IBS is a torture sentence

I have started the journey of a nursing student.  If not to help people in health crisis then to help me and this god awful diagnosis of IBS.  It’s not even a diagnosis. My symptoms fit the vague criteria of many disorders.  It is my burden to bear because there is no help medically for this.  I was angry at my doctor for giving me this diagnosis and doing nothing about it.  I felt written off.  I am what we brush off with the wave of hand and flick of the wrist.  I have been tossed aside and now I am judged the moment I see a doctor.  This is what IBS is.  It is more than 3 letters.  It is pain, doubt, uncertainty, and the constant nagging in the back of my mind telling me something more is wrong.  My outdated doctor finally sent me to a GI specialist.  It was like entering a battle I had already lost.  He refused to do anything invasive until we ran some tests. My results showed nothing abnormal. I cried a little and told this specialist “how dare you let me be in this kind of pain”.  I don’t understand how nothing more can be done for me?  He suggest a fibre supplement and acidophilus.  Needless to say the fibre created excruciating pain.  The specialist had nothing to say about the pain.  My diagnosis of the medical system in British Columbia is we need more knowledgable doctors who know what they are doing and can offer assistance for people in pain.  IBS is a diagnosis of pain that no doctor wants to treat.  Mainly because they don’t how.

My advice is find a lifestyle that is preventative.  Find your triggers.  This involves talking to a naturopath and seeing an allergist.  I cannot work around the dietary restrictions I have come up against.  This would be an exhausting process and completely unrealistic.  I had to recreate how I saw food and I had to learn not to fear food either.  Yes I feared food.  Everything I ate created an onslaught of uncontrollable and painful symptoms.  I still have pain in the left side of my abdomen.  Apparently, medical doctors are not concerned about this pain.  Why should they be, they don’t have to live with it.  I have since decided to stop feeling so sorry for myself.  It really wasn’t helping anyone and I’m sure the stress triggered more IBS symptoms in the end.  Some days I have chronic pain and then the next day I am fine.  Why? I don’t know.  This drives me absolutely crazy.  I’m done with food journalling.  I have done this enough to know that it has created more paranoia than it is doing good now.  I kept a food journal in the past and came across: apples, eggs, dairy, gluten (and wheat), oats, and highly processed sugary foods all causing me problems.  I’m still stumped about something in ketchup bothering me.  I had my doctor tell me not to eat beans.  My advice is do not take dietary advice from your good ol’ GP.  They don’t know what they are talking about.  Beans are full of fibre that my body can digest.  I’ve realized that I know what I can and cannot eat.  It is no longer a major whodunnit mystery.  It is not scary or overwhelming.  IBS has forced me to expand my food horizons and discover the blandness and boredom that can come from a western diet.  I look at doughnuts and discover my insides cringing.  I would rather starve then eat a muffin.  I cannot describe the week long agony I would be in if I ate that effing muffin.  It’s then, when I could no longer look ate the food I used to enjoy, that I discovered a desire to focus on how to work with food and my body.  I am slowly recovering.  It has not been an easy journey and I doubt being a nursing student will make it easier.  But I have so much to look forward to every day that I am not sick, every day that I wake up without some weird food hangover, every day my pants fit like normal pants, and every day I can focus on my life without the slow onset of IBS creeping up behind me.

Remember to inform yourself and never give up.

– Emm

Fridays’ GNT and PB bar

After a long work week I always need to unwind. I do this with a good ol’ GNT.  It’s tasty, simple, and refreshing.  But I also need a tasty treat to go along with my drink. I have discovered a really yummy peanut butter bar recipe. My first attempt at making these bars was successful and my boyfriend loves them. But, like most foods this recipe needed some dietary tweaks.  The recipe calls for oats which are gluten free. I tried a wheat-free brand of oats and still found I was having digestive issues. Let’s face it…oats are out. Just avoid them like the plague. Even if it was an intolerance it was still unbearable. Like most recipes I decided to make it “Me” friendly. Get used to doing this on a regular basis.

Here is the revamped Digestion Impaired Peanut Butter Snack Bar:

pb pic

INGREDIENTS:
1. cocao butter (after melting and letting this type of butter cool it will return to its’ original solid state. This will help keep the bar from crumbling apart and it’s not gooey)
2. almond milk (plain)
3. brown sugar or Sucanat
4. peanut butter
5. vanilla extract
6. crispy rice cereal
7. chocolote chips (allergen free)
8.  margarine
9. flaxseed, milled (use this for a better nutritional content and it’s a great fibre source)

DIRECTIONS:

Line an 8-by-8-inch (or a 9-by-inch pan for thinner bars; I used an 8×8) with wax paper, leaving overhang. Spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine:

– 1/4 cup cocoa butter
– 1/2 cup almond milk
– 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar (more sugar tastes better but I found 1/2 cup is adequate)

and heat to melt over medium heat, stirring until smooth and combined. Allow mixture to come to a boil and then allow it to boil fairly rapidly for about 90 seconds, stirring frequently so it doesn’t bubble over or scorch.

Turn off the heat and add:

– 1 cup peanut butter

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

and stir until combined. Stir in:

– 3-4 cups of rice cereal
– 3 Tbsp of flaxseed

and transfer mixture to prepared pan. Smooth it into an even, flat layer with a spatula, pressing firmly to compact the mixture.

Optional, drizzle with chocolate. Melt:

– 1/4 cup chips
– 1 teaspoon margarine

in a small microwave-safe bowl in 10-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth. Do not overheat or it may scorch. I find 15-30 seconds will suffice. Drizzle melted mixture over the bars.

Place pan in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or until bars have set fully. Leave bars on wax paper and lift the wax paper out of the pan and place on cutting board to slice.

Slice any way you would like. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store them in a large freezer bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Indulge and enjoy,

Emm

My introduction to raw food veganism

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I met up with my buddy over some tea and a snack at a local cafe in Victoria, B.C.  Cafe Bliss, unbeknownst to me, introduced me to raw food. I thought it was just vegan but it is so much more.  I chose this place because I wanted to eat somewhere and not get sick … Continue reading