Jenna Farmer, is a nutritional therapist, author and expert in gut problems
My journey with nutrition and wellness started in 2012, while living in China. A shock diagnosis of Crohn’s disease (combined with the fact my Mandarin was non-existent!), meant I needed to do as much research as possible to understand the disease. As doctors admitted I was a rarity in their hospital, I was intrigued as to why the illness is so much more prevalent in the West. This led to me spending endless days researching the human body, the gut and the role of good nutrition.
After eventually returning to England, I still wanted to learn more, so I decided to embark on a Nutritional Therapy diploma. I also started a blog to chronicle my attempts at a balanced lifestyle with Inflammatory
Bowel Disease (IBD). As my studies developed, so did my blog – A Balanced Belly; I knew that diet was only part of the picture – but it quickly grew into a real community to chat about everything from the importance of a good night’s sleep, medication, potential nutritional deficiencies and general strategies to help those dealing with gut disorders such as IBD.
The start of 2017 saw two more exciting developments: I launched my 1-2-1 Nutrition services and released my first book, Managing IBD, which I hope will encourage those with the disease to live life to the fullest. for me, a balanced lifestyle is about everything, from food to getting enough sleep. so I decided to launch an online service offering education and support to others suffering with gut issues.
Diet is only part of the picture in an initial consultation with a client; I also consider aspects such as antibiotics, stress levels, signs of nutritional deficiencies and quality of sleep. All of these things can hugely impact the gut and immune system. People can be sceptical about my services, which I can understand as there are lots of unqualified ‘professionals’ out there promising to ‘cure’ IBD. As someone who continues to live with the illness, I know that’s not possible. Instead, I aim to work with the individual: helping them keep a food diary (doctors often advise this but offer little guidance on how to accurately record one); understand potential intolerances and ensure they can get as much nutrition as possible (since this is often impaired for those with IBD).
Diet and IBD can be a real minefield, so I’d always advise people to do their research – look for qualified professionals and don’t be tempted by quick fixes or miracle cures. understanding food and your gut takes time, but it can make a real, lasting difference to your wellbeing once you start to figure things out.’
Check out Jenna’s blog, nutritional services and book at abalancedbelly.co.uk.