A little health update - 6 weeks on

health update Some of you might remember that I wrote a little health update at the start of the year, just as I was about to embark on a pretty radical diet overhaul in an attempt to get my gut working normally again.

Well, it's now been over 6 weeks since I stripped all sugar, booze, dairy and carbs (basically all the delicious stuff) out of my diet, and so I thought I'd come back and let you all know how I've been getting on. Prepare yourself for a long post - I've got lots to tell you about...

The really bloody great news is that I'm feeling about 300% better than I was back at Christmas time. My bloating has completely disappeared (yay for being able to zip my jeans up again!) and I haven't had any cramps or adverse digestive symptoms for at least 5 weeks, which has been pretty life changing compared to where I was at symptom-wise at the end of last year. My immune system has also been doing it's job better, and other than a routine "back to work" cold in January, I haven't felt under the weather at all.

I've been pretty gobsmacked at how quickly I have started to feel better. I am still more tired than I should be (especially considering I get a solid 8 hours sleep a night), but I'm definitely feeling way more energetic than before. And my skin has never been better - seriously, ditch the expensive face creams and just cut sugar out, it works a treat. Even my stubborn, brittle nails are looking longer, stronger and much more ladylike.

That's not to say it's been easy - the first few weeks particularly were very challenging. My body didn't react very well to the cold turkey approach to sugar, and I was left feeling like I had a hangover for most of the week. It also took me a little while to get into the routine of being prepared - I had got into the habit of picking up lunch in town and grabbing a snack from the shop if I was hungry, but pretty much everything that is easily available contains sugar in some form, which means that batch cooking quickly became my new favourite hobby.

Socialising has also been pretty hard too. Surprisingly, I haven't missed booze too much, even when out and about with friends and family, and I've definitely relished not having the hangovers! But eating out, which is one of my fave things to do ever (cause, well, FOOD), has been a little bit more difficult. Again, sugar or dairy or gluten is in practically everything, so I have been pretty much restricted to steak and salad which of course limits the restaurant options when I'm out and about with friends. Work functions have also been a challenge - I now always carry a bag of emergency brazil nuts with me incase there isn't anything for me to eat, and rice cakes with avocado has become my go to easy lunch whenever I'm travelling for work.

I've managed to find loads of delicious recipes though and everything tastes SO good - I think my tastebuds must be adjusting now the sugar is all out of my system. I'm planning on sharing some of my favourite blogs and recipe books with you next week should you need any healthy eating inspiration.

I went back to see my nutritionist on Tuesday and she was really pleased with my progress. I have two more very strict sugar free weeks left, and then I can start to reintroduce some more foods, like fruit and a glass of wine (I can't wait!). The only two things I have to completely avoid for the next phase (which will last 3 months) is refined sugar (no Creme Eggs for me this year, wahhhhh) and cheese. The bad bacteria in my gut completely thrives off both of these foods, so adding them back into my diet could very quickly reverse all of my hard work.

I've treated myself to the Deliciously Ella cookbooks so that I can try some healthy bakes once I can add fruit back into my diet - I really can't wait to try her raw brownies! And Friday nights will be a little bit sweeter with a glass of wine to look forward to. But on the whole I think I'll continue to eat very much how I have been doing - lots and lots of vegetables, and plenty of good protein.

I have been so surprised at how much healthier I feel just from changing the food that eat - I have been trying for so long to get my symptoms under control and I finally feel like I'm in a place where I don't have to worry about them anymore which is just amazing. It has really made me want to learn more about nutrition and what different foods can do for our body - I've been looking at a couple of online courses, but let me know if you have any reading recommendations. If you'd have told me even a few months ago that I'd be enjoying this so much I wouldn't have listened to you (probably because I was too busy stuffing myself with a burger) but the change has been so positive for my overall life that I've become a little bit obsessed.

I'm also planning on featuring some more health stuff on this little blog too - recipes I've enjoyed, products that have helped make the change easier and also some hints and tips on making some healthy changes. I know from my previous posts that a few of you suffer with some similar issues, so hopefully it'll be interesting!

Again - let me know of any must-read health blogs, I'm always on the lookout for new recipes!