Hi, Vicky Kuriel here, founder and creator of the Low Carb Challenge. What I am most proud of when it comes to being a dietitian is my ability to help people effortlessly alter their nutrition while still enjoying the food they love. I am a passionate advocate of low carbohydrate real food nutrition and if you’re interested in how I landed up in this position please keep reading…
I grew up in a very healthy, sporty family. I competed for South Africa as a national level gymnast and knew from a young age that I would work in the health and fitness industry. I have always loved food. This started in the kitchen, cooking and experimenting with different ingredients but quickly moved to wanting to understand exactly what food was doing to my body and how I could use food to potentially make me a better athlete. This interest, lead me to a long stint at university which began with a Bachelor of Science (Exercise Physiology) and was then followed by a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics and a postgraduate in Sports Nutrition.
By this stage I was living in Melbourne, Australia. During the final years of my studies I was perplexed about many of the guidelines that dietitians followed i.e. the Australian dietary guidelines and the Food Pyramid. These guidelines were at odds with what my parents had taught me and the way we had eaten growing up. I felt like something was NQR but as a student and soon to be new graduate, I put these thoughts to the side, thinking that my lecturers and the science that was presented to us at university must be correct.
Following graduation I went on to practice as a clinical dietitian in a number of Melbourne’s large hospitals. Over time I became more and more frustrated practicing as a dietitian. I felt like the advice I was providing was simply not working and very often, I felt like it was contributing to making the patient’s condition worse! I was disheartened and embarrassed and eventually after a few years I decided to leave the profession.
I continued to work in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, Pilates instructor and lectured. During this time my passion for nutrition did not wane and I began reading and researching like never before. What I found during this time of research angered and frustrated me but at the same time it energised me. I discovered the evidence, literature and support for an alternative way of eating, one that did not fit in with the Australian Dietary guidelines. This approach was similar to what I had known as a child and made all the sense in the world to me. I also discovered professors and well-respected medical practitioners who were now supporting this alternative lower carbohydrate higher fat (LCHF) approach to nutrition.
I was ready to return to the profession, yet this time I would be doing so on my own terms and in private practice. My research and reading gave me the confidence to practice as a real food, low carb, high fat dietitian and immediately I began seeing results in my patients. I was no longer frustrated and embarrassed to be a dietitian, I was proud and excited about what the future held. My practice as a dietitian became purely about getting results for my patients/clients and not about conforming or keeping the Dietitians Association happy.
After many years of seeing patients one-on-one, I decided to develop the 6 week low carb challenge as a way of helping as many people as possible discover this way of eating and living. As one individual I could only see a finite number of people one-on-one where as this program has allowed me to change the lives of hundreds of people. It is also a way of keeping me connected to my clients throughout their journey so that I can assist them every step of the way. My passionate for LCHF continues to grow as I have seen first hand how it can completely change people’s lives.