Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is not necessarily the most charming sounding syndrome you could have, but I encourage the 25 million Americans of you out there with it to embrace it as glamorously as I tried to.
Naturally, as I was being diagnosed with IBS, I had to be cool with talking about my bowels. This sounds silly, but when you’re going to numerous doctors and having those potentially awkward chats, you learn to just embrace it. Honestly, the awkwardness seems to just vanish. This could be my optimistic persona telling myself it no longer became awkward, but I like to think that confidence is all you need, even if its being confident with your own dysfunctional bowels. If you asked my friends, they may say I’m all-too-nonchalant about the workings of my intestines but I believe that these things should be talked about and not hidden for fear of embarrassment.
All this taken into account, once I found out I could no longer eat many of the foods I was cooking with I turned to food blogs. Spoon University is (of course) one of them. Rather than limit myself to the foods I could eat, I thought “why not make this fun and start working with all the potential new foods out there I could cook with?”
So a few months after my I learned I had IBS I became a self proclaimed “foodie.” Honestly, before this I thought “foodies” were the type of sorority girl who maybe Instagrams her avocado toast every now and again. As the Community Manager of St Andrews Spoon, I can tell this is most certainly not the role of a “foodie,” and especially not of a Spoon foodie.
Embracing my IBS and using it to spark my new passion for food helped me to view my flawed bowels as a “blessing in disguise,” so to speak. I learned how to actually cook and not just make omelettes and yogurt parfaits, my usual (lame) specialties. I experimented more with the foods I knew would not upset my stomach and learned how to avoid all those pernicious foods I couldn’t eat, like the ever dreaded red pepper.
I also learned how social eating and cooking can be, and the ways that food brings people together. It’s not until you form a relationship, good or bad, with food that you notice how many facets of life it plays such a huge part in. Using food to bond with others, and form fantastic new ventures, like Spoon University, has shown me just how versatile and incredible food can be.
Thanks to my IBS I have found my passion for food and all things related to the food and drink industry. I like to think that had I not been diagnosed I maybe would have never come to this realisation and found such a happy place in cooking and participating in Spoon University.
So I encourage anyone with an abnormality, and lets be honest, that’s almost all of us, to embrace it and use it to spark something new. Don’t dwell on those persnickety foods that you can’t eat and love the foods you can eat and what you can do with those. Sweet potatoes and onions, pssht I don’t need you anyways. I’m better without you.