11 Products to Try When You Have IBS

Ughhh…being bloated, distended or constipated (pardon my French) sucks!  You may be sitting somewhere right now (at work, in your car, about to get on a plane, at dinner, at an event), feeling like you can’t get out of the way from your bloated self (and you wore your slightly tight jeans/pants today with a button that’s pressing into your abdomen *facepalm*)!

Aches and pains concept. Woman having bad ache and pain. Female placing hands on stomach.

The distention and pain is annoying and fills you with anxiety.  It’s hard to put on a happy face when you feel so sick and sluggish.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be visible (bloating, distention) or invisible (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, depression, hopelessness).   I wish there was more awareness around IBS so people like you and me could just have friends, family and co-workers that understand. Maybe someday we can all help to grow awareness to a point where IBS is more understood and accepted as something REAL and not interpreted as something in our heads….for now, let’s focus on you.

While the low-FODMAP diet is a great dietary approach to help relieve symptoms of IBS, sometimes we need a little more than diet to help.

When you’re having stressful IBS moments, there might be other things you can do. I’ve listed some recommendations below for products you can try.

Please note that everything I’ve listed below is purely for educational purposes and it is best to discuss most of them (like supplements) with your physician.

*Remember, at the present time there is no cure for IBS, and no magical pill to take care of your symptoms, but there is hope through alternative means.

*Typically when someone is following the low-FODMAP diet, a FODMAP-trained nutritionist will suggest not taking any supplements so as to receive a more accurate indication of possible triggers of IBS.  If before or after you have tried the low-FODMAP diet and want to try the products below, all supplements listed appear to be low in FODMAPs due to the ingredients used (no lactose, wheat, or FODMAPs such as fructooligosaccharides).

Psyllium Husk: 

Several products are available to help with constipation and diarrhea but many are made with FODMAPs or ingredients you may not necessarily need.  When in doubt, use products that have the least amount of ingredients and go natural!  I personally use psyllium husk to help with constipation and it can also be used to help with diarrhea.  It can also help with hemorrhoids and IBD.  Dr. Kevin Curran, founder of EthnoHerbalist goes into more detail about the benefits of psyllium husk.  Please read his article here.  Dr. Curran holds a PhD in molecular biology and currently serves as a professor at the University of San Diego, teaching courses on Cell Biology and Ethnobotany.

  • Organic India Whole Husk Psyllium, 12-Ounce – I like this brand and I add it to smoothies, lactose-free yogurt, gluten-free and low-FODMAP cereal.
    • Learn more from the University of Maryland Medical Center about other uses, precautions and possible interactions.

Peppermint Enteric-Coated Capsules:

Another natural option to help with symptoms of IBS, I have found peppermint enteric-coated capsules to be helpful when I feel bloated like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon!  On their own, peppermint enteric-coated capsules don’t completely relieve me, but they do help.  They may work for you – just remember, we are all different and every gut is different in the way it responds or reacts to supplements, food, stress, the environment and therapy.

Peppermint has been shown to be a calcium channel blocker of muscle.  What that means is peppermint has the ability to block calcium shifts within muscle cells, enabling muscles to relax.

As reported in the New York Times Well Blog: “In a report financed by the American College of Gastroenterology and published in the journal BMJ in 2008, scientists conducted an analysis of previous studies comparing peppermint oil with placebo in about 400 patients. Ultimately, they found that only 26 percent of patients treated with peppermint oil — typically administered twice daily in capsule form, for a period of one to three months — continued to show symptoms of I.B.S. after treatment, compared with 65 percent of those who were given placebo. The scientists concluded that the evidence was compelling enough that more studies should be conducted, and that in the interim, ‘current national guidelines for the management of the condition should be updated to include these data.'”

Tea:

Any organic Peppermint tea may help to ease your gut but another tea I really like is Smooth Move Tea by Traditional Medicinals.  This tea  has not been tested for FODMAPs, however, it may help when you have constipation.  When needed, I drink this tea before bedtime and then drink a glass of tepid water in the morning and usually find relief not too long after – which means that if you have this tea make sure you’re not planning on running out of the house early the next morning or partaking in vigorous exercise – you WILL need a bathroom close by :).  I also like to take this tea with me when I travel because traveling often sets off constipation.  You can see the ingredients here.

Digestive Enzymes:

When taken right before a meal, digestive enzymes may help to break down difficult-to-digest proteins, starches and fats into compounds that make nutrients easier to digest, and they can also decrease the number of colonized microorganisms in the stomach.  Digestive enzymes help the stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and small intestine to not have to work as hard. Digestive enzyme production declines with age so people 35 years and older may benefit more from taking them. Your doctor may also suggest hydrochloric acid supplements.  Other health issues that may respond well to digestive enzymes are: Crohn’s disease, liver disease, hypochlorhydria, deficiencies in iron, vitamins B12, D and A.

Pancreatic Enzymes:

Pancreatic enzymes may bring on some mild relief when taken with meals.  They can help digest and break down foods, keeping food particles from wandering too far and deep into the gastrointestinal tract and so the bacteria is essentially starved.  Speak with your physician before use.

Water Bottle:

That’s right.  A water bottle.  Something very simple yet so effective!  I bet most people reading this post do not drink enough water.  I carry a large water bottle around with me all day to stay hydrated.  When empty, I fill it right back up and continue drinking. Sometimes I add ice and lemon juice.

Chicken Broth:

When my gut is all bent out of shape I reach for chicken broth.  It’s warm and soothing, easily digestible, low in calories and fat and rich in a few minerals.  I either make my own chicken broth at home (there’s a recipe in my book The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook) or I use this brand which is low in FODMAPs based on the ingredients used:

Pedometers:

If constipation strikes do you ask yourself: “Have I moved enough today?”  Often times we become constipated because we haven’t exercised or moved enough.  A simple 15-30 minute walk might do wonders for you.  In order to track my activity for the day and to encourage more steps and movement, I use the FitBit Zip Wireless pedometer.  I also make sure I’m drinking enough water and eating low-FODMAP sources of fiber.

Heating Pads:

Ahhh I love heating pads!  If you try a heating pad, it can act as a muscle relaxant to relieve any painful spasms and cramping you feel in your abdomen.

When sitting back with a heating pad, if you have the opportunity, close your eyes and use that time to meditate.  Your mind and the rest of your body may also relax, leaving you feeling much better than anticipated.  If meditating solo is not your thing (or you have difficulty silencing your mind as many of us do), connect headphones to your phone and use a self-guided meditation app or check out some free meditations online.  

Perhaps one of the best things you can do when you have IBS is to meditate
Perhaps one of the best things you can do when you have IBS is to meditate

Self-Guided Meditation Apps and Online Meditation:

 

Low-FODMAP Cookbook:E Low FODMAP Diet CB.indd

Looking for ways to eat with peace of mind and cook or bake delicious foods using low-FODMAP ingredients? My book  The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook features over 300 low-FODMAP and gluten-Free recipes, plus diet tips, menu plans and more!  Buy here on Amazon.  Learn more about the book here.

 

Sources:
Pimentel M.D., Mark (2008-01-01). A New IBS Solution: Bacteria-The Missing Link in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (p. 97). Health Point Press. Kindle Edition.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Looking for help on the low-FODMAP diet?  Ask me about my nutritional coaching services by contacting me here.

Be good to yourself and your gut!BEC_6825

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

 

Advertisements

Check Out These 4th of July Low-FODMAP Tips!

I love the 4th of July!  And if you’re trying out the low-FODMAP diet, you can enjoy the holiday too.  Back in 2014 I wrote a post about how to navigate the low-FODMAP diet and enjoy the 4th of July, and I decided to revisit that post and update it.  Take a look here:

https://fodmaplife.com/2014/07/04/celebrations-parties-fodmap-diet/

Happy Fourth of July. Independence day of the United States 4th of July. Happy Birthday America. Hand-lettering greeting card on textured sketch of silhouette US map. Vintage typography illustration

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Looking for help on the low-FODMAP diet?  Ask me about my nutritional coaching services by contacting me here.

Be good to yourself and your gut!BEC_6825

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

Q and A Sunday October 11, 2015

It’s Sunday!  What does that mean?  Brunch with friends, relaxing with a book, sitting down with family for dinner, taking a walk with your dog or petting your cat, getting in some much needed yoga, being grateful for all the good in your life.  That sounds like a perfect Sunday to me 🙂  Sunday also means that it’s Q & A Sunday, a great time to learn from other great #FODMAPer questions.

When ever you see the image below on my social media channels, just ask your question below the image and check my blog the following week to see if I’ve answered your question.  Take this opportunity to read other fans’ questions as you will learn much about the low-FODMAP diet!

Here are today’s questions:

low fodmap q and a

Crystal Tan- Question:  “Is coffee suitable in a low fodmap diet?”  

Answer: The answer to your question is yes but please consider learning more about coffee and how disruptive it can be to your gut.  You can read a post of mine covering this topic!  “Why I Don’t Drink Coffee.”  I do want to note that not everyone responds to coffee the same way.  Some may find that just limiting the amount of coffee they consume or switching to decaf helps, or by limiting HIGH FODMAPs like regular milk or cream along with their coffee improves symptoms.  Here is a list of coffee suitable for the low-FODMAP diet:

  • Espresso, decaf with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Espresso, decaf, black
  • Espresso, regular, black
  • Espresso, regular with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, decaf with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, decaf, black
  • Instant, regular with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, regular, black

Angie Benson Harmon- Question: “Garlic and onions. How toxic are they to someone with IBS?”

Answer:  I would not say that garlic and onions are not toxic for people with IBS, but they certainly do cause unwanted symptoms and many health experts agree they may be the biggest contributor to gut symptoms in the Western diet since they’re found in so many foods.  For me, garlic and onions are the worst FODMAP culprit (followed by excess fructose).  These fructans are a type of oligosaccharide, the “O” in FODMAPs.  This carbohydrate as well as GOS are poorly digested by every human being because we lack the enzymes that help to break down and absorb the components of them into our bloodstream.  With garlic and onions I would say the thing you have to be cautious about is being proactive about knowing what’s in your food should you choose to eat out and understand the symptoms you might endure.

And more HELP for you #FODMAPers…

If you are diligent and become your own patient advocate, this diet may very well work for you.  Some quick tips:

  • Keep a notebook to take notes and write down questions
  • Bring my grocery list with you to the supermarket and out to restaurants
  • Use my food and symptom diary to keep track of all the foods and drinks you consume, as well as any symptoms. Whether you are working on the diet solo or with someone trained in the low-FODMAP diet, this diary will help you to better (and more swiftly) understand your triggers.
  • Download the Low-FODMAP Diet app from Monash University and please take the time to learn about using the traffic light system.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter!  Follow/like/comment on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter and Pinterest.

Have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to your questions!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant

Q and A Sunday October 4th – Low-FODMAP Diet

I remember when I first started the low-FODMAP diet and how confusing it was.  There was so much conflicting information online and in books about different foods, whether they were LOW or HIGH in FODMAPs, and the same went for servings.  So many others shared their frustration online about food, the diet, their symptoms, the social consequences, the doctors that told them IBS was “all in your head”, the medications or the wrong supplements they were taking.  Amid all the chaos I also found many of those same people later rejoicing about how well the diet worked for them, once they understood all the “ins and outs.”

On a daily basis I receive dozens of questions, and they are really good questions!  I really enjoy answering as many questions as I can and thought sharing them would be so helpful to you. Welcome to Q & A Sunday, with this post being the second installment (read last week’s post if you didn’t, you’ll find some great questions).

When ever you see the image below on my social media channels, just ask your question below the image and check my blog every Sunday to see if I’ve answered your question.  Take this opportunity to read other fans’ questions as you will learn much about the low-FODMAP diet!

So without further ado, here are two REALLY GOOD questions to which I’ve got great answers:

low fodmap q and a

Question –  Alexandra Ware: “Why does the Monash university app say that u can have soy sauce, one slice of white and wholemeal bread, biscuits etc when these things contain wheat?”

Answer:  The overall goal of during the Elimination Phase of the low-FODMAP diet is to reduce the load of HIGH FODMAPs consumed at each meal or across the day.  Then during the Challenge Phase, as advised by a FODMAP trained nutritionist or dietician, small amounts of FODMAP-containing foods are re-introduced through a series of “challenges.”  You can have the items you mentioned on the low-FODMAP diet but in specific servings. Having them in their specified servings ensures that you do not consume high amounts of FODMAPs.  Also do not get wheat confused with gluten.  This is a diet that negates high amounts of wheat, but it’s not a gluten-free diet, and the only people who need to absolutely stay away from wheat and gluten are people with celiac disease or other people who’ve been instructed by their doctors due to an auto-immune disease.

If you haven’t downloaded the Monash University’s Low FODMAP Diet app, I highly suggest doing so.  It’s great to have handy while you’re eating at a restaurant, shopping for foods or cooking at home.  With respect to wholemeal bread, take a look at this screenshot from the Monash app:

monash low fodmap

If you had pulled up wholemeal bread under the “Breads” list you would have just seen the red traffic light.  Don’t let the red traffic lights deter you.  Not all foods listed with red traffic lights are completely off-limits.  In this case, wholemeal bread is LOW in FODMAPs (Oligos-fructans and GOS) as long as you stick to one slice.

Amanda Leighton LaPointe- Question: “What do you do when stress, not food, sets off an attack?”  

Answer: This is a great question.  I’ve personally endured a few life events that have set me back emotionally, physically and mentally.  From a bike accident, to no longer competing in endurance sports, to IBS, two back surgeries and a family member who caused me great anxiety, I had my share of pain.  But then I had great pain and loss.  It was the hardest time in my life and it felt like someone threw a brick at my chest – that was when I lost my Mother in July of 2014.  She was my calm, my rock.  Not too long after she passed, I found out I was expecting our baby boy – a beautiful gift from my Mother I am sure.

The point of me sharing my own personal story is that life is hard and it’s like a roller coaster for everyone.  And if you have a digestive disorder it’s extra important to take care of your body, especially in times of great stress, pain or loss.  Your body needs you then the most as stress and anxiety can trigger symptoms.  Learn more about the Brain-Gut connection by downloading an infographic here.  Consider these tips for when stress sets off an attack:

*When you have to ‘go’, don’t delay! Get to “the john” ASAP.
*Avoid straining during a bowel movement; relax, take your time and try breathing long slow breaths like you would at yoga class.  Some call this “poop breathing.”

*Practice meditation.  Pick a time everyday that will work for you and give yourself 10-20 minutes of quiet time to breathe and think about all the things you are grateful for – and picture yourself healing your gut and IBS.  Picture yourself happy and comfortable.
*Make sure to do at least some physical activity (a short walk, workout at the gym, clean the house, park farther away from the store/work). Just moving can help relieve anxiety and help your bowels to function healthfully.
*Try peppermint or ginger tea and take a look at these foods to help relieve gas: 
http://goo.gl/kqEfUH

And more…

If you are diligent and become your own patient advocate, this diet may very well work for you.  Some quick tips:

  • Keep a notebook to take notes and write down questions
  • Bring my grocery list with you to the supermarket and out to restaurants
  • Use my food and symptom diary to keep track of all the foods and drinks you consume, as well as any symptoms. Whether you are working on the diet solo or with someone trained in the low-FODMAP diet, this diary will help you to better (and more swiftly) understand your triggers.
  • Download the Low-FODMAP Diet app from Monash University and please take the time to learn about using the traffic light system.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter!  Follow/like/comment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to your questions!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant

#IBSAwarenessMonth Low-FODMAP Book Giveaway!

FODMAP LIFE EVERYTHING GUIDE GIVEAWAY

There’s still time left for you to spread awareness about #IBSAwarenessMonth !  We are currently holding a contest on Facebook and Instagram (one winner will win from each).  All you have to do is comment with your biggest Low-FODMAP challenge and a winner will be selected at random to win The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.  U.S. residents only please.  

I am so excited to be working with Dr. Bolen and Kathleen to help spread awareness for their book and put it into good hands for the people who need it most.  With this book you can learn how to:

  • Understand food allergies and intolerance
  • Identify high- and low-FODMAP foods
  • Eliminate FODMAP sources from your diet
  • Stock your pantry for success
  • Create your own personalized diet based on your unique needs
  • Re-create favorite recipes using low-FODMAP ingredients

Learn MORE bout the book below!

How to Spread the Word About IBS

  • Take part in our giveaway and share it with friends and family asking them to enter as well!
  • In 1997, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) designated April as IBS Awareness Month. During this time, they work to focus their attention on important health messagesaboutIBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.  They ask you to get involved by doing things like:
  • Get involved on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr) and use these hashtags to find other people just like you! #ibsawarenessmonth #IBS #lowfodmap #lowfodmapdiet #tummytroubles
  • Share our social pages and blog with people you know who have IBS so they can learn about the low-FODMAP diet
  • If you think you have IBS, become your own health advocate and empower yourself!  Ask your doctor to:
    1. To get blood work to rule out celiac disease
    2. To take an HBT test (hydrogen breath test) – to check for a fructose, lactose or polyol absorption problem and to rule out SIBO
    3. To give you a proper diagnosis to utilize the low-FODMAP diet

Facts About IBS

iBS AWARENESS FODMAPSDid you know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects over 58 million (1 in 7) Americans and in developed countries, it may affect up to 1 in 5 adults(1)!  The cause of IBS is still unknown, but experts believe symptoms of IBS are brought on by a disruption to the interaction between brain, nervous system and gut and that food, stress and/or a person’s environment can act as “triggers” for symptoms.

IBS is more common in Western style diets where there’s more refined foods, GMOs and additives.  These crappy food choices play a role in inflammation and gut health and our bodies were never meant to try and decode them for digestion.  If your body could speak it probably would say: “What the &%$# is that?  Are you trying to trick me?”

Why do these crappy foods potentially trigger disease and gives us all sorts of reactions and complications?  It’s because 70% of the body’s immune system (your first line of defense) is connected to the digestive tract.  So throwing garbage food into your digestive system makes it even harder for your body to do the rest of its job – like fight off free radicals and foreign invaders.  Eat as many nutrient-rich foods as possible and remember that crappy food choices tend to make IBS symptoms worse and the rest of the population – sick, tired and moody!

IBS is more common in women then men

Many people are too embarrassed to get treatment or ask for help

There is no “cure” for IBS, however, it can be treated and symptoms can improve if an IBS patient works with their doctor.  A gastroenterologist, family doctor, or general practitioner can help to rule out possible causes from the patient’s past and current health history, and there are different blood and breath tests to try.  The next step is to work with a qualified professional trained in digestive health issues to carefully plan and manage the patient’s diet and lifestyle.  Examples of people who can help are: Certified Nutritionists or others trained in nutrition (like a Holistic Health Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, etc.) or a Registered Dietitian.  If stress seems to be playing a large role in IBS symptoms, opt for cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis, yoga and/or meditation.

Remember to enter our giveaway to win this helpful book!

Book-Cover-885x1024

The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders

by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.

BUY this book now!  Just click here.

Here’s a description of the book as told by the authors:

If you suffer with symptoms of IBS, you know that digestive troubles and pain can disrupt your day-to-day life. Fortunately, researchers have come up with a new treatment plan to help you control symptoms: a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and found in many common foods, like wheat, milk, beans, and some vegetables, fruits, and sweeteners. The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet walks you through the step-by-step process for identifying your individual sensitivities–and gives you options and substitutions so you can enjoy your favorite foods again.

AuthorsPrintDr. Barbara Bolen, an IBS specialist, provides advice and tips for developing a personalized and realistic healthy eating plan. And with 150 low-FODMAP and gluten-free recipes, you can reduce digestive distress and feel great while enjoying satisfying and nutritious meals!

Thank you again to Dr. Bolen and Kathleen for writing this book and running a giveaway with me!

Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

Sources: IBS.org, IFFGD.org, (1) McFarland LV. State-of-the-art of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease research in 2008. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(17):2625-9. Hungin APS, Whorwell PJ, Tack J, Mearin F. The prevalence, patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome: an international survey of 40 000 subjects. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003; 17(5):643-50.