Sadly, more than a few of us can identify. Medical professionals are quick with their colonoscopies and endoscopies, and then, when nothing is found, fall back on the old ‘it’s all in your imagination’ line; an approach that leaves us with years in pain, and an overwhelming sense of futility as we cut out food after food from our diets, in the hope that THIS time, THIS food, THIS supplement will work.
What’s too often lacking is a clear understanding of exactly what causes out gastro-intestinal woes (and believe me, it’s not in your head!), along with how gut health impacts our lives, and how we can (Yes! We can!) begin to heal. Which is why Aliki Economides and Irini Hadjisavva, founders of Nicosia’s Digestive Nutrition Clinic, have released the life-changing, gut-healing, Stop Bloating and Heal Your Gut.
A Biologist and Clinical Dietitian Nutritionist registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the States, 48-year-old Aliki has more than 20 years of clinical experience. Her colleague, 43-year-old Dr Irini Hadjisavva, is a Molecular and Cellular Biologist with a passion for digestive health, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Both have spent much of their careers working abroad, but returned to Cyprus in their late twenties to pursue their careers related to nutrition and science. And both – unlike the unsympathetic medics you’ve visited in the past! – have their own, very real, gastric distress/success stories.
“My struggle with bloating started years back when I was living in Boston,” says Aliki. “I had just had a baby, I was wrapping up my master’s degree, and applying for a very competitive dietetic internship when I was diagnosed with functional bloating; the pain,” she continues, “was having such a negative effect on my life.”
Irini, meanwhile, was diagnosed with IBS at the age of 27. “I visited a gastroenterologist at George Washington University Hospital after a rough few months of bloating, intestinal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. During a high-stress period of writing my PhD thesis, it seemed that all of the symptoms I’d had since childhood had worsened and were inhibiting normal life.” After endless tests, Irini was instructed to remove all the usual suspects from her diet. “I practically went through the next decade eliminating and adding foods, and yet still undergoing bouts of pain, bloating and diarrhea three or four times a week.”
Both eventually called time on their suffering, and began to use their own expertise to find a solution. And find it they did. In fact, so well has their solution worked, that they’re sharing it with the world, in the newly-released Stop Bloating and Heal Your Gut.
A quick word here, for anyone who is feeling a little sceptical. This isn’t a miracle cure. Instead, it’s a very accessible, thoroughly researched and incredibly well-written guide to healing what many medics are now beginning to realise is one of our body’s most important systems…
For years, the gut was pretty much ignored. While liver and kidneys and brain got more than their fair share of research, the gut just sat there – quietly doing its thing – until recent research proved that gut bacteria play a crucial role in human health, supplying essential nutrients, synthesising certain vitamins, aiding digestion, and promoting angiogenesis and enteric nerve function. Unfortunately, thanks to antibiotics, stress, ageing, bad dietary habits, and the wrong sort of lifestyle, gut issues are becoming increasingly common across the world, and causing all sorts of issues for our entire body. If your gut biome is out of whack, you could be looking at a nasty cocktail of chronic illnesses – inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, cancer, and autism to name a few. There’s even a well-proven gut-brain link, which suggests that an unhealthy gut is linked to anxiety, depression and any number of other mental conditions.
Heal Your Gut takes us through the lot, and then provides us with a clear, efficacious strategy for healing. The book begins with a simple, clear description of how your gut actually works: a nicely accessible account of the various symptoms of gut imbalance (including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, dark stools, anaemia, and fever); takes a look at a number of conditions which may be to blame, including bile acid malabsorption, thyroid issues, food intolerances and sensitivities, leaky gut, and endometriosis; and suggests the test your doctor should perform to ascertain what might be ailing you.
Then, in Section 1, the authors walk us through the various cases of abdominal bloating and distention. “All the information is evidence-based and backed by science,” we’re assured. “Use this book to facilitate communication with your doctor and dietician, as it will equip you with ample knowledge on various possible causes, mechanisms, tests and procedures.”
Section 2 helps us connect the dots between an imbalanced gut microbiome and its impact upon our health, and to understand the link between a low-fibre, processed diet and an increased risk of certain diseases. And this is where Aliki and Irini bring their expert knowledge to bear, introducing us to the low FODMAP diet (a scientifically proven way to control bloating and manage digestive symptoms), helping us learn how to implement its protocols, and teaching us about their own, successful clean FODMAP diet which focuses on unprocessed, healthy and high-fibre ingredients, mainly from the Mediterranean region.
In the final section, the book looks at tested meal plans, menu ideas, and 101 healthy, gut-friendly, Mediterranean influenced low FODMAP recipes, putting us on the path to a pain-free existence.
Providing us with the knowledge, strategies, and recipes to combat gut issues, Heal Your Gut is the ultimate guide for anyone who’s ever wondered if pain, bloating, sundry digestive issues, and the consequent loss of quality of life will be all they have to look forward to in the future.
“Every day we hear similar stories, and witness how gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation hinder people’s lives,” say the authors. “We fully understand that this struggle is real and that sufferers like us deserve support. Likewise, we acknowledge that this pain from which we all suffer is not a figment of our imaginations; it is palpable and can be a true detriment to our day to day lives.
“As digestive health professionals, we are on a mission to spread the word on the low FODMAP diet and its positive effects on digestive health,” they conclude. “After many years, we can confidently say that we have a solution to control our bloating, manage our digestive symptoms, heal our gut and optimise our digestive health.”
Together, Aliki and Irini have succeeded in finding a workable, scientifically-proven solution to the gastric issues which plague so many of us. They’ve researched everything you need to know. And they’ve written about it – giving us the answers we so desperately need. And if any of this resonates, don’t hesitate – you need to Stop Bloating and Heal Your Gut!
Stop Bloating and Heal Your Gut by Aliki Economides MS RDN and Irini Hadjisavva PhD is available from Public, Soloneion, Parga, Kyriakou and Agrotis bookshops at a cost of €27. An eBook and print-on-demand version will also be available within the next few months from amazon.com. For more information on The Digestive Nutrition Clinic (which includes a host of resources and recipes for those suffering from digestive issues) visit http://www.digestivenc.com/