“Adding more fibre to everyday eating is something we can all do to reduce our bowel cancer risk.”

Nutritionist, media commentator and mother, Claire Turnbull, is taking on the Move your Butt challenge this June to help more Kiwis beat bowel cancer. Claire already goes to the gym and walks regularly, so she’s decided to do something different – 50 press-ups and 50 squats a day for the 30 days of June.

Claire has signed up for the Move your Butt challenge for three reasons. Firstly, because cancer has touched her life in many ways – a very close friend is undergoing treatment for bowel cancer and her father-in-law is going through cancer too.

“I’m doing this to get the conversation going around bowel cancer and help remove the stigma,” she says. “A friend of mine found out quite by accident that she had bowel cancer when she had something else checked. It’s about overcoming the fear – that if you do notice changes in your system, it’s vital to get it checked straight away. If bowel cancer is caught early enough, you can beat it, so anything we can do to get people talking about it will help!”

As an author, speaker and nutritionist in the media, Claire has created a number of books, videos, articles, blogs and programmes to help New Zealanders eat well, take care of themselves and ‘make healthy happen in their lives’ (see claireturnbull.co.nz and missionnutrition.co.nz). Her second goal with her Move your Butt challenge is to raise awareness of the importance of moving towards healthier lifestyles and diets, and especially to eat more fibre.

“Cancer is such a big issue in New Zealand, but lifestyle and diet can make a huge difference,” she says. “We need to have more conversations around fibre and gut health. Many people think that ‘fibre’ means brown bread or bran cereal, but you need a wide variety of fibre in your diet, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and minimally, wholegrains. Adding more fibre to everyday eating is something we can all do to reduce our bowel cancer risk – it’s about making some simple swaps in your diet. And not just Monday to Friday, but all the time!”

Claire says that many trendy diets are getting a lot of attention at the moment, such as the low carb, Keto and Paleo diets. “But people need to ask ‘what’s missing in these diets?’” she points out. “Eliminating or reducing grains, for example, also eliminates a good source of fibre. So if people choose to follow these trends, they really need to make an effort to get adequate fibre from other sources”.

Lastly, as a mother of two young children, Claire believes it’s essential to pass on healthy eating habits to our children. “It’s about normalising fibre within the family. There’s so much junk food available these days and many processed foods that claim to be a source of fibre actually just have added inulin. Inulin is only one type of fibre, whereas we really need to focus on our kids getting fibre from a wide range of food, including whole fruits and vegetables.”