The Sugar Tax Screwed Me Over

The Sugar Tax Screwed Me Over!

Ok, ok that might seem a little dramatic but hear me out. The new sugar tax introduced in the UK in April got a lot of kickback, some accused it of targeting lower-income households, others saw it as a side step from bigger issues that the government should be dealing with. But there was one thing that I didn’t see mentioned and it’s about poop…stay with me here.

So I’ve had IBS for years now as part of Fibromyalgia and it’s fine, I know what makes my stomach freak out (goodbye American Cheese) and I don’t eat it. I know how to manage cramps and most of the time I know my body and the signals well enough to try and help myself before it gets too bad. I’ve been living well and not had too much trouble for the past 2 years. But what does this have to do with the Sugar Tax?

When the tax came in it meant that in particular sugary drinks were put at a higher rate to curb obesity. Sounds good? Not really. Because of this a lot of places switched out to diet or sugar-free substitutes. These substitutes contain Aspartame. Back when I initially got diagnosed with IBS and was cutting out foods that made me ill diet drinks were the first thing to go. Now, because of the sugar tax,  whenever I want to go out with friends I have to be careful that full fat isn’t substituted.

Is it the biggest problem in the world? No, but it can ruin a good time. Not only do I have to check, I’m also paying more for a reason I can’t help. A recent example I found was when ordering Cocktails. As a money saving tactic pubs and bars have been using sugar-free alternatives and not making it clear. I absolutely dread having to try and explain to them why I do need full fat and can definitely tell when someone thinks I’m lying!

I completely understand what the logic behind the tax was, even though I do agree with critics that it will only impact those on a lower income, but that’s a whole different blog post. This is just something I’ve noticed and partially serves as a warning to those of you who might have more sensitive stomachs.

Do you have IBS, has the Sugar Tax been a pain for you too? Let me know in the comments below!

IBS Awareness Month 2017

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The month of April is for IBS awareness. IBS means Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the NHS website states that:

‘Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.’

So, it’s not the more pleasant thing to talk about it can be incredibly painful and frustrating waiting for a diagnosis. I had problems with my stomach for a large chunk of my childhood and teenage years. It got to the point that my Mum always had some of the medicine in the cupboard for a rough night. I dealt with it and got on with it.

Later, whilst I was in university I kept getting sick. I had weeks where I couldn’t eat and was weak. It was like a recurrent stomach bug but it always came back. After a lot of tests, scans and a hospital admission  I finally received my diagnoses of IBS.

It is from this I received advice from my doctor about my diet and, surprisingly, a lot of friends stepped forward to offer their stories, their diagnoses. With the help of some medications, I began to live with any ups and downs I have a normal life. I go to work, see friends and deal with it. I’m quite lucky in the fact that I can often get a sense that a flare-up is coming on a good day. If course there are days where I am in pain or bloated, where I curse my own body.

You get to learn about what your body and cannot take, what will make your bowels angry for me it’s alcohol, rich foods or a lot of fast food. I know that I can’t have too much of these things or sometimes any at all. I know that I need to have some clothes to wear that are loose fitting incase I am bloated.

It is possible to live life with IBS. Yes there are hiccups, I know to be careful whenever I got away and am not used to the food but as with any condition you live and learn.

 

Stress and Our Bodies!

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Now this isn’t the first time I’ve written about stress on this blog and I was pretty hesitant to write tonight with the fear of seeming like I’m moaning or one of those people who just drones on about how stressful their life is. BUT. I’ve realised lately, particularly through the lovely Twitter community that unless we talk about these things they won’t get better.

I’ve been reading again lately about mindfulness and CBT (which I’ve already been taught to do and helps me along). All I’ve heard lately from my peers is how stressed, exhausted and teary eyed we’ve all been because of the upcoming deadlines. A lot of people I know have been getting sick, not sleeping, random bouts of tears or having panic attacks. It got me thinking about stress and how much it can have an impact on people’s bodies and why we still won’t talk about it and just accept it as part of our daily lives.

Once again I’ve been tucked up in bed and had a sleepless night because my body has reacted badly to academic stress. This is roughly the third time I’ve been this poorly. The first was the year I was sitting my GCSE’s I was very poorly all year from a combination of my undiagnosed depression and stress from my classes and bullying. The second time was the run up to the big deadlines for my BTEC and A Levels. During my final (and most important) exam I spent the night up with sickness and a bad headache, and the proceeded to throw up in my exam…not my best moment. This time, of course it’s related to being in third year, and like my final year of school I’ve been poorly for most of the academic year.

I’m never usually this poorly when it comes to other types of stress. Working two jobs? Awesome. Keeping my house good at the same time? Done. But submitting essays and assignments is a whole different level of stress, even though I enjoy it and when I’m done I’m so proud. I’m getting better at trying to manage how the stress and how it affects my body but I do have a condition that’s hard to manage. It’s been proven that anxiety and IBS go hand in hand, which isn’t good news to me as my diagnoses is only a month old and I’m learning a lot fast in a highly stressful time in my life.

I guess what I’m trying to say (and I am writing this on only a few hours sleep) is that we need to realise that stress is a trigger for a lot of health problems and we need to recognise it. Over the summer I’m planning to look into mindfulness as a way to try and tackle my anxiety and therefore my IBS as well as carrying on to consider my diet, which plays a HUGE part in IBS.

I’m also trying to remember that the last 2 times I got sick and worried and cried a lot over my perfectionism in relation to grades (which may I add is only put on by myself, no one else puts pressure on me at all) it all turned out ok. I got really good results in my GCSE’s and my A Levels. I’m just trying to remind myself through all this that it’s been ok in the past and that I’m doing the best I can physically and mentally do right now and I guess that’s all I can do.

 

As always I’d love to hear from you guys, how to do react to stress? Do you have any tips for me? Leave a comment below!

IBS Diagnoses

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As most of you know, since December I’ve had some problems with my health that have kept coming back, it’s not the best time for it to happen especially as it kicked off just before the first lot of my assignments were due. For the past 4 months I’ve continued to have problems and so a load of tests, one IV drip and a lot of medication later, I finally have a diagnosis, IBS, which means irritable bowel syndrome. Basically your insides aren’t very happy and take it out on the way you go to the toilet, which can be incredibly painful and there isn’t really a cure.

So, you might be wondering why I’m sharing my toilet habits with the world, because we shouldn’t be embarrassed. I get it, talking about your bodily functions isn’t always pleasant, especially when it means not being able to leave the toilet for a few day, but it’s actually quite a common problem. I’ve always had these issues, I have been this sick with it since I was at school and there’s a common factor that makes me so poorly, stress. Being in my third year at university has meant I’ve been on high levels of stress since October last year, that much exposure to stress, and some problems in my personal life have made me sick. That  said, now I know what’s going on and I have the right medication to help with my symptoms I should be able to live a relatively active and normal life, as well as knowing when to look after myself.

Like the mental health, IBS is an invisible illness that is very real for the sufferer. So, I’m being honest about it, just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it can’t be crippling. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have a full life, I’ve proven that I already can and now that I have the diagnoses, some medication and the right guidance on how to manage it, I think I’m going to do just fine.