For 5 years I have dealt with the exhausting symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The name says it all; it’s an irritating illness that is debilitating, embarrassing and inconvenient.
I have had ups and downs through finding foods that help my gut and some that really really really don’t. I am a firm believer that your gut health is the most important overall. If you tummy is healthy, then the rest of your body will be too.
I am not going to bore you with all the ins and outs of what IBS, the symptoms and lots of facts.
And no offense to any doctors out there but, you will most definitely know on your own, if your stomach is not running how it should be. If I am being honest, being diagnosed with IBS won't really change anything, only you can.
After lots of prodding and poking and trying different methods, here are the rules I now live by and know that work for me. These tips are also in order of importance.
1.) Accept you have a sensitive stomach.
It has taken me until now, to accept and realise that I have a stomach, which is sensitive. Once I accepted that this was normal for me, and I would have to deal with this for the rest of my life – I felt better already. The stress of worrying that I had IBS was only making it worse. Not many people know that some experts call the gut the 'second brain'. It is full of neurons, more than what is in your spinal chord. The stress and tension on your gut will only in turn exacerbate IBS symptoms. So once I am relaxed – it is also relaxed.
Try not to see your IBS as a negative issue, take a positive from the situation. You have a stomach, which is aware of bad foods, it is there to look after you and promote a healthier body. Accept it and deal with it.
2.) Cut out Gluten.
No don’t just cut out white bread. Or only eat a ‘little bit’. Remove gluten from your life. Say goodbye to lovely soft bread, sweet cakes, pasta, pizza, beer but say hello, to the best your stomach has ever felt.
I was a kid that ate gluten covered everything, battered sausages, chicken nuggets, mini rolls, kit kats, you name it – I ate it!
When I cut out gluten four years ago – it cured 70% of my gut problems. The other 30% I had to work at and I still am. You can research all you want about gluten and how bad it is – but just cut it out completely and you will realise the benefits yourself.
3.) Eliminate Stress.
Ok, it is impossible to eliminate all stressful situations. But you can change the way you look at a situation to alter the emotion it gives. As we know stress and upset worsens symptoms for most people, so learning to control those feelings, can control your gut too. Try yoga, mindfulness, meditation or simply just learning to breathe. Panic is the emotion I struggle with controlling the most, which in turns brings on stress, which then causes my IBS to flare up. Learning to change your mindset, as well as taking a deep breath and step back, can be so beneficial for both you and your gut.
4.) Find out foods that do and don’t work for you.
Keep a food diary – both listing the food you eat, at what time and, also if it causes a reaction. You will start to see a pattern in what works for you and what doesn’t. I know that dairy, dates, and too many eggs cause me a lot of issues, so I try to steer clear of these.
Also following a certain diet can help you too – The 'Low FODMAP Diet' (https://stanfordhealthcare.org/content/dam/SHC/for-patients-component/programs-services/clinical-nutrition-services/docs/pdf-lowfodmapdiet.pdf) is the most commonly recommended for those with IBS. I recently started the FODMAP diet, after my symptoms flared up again, which at some points even made it difficult for me to leave the house.
Whether or not it works completely for you, it’s another great way to find out what foods suit your gut and what don’t.
I believe that these tips will put you on the road to recovery, giving relief to a lot of problems within your gut. Although some of these tips may seem to be strict, you have to make a decision whether it is worth it. Removing that delicious sugary donut, or your morning coffee could be the secret to curing your IBS.
Try these and let me know how you get on – at the moment I feel the best I have ever felt, not only do I feel free of uncomfortable, embarrassing symptoms but also extremely healthy within myself.
It is called a gut feeling for a reason, know what is best for your body and tummy, and heal that gut!
DEALING WITH IBS