I have suffered from regular severe bloating over the past 5 years since my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) has worsened after I had stomach surgery (nissen fundoplication). I have tried numerous medications and diets over the years but have found nothing that has really done the trick in the long term. This has included me following a pretty strict Low FODMAP diet for 4 years, and while it took away some symptoms, I was still not happy with how I felt overall.
I started to transition to a mainly plant-based diet back in October 2018, for many personal reasons, but I also thought that I would get less or little bloating – boy was I wrong! I have been enjoying eating veggie/vegan and want to continue so in December I signed up for The Happy Gut course which I started on the 7th of January. I am only 1 week in but I can already see massive differences and the dishes are delicious!
P.S. I am not pregnant in this picture, just a bit bloated 😉
What is the The Happy Gut?
The Happy Gut Course involves a 6 week culinary plan, weekly educational videos, live Q&As with chefs and doctors, and a Facebook group to talk/share with others on the course. The plan is designed to ease the body into the transition to a whole foods plant based diet. Many people who switch to eating vegan over night complain from digestive issues such as severe bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. These symptoms do not occur because a vegan diet is bad for the body but because the switch can be a big shock to the digestive tract and so it is trying to cope to too many new foods and/or a larger quantity of fiber than usual.
A Low FODMAP diet is one low in fermentable carbohydrates (I’ll save you all the scientific detail – you can easily find the info online). These carbohydrates are healthy for our body however some individuals find them harder to digest than others, and when we eat a healthy plant-based diet the amount of fermentable carbohydrates consumed usually increases dramatically. On top of that, recent scientific research has shown that eating a whole foods plant-based is far better for our body as a whole, compared to a diet which includes meat and dairy on a regular basis. Therefore this course was designed to be both Low FODMAP and plant-based/vegan in order to ease the tummy and the gut into a new way.
The course is designed and run by the famous Irish chefs known as ‘The Happy Pear’, UK based Gastroenterologist Dr. Desmond, and an NHS Registered Dietitian Rosie Martin.
Who is the course designed for?
The course is not just designed for those who want to eat vegan. It is for anyone who would like to ‘reset’ or ‘refresh’ their gut microbiome, simply by eating healthy, tasty food. From speaking to the other members of the groups I feel there are many other with digestion issues like me, but also some who want to go vegan the right way, or just want to get healthier. There are people from all over the world – Ireland, Japan, the USA – it is great!
How can I join in?
The course officially started on the 7th Jan they are still accepting late comers because the plan is easy to follow and catch up on. I assume that they will launch a fresh course start again this year.
The overall principle is to transition to a whole food plant based diet in a slow way which allows you body to adapt to it’s new healthier fuel. The main foods we are reintroducing slowly are pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans, gluten and, fruits high in certain sugars. You can find lots of information about Low FODMAPs online but do note that it is advised that you speak to a dietitian before following the plan. So if you are already vegan and feel you have gut issues, consider reducing some of these foods and see how you feel, then slowly add them back in to your diet in larger quantities.
How am I finding the course?
I am loving the recipes so far – it has only been one week but I haven’t had a bad one yet.
There is a lot of food prep needed in order to stay on track and follow the plan to a T but I am used to big food preps so I am quite enjoying that part. My favourite recipe so far had been a Vietnamese Almond and Aubergine Curry… mmmmm. In terms of my gut, I am still bloated like I normally am but I know this can take a bout 2 weeks to go away (so fingers crossed!) ,but my business in the loo is proving positive 😉
Here’s to happy guts all round!
I will be updating @my_2050_ with some of my favourite recipes and how I am finding the course.
Find out more at http://www.happygutcourse.com
& follow these guys: @thehappypear @devongutdoctor