'Sharing the power' of food: Okanagan-West Kootenay content creator premieres new series on gut-healthy eating with Telus Storyhive

'Sharing the power' of food

Casey Richardson

“I am spicy passionate about sharing the power that food and what we're eating every day has on how we feel.”

A brand new series from a West Kootenay creator invites people to learn how to make simple food changes that will help prioritize gut health.

Gwen Johnson was able to build her knowledge as a Certified Functional Medicine Coach into a new show, The Missing Ingredient, thanks to Telus Storyhive.

Johnson will take viewers through the best ways to heal their gut biome. For the past six years, she has been using food as medicine to support her husband’s autoimmune disease, and clients as they learn how to optimize their gut health.

“My husband was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease almost eight years ago and we worked with a functional medicine doctor to essentially put his Hashimoto's into remission. Most of that was through diet changes, healing his gut, prioritizing anti-inflammatory eating and it impacted my life in incredible ways as well,” Johnson said.

With healthy cooking, Johnson said it can often seem unapproachable to people to make it without experience or specialized ingredients.

She wants to change the rhetoric.

“We have young kids so when we first started this, my daughter was two and my son was five. And so it was like, I needed to figure out how to cook really low-inflammatory food that a family would consume,” she added.

“It's been about how to make food feel recognizable and easy to cook and approachable.”

Not only did her husband start improving, but so did Johnson, starting to find she had more energy than before.

“When one person in the family starts to eat in a way that's really supporting their health and supporting their energy, then everybody else benefits. And I love that.”

She joked that she’s not a chef, just a mom who loves cooking.

Johnson grew her knowledge into a business and started helping more people find themselves a better diet.

“For a lot of us, we're in a lower grade inflammation, and that shows up with feeling just blah or having really low energy and not really feeling vibrant in our life, you know... and when we start to eat in a way that reduces inflammation, then we can feel it start to feel better within a few days. And so it's not based on any kind of diet or, you know, trending thing right now. It's just how your body is reacting to the food you're eating.”

Johnson’s years of experience and charismatic personality made her a great fit for the Storyhive Voices program, which awarded her $10,000 of production funding - along with training, a community of support and distribution on TELUS Optik TV.

Johnson said she was surprised to have received the grant.

“My husband sent me this thing from Storyhive on social media, and I was like, I'm gonna apply,” she said with a chuckle. “ I didn't think that they would be game for it. But they've been amazing.”

“Working with Storyhive has been an incredible opportunity. And if anybody's out there thinking ‘I want to try something’, they're such a great resource to get people going and started on some kind of creative journey.”

All eight episodes of The Missing Ingredient are already live on Storyhive’s YouTube channel, which can be found here.

Johnson said she hopes when people watch the show they learn how making really simple changes in how they cook and eat has such a huge impact.

And her story doesn’t stop there, as season two of the show is in development right now.

“So I'm currently creating all my new recipes for the next season, and we hope to start shooting next month.”

Telus Storyhive has 88 new TV series from the local community filmed across B.C. and Alberta, produced by new and emerging digital content creators from the program, from cooking shows, visual podcasts, interviews with local heroes, exploring the great outdoors and more. More information can be found online here.

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