Browse Tag by Living with IBS

The realities of living with IBS

Today I’ve had a terrible day as far as my IBS is concerned. The irony is, I’d only just been thinking to myself yesterday how good it’s been.

FODMAPS and IBS - A Free From Life

In fact, I’ve been feeling pretty good all round, which I put down to taking a multivitamin designed specifically for women, along with a vitamin B complex. I’d been feeling ridiculously tired before I started on these supplements, in a way that didn’t feel down to the stresses and strains of normal life or even my age. I craved to have even just a smidgen of energy to get me through the day.

After some health concerns earlier this year, that has led to me having a few tests, including a colonoscopy (not nice) and a hydrogen breath test, the only thing the results showed up is that I have some fermentation going on in my lower intestine. This means food is taking longer than it should to pass through and a little colony of bacteria have set up home to take advantage of that. It’s the supposed reason for my stomach pains.

What anyone with IBS will tell you, though, is how the pains can come seemingly out of nowhere.

It’s often the case where you can’t for the life of you fathom what could have caused it. To go from feeling fine and relatively pain free for a reasonable length of time and then suddenly be struck down and spending all day feeling nauseous, is pretty depressing.

I just started taking probiotics again and am left wondering could that be the cause? Probiotics are meant to be the good guys, but that’s not to say there isn’t something in the pill that could cause problems, if you are particularly sensitive. The ones I take say they may contain milk as it is used in the media where the bacterial strains grow.

My life without dairy is proving successful in terms of clear skin and all-round general well being. It has definitely made a difference to me.

I’m thankful to have no major health concerns, but I guess I’ve become a little complacent during my ‘well period’ and forgotten what it’s like to suffer an IBS attack. My symptoms today I would describe as being like a hangover. With a dull headache and a feeling of being zapped of all energy, the sickness I’ve been feeling goes away temporarily every time I eat, but soon after leaves me feeling worse than before.

It’s annoying at best and debilitating at worst; these collective symptoms that have no apparent one-cause or cure. For anyone else who suffers like this, know that you are not alone, nor are you crazy or a hypochondriac. Keep pushing through the pain and hopefully one day, we will find a way to beat this.


Health Writing Round-Up

Healthy writing round up - A Free From Life

I’ve been writing away frantically for the last few weeks, which means I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to my blogs. What I thought I’d do though, is provide a health writing round up right here on A Free From Life, so you can find out what I’ve been up to.

How to convert recipes to gluten free - A Free From Life

Having a gluten intolerant child, I’m more concerned perhaps than most when it comes to worries about arsenic in rice. Most gluten free products contain rice flour and that’s why I mostly make my own things and monitor what my son eats. He loves rice milk, but I don’t give him it any more, choosing coconut milk by Koko instead (look out for added rice milk in some other dairy free alternatives). I make my own bread, but my son’s biggest love of all is pasta. He would eat it all day and everyday if I let him and prefers it to sandwiches for his lunch. I try to look for corn based pasta if I can, as he has to give up so much already and I feel sorry for him.

In the news last week though was the story that Swedish officials have warned parents against giving children rice cakes as a snack. That simple little product that we all thought of as a healthy alternative to a biscuit has raised concerns about the level of arsenic consumption in children. No doubt we will be hearing more about this as studies continue.

Debunking the FODMAP diet - A Free From Life

I looked in to the world of apps and how they can help people with food allergies and intolerances and found a number of useful ones. For me, being out for the day and not knowing where to go to eat is one of the biggest worries and having an app that can link your location with nearby establishments would be a really useful tool. Whether you need help with your shopping and cooking, managing your symptoms or you’re embarking on a FODMAP diet and need some guidance, you can download a corresponding app and have vital information at your fingertips wherever you are.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Whether you choose to eat gluten free (for health or medical reasons) or want to switch to being completely grain free (Paleo), you may choose to increase your protein content. Protein takes longer to digest and so can keep you fuller for longer. When you cut down or give up those carby grains, you may find you need to up your protein for that very reason. I investigated some high protein food swaps that would make healthy alternatives or additions to your diet.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

From zero calorie noodles, to savoury ice cream and spreadable beer, quirky food is everywhere. I looked up several examples of seemingly ordinary food that’s made with unusual ingredients. These twists on the originals make for some fun and interesting products. I’m not sure I would eat all of them though!

FODMAPS and IBS - A Free From Life

I shared a personal experience of what it’s like to live with IBS. Having learned to control the symptoms over the last twenty years, it came as a shock when I had a particularly bad attack. Looking back at the events leading up to that day, though, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Stress, not eating properly and indeed not eating at all, are all factors and I of all people should know that. It’s a lesson learned and a reminder not to forget about my own health when I am busy looking after the rest of my family.

Airlines traveller's guide to In-Flight Meals - A Free From Life

After a particularly stressful long haul flight that involved my son having no meals because his order was messed up, I resolved to never trust airline food again. When investigating what airlines claim to offer by way of special dietary meals, what surprises me most is the lack of flexibility. As my son can’t eat dairy OR gluten, not one seems to provide an option that caters for both. So which do I go for? A vegan meal might be an option, but will a child be likely to eat it? There are so many things to consider when ordering a special meal on a flight and I’ve heard many instances of people having terrible experiences. I can only hope that the situation improves as more people highlight these issues.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Last, but not least, I couldn’t finish without including a little something for the weekend. Although not health related in the slightest, these cocktails I created are a fusion of three classics: Pimms and lemonade, G & T and Mojito. Inspired by the idea that we are a divided nation when it comes to choosing our favourite, I thought why not mix them up? And why not indeed. I hope you feel inspired by this little burst of sunshine we’ve been blessed with to try one of these. I’m particularly proud of my photography work in this article, as it’s my first time using a professional camera. What a difference it makes too.