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PT to the stars Maeve Madden talks about how to beat bloating

Being honest about bloating is something Irish-born blogger Maeve Madden has never shied away from. In fact, having been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) as well as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the former model and professional dancer went on her own journey that has lead to her new book Beat Your Bloat: Recipes and exercises to promote digestive health.

Beat Your Bloat cover

Has health and fitness always been a part of your life?

Yes, growing up I started dancing when I was five and then I danced competitively as well as swimming a lot. When I was older I danced professionally before I went to university and then I went into commercial modelling, which was often for health and fitness magazines.

I continued to keep fit, but not in an excessive way, until I had my own struggle with bloating through IBS, and then I really began to put a lot of effort into learning about the impact of fitness, nutrition and diet. I have a good following on Instagram and I felt that it was important to help people with the knowledge I had developed over time from studying both fitness and nutrition.

What can people expect from the book?

The book is really about my journey with bloating. IBS is something I grew up with but it was only as I got older and more into health and fitness that I started to understand it better. I knew if I learned enough I would be able to put more of a focus on health and fitness rather than relying on medication.

I am now qualified in nutrition as well as fitness, and this book is my personal guide to helping individuals to beat bloating through different types of eating, understanding cravings, sharing rescue remedies, and lots of recipes that are in line with a low FODMAP diet, which is the recommended diet if you suffer from IBS.

What makes the recipes different?

It was really important to me that the recipes were family friendly, so they focus on adapting meals that we’re all familiar with, using regular ingredients and just replacing a few key elements. It’s really about following a lifestyle of eating whole foods. We live in an era of processed foods and we’re constantly snacking and grazing. The book brings it back to home made meals and things that can be frozen and prepped in advance.

What impact has changing your diet had on your wellbeing?

For so long IBS affected my confidence and I was so unsure what to eat that I was almost stopping myself from eating at all, and I know a lot of people who have responded similarly. It’s not widely talked about because people find it embarrassing.

What’s been amazing since I started talking about it, is the response from other people. I was shy and embarrassed to talk about it at first, but when I did, so many people came forward and told me about their experiences as well. The problem with these things is that until you talk, you feel very alone.

What do you recommend for a healthy diet?

Naturally, my number one tip would be to buy my book and have a read! We talk about how it’s very easy to say ‘change your diet overnight’ but if you’re going to break habits you have to change a few little things at a time. You’re never really going to change anything in your life unless you change something you do every day, so it’s about changing your daily routine.

Changing one or two ingredients can make a big difference. For example, there’s one recipe called ‘Oh My Cod’ which is a great family meal that replaces regular chips with sweet potato wedges and uses coconut oil.

So what’s an example of some household food swaps?

Within the book there’s a chapter on food swaps as well as recipes that raw ingredients can then be used in. For example, swap granola for grain oats, use cinnamon as a topping instead of sugar, nut milk instead of cow’s milk, and quinoa instead of pasta. When it comes to cooking try grilling fish instead of frying it, and change crisps for popcorn.

It’s not just about swapping the bad for the good though, it’s also about changing some ingredients that are just triggers for IBS such as onion and garlic. Watermelon is a good example - it’s so healthy but it’s also very high in sugar so for anyone who suffers with bloating it’s a good idea to swap it for honeydew melon for example.

Is the book just for people with IBS?

No, not at all, the thing is, everybody suffers with some form of bloating some of the time. It’s more common for women than men because of hormonal changes, but there’s a whole chapter on travelling that everyone could relate to. Long haul flights disrupt everyone’s bowel movements so we have a whole chapter on how to deal with that!

Beat Your Bloat is available for pre-order on Amazon and is available in store from 17th May 2018.

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