We all know that eating healthily and looking after our body and mind is essential to our wellbeing and happiness, but how many of us knew that a lot of chronic conditions can be improved by developing and sticking with the right dietary plan and lifestyle?
Nutritional Therapist Beth Hughes became unwell after she gave birth to her second child. She felt very poorly, had a lot of joint pains and suffered from extreme fatigue to the point where she wasn’t able to look after her children properly.
Beth was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and tried various medication over a couple of years before she found a treatment that effectively managed her joint pain. Despite getting her joint pain under control, she still wasn’t herself.
She was tired all the time, suffered from digestive problems and anxiety. Doing everyday tasks was a struggle and her joy in life had disappeared. Beth struggled on for a number of years until she finally reached the point where she decided she couldn’t carry on living like this, having not even reached the age of 40.
The Autoimmune Paleo Diet transformed Beth's life.
Beth had read a lot and done some research in the hope that she would find something that would help improve her health. She came across Functional Medicine and decided to see a Functional Medical Doctor who recommended the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (The AIP diet focuses on removing foods from the diet that people are commonly sensitive to in order to lower overall inflammation). On the advice of her doctor, Beth made some dramatic changes to her diet and lifestyle which had a massive impact and left her feeling hugely improved within a matter of weeks.
To her surprise not only did it have a positive effect on her Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms but it also resolved many other niggling symptoms she had been experiencing. Her energy and stamina improved dramatically, her anxiety disappeared almost overnight and her digestive issues also resolved themselves. Over a period of a few months, Beth started to feel a lot better, more like her former self. She was able to deal with daily family life and still have some energy left to do the things she enjoyed.
Having regained her energy Beth started a new journey.
Her journey and experience motivated her to study Nutritional Therapy and she has now qualified to start practising and help other people who are feeling unwell and struggling to find a solution. Nutritional Therapy can be of benefit to those suffering from chronic illness, digestive issues, hormonal challenges or just feeling generally drained and flat. She takes her approach from the principles of Functional Medicine and when working with clients she will look at underlying issues, taking into account everything from the kind of birth you had, your family and health history to how you eat, sleep and exercise. This holistic approach considers you as a whole person with the aim of determining the potential root cause of your symptoms and then developing a plan to address them. Often triggers can be gut, sleep or stress-related. From her studio in Burley in Wharfedale Beth offers 1 to 1 consultation either face to face or online. Following an initial in-depth consultation, Beth will develop your personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan and provide either 30 or 90 days 1 to 1 support via weekly follow-up sessions.
5 Top tips for a happy gut.
I asked Beth to list her top 5 tips for a healthy gut.
1. Eat plenty of fibre
The recommended daily intake of fibre for an adult is 30g and in the UK on average we eat just 18g. Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and the best way to get it is through eating a wide range of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Focus in particular on prebiotic fibre, this is the type of fibre that feeds your microbiome (the good bacteria that live in your lower intestine). You’ll find this in foods such as garlic, onions, asparagus, apples and potatoes or beans that have been cooked and then cooled; think potato or bean salad.
2. Include fermented foods in your diet
Fermented foods such as live yoghurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut are probiotic foods that contain ‘friendly’ bacteria to support your microbiome. 3. Reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Studies have shown that simple sugars and artificial sweeteners may lead to changes in the numbers and types of bacteria in your gut and negatively impact your digestive health. Diets high in simple sugars may also contribute to bloating and discomfort as the result of higher levels of fermentation in the intestines. 4. Exercise