A working model of Nutritional Therapy

Having studied and gained extensive professional experience helping patients with problems affecting their digestive system. I thought the following information might prove useful for people struggling to cope with stomach symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn/acid reflux. Or bowel such as bloating, gas, irregular stools (constipation or loose) and suspect that what and how they are eating may be the cause of their discomfort. Stomach/bowel symptoms may impact on quality of sleep, energy production, weight, mood and behaviour. It is wise to consult your GP at the first sign of any digestive symptom development, pain or change in bowel habit. A medical professional will conduct an examination, refer for tests, provide a diagnosis and prescribe medication. The NHS website states that “Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life. There’s no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms”. To help the symptoms of IBS the NHS website recommends the Fodmap exclusion diet this involves avoiding foods that are not easily broken down by the gut, such as some types of fruit and vegetables, milk and wheat. It states “Certain carbohydrates have been shown to worsen IBS type symptoms in some people. These carbohydrates are called FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable, Oligo-  saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. Foods containing FODMAPs do not get fully digested or absorbed in the gut, so pass to our large intestine where our gut microbiome ferment them. FODMAP’s are found in wheat, rye and barley, certain vegetables, pulses, fruits, sweetening agents and certain dairy foods such as milk or yogurt”. Many of the patients I see have been advised to try the low Fodmap diet or have self- diagnosed IBS and subsequently excluded a substantial amount and range of foods from their diet. Self-limiting the diet in this way has the potential to create further health issues and frequently I encourage patients to eat “more of the right foods”.  The gentle and holistic approach of Nutritional Therapy takes into account the needs of the whole person, individual circumstances and supports healthy choices. Suggesting sensible changes to diet and lifestyle to improve health and wellbeing. Focussing on the digestive system and with the aim to affect long term symptom improvement identifying and addressing the underlying cause is part of the process. Being aware that stress is identified as the biggest underlying cause of ill health to-day, questions concerning a patient’s lifestyle need to be asked to try and identify if stress is a factor. Family dynamics and relationships, worries over work or finances, expectations, responsibilities and illness etc…can put individuals under extreme pressure. How often have I heard a stressed patient say “there isn’t enough hours in the day”. Our rational mind tells us that there are 24hours in every day and how we choose to spend them depends on choices we make. Unfortunately, when stressed the irrational mind takes over and anxiety to meet deadlines or complete tasks may manifest as feelings of panic (fight or flight). Creating confused thoughts or poor decision making leading to targets not being met, tasks not completed and feeling overwhelmed and often not wanting to eat a meal but reach for a sugar quick fix. At consultation emotional stress is discussed, and positive coping strategies put in place to encourage changes in behaviour. Setting realistic goals including regular mealtimes, exercise and bedtimes are simple strategies that have shown to reduce the fight or flight response and help re-balance the autonomic nervous system and calm the digestive system. To calm the nervous system the elimination of stimulants from the diet (coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, MSG, E numbers) has shown positive outcomes such as improvements in digestion, sleep, energy, mood and behaviour.  To identify if “Trigger” foods may be the underlying cause of symptoms the use of elimination diets are effective when informed from evidence gathered in a food diary. My professional training and experience provide me with a range of tools in my tool kit to help those who find keeping a food diary arduous. Patients leave a Nutritional Therapy consultation with a list of highlighted foods to eliminate from their diet for a set period of time. During which suggested alternative or replacement foods are introduced to prevent nutritional deficiencies. A re-introduction of the eliminated foods then follows where patients can then assess their level of sensitivity to certain foods. Supporting the process with Vitamins and Minerals, Digestive Enzymes, Pro- biotics, Herbal and more specifically Homoeopathic remedies. Patient feedback recommendation: The Nutritional Therapy consultation was comprehensive, informative, and empowering. The process was helpful with positive outcomes.  If you think I might help your digestive system FEEL BETTER get in touch.