How I deal with my IBS symptoms naturally..

I've suffered with IBS for years now and when I first started suffering I did not understand my triggers and would just take endless supplies of tablets and antacids to try and soothe the tummy issues. But as I have been reading more and more about the side effects of taking tablets and the benefits of a holistic approach, I decided to go cold turkey and work out alternatives. I didn't know what were in the tablets and if I didn't know what was in them, I certainly didn't want to keep putting them in my body.

My first step was to obviously keep a track of my diet, what was causing my IBS to flare up and if I can cut them out or at least cut down. My main triggers are:

  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Gravy/Stock
  • Too many starchy foods, e.g. bread. 
  • Stress
So with that settled I started cutting these pesky things out of my diets. Surprisingly easier than you think, that was until Christmas came! Chocolate's everywhere, gravy with all the turkey and bread with bacon sandwiches! Looking back, the pain was awful, but I wouldn't have traded it in to not have eaten these, it just wouldn't have been Christmas! 
It was only quite recently I worked out that stress is a trigger. I had my first Nutrition exam last week and the day before I was doing some last minute revision, and my stomach was in knots, I felt nauseous and I had cramps. Amazingly, as soon as the exam was over, I felt so much better! 

My absolute saviour has to be peppermint tea... I know everyone (including me) goes on about how amazing this tea leaf actually is, but until you've tried it and discovered the benefits, your missing out. It helps to relax your stomach muscles and relieves the spasms. Also, it you have cramping in your stomach, nothing will be more helpful than the good old fashioned hot water bottle. If the peppermint tea doesn't help, it will at least make you more comfortable. 

I used to follow the advice of eating 3 big meals a day to try and get through the day. But I found that having a huge meal doesn't sit nice on my stomach. Not only does a big meal make you feel lethargic, but it sits heavy on your stomach and makes the digestive system work overtime, leaving chaos. So stick to eating smaller, more regular meals. 
Cutting down on artificial sweeteners. Some sweeteners have a laxative effect on the gut, so just to stay away from them all together is the best idea. I always find that when I added things like honey to my porridge or sugar in my tea, I get bad symptoms, so they've gone completely! 
When it comes to stress triggers, I would recommend discovering the power of yoga, meditation or just some light exercise. Anything which will help you to unwind and focus more on your breathing, rather than your stress. 

I hope this helps! 

Love Lucy xoxo

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