3 Causes of IBS you need to check out

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 15 percent of the UK population and is the second only to the common cold as the leading cause of missed work. Conventional treatments often don’t work, as they’re addressing the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. This, of course, means that if you don’t know what’s causing your problems you’ll need to keep taking medication to get by on a daily basis.


As a sufferer of Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), I’ve been through the whole gamut of checking for leaky gut, is it histamine intolerance or coeliac or do I simply need to see a psychiatrist due to stress? You get the idea and I’m sure that you’ll have plenty more to add to this list.


My husband and I concluded that stress was not the underlying issue. I also decided that long-term medication was never the way forward. Why keep doing what you’re doing and hoping the outcome will change? Taking conventional treatments to suppress the symptoms whilst continuing life as before is surely a futile cycle doomed to fail.



Do you really want to spend the rest of your days taking anti-diarrhoeal drugs, anti-spasmodics, antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-histamines? You’re getting my anti-message here, I hope. Whilst I can’t argue against these drugs in their place, shouldn’t we be seeking the cause of the problem first? Add to this the fact that many of these medications come with their own set of side effects, such as gas and bloating, and you find yourself looking for a different solution.


That’s why I set about finding the underlying cause of my “IBS” and what better place to start than with the very stuff that has daily contact with your gut … FOOD. Food, food, food. That stuff that everyone needs and that can harm or heal. I look at food as medicine. Chosen wisely you can help bring your body back to health alongside your GP recommendations. Let’s hope you get to the stage that I have where your doctor says those lovely words, “I think you can come off that medication now”.


But how do you find the underlying causes of your IBS? And it is yours … this is a very individual disease … more of a syndrome really, in that there is usually a collection of symptoms with a number of possible causes.


So let’s take a look at the three that are often missed:

1.   Gut flora overgrown, disrupted or infected


It’s well known that if your gut flora are happy then you’ll be in better health.


There are broadly three key issues here:

  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth – SIBO), which is usually treated by antibiotics. Drugs such as rifaximin and neomycin are commonly used to treat this and do have a positive effect. But does the SIBO cause IBS or vice-versa?
  • Disrupted gut flora (dysbiosis) where the community of microbes in your gut is out of balance. Prebiotics and probiotics can be a great help if this is the cause. Many also find that a low FODMAP diet has some benefits. For more information see my blog FODMAPs made simple.
  • Gut infections: the gut is naturally resistant to infection due to the acid, which kills potential pathogens. However, modern lifestyle such as chronic stress, poor diet or acid-suppressing drugs all have a compromising effect on this defense system. For example, food poisoning by Campylobacter has been shown to lead to chronic IBS in as many as 10% of cases. Some parasites can also cause IBS.



2.   Leaky gut


One key role for the gastrointestinal tract is to keep pathogens, undigested food particles and bacterial toxins from entering the body. If these leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream and immune response is triggered causing persistent inflammation throughout the body. IBS is associated with an increase in gut permeability.


3.   Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and other food intolerances


NCGS is a reaction to gluten that is not autoimmune (coeliac disease) or allergic (wheat allergy). You’ll see the same symptoms … gas, bloating, abdominal pain, changes in stool frequency … as IBS. Also common to both NCGS and IBS are “brain fog” and chronic fatigue.


Both gluten and wheat sensitivity and other food intolerances are common contributors to IBS. Though these could be symptoms of other issues, such as SIBO.


The best way to check whether gluten is contributing to or causing your IBS is to talk to your doctor. Follow a simple elimination diet … avoid all gluten foods, then reintroduce them into the diet one by one. You’ll see fairly quickly whether there is need for further investigation.


A simple change in your diet can make great changes to your health. If you’ve been suffering enough to keep looking for solutions to your IBS, this could be the place to start.


There are plenty of gluten free recipes on our site http://www.mannavida.co.uk/recipes/

Our World Award winning bread kits are delicious, nutritious and simple to make. http://www.mannavida.co.uk/products/ Gluten free doesn’t need to be difficult or tasteless.

Subscribe to our newsletter www.mannavida.co.uk to receive updates and information on things that can help your IBS symptoms.

Things To Make With Leftover Bread

Things To Make With Leftover Bread

Our bread and mixes are smashing (if we do say so ourselves!) … they’ve won 11 medals so far in The World Bread Awards (2014 and 2015) and our super Focaccia was overall winner in October 2015 (gluten free category). So you’d expect that no one would be left with old MannaVida bread. It does happen sometimes though and I’ve been known to make more especially to create some of the recipes on this page. 

Here’s how to make a whole bundle of lovely things that satisfy your cravings without too much effort … and you’ll always know that you’re eating healthy and yummy food.


1. Breadcrumbs

DIY breadcrumbs are super easy to make and always useful to have on hand. Simply chod up the old bread (it grates better when it’s a bit on the dry side … pop it in a low oven (about 150°C) stick it through your gratey food processor, pop in a Ziploc and freeze. You can take a handful whenever you want to share breaded fish or chicken, make all sorts of inexpensive meals … just look at the pics below to find a whole bundle of ways to feed yourself and your family, gluten free


2. Croutons

Croutons are the perfect accompaniment to soups & salads. Plus, you won't believe how easy they are to make at home. Tear stale bread into chunks (cut it if you prefer neat cubes … I like the rustic look), massage with smashed garlic and olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven at 180°C for 5 to 10 minutes until golden and crispy. This works well with all our breads, but the garlic and rosemary focaccia has a particularly nice flavour. You can zhuzh it up with things from your cupboard … add a sprinkling of rosemary, thyme or ground black pepper to the oil before coating the bread.

Enjoy with soups or salad.

3. Gazpacho

Click here for Recipe

4. Panzanella Salad

Click here for Recipe

5. French Onion Soup

Click here for Recipe

7. Bread Pudding

Click here for Recipe

8. Savoury bread pudding

Click here for Recipe

9. French Toast

French Toast.jpg

Click here for Recipe

13. Summer Pudding

summer pudding.jpg

Click here for Recipe

14. Chocolate bread parfait

Click here for Recipe

15. White gazpacho

Click here for Recipe

16. Chocolate bread pudding

Click here for Recipe

17. Easy Soufflé

Click here for Recipe

18. Easy Quiche

Click here for Recipe

20. Salmon Loaf

Click here for Recipe

21. Cinnamon Toasts

Click here for Recipe

22. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

grilled cheese sandwiches.jpg

Click here for Recipe Ideas

23. Bread Dumplings

Click here for Recipe

24. Bread and Butter Pudding




Some years ago, as an eager biochemistry student I went to the bookshop to collect the latest organic chemistry tome I’d ordered. Oh yes, I knew how to live! Book purchased and in my bag to pore over during afternoon break, I practically skipped back to class.

At break I pulled the pristine book out of my bag and … the pages were covered in mashed banana. The one I’d put in my bag that morning and promptly forgotten. That blackened, wrinkly book served me well for the next few years. I’m still not a “banana guard” type of girl, but I am much more careful about the snacks I carry.

If like me, you’re often out and about for work, it’s much harder to plan your lunch and snacks.

I’ve been on the road many times and always start with great intentions. I pack a plastic box of sugar snap peas and baby carrots to nibble like sweeties. Some apples, bottles of water and … so far, so virtuous …

Then by day 2 or 3, the car’s hot, the snacks that were enticing 48 hours before looked decidedly less appealing (warm, sweaty peas anyone?). There’d be only one thing for it(and yes, this happened every time) … the dreaded petrol station!

Oh my! The most healthy looking things were the fruit gums … traffic light colours that were absent in the snack and “lunch” aisles.

Pasties, pastries, inedible-looking sandwiches, sugar and wheat-laden “lunch bars” and “healthy option” wraps that I wouldn’t feed to my worst enemy.

Fast forward 15 years and the offerings are not much better …

Same old junk from all those years before, plus … the oh-so-healthy sushi that’s 95% rice, a tiny amount of smoked fish and some sea plant or other. And, of course, the ubiquitous soy sauce. It wasn’t until I needed to cut out gluten that I realised soy sauce contains wheat flour! What? I’d have thought, given its provenance, that they’d use rice flour. That’s when I knew I had to check every label and allow myself much more time for my weekly shop.

Add to that … am I really paying £5 for six teaspoons of rice a few morsels of fish and veg? Oh yes!

A last resort? You could pop to the local supermarket and buy a GF loaf (hhhmmm) and make your own sandwiches.

That’s how this blog came about. Out of necessity and annoyance that every small foray to the outside world meant a huge amount of time just trying to find something I could eat.

The snacks, lunches and puds that follow are, in many cases, transportable and easy to eat on the hoof.