Hannah Richards is a London-based Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Best Possible You: A unique nutritional guide to healing your body.
We caught up with her to gain some exclusive insights into the book and why she’s on a one-woman mission to make looking and feeling your best accessible to all.
What was the inspiration behind The Best Possible You?
I set up a holistic clinic 5 years ago called Move three sixty before moving to Harley Street in London and now I run The Gut Clinic on South Molten Street.
I’ve always been passionate about making health and wellness more accessible. It’s an incredibly elitist industry and so initially, I wanted to write a body bible that people could turn to when they had a symptom and it would take them to an organ in the body - a sort of DIY-style health book.
In school, we get taught arithmetic and Pythagoras’s theorem and yet most of us don’t have a clue about the inner-workings of our bodies.
Though we are taught basic biology, the importance of our vital organs and their functions are not considered to be important enough in the educational system. I think this is wrong on so many levels!
In western medicine, it’s normalised that we take a pill to sort out the problem but no one is looking at things holistically like in traditional medicine. This is where I try to differ in my work.
I’ve been taught in quite an unconventional way in nutrition and my book is all about helping people to address the root cause of their symptoms, to get rid of them once and for all and feel the best they have felt in years.
Getting to the root cause of any problem takes time and if people can find temporary relief for the problem in medicine it’s easier for them to carry on taking the medicine than to look at why they’re suffering in the first place.
Holistic medicine wants to find the root cause and take you out of the cycle of taking pills and medication.
Who would benefit from reading The Best Possible You?
Put simply - I wrote it for Barbara in Derby, Daniel in Truro, Jess in Leeds. It is for everyone who has an interest in health and wellness and who wants to better themselves through their health.
As a nation, we’ve normalised ill health - did you know that 85% of the population are in chronic health?
Imagine how amazing you would feel if you were feeling 10/10 all of the time? Whereas most people in the modern world are functioning at around 5/10.
Being healthy isn’t about getting it right 100% of the time. Nor is it about forcing kale smoothies down your throat at 6am or killing yourself doing HIIT six times a week.
It’s about making choices that align with your lifestyle and allow you to achieve optimum health in a way that’s realistic for you.
What are three key indicators of what’s going on inside your body?
The easiest way to look at your health is by looking at your bowel movements.
I always ask my clients if their bowel movements are regular and they often reply with yes. However, it’s not until you dip deeper that you find out their idea of regular is 3 times a week and that they’re chronically constipated. So regular certainly doesn’t equal normal!
When it comes to bowel movements, twice a day is optimal and anything out of that is not ideal.
Looking at your skin is also a window into your health. Your skin is like a second mouth - everything you put on it is absorbed into your system. So harsh chemicals from makeup and skincare often do much more harm than good.
In my book, I go into detail about how you can improve your skin as well as providing you with delicious, nutritious meal plans that are tailored to giving your body all the nutrients it needs for optimal health.
Lastly, your nails are also a good indicator of what’s going on inside your body. Healthy nails should be a transparent pink colour and a smooth, even arch shape.
You should also have at least eight lunulas on your nails (the pale, half-moon shape at the bottom of the nail bed) or that could be a sign of a possible vitamin B12 deficiency.
If your nails break all the time, it could be a sign that you’re not absorbing protein well enough. You could be eating enough protein from good, organic sources in your diet, but whether your body is absorbing it well enough is all down to your biochemical individuality.
What is the most important thing that readers can expect to learn from The Best Possible You?I want to empower people to take responsibility for their health.
You are not a passive bystander when it comes to your health and wellbeing and actually, there are very few genetic conditions that predispose you to health conditions.
There’s an emotional component to health problems that you may not have considered - it’s all about you and no one else. You’re not competing with anyone and that makes it easy to work to achieve positive change for you and you alone!
The Best Possible You serves as a guide to empower you to take responsibility for your health. It’s my hope that you’ll read it and completely rewire how you think about food and nutrition.
There are lessons in there that will genuinely change your life.