Month: October 2014

Meet Hayley a mother who followed her instinct…

As a nutrition student I love chatting to people about nutrition related health issues. This week I met Hayley Anderson who delivers ‘Walking Away From Diabetes’ sessions at the Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative. Hayley a former Community Nurse, who studied at Edge Hill University, shared with me the story of her son Evan and the concerns she had about his digestive health, from an early age.

Hayley & Evan

Hayley & Evan

Hayley told me that as a baby Evan had suffered from recurring bouts of reflux, projectile vomiting and problems swallowing and how initially this was put down to possetting or common digestive problems.

Having trained as a nurse Hayley was able to question what she was being told by health professionals, and press for an endoscopy to investigate further. The endoscopy revealed that Evan was suffering from a severe case of Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) an allergic / immune condition which causes inflammation or swelling of the oesophagus which is the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach.

A 2013 study by Redd & Schey reported that the prevalence of EoE is said to have increased significantly over the past few years, however, it is unclear whether the prevalence is actually increasing or if health professionals are just recognising it more often.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) outline that in EoE patients, large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils are found in the tissue of the oesophagus, where there are normally none. EoE is said to occur at any age and most commonly occurs in Caucasian males.

Evan in hospital

Evan in hospital

The symptoms of EoE are said to vary with age:

  • Babies and toddlers may refuse food or not grow properly.
  • School-age children may suffer from recurring abdominal pain, vomiting or have trouble swallowing.
  • Teenagers and adults most often have difficulty swallowing. The oesophagus can narrow to the point that food gets stuck and is called food impaction which is a medical emergency.The 2013 study referred to earlier, provides details of treatments such as the six food elimination diet which is the treatment being tried by Hayley and Evan. The diet is based on removing those foods groups with the most allergenic potential, namely, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, and seafood. This diet is less restrictive than elemental / formula diets and does not require the in-depth allergy testing necessary in specific food elimination diets. Studies in adults have shown varied results, which are possibly associated with the degree of compliance to the diet itself. There is evidence from one study of 35 patients with EoE, which found that 74 % of the patients showed improvements both clinically and histologically.
Evan lost weight when he was first born

Evan lost weight when he was first born

I was in a similar position to Hayley before my son was diagnosed coeliac disease, and like Hayley I just knew that there was something wrong and wouldn’t give up. Evan is very lucky to have Hayley as his mum, our concern is that other children may not be so lucky and be suffering unnecessarily.

For me as a Nutrition and Health student this case highlights the importance of ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and keeping up to date with new research findings.

Evan after his diagnosis

Evan now after his diagnosis of Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)

Both Hayley and I say to parents everywhere you know your babies better than anyone else, so follow your instincts.


More information on EoE can be found on the following websites:


Redd, M. & Schey, R. (2013) Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Current Treatment, Digestive Diseases and Sciences<spacer.gif>58.3<spacer.gif>

Back to Uni for my final year..

Just when I thought my degree course couldn’t get any better I find myself donning a lab coat and lighting a bunsen burner, to  determine the slip point of various fats (that’s the temperature at which they melt). It was brilliant! 


Lab work

Val – enjoying the lab work 

We conducted experiments testing butter, sunflower oil, lard and coconut oil, to establish their properties and how food manufacturers conduct similar tests when developing new products and for quality control.

Sue - The Bunsen Burner Queen

Sue – The Bunsen Burner Queen

I’m so happy to be back at University for my final year, which I think is going to fly by.

My modules this year are:

  • Therapeutic approaches to nutrition.
  • Public Health Nutrition.
  • Wider determinants of overweight and obesity.
  • Personal career development.
  • Biological Sciences / lab work.

Since coming back to Uni I’ve also had two fascinating lectures in Public Health Nutrition which in a nut shell is concerned with: preventing disease, promoting health and prolonging life.

In Therapeutic Approaches to Nutrition  lecture 1, we identified a range of food related health issues,  explored the role of nutritionists and dietitians and discussed the importance of  building good therapeutic relationships. Lecture 2 covered the stages of change transtheoretical model and motivational interviewing, which included some practise interviews where we matched intervention to the relevant stage of change.

We also had a lecture outlining what is required of us with our Dissertation and a Personal Career Development lecture with some fascinating insights in to the job application process.

A great start to my final year.


Life is just a bowl of cherries!

“Life is just like a bowl of cherries” is a saying used to convey that life is wonderful.

IMG_1490.JPGIt is also the title of a 1931 song with a great message that still rings true today. The first verse says:
Don’t take it too serious,
Life’s too mysterious,
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can’t take your dough, when you go, go, go.

From a nutritional perspective cherries and cherry juice are power houses of goodness.

IMG_1817.JPGA study into ‘cherry Antioxidants: from farm to table’ outlines that sweet and sour contain compounds that have antioxidant, anti cancer and anti inflammatory properties. This can be enhanced when grown in temperatures of 25 to 30 degree C.

Transport and storage can have a negative effect but today’s swift harvesting methods and freezing methods mean sour cherries derived from species such as Montmorency are said to retain high levels of nutrients.

In the study I found there was evidence reported that a 90 day cherry intake reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in plasma and further invitro studies provided evidence of a reduction in the proliferation of human colon cancer cells in culture.

I don’t know about you but I have this habit of associating certain foods with certain people. Cherries remind me of my good friend ‘Sharon’ who regularly eats them and loves the taste. Now I’ve noticed that Sharon has a lovely clear complexion. If nothing else that’s a great reason to eat more cherries!


Thanks Pam for the lovely picture x