Living with Intolerances

Growing up I wasn’t a fussy eater, in fact I was probably a strange child because I can remember always enjoying my vegetables and fruit. But fast forward to my mid-twenties and that all changed as I started to suffer with crippling IBS symptoms.

I’ve always enjoyed my food, perhaps a little too much at times, with rich Italian dishes, spicy Asian cuisine and thick creamy desserts being top of my favourites lists. When Paul and I started going out we would head out for tea and never pause to think about whether or not it might make me unwell after and in all honesty I cannot remember when I started with my IBS. I guess I just did.

I hate that term ‘IBS’, I’ve always felt that it’s a generic blanket label that is handed out on a far to regular basis with little attempt then made to get to the root cause. I can remember going to the doctors and telling them what was then happening to me on a regular basis; the bloating, the pain, the general feeling that my stomach was about to spontaneously combust within me and melt me into oblivion. 

I was of course greeted by a rouse of ‘it’s IBS’ and told to maybe try reducing the amount of yeast and wheat in my diet. Back then I wasn’t particularly health conscious and I think this is where it all began for me as I started to take more notice of what I ate and what it did to me.

A process of elimination and self education helped me to identify what was causing my symptoms; lactose. Essentially I am a Hedgehog (this won’t make sense unless you have seen the Lactofree ads) and I do not produce enough of the Lactase enzyme to break down the sugars that are naturally found in Cow’s milk products. 

But I’m not allergic to it and that is what people don’t understand about intolerances, if I do have something containing Cow’s milk it won’t kill me, it won’t hospitalise me but it could make me very uncomfortable, a little unwell and nauseous even or it might have no impact on me at all because my body can tolerate a certain amount of it.

Having intolerances has enabled me to learn so much about my body; I know now how to listen to it and how to manage symptoms when they come on. I’ve been able identify certain food groups to avoid and reduce the chances of future ‘episodes’ making life much easier when we go out, people might think that ordering the plain chicken dish with vegetables is boring but at least I know that I will be able to enjoy my night if I do as opposed to at home with a hot water bottle.

I understand that people who don’t have intolerances have no need to understand them, but those that do have them know them inside out and believe me you can trust their instincts.

I know this post has been a little more personal than most on here, but I really wanted to touch on the subject to spread a little awareness. From speaking to others with intolerances it seems that a common bugbear is being questioned about whether or not they have an intolerance or just fussy and if you can take one thing away from this post I hope it is this; a slice of pizza may have no effect on me at all but I know a whole pizza will. I know my body, do you know yours?

I’d love to hear your stories below – what intolerances do you guys have? Share your stories below and I’ll catch up with you again soon, until then though x

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