So said my husband a couple of weeks ago. He has struggled with IBS related symptoms for longer than I’ve known him. But 3 kids later, we seems to be making some progress!
So what’s changed?
About 2 years ago I decided that as the chief cook, I needed to understand what was going on with his body better. He seemed to have problems with dairy, lots of wheat/ gluten, any chemicals in food, alcohol. He wasn’t sleeping well and had sinus infection after sinus infection. It wasn’t fun being him, and it wasn’t that much fun being his wife! (Usually it is great : ) )
So I began to research how the body’s digestive system is supposed to work, what can go wrong, what the mechanics of a food allergy are, what a food sensitivity is, might there be a better diet for him? We have made practical changes along the way. In fact we are still making changes. Cooking through the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is partly to encourage me to keep making these changes.
The major changes we have introduced are:
Butter, and lots of it. Having a dairy sensitivity meant that we used to use a lot of ‘Pure’ dairy free margarine spread. However, discovering the existence of goat butter was a revelation to us, as my husband is generally fine with dairy from goats and sheep. He was delighted to be able to eat butter again, and he would get through a pack a week! Interestingly, this cleared up unexplained bumps that he had had on his forehead for at least five years. The doctor had diagnosed these as Rosacea.
Sauerkraut and plenty of yoghurt. We have basically tried to introduce as much fermented or cultured food into our diet as we can. We are not particularly imaginative with this. We buy sauerkraut, sheep yoghurt and have successully had a go at making fermented carrots and ginger. We actually enjoy these foods, but we have primarily eaten them as probiotics, to help maintain/ restore good gut bacteria.
Sourdough bread. There was a point where I started to make the majority of our bread with the help of a bread machine. Then I kept reading about how grain should be soaked, sprouted or soured and I thought I would have a go at making sourdough bread. So I nurtured my jar of bubbling starter and hey presto, we have been a sourdough family ever since. He loves the bread I make and it has made a noticeable difference to how his stomach feels. It is a bit of a fiddle to keep on top of the starter/ sponge/ bread but it really only involves a couple of minutes in the morning and evening. At one point he was going to take over the bread making mantle. Hmm… I may need to remind him of that one!
Broth. I try to sneak broth into family food wherever possible. We are not eating that much over summer but we had a lot of soups and casseroles over the winter and hopefully these did his body good! Using homemade broth has also had the good effect of cutting out stock cubes and gravy powder. As he tends to be very sensitive to MSG I assume this has helped.
Porridge instead of muesli. This has been the most recent change, and it has been made with a somewhat heavy heart as he doesn’t really like porridge that much. However, I have been suggesting for a while that he may feel better with soaked porridge rather than muesli for breakfast. Recently he tried switching and once again he says that (regrettably) he does feel better. We try to do more creative breakfasts on the weekend.
I’m sure there are other changes we have made, and we will do more fine tuning. However, we are so encouraged that there really have been changes to how he feels! It does make us feel like we are on the right track. If you are struggling with stomach discomfort please do know that there is hope!