Hello fellow bloaters,
Welcome to There She Bloats: The Sensitivity Kitchen. I started this blog because I love food, healthy food that doesn’t lack in flavour, keeps me full and most importantly, keeps me feeling well. After years of being bloated, fatigued and ill, I finally got some answers. As a result, I am now on the journey to a potato free, refined sugar free, candida friendly, mostly gluten free lifestyle. I recently completed a Certificate in Nutrition and Health so I can ensure that despite having to cut out certain foods, I still maintain a healthy, balanced diet. After sharing lots of my ideas on social media, I have set up this blog so that like-minded people can find healthy, delicious recipes, whether they have sensitivities or not and can gain knowledge, understanding and advice about nutrition. I also have a busy lifestyle, a low budget and I started off with little background in cooking so I hope that I can show you all that anyone can change their lifestyle and get on the path to a happy, healthy them. I hope you enjoy what you find here and I would love to hear from you.
Have a happy bloat free day,
Love, Hannah xx
“Let food be the medicine”
I have suffered from IBS symptoms for as long as I can remember and once I hit teenage years, the bloating really started to affect the way I viewed my body. One exceptionally low point was during a trip to London with University. I was on the tube back to the hotel after visiting China Town and from the carb overload, I was so bloated that someone offered me their seat, thinking that I was pregnant. Tragic right! But also incredibly funny!
Anyway, for years I’ve tried to avoid trigger foods, then got lazy and just put up with all the symptoms, feeling ill constantly…oh and the tiredness! I have gone through a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia because of the sheer amount of fatigue I suffered. I’ve felt conscious, I’ve felt fat, I’ve let it affect relationships and I’ve probably let it take over in far too many areas of my life.
Well that all changed in June 2015 when my friend dragged me to the gym (something I’ve quit multiple times over the years) and I fell in love with the world of weights and getting lean. This is when I began a ‘Clean Eating’ routine. Now there’s lots of definitions of what clean eating is but to me, it is cooking everything with fresh ingredients where possible, from scratch, with no processed foods. Naturally, I ate less carbs, so that meant less gluten, less sugary foods and ate a diet rich in protein and vegetables. All the symptoms disappeared! My stomach was flat and I had bundles of energy. Then in March 2016 I met my partner! A partner who, despite also being a gym nut, likes to eat junk food, eats puddings daily and doesn’t like many vegetables. And guess what, I crumbled and started eating more of it as the months went on.
When we got back from a holiday in August 2016, after four months of eating like a ‘normal’ human being, my body really had had enough. I had gone from being quite toned to being questioned about the size of my bloated belly again. I was exhausted to the point I would have burn out in the evenings and would need to rest all weekend. I had migraines, nausea, digestive problems, joint pain, concentration and memory problems, and the WORST mood swings daily. As you can imagine, my partner had started wondering where that lovely, happy, energetic girlfriend of his had gone.
In October I was tested for diabetes, anaemia and god knows what else-all clear. I then saw a different doctor who suggested gluten. I was angry that for years I had suffered, been misdiagnosed and palmed off by numerous doctors, all for something as small as a food intolerance. Gluten is something that has always caused me to bloat so it was no surprise, but that one thought from that doctor, who was surprised I had never been tested before, started the beginning of a journey of understanding food sensitivity. After 3 weeks of force feeding myself gluten under doctors’ orders, my blood was tested and the conclusion was Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). So, I cut all gluten out of my life, and started experimenting with gluten free baking. This was incredibly hard as an avid doughnut lover and did I cry over wanting a Krispy Kreme-Yes I did! But I was getting better. It wasn’t over yet though.
Symptoms started coming back again after a month of being gluten free. Worse! I had all the above and I was gaining weight despite eating very healthily. So, after a recommendation from a friend, in December, I visited a Homeopath for Allergy Testing. There she concluded I had a Candida overgrowth and that meant NO REFINED SUGAR and NO YEAST. She didn’t pick up a gluten intolerance but yeast does feature in a lot of gluten products and the jury is still out on non-yeast containing gluten products. I’m also allergic to potatoes, oranges, strawberries and coffee.
Turns out I was making myself worse by eating gluten free products as the majority use a potato flour-woops!
Trying to give up sugar has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and I will be the first to hold my hands up and say I slip up from time to time and have treats. When eating strictly, cocktails or Prosecco at the weekend, are my one vice and I have not been able to give that up. But I’ve found that eating right 95% of the time has really helped.
One day, I hope to have cut it all out completely but being only a couple of months into this journey, I am proud of how far I have come. My symptoms are decreasing, I’m losing weight and I’m feeling happier. I started recording my ideas through social media and setting this blog up allows me to share my ideas and my journey along the way, turning a negative into a positive. It’s been lovely to hear that people have enjoyed my recipes and I hope that I can continue to do this and show that you can eat healthily, on a budget, from fresh ingredients as part of your everyday routine.
Busy lifestyle, Little time, Little budget
By day, I am a qualified primary school teacher who left the classroom 8 months ago to run a business in supply education. As a teacher, I worked 15 hours a day, racking up 60-70 hours a week. I gymed for a further two hours a day, 7 days a week and started clean eating. As someone who was new to cooking anything more than shoving something in the oven, this was time consuming. With the demands of the job combined with the illness from unknown food allergies, I understandably went through a burnout.
Little has changed in regards to work commitments. Running a growing business means that I start at 7am and finish at 6pm, plus I personal tutor. As a result, I now work 55 hours a week, finishing at lunch on a Saturday. However, educating myself on exercise and nutrition, means that I now gym three times a week for 45 minutes and I’ve cut my cooking time to mostly 30mins.
Trying to eat well whilst having a busy lifestyle is a massive challenge but it’s not unachievable. All my weekday recipes have a short preparation and cooking time but don’t scrimp on flavour and quality. I also have the added issue of being skint and having very little to spend on food. Most recipes/books/diet plans you see, are EXPENSIVE! As a result, many find this another barrier to eating healthier. All my recipes are done on an average of £30 weekly budget between the two of us and in the past I have spent £15 a week on food. It’s all about creativity.
“Its not a short term diet, It’s a long term lifestyle change”
There She Bloats is all about enjoying what you eat regardless of allergies, wanting to lose weight or just be a healthier you. My recipes are adaptable to your own tastes and requirements and I will always try to make suggestions on adaptions where possible. Although I personally eat around 1200-1500 calories a day, this does not mean that this would suit everyone. Part of a healthy lifestyle is being able to make changes to your diet that are achievable for life. You should feel full, you don’t have to live on shakes or eat bland food but instead will find a new appreciation for even the most basic of ingredients. I am realistic and despite my intolerances, I sometimes slip and treat myself to things I shouldn’t. I eat out at restaurants (not always easy), I drink with my friends and I have days where I pig out. But it’s me that has to deal with the consequences. I therefore don’t preach, I understand and I try to support people as best as I can to find something that suits them.
I eat the way I do because I want to be the best version of me and for me, I feel that cooking from fresh, natural ingredients and making everything myself is the best way to do this. If any of you ever want to ask about how recipes can be altered to you, or any advice on nutrition, weight management or allergies, I am always happy to help.
I hope you enjoy reading and thank you for visiting xx