Welcome to Wonderful Women, my regular feature which sees me interview inspiring and pioneering game changers.
This week I’m speaking to Maryon Stewart, a renowned healthcare expert specialising in PMS and Menopause: a pioneer in the field of non-drug medicine.
Using her years of knowledge and expertise, she coaches women in understanding the information, tools and techniques needed to get well, to the point that they are able to be completely symptom-free.
Since setting up the The Women’s Nutritional Advisory Service, and subsequently, the Natural Health Advisory Service, she has helped tens of thousands of women all around the world improve their health and well-being.
Published data shows that over 90 per cent of women struggling with PMS and menopause symptoms are symptom-free within four to six months.
Maryon has written 27 popular self-help books, co-authored a series of medical papers, written regular columns for numerous daily newspapers and magazines, had her own radio show, written scripts for and produced many films, as well as contributed to a variety of TV series including Channel Four’s Model Behaviour, where she was the nutritionist.
Maryon also created and presented her own TV series, The Really Useful Health Show.
Following the tragic death of her youngest daughter Hester in 2009, a medical student who was given a legal high, she also set up the Angelus Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of legal highs. Together with over 20 world class experts, a number of Lords and a member of the Royal Family, the Foundation campaigned for 6 years and managed to get the UK Government to take action. Maryon’s campaigning work payed off, and a Bill to ban legal highs and raise awareness, which had a high profile in the Queen’s Speech in June 2015 became law in May 2016, banning all legal highs and closing approximately 500 retail outlets, including 115 websites.
1. Describe a typical day for you?
The first thing I do when I wake up is make myself a huge mug of fresh lemon and ginger tea, check my phone for messages, my computer for emails and check in to see what’s happening in my Midlife Switch community on Facebook. I am a morning person and love to exercise to music at the start of my day. That’s when I have my best ideas. I split my time between London and Brighton when I’m in the UK and live in Florida for the rest of the time with my wonderful husband Ben. I like to make him a shake for breakfast on weekdays when he is on the run and often make him a hearty salad to have for lunch.
The content of the rest of my days varies depending on whether I’m consulting with patients, writing a book or blog posts or making health promotion films; and on some days all of the above. When I’m consulting with patients I am deeply engaged and focusing on their recovery. I love taking a deep dive into the lives of others and helping them to reclaim their wellbeing as a result. On writing days, I get deeply absorbed in the subject matter, especially if I am working to a tight deadline. When I can I take a break in the afternoon to walk on the Downs when I’m in Brighton and the gorgeous beach when I’m in Florida.
I love cooking so when I’m working from home I sometimes get creative in the kitchen at the same time. I have plenty of my favourite food to graze on to keep my brain ticking during the day. When Ben comes home for dinner I like to switch off and swap encounters over some tasty food and a glass of wine and when we are on opposite sides of the Atlantic we make do with our trusted FaceTime.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My biggest achievement has to be having wonderful children, nurturing them and accompanying them on their journey to adulthood.
I’ve walked a very privileged path in my work life as I have had the honor of being able to help so many people improve their wellness. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of women around the world from hormone hell and teaching them how to restore balance in their body, lives and relationships is one of the skills I’m most grateful for.
I am also proud of the fact that I managed to function after losing my 21 year old daughter tragically after she was given a legal high. I went on to establish the Angelus Foundation and, with the help of more than 20 world class experts, in 2016, we managed to get the Government to introduce the Psychoactive Substance Bill which banned legal highs, closed down over 500 retail outlets and websites and significantly raised awareness amongst young people that legal didn’t mean safe.
Last, but not least, I learned to tune into my intuition and trust that things happen for good reason and that it’s possible to manifest what you most desire. In my case it was finding the man of my dreams who happened to live on a most beautiful beach.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
My iPhone is in any handbag I carry, no matter how large or small. It helps me stay in touch, capture special moments with my camera, as well as making Facebook Live films. My phone also contains my trusted Pzizz App which is an amazing energiser programme. I try to plug into this for at least twenty minutes a day as it leaves me feeling like I’ve been recharged. Next comes my reading glasses as I can’t take advantage of my phone without them these days. I usually always carry my driving license, my bank card, hair brush, lipstick and a tissue.
What are your ambitions in life?
To continue to follow the guided path that has given me untold fulfilment during my life to date and to continue to feel enormously grateful for all that I have and the changes I am able to bring about in the lives of others.
I’d like to be remembered as the woman who made women around the world understand that hormones behaving badly isn’t part of the ageing process and that there is a scientifically based natural journey that will help them to do a U turn out of the dark hole that many of them find themselves lost in.
What advice do you know now, you wish you had pre-kids?
That the years pass too quickly and before you know it your kids are grown up. I was lucky to be self-employed whilst my children were growing up so could flex my time, but with hindsight, I would have lived those years more Mindfully, immersing myself in those precious moments rather than having so much attention on my ‘To Do’ list.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
How much fulfilment I would get from helping others. Knowing that every person I help is an achievement, rather than feeling frustrated, because I never reached the end goal of doctors being sufficiently educated to deliver the non-drug approach to hormone health.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Still living my dream life, but in addition, having created a ‘Go To’ community online that millions of people recognize as a reliable source of sound information helping them to improve their health, wellbeing and happiness.
What advice would you give a budding author/practitioner?
Take on projects that make your heart soar instead of sink. Don’t take a job on just for the financial exchange. Working on something you feel passionate about will make you feel good and somehow will more than pay your bills.
Finally, happiness is… living one day at a time, appreciating beauty in the world and in others, giving my very best at all times, loving deeply, being completely understood and allowing my inner child time to chill out and have fun when the day’s work is done.
Here, as an added bonus to my readers, Maryon shares her top health tips:
- In order to be able to present yourself well and to meet the day-to-day demands you will need to learn how to meet your body’s nutritional needs. This includes finding the right kind of eating plan to suit your body and taking regular exercise in order to keep your metabolic rate ticking over. The quality of the food you eat and your lifestyle have a direct link to how well you look and feel, including the appearance of your skin, nails and hair.
- Don’t bother with dieting, for weight loss diets often result in weight gain in the long term! Your body needs a regular supply of good nutrients in order to function, and it is therefore important to eat wholesome foods regularly including fruit, vegetables, salads, nuts, seeds, grains, milk, cheese, eggs, soya, poultry, fish and some red meat. As an added bonus finding the right diet for you will also help to maintain your optimum weight.
- Plan your meals for the coming week in advance, including breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day. Make a shopping list before you go out and take the list with you – making sure you stick to it! And, never do your food shopping on an empty stomach for you will be far more likely to make impulse purchases.
- Eat regular meals three times each day with one or two between –meal snacks. It is better to eat four or five small meals each day, than guzzle large meals because you are so hungry. The body needs a constant supply of good nutrients from wholesome food in order to serve you well. This is particularly true for women in the week before their period, when their calorie requirements raise by approximately 500 calories per day.
- Rather than shopping once a week for all your food, it is preferable to shop at least twice each week, especially for fruit, vegetables and salad stuff, as the shelf life of the vitamins and minerals in them is quite short. Make sure you store fresh produce in the refrigerator or somewhere very cool, to prevent them from spoiling.
- Chocolate bars and sweets may seem attractive snacks, but they contain very little good nutrients and will send your blood sugar levels soaring, only to crash again shortly after. Instead chose wholesome snacks like fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, or fruit and nut snack bars, cereal bars, or even strips of dried fruit, which are more likely to supply your body with many of the nutrients in needs in order to function well.
- Never skip a meal, as it will play havoc with your blood glucose levels and leave you feeling tired and light headed. In order to look and feel good you need to eat wholesome food regularly. If you are likely to be on the run at lunch time, take some lunch with you, and always have a snack bar and some fruit with you in your bag, in case you get the munchies.
- You may notice that certain foods seem to make you feel bloated or result in a rapid drop in energy or even a headache. Keep an eye on how you feel after eating and if you are suspicious about the effects that certain types of food have on your body, keep a daily diet diary and mark down the symptoms you are experiencing. After a few weeks, when you review your diary it is likely that you will see a pattern emerging which will make it easier to spot the suspect foods.
- Cravings for food, particularly sweet food, like chocolate, cakes and biscuits, are extremely common, especially in the week before your period is due. Eat wholesome food little and often in order to maintain a constant supply of good nutrients. The minerals chromium and magnesium and B vitamins are all necessary for normal blood glucose control. Make a point of consuming plenty of green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, bell peppers, chicken, rye, oats and black pepper.
- An excellent way of speeding up the metabolic rate, which helps to burn fat, is to exercise four or five times each week to the point of breathlessness. You can chose any exercise you like, from brisk walking, a formal workout, swimming, racquet sports or even just dancing to your favourite music. Apart from helping to burn up the fat and tone your body, regular exercise results in an incredible sense of well-being and as an added bonus promotes long-term health and beauty.
- Alcohol knocks most important nutrients sideways, leaving us feeling depleted. A lack of good nutrients will affect your energy levels as well as the appearance of your skin and your eyes. Big alcohol consumers are putting themselves seriously at risk of all manner of nasty medical problems in the long-term, so forget the binges and think twice before you have more than one or two drinks in one sitting.
- Caffeine, which acts as both a physical and mental stimulant, can be found in tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate, in excess can make you feel anxious, aggravate breast tenderness and prevent you sleeping well at night. It is therefore advisable to look for alternatives, to tea and coffee like herbal teas, coffee substitutes, and sparkling fruit drinks, all of which are now available in the supermarkets.
- Making time for yourself is probably one of the most important long-term resolutions you should be considering. Somehow when we are feeling and looking good, we forget how important healthy eating, exercise and relaxation are. If you lead a hectic life make sure you have time to enjoy your food and write your exercise and relaxation time into your diary like any other appointment. This way you stand a good chance of keeping your body in peak condition, with your looks positively glowing.
To register for Maryon’s Menopause Workshop click here.