MEET OUR GUEST
Today, I would like to introduce you to Vicky, a friend I met not so long ago and instantly felt a connection with. I love her dedication to her work and passion. The reason for me to introduce her here is her story with IBS and how she discovered it.
Like many of us today who are perhaps dealing with some type of digestive issues today and yet living in complete ignorance or innocence.
I have work with so many people so far, including myself suffering from daily bloating and assume that it’s just the beer we had last month, well it may be but it’s can be more than just that too.
If you suspect you have IBS, do not be afraid, there is hope for you to get better and live a life free from IBS.
Contact me here to book an appointment today and follow The Flourishing Pantry to see how deliciously she eats while managing IBS.
Vicky From The Flourishing Pantry
My name is Vicky and I’m the writer and recipe creator behind the healthy eating blog The Flourishing Pantry.
Why did you start blogging?
I suffer from IBS and after years of symptoms and very little support from the NHS GP, I started to take things into my own hands. I did a food intolerance blood test at home and it told me I had a yeast intolerance. That opened a can of worms and I got sucked into things like anti-candida and yeast free diets.
I started the blog to record my recipes and learnings. It’s become a really honest account of my discoveries – where I’ve got it right and where I’ve got it wrong. I’m not an expert, I’m just a normal girl trying to work out what’s healthy to eat and might help me tackle my IBS and that’s what I wanted to share with the world.
What were your IBS symptoms?
Sometimes I could go weeks, if not months, with no bloating at all.
And then, seemingly randomly, I could get a day or sometimes several days in a week or month with unbearable bloating.
The bloating would feel a bit like someone had pumped up my intestines. Gradually my belly would become distended and I sometimes had to loosen belts or undo trousers to try and get more comfortable. This was super embarrassing when it happened in restaurants or when I was a guest at people’s houses and I had to hide it under the table.
Sometimes the bloating was so painful I struggled to stand up straight or walk. If I stood I would have to lean against my desk or hold myself up on things to try and find some way of easing the pressure.
Rather than standing all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and rub my bloated tum. I would go to the toilet repeatedly, hoping that it would pass out of me and I could go back to normal.
Only after a few hours would this subside. I tried peppermint oil, recommended by the doctor, but all I found it did was give me minty burps. Not helpful. The only other solution the doctor offered was prescription tablets Mebeverine which did ease the bloat. But I didn’t want to be reliant on medication.
This was the worst for me.
After some meals within 40 mins to an hour, I would need the toilet. And I mean really need the toilet. Nasty, uncontrollable diarrhoea as your body violently tries to eject whatever it is you’ve just consumed.
I don’t need to go into too much of the minutiae as it’s happened to all of us I’m sure. The worst for me was after a delicious and rich lunch with my family for my 30th birthday. After three courses and wine, we headed home, stuffed with great food and looking forward to getting onto the sofa and opening some presents.
But I could tell within 20 minutes of leaving the restaurant I was going to be in trouble. Bubbling away inside me I knew I had turned into a ticking time bomb. By the time we were stood waiting for a bus I got to a make-or-break point. I quickly explained to my boyfriend what was happening and then bolted for the nearest restaurant to duck into their toilet.
This happened on a number of occasions over the years. Sometimes I was somewhere ‘safe’ with a toilet nearby. But other times I was out and the problem was much more evident and embarrassing to people I was with. Travelling a lot with work meant I was terrified this would happen when I was overseas, with sometimes no toilet nearby.
So this is why I got to “enough is enough.” My family horrified to see first-hand the extreme reactions I could have to food at my birthday meal, bought me my food intolerance test for Christmas (more about that on a blog post here). And really I’ve not looked back. With the food I now reduce in my diet I feel much more in control knowing what I am eating that will have these kinds of effects.
What tips would you offer to others with IBS symptoms?
The best thing to do is go to a GP and get yourselves tested for Coeliac Disease (allergy to gluten) and lactose intolerance. At least then they are ruled out.
If those come back clear sadly with IBS everything else needs to be done by an elimination diet. There isn’t a quick/easy solution to work out if there’s a particular food that triggers symptoms. Everyone’s gut is completely unique and everyone reacts in a different way to food, something echoed in this NHS Advice Page
If for whatever reason you don’t want to do an elimination diet then my best advice would be to just generally look at a healthier diet. No extremes, no cutting food groups. Eat plenty of whole foods (a good mix of fruit and veg, protein sources, starchy carbs and dairy as shown in the Eatwell plate guide), and lower intake of alcohol, pre-packed food, red meat and products with added sugar.
Personally, I have found lowering sugar and dairy intake, less bread and pasta, less red meat and loads more vegetables, fish, seeds and nuts has made me feel much better. The times my IBS symptoms kick in are when I’ve had a rich, indulgent meal (usually out at a restaurant sadly!) or when I’ve dropped the 80/20 ratio of eating ‘healthy’ over a period of several days – a bit like a build up.
Psychologically it’s not good saying a food is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – all food is food, you just have to work out what’s good for you.
In few Days I will also be sharing a delicious beetroot, tahini smoothie and sweet potato breakfast from the Flourishing Pantry, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, you can go and say hello to Vicky here: