SHE’S faced debilitating injury and breast cancer – and Dr Emma Kirke says food has helped transform her life.
The clinical nutritional therapist overcame the after-effects of a serious car crash by tailoring her diet, which meant she could give up the 25 different types of medication she had been relying on.
And later when she underwent a double mastectomy, she designed an eating plan for immediately after the surgery to help her body recover.
Emma, from Ossett, helps people with a range of health issues to improve their wellbeing through tailored meals.
On Thursday she will share her knowledge at at a lunch in Leeds organised by mental health charity State of Mind and Leeds-based networking group Ladies Just Wanna Have Lunch.
The 38-year-old was at university in London when she was involved in a car accident, which damaged her spine and the nerves in her legs.
She recovered to an extent, but in 2005 suffered a major relapse: “From that point, my spine became completely unstable,” she said.
Emma had recently started seeing her now husband, who had to move in and became her carer.
Surgery was too risky and her medication was not working, while she struggled to do her job.
After studying clinical nutrition, she decided to change her diet to try to reduce the pain.
The effects transformed her life – she eventually was able to give up medication and live life fully.
“What it has allowed me to do was reduce medication and I’ve been able to add in the fitness side of it,” she said.
Her focus on nutrition lead to her losing weight, but for a time this went too far and she realised she had developed an eating disorder.
Overcoming this challenge, as well as her battle with breast cancer following her diagnosis in October 2014, lead to her being highly commended in last year’s Yorkshire Evening Post Best of Health Awards.
She underwent a double mastectomy aftter the illness was picked up through a routine mammogram before she was due to underdo genetic testing because of her family history.
Following the operation, she stuck to a meal plan to help her body to recover and felt well enough to return to the gym two weeks later.
Emma works as an osteomyologist, using various techniques to treat illnesses, as well as running her business Medicinal Kitchen, which provides clients suffering from ailments and intolerances with bespoke diet plans.
“There are a multitude of conditions which can be helped by tweaking your diet,” she said.
* Simple ways to boost your diet: One of the easiest things to do is just eat a colourful variety of fruit and vegetables, says Emma Kirke.
“If you’ve got a beige plate, you’re not going to have all the nutrients you need.”
Her other top tips include sprinkling nuts and seeds, as well as a drizzle of avocado oil, on salads and adding a supergreens powder to your diet.
* Visit www.medicinalkitchen.co.uk, follow @MedicinalK or @DrEKirkeOstm on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.