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The nutritional therapist, vegan, and veg enthusiast spills the beans on her work and why good digestion is crucial.

The best way to start my day is with an early morning run around my village.

Despite not being a natural runner, I love to get out and close to nature – I admire plants in hedgerows and check on the progress of the Highland calf down the lane! I like to do a few Pilates stretches, too. I also drink heaps of warm water and herbal tea, which revs up my metabolism.

Beetroot, fennel and asparagus are some of my favourite foods.

Anything I can eat 10 minutes after picking from my garden is the best. I do like a good birthday cake every so often though!

My best advice is to chew properly!

It’s free, easy, and makes a big difference to your health – no one believes this until they do it, by the way!

I worked in a health store after university and soon realised digestion underpins everything.

That’s why I became a nutritional therapist. Nutrition can quickly make a difference to someone’s health, which is really encouraging and makes my job worthwhile.

Growing up on a farm was a real eye-opener.

I went veggie in my teens, wanting to change the world and stop cruelty to animals, but I’ve since learned being veggie or vegan doesn’t suit everyone’s constitution. If you do eat animal products, however, I recommend sticking to unprocessed high-quality produce so you know where an animal came from and how it was treated.

I believe in keeping active all day

I’m a bit of a fidget! Humans are not designed to sit around. My partner and I love our two-seater canoe – he’s brilliant at canoeing so I can just go along for the ride!

The simple things are the most important.

Breathe properly, drink plenty of water, move about and sleep. Herbal remedies are good too, as they’re medicinal foods and tend to work quickly, as well as being available in tincture format for easy uptake. A.Vogel’s digestive bitters have been a game-changer for so many of my clients. I’m increasingly seeing women going through the menopause who refuse to suffer in silence, which is great.

I’m often amused by the excuses people find for not improving their diet.

My current favourite is from someone who, when told he needed to swap white bread for brown, said, ‘Can’t I just toast it?’.

Alison Cullen is a nutritional practitioner and education manager for A. Vogel (avogel.co.uk).