Practitioner Q&A – Daisy Ilchovska
Daisy Ilchovska is MSc level educated and registered Nutritional Therapist, a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach and a published Researcher in the area of Autoimmune Diseases.
What brought you to nutrition?
My personal health journey – I was in a totally different profession in another life.
I became really ill when I was 26 with three autoimmune diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis and for a couple of years was trying the Western Medicine way of managing them via immune suppression, but I was getting worse. Once I started applying the principles of functional medicine – almost all of my symptoms disappeared and I was able to stop the six medications I was on.
This inspired me to re-train as a Nutritionist.
Later on, I had a personal experiencing of being ill with Lyme Disease – yet another health challenge to overcome, which also inspired my special interest in working with clients with Lyme.
What are your areas of interest in health and nutrition?
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s Disease; Lyme Disease (which can also trigger autoimmunity), mycotoxin illness (a condition triggered by exposure to mould), gut and hormone issues.
I also have a special interest in neurodegenerative conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and even ALS as these can be closely related to toxic exposure (such as exposure to mycotoxins and heavy metals) and also can be triggered by Lyme Disease.
What can clients expect from a consultation with you?
I always start with asking clients what they goal is and if there are any barriers I need to consider – managing complex health conditions can be a lengthy process, which requires consistency and dedication, so it is useful to know at the start what might get in the way and how they can try and overcome that – for some people it is barriers related to diet, lack of time or financial constrains that I need to consider.
Then we go through the health timeline – looking for factors, which might have contributed to symptoms. This is a key part of the functional medicine approach to restoring health – we need to look for these triggers and antecedents and try and manage them at that root cause level.
I then discuss with the client, what I think these root causes may be – for example sometimes with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune hypothyroid condition, these may be linked to gut health and a more specific gut infection with a bacteria called Yersinia. I also discuss how we can reliably test these and what the next steps are.
I also spend a bit of time discussing dietary changes with clients and practically what they would look like for them – diet is so crucial for people with autoimmunity.
I aim to use encouraging and empowering language throughout the consultation – ultimately, I am the one recommending the changes, but the client has to implement them in order to see results.
Finally, everything discussed is summarised in a report I send to the client, which also includes easy to prepare nutritious recipes.
What is your favourite health and nutrition book?
Oh, there are so many! Autoimmunity related I really like ‘ An Epidemic of Absence’, because it gives a more ground-breaking perspective of what might be driving the Autoimmunity pandemic these days. Environmental illness related ( such as heavy metals and Mycotoxin Illness) I love the books by Dr Sherry Rogers – one of the original pioneers of the effects of environmental illness on health such as ‘Tired or Toxic?’.
Lyme Disease Related I love ‘Rising Above Lyme Disease’ by N.D Greenspan, the books of Dr Nicola McFadzen (such as ‘The Lyme Diet’ and ‘Lyme Brain) and of course Dr Horowitz’s work – his book ‘Why Can’t I Get Better?: Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease’ is one I have re-read several times – it is full of so much valuable information.
Favourite on-the-go snack?
I like keeping it simple – nuts ( usually Macadamia, walnuts or pistachios ) with some fruit such as an apple or some berries, coconut yogurt and milled flax seeds.
Favourite form of movement?
Walking – I am very lucky as I live by the beach in Bournemouth and I love long walks by the sea!
When you feel a cold coming on you
I would usually take extra Echinacea, zinc, Vitamin D, glutathione and some manuka honey lozenges and also add manuka honey (high grade) to echinacea tea with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon.
I would sometimes rub rosemary oil diluted in a carrier oil on the soles of my feet before I go to bed and also put some eucalyptus oil in a diffuser at night.
One lesson you will take from the covid-19 pandemic?
Baseline health is the most important thing and managing chronic conditions, these contribute to the risk and complications from COVID.
I have so many clients with Long Covid, where the virus has pulled on ‘ the weak links’ – gut health, latent infections, nutrients deficiencies….
If you could give one piece of advice it would be…?
‘Progress beats perfection’ as the saying goes.
Many of my clients have complex health conditions, which require considerable dedication and changes in terms of lifestyle and in such cases focusing on progress and symptom tracking is really important.
Also, as part of that health journey, there is often setbacks and re-lapse – it is normal and sometimes it helps teach a valuable lesson/s.
Progress in terms of consistency, symptoms improvement (even if slow), getting back on track after a relapse, aiming to address stress and trauma alongside diet and supplementation is the most important thing.
Aiming for perfection can be overwhelming for some people and can be a sabotage strategy sometimes.