Let’s not beat around the bush here, food is confusing, carbs are confusing, and losing weight isn’t easy at all. I thought I would take a different approach and write a blog post aimed for people who suffer with any kind of daily bloating, gluten sensitivity, IBS or suffer from IBD like myself. I have included some tips which have helped me along the way, but stress I am not a nutritionist or doctor so always get a second opinion.
I have received lots of different opinions with regard to my health and was always told a high fibre diet was good for me.. which unfortunately was misleading. Don’t get me wrong, it is all well and good for those capable of digesting food like normal intestines should, however for people who have a ‘food baby’ more than they had hoped, keep reading. I feel this is also quite topical as the rise in obesity/type II diabetes is increasing by a frightening amount.
In my opinion, the most important factors to understand when reducing ‘’the bloat’’ include the glycemic index (GI), gluten and fibre.
- Glycemic Index
A glycemic index, more commonly known as low GI foods is something I adhere to on a daily basis. Carbohydrates are ranked from 0-100 according to their effect on our blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are absorbed and digested slowly, therefore slowly releases Glucose during the day. High GI foods cause an insulin spike in our blood levels. This spike causes the liver to store fat as glycogen, but let’s not get too into the science behind this. There are a number of Low GI Foods which I include in my diet and highly recommend;
- Rolled oats
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
I have not included brown/whole wheat breads here as I am not able to eat these with my condition. Some symptoms of coeliac disease/ gluten intolerance are very similar to ulcerative colitis and therefore I will generalise my recommendations here.
High GI foods I would avoid include:
- Table sugar
- White bread/bagels
- Sugary cereals
- Soft drinks/Sodas
- White rice
Not only will a low GI diet help you burn fat, you will see a major increase in energy levels also. If you do consume High GI foods, make sure to eat them after waking up, as your body has been in ‘’famine’’ for around 7 hours. Also, if you are taking too much whey protein (which I do at times) and find it is causing a significant bloat, try switching to casein for a little while as it does not spike insulin levels as much as whey. Ideally, a person should be taking in both whey and casein daily from their diet to aid protein synthesis and slow protein breakdown, however timing is key so research this.
Although some complex carbs fall into high GI, the only way to know what works best for you is trial and error.
I’m sure you all have noticed how popular gluten-free diets have become, but have you ever asked what is gluten? Gluten is proteins found in grains such as wheat, spelt and barley. I do not practice a 100% gluten free diet, but I try reducing gluten intake as much as I possibly can. Gluten can cause the body to initiate an immune response on the intestine in coeliac disease patients, similar to that of UC disease. Gluten intolerance causes symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence. People suffering from irritable bowel disease will also show discomfort and pain when eating food containing gluten.
Avoid foods with gluten such as; beer, pastas, cereal, sauces, crisps, pizza and fries.
Fibre is the most controversial on the list. Why? Because patients with IBS are told to have a high fibre diet, while patients with IBD are told to have a low fibre diet. Based on family and friends with IBS, I would advise a low fibre diet if you do suffer from pain and swelling of the abdomen after eating. If you do have a disorder remember all of my advice should be overlooked by a physician. Anywaaaaay, I always have a low fibre diet and believe me when I say the pain is real if I do not follow this.
I will begin with Foods to avoid;
- Green vegetables are hard to digest (Broccoli, Spinach, Kale (unfort), Brussel sprouts
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat/whole grain breads
- Be aware of certain spices
When in doubt, Drink peppermint tea!
These conditions can all be brought on by stress. Try to relax and do something you love once a day. Try to exercise, whether it is walking, yoga, or weight lifting. Increasing activity will also aid a better and undisrupted night sleep. Take a bubble bath, light some candles, do whatever needs to be done.
I can also guarantee most readers do not drink enough water. To be honest, the world should add a reminder to their phone.. DRINK WATER NOW. We need 6-8 glasses a day, and that isn’t taking into account extra water loss from activity. Also alternate between green teas as this boosts metabolism.
Sometimes diet isn’t enough to aid symptoms of irritable bowel. Mild medications are available to soothe discomfort and reduce bloating. Discuss further with your medic J
Specifically For Ulcerative Colitis Sufferers <3
- It is recommended to avoid certain lactose-containing products, which is why I have almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk. It is also lower in calories too! Be careful though, get your calcium from yoghurt, feta cheese or supplements-(do not rely on these).
- Alcohol causes a flare in ulcerative colitis disease patients and will run down the immune system & increase symptoms such as mouth ulcers and bleeding. Try to avoid as much as possible.
- A low residual diet goes along way after a bout of steroids and a serious flare. This involves refined foods, well cooked vegetables, fish etc. It’s pretty bland but definitely aids recovery time.
- Take probiotics daily. This ensures your bowel has the healthy flora it requires and boosts your system against infections of the colon.
- Sleep is essential for improving and immunity. Try to get 7-9 hours per night.
- Iron supplements shouldn’t be taken by UC patients as it cannot be properly absorbed by the intestine. Try eating foods high in iron, as well as iron transfusions if anaemia is v. bad.
Any questions on above info please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also I advise anyone to overlook the above info with a GP if in any doubt as diets and symptoms differ for each patient.
Much love, Olivia xxx