I originally trained as a Home Economist and worked in industry until I had my children in the early 1970s. My interest in nutrition began soon after they were born. My energy had taken a dip after having two children close together and they suffered from the usual childhood illnesses which always seemed to result in an antibiotic from the doctor.
I was lucky that there was a health food shop in the town where I lived (they were few and far between in those days) so I started to frequent the shop and read everything I could find on nutrition and health. I changed our diet to include more vegetables and less sugar, and I started making my own wholemeal bread which wasn’t readily available in the shops. I also started to use alternative remedies and our doctor soon learnt that I was the lady who preferred not to use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Fortunately, we rarely needed them as our health improved so much and I became a convert to a more natural way of life.
When the boys started school, I spent a few years teaching Home Economics before retraining as a Nutritional Therapist in the mid 1980s. Courses in nutrition were only just becoming available and I was fortunate that the one I chose gave me an excellent grounding in the subject.
In 1986 I set up a clinic above a health food shop in north Manchester where I worked as a nutritional therapist for the next 17 years. I loved the work I was doing – acting like a detective to uncover the reasons (physical, mental and emotional) why people had become ill and helping them to regain their health using diet, supplements and natural remedies.
In order to detoxify clients I needed to remove gluten, dairy, sugar and often yeast from their diet and I was continually being asked ‘But what’s left to eat?’ There were no books to turn to and the internet wasn’t around so I started inventing recipes and giving sheets of these to clients. Eventually I had enough recipes to have a small booklet printed – this was the start of the Cooking Without series. That first booklet grew in size each time it was re-printed and its fame also spread as other therapists heard about it. In the end I packed up and posted in the region of 14,000 books around the world before it was taken over and printed by Thorsons of Harper Collins in 1997. Two more books followed: Vegetarian Cooking Without and Cooking Without Made Easy.
Over the years I have continued to follow the same type of diet because it helps me to feel good and stay slim. When grandchildren came along, I was forced to be even more creative with recipes as I needed to leave out soya and eggs. In my latest book Easy, Tasty, Healthy I have tried to create the easiest, healthiest recipes ever whilst avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, eggs and soya.