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I Took My IBS on Holiday to Italy, Ate All the Gluten and Thrived

A few years ago I did what you shouldn’t do when you have IBS and cut gluten from my diet. It used to trigger certain symptoms, like cramps and bloating, and it got to a point where it wasn’t worth eating it. I had a blood test for celiacs and after a negative result I decided to take my own actions. Which now, I wouldn’t recommend because it’s extremely hard to re-introduce something once you’ve cut it out.

I’ve been wanting to for a while and did try while in the re-introduction phase of the low-FODMAP diet but didn’t manage to get past one slice of bread. So I gave up for a bit. More recently I’ve started gradually building up, eating sourdough like it’s going out of fashion.

But the things I really missed were pasta and pizza. My two main weaknesses in the food world.

Throwing caution to the wind

I’d booked a surprise holiday for my husband and I to Sardinia, Italy, for a week in September and saw this as the optimum chance to dig in. After all, I couldn’t go all the way to Italy and not sample the dishes they’re known for, that’d be plain rude.

So, throwing caution to the wind, I dug in, in a big way.

I ate daily slices of focaccia, pasta laced with tomato sauce and anchovies, silky spaghetti strands covered in pesto, a giant pizza topped with ham, mushrooms, artichokes and olives, and a sandwich which was basically half a loaf of bread filled with ham. And that’s just for starters.

When I say I hit gluten hard, I wasn’t joking.

The best bit was, I was so carefree on holiday, my IBS didn’t even factor. Not even a whiff of a cramp or any diarrhea.

I can just be

You see, for me, when I’m on holiday, I’m 100% carefree. The pressures of everyday life don’t apply. I have no stress, no anxiety and no worries. I can relax. I can do absolutely nothing but watch the waves caress the sand for hours and be content. I don’t feel like I have to be doing something productive with my time. I can just be.

And that shift in my mind-set is reflected in my gut. There’s a reason it’s called your second brain.

I don’t bother myself with assessing where all the loos are, should I need to use one urgently. I don’t care if my morning chocolate croissant has more dairy then my body is used to. I don’t even consider whether that second portion of pasta may tip me over the edge.

Bring on the gluten

It’s freeing. My shoulders feel lighter when on holiday. I give in to having a bit of what I fancy. I shrug off any potential consequences. My body responds by behaving itself, proving that my mood is a massive factor in how my body feels and reacts.

When I’m holiday, my IBS isn’t an issue. Now it’s about how I apply that attitude to myself when I’m at home, back in the real world.

I say, bring on the gluten.

How’s your IBS when you holiday?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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