and offers online yoga for her chronically ill friends, another developing her own online house design consultancy.

In Research, Education and Advocacy…. there are some amazing “chronically sick” minds battling every day to push the science forward, raise awareness, campaigning, putting on conferences to educate patients and doctors. You know who you are and I salute and thank you for the work that you do, for the publications that make it to press, and for your amazing minds!

In Holistic health care, Naturopathy, Nutritional Therapy, Health Coaching…. many practitioners through their own experience with chronic illness train to help others. Through running a local support group, myself, I have become great friends with another #millionsmissing She is training to be a Functional Medicine health coach. Good luck fellow #lymie. I know you will be brilliant!

And now a heres “My Story” (which as I said above is not where I planned to go…)

I too am one of these people, who is coming through this with something positive, with a skill to share. I have become an advocate for #millionsmissing and in my practice, I focus on people, specifically women, with chronic health conditions. I do this because in a nut shell, I see you! I hear you! I understand what you’ve been through and what you’re still going through! And knowing that…I want to use my personal experience and my professional knowledge to hopefully support you.

Let’s start from the beginning.

I began my Masters in Nutritional Therapy training at The University of Worcester in 2012 as a “well person”. Whilst undertaking my studies, my daughter became unwell and a couple of years later I too became unwell, some of which was brought on by stress and grief having suddenly lost my father at the same time. My daughter was in her 2nd year of University and had recurring sore throats, low grade fever, IBS, heart palpitations, dizziness and to use her words, she was “tired like never before”.  I kid you not when I tell you that at our first trip to the GP, the first question he asked her was whether she was sexually active and had she had a recent chlamydia test. The funny thing is, in asking about a potential infection, he was actually barking up the right tree. You’ll see later….

6 months later, no further forward, with anti-depressants the only treatment offered, she was diagnosed by private NHS consultants with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Through my knowledge and understanding of these “diseases”, I knew that these “diseases” are terms to describe a collection of overlapping symptoms, when all other explanations have been ruled out. Furthermore, her diagnosis of Fibromyalgia was atypical as this diagnosis is based on assessing specific areas of pain, many of which she didn’t actually have.  

Hurrah for the Functional Medicine Model.

At this time, in my course I was being trained to apply a Functional Medicine (FM) approach to disease. This approach looks at each person as an individual. It enables the practitioner to determine potential underlying root causes of ill health. It assesses Antecedents, what went on before, Triggers, what happened at the time, and Mediators, what could be perpetuating the ongoing illness.  We refer to these as the ATM’s.  I like to think of this process like peeling an onion, removing one layer at a time to unearth more potential layers. And like peeling onions…. expect a few tears on the way!

Sometimes onset of illness can be sudden, even overnight, particularly after a stressful lifestyle event like a death or divorce, or after physical trauma or injury. Other times it can be slow subtle changes overtime, changes that happen so slowly you barely notice it happening until one day you wake up a changed person. Other times it can be a combination of all of this.

What are the possible Antecedents, Mediators and Triggers (ATM’S) in chronic disease.? (NB. Sometimes examples of ATM’s can fall into more than one category)

Potential antecedents.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues that sometimes is overlooked are Stressful life events. Chronic stress affects all areas of the body: Sleep, digestion, DNA expression, cell repair and the immune system, can all be negatively impacted. In addition, the following antecedents can contribute to changes in health. Poor nutrient status, childhood injuries or illness, medication history, pre-existing health conditions. Individual epigenetic differences.

Potential triggers.

Some examples are exposure to a toxin such as black mould, a viral infection such as glandular fever, an undetected tick bite, a physical injury, especially if this involves the head or neck, food allergy.

Potential mediators

These involve but are not limited to, individual nutrient status, sub-optimal hormone levels, poor diet, food intolerances, high levels of ongoing stress, poor digestion.

Back to my daughter

For her the ATM’s were a complicated combination, which has taken a number of years to fathom out.  Some of the antecedents were an undiagnosed autoimmune thyroid condition, missed by a paediatrician who failed to point out the significance of high levels of autoimmune thyroid antibodies, gluten intolerance, poor nutrient status…. she was always a fussy eater and when she became unwell she was a student burning the candle at both ends! She was also living in MOULDY student accommodation.

The trigger was a bite from an infected tick, some 18 months before, which transmitted Lyme disease and a host of other chronic infections. Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the scientific name for the infection carried by ticks, is a highly sophisticated bacteria, skilled at evading the immune system. Incidentally, I know lots of Lyme patients who were initially diagnosed with CFS or ME, who after treating the infection and the damage they caused, have seen great improvements in their health.  It also knows how to hijack other parts of the immune system leading to reactivation of viral infections. Interestingly a recent research paper by a leading ME research Naviaux has found reactivated Viruses in ME patients. Is this the full story? Or is lyme disease involved too? Further research is desperately needed here and in many other areas of potential disease mediators?

Lyme infection, by altering immune function, also exposes you to opportunistic infections, like chlamydia pneumonia (CPN). This is where my GP was right….it was an infection…. but not a sexually transmitted one!  Were you aware that CPN, which can cause chronic lung infections, has even been linked to onset of Multiple sclerosis.

A couple of her Mediators which could also be viewed as antecedents are her Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) only diagnosed officially 18 months ago, 5 years after becoming unwell and a connective tissue disorder (hEDS) only diagnosed 8 months ago. These have contributed or maybe caused or possibly exacerbated (it’s a bit like the chicken and egg when you try to assess the part these guys play) to instability which contributed to her autonomic dysfunction and POTS.

As you can see, my daughter was a huge complex onion, that’s taken time and tears to peel!

The use of “Food as Medicine”

Throughout this time, 7 years now, we have utilised many dietary protocols, I appreciate the challenges of cooking for a family, whilst incorporating gluten free, dairy free, low histamine, low fodmaps, paleo,.to name but a few. I understand how difficult psychologically it is to make dietary changes when you’re exhausted, scared, anxious and fed up with another practitioner trying to tell you they have the magic pill, the perfect solution, the only effective Nutritional protocol, all the answers. If I hear another practitioner tell me this…. I am now more likely to run in the opposite direct. And I would probably advise you to do the same!

No-one has all the answers, everyone must continue to learn. I’ll never stop learning and researching as my daughters’ journey and many of my clients have a beginning, even maybe a middle but many have a long way to still go before they’ve reached their end.

And as to getting to the “end”, we have to acknowledge there are no guarantees and that the “end” may not be all that you had wished for.

Privilege and practicing gratitude.

For me, I acknowledge how lucky I am compared to many of you who might be lying alone in your bedroom.  I have financial resources, clinical and professional knowledge and training and support of my close family.  My daughter is also very lucky and is forever grateful for having someone to advocate for her when she was too ill to even read.  Together we have been able to pool our resources, to support one another, challenge the thinking of conventional medicine and their flawed studies and dangerous treatment options like GET and CBT. Together we have developed amazing coping strategies. We have learned to be grateful for the small things in life, for the small victories that we achieve. From support groups, and I’ve been on many, I have witnessed so many amazing stories of resilience, support and made lifelong friendships.  And finally, having practiced what I preach…. I’m so very grateful that I can see the light at what hopefully will be my “end” …. I can’t wait to get there.

My daughters journey is personal.

As to my daughter, her return to wellness has is really her story to tell. However, I will share a couple of things. Whilst I have been right by her side throughout it all, she has also done a lot of her own research, and as a patient, I would advise you to do this if you can. No-one knows your body as well as you do. If something does not feel right, it’s because it probably isn’t. Equally if something resonates with you, then follow that feeling. Whatever treatment you choose to follow, you have to be invested in it and believe it can help. We have also consulted other practitioners. There were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, at times in my own illness, I just didn’t have the energy to give it my full attention, and secondly as her mother it can at times be just too emotional and that can impair one’s judgement and thought processes.  Additionally, we have used modalities like acupuncture and homeopathy, which are not in my area of expertise.  

Healing is not linear.

There have been many ups and downs, it’s still ongoing, she’s made amazing progress in the last few months. She’s rarely in pain and is walking her dog every day, and slowly regaining strength.  

Unfathomable determination.

Her commitment to her healing, following her protocols, taking her meds and supplements, ensuring she sticks to her diet is unfathomable. And it is because of the strength and resilience she shows every day I know she will continue to improve.

One last important point- Change can happen.

If you have a chronic illness it does not have to be a life sentence. If you have an autoimmune condition, chronic lyme disease, MCAS, hEDS, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Anxiety, Depression, CFS, ME…. please know that there are steps you can take that can lead to changes in your health. A great place to start would be to heading over to Dr Sarah Myhills website, or looking for a practitioner who, like me, uses a Functional Medicine approach.

Below I will include some links to some of the people I have mentioned in this article.

Please comment on anything I’ve said. Please share your experiences. I’d love to hear from you, to know if any of this has resonated with you.

You can find me on FaceBook. Katherine Brookhouse Nutritionhttps://www.facebook.com/Katherine-Brookhouse-Nutrition-1089531357896203/

Or on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/katherinebnutri

Businesses Run by “Lymies” #millionsmissing



Health coaching

Find Jo Doyle on Instagram @Chronic_tonic_wellbeing

Educational resources (Run by some amazing Lyme and ME advocates I’ve come to know)


http://www.Vis-a-vis.org http://www.visavissymposiums.org/

http://www.aonm.org https://aonm.org/

Wellness Wednesday. Supporting positive change through adopting #tinyhabits

Are you feeling overwhelmed when you wake up in the morning?

Are you finding it hard to get motivated?

Are you struggling with low mood?

According to leading behaviour change expert B.J. Fogg, in his book “Tiny Habits”, you need to feel successful whilst making changes, in order for the behaviour to become a new habit.

At this current time in the stillness of #lockdown , many people are using this time as a period of reflection. Consequently for some, plans are afoot for big lifestyle changes….. like adopting a new exercise regime, eating their 5-a-day, starting a new business. Now don’t get me wrong….this is to be applauded! As a Nutritional therapist and Health Coach.…its an integral part of what I do every day, supporting people to make these changes!

BUT I know for some of you, seeing these epiphanies is overwhelming when you’re struggling to just get through the day!

So this is aimed at you! I want to support you in this challenging time.

Please find me on Instagram, where I have recorded a video and listen to my tips to help you navigate through this.


I have also produced a Daily success chart so that you can track your small victories. You can adapt this to whatever you need to get you moving in the morning and support you throughout the day. You can download the template here:

Know that whatever you achieve in any given day, no matter how small, you are doing the best you can!

You are enough! Be kind to yourself! You got this!

#tinyhabits #youcandoit #onestepatatime #youareenough #motivationaltips #healthcoach #depressiontips #wellnessvlog

Wear Lime for Lyme Disease. 1st May

May is the month where globally Lyme Disease charities, researchers, treating doctors and patients come together to try to lobby governments, raise awareness and support one another with various initiatives. In so doing, collectively we hope to not only educate the general public about how to protect themselves from tick bites, but to also raise both awareness of this disease and to encourage donations for desperately needed research.

Heres my daughter and I in 2016 Taking a bit out of Lyme to raise awareness

In 2018, I completed my Msc dissertation research which involved analysing online questionnaires from 18 UK Lyme patients. This was a qualitative piece of research, which means I wasn’t interested in numbers and statistics, but instead, I wanted to understand in detail, the livid experiences of this group of individuals. Their stories were at times hard to read and through my analysis of their narratives

5 key themes emerged.

Theme 1. Dissatisfaction with mainstream medicine.

This exposed the difficulties of living with a contested disease where obtaining diagnosis and treatment was protracted and problematic. Many received a psychological explanation, where potential gender bias resulted in doctor/patient distrust, leading to the need for strong self-advocacy.


Theme 2. ‘Controlling food’ 

Here the therapeutic use of Nutritional Therapy was highlightedwhere “Food as Medicine” led to improved symptomology. Respondents demonstrated strong adherence and innovative strategies to offset oftentimes onerous and time consuming compliance demands. At times, in trying to ‘control’ ones food intake,  dietary needs began to control peoples lives. However in living with this misunderstood disease, where so much can seem out of ones control, there was comfort from being in charge of a powerful therapeutic tool, plus it fostered a sense of unity and community amongst fellow patients.

Theme 3‘CAM’- a work in progress  (CAM = Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

This theme revealed that Lyme patients are a well-researched patient group, who often experienced dissatisfaction due to consulted practitioners’ lack of knowledge, where they were presented with overly complicated and generic NT protocols

Theme 4. ‘A life changed’ 

This theme revealed the extent to which lives have been devastated by years of chronic disease with feelings of loss, invisibility, isolation and altered and fractured relationships. 

Theme 5. Financial issues

All respondents reported financial sacrifices and difficulties, including debt, loans, and borrowing, where lost earnings due to disability, left some unable to afford treatment.

Are you a Lyme disease warrior?

Does any of this resonate with you? Do any of these themes seem familiar? Have you experienced any of these issues? I’d love to hear from you, and for you to share your experiences, lest we not be ignored and forgotten again.

I admit to it…..Confirmation bias! (Was this just in my research?)

I can’t say it was the most well written piece of research, and undoubtedly, despite my best efforts, I would have bought bias to it. Despite this, I do believe that it offers powerful insight into the difficulties faced by UK Lyme patients, something which has not been hitherto researched in the UK. It also revealed, that in this patient group, nutrition represents a vital part of the journey to recovery. 

I finished writing my dissertation just as the NICE draft guidelines for Lyme Disease were published. Here, there was not a single mention of dietary or supplement interventions, and yet my snapshot revealed that all respondents reported improved symptoms through Nutritional Therapy.  However this was hardly surprising given the guidelines barely acknowledge the existence of Chronic Lyme Disease.

The full NICE guidelines were finally published in 2018. The only positive I can take from these is that patients recently bitten, who are lucky enough to have a GP who actually recognises the tell tale bulls eye rash or is prepared to accept after a differential diagnosis, that symptoms and exposure mean its likely that you have been bitten, you are now more likely to get 3 weeks of an effective antibiotic regime, and then hopefully, a further 3 weeks of treatment should symptoms persist.

But beyond this, very little has changed!

Unfortunately patients with a chronic infection, who were not treated in a timely fashion, are mostly denied a test, denied treatment and are left high and dry. They then begin the merry go round of endless trips to different “specialists” who work in their own area of speciality, where no one stops to look at you as a whole and say…

“Hang on a minute, this person has multiple symptoms involving multiple body symptoms…what is it that could be causing this systemic ill health?”

To be honest, this is probably an unrealistic expectation. Modern medicine does not work like this and probably never will. That’s why as a Nutritional Therapist, my training enables me to adopt a Functional Medicine approach. If your not familiar with this here is a definition:

Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.

As such I don’t look to your “illness”, but instead I gather detailed information about your symptoms, your history, your journey to ill health and together we try to unravel what what could be the underlying cause.

Any way I digress……

Tomorrow I will be wearing Lime Green to raise awareness. Check yourself when you’ve been out walking, lying on grass in the garden, playing sports on grass. Ticks are everywhere and can transmit more other infections(for which there are no available NHS tests!) Estimates on numbers of ticks infected varies, showing anything from 5 – 40%. Check your children, behind the ears, in their hair line, in their armpits, between their toes, everywhere! And don’t forget check your little furry 4-legged friends too! They could carry infected ticks into the house.

Tomorrow I will be wearing Lime Green to show support for all the doctor and researchers, some of whom put their necks on the lines treat patients and to speak the truth.

Tomorrow I will be wearing Lime Green to show my support for the chronically sick. Many are lonely, stuck in bed, disabled, in constant pain, wheel-chair dependant, forgotten, dismissed and ignored.

Tomorrow I will be wearing Lime Green to show my support for my daughter who’s resilience and determination is unfathomable.

I have included below links to some of the leading UK lyme charities. It would be amazing if you could think about making a donation, big or small….as a leading supermarket int the UK says….. Every Little Helps!

UK Lyme Charities

Vis a vis symposium – Hosting conferences to help educate and disseminate research to UK Docters.

Lyme Disease Uk Support – Supporting UK Patients through sharing of information on treatment and offering a FB support group.

About Time for Lyme – Raising awareness of Tick hotspots and removal.

Lyme Disease Action – Providing information for Patients, researchers and doctors. Working to produce GP training and explanation of guidelines.

Caudwell LymeCo Charity – Raising awareness and pushing UK government to commit to much needed funding for research.

Lyme Aid UK – Helping raise funds for UK patients to get grants to pay for overseas testing