And in today’s exciting news I want to tell you guys how living with IBS is literally tearing me apart! For those that are not familiar with the term, please allow me to explain ( without being to graphic). IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome and to my friends that don’t know it is real!
There are many signs of IBS such as gas, abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea and constipation just to name a few but for me it is all of the above and then some! Lucky for most people that suffer, they don’t suffer from all the symptoms and often it can just be occasionally.
My blog page is about real talk and occasionally some technical hair stuff, but today I can not keep it any more real than this! It started about five years ago when I began to complain about my many stomach issues. I can remember back then it would be the occasional quezzy stomach if I ate something that did not agree with me. I even went to the doctor about two or three years ago to get a few basic test done to find out why my digestive system was changing on me. Of course, like many times when going to the doctor’s office the test came back negative, and once again I was forced to believe it was all in my mind or as my family would put it, I’m just too picky!
Many outings with my family would result in lunch or dinner that I would not eat or send back because it was not to my liking. It has driven me delirious, mind boggled for many years wondering what in the hell was happening to me. What was especially weird was that often something I had recently consumed, now today it doesn’t agree with me. I knew for sure it was not all in my mind.
I would sometimes suppress the discomfort like many people do, and I would just ignore the signs of feeling like I had just been on a roller coaster ride after consuming some of my favorite foods. Not to mention the smell of my gas. My family would often chuckle that it is just gas and to get over it but what they did not understand is the upset tummy that accompanied that gas.
Besides, I know that gas and bow movements don’t smell like roses, but there is a thin line between death and roses. Plus I know my body and I new that this was abnormal.
Moving forward a few years since I had gotten tested for whatever the doctors were looking for, as usual, I was able to make some of my own break through’s about what is going on with my gut. Now this discovery has not lead me to relief or a cure, in fact today I am worse off than I have ever been. But I understand what is going on.
After becoming so frustrated and increasingly confused about why this was happening, I begin to do some eliminations in my diet. My body had become so sensitive that within moments of taking a bite of the wrong thing, I could feel the upset, turning and grinding that would happen in my body, more specifically my gut. Now some would say that should have been the first thing that I tried however, that’s the kicker because sometimes it would be those foods and sometimes it wouldn’t. That’s where the frustration comes in.
I started eliminating preservatives, gluten and packaged goods. The more alterations I would make to my diet the worst it would get, or at least it would not get any better. Here I am a natural lover of food. Food has always been my go to source for comfort and boredom or just an overall good time. I love cooking and entertaining, all surrounded by great food. To not be connected to foods I love is like taking apart of who I am. Now that’s deep.
Finally, at my ends wit I took a two week vacation to Las Vegas. Determined to prepare just about every meal that I consumed on that trip I made sure to grocery shop for the best ingredients and a lot of whole foods. Because of my demanding work schedule at home I’m generally able to prepare my meals once or twice a week, the rest of the week I’m free styling. I was really looking forward to eating my own food for two weeks, I knew for sure I would be able to monitor my intake. I figured if anybody knew how to feed me, it was me.
Well not only did I get to monitor my intake, I also threw my body into an IBS frenzy like you would not believe.
Upon preparing at least four meals out of each week for myself, I still could not get on top of the symptoms. Every night I went to bed with an upset tummy, cramping, gas and waking up the next day with explosive bow movements that kept me next to the toilet for most of the morning. There were maybe two days out of two weeks that I felt semi-normal. Talk about blown to the max!
This was difficult for me because I really wanted to take care of myself and my body but I just didn’t know what to do. My poor tummy was paying for every single thing I ate. The mind boggling part was that when I’m home I was eating out at least three times a week, now I’m preparing healthier meal choices but to no avail.
On the day of my break through it felt as though the blinders had been removed! Although that was short lived. I had just prepared frozen lentils, they were not fresh made however, they were organic filled with hearty vegetables and low in calories. I thought for sure this would be a winner! After night after night of discomfort I had decided to narrow my eating down to hearty soups, lean meats and veggies. No more snacks! Even the so called healthy snacks like apple sauce, popcorn, tortilla chips and dark chocolate were a problem.
Within minutes of finishing up my soup, my stomach begin to swell, I could literally feel it growing. I started cramping and the rest was history. Why did this happen? Well here is what I found out that day, and it changed my life.
Several of the foods I had consumed that two weeks are part of a food group called FODMAPS, this is an acronym for a few words that I will not even get into but of course you can look it up on your own. If you suffer from this I’m sure you will. FODMAPS are sometimes healthier foods that are low carbohydrate foods that the body does not digest well. That period of two weeks, I was literally overdosing on all the foods that my body could not breakdown. This is also why my situation was so extreme night after night.
Those foods that I was consuming a lot of were:
honey, onions, garlic, beans, artificial sweeteners, apples, corn and wheat
There are many other FODMAPS but this is just to name the ones that I was consuming during that time frame. I immediately purchased the book, Healthy Gut,Flat Stomach. This taught me about the foods I should stay away from and how they are the culprit of my extreme IBS condition. Unfortunately there is no cure, you just have to learn how to eat. Most people will not be as extreme of a case as I am unless there are some other underlined issues no lie, I live with gut pain every day of my life (I’m working on it).
like many conditions, this affects women more than men. Yes once again, men get to have their cake and eat it too (literally).
Finding out the culprit foods was a big relief but it was also like opening pandora’s box because not only do I have IBS induced by these foods as well as gluten sensitivity which eliminates even more foods I don’t get to enjoy, I also have a digestive issue that causes inflammation in my intestines, yikes! Because my doctor has not yet confirmed this particular disorder by name (I am going through testing as we speak, again) I can not give it a name but, after much research I know my condition will be diagnosed as some sort of itis (really I’m not being funny). You may not have an exaggerated situation like mine so a simple change in diet may be what you need if you suffer from this IBS condition.
In a nut shell, life has a funny way of giving you things you never thought you would have to adjust to or that you can handle. Here I am, a true lover of food who now has to see food as a source of nutrition and not comfort. I have to eat foods I don’t even like, sike myself out and pretend that it is my preferred food. I now have to eat to live and not live to eat, I am still in disbelief that this has become my new norm. Yes indeed I struggle everyday, I never could have imagined that every food choice I make will directly affect the way I will feel ten minutes later and most certainly affect how I feel when I awake the next morning.
The blessing (since there are no mistakes) is that this is generally not a life threatening disorder. It is more of an inconvenience. And that weight I been struggling to get off of me all my adult years should be no problem now.
While I could live off of a pill to aid in the comfort of me eating my comfort foods, I would rather just pass. I do take a few probiotics and prebiotics that help my digestive system function halfway normal, but I will not take a pills to force my body to take foods that it rejects, that is where I will draw the line.
For now I’m living with my new normal, some days are better than others but just about no days are without discomfort. I will be very happy to know the results of my testing and really understand this new adjustment to my life as an Ex-foodie. I also look forward to finally having that flat tummy I work so hard in the gym for but because of my love for food I never could achieve.