Born in Durban, Megan Lagerwey has called the Lowveld home for a while now. After completing her film and media production studies in Cape Town, she started working in the corporate industry as a copy editor.
After a few years, Meg left the corporate world and started freelancing, which she still does from her lovely Lowveld home in Mbombela, which she shares with husband Paul and Buster the dog. “I love my work,” she smiles. “The pace of life here is very different to that of Cape Town, it’s more relaxed and less competitive. You can breathe a bit easier, it isn’t quite as frantic.” While she adores copywriting, her true passion is health coaching, specifically regarding digestive issues.
A complete natural in front of the camera, you would think Meg was the poster girl for many a fashion shoot. Appearances, however, can be deceiving, and for a long time she struggled with a number of maladies, none of which could be accurately diagnosed. “I was so sick. Fatigue and bloating were my constant companions, and I endured brain fog to the point of barely being able to function.”
Meg eventually ended up in hospital and was told that she had severe food intolerances to dairy, egg and gluten. “I cut everything that I was told to cut out, to the point where my diet was so bland and boring. My digestive issues eased slightly, but I knew that this wasn’t a lifelong approach. It didn’t sit well with me that I’d have to get rid of my favourite foods. The last thing I wanted was to eliminate everything long term, which is why I started to look into the concept of gut health. And this is how The Good Gut Guru came about.”
A restrictive diet is not Meg’s idea of healthy eating, food freedom is an important part of what she gives credence to – the important thing is balance. “A diet consisting of whole foods is key. I don’t believe in restriction of any kind, unless you are struggling with major food allergies and intolerances,” she says. “Did you know that there are trillions of bacteria in the gut? If you took the Milky Way and multiplied it by 100, you still wouldn’t be close to the number of microorganisms living in the digestive tract. And all of them have to be aligned for your body to thrive. As soon as the gut is out of whack, everything else goes too. Skin, hair, nails, general well-being and healthiness are all dependant on good gut health.”
Her diet is 80% plant-based and she tries to eat 30 different types of fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses and grains every week. “Food sensitivities can present themselves when your microbiome is damaged, resulting in strange reactions to certain foods. But the key is to heal a damaged microbiome, not cut out the foods. And the best way to do that is to eat more plants. I do believe supplements have their place, but my first step when helping clients is always to start on the plate. Gut health starts there!”
Apart from her focus on this, Meg is also incredibly active, supplementing her healthy eating plan with high-intensity functional body training. She also loves running. So much so that Asics chose her to be part of its front runner team, representing the company as an ambassador. However, her running has taken a bit of a back seat lately, as she and hubby, Paul, are expecting their first kiddo in May. You might wonder where she will find time for a baby, but Meg’s flexible lifestyle is perfectly suited to the arrival of a new addition. While his (or her) impending appearance has already changed the couple’s lives in so many ways, they cannot wait to incorporate this little bundle of joy into their lifestyle.
As many expectant mothers will tell you, babies have their own way of doing things, and it doesn’t always tally with expectations. “It’s been quite tough,” Meg sighs, nibbling on a cracker. “At the moment, I need to rest quite a bit. Whatever pregnancy maladies are out there, you can bet I’m having them! But it is starting to get easier now that I’ve passed the first trimester,” she laughs. “No matter what, we are enjoying the ride and are so looking forward to the baby’s arrival. As with everything, you adapt, and between us and the baby, we’ll learn to just roll with it!”
Follow Meg on Instagram: @the_good_gut_guru