If you have IBS, chances are that you have developed some kind of food intolerance that is making your digestion, and life in general, painful.
Maybe it’s lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance or gluten intolerance that is keeping you awake at night – maybe all three. Or maybe you also have chemical intolerance too?
I wondered if was possible to one day get rid of food intolerance and feel “normal” again, but I thought the chances of this were slim, or non-existant.
However I have an interesting new take for you on food intolerance.
After long history of food intolerance…
I had food intolerance for as long as I could remember. I remember back in primary school when everyone had a mandatory bottle of milk in the morning – and I didn’t. I already knew I had lactose intolerance before it was invented!
Then there were the crunchy apples I saw my mother bite into – that made me physically sick. Not to mention sugar that I had an aversion to (even though chocolate was not a problem). Blame that on fructose intolerance – which often goes together with lactose intolerance.
Not to mention my reaction to the slightest preservative or colouring in food products.
When IBS hit when I was 21, I found I could digest fewer and fewer foods. And in my late twenties chemical intolerance got added to the long list of products I had to avoid: the slightest whiff of fresh paint, nail varnish, perfume, or air freshener had me bloating up in minutes.
With all that intolerance, professional life became complicated. Especially as a Product manager for food products, where I was expected to taste food samples regularly. And where I had colleagues that wore perfume.
It seemed like just a question of time before I would develop gluten intolerance too. So I cut right back on gluten, reducing even further my limited choice of diet.
I just could not see that it could ever be possible to get rid of food intolerance.
What is interesting to know is that now I have recovered from IBS, that intolerance has all but disappeared.
No more fructose intolerance: I can eat fruit again. Even apples, pears and melons that were absolute no-nos before.
Almost no more lactose intolerance: I can have all dairy products except for a glass of straight cow’s milk.
No more chemical intolerance: Much to the delight of my 2 daughters (and to my great relief) nail varnish and perfume are no longer a problem.
Food had become my enemy. Now it’s my friend again.
I don’t have any wierd or wonderful diet regime that I follow. And I eat a wide variety of foods.
I eat the same foods as before that seemed to cause endless bloating and cramps. And enjoy them. Like fresh onions, garlic, peppers, and fresh fruit to name but a few.
And if I do occasionally have processed or junk food, I digest it anyway.
I went to an Italian the other night and had what I could only previously have dreamt of with a glass of wine – digested it perfectly and had a good night’s sleep afterwards.
You can imagine the relief that brings to daily living.
I’m not sure that food ever was my enemy.
So what did I do to get rid of food intolerance? And what can you do too?
Everyone’s IBS is unique. Comparing symptoms is not useful. However seeing the process I used to get rid of food intolerance could inspire you.
The first 3 steps you may well know about or be doing. But watch out for the really important steps 4 and 5!
1) A quality diet
Firstly I started really improving the quality of the food I was consuming and cooking from scratch. There was no way for any preservatives or colourings could sneak in. And I could control what I was eating that way.
2) Diligent digestion
I ate only the foods my body could digest, or could digest the best. Many of those were on the low Fodmaps list. This list was short, but enabled me to reduce inflammation in the gut.
3) Curbing Candida
Then I looked into Candida and improved my digestion as much as I could using a herbal remedy. This produced much less bloating and abdominal pain, and I found I could slowly introduce and tolerate other foods.
4) Reducing Reactivity
I followed my theory that my body had become very reactive and sensitive to everything. So I decided to work on bringing down levels of reactivity. I was living in such a perpetual state of stress that I didn’t even feel it. I started by taking 10-20 minutes a day to switch off completely and I gradually became less reactive.