Harriet here, otherwise known as @glutenfreehd on Instagram, and a proud Foodsake ambassador! I’m so grateful to work with such a wonderful business that holds the same values as I do and that looks so support the free from community. I personally have been IBS diagnosed for 2 years, and have an abundance of ‘up in the air’ diagnoses, you know the same old “it might be stress”, “it’s probably an intolerance, keep a food diary”, “have you tried peppermint capsules” blah blah blah.
My journey started in 2016/17, I was 18 and what with doing my A Levels, having the usual young adult stresses, being a dedicated dancer and working a job on the side, it was certainly exhausting. However, I realised that every time I ate I would feel ill, having to lie down after family meals, having my head between my knees at lunchtime and dreading any meal outs. Confused and anxious, I saw the doctor who demanded blood tests, which I had done; they came back clear. No Coeliac disease, no diabetes – my iron was low but anyone can guess that just by looking at me. What next? ‘Eat slowly, drink water, take Buscopan and avoid too much salt and sugar’.....
Once at university, accustomed to the feeling of constant nausea and stomach ache, I did not treat my body like a temple…alcohol, takeaways, pasta, pizza, caffeine - you name it. So, understandably, my body was not appreciative of this and began it’s first real IBS flare up. Well I was convinced I had food poisoning, or a bug for a while, but after about 6 weeks of symptoms and a couple of doctors trips they finally said, it’s IBS. So, from then on, I kept a food diary (gluten and dairy seem to be my triggers), took my various medication and stumbled across the free from community online and thank goodness I did. I made an account on Instagram to document the foods I was eating, get recommendations from other people and have conservations with individuals just like me. This is where I bumped into Foodsake which offered me so many opportunities!
During the last few years the free from community has helped me so much. I’ve been to several events, become part of groups, been welcomed to a whole new world of food and have been able to help others; this has most certainly helped me cope with my illness, as well as the support from my friends and family.
Fast forward to February this year, several IBS flare ups and lots of trial and error later, I had my worst IBS flare up. I was making gluten-free vegan pancakes with my friends, ate a bit more than a should, had the usual pregnant looking belly then went to bed; from that day on for 7 weeks I was horrendously ill. 3 or 4 different prescriptions at once, a few calls to 111, 5 or 6 Drs consultation, hospital trips and days at home bed bound. I’m doing okay now, but the worst thing is the unknown! IBS is such debilitating condition, but to many its invisible or trivial not receiving enough research or medical attention at all, and during the midst of a pandemic I was obviously not a priority for the NHS which made recovery quite challenging.
For now, it’s trial and (mostly) error, avoiding my triggers and looking after my body. Luckily Foodsake have supported me throughout this journey and provide a wealth of food that is allergen friendly and delicious. Sending love to the free from community, we’re in this together!