Leigh Matthews

Writer & Nutritional Therapist

Hi, I’m Leigh Matthews, a writer and contributor to Gene Food with a background in nutrition and a passion for accessible health communication.

Leigh holds degrees in English and Philosophy (University of York, UK, 2005) and Nutritional Therapy (University of West London, UK, 2011). She has been working as a medical writer since 2010 and in the natural health industry since 2006 and is the author of Eat to Beat Acne: how a plant-based diet can help heal your skin, as well as four novels.

As an active, athletic teenager who was also bookish, Leigh developed an early appreciation for the relationship between healthy food choices and both physical and mental performance. Her passion for nutrition, ethics, environmentalism, and food justice grew during her first degree and she soon made the switch to veganism. This was closely followed by the pursuit of a nutrition degree focusing on functional medicine.

During her second degree, Leigh began to see a big problem and an important challenge. The potential benefits of most nutrition research remained largely unrealized by the wider public. In fact, anyone interested in changing their diet to enhance their health had little chance of understanding most of the articles published in medical journals. Worse, those same individuals were the target for hypermarketed ‘health’ fads and dietary gimmicks with no sound basis in scientific fact.

Responding to this disconnect, Leigh began to carve out a career in health communications. “Evidence-based” remains her mantra and while she remains just as excited about amino acids and aromatic hydrocarbons as ever, Leigh also knows to quiet her inner nerd and instead talk about common household toxins and proteins.

Scientific breakthroughs are exciting, but if they remain the purview of a select few with specialized education, what good do they really do? Leigh is also mindful that, historically, medical research has largely ignored huge segments of the population, with disastrous consequences. Where it was once common practice to generalize the results of a small study looking at mainly healthy, young, white, men to all people, we now know that there are significant differences in how individuals respond to a variety of health interventions. One man’s cure really could be another’s poison.

This brings us to nutriepigenetics, the confluence of nutrition and genetics, two subjects ripe for misunderstanding, hyperbole, and manipulation, but also with the potential to dramatically enhance human health through personalized medicine. Nutrigenomics is where painstaking science rubs up against our daily lives, in the foods we eat, the supplements we take, and the steps we take to limit our exposure to environmental and household toxins.

We live in incredible times, where we have access to more information than ever before. Personal genetic testing gives us an unprecedented ability to take control of our own health, but only if we understand the information that is available and are able to trust its provenance.

Leigh believes that transparency, access to information, and clear communication are vital for great health and strong, resilient, compassionate communities. That’s why she is happy to work with John and colleagues at Gene Food to build the Leaf Score directory of non-toxic household and personal care products, and to explore the latest science in nutrition and epigenetics. For more on Leigh’s current writing projects and books, check out her personal website.

Leigh Matthews's Latest Articles

April 26, 2019

Cooking Oil Power Rankings: Which Brands are the Healthiest and Greenest?

When it comes to choosing a cooking oil, there’s a plethora of considerations – raw ingredients, smoke point, if or how the oil was refined, etc. – but we often… Read More

April 1, 2019

What Oil is Healthiest for Cooking?

If, like me, your kitchen cupboards are full of different types of oil, but you automatically reach for the olive oil when cooking, it’s time to shake things up. Knowing… Read More

February 11, 2019

To Bleach or Not to Bleach, That is the Question

Look under the sink in almost any home in America and you’ll find a bottle of bleach. This chemical can kill microorganisms and remove or lighten color, keeping your whites… Read More

February 11, 2019

Should You Pay Attention to California’s Cancer Warnings?

If you’ve bought any household products recently, chances are you’ve noticed that some items carry a warning for California residents. If you live in California, you’re undoubtedly aware of the… Read More

Are there toxins lurking in your tampons?
November 15, 2018

Are there toxins lurking in your tampons? How to buy non-toxic menstrual products

Whether or not a tampon is eco-friendly or riddled with toxins is rarely top of mind when you’re stocking up at the store. Most women simply look to manage menstruation… Read More

Fasting mimicking soup packet
October 6, 2018

ProLon – the easy, evidence-based way to do a 5-day fast

Designed to take the headache out of fasting (not literally, you may still have a headache for the first day or two), ProLon was invented by Valter Longo, an esteemed… Read More

September 30, 2018

Why Glyphosate is Dangerous, and How to Avoid Eating it

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup® and is the most widely used chemical herbicide in history. Chances are, this chemical is in at least some of the… Read More

vegan protein powder with banana
September 4, 2018

Looking for more plant protein? We rate the best Vegan protein powders

Many of you have seen the new Vegan documentary on the plant based block, called The Game Changers. The movie follows high performance athletes who are 100% plant based, including… Read More

Genetic testing
August 30, 2018

The ethics of genetic testing for children

Note: this is an opinion piece. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gene Food editorial staff.  Genetic testing… Read More

August 27, 2018

Genetic testing for kids: which genes matter most?

In many countries, it is standard practice to test every newborn for numerous genetic disorders. Using blood samples from a heel prick taken in the first 48 hours of life,… Read More

August 14, 2018

MTHFR and pregnancy: Is it OK to take folic acid?

Folate (vitamin B9) is an essential nutrient required for DNA replication, amino acid synthesis, and a range of enzymatic processes in the body. As such, it’s no surprise that we… Read More

August 7, 2018

Filtering your water? Don’t forget the shower!

A whole home water filtration system is an ideal way to filter all of the water you use at home. Whether it’s your drinking water, or the water you shower… Read More

Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram icon Pinterest icon Google+ icon YouTube icon LinkedIn icon Contact icon Info icon