Simple to make, and scrumptious to nosh on. These bars are packed with coconut and chocolate! Peanut butter gives them added taste. Enjoy!
This is a sponsored post for VSL#3 through TapInfluence, more details at the bottom of the post!
Okay peeps, for those of you who read the blog often you are well aware I have IBS. For those who are new here, hello, I’m Kim and I have IBS.
Nothing like just throwing it out there, right. I swear I feel like I am defined by my IBS. It rules my life. It makes all my decisions for me. It has become my master. This bugs the crap out of me. No pun intended. Okay, so maybe a little pun intended.
Lately I’ve had some huge epiphanies about my illness. On a recent trip I learned not everyone is going to accept me being so open about my illness. My doctors have told me to tell flight attendants, cab drivers and conference organizers that I have it when I’m travelling. It gets it out there so if I run into trouble I don’t have to waste time trying to explain things when I really don’t have the time to do so. I’ve been hospitalized before with complications so I’ve learned it’s always best to let people know in case something happens. I’ve been known to black out from pain on occasion. So it’s always best to be up front with people.
Recently I was at a function, and I let the driver know about my illness, just in case. Some colleagues waiting in the car overheard me. Apparently they thought I was announcing it to everyone. I was not, I thought they were talking amongst themselves so I figured it was good timing to tell the driver. I think it made people uncomfortable, some people do not know how to react to it.
Unfortunately IBS is an illness many people do not take quite understand, nor do they take it seriously. So instead of feeling relieved and at ease for speaking up, I ended up feeling horribly uncomfortable and alienated the rest of the evening. That is IBS. Every. Single. Day.
Many people do not understand it. Lots of folks do not realize the intense pain that comes with having it. They are not aware of the side effects that come with medications. Or the feelings a person gets of being different, the odd man out in any social situation. You see IBS comes with lots of stress. If you have it you probably understand what I’m talking about. The constant worry over whether you should eat while out in public. I mean an attack can happen at any time, right. The endless planning where the bathrooms are. The amount of planning that goes into having an exit plan everywhere you go. Let’s not even get started on how painful an attack can be, so you are constantly worrying about having one that will double you over in public. Or worse yet, you completely black out from pain. Yet people trivialize it, make fun of it, and make you feel horrible for having it. You start to feel like you’re walking around with a huge sign on your back. “Kick me while I’m down”, because living with IBS is not hard enough. That’s how it feels. Every. Single. Day.
The good news is there are also lots of folks who do understand it. There are so many people who have it, or similar issues. It’s always nice to talk to someone else who suffers from it. You start to feel like you’re not alone. You feel like other people get it. That can be a powerful thing.
I’ve learned so much in recent weeks about myself, my illness and other people. I do not want to be defined by my IBS. I don’t want it to be the only thing I can talk about. I do not want to feel like it’s controlling my life. I want to be in control of my own life. I want to walk out of the house and not have a back-up plan.
I’ve learned my absolute biggest trigger is stress. Not the big kind of stress, it’s the little things. I am very careful to avoid stress, to surround myself with positive people, and to not look at the big picture in life. I do not handle getting overwhelmed very well, it can spiral me into an attack very easily. I tend to be very OCD about things, and I’m a total control freak. If things are not in their place my stress level rises. Case in point, I found it very hard to work and be creative while my blog room was under renovations. I just do not cope well working in chaos. It’s part of the reason I was not posting as much in recent months.
The one thing I have going for me is I’m very open-minded about knowing my limitations in life, and accepting of myself for who I really am. I know I have a long way to go before I feel well enough to travel without fear. However I’m hopeful for that day when a back up plan is not necessary. In the meantime I’ll be munching on these Coconut Granola Bars. If this is IBS-friendly food, bring on more of it. I’m a happy girl.
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Coconut Granola Bars
ground chia seeds
These taste amazing. I was super impressed with these bars. Not just tasty but healthy for my IBS. Score!
I was put in contact with a company called VSL#3. They approached me to write about my IBS. I’m always happy to share my IBS stories with my readers so this was an easy assignment for me to fulfil. It’s an important subject and I’m not shy to talk about it. Obviously.
So keep reading for more information on the company. And know that if you’re out there suffering from gastro issues you are not alone. I’ve suffered from IBS for over 20 years, tried every diet, medicine, magic cure and heard all the advice one person can handle. The truth is it’s not an easy illness to cope with. But there’s hope thanks to companies like VSL#3. You can find more information about this great company on the VSL#3 Website. You can also find lots of greatrecipes on the site as well. There’s a huge giveaway happening too . Be sure to check out the VSL#3 Gastro-Nomical Giveaway for a chance to win a cookware set worth $300 from Sur la Table, a leather recipe book filled with custom recipe cards from VSL#3 featuring 12 family-friendly recipes created by registered dietician and author Patsy Catsos, along with a copy of her latest book Flavor without FODMAPs Cookbook: Love the Food that Loves You Back and a $50 pharmacy gift card to stock up on VSL#3.
You can find out more about it on the VSL#3 Facebook Page. Entry periods for the VSL#3 Gastro-Nomical Giveaway accepted through November 20th, 2014 12pm ET. Enter on the Facebook Page!
A little bit about VSL#3: VSL#3, a high potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis and ileal pouch, is a proprietary formulation of a mix of 8 strains of live lactic acid bacteria, one of the few probiotics with this many strains. VSL#3 differs from other probiotics in that it is a “medical food”, not a supplement, and therefore must be used under medical supervision and kept refrigerated to maintain its potency. Also note VSL#3® products must be refrigerated to maintain potency and is available at your local pharmacy. Look for VSL#3® in the probiotic aisle of your local drug store and bring the card to the pharmacist as it is kept behind the pharmacy counter in the refrigerator. If you have issues feel free to share your story. Here on the blog or send me an email. I can totally empathize with anyone having a hard time coping with their illness. If I can help in any way feel free to let me know. Most importantly please know you are not alone. There are many of us out there, so open the dialogue so we can help one another and support each other.
I figure I'm one of the lucky ones. I can still eat a lot of things other people cannot. I travel and attempt to have a normal life. It's anything but normal, but I continue to try to push my limits no matter how difficult it makes my life.
I refuse to give in, I refuse to stop living my life and I refuse to be stuck at home. I may have IBS but it will not define me. It's a small part of who I am. But an important part of who I am. It's shaped me, made me stronger and taught me a lot about myself and others. Which is always a good thing.
Stay strong. Let me know you're out there. I'm here if you need a friend to sound off to.
Toodles and smoochies! xx
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a medical food and must be used under medical supervision.