Did you know that our lovely Lorraine had written a book on the bowels, based on her professional background as a dietitian and her personal experiences with her son Samir who has Crohn’s disease. I thought it would be interesting to read from the point of view of someone who has suffered with Irritable Bowel Disease and even though I now have had my large bowel, rectum and some of my small intestine removed; would I be able to recommend it honestly to others before they have surgery as an option? I would like to point out now that although Lorraine provided me with the book to read, she has in no way influenced my opinion of this book and all views are wholly my own.
The book starts with an overview of her Dad’s Ulcerative Colitis and Samir’s Crohn’s, she talks quite candidly about the events that leading up to diagnosis, the different things suggested by medical professionals and how it made her feel by being a bystander unable to help her youngest baby. Watching your child in pain is horrific and reading this gave me a bit of an insight on how it may have made my Mam feel; in fact in the same hospital and even under the same surgeon as Samir was although I am a fair bit older than him! There is several mentions of how an accident may have kick started his Crohn’s as the bowel is linked to many different organs in the body; now I don’t remember having an accident or incident myself, but as they have no idea what triggers IBD it wouldn’t surprise me if an accident could trigger the disease.
Lorraine talks about different diets that are all based on the same principle – stop the processed food! Eating less sugar, complex carbs and cooking more from scratch. This idea has been around for a long time and there has got to be a reason for that. With her background in dietetics she discusses what the benefits are for taking up the diets plus includes her owl meal plan she adapted from these. In the introduction she says:
I am not a guru – the definition being master, leader, guiding light, authority or sage – but just an educated mum (I have a degree in physiology and biochemistry and a postgraduate diploma in dietetics). A mum, who like any mum in the world, would do whatever she can to help her child. Never underestimate or stand in the path of a mother on a mission, especially when that mission involves helping alleviate the suffering of her sick child.
That statement I have quoted from the book sets the whole tone in my mind especially as a mother, and once being a chronically sick child to a long suffering mother. She isn’t trying to sell some fad diet that has no scientific standing behind it nor is she wanting to make a quick buck, as let’s face it the support wear company isn’t going out of business any time soon even though she wouldn’t care if it did in a heartbeat so long as people weren’t suffering with IBD and other related issues.
I have to admit there were several points within the book that got my blood boiling and they were mainly down to phrasing of things whether by Lorraine herself or her referencing some of the many books she has read to fuel her knowledge around the bowel which has obviously led to this book. I needed to put the book down and calm myself down before carrying on to understand that it wasn’t meant in derogatory contexts but in my personal opinion poor word choices or phrasing. For instance Ulcerative Colitis can’t be cured it is an incurable disease HOWEVER it can be put in remission and diet can help with this once you have learnt what your trigger foods are. Now the header is “Colitis Cured Through Diet”, yet it actually goes on later in the chapter to say remission and free of symptoms. There were other instances like this that once I had returned to a neutral emotional state I was able to see that headers and comments were not added to cause alarm, upset or false hope – that there was an explanation to follow. I know Lorraine personally and I know fine well she wouldn’t go out of her way to upset anyone just for the sake of it. If you want to know what else got me hot headed I suggest you read the book! However there were far more interesting and good parts of the book than negative.
On the whole this book was really good, the conversational tone made the more harder going science bits easier to *ahem* digest and not be utterly confused like can often happen when you aren’t scientifically minded (to an extent like me!) I definitely think that both patients and their families would get a lot out of this, not to mention Gastro doctors and other health care professionals. I found this book to be easy to read in fact I read it in about a day (even with the stroppy stopping!) if you feel you are at a loss then trying out the diets mentioned in the book may prove helpful, they also may not as we are unique and sadly our disease’s can be just as unique (hence limited cures for things) Diet wasn’t really mentioned to me growing up except you can eat all the dairy you want and not the veggies! It was the other way around for me although if I had known onion was my main trigger food from early on, my life may have been easier! But if this book was available then we would have given it a go!
If this has intrigued you to want to read “Better Bowels and Beyond” feel free to click here to buy your copy of the book.