Inspirational Woman – Jeannette Hyde

Posted on April 11th, 2019 by

Jeannette Hyde by Andrew Cowley

Jeannette Hyde is a leading nutritional therapist at the forefront of the gut health movement in the UK. She designed the first microbiome (gut bacteria) dietary book The Gut Makeover in 2015, followed by The Gut Makeover Recipe Book the year after. She practices nutritional therapy one-to-one in her private practice in central London underpinned by emerging new science. Jeannette runs her innovative gut health workshops for groups in London, and sell-out annual retreat in Ibiza. She loves working with women and helping us make our gut bacteria keep us well through delicious and enjoyable food and lifestyle. Jeannette also collaborates with St Mary’s University on gut-brain research. I first came across Jeannette’s work when researching my own gut issues (I’ve had quite a chunk removed) and I was very impressed.

Jane: Jeannette, thanks so much for taking time out to talk with us, it’s much appreciated. We know you now have a very successful career as a nutritional therapist (and having done one of your workshops I can highly recommend them) but do you remember what your very first paid job was? How much you were paid, and did that first job impact on any way in your subsequent career?
Jeannette: My first job was doing a paper round in south London age 13. It used to take me forever because I would read the papers along the way. Council estates always took the longest because that’s where I was delivering the tabloids, which always had the best headlines, angles with clarity, tightly-written. There’s a lot of snobbery in the world about red tops (eg The Sun, The Mirror etc).  In the journalism world they are the most highly-regarded papers as the writing takes more skill than any other.  You have to be able to boil down complicated subjects into a first paragraph of 23 words or less, with a headline that says it all in about six. You want a nine-year old to be able to understand it. Later working on The Times and The Observer I always enjoyed reading tabloids and admired their writing skills. Sadly, with the online world taking over, newspaper journalism good writing is a dying industry and art.

How did the paper girl end up in the heady world of journalism?
I loved reading and writing from a very young age. I remember my ears pricking up age 5 when I heard an adult say that you can earn a living writing as a journalist. I remember the excitement – hearing you could get paid for something you loved! At university studying languages I spent a year in South America and would send stories home to the Manchester student newspaper The Mancunian. My biggest scoop was an interview with train robber Ronnie Biggs in Rio de Janeiro after tracking him down and phoning his number from the phone directory – R. Biggs. All this helped get me my first gold-dust job in journalism on a graduate training scheme with a big magazine and newspaper publisher.

When I was a Saturday girl in the Army and Navy stores in Bromley South, I discovered that the boys were getting paid significantly more than the girls and was enraged. I was told “It’s because they are boys” as if that explained everything and in those days it did. But that was in 1972. I really thought the world would have changed by now, but we still have a big problem with a gender pay gap. In your career have you ever encountered that type of discrimination, and, if so, how did you deal with it?
I was shocked when I became senior in my career on national newspapers to discover that a man who worked for me was earning more than me. I found out because he came to me asking for a pay rise. That’s another story, men seem to be bolder about expressing their worth, or maybe they were at that time. When I asked my employer for a pay rise to adjust for this discrepancy, they accused me of asking for extra money to pay increased childcare costs they presumed I must have, having recently had a second child. Bonkers. Tough. The injustice! What about my worth?

Did you have any role models in the field of journalism? My knowledge of it is that it is still quite a macho world (even though you were working for the Guardian group). How did you negotiate that and look after yourself?
That’s a really tough question – and one thing I struggled with many times. I would have loved a female mentor but one didn’t emerge as there weren’t a lot around. How did I look after myself? I didn’t – I used to put my job before my health and family and paid a big price for that – see next answer. There was a tendency to overcompensate for being a woman with children by working harder, longer, putting more commitment in than the men.

How did you move into the world of nutrition? When did you first realise that you could make a career from it?
I had a burn out and realised that the body and mind can only take so much life hunched over a computer under artificial light in a hostile environment. Humans need basics like proper food (not junk on the run), sunlight, movement, sleep, and quality connections with family and friends to thrive and be healthy. This is when I became interested in the power of food and nutrition and decided to study a BSc in nutrition at Westminster University for four years and left journalism. I always knew though that I wanted to use my research and writing skills from journalism at some point to share whatever cutting-edge information I was going to discover from nutritional science. And become like a translator – taking a complicated subject and boiling it down to be accessible to all. This was my mission with The Gut Makeover.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone re nutrition? I know that’s a big question, but if you were to advise the reader to make just one single change, what would you say?
It’s really simple – eat natural food at all opportunities rather than processed foods. It’s that simple, but takes lots of practice and some planning.

Changing career is a big step. What advice would you give to any woman fed up in her current role and thinking about changing?
Do what you love, are good at, and find a way to support yourself financially with those. I worked part-time doing freelance PR while studying. The first two won’t give joy unless the sums add up. It takes years to crack that.

Looking back over all your working life, what have been your career highlights? Have you ever made a mistake that subsequently turned out to be a very good mistake.
Writing my first book The Gut Makeover has been the highlight of my journalism and nutrition career but there were lows along the way.

When I was trying to find a literary agent to take me on and represent me to find a publisher for my gut book idea, I was told I wasn’t a doctor, and nobody had heard of me, so chances of me getting a good publishing deal were low. Then the UK’s top 3 publishers saw my book proposal and went into a bidding war for the rights to publish me. The book has now sold tens of thousands all over the world and helped many people with their health.

My biggest mistake in life was thrashing myself to death (metaphorically) as a journalist and expecting my body and mind would just survive it. But if I hadn’t made this mistake, I wouldn’t be a nutritional therapist now and working together with lots of lovely, intelligent, impressive women and giving them support to be healthy and keep strong which is my passion.

Jeannette, thank you.

I can thoroughly recommend Jeannette’s workshops, I am a convert. Do check out her Ibiza retreat, too.  Attending her one day course in London gave me the inspiration for my newest course ReVitalYou (working title), and all participants will receive a copy of Jeannette’s Gut Makeover book. More information on that at the end of this post.

Fleabag – Five Stars

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Did you see series two of Fleabag recently on TV? If you didn’t do yourself a huge favour and watch it. It was, in my opinion, sublime TV. Excellent acting and very excellent writing. I didn’t have to gnash my teeth at once at how the women were being portrayed, not once. Check out this review from the Guardian newspaper. I cannot wait to see what Phoebe Waller-Bridge does next, she is a huge talent. Here’s an extract to whet your appetite, a speech from the talented Kristin Scott-Thomas:

After Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)  told 58-year-old Belinda (Kristin Scott Thomas) that she was 33, the businesswoman told her that life gets better – before embarking on an incredible speech about female pain. Belinda said:

‘I was in an airplane the other day, and I realised – I’ve been longing to say this out loud – women are born with pain built in. It’s our physical destiny. Period pain, sore boobs, childbirth, you know. We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives. Men don’t. They have to seek it out. They invent all these gods and demons and things just so they can feel guilty about things, which is something we do very well on our own. Then they create wars so they can feel things and touch each other, and when there aren’t any wars they can play rugby.

And we have it all going on in here, inside. We have pain on a cycle for years and years and years. And then, just as you feel you’re making peace with it all, what happens? The menopause comes. The f***ing menopause comes and it is the most wonderful f***ing thing in the world. And yes, your entire pelvic floor crumbles and you get f***ing hot and no-one cares – but then, you’re free. You’re no longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts. You’re just a person, in business.’

I rest my case.


My kitchen uncharacteristically tidy. The table extends.

ReVitalYou is my new ‘course in progress’. It’s on May 1st, at my home near Bath, and I can take only two more women so please do get in touch as soon as possible. As you probably know, I have two courses I deliver regularly, RenewYou, and Speak Up. RenewYou is delivered by an experienced network of trainers, too, and Speak Up is currently being enjoyed by staff at Edinburgh University as part of their gender equality initiatives. (I am loving delivering it there, so stimulating.) It was while I was talking with other women on Jeanette’s excellent day that the idea for a new course came to me. I wanted to put together a course that wasn’t necessarily career focused but was life enhancing and possibly even life changing (in a good way, obviously).

I suppose that the easiest way to describe it is as a kind of life audit, a stocktaking day, although that sounds dull and it won’t be dull, I promise you that. Like all Changing People courses it will be supportive, inspiring, non-threatening, and very relaxed. I think we learn and discover more about ourselves when we’re feeling relaxed and safe. Together we will look at the various elements of our lives and do a conscious stock take of how we are living. Sometimes our lives can get out of kilter, for example, we may be giving too much in one area at the expense of another. We will spend time exploring relationships, what is working and what might not be.  We’ll think about what we put in to ourselves, and what we give out. We’ll have time to remember our dreams and aspirations, and check out if they are still relevant to us now. No judgements, no comparing ourselves with others, just space to think and reflect, and to be looked after in the best possible way for a day. I will feed you home cooked and nutritious food, all good for your gut biome.  I’m putting together some interesting and creative exercises to help you think, some to be done as a group, some individually. I hope we can get out into the garden and literally take time to smell the flowers. If the weather permits and you’d like to, you can even soak away your cares in the hot tub.

If this interests you please get in touch as soon as possible to secure your place, or if you want to ask me any questions. The cost for this trial day is only £160.00, half what it will be once established. You might even help me choose an appropriate name for it!

Changing People licences experienced trainers, coaches and organisations to deliver its International RenewYou programme for women. Read more about it here


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