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!
For any of you who had a long diagnosis you can probably totally relate! It took me four years of pain, tears, tests and frustration before I got told that there was nothing else wrong with me, “it is just IBS”. Although being told you have IBS is never going to be something you dream about when you’re a little girl, for me it was a major relief. I had spent my first few years of tummy troubles worrying in the back of my mind that it could have something much worse, and the last few just getting massively peed off at the fact that the doctors couldn’t give me an answer.
So although it’s not the best thing in the world, and it definitely gives me some major lows in life, I do try and remind myself to put things into perspective in the fact that I could be a lot worse off.
2) It forces me to be creative with cooking and try new foods
I have always loved cooking but before I started the low FODMAP diet I did get into a bit of routine rota of dishes. It was of course very difficult when I first began the diet but a few years later I now love finding new alternatives for high FODMAP foods and am always trying to vary up our menu to keep both myself and Ross happy, but also so I have exciting new ideas for you guys!
3) DIY menus are totally acceptable
I don’t actually remember the last time I ordered something off a menu how it should be. Being gluten free can be hard enough when eating out, but when you throw onion, garlic and a whole bunch of other stuff into the mix it definitely doesn’t make it easy. However I now have a pretty much guaranteed formula for success which involves picking my favourite elements from different dishes in order to create the ultimate tummy friendly meal – which often ends up giving the rest of the restaurant food envy.
I know this may be frowned upon by some people, but if you follow my steps in my eating out guide and explain your intolerances to the restaurant they are usually more than happy to adapt to suit your needs. You never know, your little concoction may be on the special board next time 😉
4) I have instant common ground with 15% of the population
I never realised what a community there was around having IBS and following a restive diet! When I first started @thetummydiaries Instagram last year I was so relieved to find so many people following the same diet and fighting the same daily battle as me. Before I joined I would feel so down and lonely when going through a rough patch, and felt like I had nobody to talk to or relate to. Now, it couldn’t be further opposite.
Although there are a fair few negatives to social media, I think the positives in the intolerant foodie community are massive. I find so much support and inspiration from others and have even made some amazing friends through the platform, which is something that I never thought would happen!
5) It encourages me to look after myself better
It has also taught me to look after my mental health as stress and anxiety are a major factor for my tummy troubles. Since making a commitment to both of these things around six months ago I am definitely the happiest and healthiest I have ever been.
6) It’s given me my ‘why’
This is definitely the BIGGEST POSITIVE EVER for me. Since starting this blog I have never felt so passionate about something, I never thought that sharing my journey would actually help others and the fact it seems to be doing so is the most incredible feeling ever.
Spreading positivity is so important to me, and knowing what it feels like to feel down, deflated and anxious, I also know how important it can be to others to find it. Although I’ve written a list of the good things about having IBS, I’m not in any way trying to undermine the negatives that condition can cause as know it isn’t something that’s easy to live with. However sharing my journey, listening and learning about other people’s stories and also educating myself on how my mind and body works is something that makes me feel so inspired.
For anyone having a bad day with their tummy I hope this helps you feel even just a little bit better, and if you have any of your own positive reasons then I would love to hear them!
Hi Lottie, i have just subscribed to your blog and just wanted to say thank you. I am currentky undergoing tests for IBS after so many stomach issues (since I was 12) and never having any DR take me seriously or help diagnose it. I haven’t eaten gluten for nearly a year and whilst there are still problems, I think it may have helped. But like you, I don’t want to eaten gluten for 8 weeks to be tested for it. I really hope I get a proper diagnosis soon, but do you have any advice in the meantime? What were your exact symptoms? Mine is also definitely linked to stress and anxiety! Thank you for sharing, I am just beginning to get involved in the GF and IBS community and feeling relieved there’s so much support! Hayley 🙂
Hi Hayley, that you so much for taking the time to read and comment and so sorry for the late reply – I must have missed it in my inbox! So sorry to hear you’re having trouble and such a shame that the doctors aren’t giving you answers. The biggest piece of advice I can give is don’t give up! Keep pushing with Doctors and even push for a referral to a dietician as they may also be able to point you in the right direction, and once you’re there it does get better I promise.
My main symptoms are bloating, pain, nausea and sickness along with occasional dizziness – so a nice big cocktail of everything really!
You mention the anxiety – have you looked into dealing with that as well as your diet? I have found hypnosis has helped so much with that, along with listening to podcasts on anxiety and mindfulness.
I really hope you feel better soon lovely. Lots of love, Lottie x
Hi Lottie, I have suffered with IBS for over 25 years. My main culprit is wheat. I have been suffering a lot more recently and have just come across the low FODMAP diet. I eat a really healthy diet with no processed foods and minimal sugar but looking at the list I have been eating totally the wrong veggies/legumes etc. This is quite shocking, thinking I have been eating the best but actually turns out to be the worst for IBS. I am going to overhaul my diet and see if I can get the bloat gone. Thank you for the information. Jenny xxxxx
Hi Jenny, thank you so much for your comment! So sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering for so long, but also really glad you have now found the FODMAP diet! The elimination phase can be hard at first but it sounds like you’re used to following a restrictive diet so hopefully you will be well trained there! Really hope it helps and you start feeling better soon. Love Lottie x x