Disclaimer: I was provided with Bimuno in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates in any way.
My burnout woes & drama
So, the day before I started taking Bimuno, the dentist gave me some bad news which made me cry. What’s this got to do with digestive health you might ask?
Well, the point was that he said my molars were being eroded because of acid reflux and that I needed to go to the GP to get it checked out.
It was the message I’d been avoiding: my body was protesting at the state of affairs in my life to the point to the point where it was damaging itself, so I’d listen.
To say my digestion has been sh*t (no pun intended) for a long time would be an understatement. A few years ago, after a visit to a restaurant with my family, my digestion went so badly on the offensive in a way that was so offensive, my sister gave me the book ‘Gut’.
She said she hoped that it might give me some information to remedy the situation!
Long term pressure in a fast-paced office job, and also getting two of my own projects off the ground in the last 18 months, has not helped the situation.
‘Symptoms of burnout’ is a phrase I’ve begun googling obsessively quite a lot recently. It would appear there’s an epidemic – there’s a lot of us out there talking about it.
Aside from the acid reflux, there’s a long list of physical ailments which began as nagging and are now screaming. A stubborn recurrence of the skin condition acne rosacea – which I’ve suffered from on my left cheek on and off since I was 18 – has shown something is awry internally.
Although rosacea isn’t linked necessarily to a poorly functioning gut, previously I’ve been advised by a dermatologist to use the ‘eyeball’ test when suffering a flare up. This means not eating any food that you couldn’t put on your eyeball – ie no citrus fruit, onions, garlic, mustard – the list goes on.
My body has ached and felt sore – like an old person’s.
Historical injuries have re-incarnated and re-inflamed, and refused to budge. As a result, my yoga practice has been on hold for a few months, apart from a few 10-minute stints on the mat. And last year was my first eye-wateringly painful encounter with hip bursitis, which stopped me in my tracks.
I even stopped meditating as I felt I couldn’t handle any more pressure, either self-imposed or external.
The truth is I’ve dropped all practices that require even the slightest effort to maintain. It’s felt like I’ve entered such extreme burnout that the practices that usually help me maintain my stamina (yoga/meditation/pilates) are this time not actually serving me.
Because recently it’s felt that their main function was to act as coping mechanisms which allowed me to flog myself even harder, and continue indefinitely down the path I was on – which I don’t want. Instead, I chose the path of ahimsa – non violence – and haven’t mentally beaten myself up about the lack of these in my life at the moment.
And my mind has become addled. Concentration is one of my strong points but recently it’s been non-existent. Words evade me and I frown as the spelling of familiar words looks unfamiliar (but is actually correct!). All of this may well have a hormonal element, as I enter my middle years, but truthfully it feels like a malfunction rather than how things should be.
Bimuno – one solution
After all this, it was therefore a huge joy to be sent some the prebiotic, Bimuno, to review. I used Bimuno several years ago after the restaurant incident and felt it had made a huge difference to the way I was handling and digesting the food I was eating.
And Bimuno is easy – as I’ve said above, when you’re feeling frazzled/overwhelmed or generally disempowered, even taking baby steps to improve your situation can feel out of reach.
But snipping off the end of a small sachet and pouring its contents into a hot drink – well – that truly is manageable. In her book “Better than Before”, Gretchen Rubin talks about convenience being one of the ways to consolidate a healthy habit. If you make a habit as convenient as possible, it’s more likely to stick.
Bimuno is brilliant like that. It’s basically idiot-proof – you don’t have to refrigerate it, measure it or do anything special to take it. All you need to do is open it and pour it into your drink (either hot or cold) or even over food.
And the sachets are sized so you can slip a few into your purse or wallet to ensure you always have some.
What does yoga say about digestion?
In yogic terms, healthy digestion is supported by good apanu vayu. Apana vayu is the downward and outward flow of energy and is responsible for different types of release – including the elimination of physical waste and toxins.
Disrupted apana vayu means that your body’s health isn’t optimised because you’re holding on to stuff. This also makes generating new energy more difficult (as I’m sure anyone who’s experienced constipation can testify!)
It was therefore interesting to me that I’d experienced the acid reflux, which I hadn’t actually been consciously aware of, as the sensation of my food not going down properly but being stuck just below my throat – regurgitating even, which could be characterised as an upward flow of energy.
In some ways it was a happy coincidence that I started my Bimuno experience the day after being given this disconcerting news.
It motivated me to think about other ways to turbo charge the Bimuno – activate some serious stress reduction and improve my diet. After all, what’s the point of taking Bimuno, which feeds the good bacteria in your gut, if you’re also snacking on sugar and processed junk good, which unfortunately is a feast for the bad guys?
There’s a correlation – I’m not saying it’s a cause! – between my bad gut health and a very unhealthy relationship with food / poor body image.
There’s a lot to say about this and it’s for another time but one thing I know for sure – when my digestion and elimination is working well, feeling “a little younger, a little lighter” easily and on a daily basis seems to make a lot of that noise around food and body image disappear.
So – one week in, how has the Bimuno been?
I’ve been taking it every morning with my green tea. The recommendation is to take it around the same time every day and I do have my first hot drink of the day at around the same time so there’s been no struggle there.
On the Bimuno website it notes that between Day 4 and 7 you may experience ‘some gurgling in your gut’ as it starts to work.
Like clockwork, on the Monday (day 4) I was talking to a client when my stomach made the most extraordinary noise – like an old cistern re-filling! He even laughed about it and said my stomach was obviously reminding me it was time for lunch. I smiled back and thought to myself “ah it’s the Bimuno” as predicted!
From about midway through that week, things started working better. My digestion has become more reliable. Elimination stabilised. Although I haven’t been formally diagnosed with IBS, unfortunately I am certainly familiar with some of its symptoms – particularly the erratic, unpredictable nature of what a visit to the loo might produce.
The Bimuno seems to have made a significant improvement in that area very quickly. I’m no longer swinging wildly between either end of the spectrum. Things have settled into the very comfortable middle ground. Which is a huge relief – literally and metaphorically!
And there have been far less putrid smelling outbursts of what my husband calls ‘flatus’.
Also, the rosacea is beginning to look less angry more frequently. The bumps are still there but the colouring is now more of a rosy pink than furious red. And the rest of my skin is looking pretty good – clear – which makes me think that the nutrients from the food I’m eating are reaching the right destination.
The acid reflux hasn’t gone but I’ve realised my body can’t pay the price for a stressful lifestyle and crazy junk food intake indefinitely.
My energy is OK. The exhaustion is still there and will only be fixed when I address the root cause. But it’ll do for now.
I’m also going to try – in a non-pressured way:
- Yoga poses (apanasana, twists) for digestion and focus on a longer exhale to balance my apana vayu.
- Chewing my food properly
- Taking out – or reducing – processed sugar and junk food. Focusing on meals with fibre from beans, veg or wholegrains.
- Reduce high fat foods – because apparently food with a high fat content can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax even more. It’s the LES not working properly in the first place which allows the reflux to happen. And I’ll be more aware of the quality of the fat I do eat.
- Better hydration – enough (still) water. Drinking alcohol or caffeinated coffee isn’t something I do, so not a consideration.
- Stress relief – using the Shakti mat, reading for pleasure, journaling.
Thank you Bimuno. So far, it’s been a godsend.
Update on week 2 to follow.