A health blogger has revealed her struggle with a debilitating digestive disorder that nearly killed her.
Bethany Ugarte, 28, from California, revealed on her blog Lilsipper, that she has dealt with digestive issues for most of her adult life and first started experiencing gut health issues when she was 15.
‘My symptoms weren’t just gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea,’ she wrote. ‘They were BAD. I wasn’t digesting food properly, everything I ate was being eliminated whole (AKA: I wasn’t able to absorb the nutrients), I kept vomiting and burping up a sulfur smell (like rotten eggs), and my brain got “foggy”.
Problem: Bethany Ugarte, 28, from California has revealed details about her debilitating IBS on her blog, pictured left in November 2015 and right, in November 2016
Disbelief: The former marketing executive says that at her worst in 2015, she was unable to digest food and anything she ate was ‘eliminated whole’ but doctors didn’t believe her
Cure: Bethany turned to a holistic doctor she worked with in the past to heal her gut and says he kicked her butt into gear in just nine months
‘Yes, I would bloat and be uncomfortable, but that was the least of my problems.’
Formerly head of marketing for vegan meat company, Vege USA, Bethany’s condition forced her to resign from job due to the busy corporate lifestyle.
During this time she shared that her marriage broke down, she had the shingles twice, suffered from depression and was also diagnosed with a yeast overgrowth, that left her nearly dead, all before the age of 25.
Having been turned away by doctors that ‘didn’t believe me’, it was only when she went back to a holistic doctor she had worked with in the past that she was able to manage her condition.
She explained: ‘Ever since I was 15 years old I worked with a holistic doctor and he reminded me of all the things we used to do years ago and I was a little embarrassed that I “went off track”.
‘He kicked my but back into gear and in nine months I felt like a new person. My digestion was healed, my crohns/IBS wasn’t as bad, and I was able to digest and absorb more nutrients again.’
Her diet is now free from gluten, peanuts, refined sugars, and artificial sugars including stevia.
And while she still has tummy upsets and bloating, Bethany has also revealed that to prevent flair ups and bloating, she follows several steps for good gut health.
Fresh foods are her number one recommendation and she advocates avoiding anything that has been processed or comes in a box.
She wrote: ‘If you want bread, you make it. If you want milk, you make it!
‘I know it sounds extreme, but it only has to be for a while to help calm things down, as preservatives can stir up things – and if there’s less than 19% of a chemical/ingredient in a food, by regulations it’s not required to list it in the ingredients!’
Trauma: Bethany had to deal with her marriage breaking down during her illness and also suffered from depression (pictured left in 2015) but now aged 28 (right) is in a better place
Tips: Bethany credits a healthy diet with helping her repair her gut and now avoids raw veggies, stevia and probiotics, and eating honey before every meal
Trigger: Bethany says stress was the biggest trigger for flair ups (left) but she now (right) takes 30 minutes every day to ‘de-stress’
Oh baby: Bethany also swears by pureeing food, and says she does this to help her digestion
She also avoids eating raw vegetables as they are harder to digest and has eliminated dairy from her diet with the exception of plain Greek yogurt or cultured dairy products such as kefir, as they contain enzymes which are beneficial to the gut.
Bone broth is another items she swears by as the collagen and gelatin are easy to digest and give ‘tons of protein’.
Bethany also says that pureeing food can help ease digestive issues and she also recommends avoiding certain things that are believed to be healthy like probiotics and stevia.
She now swears by a daily dose of L-Glutamine to help repair her stomach lining and a spoon of raw or manuka honey before every meal to stimulate ‘digestive juices’ and prepare her stomach for the meal ahead.
Her top tip? Avoiding stress.
‘I was always stressing about the pain and my stomach, what’s going to trigger a flair, etc. but stress really does aggravate the stomach,’ she revealed.
‘Try to take 30 minutes every day to just “de-stress”, whatever that is for you. Make a list of things you enjoy doing (be selfish!) and make a goal to do at least one of those things a day.’