The Story of Bay’s Kitchen: How struggles with IBS led to a line of low FODMAP products

In 2015, after three years of suffering with symptoms my pain and discomfort had reached a peak and I decided to take charge of my gut health and seek help from medical professionals. I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Discussions around IBS are often avoided due to the uncomfortable topic of the symptoms involved. At Bay’s Kitchen we always encourage speaking openly about IBS, this can help by reducing the stress of hiding symptoms. I found this one of the hardest things to overcome during my journey with IBS, but I am so glad that I have now opened up, not only to my friends and family but to the wider public about the daily struggles that I and others like myself deal with.

What is IBS and why should we be talking about it?

It is a common digestive condition with 1 in 5 people in the UK now suffering with IBS. That’s a huge amount of people. Everyone’s symptoms are different, but they commonly include bloating, cramping, wind, and changes in bowel habits. If it is not managed correctly, it can make day to day life incredibly difficult, which is what I found when I went to seek help. It can’t be cured but there are multiple ways that people can help to manage their IBS.

I was recommended to follow the Low FODMAP Diet, which is now recommended by most medical professionals to reduce the symptoms of IBS. At the time there was a lack of both information and food products that are suitable to be consumed whilst following the diet. Bay’s Kitchen was created to provide convenient and delicious food that is suitable for people to have on the diet with no worry of symptoms being triggered.

But what exactly is a FODMAP?

FODMAPs are present naturally in many foods and is an acronym for a group of short chain carbohydrates that trigger IBS symptoms due to being poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Foods that are high in FODMAPS, like onions and garlic, ferment in the gut resulting in unpleasant symptoms for IBS sufferers. FODMAPs are also present in artificial sweeteners, used in a lot of processed convenience foods, which many people don’t realise. A research team at the Monash University (Australia) found that a diet that reduced FODMAPs can help to improve and maintain IBS.

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How does the Low FODMAP Diet work?

The diet works by following these three phases:

Elimination.

This is the most difficult phase due to the restriction involved. It should last around 4-6 weeks and all moderate/high FODMAP foods are avoided. This should cause a dramatic improvement in your symptoms.

Reintroduction.

This phase can be particularly scary due to reintroducing potential triggers into your diet. However, this is really important to find out what you can tolerate and at what quantities so that you can continue to avoid consuming your trigger foods.

Continuation

The diet doesn’t end there. By continuing following the diet, consuming the foods that were successfully reintroduced and avoiding the FODMAPs that you’ve found you cannot tolerate you can continue to improve and maintain your IBS long term.

I found that this diet was instrumental in improving my IBS alongside a change in lifestyle factors like stress. Along with myself, the diet is proven to reduce symptoms (even eliminating them for some) in more than 75% of the people who follow it. Although this diet can be incredibly effective, we always encourage you to talk to a health professional before beginning your low FODMAP journey as this is not suitable for everyone. It’s also important to remember that with restrictive diets you need to ensure you are consuming all the nutrients and minerals that your body needs. We strongly recommend speaking to a dietitian to help you plan your meals. Sticking to the time scales detailed in the diet plan are incredibly important due to how restrictive the elimination phase is. Eliminating food for longer than the recommended 4-6 weeks can change the microbiome in your gut and cause more problems. Therefore, no matter how scary reintroduction seems, you need to follow through with each phase of the diet.

Bay’s Kitchen is here to help:

We make award-winning low FODMAP, gluten free and dairy free food products that are top quality and amazing tasting so that you can enjoy a quick and worry-free meal. Currently, we make sauces, soups, gravies and stocks (most of which are also Vegan) and we have more products coming your way soon. All of our products are sent for FODMAP Friendly Food Certification, so you know that it is safe for you to eat, creating a convenient go-to food that won’t trigger your symptoms. We also provide support for your journey with the Low FODMAP Diet and IBS by constantly posting blogs, recipes and information on our website and social media. Selling through WellEasy was really important for us due to their missions and motivations. We have always wanted to help people through our business, and this is exactly what WellEasy are doing, by providing healthier food options at lower prices to increase the accessibility of healthier options and brands. What an amazing thing to get involved in, how could we say no?

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