Jenna Farmer, is a nu­tri­tional ther­a­pist, au­thor and ex­pert in gut prob­lems

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Health Choices -

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.

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