I’ve been there…not wanting to leave the house, horrified at the thought of being in public, not wanting to even think about which clothes would fit for the night. For a while I bought long shirts and sweaters or dresses without waistlines, anything to take the pressure off and hide my bloated belly.
It was in 2010, when my IBS symptoms were sudden and came out of the blue. I went from competing in triathlons and road races to feeling so uncomfortable, that even walking was painful. I became less and less active and my IBS didn’t really improve until I found the low-FODMAP diet in 2013. Once I tried out this elimination diet, and then began to reintroduce foods, everything started to get easier and make more sense.
Food sensitivities/allergies and bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, lack of digestive enzymes, parasites – these and many others can all lead to IBS. Since there are so many factors that can contribute to IBS and various others factors that can make symptoms worse (diet, stress, pollution, environment) no one can truly pin one definitive cause or solution for IBS. However, the good news, is that the low-FODMAP diet has worked for many people so far and it’s also a safer way to treat symptoms versus getting prescriptions for drugs. Drugs come with side affects and they don’t all necessarily “cure” us. Using “food as medicine” is something I feel very strongly about.
So What’s the Best Diet for IBS? The low-FODMAP diet doesn’t work for everyone but it does provide “good relief of symptoms in about 75% of patients” according to research in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology by Peter R Gibson and Susan J Shepherd titled Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms: The FODMAP approach.
Of all the recommendations I have seen about the best foods for IBS, the low-FODMAP diet seems to be the most calculated and scientifically-backed approach. Many people visit my Facebook page and have discussions with each other are surprised as to why some can handle certain FODMAPs and others cannot. I always tell our reactions or non-reactions are due to our distinct digestive systems, our environments and individual life situations. Everyone is different!
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t handle one food or a group of specific foods – there are plenty of very healthy options out there, and life will be better once you know your gut! Do your research, get several opinions and be aware of what you’re eating, how you’re eating and living. Meditate on a daily basis, drink more water, follow the grocery list and think positively about all the good foods (and less sugar) you’re putting into your body!
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