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Pregnancy & IBS, Eliza’s Personal Journal

Eliza Sorman-Nillson, Editor at mybody+soul.com.au, lives with her husband and her 1-year-old boy at Sydney’s sunny Northern Beaches. At 18, Eliza was diagnosed with IBS and lactose intolerance. Foods high in fructose e.g fruits, honey, and confectionary would give her considerable bloating and stomach cramps. However, as she matured her IBS symptoms seemed to subside. As a natural consequence, she relaxed on her low fructose diet with no repercussions. It wasn’t until a frightful night’s rush to the emergency room while she was 10 weeks pregnant, with her second child, that Eliza discovered the severe reality of IBS.

Around 25 per cent of people in Australia have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a disorder affecting the digestive system causing stomach cramping, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS is usually lifelong and symptoms can last up to months at a time.

Eliza shared her deeply personal and honest story with about managing pregnancy and IBS with Table of Plenty. “I was 10 weeks pregnant and extremely bloated. I had been for days. I then woke up in the middle of the night with irregular pains and cramping so I called the hospital who recommended I come in straight away. I was rushed through to emergency, as they were worried I may have complications with my pregnancy. It was unbelievably scary. I was then given painkillers to ease my discomfort and underwent testing”.

Fortunately, the baby was “happy and healthy” however her pregnancy hormones were causing her gut and bowel to play up.

After a stressful night in the ER, Eliza was prescribed medication to help her stay regular. The ER doctor also advised her that she should immediately implement a strict low fructose diet.

Eliza added “My first thought was my baby and his needs. The doctor assured me that a low fructose diet was perfectly safe while pregnant and that my baby would receive the necessary nutrients if I was on a well-balanced diet. For so many years I ate low fructose foods, however, getting back into the swing of things was tough, a lot of on-the-go and flavour adding foods are really high in fructose like salad dressings, flavoured yogurt and cereal. Luckily, I found Nicely Nutty, a fruit and honey free Muesli that’s low in fructose. This instantly became my go-to breakfast and snack”.

Struggling to find foods that were both nourishing and satisfying, Eliza’s next step was seeking help.

Eliza’s enlisted the help of her sister Prue, a food scientist and fellow IBS sufferer. “She was great she gave me recipe ideas and created a food plan that worked around my busy week. The food was delicious and nourishing, I never felt like I was missing out. It was, and still is, challenging to eat out – but I am beginning to understand what I could and couldn’t order”.

After re-educating herself on low fructose and feeling the benefit and relief of virtually no IBS symptoms she realised she needed a plan, revealing “meal prepping was a lifesaver”.

“In the end, it comes down to making myself healthy to carry a baby (we’re sharing a blood supply after all) as well as being well enough and having the energy to look after a very busy toddler. Food can be the ultimate medicine – it really can change the way you feel”.

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Breakfast: Nicely Nutty Muesli Fruit and Honey Free and soy milk. Before IBS I would have added some berries or cut up fruit but Table of Plenty’s Muesli served with milk is crunchy and delicious with the right amount of sweetness.

Snack: Cut capsicum, cucumber or carrots with an IBS friendly dip. To keep me excited about this snack, I play around with different dips, at the movement, I am loving Babagnoush. Amazing. 

Lunch: Salad, a pasta or a curry. I have found that I am at my hungriest during lunch so I make sure I get a hearty helping of food. To add some extra protein and flavour to my lunches I sprinkle some Dukkah. My go to is the Lemon and Herb variety, because of the almonds.  

Afternoon tea: Kefir. For an extra crunch, I add Nicely Nutty Muesli on top of the Kefir. Honesty, Nicely Nutty Muesli with Kefir is a life changer. It has become a stable in my family cupboard.

Dinner: Fish, some sort of carb and vegetables. My dinners are often small; however, I am usually still satisfied from Lunch and Afternoon snack.

Dessert: Some chocolate every now and again. At the moment, Loving Earth’s Mint Chocolate and Table of Plenty’s Milk Chocolate Rice Cakes are my favourites.  

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