My story about gut issues isn’t unique by any means – quite the opposite! Blogs like these helped me on my journey back to health and I would like to do the same for others.
Having had digestive issues for the past 30 years, I worked my way through pretty much every alternative ‘diet and lifestyle’ approach around. It’s taken many years, but I have finally regained my health. A PhD in pharmacology/neuroscience and career as a scientific editor have been super-useful, allowing me to monitor new scientific research on gut health as it emerged – and act on it.
And, wow – what an exciting couple of decades it’s been! Particularly the microbiome research and the seemingly ever expanding number of links between the health of our digestive system and all aspects of our physical and mental wellbeing.
The science is clear: a diet high in quality, unprocessed, low-sugar foods (mostly plants, to paraphrase Michael Pollan) is crucial!
I have an insatiable fascination for the science of gut health and how it affects our brain and body. This is partly because of my own gut issues, partly because I am so incredibly fortunate to work as a scientific editor so get to read the science as it comes out, and partly because, well, it’s so gosh-darned interesting!
This passion and interest has led me to set up this blog – and more recently to move into the powerful world of health and nutrition coaching. The Zenith Method is an integration of my science background with nutrition and wellness coaching. It is a 6 week program that uses multiple strategies to improve gut health and wellbeing. It will launch in December 2020.
My gut issues…
Aged 19 and at university, I went with a group of girlfriends to St Tropez in the south of France. What should have been a relaxing and luxury get-away turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life: I was afflicted with serious gastroenteritis and from then on I had IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] – for the next 25 years.
In my mid forties, with a part-time job and two young kids, my health suddenly took a nose dive: severe bloating, malaise [feeling unwell all the time], crashing fatigue, brain fog, ‘irregular’ bowel habits, my skin broke out [rosacea – often associated with IBS], and more.
I crashed the car. Struggled at work. Crawled through each day.
The GP was lovely as was the gastroenterologist that she referred me to – but neither really knew much about IBS. I had to ‘go alternative’!
I was recommended a great naturopath who, after hearing my symptoms, ordered a stool analysis – and lo and behold – I was riddled with a tiny parasite, Blastocystis.
This explained all my symptoms. I got rid of it using black walnut and wormwood tinctures and grapefruit seed extract.
But my gut function was a mess and I had small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth [SIBO] that was methane predominant, the hardest to treat.
After a vast amount of reading scientific papers, listening to experts on youtube, and trial and error over the past 6 years, I’ve found what works for me.
My SIBO is being managed: I feel great most of the time and I am no longer bloated.
I haven’t managed to completely ‘cure’ my SIBO despite my best efforts, possibly because it is long-standing and I likely have biofilm in my small intestine. So, kill the bugs in the gut lumen, and they just repopulate from the biofilm.
I manage it using a low-to-medium FODMAP diet and intermittent fasting.
I have learned so much on my journey to wellness, and combined with my science background and nutrition and health coach training, my wish behind the ZM blog is to provide digestible [pardon the pun!] and helpful information for others affected by gut issues.
Early in my healing journey, I craved something sweet and indulgent, but all the usual ‘treats’ were off the agenda.
I love almond butter on toast, porridge and in smoothies, but what I really wanted was a sweet, ‘treat-y’ nut butter.
Hmm, tricky – nothing on the market that I could find… so I made my own!
Nut butter became a gut-friendly and children-friendly staple in our household. Nut butters are naturally free from soy, wheat, egg and dairy. They are also mostly low in carbohydrate and low FODMAP – not to mention delicious – I figured: what’s not to love? And when my kids constantly nagged me to make more, I knew I was on to a winner.
LOVENUTTY nut butters will be available again after the COVID outbreak is over, direct from this website and also from Ebay. My aim is to offer genuinely delicious products that are different to the usual fare available in supermarkets and have and ingredients you can trust.
I wish you health, happiness and lots of fun!