Meet Susan

Life’s an adventure

A childhood spent in rural NZ fostered Susan’s passion for the outdoors, adventure and animals. She lives in the beautiful Eastern Bay and loves mountain biking, kayaking and lifting weights in her home gym. When she’s not immersed in nutrition research, Susan is usually found hanging out with her grandkids or walking the hills with canine companions Monty and Vinnie.

Finding her passion

Susan has been passionate about health for more than 40 years. She strives to help people lose weight and prioritise their health, so they can experience greater personal and professional success and live meaningful lives. “If we expect our bodies to last a lifetime, they deserve to be treated well. But first, we need to know what treating them well really means,” she says.

She began studying exercise and nutrition science in 1986, and soon realised she’d found her passion. As she improved her own eating and exercise habits, her mental health improved and her weight stabilised. She also had a lot more energy. Susan has a family history of type two diabetes, heart disease and the genes for Alzheimer’s Disease, and loved learning how to use nutrition, exercise and lifestyle to mitigate these and other disease risks. She began sharing this knowledge and her clients nicknamed her the Health Detective, because she focuses on finding the root cause of her clients’ health problems and working out solutions.

Changing the world

Susan knows it can be hard to find accurate, science-based nutrition and health information, and to access support in making long-term dietary and lifestyle changes. So in 2020 she set up “A Healthy NZ” and began making videos about eating for good health to help others. This quickly progressed into YouTube interviews with nutritional scientists, doctors and researchers from all around the world. There are now over 150 videos available on the Susan Birch – The Health Detective channel, with more added each month.

Susan has spent many years challenging mainstream ideas about exercise and nutrition. She’s thrilled to see a growing movement of professionals joining her in offering better solutions for people. There’s still a lot of work to do, but she refuses to give up because she knows she can make a difference in people’s lives.

Susan’s Qualifications


  • Master Health Sciences
  • Post-Graduate Diploma Sports Medicine
  • Post-Graduate Diploma Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
  • Post-Graduate Diploma COP Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Post-Graduate Diploma COP Community Nutrition


  • Member Institute of Functional Medicine (Washington, USA)
  • Diplomate in Clinical Nutrition – in progress (American Board of Clinical Nutrition)
  • Functional Physiology, Biochemistry, Nutrition (Washington, USA)
  • ADAPT Practitioner (Kresser Institute, California, USA)
  • Kalish Method Practitioner (Kalish Institute, California, USA)
  • SIBO Practitioner (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Gluten Society Practitioner (Gluten Society, Texas, USA)


  • Blood Chemistry Analysis
  • Saliva Hormone Testing
  • DUTCH Testing
  • Comprehensive Stool Testing
  • SIBO Breath Testing
  • Organic Acids Testing

Professional Testimonial

I first met Susan (Sue) when we were part of the same support group for a continuing education programme we were both attending.

Sue caught my attention because she was saying something very different from the rest of the group. Not in a controversial way, but by giving a perspective to other ideas rather than the monolithic thought processes of the group.

Nutritional analysis was completely new to me and I quickly got hooked and wanted to learn more. Sue happily answered all my question and provided me with many resources. I thought that was a generous and rare attitude and was very appreciative. We remain close friends and regularly share ideas and challenge each other.

Sue not only helped with understanding nutritional analysis and how it pertains to performance and recovery, she has also been a guiding light for me in my own business, teaching me about her holistic approach to helping people. She helped me to extend my strength and conditioning clientele by teaching me new methods of training and how to incorporate these into a business model to reach a wider demographic. She generously provided many detailed resources to do this.

Her generosity, humbleness, mindset, compassion, patience and the ever pursuit of knowledge have been the pillars that Sue has bought to our relationship. Those are the same pillars she brings to her clients every day. Not being one of her clients has not stopped me from benefiting from her lessons. I am a better trainer because of her help.

Michael Thomas is a strength and conditioning coach in Tucson, Arizona and owns and manages Adaptive Performance.