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Greeting!

Hello internet world! My name is Ellie and i am a newbie here!

I am 27 years old, originally i come from Greece but i live in Stockholm. I do my Master’s in Sustainable Energy Engineering and work part-time as a waitress. Internet is a huge part of my life, but only very recently i found the inspiration to start my own platform. I have been “suffering” from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrom) since i was 16! 11 years already. But let me tell you a secret… I finally started having some control over it! And i am EXCITED! And because of it a started a BLOG! What a twist!

What is IBS? You can read about it here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20024578 . In summary (and from my experience) is just exactly what the name says. Irritable bowel. Constipation, diarrhea, gases are the basic symptoms and no pathological reasons to explain it. Also, it is not treatable. Patients have to learn how to co-live with it, despite the very uncomfortable symptoms. At least it is not life threatening, right? (Me trying to see the glass half full).

All these years i would have all the symptoms in different periods of my life. I have visited a million doctors and the conclusion always was “it’s psychological…relax…don’t be stressed and you will feel better..”. If only i could switch off the stress button! So, instead of feeling better i felt worse. I thought i would never have a “normal” life again. And that was sooo dissapointing 😦

Even though there is so much information out there, we insist on performing old practices that don’t actually work. For example, one of the doctors i visited proposed i stop eating vegetables and fruits for a while, until i start feeling better again. And then i could start inserting them in my diet slowly. Hugest mistake ever. Not only the symptoms were not relieved but on the contrary, i felt scared eating vegetables and fruits for a long time.

Seriously, i could continue writing so many things about it, but instead i will just say that if you are one of the dissapointed people who don’t know how to “fight” IBS, I AM HERE. I have been feeling the same way for many years. Lately and after i started following the FODMAP diet (info about FODMAP: http://fodmapfriendly.com/what-are-fodmaps/ ), i have started feeling sooo much better. Physically and mentally! And my goal is to share my experiences with you, give you ideas about delicious rescipes i created and tips based only on my experience.

-DISCLAIMER!- I am not a doctor or an expert. I can only share my experiences and what works for my body. We are all different! But experimenting and finding what suits your body better is a part of the process of relieving IBS symptoms. I basically, hope to motivate other people to be strong and not give up (i know how difficult co-living with IBS IS, TRUST ME) and give some ideas about food alternatives so you can always enjoy delicious meals without irritating your beloved bowel.

Moreover, i would like to say that i DO NOT advertise any of the sites or diets i have linked above. Again, it is things that help ME personally!

Stay tuned for the real thing!

Ellie

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ibs · Uncategorized

FODMAP Dieting: Miracle Worker?

Hello Internet world!

I will continue talking about IBS of course! Specifically, i want to talk about FODMAD dieting from my point of view and not in a scientific way…I am not a scientist..Well i am but in another field, not health (trying desperately to be funny).

Soooooo, what is FODMAP? Well if you google it you will find some really long words that describe it. But, i will try to summarize it in a simple way. Basically, FODMAP are some substances that exist in different foods and they cannot be digested by the small intestine. So the food moves to the big intestant, not processed and there it starts being fermented by bacteria. And right there is when IBS symptoms start. Not everybody has the symptoms when eating food high in FODMAPs, but for us the lucky people with the sensitive bowel yeah..those foods cause some symptoms.

Literally i had NO idea about the FODMAP dieting until a month ago. Actually, i had given up on relieving IBS at all. I decided though to visit a dietician because i wanted to lose the weight i have gained the past two years. On my first visit, she was asking me the reason that i want to lose weight etc and then my medical history. When i told her about my IBS and explained which symptoms i have and their intensity, she gave me a leaflet about FODMAP dieting and gave me one week to study it and decide whether i want to start the FODMAP diet and then focus on weight loss or the other way around. That week was kind of roller coaster for me. At first, i was thinking there is no way i am doing this. Too many sacrifices, the IBS will remain the same, i prefer to lose weight rather than wasting my time trying to improve the bowel function and other soo optimistic things. Then, a few days later, i was thinking what if i follow the FODMAP diet but only for a few foods. I was not going to give up gluten and coffee so easily! And that’s what i did for 2-3 days. And i started feeling better…That was a big surprise! Totally unexpected!

And then, it was Wednesday again. I had the appointment with the dietician and i should tell her what my decision was. FODMAP diet or weight loss diet? Shit..I had no idea. The previous time i left her office i knew i wanted to lose weight. But now, the idea of following a diet that would relieve the IBS symptoms seemed so tempting! After talking with her a little, i decided i am going to follow the FODMAP diet but also will use an app which calculates the calory, fat and protein intake in a daily basis, so on the same time i can lose some weight.  And that my friends was a good decision.

I have seen different versions of the FODMAP dieting food categorization. My categorization is a little different but so funny. The most important thing to remember is that there are 3 main categories. The green, orange and red foods. Of course, the division of the foods is not based on the color of the actual foods but on how much FODMAPs they contain. So,

  • green are safe foods that normally do not cause symptoms,
  • orange are the foods that may or may not trigger any symptoms and
  • red are the ‘’dangerous’’ ones that will probably will trigger the IBS symptoms.

The process goes like that:

  1. Phase 1: For at least two weeks, but preferably 4-6, one can eat only the green food category , so the symptoms will start decreasing. If one feels already better after 2 weeks then one can continue to phase 2. If the symptoms are not totally relieved, then continue phase 1 for 2-4 more weeks.
  2. Phase 2: Introduction of the orange food category in one’s diet. It is important to insert only one food per day to control weather that specific food cause symptoms or not. The length of this phase depends on the person and if this person wants to test all the orange foods or some of them.
  3. Phase 3: Introduction of the red food category! Again, one by one. The instructions are the same as phase 2.

In case any of the foods you try out cause symptoms, return to phase 1 for 3 days and after that continue phase 2 or 3.

 GREEN FOOD CATEGORY:

  • Fruits: pineapple, orange, green banana, blueberry, lemon, clementine, grapes, raspberry, cloudberry, honey melon, strawberry, kiwi, lime, cowberry, papaya, passionfruit, tomato juice, gooseberry, rhubarb, tangelo, cranberry (max 2 fruits per day. 1dl of berries equals 1 fruit).
  • Lactose: all the hard cheese, brie, blue cheese, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese, halloumi,
  • LACTOSFREE: crème fraiche, heavy crème, milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt, kvarg (Swedish low-fat cheese), ice cream
  • Vegetables: aubergine, broccoli, all kinds of green salad such as cabbage, ruccola, spinach, fennel, kale etc., cucumber, tomato, all colors of pepper, olives, carrots, parsnip, potato, radish, pickled beetroot, spring onion (green parts), chive, leek (green parts), black radish, conserved mushrooms,
  • Legumes: lentil conserved, bean sprouts, edamame beans
  • Seeds: chia-, lin-, sunflower-, sesame-, pumpkin seeds
  • Meals and Flour: buckwheat flour, gluten free bread, cornflakes, polenta, sorghum/durra (not sure about the translation), spelled sourdough bread, millet, cornstarch, corn flour, quinoa, rice, taco shell, potato flour, gluten free pasta
  • Nuts: macadamia nuts, peanuts, 
  • walnut, pine nut, pecan, brazil nuts, almond drink (milk).
  • Sweeteners: aspartame, coconut sugar, dextrose (grapes), glucose, glucose syrup, sucrose, stevia, sucralose, dark chocolate>70%. NO sweeteners ending in -ol.
  • Tea: green-, red-, white tea, peppermint tea

 

ORANGE FOOD CATEGORY

  • Fruits: acai berry dried (max 1tbs), pineapple dried (max 25 gr), goji berry dried (max 1tbs), grapefruit (max 1/2), cranberry dried (max 2 tbs), raisin (max 1,5 tbs), artichoke conserved (max 40 gr)
  • Vegetables: brussels sprouts (max 75 gr), savoy cabbage (max 50 gr), corn (max 60gr), sweet potato (max 110 gr), white cabbage (max 100 gr), pumpkin butternut (max 60 gr).
  • Cheese: Ricotta (max 80 gr)
  • Legumes: green peas (max 20gr), chickpeas conserved (max 75 gr), lentils boiled (max 75 gr), black beans conserved (max 50 gr).
  • Meals and Flour: buckwheat flakes (max 30gr), oats (max 30 gr) oats drink (max 3 dl)
  • Nuts: hazelnut (max 20 pcs), almond (max 10 pcs)
  • Coffee and Tea: coffe (max 2,5 dl/day), chai-, black- and herbal tea (max 2,5 dl/day).
  • Unsorted: Cocoa (max 3tbs), milk and white chocolate (max 30 gr).

 

RED FOOD CATEGORY

  • Fruits: fresh/dried figs, Boysen berry, mango, watermelon, apple, currant red/black, cherry, pear, apricot, nectarine, plum, peach, lychee, coconut flour
  • Vegetables: peas, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, artichoke, avocado, mushroom, onion, garlic, beetroot, salsify, cauliflower
  • Cheese: cream cheese and all the ‘’lactose full’’ editions of the LACTOSEFREE foods from the green food category
  • Legumes: glass noodles (?), kidney beans, soy beans, soy products
  • Meals and Flour: bulgur, couscous, almond flour, flour, grain, spelled
  • Nuts: Cashew nuts, pistachio
  • Te: Kombucha, herbal tea 
  • Unsorted: Chewing gums and candy with containing artificial sweeteners ending in -ol (sorbitol, erythritol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and also isomalt and sukrin).

Fish, red meat, tofu, chicken, quorn, egg, tempeh, Algiers are green!

Picture taken from http://www.yorktest.com

 

I got his information from the Swedish site www.bellybalance.se, which offers an even more detailed view of the different categories

That is all I have for you for now. There are still a few things to be specified but I think my post is already too long and contains a lot of information not easy to be digested, so I will make some new points on my next post.

Elli

 

 

 

ibs

Some tips for dealing with IBS

Hello internet world!

My second post here! Already!

There are probably hundreds theories about relieving IBS symptoms, different diets etc. Personally i have tried so many different things with absolutely no result. So instead of a relieved bowel i ended up with a more f@cked up bowel and gaining some 20 kilos…Yes..Let’s not blame it all on the diets. I made serious mistakes also. Bad meal programming, skipping meals when i was busy, eating a lot of “healthy” take away when in rush and loads of sugar. Mistakes,mistakes,mistakes.

So, what is the first most important rule for me now? MEAL PREPING! Yes! Once a week i go through my university and work schedule, check which days i will have time to cook and how many days i will have no time to cook. I prefer this day to be Sunday when i am usually totally free and will have enough time to cook many different meals that i am going to use the rest of the week. Depending on the food, i either freeze it or just leave in the fridge.

Second, life style change, i COMPROMISE. This sounds weird i guess. Well, as many of IBS sufferers i believe i am a perfectionist. Anything i do should either be perfect or i am not going to do it all. Get rid of such attitude like, yesterday! Sometimes you will not eat the perfect meal because you will not have the time or the energy. It is ok. Other times, you will not be in mood to go to the gym for exactly an hour. You will stay 40 minutes. These stupid stuff are not reason to give up a good diet or going to gym or trying to plan your meals etc. Especially, in the beginning many people experience such imaginary failures. That’s normal. Our body and our brain prefer to function by habit and not by actually thinking. We need to re-train them so they get used to their new habit! 😉 Getting used to a new life style takes some time but it happens in the end.

Next, start exercising!  The first thing people say about working out is that it is a stress reliever, which stress worsens IBS symptoms…See where i am going with this right? Moreover, exercising helps (in simple words) better bowel functioning. And there are studies for this. Just google it! Motivation is a tricky factor here. At least for me. All the doctors i visited advised me to start walking 3 to 5 times a week for at 30 minutes each time. I would always start and then get bored at some point. This maybe works for you or maybe not. What i did was that i would stop thinking about money and would finally buy a gym subscription. I joined a gym where you can have as many classes as you wish without any extra cost. I tried Pilates, power yoga, spinning, boxing (my favorite) and so many other different work outs. I now do the things i like and keep me interested. If you are not working out, grab that friend who is begging you to go to the gym with or your mom you complains about all different kinds of pain and GO! Keep yourself entertained and you will soon see difference in your mood, body and IBS symptoms.

Fourth advice, don’t let yourself get hungry. Eat small meals or snacks every 2.5 to 3 hours max. Do not skip meals no matter how busy you are. And don’t be embarrased to talk about your IBS. Talk to your boss, your teacher or whoever and explain that when is your time to eat YOU WILL EAT! As a waitress i carry a lot of food but so many times i had no time to eat. Sometimes i would starve myself for 5-6 hours. The WORST decision. Not only you literally hurt your stomach by leaving it empty but when you finally eat you will not choose the healthy option or you will not cook. Instead you will buy something full of fat and eat a big portion. And then you wonder why your bowel is freaking out Ellie?And how is it possible to gain so much weight Ellie? Sometimes i am so ignorant…

I am intending to explain my FODMAD diet plan in my next post, but there are some really important tips when starting an IBS friendly diet. I followed those tips as a preparation for the actual plan since some foods that are forbidden can be a little tricky at first to be avoided. My first advice is to give up any kind of processed food in the begging until you get familiar with what you need to avoid. After a while whenever you go to the market check the ingredients of the processed food you wish to eat and if it is “safe” buy and try it out. Buy only one processed food at a time so you can be sure whether it is affecting your bowel or not. What to avoid initially? Here’s a list i made:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Lactose (hard cheese do not need to be lactose free)
  • Gluten
  • Soya products
  • any sweeteners finishing in -ol (there are tons of those in candies, chewing gums, light sodas)
  • fruits such as apples, pears, watermelon, avocado, figs, nectarine, peaches, mango, cherries
  • fried food, high in fat food.

These are the most “dangerous” foods you need to avoid ASAP. Some alternatives for them are the green parts of spring onion and leek, lactose free dairy products, gluten-free bread and cookies (yes there are some delicious alternatives), sugar, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, any kind of green salad such as rucolla, spinach, carrots, sweet peppers, tofu, grapes, honeymelon, zucchini, aubergine, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, leans, potatoes, brocolli (bliah) and many others.

Try to combine different categories of foods in a smart way and you will find some really tasty combinations. I did!

Hope that was some help to begin with. Many many more helpful info coming soon. Stay tuned!

Ellie