As hard as you can try to do the right things for your gut whilst on holiday; rich food, cocktails and heat are never going to be the perfect combo for a flat tummy so the chances are, if you have a sensitive tummy it might come out to play whilst you’re away.
I’m not going to lie, three years ago there wouldn’t have been much I loved more than tucking into a great big chicken kebab and large portion of cheesy chips after a night out. Or the excitement of picking up eight kebabs with extra red cabbage and halloumi; holding the delicious smelling packed up boxes on my lap on the drive back to a friend’s for a girly night in. For me they’re just the perfect nostalgic comfort food and although I’ve never been a massive fan of takeaways as a whole, kebabs really are one of my shameless downfalls.
Turkish food has also been a big love of mine (amongst food in general). When I was younger I was lucky enough that my mum and step-dad would take us to Turkey every year for our family holiday and it would be full of amazing food. We would eat the most delicious traditional turkish food consisting of marinated meats, veggie dishes, yoghurty dips and flatbreads. My obsession grew in my teens as we had a lovely family friend stay with us for a few years, and being Turkish she would often cook up some absolute stunners including one of my favourites – koftes and “special carrot stuff”.
If you suffer from IBS or food intolerances, you’ll probably be pretty familiar with keeping a food diary. Noting down everything you eat and drink each day, and any symptoms along the way. It’s one of the first things that we’re told to do in order to identify our triggers, and often the most effective (in fact, contrary to popular belief it’s the only proven way of identifying intolerances – intolerance tests are not proven to be accurate guys!).
Paella has always been one of my favourite dishes and I remember as a kid my Dad would make the biggest batch of the stuff in the summer; making it in his giant paella dish in the garden whilst listening to reggae music (I know, not a Spanish tradition but he made it work!). He’d fill it to the brim with seafood, chicken, chorizo, peas and lots of lemon and garlic and I used to get through platefuls!
There’s a lot of sucky things about having IBS, and if you search online you’ll find plenty of lists of how IBS can affect you in a negative way. These lists have been so helpful to me; making me feel like I am not alone, and they can really help form a community of support. However, I think a little bit of positivity could be a good idea right now (let’s face it, this weather is miserable so we probably all need it!). Searching “the good things about IBS” returns literally zero results (that I could find), and although I’m by no means saying having IBS, or any gut condition is a good thing I wanted to help spread a few of the positives that have come into my life from suffering with an unhappy tummy!
So after a crazy weekend of gaining over a thousand new followers in less than 24 hours, I thought it may be helpful to share a bit about me and my tummy story so far. I really hope it doesn’t sound too self-indulgent, but instead wanted to share some of the challenges and mistakes that I have made, in the hope that you guys don’t have to make the same.
When I first began the low FODMAP diet three or four years ago, my life revolved around printed tables, shopping list guides and articles on what I could and couldn’t eat. Just “popping into the shop for lunch” would take half the day of standing in the isles trying to Google the ingredients on everything I picked up. With so much (not always trustworthy) content online, and the research on the diet being continuously updated I’d often be caught out, making the wrong choices and ending up spending the rest of the day cramped up with a hot water bottle at best.
Having a gut condition doesn’t just affect your physical health, but more than often it can have a pretty big impact on your mental health too. Not being able to eat what you want without rubbish consequences can be really frustrating, upsetting and often even embarrassing.
Last year I suffered pretty badly with the mental side of things. I don’t think it was just due to my stomach problems at all, but it definitely didn’t help. However with the help of some amazing people in my life, a bit of hypnotherapy from Kent Therapy Clinic (will do a whole post on this shortly) and learning my own personal ways of dealing with things, I’m now a million percent happier. In fact, I don’t even recognise myself when I think about six-months-ago me.
Two of my favourite things in life are eating, and working out, so I thought I’d share with you what a typical week looks like for me in terms of food and fitness, including my full meal and exercise planner below…