Sunday, 28 August 2016

AN INTOLERANT CHEF


'You have to follow the 'FODMAP' diet for at least 8 weeks religiously ' said the beautiful dietician with a warm smile. My response was quick and without any thought 'Yes, I'll do anything to feel great again'. She stared at me this time , with firmness in her voice as she exaggerated the word 'religiously '; yet again I gave an easy answer 'of course'. 
I picked up on her firmness and realised it might be a challenge but hey, I cared more about feeling better. 
I screamed in my head 'silently '😜 (but I'm a creative Chef, I can't be an intolerant Chef 😳),whilst she showed me the endless list of ingredients I was banned from during the 8 week period. 
All I could see were Onions, Garlic...what? I was miffed as they formed the basis of my cooking. I use Garlic on a daily basis, especially when I'm riddled with cold or sore throat and Onions are my favourite for making sauces, stews, soups, salad, marinades etc... I'll take comfort in the fact that I can have (in small quantities) the green parts of spring onions. 

Diagnoses
My journey to discovering I have IBS has been nothing but painful. The diagnosis for IBS is more of a process of elimination rather than a quick diagnostics. Over the years I've had countless of tests, tried a gluten free diet and a lactose free diet respectively, all to no avail. I was prescribed peppermint tablets to take before I ate, then later Mebeverine which has helped till now. 



Pain
A typical day includes me having to deal with painful tummy cramps unexpectedly  and a bloated tummy. This impacted my everyday life, as something as simple as eating out could cause a flare up. I was embarrassed to talk about it, as it involved excusing myself a few times to visit the ladies to relief myself of the pain. 

I skipped breakfast most times and preferred having brunch. I would've sleepless nights most days due to sudden diarrhoea (caused by something I ate). I wouldn't leave the house till I felt 'empty' to avoid any embarrassment and this affected my working life. My energy levels kept depleting and the odd occasion I felt good, I'ld manage the gym. 


Wardrobe 
My wardrobe was carefully selected to accomadate my sudden bloatedness. 
I felt great on days that I didn't have a flare up as I could wear tummy hugging outfits and wiggle away, with no care in the world, however these periods were short lived.




Holidays!
I love traveling, especially beach holidays but bikinis  were a big no no. Everyone would love to look good in their holiday pictures, hence I upped the exercises, controlled my diet but my tummy had a mind of her own. Frustrating 😁! I didn't allow this to spoil my holiday as my carefully selected wardrobe helped me hide my discomfort. 





Healthy Eating
My diet is relatively healthy and I do exercise when I've the energy to; however it's frustrating to experience a flat tummy and a bulge the next (as I couldn't understand the flare up).




Stress
My stress levels were particularly high and it did affect my bubbly personality. The countless visits to my GP, the tests, the pain and not seeing an end to my anguish had a negative impact on me. 

The choice of feeling better, gaining  energy when I eat instead of pain was a welcomed inconvenience, so 'Yes' , I'm committed to following this Fodmap diet.

This is a great challenge as  it's got my creative juices flowing. Thank God I know how to enhance the natural flavours of ingredients and I'm a chef.  I'll discuss more about my IBS journey in future posts inclusive of new recipes. 




Do you also suffer from IBS or other food related allergies? Share your experience by leaving comments. 

To be continued....

All photos are by the owner of this blog.