I desire to influence our world to be an improving place!
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. - Hippocrates, father of medicine, 432 B.C.
My name is Vanessa, also known as Fruitinessa. I am a 32 year old professional dancer, an artist's model and 16 year type 1 diabetic, soon to embark on a journey that will change the course of my life and bring joy, happiness and all manner of positive, enlightening and health promoting support and care to those around me and beyond. The opportunity to delve deeply into these studies at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, will help me do just that!
As both an athlete and someone living with a chronic illness, life can present many challenges. I try to often see it has an exciting game, but on occasion, you may lose steam and it can be incredibly overwhelming to appropriately manage ones' diabetes. These two aspects of me, have entirely shaped who I am today and informed this current ambition, which shall serve as a unique opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of so many people with this and many other conditions.
The years working as a dancer taught me to be very organized. I was able put aside savings that will further support this current career move, but I still need YOUR HELP!
"What is Naturopathic Nutrition?
Naturopathic Nutrition stresses the use of whole and organic foods as medicine – an integral concept of healing in many indigenous societies. Today, we see that a return to chemical-free foods, along with other dietary measures, is an effective answer to many health complaints and common conditions.
CNM students learn about the physiological and biochemical processes involved in nourishment, and the energetic side of food as well." (CNM)
Below a breakdown of the diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition costs:
Years 1 Biomedicine | 2 Nutrition I | 3 Nutrition II
Course Fees 3yrs £9,710.00
Enrolment Fee £290.00 (paid self)
Laptop £1,230.00 (paid self)
Living Costs 3yrs £15,000.00
Total 3yrs Costs: £26.230.00
Dancers' Career Development Maude Lloyd & Rudolf Nureyev Bursary £3,000.00 (Yr1)
Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund Subsistence Bursary £1,500.00 (Yr1)
Deficit Yr1 £3.500
Deficit Yrs 2 & 3 £16.710.00
TOTAL CURRENT DEFICIT £20.210.00
Following twelve years of ballet training and a year at Lisbon’s Superior School of Dance, I arrived to London in September 2003 to complete both the BA Dance Theatre and MA Choreography degrees at Laban (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance). I remained at the conservatoire for a further two years, working as an assistant to the course leaders to the undergraduate and postgraduate programs, whilst developing my own choreographic practice, teaching and working as a dancer. Over the years, professional engagements and collaborators include: Alexis Blake, Candoco Dance Company, Janine Harrington Dance, State of Emergency, Shobana Jeyasingh, Upswing, Fleur Darkin Ensemble, The Generating Company, Luke Thomas Dunne (En-Knap), Haptic Dance, Dane Hurst, Gerrard Martin Dance, Pair Dance and Union Dance.
In 2012, I suffered an injury to the knee during a dance rehearsal. It went untreated for several months, until it permanently locked at an audition. Although, I'd known something to be severely wrong, the pressures of being on tour and the terrifying prospects of suddenly being out of work, meant that I persevered. However, I had contracted a bucket handle tear to the right medial meniscus. An apparently successful arthroscopy repair operation took place in December and after four months of rehabilitation, I was back on stage. I continued to dance thereafter, but found myself being a little scared, less daring, with a knee that was not quite the same, even though I had been rather diligent carrying out my postoperative exercises. I was made assured however, that tightness to the knee would be expected… Almost exactly a year on, in January 2014, the knee locked again and a few weeks later a second knee arthroscopy was conducted. Recovery was quicker, given the nature of the procedure and I was back on tour a couple of weeks later. As the scheduled performance contracts came to an end, I was unable to apply for other work straight away. I’ve continued to perform to date, but not at the same level of intensity (full-time) and often in improvisation based work, where I feel more in charge of my body and able to protect it.
During the initial rehabilitation period in 2013, my lifestyle suffered dramatic changes. Free time, learning patience, desires to improve my diabetes health (type 1 since 2000), the early death of my father at fifty-eight years of age due to diet related health problems and my yoga practice, lead to new awarenesses; I embedded myself in the learning of how our current eating ‘practices’ aren't conducive with optimal health or the survival of our planet and of other sentient beings. I was looking for ways to heal naturally and give my body the best chances of recovery. The journey so far has been empowering and tremendously enriching. The mental and physical changes immeasurable. Via social media exposure, I've been positively affecting others. I receive regular messages from strangers, friends and family with questions, requesting nutritional advice, recipes, diabetes related queries and simple notes of appreciation on how my posts have inspired positive changes in one’s life/health.
The next step:
As the passion for this new field grows, it felt imperative to continue to consolidate this path. After plenty of procrastination and fear of moving away from the only thing I've ever known (dance), the desire to learn and therefore have the opportunity to give something back spoke loudly. I have enrolled on the three year Naturopathic Nutrition Diploma at CNM, to start this September 2016. I feel compelled and excited about the idea of bringing a deeper or specialised focus into diabetes and athletic performance/dance, but of course open to all the course will teach. Upon completion of the course, I’d like to set up my own business and support individuals on a one to one basis. This approach to health, where one focuses on treating the whole person and getting to the root of any problem, rather than treating isolated symptoms as well as being a preventative approach, is equally there to teach people, so one is effectively an educator.
I’m known to be a workaholic and also to excel in anything I put my heart into. I have been able to put some money aside towards the course and a future business, however still I’m running short. Predominately working as an artist’s model now that I'm not dancing full time, I tend to work six/seven days a week in order to both maintain myself and save. However, would like to make sure I dedicate the necessary time towards my studies, managing my diabetes, keeping myself fit and healthy, whilst naturally working as much as possible in to order to sustain myself, as it’s my absolute intention to make a living out of this new path at the end of the retraining period and GIVE BACK!
I am extremely excited about this new venture and why I am therefore requesting your support at this vital stage in my life. All donations, of any size are most gratefully welcome! Please give what you can and help share the page xxx
REWARDS: Besides some healthy tips with each pledge, I am GIVING AWAY FREE COPIES of my upcoming eBook. A certain number of copies will also be transferable to friends as gifts! (*all pledges will indeed receive at least one free copy!) Though I am not quite ready to announce its full details, it will most certainly align with my passion, be of a high standard and therefore worth the wait! ….It’s a fruity situation….
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
"May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."