Experiment: My IBS Management Plan

This title sounds like the title to some kind of report I might write for work. Or school. I hope it goes as well as some of my papers did for school 😉 I used to do fairly decently in my classes.

The problem: I’ve been eating well recently (meaning not much late-night eating, minimal overeating, not too many salads, etc…), but my stomach is really bothering me. It’s been worse than usual ever since I moved to New York back in November. I was diagnosed with IBS ages ago, but never took it seriously – so I’m doing some research.

The solution: use diet to treat and manage my IBS. I’m reading Heather Van Vorous’s book, The First Year: Irritable Bowel Syndrome . While it’s not my first year, it’s the first time I’m actually going to try to treat it. The book has rave reviews on Amazon and I picked it up at Borders this weekend with my 33% off coupon.

Overview:

People with IBS have very sensitive digestive systems. The slightest things can set us off. Here are the basic things that I *must* follow if I want relief.

  • Don’t let myself get too hungry
  • Never eat anything but soluble fiber on an empty stomach (more on this below)
  • Follow a low-fat diet, high in soluble fiber, being careful with insoluble fiber, and avoiding my IBS triggers (like whipped cream and frozen yogurt)
  • Keep stress levels low (includes doing yoga and getting enough sleep)
  • Drink herbal tea (peppermint, ginger, chamomile)
  • Soluble fiber supplements

Let’s talk about soluble fiber. Soluble fiber foods are things like white bread (not wonder bread!), sourdough, white rice, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes (white and sweet), squash (yay! kabocha squash), turnips, carrots, beets, applesauce (or peeled apples), papayas, and avocados. These are supposed to be the basis of an IBS-er’s diet. Eat these before anything else and your stomach will thank you. They should make up more than half of each meal.

As for insoluble fiber, you should only eat this after eating the soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber would be things like whole wheat breads, bran, popcorn, berries, oranges, greens, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower… you get the idea – non-starchy veggies, basically. And these should preferably be cooked before eating for easier digestion.

Fats – be careful. Avoid them in large quantities. Stay away from fried things, dairy, red meat. I already stay away from most of these things; the fats I eat a lot of are butter and nut butters (and whipped cream, which really really makes my stomach hurt).

Let’s look at today’s lunch as a good example of an IBS-friendly meal. I went to Burger Heaven with Bobby and I got a baked potato with sauteed veggies (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and cauliflower). I started off with the potato. It looked pretty much like this, but more humongous:

I had some plain, then added a little butter, ketchup, and pepper. After I let that settle into my stomach, I ate the veggies, which were delicious. I didn’t stuff myself (I took part of the potato home, but ate it almost as soon as we got back). I had the soluble fiber first, then the insoluble broccoli et al. I am pretty sure broccoli is another trigger for my stomach acting up.

I will *definitely* keep y’all updated on this.

I’m feeling hopeful. I want my stomach to feel great while we’re in Miami visiting the family 🙂 I am so tired of missing things because of my tum!!

What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend? (We have a wedding to go to – my coworker’s.)