Steph McGovern on surreal encounter with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Steph McGovern on surreal encounter with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


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Steph McGovern, 40, exclusively spoke to last year about time she was hilariously asked to “poo on demand” at the home of famous TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, 58. The Steph’s Packed Lunch presenter went on to discuss her “terrible” struggles with IBS, and how she has since made a new breakthrough with her health thanks to expert Dr. Julia Jones.

Steph has been very open about her struggles with IBS in the past, regularly posting about the subject on her Instagram feed.

While she hasn’t always spoken about her health publicly, the former BBC Breakfast presenter has previously described how she first started to properly address her condition whilst filming for a television programme.

“Well I guess for me I started because I did that show Easy Ways To Live Well,” she said in an exclusive interview with

“That’s when I started talking about my health on the telly,” she continued.

“It’s when I got my gut analysed, which involved having to have a stool sample taken in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s house, which was surreal.

“Nothing like the pressure of a lot of producers asking you to poo on demand!” the star added jokingly.

Steph went on to reveal how opening up about her own health struggles had inspired others to get in touch about their own.

“That’s when I started to talk about it, but that is also when I got loads of messages from people as well – especially now,” she said.


“I’ve only been on Instagram for about a year, but Instagram seems to be the place where people are more sharing and kinder.

“Every day I look at my DMs (direct messages) and there’ll be loads of, ‘Can you tell me what you’re doing to sort out your IBS?’ And that sort of thing.

Before she hosted Steph’s Packed Lunch, the Channel 4 star worked on BBC Breakfast as its main business presenter from 2010 to 2019 and, while she suffered badly from its symptoms, she hadn’t yet been diagnosed with IBS.

“It was horrendous!” Steph remembered, but I do what people tend to do which is to just go, ‘Oh, I’ve just got one of those tummy things, I’ve just got dodgy bowels”.

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“When I was doing Breakfast Telly, I wouldn’t eat until I’d finished broadcasting because, even if I was starving, I’d be so worried about having to run to the loo,” she admitted.

“And I would have to work out where the toilets were because I was obviously on location a lot.

“So I’d be in a field or a farm or whatever, and then as soon as I finished I’d have a bacon sandwich, which is the worst thing you can have.”

According to the NHS website, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system.

It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation – and it’s usually a lifelong problem. 

Steph met Julia when she came to be interviewed on Steph’s Packed Lunch about her book Neuron: Smart Wellness Made Easy.

Speaking about the first time she met Julia, Steph said: “Up to that point I’d been struggling with IBS forever.

“And at that point I’d just accepted that I’ve got it and I can’t do anything about it.”

However, since adopting Julia’s “smart wellness” plan, the presenter claims her life has completely changed.

In fact, their partnership was so transformative for Steph, that the star has now invested in Julia’s start-up company Neuron, which has opened a new wellness centre in Folkestone, Kent.

“Julia’s programme has totally transformed my life,” Steph gushed. “I know that sounds really dramatic, but my IBS is really debilitating. Now my IBS is in total control and I very rarely now have any problems.”

For more info about Neuron’s smart wellness courses and products including gut health tests please visit

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