As the release of her anticipated book, ‘The Gut Chronicles’ draws near, renowned gut health expert and author Sandra Mikhail has opened up about her inspirations and the creative journey that led her to explore the sometimes uncomfortable and often taboo world of gut health.
The Gut Chronicles has been a venture that I’ve wanted to bring to life for so long but the timing was never right. The book was finally conceived during the pandemic as I joined a writer’s group with fortnightly meetings behind our screens, which set the ideal scene for an accountability group that actually made the writing happen. You can think of this book as a passion project dedicated to my gastroenterologist father but also, to everyone that has suffered in silence not knowing where to turn to.
My infatuation with gut health was definitely born out of a mix of being the daughter of a gastroenterologist and experiencing the unpredictable and painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Throughout my career, I’ve also made it a mission to break the taboo around poo talk and to reassure everyone that digestive problems, no matter how mild or severe, need to be addressed out loud. Growing up, our dinner table talk involved a lot of hospital calls my dad would have to answer, shouting out things like ‘rectal bleeding’, ‘anal fissures’ and, yes, lots more dinner-inappropriate terminology. The horror on our friends’ faces whenever they visited was hysterical to say the least. However, that was our norm, where bowel talk was nothing to be ashamed of.
As I began to put this book together, I didn’t want this to be “just another gut health book” on one’s shelf, given how saturated the market is. Reflecting back at my practice in hospitals and my own clinic, I decided that The Gut Chronicles should cover the seven most common gut conditions that many find themselves secretly “googling” about. It features easy-to-digest guidance on the lifestyle management of the following, through storytelling and humour: Reflux disease, Bloating, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Food Intolerance and Haemorrhoids.
The book also offers a roadmap to a blissful gut, which covers my 4-pillar approach and addresses the relationship between gut health and mental health, given how the recent pandemic has had an impact on both. The characters in the book were all inspired by my clients, which makes it relatable to the reader and I also included snippets of my own personal gut struggles as well as my own turbulences with mental health. Most importantly, I wanted to ensure that the backbone of the information provided was based on the latest science but communicated in a way that would not lose the reader.
It was only fitting to end the book highlighting how our poo has literally opened up a portal to a world that may be central to health and wellbeing and reminding everyone that a little bloat never killed nobody, but a lot of uncomfortable bloat with dramatic changes in poo has.
Sandra Mikhail’s ‘The Gut Chronicle’ comes out on June 25th. Use code ‘TGC2023’ at checkout to receive 20% off your first order.