If you are one of my regular readers you will know my opinion regarding the term ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ aka. ‘IBS’. This term is usually given to those of us suffering from symptoms such a as bloating, constipation or diarrhea, cramps, lower abdominal pain and a general all round affinity to food intolerances…lucky us! The truth is, most professionals such as doctors, dieticians and other health practitioners will throw this term around when they are unclear of the cause of these symptoms; so please be aware that IBS is not a illness or condition, instead it’s an umbrella heading for a group of commonly related symptoms of the gut.
I would consider myself quite lucky now, going back just 2 years ago, me and my gut were sworn enemies, it refused to give me a day off from uncomfortable bloating and chronic constipation. I would often have to take up to 4 to 6 sachets of Movicol (Miralax US) a day just to have a bowel movement. I’m deadly honest with you, my life sucked and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel to continue having faith for things to ever get any better.
Now 2 years on me and my gut have finally befriended one another. We have an understanding and now communicate clearly when either one of us is not happy (like any relationship I guess). I have managed to train my bowel into a rhythm that works and have managed to heal it after years of inflammation and a severe infection from SIBO.
I now follow a low FODMAP diet as a base diet because I suffer from chronic constipation due to low serotonin levels I have also given up on the points below (even though low FODMAP diet allows them):
Anything with Refined or added sugar: I spend ages in the supermarket reading the ingredients labels for any cleverly disguised sugars in food (I know I’m mad but this is the age we live in unfortunately). The only sugar I do eat is what comes from whole low FODMAP fruits (never fruit juice either). The fibre helps to add bulk and slow the process of sugar absorption making it a little more gentle on your gut and glucose levels.
Meat: I avoid all meat other than fish. Meat is very harsh on the digestive system if consumed in large amounts and can result in methane gas also contributing to constipation. If I eat meat I always tend to get stomach problems.
Complex Carbohydrates: Carbs are a difficult topic, as I suffer from SIBO so if I eat to many foods high is carbohydrates I’ll know about it. However I do incorporate some carbs into my diet as this helps my digestion to keep moving (helps my gut grab onto something; as so to speak). If I cut crabs out completely my digestion slows down.
Me and my gut also have an understanding when it come to stress “Don’t stress me out and I won’t stress you out, capiche? If I become stressed I know I’ll have digestive problems the next coming days. I have learnt not to let things get to me and just to take time out when I need it. My health is more important than my workload.
Finally other factors such as exercise and staying hydrated are also key to living harmoniously with a sensitive gut. So listen to your body and respond to it’s needs, I think in todays world of zipping to and from meetings, being bombarded with online notification and what-not have made us become less able to listen to what our body is trying to tell as it’s much easier to ignore the signs our body gives us, than it is to take a moment and act in response to it’s needs.
Stay balanced everyone!