How Marion changed Richard’s life

Within the Timebank, time can either fly or go slow, but an hour remains an hour. For Richard, his two hour meet with Marion a year ago has provided him with invaluable advice that he is still following today.

Richard is gluten-intolerant, and a year ago was having trouble finding foods that wouldn't upset his tum. He switched to eating foods that didn't contain gluten, and ate a lot of 'gluten free' products, such as bread and breakfast cereals. However, he found that still his old problems were was like he hadn't stopped eating gluten at all.

So he contacted Marion, a physician by trade and a Newtown local. Marion offers her skills as a health professional to the Timebank by way of nutrition and sport advice, and also makes her infamous muesli. The ethos behind her contribution to the Timebank is based on a few different things: it is centred in her neighbourhood, it fulfils her wish of getting to know people in her suburb, and in turn she feels “happier and healthier to be connected to her community”. The Timebank also enables her to contribute skills that aren't always easily accessible. She specifically offers diet advice to people who are already living healthily, and can offer ways to improve their health within achievable parameters.

The consultation was a two hour meet at Monterey, with many notes on the brown paper that covers the tables there. It involved a breakdown of Richard's food and health history, a lesson on what makes up a healthy diet, and suggestions of what to eat and what to definitely avoid. So, with a new approach to eating greens, Richard went away to change his eating habits for a second time.

And did Marion's advice work? Yes! Richard had such a change in his life (and his digestive system) that he wrote a blog post about it: “I feel like I’m much more aware of what’s going on in my body and what I can do about it too.”

The conversation Marion and Richard had has a far more intrinsic value than simply swapping an hour for an hour. It shows how simple connections and sharing knowledge between people who are willing to share can be incredibly meaningful. The Timebank gives us the unique opportunity to get to the heart of a person quickly and learn a little bit more about the people living in Wellington.

Marion wanted to know if her advice to Richard was still being followed a year on, commenting that making nutrition and lifestyle changes are only truly worth it if they are sustained. Richard says they are. His breakfast is now leafy greens and seeds, and the “lasting change is that Marion's knowledge and advice has given me more control of my own digestive health. I'm now more self-aware and know what to try if I'm not feeling well.”

Read more on Richard’s blogpiece: Happy Guts 

Story by Vivienne Askey