Where it all started
I have struggled with a bad stomach since I was a little girl, I used to be a somewhat shy child and found that in social situations I would often develop a tummy ache and the route of this was always confusing to my ever patient and nurturing mother. She tried many ways to help but in those days knowledge and research about gut health and also the link between gut health and mental health was almost unheard of and certainly not supported in a doctor's surgery.
I remember going to see my GP in my early teens with my mother by my side and this particular GP mentioned something that I had never heard of, IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Of course this is now a relatively common diagnosis but at that time my GP said that doctors were unable to officially diagnose people with IBS because it was yet to be recognised as an actual condition as there were no conclusive tests for such a condition. Fast forward 24 years and the world is finally recognising not just IBS but many other gut health conditions that have a massive impact on the quality of our life.
But it seems as though it’s just the tip of the tip of the Iceberg as more and more research is being carried out not just on gut health but on the silent link between that and our mental health.
Think of your gut as your second brain, your brain in your head controls your vital functions, your cognitive function. But your gut - your second brain is believed to control your Enteric Nervous System - ENS. Your ENS isn’t thought likely to be able to control thoughts but it communicates back and forth with our brain. In a nutshell, if you're experiencing discomfort with your gut - be it I.B.S or another form of bad gut health, it would explain why after your second brain then delivers this news back to your first brain you end up with some form of anxiety or even depression. In layman's terms- your gut and your head speak to each other and they tell it like it is! So if one feels bad it's likely the other one will too.
I spent most of my teens, 20’s and 30’s trying to find out more, trying to find different ways to make a difference to my gut health, my anxiety and my continual weight fluctuation. I have seen many health care professionals, holistic and traditional, read copious books but none of them ever seemed to truly give me the freedom I so desired from this all consuming discomfort and mental fatigue.
The light bulb moment
About 6 years ago I came across an article about a new “diet” that was all the rage in America, it was called keto. It was being suggested that it was the new Atkins diet but much better, it named all the top celebs who were raving about how much easier it was for them to watch their weight on keto and still enjoy so many of the foods like I really loved -
ding ding ding, and the winner is keto!
At that point in my life I was still desperate to try and lose the last of my baby weight (two kids later and no more planned) and if I’m very honest my focus had purely shifted to how I looked over how I felt, I was exercising way too much and way too hard and I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I might have looked slim at this point but I looked drained as well.
So that was that, I started Keto as per the article's instructions and instantly started to notice my weight was under control without over exercising, and at the start of keto your energy levels can drop before they rise again and therefore I couldn't do too much anyway. Then I realised my gut health was radically different, I was gobsmacked!
I started to use tracking apps obsessively to make sure I stuck within my app generated macros, it was time consuming and in the end I was never very satisfied with the amount I was eating which meant the novelty had started to wear off - BUT I couldn't lose this new amazing way to fix my gut health either. So I deleted the tracking apps, and started working with how I felt and how my body was functioning and that was the biggest turning point.
I've spent the last few years developing my own way of doing keto or even low carb at times, it's a Keto that fits into your life without taking over your life, with easy recipes that are tasty and satisfying, that keep the I.B.S, weight gain, anxiety and hormone imbalance at bay. I also believe that working on your mindset is one of the most powerful tools, but that’s another story.
This might sound like a cliche but its definitely not a "diet" its 1 million % my way of life, I will never turn back.
Ps, This is a pic of me when I was little with my beautiful Mumma when my tummy aches began xx