Overnight Oats: Dairy Free & Delicious

overnight oats,

I struggle with breakfast, not least because I’m diabetic and have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (more on what that means for me here). 

A diabetic-friendly breakfast isn’t actually too hard to come up with. When you have major food restrictions due to IBS it narrows your choice. I am dairy free and I don’t do well with cereal or bread (at all). So that’s cereal out, toast out… it’s pretty damn limiting.

I’ve spent years eating things like eggs and vegetables for breakfast and while I’m ok with that, it gets a bit boring at times. I’ve tried porridge with soya milk but didn’t find it at all satisfying and it gave me horrific indigestion, so I’ve never revisited it.

At the end of last year I had the opportunity to speak to a dietician because I was miserable, hungry and needed some help with my diabetes. I have to tell you, she was a wonder. She recommended the Calories and Carbs book which has made a big difference, she helped introduce some new foods to my diet, she  worked to deprogramme me of everything slimming groups have taught me and gave some ideas for breakfast.

One idea was to make up my own breakfast muesli etc, something I am considering. One was to retry oats but with yogurt. Honestly, I wasn’t convinced but ever the optimist I gave it a go and this morning enjoyed a brilliant breakfast of overnight oats with Alpro Coconut Yogurt, raspberries and blueberries. Oh my days, it was delicious and incredibly filling. I ate half of the amount pictured and have saved the rest for tomorrow, assuming it stands up to the test of time in the fridge and is still as nice tomorrow.

What’s more, it was a grab and go breakfast. One of the more annoying things about being diabetic and having to be careful with certain foods for other reasons is that grabbing something quickly may be a little harder. We all know that convenience foods are often packed with rubbish but when a quick sandwich or bowl of cereal is a no-go, it can be frustrating. This breakfast took a minute to prep the night before and was popped in the fridge. This morning I opened it up and ate. As quick and simple as that.

Now I’m an overnight oats convert I’m looking around and seeing numerous other overnight oats related recipes. What’s your favourite oats breakfast?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Pain in the Ass

irritable bowel syndrome

This month (April) is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is indeed a pain in the ass, often figuratively and literally. I thought I’d share a little about my IBS journey so far because awareness is all about hearing people’s experiences as well as facts and figures. For a more official breakdown of what IBS is, visit the NHS Irritable Bowel Syndrome info page here.

My Irritable Bowel Syndrome Journey

Years ago I visited my GP, rather concerned because I had been having symptoms, not very pleasant symptoms. At one point I was worried something sinister was going on as no-one should be spending that much time on the loo, surely? My GP talked things through with me and suggested an elimination diet. To cut a long and hungry story short, taking dairy out made a huge difference. Putting dairy back in was…. explosive. The general consensus was that I was lactose intolerant. 

Removing the dairy from my diet did indeed make a big difference and for a while things were manageable. Over time I found myself less able to tolerate other foods. Bread, beetroot, red onion, dairy and more all became no-go menu options. I went back and queried the lactose intolerant diagnosis. This time blood tests were done and it turns out, I’m not lactose intolerant.  By this time I had an inkling that my problems may be due to IBS however it was another year before this was confirmed and put onto my medical records.

I have since then spoken to an NHS dietician (I’m also diabetic so had the opportunity to discuss all the ways my body hates me to enjoy the food I love), have done some research and have managed to finally find my groove. I still have bouts, flare-ups and some fairly crappy times, however, generally speaking, touch wood and avoid food, I’m doing ok. 

What IBS Can or Has Meant For Me

  • Fierce and sudden diarrhoea.
  • Having to call my childminder and ask her to keep my youngest as I couldn’t get off the loo to collect him (this happened).
  • Calling my other half to pick the eldest up because I couldn’t get off the loo to collect him (yes, this too).
  • Looking 7 months pregnant with bloatedness and feeling very uncomfortable.
  • Spasms that feel like contractions.
  • Fierce constipation.
  • A very limited diet (eating out can be a pain).
  • Having reading materials in the bathroom because I’ve been known to spend a lot of time in there.
  • Gas, horribly painful gas.
  • Having to identify where the bathrooms are asap if you go out.
  • Having to cancel going out.
  • Stress may also trigger IBS symptoms, so that’s fun.
  • Haemorrhoids 
  • A unique perspective on which toilet roll brands really do put their all into customer satisfaction.

IBS is more than a mild annoyance; it can have a significant effect on your health and wellbeing. If you have any concerns speak to your GP, speak to a dietician and don’t be put off. Awareness is key to managing IBS and a little understanding from others goes a long way too.

If you have any top tips to share about keeping on top of your IBS please share.

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