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Turning Tables - How my battle against IBD kick-started my snack company

Are you a picky eater because your difficult tummy forces you to? Welcome to the club.

I know exactly how frustrating finding the right food can be. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), in 2011 and have since been battling my condition, parenting three kids and now running a business simultaneously. How, you ask? Fair question. In this blog post, I’ll take you on a time journey through the origins of Beviva Foods: the how’s, the why’s and the when’s.

First things first: what is IBD?

IBD is a chronic, “invisible” digestive disorder, and affects an estimated 1.6 million people in the United States alone. It is most commonly diagnosed as Ulcerative Colitis (only in the colon) and Crohn’s Disease (anywhere in the digestive system). Symptoms include tiredness, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea or worst of all - flares or bleeding. At this point in time, there is no cure. Patients have to take long-term medication or if all else fails, undergo surgery. Even though more people are learning which foods are associated with their pains, there is no one diet that fits all, everyone’s condition is different.

When I was diagnosed in 2011, I was taking care of my kids plus working a full-time job that required frequent traveling. IBD was honestly the last thing I needed in my life. Skipping meals, eating foods I shouldn’t be eating, paying the price afterwards - it was a constant struggle. A struggle a working mom just does not have the time nor energy for. When I realised how much eating habits play into the symptoms of IBD, I decided I was going to create innovative IBD-friendly snack solutions for people with a sensitive tummy and busy schedule, just like myself.

A Little About Me

I had been working in the gluten-free food industry for a decade and was raising three children when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Really? Here am I trying to juggle being a mom with having a full-time job. As if that’s not enough. Thank you, universe!

The complications for my day-to-day life were omnipresent. For example, I would attend a school event after work, hungry, but all there was to eat was pizza. Pizza sounds amazing, you’re thinking? Not for me. I am sensitive to dairy, gluten, soy and certain veggies such as tomatoes but also get pains from not eating. See my problem? I am doomed either way, which is just great.

I have been battling painful symptoms since childhood, trying to keep digestive troubles away by avoiding certain foods and adapting my eating habits. As you can imagine, this is difficult to manage in itself, let alone whilst you’re rushing from work meetings to picking your kids up from music class.

Now, while living with IBD is a real bummer, that doesn’t mean there are no solutions to leading a healthy lifestyle. The research carried out by Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and Functional Food Center suggests ways to promote regularity and eating functional foods for their abundant health benefits. It is that mindset, that inspired me to pursue something of my own and to create IBD-friendly snack solutions.

The Creation of Beviva

After years of constant struggles to find suitable foods, maintain healthy habits and constant temptation on every street corner, I decided that I, and everyone else with this condition, have suffered enough. I have never taken any medicine for my IBD. Instead I learned how to manage it with the help of traditional herbal medicine, which includes a certain diet and eating lifestyle. My most recent colonoscopy in 2018 confirmed that it has effectively helped keep my sensitive bowel system under control. I thought to myself, it’s helped me, why can’t it help others as well? I was determined to create innovative, healthy, on-the-go snacks and foods for people with IBD and poof - Beviva Foods was born. A food brand on a mission to help people with bowel difficulties snack and eat more nutritiously and more often by offering convenient mini meals.

PURPO: A Snacking Solution To Eating-On-The Go

People that struggle with IBD or digestive sensitivities know what it feels like to be surrounded by greasy temptations all day and not being able to just grab something on the way. It’s hugely annoying. Still, it’s essential for your well-being to control how you eat, so you don’t have to worry about the pains you’ll be suffering afterward. It was my goal to create a healthy meal for you to indulge in on-the-go and that’s how PURPO came along. PURPO is an IBD-friendly, dairy free cereal, made with purple sweet potato granola that can be eaten any time, anywhere. It’s plant-based, simple to make and most of all: it’s full of healthy ingredients and antioxidants that promote regularity and healthy digestion.

Sounds great already? Just wait. My team is committed to creating a healthy and hypoallergenic snack for every palate and all ages to enjoy. We’re working hard to help the IBD community find the right snacks and just get on with their lives. IBD is an obstacle, yes. BUT, it’s not a dead end. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

Check out our website for more information on PURPO or Beviva Foods.