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With National Eczema Week fast approaching, we were thrilled at the opportunity to interview Alana Holloway, founder of Fermented by LAB. Alana started fermenting in 2011 when she learned how to manage her chronic eczema without medication, by nurturing a healthier gut. Her business delivers gut-loving fermented food and drink directly to doorsteps throughout the UK. We spoke to her to find out more about starting her own company, and her own experience of the symbiotic relationship between gut health and skin health.
How would you describe your company?
Fermented by LAB is a fermented food and drink brand that celebrates British seasonal produce, organic farming and low-waste practices. We deliver fermented food and drink to doorsteps throughout the UK; helping people discover the benefits of nurturing a healthier gut.
What motivated you to start Fermented by LAB?
It took about three months for me to see drastic improvements in my health after eating a small portion of sauerkraut each day. Considering I had spent just over a year in the hell that is Topical Steroid Withdrawal, I was completely amazed. Nurturing a healthier gut, and therefore a healthier body, through eating fermented foods was something I wanted everyone to know about. After running a few fermentation workshops, I could see the interest was there. People really wanted to make ferments part of their daily diet, however making them at home wasn’t for everybody. I wanted to find a way to get good quality, delicious, live ferments to people throughout the UK - and Fermented by LAB was born!
Could you tell us more about how the gut affects skin health?
Firstly, I’d like to point out that what I know comes from extensive research and personal experience. The gut and skin are intrinsically linked in many ways. Your gut influences your body’s immune system, inflammatory responses, nutrient absorption and ability to heal and recover. All of these are hugely important for healthy skin, especially if it’s prone to something like eczema, psoriasis or acne. Not only that, but all gut healthy lifestyle practices, such as stress reduction and management, good quality sleep, movement and exercise, are also hugely beneficial to skin health. There’s a lot more to it but that’s a good starter for ten!
What is your favourite thing about running your own company?
Running a business is filled with many highs and honestly speaking, lows, too. Something that’s recently made me feel excited and proud is that FBL is soon to have its own dedicated fermentary! It’s a big step forward and will allow us to spread the fermentation and gut health message even farther and wider.
That's exciting! What do you hope to achieve going forward?
I would love for everyone in the UK to eat/drink ferments as they do ketchup and coke! That’s probably a terrible analogy, but what I’m getting at is that both ketchup and coke are so widely consumed; they’ve become “foods” of our culture. Fermented food and drink, however, have almost disappeared from British culture, along with the associated health benefits. Imagine if everyone reached for a jar of kraut or kimchi as they do a bottle of ketchup, or instead of guzzling a can of coke, chose a bottle of kombucha or water kefir. Imagine!
What one piece of advice would you give to readers?
Excuse the pun but, trust your gut!! Only you know what works for you, only you know how something makes you feel. What’s right for one person may not be right for you. Give things a try, as long as the potential benefits outweigh the potential negatives.
Alana is on Instagram @fermentedbylab. Her website www.fermentedbylab.com is full of information from gut health, fermentation, recipes and blog posts, to her story in more depth and customers’ testimonials. For more information she invites you to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.