By Angela Privin
Being diagnosed with an “incurable” health condition when I was 28 years-old, was a low point in my life. I had constipation dominant-IBS and my doctors had nothing but bad news for me.
Because most doctors say IBS is incurable, it discourages people from finding natural solutions. But I’m very rebellious, so I set out alone on a journey to cure myself.
It took me years, but I finally succeeded in eradicating all my IBS symptoms and reversing my food intolerances. Now I help others do the same at www.diyhealthblog.com
When I was diagnosed with IBS I lived in New York City and worked as a financial journalist. Healing became the new focus of my life and I moved to San Francisco to access a calmer environment and lots of alternative medicine.
After moving, I spent years trying different diets and treatments to end my bloating, heartburn, gas, gut pain, fatigue, and constipation.
I did multi-week digestive cleanses that I found online (thanks to Dr. Google). I worked with a naturopath for many months, but he turned out to be inept. I educated myself on nutrition and dabbled in Eastern medicine such as Ayurveda (from India) and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I took herbs, did Ayurvedic treatments, and had regular acupuncture treatments. I studied the benefits of an alkaline, raw food diet and did that for a while. I tried colonics, energy healers and bodywork, but nothing seemed to work.
When I was just about to give up, I met a nutritionist at a meditation workshop. After talking to her I had a feeling that this time it was going to be different.
I worked with her for a year and healed my gut with a low carb, high protein diet, some supplements and plenty of rest. It took discipline but it wasn’t rocket science and most importantly, it worked.…miraculously!
My symptoms subsided in the first two weeks and after a year I didn’t recognize my own body.
I was at a healthy weight, my depression was gone, I had lots of energy and I could eat and drink whatever I wanted (lattes and grilled cheese sandwiches) without any symptoms. I went to the bathroom regularly without any drama or discomfort.
Also, my immune system developed Superhero powers. My seasonal allergies were gone and I no longer caught the all flu or colds that went around.
I’ve been IBS-free for 8 years and have proved that IBS is not incurable, just a bit tough to figure out.
My message to others suffering with IBS is this: You can do it too, and without any pharmaceuticals!
The body is designed to heal and rebalance itself, as long as we stop throwing wrenches into the process by eating the wrong foods or never slowing down. With support, the digestive system can heal itself and become better than new.
Support means removing irritating foods for 6 months to a year and adding in healing foods, supplements and restful habits.
Also, dealing with toxic emotions can help speed up the healing process and will generally improve your life. But you can still have an anxious personality type AND a healthy gut. I’m living proof.
After my year of boot camp healing, my body was now balanced and here’s how I kept it that way for the next 8 years without being on any kind of restricted diet:
Cooking at home: Home cooking is a million times healthier than eating out. Restaurants use cheap, low quality ingredients and add extra fat, sugar and salt to hide it. You can eat out occasionally but cooking at home will keep you healthier. If you are not experienced with cooking, don’t worry, it gets easier with experience. Check out www.diyhealthblog.com for some cooking help and recipe ideas.
Probiotics plus: Probiotics are getting more popular for digestive healing, but popping a daily probiotic supplement is not the full answer. Choosing a high quality supplement is important but adding probiotic food and drinks such as kombucha, kefir, plain yogurt, sauer kraut, or miso is very helpful. And you can increase the effect of probiotics by reducing or cutting out sugar.
Rest: Avoiding stress is almost impossible but learning to balance the negative effects of stress is much easier. Getting enough sleep and taking at least 15 or 20 minutes out of your day to quiet and restore your body can balance the effects of stress.
Watching TV does not count as rest. Restorative rest means unplugging from the world (as in doing nothing productive).
I rest by lying down on the floor with my feet elevated, an eye pillow over my eyes (optional) and a blanket for warmth. Just 15 minutes of this can rebalance the nervous system. You might feel antsy or like you’re wasting time as you do this, but you’re actually rebuilding your nervous system and increasing your tolerance to stress. Rest is crucial for healing digestion.
I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all cures for IBS, but there’s one thing that can help everyone. That’s reducing/eliminating simple carbohydrates like sugar, white bread, pasta, fruit juice, dried fruit, and alcohol. (fresh fruit is ok in moderation).
Sugar and high glycemic carbs tend to ferment in the gut when the digestive system is out of balance, which can lead to bloating and gas (that painful uncomfortable feeling you complain about)
If you want more support and inspiration for healing IBS naturally, visit www.diyhealthblog.com for more free tips.