As I am writing this, I have only actually known about my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for about 5 months. And, it is only really now that I feel like I have a hold on it. I’m not going to lie, I still have a lot to learn about my own gut health and I have definitely had some slip ups but I am so excited to learn more about it all and document it.
I remember the first time I really suspected something was wrong with my health. I had been working at a day camp and my stress was at an extreme. One day I began to feel a pain on the right lower side of my stomach. Being someone who overthinks everything, I thought my appendix was going to burst! I went to see a doctor and asked what the hell was wrong with me! I’m not going to lie, I thought I was dying (but I will admit I can be dramatic at times).
The doctor asked me questions about my digestion; He asked about when I go to the bathroom, and questions of that sort. At the time, I had not noticed anything wrong with my stomach and I really didn’t have to go to the bathroom all the time or find myself extremely constipated. I just knew the pain in my stomach was not normal.
The doctor told me it was unlikely to be IBS or some other digestive problem because I did not match any of the qualifications and that it had to be an allergy.
** I may not have had the obvious signs of IBS, but I also was not looking at the symptoms either as I thought I had a problem with an organ or something crazy like that. However, I began to realize that I did not use the bathroom often enough, I was always bloated, and had an absurd amount of gas (oh ya, we’re getting to the real classy stuff now).
The doctor told me to begin the process of elimination to find what the allergy was, he recommended that I begin with allergies and intolerances that are more common like gluten and eggs.
From there, I began my hunt for the allergy that was ruining my life (I know, I am so dramatic). Equipped with my food diary and an anticipation to find what was going on with my digestive system, I began my journey with one of the more common allergies: gluten.
I cut gluten out of my diet for 3 weeks and felt so much better (probably because I was eating too much of it to begin with). I thought I was cured! Until I began to realize that I was still dealing with that pain in my lower stomach and was still bloating for an unknown reason.
Once I got my blood tests back as negative for a gluten allergy, I definitely knew there was something more to my stomach issues.
Soon after, my doctor told me that it was likely IBS and that I needed to begin the low-FODMAP diet ASAP to figure out which foods were triggering my irritated gut. I was so frustrated at this point that I just wanted to give up. I felt as though it was going to take forever to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.
So, lots of research, trial, and error, and more frustration led to my finally feeling good again. No more bloating, no more gas, no more pain, and no more complaining to my friends and family. It was amazing, for me and everyone around. I think I even lost weight! (but I know, it was just water weight and not being bloated).
When I finally completed the low-Fodmap diet I began to reintroduce foods, and luckily fell upon my arch nemesis within my first week. Garlic and onion.
It is now a love-hate relationship, I love them and hate them, I want them but can’t have them, and our love song has officially become “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye. It’s sad, but eventually, I learned to move on.
Like a breakup, I had to detach myself from onions and garlic because without them I felt free from pain (again with the drama? Jeez!).
But hell I feel so good now!
And this is where I am now, resisting my urges to eat things with my trigger foods and learning new ways to cook meals that rely on them. From my journey thus far I have come to enjoy, even more, cooking and experimenting with spices, and challenging myself to find new foods that work with my dietary demands.
So, Here I am.
Gut health has become a big priority in my diet, and that is why I am here, writing this blog, to talk about my experiences, share what I am learning on my continuous journey, and share all of my success, and less successful experiences with cooking and eating. Not to mention getting to post pictures of all the food I eat that is not gut-friendly (I mean, I’m only human right?)