I’m a New Zealander living in Amsterdam who absolutely loves food but grew up with a tonne of tummy problems. For years they were put down to the ol’ IBS, and anyone who’s been given this diagnosis will understand it’s more than a little frustrating.
I turned down one doctor’s offer of medication, as I was unwilling to treat the symptoms but not the cause, and ignored a dietician who told me I’ll ‘grow out of it’. I followed a low-FODMAP diet for years, which helped to manage my symptoms but not to overcome them. It wasn’t until I met a Naturopathic Doctor and learned that I suffer from gut dysbiosis, a near complete lack of beneficial intestinal flora, that my gut-healing journey could truly begin.
And a journey it has been. It’s taken years of patience, discipline and struggle – and this blog is an outlet for that struggle. The erraticness of the site corresponds to my food history. One day I was eating something, the next day not (ask my friends who needed an updated list if they ever wanted to cook for me). I’ve been on countless elimination diets – some days I really did feel like I was ‘cooking with nothing’, with only a handful of foods on my allowed list. You’ll see some low-FODMAP recipes, for instance, even though it’s a diet to which I no longer prescribe. I do know that the regime has helped many people, though, and I was always eager to find new recipes while I was following it.
Nowadays, ‘cooking with nothing’ has come to mean something else. It’s about cooking with nothing that doesn’t serve me. After years of having to learn what’s seemingly wrong about a certain food, I can now focus on what’s right about it. As my gut has stabilized, I’ve moved towards a way of eating that’s whole food-oriented, seasonal, largely vegetarian and filled with fermented foods that feed good bacteria in the gut. This way, I can try to make sure my improved gut health stays that way.
While my main goal is to help others suffering from similar circumstances – but please remember, this is just my experience and yours may be completely different; do find a health professional to guide you on your journey – I hope that even those with impeccable digestion will enjoy the food to be found here.
Here’s to gut health!