After a short break…

Well, it has been a while since my last post! Since early Feb in fact.

There have been a number of reasons for my absence. Firstly uni started back and I have been just plain busy. I decided in part to let this sit here, and come back when I had the time, or felt super inspired to write.

Secondly I was putting in effort to just feel better. It was confirmed that I have fructose intolerence (damn you!), so I’ve been following the low FODMAP diet as closely as I could to eleviate my symptoms. My GI doc also flagged a small possibility of small bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This made me nervous, as I am not keen on taking meds if I can help it. I did think as close as only last week that it may well be SIBO as I would have liked my symptoms to be more improved, but I feel better as time goes on. I think taking a wait and see approach a while longer, whilst following FODMAP restrictions is the best option,

Lastly there has been considerable discussion over the last month or so about non medical/trained people becoming ‘experts’ and duping their followers. This is a concerning issue and I do not in anyway wish to contributw to the problem. So for the record, loud and clear:

I am not a medical expert, and I give no advice. This blog is for sharing my experience, and for giving mutual support to any followers. We are in this together. I’m feeling my way through. I follow other blogs, but I only take advice from properly trained medical staff. Please, take care, and do the same.

Hopefully I will be back soon, but in the mean time – 

Feel well, do good, be happy. xo

No pasta “Carbonara”

Ingredients:

2-4 rashers short cut bacon (or more if you love bacon!)

1 large zucchini, thinly sliced or spiralised

Peas (your FODMAP friendly amount)

300 mls full fat cream

2 small eggs

Parmesan, as desired

Method:

Preheat pan, add bacon, cook until slightly brown.

Add peas, warm through, then add zucchini and warm through. (Or cook longer if you prefer, but I don’t like mine soggy).

Remove pan from heat.

Lightly mix cream and eggs together, add to pan. Take care to not add when pan is very hot as it will scramble the egg.  The aim is to just warm the sauce through.

Place into a bowl, add parmesan if using, sit down and relish the deliciousness.

This is such a simple dish, and although it is higher in fats you are not going to be eating this every night, so enjoy!

NOTE: Finding gut friendly servings can be tricky. I recommend and use the Monash FODMAP app, and refer to their blog for tips

Good food, bad food

As I wrote in my last post I have been following the lowFODMAP diet for a couple of weeks now and I have started to feel better. Yesterday I realised just how much better, but this is because I slipped and had a bad day as a consequence. 

I was craving eggs and even though they gave me grief before Christmas I decided to give them another go. I had one poached on FODMAP approved spelt bread and a short cut rasher of bacon. I’m thrilled to say it went down well with no bad affects, where I was having severe pains within a short period of time. So I will go back to eating eggs, but only once or so a week. 

It was lunch where I slipped. I made the poor decision to have pasta with a store bought sauce that I know contains added fructose. The pain began quickly, and it didn’t stop until after breakfast this morning. I’m disappointed, but it also really does point to fructose being the issue. Clearly I’ll be avoiding regular pasta and bottled sauce!

Only a couple of days until I have my fructose breath test, so fingers crossed I get answers!

On a side note the meal I cooked tonight just may make it to my “last meal ever” list. My son and I enjoyed it so much! I will pop up the recipe soon, a modified “Carbonara”, no pasta. So yum- but unfortunately no good for those following low FODMAP with diary issues. 



How do you feel?

Just a quick post today, a small update until I have a little more time to show you what I’ve been working on. 

At almost two weeks into following low FODMAP guidelines I am feeling…somewhat better. I have had a couple of bouts of cramps but nothing incapacitating and overall I am just feeling like I’m turning a corner into something better. 

It has been a hard slog at times, particularly when I’ve not been at home at meal times. I also feel very restricted at times and my inner rebel just wants to eat the onion in any meal. I am staying strong though!

This weekend I have my next breath test, so I’m hoping ok to find out once and for all whether I have fructose malabsorption or not. 

I have been doing a lot of reading/research on IBS and FODMAPs, which has helped me to feel in control and positive. Food has been simple due to my time constraints but I look forward to trialling and sharing some recipes that I’ve been working on.

I’d love to hear how you’ve coped with a change to low FODMAP eating in the first few weeks, or how you coped with fructose issues so leave a comment below!

What is going on with my body?

As stated in my first post I have been diagnosed with IBS. My symptoms: pain which can vary from “gee my guts are a not feeling so great today” to being in the foetal position unable to move or get comfortable for hours on end.

When I was first diagnosed about a decade ago (although I have had symptoms since childhood) my doctor put it down to the stressful time I was having and we didn’t pursue it any further.

I have known for years that some foods were more likely to set off pain. Bread and wheat products in general have long been an issue, but mostly if I eat it in large quantities – which hey, we shouldn’t do anyway right? To manage this I try to only have one meal with these products, but my pattern with diet has always to follow my own guidelines fairly loosely. In some respects I have in the past lacked discipline. Avocado of all things is one that is guaranteed to have me in agony within 20 minutes. Recently egg is one that gives me an immediate pain response. We are unable to determine this one as yet, but I did eat an egg almost every day for breakfast the last 12 months as I cut out commercial cereals. There has been some research to indicate that you can OD on eggs.

November 2014 brought on my worst bout to date, which lasted 6 weeks and left me scared to eat and mostly unable to exercise as I was in so much pain. Thankfully my doctor took me seriously and I underwent many tests. We tested for gall bladder, kidney, pancreas and liver issues, all which came back clear, as did a blood test for coeliacs. Then what? A trip to see a gastroenterologist.

Once again the thought was that this was not a “medical” problem, but we did have another avenue to pursue. Fructose malabsorption. Now I have looked at following a low FODMAP diet before, as I said I have had IBS for years, but I worry over following something un-necessarily, but given my situation now I happily look at this again.

I am currently undergoing ‘breath tests’ to ascertain if I am unable to absorb fructose, and hope to have the results in the next two to four weeks. I am a high hydrogen producer, which means that my results will be immediate. This is great news, and I am hoping to get some decent answers.

In the meantime I am attempting to follow a low FODMAP lifestyle. I am not going to ‘sugar coat’ it (haha). It is challenging. I try to “just eat real food” and as a general rule as a family we do well. Cutting foods that I love (even though they cause pain) is still difficult, and as I person I generally rebel against being told what to do. Still I am sucking it up and trying.

A couple of days in and I have to say I have experienced some relief, but feeling low in energy still, but I think I just need to eat more regularly.

For more info on testing for malabsorption of fermentable sugars go here

For more info on Monash Universities FODMAP research go here

I have found the Monash FODMAP app a helpful quick reference to see what I can and should not eat.

Leave a comment to tell me your experiences with IBS, fructose malabsorption and beginning a low FODMAP lifestyle.

What is “Healthy Gut For Life”?

Healthy Gut For Life came about for two reasons: 1. I needed an outlet to write about my experiences with gut issues. 2. I wanted to create a supportive community.

I have had IBS symptoms for many years and mostly put it down to stress. (I choose to not call it ‘suffering’ as I feel that is victim claiming. Right here I wish to state that this is going to be a positive site that concentrates on all that is good, not the bad, of having and treating digestive issues). I ignored the possible link between my symptoms and that of my family. I didn’t want to follow ‘fad’ diets and mostly just tried to ignore my issue.

Recently I have had to get real. My symptoms kicked up a few notches, to the point where I could not eat without intense pain, bloating and diarrhoea. (Gross hey? I figure if you are here you have these symptoms or similar. This is going to be an honest blog, so no need to feel squeamish here!)

This leads me to the creation of this blog. I am a modern woman, like many others. I am me: a person who loves to eat, (sometimes) loves exercise, wife, mum, uni student (Communication and Sociology), pet and environment lover. All these things and more. I am busy. And I have IBS.

This blog is a place for me to pop my thoughts down, to share my research and personal experiences. And to create and be involved in a community of people who want to share information, and be supportive of one another. My aim is to post regularly with well written and researched pieces; have guest bloggers; and have this as a forum for one and all.

This is a work in progress, and I will be doing it around my mum and study commitments. I am still learning about my condition, but hope to share to make it easier for others to negotiate the information out there.

I can’t wait to share and hear others experiences so join me on this ride.

You can also follow on Twitter @HealthyGut4Life and Instagram healthygutforlife