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Bitch Guts

This one time, at a kettlebell competition, some girls stood watching me lift, discussing whether I was anorexic or bulimic.

They never decided, but they knew DEFINITELY I was ‘too skinny’ to not have some sort of eating disorder.

What they didn’t realise was that my team mate was standing beside them at the time – he had a good laugh telling me this, saying ‘they obviously don’t know you!’

Well, it’s time to finally come clean.

I do have an eating disorder.

I’ve had it pretty much since I trained for my first marathon in 2012.

I was eating all around me all the time and still lost almost 5kgs that year.

My little known condition is called:


I was asked about what to eat to promote healthy, lean muscle mass because… I’m a total Amazonian Goddess.

I adhere to a strict calorie control diet, with all my foodie bits n bobs weighed out and accounted for, eaten at precise times, in a precise way…

Erm, no.

People credit me with far too much intelligence, and free time.

Here was my response:

“Hmm. I might send you on to Seb for a proper answer..

I don’t count calories or think about grams or enforce any sort of targets or quotas on myself concerning calories or carbs or blah blah blah. I’m too simple to keep track of that stuff.

Food goes in my food hole I have many food allergies so my diet is mainly made of meat veg and potatoes..

Oh and dark choc. chicken turkey fish beef sausages rashers….

I’m Gluten free and dairy free. I never set out to look a certain way which is why I’m a bit useless at answering your question.

Most junk food is out of bounds because it makes me itchy and hurts my belly.

I think I’m the result of fairly clean living and massive amounts of moving.

It’s also down to genetics. Easily you could have someone doing all the same things but not have the same muscular definitions.

I’m hungry all the frikkin time so I eat every hour n a half to 2 hours. Without eggs and bananas and dead animals I’d probably be dead by now:) probably.

And here’s Seb:

Click on the image to visit Seb’s Fork & Knife Nutrition website:

He can actually answer your nutrition questions with the science bits.”

So yeah, I eat a lot, and frequently during the day.

I come from good stock – my mum and sister are slim too and, I also have, what has lovingly been termed BITCH GUTS (thanks Jamie).

ie an intolerance to half the foods known to man.

The list includes:

  1. dairy

  2. wheat

  3. gluten

  4. nuts

  5. berries

  6. tomatoes

  7. rice

  8. oranges

  9. apples

  10. alcohol

  11. corn – both the ‘pop’ and ‘sweet’ variety

  12. vinegar

  13. and too much tea.

None of my symptoms, should I eat these foods, are seriously debilitating – especially if I only have one thing, the odd time. I’m sort of like a low powered coeliac.

If I eat a lot of them together, or consistently over a period of days then unleash any or all of the following:

  1. bloating

  2. cramps

  3. diarrhoea

  4. hives

  5. itchy scalp/ears/nose/eyes/skin

  6. coughing

  7. sneezing

  8. throat tightening

  9. phlegm

  10. mood swings

  11. inflammation

  12. anger

  13. crankiness

  14. and sad times.

For years I thought I had hay fever, but it turned out to be the food allergies


In yer face pollen!

Think of what you ate today so far, probably I can’t have most of it for one reason or another. Most of my shopping is done at the butcher counter and the veg section of the supermarket.

I HAVE TO shop, and I HAVE TO cook meals from scratch.

Processed foods are out. Convenience foods and take aways rarely happen.

Snacks are the trickiest bit really, as all the ‘grab n go’ food tends to be bread orientated, and many of the gluten free options are often made with nut flours instead, which I can’t have.

SCREW YOU CRUEL WORLD!!! Stop putting coconut in EVERYTHING!

I simply have to be organised and bring my lunches, or go hungry (as if), or deal with the itchies.

Some things give specific symptoms – rice is chronic cramps, oranges are diarrheoa, almonds or tomatoes are hives, alcohol is itchy scalp and face and skin, milk is phlegm, milk chocolate makes me angry, alcohol makes me sneeze the next day etc

Does any of that sound familiar?

Wanna know how to get diagnosed?

I did.

I had my suspicions I was eating foods that didn’t agree with me, but how could I know which ones were the problem?

“Well, Ms Moran, we are here to help!” (YAY). “Give us a great many of your shiney euros and we shall tell you if you allergic to these 8 things.”  (Erm….8?) “Gives us a great many MORE of your euros and we shall also test these other things.” (Hell NO).

Of course, most of the things I wanted tested were on the second list.

I looked about on the internet to check the validity using antibodies in blood tests to diagnose food allergies, before I sold a kidney to pay for the test. What I found was half the research saying it was most definitely THE BEST WAY, and the other half saying ‘sure, no one knows how to check for sure, don’t waste your money, it’s all a con’.

What’s an itchy girl to do? If the ‘experts’ couldn’t agree then I was sort of lost. Time to try something radical – thinking for myself!

Here was my plan: Cut out the junk – see how I felt.

Not ok.

Cut out more foods.

Check how I felt.

Still meh.

Keep eliminating, and keep checking.

Google a list of most common foods that cause allergies… I eventually got down to eating only spuds, beef and veg for a week.

My guts settled.

I added a food.

I waited for a reaction.

It went on the KEEP list or the DITCH/RETEST list.

Let the gut settle again.

Test another food.

Lather, rinse, repeat until you have enough foods to eat to stay alive.

It took ages – probably 18months.

It was frustrating and boring and I felt sorry for myself plenty.

It felt like I was saying no to everything that I had always eaten.

Many times I just ignored all the lessons I had learned and binged away like a woman possessed.

It takes time to change your mindset. It takes focus to change the habits of a lifetime. It takes effort to live against the flow of the majority.

Only I could decide if it was worth it.

Most of the time it is.

Most of the time, I adhere to foods I know suit me best. I have new recipes I use and new ways of thinking about food. I am better at saying no to people who offer me food I can’t eat, instead of being polite and itchy.

My only rule for nutrition used to be “The Packet Rule.” If its not in a packet – eat as much as you want. If it’s in a packet, minimise intake. The more brightly coloured the packet, the further away from it you run.

You don’t have to count grams and calories, unless that floats your boat. See how many of the ingredients on the label you don’t understand – always a sobering practice, especially with the likes of branded food put out by slimming corporations.

Now, since tesco wrap most of the veg in packets, I have a new rule, stolen gleefully from Dave Hedges: ‘foods of one ingredient or less’ for the majority of my consumables. A broccoli is a broccoli, no need to worry about MSG or HFCS or anything else. Simple straightforward food.

Pre comp I steer completely clear of the danger list. I want to be in top condition. On the day I won’t care if I had that piece of cake or not, but I will care if I was able to do that training session that helped me get that extra 2 reps, that helped me win.

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:52am PDT

It’s about priorities, and keeping focused on the ultimate goal.

It’s also about trusting yourself.

Doctors, and science, and tests can tell you plenty.

But you KNOW yourself.

YOU know how you feel better than anyone else, even if you can’t express it in words.

TRUST yourself, and listen to you body.

It will tell you everything you need to know.


Thankfully, I don’t have Crohns or Coeliac disease, I have enough food to eat, and I choose to see my bitch guts as a blessing. #destinedtobehealthy

Maria Moran 2 x Irish National Champion 2 x European Champion Current World Champion in 16kg Kettlebell Snatch

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