Label it IBS, a GI (gastrointestinal) disorder or simply indigestion - it sucks! Up until 18 months ago I was a care-free eater – no allergies or reactions to food. I could eat spicy or exotic food without worry. I loved food and would eat everything and try everything once. Now, sometimes the simplest combination can set me up for hours of bloating and discomfort. And I’ve decided that I’m ready to do something about it.
No one knows why or how these digestive issues begin – they can just suddenly start, as mine did. They can come and go just like allergies, and I sure hope mine goes sooner rather than later. My issues began shortly after I got back from Taiwan, with bloat and constipation on a regular basis. I went for x-rays and my doctor said I was definitely backed-up and suffering. Initially I thought that perhaps I had picked up a parasite, but after being sent for a parasite test, then a celiac test and a dairy allergy test, all my results came back negative. My doctor concluded that I didn’t have any allergies or known issues and said it was IBS and that I should do some research on the FODMAP diet while continuing to take Metamucil (a tried and true fibre alternative). I’ve also added in digestive enzymes twice daily to help my body process food more effectively.
After doing some online digging on the FODMAP diet, I discovered that the acronym stood for several long unpronounceable words and that adopting this diet would require cutting out a lot of foods that I enjoy. At that time, I decided that I wasn’t ready to cut out everything just yet. I started a daily food journal to try and discover what was causing the bad indigestion (primarily bloating, cramps and constipation), but 5-7 days a week I had issues, and the sources are still a mystery. Sometimes I would eat the same thing 2-3 days in a row and only experience digestive issues one or those 3 days.
So 18 months later, I know of several dishes where I don’t experience issues, but I still have rumblings on a nearly daily basis and the causes remain unknown. I’m enjoying the food, but the after effects are so comfortable and sometimes even painful. Next month, I have decided to take up the low FODMAP diet and create a 3-week meal plan for myself to try and rule out items that make me feel bloated and uncomfortable. The idea of this diet is to ingest foods that should not cause indigestion issues and slowly re-introduce new foods to discover individual triggers. I found a list of high (to avoid) and low (to ingest) foods and will be working from this list. I’ll provide an update next month following the trial run. Fingers crossed this works!
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.