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IBS Success

Throughout my teens, I had a poor but manageable tolerance for wheat and dairy. It wasn’t until I entered my 20’s did these foods (and others) become a real problem.

The progressive nature of my IBS made me question what was causing it to become slowly worse. I’m sure it was related to the increasing amounts of responsibilities and stressors accumulating in my life, and the poor dietary and lifestyle choices that come as a result.

When I reached 25, I was dragging my body around like a corpse due to the ongoing reactions to food. I was depressed, and my anxiety was more severe than ever. I had always considered myself ‘healthy’. I played a lot of sports and exercised 5 times a week. Even despite the exercise, I felt like a shell of a human being.

I had half heartedly read and researched about anxiety and IBS, but never really acted on this information. I was 25 and living a miserable existence – something had to change!

I decided to start really digging into some research online. My degree was heavily based in scientific research, so I started to search for the root causes of IBS. I found an undeniable link between mental health and digestive health, which informed my path over the next couple of years of my life.

It’s all very well having the information about what I should do, but actually doing it was a different story. Where to start!?

Following the discoveries of what was causing my IBS, I trained as a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, in order to manage my lifestyle effectively. This was a truly transformative year. I began to develop a deep level of self awareness – how I eat, sleep, think, feel, move, rest, interact – how I was living. Some of these elements of my life were very imbalanced and they needed some TLC.

I gradually sought to address what was causing my symptoms by listening to my new found intuition.

I applied nutritional therapy

  • Through doing an elimination diet, I tracked and removed inflammatory foods.
  • I researched and applied gut healing foods and supplements to address the physiological imbalances underpinning IBS.
  • Controlled portion sizes. Time restricted feeding. Digestive practices to increase digestive efficiency.

I became a master of my habits

  • Sufficient, quality sleep.
  • Time amongst nature at least 2x a week.
  • A creative hobby.
  • An active hobby.
  • Time with friends and animals.
  • Daily Yoga to release physical and emotional tension and blocks.
  • Meditation to calm the nervous system – Body; Mind. This also helped me bring a sense of mindfulness to everything that I did – How I did things, and how I could do them differently.

Finding the root causes of stress

There is no doubt that IBS is greatly influenced by stress. But, stress is a very broad term given to highly individual experiences of it. I was told to reduce stress – what does that even mean?

Stress can be anything from a troubling memory to a limiting belief. My anxiety which has existed since I was very young, was caused by troubling memories and stacked beneath irrational fears and false and negative beliefs about myself and about the world.

Through my meditative & yoga practice, and cognitive behavioral therapy, I began to unearth these fears, beliefs and memories – a spiritual detox. Letting go of these things undoubtably releases the tension within the mind and thus the body. Our digestion depends on the harmony within our minds. Holding on to fear, to negativity all inhibits the contractions and secretions of the digestive system! It’s no wonder it’s so hard to tolerate foods.

By bringing a greater awareness and mindfulness to my life, detoxifying the body (with targeted nutrition), and the mind (with introspection and spiritual growth) – I no longer suffer digestive distress and my anxiety is better than it has even been in my life.

There is a solution out there, but it’s not the same for everybody. Your solution is in the way you live – how you live.

We all have different life histories, different experiences and unique genetics. There can be no miracle cure or silver bullet answer. Your body, your fears, your beliefs, your memories are your own. Find your way by developing a deeper connection with yourself.

I continue my work as a Health Coach, assisting those with IBS in managing their lifestyles, brining awareness to how they live and mastering their habits.

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


  • galbrai2
    2 years ago

    Hi Rory, can you talk more about the “gut healing” foods that helped you?

  • Rory181 author
    1 year ago

    Sure, although I used a lot of trial and error to find the right ones that suited me. They might affect all of us differently. However, I think the safest and most ubiquitously helpful are:

    1) Fresh Ginger root – in teas, smoothies, stews
    2) Fresh Turmeric root (combine with high fat foods and black pepper to vastly increase bioavailability) – smoothies, stews, stir frys
    3)Cannabidiol – CBD Oil – one of the most powerful regulators of inflammation, intestinal barrier function and high antioxidant activity.
    4) A good quality Omega 3 supplement – I Emphasise good quality here. Again very important for cellular regeneration, and mood regulation (got me through Dep + Anx).
    5) L – Glutamine – gut cells love this amino acid for a primary fuel source for growth.
    6) Home Made Organic Bone Broth – loads of collagen which is another essential component for healing the intestinal barrier.
    7) Edible mushrooms like Shiitake and white button – helps restore antibodies like SIgA back into the mucous membrane of the gut lining.
    8) A good plant protein supplement like hemp protein – a full spectrum amino acid profile which helps to support the growth of the mucous protecting the gut wall.
    9) Ashwagandha and other adaptogenic herbs to reduce hormonal messages of stress. High cortisol = low antibody production (SIgA).
    10) I personally used a ketogenic diet because I was unable to deal with starchy foods and grains. I included organic land animals for high quality protein (your needs for nitrogen tend to be increased when healing gut). Fresh, line caught fish from local fishmonger – small, oily fish like mackerel, sardines (low in heavy metals and bioaccumulated toxins). Shellfish like Muscles.
    11) A high quality full spectrum probiotic – Bio Kult
    12) Fermented foods like Sauerkraut, kombucha, Kimchi, pickles and in very small progressive amounts, kefir (fermented dairy) – new colonisation of probiotic bacteria.
    13) Ghee – clarified butter – very very low lactose content if at all – and an incredibly good source of butyric acid – another fuel source for gut cells to heal.
    14) Organic Berries – Incredibly high in antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory and great source of cellulose + Lignins for growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
    15) An array of colourful, organic plants – mostly leafy greens, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, squashes, tomatoes, lettuce etc.
    16) Nuts and seeds sparingly – but soaked them to decrease any aggravation from lectins and other proteins which may aggravate GI tract and interfere with nutrient absorption.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Rory,

    What an amazing life change you’ve made! It’s so great to hear about success stories like this. As you’ve thoroughly explained above, there are so many factors which impact one’s struggle with IBS, and it takes a lot of effort to pinpoint them. I hope this story inspires others to investigate all aspects of their lifestyle in order to make positive changes in their journey with IBS. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    Take care,
    Chris, Team Member

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