HER son's chronic asthma and her own debilitating arthritis forced Taryn Hall-Smith to rethink her diet at the age of 37.
They had both been prescribed large amounts of drugs to combat their conditions but Mrs Hall-Smith knew there had to be another answer.
Her research into nutrition over two years led to the launch last month of her new website, thecontentedbody.com.
Initially, her idea was to create a strict diet-based, illness-prevention plan for her family.
But then Mrs Hall-Smith joined with Sydney-based nutritionist Chris Clark to offer a business website with more than 20 diet plans for chronic illnesses and food intolerances.
The pair will put two new diet plans on the site every month, and each one will offer an eight-week diet plan with more than 200 recipes.
Future diet plans will be developed and prioritised according to demand (votes) by website visitors.
Mrs Hall-Smith said she had never focused on nutrition until after her diagnosis.
She said friends often would visit nutritionists after hearing of her experiences, and would change their diet with similar results.
“It made me think there was something to this – that it couldn't just be a coincidence,” she said. “It made me angry that we weren't fully informed of what you could do with nutrition.”
Mrs Hall-Smith said some people believed chronic illnesses could never be overcome by diet, but she attributed improvements to her family's health to better nutrition and cutting out foods they had developed intolerances to.
She said the most common food intolerances included wheat, gluten, dairy and yeast. Foods such as broccoli and ginger were also common problems, she said.
She said many of these intolerances were too difficult to detect and anyone who suspected they had one should see their health practitioner for a test.
“The biggest mistake people make is guessing what food they are intolerant to,” she said.
Thecontentedbody.com is part of a growing industry in natural therapies which offer alternatives to mainstream medicine.
Caloundra-based Suncoast Natural Therapies owner Melanie Lindsay said nutrition treatments had become increasingly popular on the Coast.
“People are definitely becoming more aware of the benefits of natural therapies,” Mrs Hall-Smith said.
She said food intolerances were a big problem on the Coast but most people could be treated with minor changes to their diet.
“The problem is that most people are eating too much food from the one food source, and they're building an intolerance to it,” she said.
Mrs Lindsay stressed the need for people to seek advice from nutrition experts to avoid confusion.
“You have to make sure the information is correct,” she said.
“There's a lot of information out there that is incorrect.”
Maroochydore's Sunshine Coast Dietetics dietician Sally Ann Livock said people needed to ask themselves if a strict diet actually matched their needs.
“There are some people whose lives are absolutely affected by food intolerances, but there are some whose day-to-day lives won't be affected,” she said. “Ask yourself, is this going to be something I can sustain. Is it asking me to change my life drastically?”
She said food intolerance tests often were available from doctors who bulk-billed.
Visit www.thecontentedbody.com, Sunshine Coast Dietetics or Suncoast Natural Therapies for more information.
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