I have been a sufferer of the dreaded ‘IBS’ since my late teens. Around about 19 for some reason I became intolerant to certain foods. It took me a long time to sort out my diet, mainly to to being at uni and a student and living of pasta and crumpets. It wasn’t until I left uni I started to make a difference with my eating patterns, and not until I ended up in hospital a few times that I decided I really should make a change.
First off all I tried medications, peppermint tablets, Baclofen, metacloperamide for nausea, other anti spasomatic drugs to control my IBS symptoms. Unfortunately I had a nasty severe allergic reaction to metacloperamide which ended me a night in hospital, after this I decided I didn’t need meds to control my IBS I just needed more self control. Being a lover of all things bread I was concerned and a bit confused what else I would eat! What do people eat for lunch other than sandwiches I pondered! My doctor offered me some nutritional advice which I thought sounded utterly ridiculous, no caffeine, no alcohol, no bread, minimal red meat, I struggled to remember what food groups he had left me with. My first thing I did and noticed made a dramatic difference was a attempt at regular exercise.
Being the IBS sufferer where I get severely bloated and bunged up and terrible spasms, running helps move stuff in the old intestines, encourages gravitational pull of things down and out. We all remember Paula Radcliffe’s little mishap.
Anyway first thing I recommend people with contispating Ibs is to have a run, twice a week preferably. Or when u feel ur symptoms coming on, force yourself to the gym or outside for a walk.
The main thing as a IBS sufferer is to keep a diary, I suggest a month diary of your foods and write down what symptoms you have and see if you notice a pattern develop with certain foods. Often I found I was getting my bloating all the time and it was really hard to pinpoint any particular food apart from the breads and pasta which left me listless and sludgy for at least a week, pizza is a no go, I gave that up pretty quickly due to its severe effect on my digestion. One pizza = a week of Pain and bloat.
Gluten is the main culprit. It even has become a bit fashionable to be gluten free , being a buzzword for health food fanatics. Gluten is a protein found in foods and helps bread have the elasticity in it’s dough. Gluten has become so over saturated in today’s food, the levels it is found in food has doubled over the years and the amount of gluten we consume I believe is affecting our digestive tract. I have been tested for celiac 3 times and every time the tests came back negative, which I am thankful for. What I try to do now is eat as little as possible. I don’t cut it out completely as gluten is in Lots of things from beef to kethcup, but I keep my consumption to a minimum and I find it really helps with the bloating and stomach spasms. When I have a relapse and go I on a bread binge the stomach pains come back and I remember why I don’t eat it and I tell myself I’m silly and go back to eating as little as possible. If you are not celiac if is ok to have gluten, don’t be scared of it, just be aware of it. Be aware that lots of things such as sauces with gluten in, you can make these from scratch yourself or make healthy alternative choices.
For my bread addiction, I eat sourdough bread, it still has gluten in but it’s gluten is far more digestable for the intestine to absorb. Go to your local bakers and get a loaf, your soon love it. I actually hate white bread now, the doughyness of it is so tasteless, I much prefer sourdough bread with its crusty outside and crunchy texture. If you feel real energetic you can make Quinoa bread.
My main rules of thumb as a IBS sufferer are
always eat regularly, small meals and often
lower levels of stress, I.e. Exercise!
Healthy alternatives to bread e.g. Sourdough
forget complex carbohydrates I.e crumpets, croissants, pasta, Go for Low G.I
Bulgur wheat, Quiona are my faves and I have with everything, spag bowl, currys, salads, the use is so varied ame leaves u feeling comfortable after dinner.
Go organic and try try make most of what you eat from scratch
learn to prepare lunches for work, healthy food takes some prep time, not long but some
Forget cereals for breakfast go for eggs, high in protein- keeps you fuller for longer, avacodos which are full of good fats. Or go for Quinoa porridge or what I like to eat yoghurt and fruit with rolled oats. Or rolled oat pancakes 😉 delicious. U can even chuck fruit, yoghurt and oats in a Blender for a Morning smoothie.
limit alcohol intake , I love a drink but it takes days of recovery. try sticking to vodka or gin, vodka and water is a good one. Say no to beer and cider full of all things wheat.
For me I exchange my normal milk for almond or rice milk, expensive but worth it, I use normal milk for my tea and that’s it. Too much diary is hard for the body to digest, so why put strain on it why I know it’s already a tricky bugger.
I know it takes time to create good habits and good habits take time, so try One thing at a time, I’m not perfect still but I have learnt my demon foods and with the help of certain books which I’ll list below I have really been able to tackle Ibs.
All Dale Pinnocks books, since I have read his books my diet has improved and I can really understand the benefits of a healthy diet, his books have changed my mindset and I love cooking his easy but delicious recipes.
James Duigan, Clean & Lean
Honestly Healthy by NaTasha correct and Vicky Edgson