So who is behind Wholefood Warrior?
Eva Humphries is Nottingham’s leading registered nutritional therapist and the brains behind Wholefood Warrior and has some impressive letters after her name: DipION, mBANT, CNHC just to give you that added security.
After years of digestive issues following a bout of food poisoning on a holiday to Egypt, my stomach has never quite been the same and several visits to the doctors pinpointed IBS as result, put me on peppermint capsules and then a few other kinds of medications which I maintained for a few years, but then decided I wanted to take the ‘natural’ route after doing some of my own research and talking to Eva…Turns out Wholefood Warriors Gut Repair Program was what I was waiting of all of this time.
After an initial consultation by email I was sent a rather in-depth nutritional therapy questionnaire to complete in order that Eva could talk through any issues and determine the next step to take at my first consultation, which took place in my home (Eva does 1:1 visits/by phone/Skype depending on your location). We went through step by step the main points of the questionnaire which included discussions on diet/exercise/ symptoms and so on…
We concluded that I would embark on a gut repair program essentially ‘reset’ the gut and as it was the start of a brand new year, I couldn’t think of a better time to take the challenge!
The idea of the program would be for me to take a series of tests, supplements and change my diet accordingly. As I had recently had a routine full blood test at the doctors it was decided unnecessary to go through again as the results we normal, however Eva requested a parasite stool test which she can organise at an additional cost, or as Eva suggests; if you can put up a good enough case to your GP then obtain this on the NHS for free which is the route I took- not the most pleasant experience I have to say, however all for a good cause and I kept this in my mind over the three days I had to take samples- my doctor did have a good sense of humour however and enjoyed seeing the look on my face when he handed me a ‘urine’ bottle to use (going onto say that he has got away with that gag several times in his surgery)! I guess you have to have sense of humour when dealing with this kind of thing. Thankfully my results came back clear, which then led us to look at repairing the gut and strengthening the stomach lining to allow me to potentially able to eat foods I currently struggle with such as cow’s milk and cheese, which lead me to all kinds of unwanted symptoms. This included cutting out all dairy and gluten based foods for 30 days. My fibre intake was immediately increased by Eva, I was advised to eat more vegetables -especially my greens and drink plenty more water than I normally do. A list of natural supplements were also prescribed to me and ordered through the Natural Dispensary Company- really quick and easy. Obviously everyone is different, however I was recommend Omega 3, Multi Essential vitamins with a higher strength of B and Iron as being a vegetarian for most of my life I battle with anaemia and my energy levels on a regular basis. A digestive enzyme to be take prior to big meals (for example if I am dining out at an event which I often do) to prepare my stomach for what is about to come and to assist in breaking down the food to help me digest quicker and easier and finally the magic ingredient… (slot here name of gut powder).
The diet change was surprisingly easier than expected. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to cutting out my favourite foods and thought I’d really struggle as I often don’t find the time to cook and eat a lot on the go with my job, but one visit to Sainsburys ‘Free From’ and fruit & veg aisle gave me hope…I was really impressed with the selection now available for those with special dietary requirements – dairy free, milk free, egg free, gluten/wheat free… there was an array of products which I knew instantly would make the next 30 days a lot easier than I anticipated. I also stocked up on fresh vegetables and set out a plan for my first week. Documenting my progress in a diary and taking photos of all of my food dishes (I was rather proud of myself by this point so this was enjoyable). I often uploaded pictures of my dishes onto Instagram and tagged in Wholefood Warrior who constantly encouraged me to keep going and assured me I was doing great. Not being a huge fan of cooking I opted for the Jamie Oliver style twenty minute dishes which involved things like courgette/butternut squash spaghetti with pesto/dressings /vegetables or sundried tomato /fresh herbs sauces made from scratch /gluten free pasta dishes/ soups /juices and rice based dishes- basically anything to give me the vegetable intake I needed without the gluten and dairy. On my journey I discovered many curious products such as dairy free cheese (what is this sorcery you may ask) well I can tell you it is a coconut based product that tastes rather odd at first and takes some getting used to but is a nice addition to grate onto your dishes or melt onto some gluten free toast every now and again. Eva also sent over some recipes for some snacks I could easily make at home for if I had weak moments and needed crisps or chocolate. I took my supplements on a daily basis too according to my prescription and increased my water intake.
At the end of the program I was surprised how easy it was to do and really proud of myself that I had completed it without cheating once or even really feeling the need to. My mind-set was different and I wanted to continue to integrate my new-found diet and dishes ongoing into my everyday life. I now continue to eat clean as much as possible, cutting out all processed foods- I have changed my shopping habits now and stay away from most aisles in the supermarkets, instead heading straight for fruit & vegetables and free from ranges! Don’t get me wrong I still like a cheat every now and again but as Eva says everything moderation and I realise life is too short to give up everything you like and enjoy but my priorities have changed now and I certainly don’t crave the foods I once used to and I have gotten back to the gym and take regular exercise classes and well as juice on a daily basis too. Do I feel better for all of the above? Hell yes.
To be continued….