Hello my fellow friends, this article is specifically for those of you that have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). its the worst, and can be a real fun sucker at times. 5 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS, and one year ago I threw the towel in (Australian term for “had enough”) and decided I couldn’t live that way another day more. I sought the help of an incredible dietitian and she sent me on my way with tips and tricks to start over.
With my IBS I was unable to tolerate the following: dairy, nuts (especially peanuts), any processed sugar, and no more than a teaspoon of regular sugar, anything high in fat, any meats that were too fatty, some sweeteners, some preservatives, anything deep fried, eggs yolks, cocoa, chocolate, any foods that contained syrups or thickeners (bit rough on the tummy), and any grains or seeds.
As you can see, this tosses out a whole heap of foods that make up your every-day diet. My dietitian started me all over again, I kept a food diary (excellent tool to maintain your diet and watch what you eat, also to manage symptoms and identify trigger foods), was taken off any processed or refined sugars (this gave me a headache for 2 days, but after, the cravings were completely gone and the sweetest thing I would crave was an orange) and was encouraged to only eat fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates and only wholemeal bread and low fat meats (no sausages, lamb chops etc).
A year on, I have gradually begun increasing my food tolerance by slowly adding things back in very small amounts (e.g: increased my tolerance to nuts by having the tip of a teaspoon of almond butter every morning and gradually making it more and more, now I have my toast smothered in it) and this morning had my very first bowl of cereal with milk (it was soy, was declared lactose intolerant a year ago, but I’m still excited) in 5 whole years. And loved it. Toast gets very very bland after 5 years.
So for those of you who feel like your drowning in a hole with food intolerances, heres my tips to help yourself start over, and get your life back:
– Firstly, get a small book you can keep a food diary in. When you have a problem after eating something, write it down, you will notice a pattern if it happens again after the same food and then you have a trigger to watch out for!
– Start over with all your foods, strip it back to healthy carbohydrates (pasta, rice, wholemeal breads, potatoes etc), vegetables, fruit and meats.
– Gradually introduce some foods, one at a time in case you have trouble and find yourself blaming the wrong food for some issues you think it caused. So for example, you want to have some nuts again, try my almond butter trick. Peanuts are no good for IBS sufferers, peanuts are digested in the sensitive part of the small intestine, they will most likely hurt regardless of your small efforts.
– Drink lots and lots of water, not cordial, not soft drink, not juice, just water. Add some lemon or mint leaves to give it some flavour. Water helps your digestive system and will help everything pass through smoothly.
– If you have constipation issues, increase your fibre intake – the wonders this will do will amaze you, you will feel lighter, less bloated and not as gluggy all the time, and it will keep your bowels regular (make sure you keep your fluids up, fibre uses the water in your system to help it flush you out a little, so drink, drink, drink!).
– Start saying yes to activities again… scared about your reactions out of home, pack your food so you know what your having, don’t go grabbing a handful of treats at a party… this will only hurt you, and set you back. You can do this!
– Exercise!!! Half an hour every day is ideal! This will help keep your systems regular, relieve stress (IBS trigger) and aid in the release of happy hormones!
Now I CAN eat the following 🙂 : nuts, any processed sugar, MORE than a few teaspoons of regular sugar, some foods high in fat (a couple chippies), any meats, most sweeteners, preservatives, anything deep fried, dairy-free cocoa, dairy-free chocolate, any foods that contained syrups or thickeners.
Good luck! I hope it can work for you, as well as it has for me. xx