By EVA BOTANY.
It was the most beautiful night.
A friend’s dinner party – full of love, laughter and the kind of conversation that can only be managed when there are seven girls all crowded around one very small table.
And of course, there was food. We gorged on spaghetti, freshly baked bread, luscious salads and a gorgeously light chocolate mousse to top it all off.
Driving home, I was feeling pretty great – full, but happy – and I was waiting patiently in traffic, singing along to my iPod.
And then I felt it.
The slow, dull ache taking up residence in my stomach and lower intestines. The bloating of my stomach. The pain of the gas building up inside my body.
I was dangerously close to tears. Not because of the pain – I was used to the pain.
I was crying because Irritable Bowel Syndrome had ruined yet another evening for me.
IBS is the kind of syndrome where it feels like no one knows what is wrong with you.
IBS can cause bloating, gas, stomach pains, constipation and the all-too-unpleasant diahorrea. It also makes me too scared to leave the house. You never want to go anywhere unless you know that there’s a bathroom in very close proximity. Car trips are almost completely out of the question.
With my doctor’s guidance, I tried a whole lot of things to help with my IBS – or at least improve my gut health so that I could go back to living the same life as all my 22-year-old friends.
Lactose was the first thing to go. I cut all of it out of my diet – but when that failed to make much of a change, I also cut out gluten.
If you’re wondering what is left to eat when gluten and lactose are cut… there are really not a lot of possibilities in my opinion. Going out to dinner was a nightmare. Rice, chicken and vegetables essentially became the staple items of my diet.
I started keeping a strict food diary, but it didn’t show any patterns. Sure, stomach upsets often happened after I ate cheese, but they were also aggravated by sushi and apples and doughnuts and dumplings and everything else you can imagine.