A Plan to Recover from Tummy Troubles
I had suffered for two years or more with unexplained bloating and a constant uncomfortable, heavy feeling in my tummy. Sometimes the bloating was extreme (I’ve been mistakenly congratulated lol, at 50 years of age…. a little awkward!)
I could go up a size in the space of a day. I often got so despairing that I would wonder if this was just the new mid-life normal, something I would need to find a way to accept….
There were many visits to the doctor, I pursued all paths from food intolerances, to gynaecological issues, to bowel cancer… at one point my bowel was so blocked that it was not easily distinguishable on the scan…. and I certainly did look at least 5 months pregnant!
I had always enjoyed a flat tummy, even a bit of a girlie 6 pack much of my life, as I loved exercise and had a healthy metabolism. So it was really hard to get used to the constant ups and downs. Trying to figure out the cause was a sure way of going slowly mad! It really did spoil every day, as constant tummy pain and difficult bowel routines sap the life out of you, while never being sure what’s going to fit in the mornings is not something you want to wake up to.
Fast forward 6 months of concerted effort to resolve it and I am in a much better place. I’ve just had 2 weeks with my parents staying with me in which we have indulged in any and all wonderful foods, with no really adverse effects to my tummy. Big grin! (some adverse effects to thighs though unfortunately)….
I can only assume that the course of action I’ve been taking has brought about the change.
Here’s what I did;
1. Ate only Low FODMAP foods for 5 months.
2. Omitted dairy, sugar, wheat and gluten from my diet (which is pretty much in line with the Low FODMAP diet anyhow).
3. Supplemented with gelatin (added a spoonful of gelatin to my smoothies and turmeric lattes pretty much every day).
4. Made bone broth every week (as another means of getting gelatin in my diet).
5. After 5 months – brought back in a non-Low FODMAP food to see how it went in moderation (I added ¼ of an avocado to my smoothie twice a week as a test for my tummy).
6. A month ago – started taking Bio Trust Advanced Probiotic and GI Health Formula tablets. They deliver a big dose of healthy bacteria to the gut and promise almost instant results (which I did indeed notice!)
I still need to be vigilant and show discipline most of the time, but the tablets certainly seemed to counteract the pizza and puddings I have eaten over the last 2 weeks. Taking one tablet in the morning and one at night seemed to keep my tummy ‘balanced’, preventing crazy bloating and the heavy ‘lump’ just below my belly button that had plagued me for months and months. It’s incredible to me that I have eaten some dairy over the last 12 days and not had major tummy issues. It’s so much more comfortable all round. I would fully recommend these tablets if you are struggling with what seems to be food intolerances and/or digestive issues in mid-life.
I would also recommend going cold turkey for at least 5-6 months, to give your tummy a chance to re-set (stick to Low FODMAP foods…. it will be worth it).
The Low FODMAP Diet
FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharide, Polyols.
The diet omits the foods that strongly fit into the above categories (as they all cause bloating, bad digestion and tummy issues), choosing instead the foods that are low in any of these. You will be going without wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes, pulses, milk, cheese, yoghurt, high fructose foods such as honey, apples, corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners are out. Some fruits and vegetables are out.
I didn’t know if I could do it when I saw that sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado were not permitted (but I did it for 5 months, simply because I couldn’t stand another moment of feeling so uncomfortable…. desperation led to determination!).
Read about the Low FODMAP Diet here:
Check out the video (The Grand Tour Down Under) and see what foods are in and what are no-no’s!
You can download the FODMAP app to your iPhone, giving you access to the list of foods anywhere, anytime…. really useful when planning meals and grocery lists, and really, really useful when you get to the supermarket without a list.
Go to the app store on your phone and search ‘FODMAP’.
Why did I supplement with Gelatin?
Gelatin assists digestion by naturally binding with water to help food move through the digestive tract more easily.
Gelatin is known to aid good digestion, restore gut lining and promote a healthy gut…. even assisting with food allergies and intolerances through repair of the gut lining (meaning our bodies don’t have the same reaction to intolerances, in fact it can repair to the point where the intolerance is gone…. or at least that’s what I’m hoping!).
One theory for food intolerances being on the rise is that we don’t eat as many of the parts of the animal now-a-days that provide us with collagen (bones, skin and connective tissue), and gelatin is the cooked form of collagen. So get a bit primal, noar on a bone or two (and help with anti-aging while you’re at it, since collagen is essential for skin elasticity).
Where to buy gelatin (and collagen) supplements in Australia
Where to buy the Bio Trust Advanced Probiotic and GI Health Formula tablets
It’s also called Pro-X10 2.0 and if you buy it from the above link you receive a free 3 week diet book and a free smoothie book.
To learn how to make bone broth….
Check out my blog post here