How Lyndsey’s IBS Came Back After Just Seven Days + Plant Based Green Bean Casserole (oil free)

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Hi Dirty family, Lyndsey here!

Have you ever had that gut feeling, way down deep inside, that you’ve made the wrong choice? You know what I mean, right? That little voice, the slight anxiety, a sudden queasy clenching in the pit of your belly? The absolute knowledge that you’ve eaten like a madwoman for the last thirteen days and your guts are literally about to explode, and you’re also 30,000 feet in the air flying over the Atlantic Ocean? Yeah, that’s the feeling I’m getting at.

Allow me to back up for a moment…

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to share with you the highlights of my magnificent and magical holiday to Paris, France. I waxed poetic about the beauty, the food, the wine, the sights, the sounds, the language, the art, and the lovely people. It was the most amazing experience of my forty-five years on this planet, and I have zero regrets. I stayed approximately 50% WFPB, and while I definitely ate lots of veggies and fruits and delicious vegan goodies, I willingly stepped off the plant train and thoroughly enjoyed all kinds of traditional French cuisine as well.

I may have had zero regrets, but my body was pissed!

It took exactly seven days in Paris, eating foods that I don’t usually eat, for me to feel like I was falling apart. On that seventh day, I woke up feeling sluggish, a feeling that I hadn’t had in over a year. My belly was bloated, my eyes were puffy and swollen, and I had a headache. I felt heavy, inflamed, and grumpy. I should’ve listened to my body and stopped the partying right then and there…

I’ve been a dedicated follower of the CFDG Plant Fueled Meal Plans for almost a year-and-a-half. There have been a few times I’ve eaten food that isn’t Whole Food Plant Based but I’ve always hopped right back to my plant based way of eating. Over the course of a year, I have lost weight, gained tons of energy, lessened my symptoms of depression and anxiety, started sleeping better, and all but cured my migraine headaches. However, for me, the best part of eating this way was the complete and seemingly miraculous disappearance of long-diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

I’ve battled IBS all of my life. According to my family, even as a baby I screamed my head off from colic (nonstop!) for the first ten months of my life. Throughout my life, my bowels revolted and my gut was super unhappy. I spent forty-plus years struggling with nausea, diarrhea, irregularity, severe constipation, and the worst belly bloat that you can imagine. I had every single test, scan, scope, and examination out there. Specialists just gave me meds (which caused more diarrhea or constipation) and told me to take a fiber supplement twice daily. I was also told to stay away from all broccoli, legumes, beans, and tomatoes as they can cause gas and bloating.

When I finally decided to take the plunge and start the CFDG meal plans, it was for entirely different reasons. My wife, Lori, and I had begun to develop typical chronic middle-aged health problems, and we both wanted to lose some weight. We also had been trying for over a decade to stop eating meat for environmental and ethical concerns that were deeply important to us. But, it absolutely never occurred to me that switching to a plant based way of eating would totally alleviate all IBS symptoms and suffering.

The CFDG meal plans completely and utterly changed my life.

The CFDG meal plans completely and utterly changed my life. The first three weeks I detoxed so hard that I thought something terrifying was wrong with me. I was lethargic, irritable, and couldn’t stray far from the bathroom. I never shat so much in my entire life! I’m talking frequent, easily voided, huge amounts several times a day. It was total insanity. And the gas! Holy moly, I couldn’t take a step without farting. My wife and I bought a little portable essential oil air diffuser and we’d walk around waving it behind us in hopes the lavender oil would dissipate the smell. It’s a good thing neither of us smoke, because our house would have blown up with one lit match.

Lori and I often carried on text conversations from different bathrooms in our home, and it wasn’t uncommon to have full length discussions from the toilet with only the door separating us. I also learned to conduct much business on my phone and iPad while perched on the porcelain throne.

We learned where every public restroom was whenever we went out and I invested in cases of toilet paper. We’ve had to replace different commode parts, twice now, from frequent usage. Lori, a wildlife biologist, taught me how to dig a cat hole to use when we went hiking. I bought a bright night light to put in the bathroom to lead the way during the night. I began to whisper a genuine thank you to the inventor of the Clorox toilet wand on a regular basis. My dog even started pooping more frequently, and if anyone cared to look, her poops were filled with the fresh veggies that she was allowed to beg off of us.

I’ll never forget the first time I pooped the day after batching and devouring a particularly delicious bright red beet hummus from the meal plans. I’ll spare you the gory red details, but I thought I had been struck down by some horrific disease and almost called 911.

I spoke so frequently, fervently, and in such fabulous detail about my glorious relief from IBS/constipation that Lori barred any mention of shit and refused to participate in what she termed: Lyndsey’s Daily Poop Report. You can only imagine how thrilled I was to have Molly contact me for a video interview to speak about my favorite new topic!

For the first time in my life I wasn’t full of shit!

Once I was completely plant based and my gut calmed down, which took approximately three weeks, it was a beautiful thing. Once, sometimes twice daily, I pooped like clockwork and the regularity (and volume!) made me want to shout hosannas from my rooftop! Dirties, I’m telling you, once you start having frequent, easy, regular bowel movements it will change your life! Here in the south, constipation is frequently referred to as being, “stove up!” and I was stove up for most of my life. Finally, I no longer suffered from such misery of IBS and that glorious relief and flat belly every morning was worth every cent of the meal plan subscription and the time it took to batch.

Getting our gut healthy is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves, and from very personal experience, I can tell you the best way to do that is through plant based nutrition. There’s not a medication or supplement out there that can do what a whole food plant based diet can do.

Don’t just take it from me, let’s have our awesome plant based docs weigh in:

Dr. John McDougall:

“In order to have a normal healthy bowel movement you need to put the right things into your colon – a process which begins at the dinner table. Your diet needs to be based upon unrefined starches like potatoes, beans, rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat breads and pastas with the addition of fruits and vegetables. No animal products, and especially no dairy protein of any kind, should be a part of your diet.”

Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

“The SAD diet, which is predominantly processed foods and animal products, sets the stage for chronic digestive disturbance and unfavorable digestive health. Digestive muscle cramping, bacterial imbalances, and hormonal triggers from conventional foods eventually lead to chronic discomfort and digestive disturbance.”

Dr. Michael Greger:

“Good bacteria—those that live in symbiosis with us—are nourished by fruit and veggies, grains, and beans, whereas dysbiosis—bad bacteria that may contribute to disease—are fed by meat, junk food and fast food, seafood, dairy, and eggs. Typical Western diets can ‘decimate’ our good gut flora.”

Now, admittedly, switching over from the Standard American Diet to a more plant centered way of eating can definitely cause increased tummy troubles in the beginning, as your body adjusts to all the new foods. The Dirtiest of all Dirties, Molly Patrick, has addressed this issue, multiple times, in her usual candid way!

Jumping on the plant-train healed my gut like I never could have imagined. This was confirmed on my last night in Paris, when my IBS came back with a vengeance. My gut was so mad at me and in such distress that my belly blew up to the size of a beach ball.

This picture is an actual side view of my poor tummy:

Lyndseys' tummy suffering from bloat in Paris compared to two weeks later.

It was pure misery with severe cramping, embarrassing bloating, and such painful constipation that I was in sheer agony. I was soon to learn that every bite of meat, cheese, butter, cream, and seafood that I had initially enjoyed would eventually return to violently haunt me in epic proportions.

And, of course, my body decided to get even with me and plot its painful revenge with an explosive series of multiple trips to the tiny airplane bathroom while flying home. I think those passengers seated by that bathroom should get a full refund for having to witness that atrocity.

I’ve been home and back on the CFDG meal plans for four weeks now, and I’m happy to report that while I still have some weight to lose, my energy and zest for life has returned, I feel great, and my tummy is no longer bloated, painful, and unhappy.

For me, my trip to Paris and letting my food-freak-flag fly was total confirmation that I must stay on the plant train if I want to stay happy and healthy and gut-pain free. No more animal products and overly processed food for me. I absolutely have to eat WFPBNO (Whole Food Plant Based No Oil) to maintain a happy, healthy, outrageously beautiful life and gut.

I am more than happy to spend time every week batching a week’s worth of Dirty Girl food in exchange for no more belly pain, bloating, and constipation. I am gleefully back to pooping regularly and reporting it to anyone who will listen.

The return of severe IBS notwithstanding, the phenomenal opportunity to travel to Paris was still such a gift to me and to my life. It was utterly transformative in so many ways that are almost indescribable. All I know is that I am so very grateful to have had the occasion to see and experience a different place than my own little corner of the world. And in doing so, I learned an important lesson. This woman needs to eat plants, even in Paris!

Lyndsey


Have you ever gotten off the plant train, only to be bitch slapped by the food that you used to love? Talk to us in the comments below!

Green Bean Casserole

Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl
Servings 4

Ingredients

Cashew Parmesan Ingredients (Make this first)

  • 1 cup raw cashews (130g / use sunflower seeds if you have a nut allergy)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (40g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Casserole Sauce Ingredients (Make this second)

  • 2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas work but feel free to use your favorite variety)
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes (130g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened, non-dairy milk (590ml)

Casserole Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed, cut in half and steamed
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cashew Parmesan (ingredients above / instructions below)
  • 1 batch Casserole Sauce (ingredients above / instructions below)

Instructions

Cashew Parmesan Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients into a completely dry food processor or blender and pulse until it resembles small, coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a container and set aside. 
  • You will only need 1/4 cup for this dish, so save the rest and top lots of other things with it throughout the week. It goes well on nearly everything.

Casserole Sauce Instructions

  • Heat a skillet over medium – high heat for a couple minutes, and then add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook 7- 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are nice and soft. 
  • Remove half of the mushrooms and set them aside. You will be using these for the casserole. 
  • Place the other half of the mushrooms into your blender, along with the cashews that you soaked in water earlier (be sure to drain and discard the water first), garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, marjoram, nutmeg, smoked paprika, lemon juice and non-dairy milk. 
  • Blend until super smooth. If the sauce looks too thick, add a bit more non-dairy milk to thin it out.

Casserole Instructions

  • Make the Casserole Sauce and the Cashew Parmesan first and then come back to mama. 
  • Did you make the Casserole Sauce and the Cashew Parmesan? If yes, continue. If no, go do that first and then come back.  
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). 
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes and then add the onions. Cook for about 7 minutes, adding a splash of water and stirring when they start to stick to the skillet or look dry. The onions should be a nice, deep brown color. When they’re nice and brown, turn off the heat and set aside for now. 
  • Rinse the green beans and remove stem ends. Cut the beans in half or in thirds if they are exceptionally long. Place one cup of water into the bottom of a the Instant Pot, followed by the IP trivet. Place the beans on top of the trivet. Set the timer for 1 minute, using the manual (or Pressure Cooker) setting and use the quick release method when the timer is up. If you do not have an IP, simply steam the green beans on the stove top. 
  • Place the steamed green beans on the bottom of a 2.5 quart casserole dish, followed by half of the onions, the mushrooms you reserved earlier (from the casserole sauce) and all of the Casserole Sauce. Gently stir. Add the remaining onions on top, followed by the Cashew Parmesan. 
  • Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is slightly bubbling and heated through. If the onions begin to over brown, lightly cover the casserole with foil until done.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with fabulous digestion.

Xo
Molly

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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13 Comments

  1. Betsy Wyatt on November 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Oh my do I feel you on this. I had IBS return for a week. Not totally sure what caused it. But it was awful. So glad you had fun and are back to normal.

    • Lyndsey Hafer Williams on November 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you, Betsy!

  2. Julie Olsen on November 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I was just in Europe this spring for 3 weeks. My husband and I did as part of our trip a bike and barge trip from Amsterdam to Brugges. After the trip we spent time exploring on our own Croatia and Slovenia.

    I actually found it really easy and a fun adventure looking for healthy plant based options in Europe . I know it is tempting to go off track but it helps if you make it an adventure in uncovering fun plant based options while exploring new places. I found the Happy Cow app was super helpful but also in small villages where there wasn’t an option restaurants were very accommodating to fix something plant based with what they had in the kitchen. I also did some research ahead of time so I a few restaurants in mind that I wanted to try.

    • Lyndsey Hafer Williams on November 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Julie! Yes, there are definitely delicious options to stay healthy and plant based as you travel. I’ll know better next time!

  3. annie on November 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    This is so timely…since Halloween I have been on a “just one little piece candy” (they were bite sized after all)- crappy candy like reese’s peanut butter cups or snickers- everyday bender. Experienced twinges of headaches, felt a bit draggy but not horrendous enough to put two and two together and stop eating the crap. Last night my husband picked up some onion rings from this amazing little restaurant down the street…..They smelled heavenly, the anticipation of the first bite was amazing! I ate the first one and it was good, the second went down in one bite but by the time I got to the third I was kind of grossed out. I could feel the oil between my teeth and the residue remained after I swallowed the “treat”. My stomach was not happy- Had a lousy night sleep with a weird, uncomfortable feeling in my belly. Lesson learned….the memory is often better than the reality. I have known that the candy has not tasted as good as I remembered and the onion rings- gourmet onion rings- well, I will just enjoy the smell in the future!

    • Lyndsey Hafer Williams on November 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      Oh Annie! I know exactly what you’re talking about. Next time, I’m just going to enjoy the beautiful sights of my holiday and keep my tummy healthy by eating all the plants!

  4. Nadege on November 17, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    You are such a good writer Lindsey! Plant-based is really the way to go! Glad you are feeling so much better!

    • Lyndsey Hafer Williams on November 18, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Thank you, Nadege! All is well. Xoxo

  5. EmCee on November 18, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Enjoyed your humor, felt your body dysfunctions! Recently came back from a Caribbean trip and hubby and I were paying the price for something that got past us (we stayed plant based, thinking maybe too much oil). With our WFPB journey, we are learning to shift our focus from going from meal to meal (self-professed foodies) to sustaining our bodies with real food to enjoy the life around us. That old saying – eating to live, not living to eat. Thank you for sharing your story! Loved your pictures! Can’t wait to visit Paris!

  6. Bev Nichols on November 18, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    5 stars
    While in England last month I tried fish and chips that are famous there. It was delicious but I paid the price with inflammation in my hand joints. Then last week I treated myself to real pizza with dairy cheese after a great check up at the doctor. I paid for that with foot pain such as I haven’t had since I started eating this way in May. It kept me up all night, stabbing pain in the top of my right foot. I’ve learned my lesson! Falling off the plant based wagon comes with consequences and I don’t think the pain is worth it!

  7. Susan on May 7, 2019 at 2:54 am

    You had me laughing hard Lindsey! We’re going to Paris for the Women’s World Cup in June/July and I’ve been keeping an eye on the Paris vegan scene for a while. There are a LOT of vegan restaurants now and many of them are WFPB. I’m definitely going to try some of the vegan cheeses at one shop that specializes in making them. So if you go to Paris again – give the vegan restaurants a try. I’ve even found a vegan patisserie!

  8. Serena on October 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

    not everybody has an instant pot. I’m on to find a recipe that doesn’t require one. But I might use your cashew parmesan crumble and sauce. Thanks!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 31, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Hi Serena, Thanks for stopping by! There is a line in the recipe to steam the green beans for stove top cooking. All of our meal plan recipes are written with separate directions for stove top and IP. Most of the recipes on the blog provide both stove top and Instant Pot directions as well. ~Karen

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