Being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be scary – it’s not a subject I had ever learnt about in science and it’s not an illness that has enough light shone on it elsewhere. To be told you have Crohn’s can feel like a different language and the questions that come alongside that revelation can feel never ending: What is it? What do I do? How will it affect me? Is there more I should know?
You could, like me, turn to Google – and then very quickly realise how overwhelming the internet can be. Personally, I found every website cold and clinical and full of jargon that I just could not understand. I didn’t know anyone I could talk to to get a ‘real life’ version of what Crohn’s might be like and there are only so many minutes of your consultant’s time you can use. Besides, I’m one of those people that always seems to think of a thousand more questions the second I’ve left the hospital!
When I created my blog in January this year, I very quickly became introduced to other bloggers in the IBD community and it opened up my eyes to just how empowering people can be for one another – knowing you’re all going through the same thing helps in a way that others just cannot understand. During this time, I discovered the Instagram page A Balanced Belly – it was full of gorgeous colourful food, positive images and most importantly, stuff about IBD! I quickly realised that Jemma was not just a part-time internet lover like myself, but a full-time devotee to her blog. Additionally, I found out that she is a nutritional therapist and most recently, an author – which brings me to this post.
Managing IBD: A Balanced Guide to Inflammatory Bowel Disease is exactly what it says on the tin. When Jenna and I spoke, and I said that I would be interested in reviewing the book, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Was it going to be a story? Was it a self-help vibe? Was this something that I needed in my life? It was hard to tell. Having managed 18 months just kind of ‘winging it’, I wasn’t sure whether the book would be able to offer me anything that I hadn’t already tried to learn myself. Let me tell you now, I was wrong – this book is wonderful, genuinely.
The book is broken down into 4 sections:
Adjusting to life with IBD
Food and Supplement
Living Life to the Full with IBD
Other Possible Approaches
It covers a range of things from finding support, to socialising, the role of food and alternative therapies. So, why is it so wonderful? Because it’s personal. Jenna writes the book in a very ‘easy to read’ way – although it’s factual and full of knowledge, it doesn’t feel stuffy or boring. All the elements are relatable and one of my favourite aspects of it is the fact that the book includes patient stories – a bloody brilliant idea, as they are so relatable and it just adds to that feeling of belonging. It reminds you that you are not alone and (like the title) it makes your illness feel manageable. At the back of the book is an amazing Appendix which features amazing websites and blogs to have a look at – this was probably my favourite bit, as it means you can continue to find more helpful information and support if you need it.
To me, it’s a perfect little guide to keep on your bedside table – either for night time reading or as a go-to book if you have a question or want to know more about something at a specific time. It’s full of little bits of advice, tips, diets and information on parts of Crohn’s that you may not have even thought about yet. Being able to have the book to refer to is great and has given me a lot of food for thought. I am so proud that Jenna has produced something so good for the IBD community and offers a helping hand through her guide to support you in whatever aspect you need at the time. What a babe.
You can buy a copy of the book at Amazon, here.