A few weeks ago I visited the beautiful country of Croatia! Croatia is quickly turning into a very popular holiday destination and once you’re there it’s easy to see why, cobbled street, crystal clear waters and lots of greenery make for beautiful destination for your summer holiday! We were looking for a chilled holiday destination so we decided to skip Dubrovnik and head to a small island off of Rovinj on the western coast.
The island we stayed on was called St Andrew’s Island and it is home to 1 hotel, a couple of restaurants and lots of coves and beautiful beaches. Being on the island meant we had beautiful views from our hotel room, it was never disappointing to see this view every morning. There was a free boat transfer that ran every hour and took you from the island to Rovinj which is a small town on the Istrian Peninsula. Rovinj is nicknamed little Italy and after visiting Rome earlier this year I can see why, the narrow winding streets and multicolored buildings make you feel like you’ve stepped into an Italian film.
During our stay we took part in a number of water sports, wandered around the island spotting jellyfish and dolphins and also did some snorkeling, the rest of the time was spent lying next to the pool eating our body weight in ice cream!
Stomach growling or rumbling is caused by the movement of food and liquids travelling through your intestines. The walls of your intestines are made up of muscles and when the muscles contract to push food through the gas it produces causes a rumbling sound, this process is called peristalisis.
Hunger can also cause abdominal sounds, having an empty stomach will cause the growling to be louder as there is nothing to muffle the sound. When you haven’t eaten for a few hours your brain tells your stomach to get your digestive system working again ready for your next meal, the movement of the muscles help to make you hungry.
Even though stomach rumbling can be annoying (especially if you’re in an important meeting) it is completely normal and isn’t generally a cause for concern. However if you have other symptoms including excess gas, fever, vomiting and constipation you may want to contact your doctor to ensure there is not an underlying illness causing your stomach to be particularly active.
Some tips to reduce your stomach growling would be to slow down when you’re eating or eat smaller portions more often, having a full stomach throughout the day will dampen the sounds. Try to avoid fizzing drinks, chewing gum, artificial sweeteners and certain vegetable like cabbage and broccoli as these foods create excess gas that goes straight to your stomach.
Now that my puppy Charlie is a little older we thought we’d take him on his first holiday to Norfolk.
We booked a week away in a dog friendly cottage just north of Norwich and tried to let Charlie experience as many new things as possible.
We knew he loved swimming but he’d never seen the sea before, within seconds of getting to the beach he was running across the sand at Old Hunstanton and playing with other dogs in the water, swimming to his hearts content.
This became his favorite part of the holiday and we ended up going to five different seaside places to let him swim in the sea. After his swim at Old Hunstanton we went into central Hunstanton and enjoyed the nicest fish & chips I think I’ve ever had, they didn’t last long enough to get a picture so here’s Charlie soaking up some more sunshine instead.
Every time we got into the car we saw fields and fields of beautiful red poppies, which were very eye catching and pleasing to look at.
Next on Charlie’s experiences was a boat ride, we went to Fairhaven woodland & water gardens and after a lovely walk through the woodland we took a boat trip around the broads. Charlie took it all in his stride, behaving impeccably and often looking over the side at the water and birds.
We then thought he’s been on a boat, I wonder what he’d be like on a train? So we took him to the tiny village of Holt and caught the steam train to Sheringham. It was a beautiful day and very warm so again we headed for the beach and Charlie was doing what he loves most swimming!
After an ice cream pit stop it was back onto the steam train and on our way.
Spending so much time on the coast was amazing and we started enjoying the little things like the colourful beach-huts and the names their owners have for them. Our favorite by far was Jabba (The Star Wars fans among you will get the reference).
In the evening we liked to enjoy the last drop of sunshine and visit the local beer garden and enjoy a nice glass of something cold before walking back to our cottage. The holiday was a lovely reminder of the amazing things our country has to offer and that you don’t always need to fly thousands of miles to have an enjoyable break.
We know it can be daunting when you’ve been diagnosed with IBS but hearing someone else’s story and learning how they manage their symptoms daily can be a real help, this is why we wanted to catch up with Alana Scott. Alana runs the low FODMAP recipe website alittlebityummy.com and since she was diagnosed with IBS she has completely transformed her diet and in turn her life. We asked her 6 questions which we hope will help all our customers that have had a recent diagnosis, those who have been living with IBS for years and are looking for some inspiration and those who want to know more about the condition.
When did you first get diagnosed with IBS and what were the symptoms that made you think there was something wrong?
I was at university when I started to realise that my gut was misbehaving. It began with me sneakily unzipping my jeans in lecture theatres to let my bloated belly escape… and progressed to me trying to have sneaky farts at networking events! Things then took a turn for the worse. I started losing a lot of weight, I felt nauseous all the time and was vomiting, had bad abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. It got to the point that I didn’t want to leave the house anymore. It was scary because I felt like I was losing myself and was being consumed by my gut issues.
So off I went to my local GP who referred me straight on to a gastroenterologist. Initially, I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and then later with Irritable Bowel Syndrome when I had a few residual symptoms that just wouldn’t settle.
After you were diagnosed, what was your next step?
After I was diagnosed, I had the support of a really knowledgeable dietitian. My journey was a bit more complicated due to my Coeliac Disease. Initially, we tried a strict gluten-free diet to settle my symptoms, and when that wasn’t enough to resolve my gut issues, my dietitian recommended that we integrate the low FODMAP diet as well. I can’t imagine doing this journey by myself. Having the support and knowledge of my dietitian helped ease my anxiety and enabled me to commit to the lifestyle changes I needed to make. If you’re reading this and struggling, then make sure you find someone to help! Just check your dietitian is knowledgeable in gut health issues before you book your appointment.
When did you learn about the low FODMAP diet and did you find it easy to adapt recipes and change your diet?
Oh my, I definitely went through a bit of food depression when my dietitian put me on the low FODMAP diet. She did a great job of explaining the FODMAP diet process, but it was still extremely overwhelming trying to figure out how to implement the diet in my everyday life as a university student.
My first supermarket shop was a mess. I left with a bag of carrots and a chicken breast and thought I’d never eat good food again. However, after a few weeks I started focusing on what I could eat and figured out how to replace onion and garlic. This meant I could start playing with recipes! I discovered that with some herbs and spices yummy food is totally possible. Now adapting recipes or creating new ones is basically second nature.
What is the biggest struggle whilst on the low FODMAP diet?
I think my biggest stumbling block with the low FODMAP diet was when I failed my FODMAP challenges during the reintroduction phase. This happened several times and was really unusual. At this stage, I felt like I was never going to get my food freedom back. We think this problem was caused by my Coeliac Disease and that my gut just wasn’t ready to handle the FODMAPs yet. However, four years on I am now on a fully modified FODMAP diet. I can happily eat small amounts of all FODMAP groups and can even eat some freely. This has made eating out so much easier and means I have heaps of variety throughout the week.
The big lesson I learned from my re-challenge experience is that my FODMAP tolerance levels are changing all the time. This means I go back and retest the FODMAP groups that I still struggle with every few months to see if I can start increasing my serving sizes or bring more foods back.
I started A Little Bit Yummy because I didn’t want anyone else to go through the same food depression I went through. It’s hard enough living with gut issues without feeling like there is also nothing fun left to eat! I also had the encouragement of my dietitian, as she wanted to share my recipes with her other clients to help them on their journeys.
So I became a content writer and started sharing my journey, figured out how to photograph food, and craft resources that everyday people can understand. Now I work with a fantastic team of international dietitians, and together we provide dietitian reviewed resources to over 1.3 million people each year, which is pretty amazing.
Our mission at A Little Bit Yummy is to simplify low FODMAP life by creating a massive FODMAP resource hub. If you are struggling, then make sure you check out our FODMAP Wellness Club – it’s got everything you need to find your happy gut place and your food freedom. We’ve developed e-courses, meal plans, and over 500+ low FODMAP recipes. This is basically the resource I wish I’d had when I started my FODMAP journey.
Do you have a favourite recipe?
Oh my gosh. This is a ridiculously hard question for me. My recipes are kind of like my babies and I have so many favourites. I think at the end of the day I’m a chicken wing woman. I’m addicted to tasty wings and absolutely love them. My favourite way to enjoy them is smothered in a sweet orange sauce, which makes them irresistibly sticky! I love this recipe so much it featured in my cookbook The Gut Friendly Cookbook which has 100 of my favourite low FODMAP, gluten free, and allergy friendly recipes. (Check out the low FODMAP Sweet Orange Chicken Wings here. )
Thank you so much Alana for answering our questions and giving us some much needed advice and positivity in what can be a really stressful time!
If you would like to purchase The Gut Friendly Cookbook, you can buy it here.
What’s on your bucket list? Perhaps sky diving, snorkeling the great barrier reef? A bungee jump?
One of the things on my list was to watch Real Madrid play at the Santiago Bernabéu. This month I got to tick this off my list. I went with a friend and it was all I’d ever hoped it would be, the atmosphere, the noise, listening to 65,000 Madrid mad supporters roar on their team to a 2-0 victory against Celta Vigo - just priceless!
Just about to kick off.
Although the football was always going to be the highlight of the trip we did a lot more than just go to the game. We ate and drank lots of amazing food and drink, did some sightseeing and walked all over Madrid.
We stayed in the north of the city at the Barcelo Imagine hotel, a short 15 minute taxi ride from the airport and nearby to the Charmartin railway station, it’s a lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace, and lovely quiet courtyard and pool for lazy hours soaking up the sun. In between the sightseeing we’d spend an hour or so down here enjoying the warmth whilst enjoying a cold beer.
Barcelo Imagine - A modern hotel with a musical twist. Including a replica floor keyboard from the Tom Hanks movie Big.
One of the colourful government buildings in Madrid.
One of the places that amazed us most was the Mercado De San Miguel a famous market that is now a listed world heritage site offering gourmet tapas. We spent over an hour walking around this small iron structure sampling the best food Spain had to offer.
Some of the tapas available at Mercado de San Miguel.
Wide variety of ham, sausages, salami’s and all things meaty.
The food was way above the standard of normal street food and some of the finer things on offer were oysters, caviar & wafer thin Iberico ham carved on the bone. It’s the type of place you could spend most of the day in and not get bored. Unfortunately with a limited amount of time on our hands we did have to leave to see more of the city.
Another of the many sights we saw over the weekend was the Catedral De Santa Maria La Real De La Almudena a Catholic Cathedral original built in 1879. It features many amazing stain glass windows, paintings, and is stunningly beautiful throughout.
The cathedral in Madrid is a must for every visitor to the city.
After all the sightseeing we stopped off for some food, and ended up in a restaurant called Steak Burger, anybody who reads this blog regularly will know about my love of burgers. It was possibly the greatest ever burger I’ve eaten.
Steak Burger filled with melted cheese.
Another hidden gem for food was Jimbo Smokehouse, a good mile or so outside of central Madrid and tucked down a side street most tourists wouldn’t know it existed. The barbeque food on offer at Jimbo’s is phenomenal and at the risk of upsetting our friends at Red’s BBQ in Nottingham, possibly the best brisket we’ve tried. It was that good we didn’t even think about taking a picture.
I loved Madrid and it’s relaxed pace and atmosphere suited me perfectly and it’s certainly a city I’ll go back to in the future.
On February 13th me and my boyfriend headed to Rome for a city break, we were up bright and early and arrived in Rome around 12pm.
When we arrived we checked into our hotel and quickly headed out to explore. We first headed down to the Piramide and then walked down the river towards the Colosseum and in true Italian style we stopped off for a pizza slice on the way! We were pleasantly surprised by how green Rome was, being used to other European cities resembling concrete jungles it was a very welcome surprise to see lots of parks and green areas.
After exploring the Colosseum and walking down a number of winding streets back to the hotel we had an hours relaxing before heading down the Trevi Fountain area to find some dinner and take in some more of the sights. The Trevi Fountain was by far the most impressive part of the trip for me, it is truly beautiful and so pristine it looks like it was built yesterday! We did the classic coin throw and headed off for dinner.
We couldn’t visit Rome without going to the Vatican city so the next day we headed over to St Peters Basilica to take a look around. After an hour long queue in the sunshine we made it inside and it was definitely worth the wait! It is such a stunning building and a must see if you’re visiting Rome!
The best thing about Rome for me was the food! We knew it would be good but we weren’t quite prepared for how much we would eat! Every cobbled street is full of restaurants, bakeries and gelato shops and we made our way round a fair share.
If you’re planning a city break soon I would recommend Rome 100%! We found that it was more chilled than any other city that we had visited, you can spend all day getting lost around the winding streets without the need to jump on and off the underground and battle through the crowds. There is everything on offer from designer shops, old ruins, museums and more beautiful fountains and squares then you can count. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking and tripping over the cobbles!
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