IBS Diet Plan: My Most Common Meal

So now that I’ve talked a bit about common triggers, I figured it was time to tell you what you CAN eat. Eating for IBS doesn’t mean you have to have a bland diet. That being said, I do eat a lot of the same foods.

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When you have IBS, you have to change the WAY you eat. In general, I find it easier to eat smaller portions throughout the day rather than focus on three large meals. Eating more protein helps me feel full, so I don’t overeat. I have a protein shake or bar in the morning, followed by a snack 2-3 hours later, then lunch, then a snack, then dinner. Those snacks can be live-saving — when I skip them, I tend to eat too much at meal times.

The one meal I eat perhaps more often than anything is chicken breast and vegetables. Chicken is a lean meat, so you’re not getting tons of fat like you might with beef. I like to basically do a stir-fry of chicken with green peppers and onions. Some people have issues with those veggies, so you might have to come up with other options if that’s you.

I cook the chicken in coconut oil. I’ve heard that olive oil, which I used to cook more with, tends to give off more free radicals as it is heated. I don’t know if that’s true or what the dangers of free radicals are exactly, but more and more people are loving coconut oil, and I’m one of them. For your sake, don’t ever cook anything in butter ever again. I cook the chicken in a pan on top of the stove, and I add some spices or herbs to it to give it some flavor. Now, don’t add too many spices, as that will definitely send your gut into overdrive. Also don’t use spices with MSG because those will rip you up from the inside out.

Once the chicken is cooked, I add the vegetables and cook a bit longer. I prefer my veggies a little al dente, but you MUST CHEW THEM. Otherwise your tummy will say, “screw you, I ain’t digesting this shit.” Pain will follow. I realized pretty soon I didn’t want to eat all my veggies in liquid or baby-food-like form, so I just make sure I do a great deal of digesting in the mouth before I send it to my stomach.

You might notice it’s just chicken and veggies. I’ll pair it with a side of fresh fruit, an avocado or maybe some crackers and hummus. I’m avoiding eating too many starchy carbs like potatoes or rice.

I also usually end up making enough that I get to have leftovers a couple more times that week. And every time I eat it, I know I’m eating safe foods that won’t lead me to an evening spent with my toilet.

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The Hard Truth About IBS

A reader posted that he hopes I’m feeling better, since I haven’t posted in a while. I must first apologize for being so negligent with this blog, and I’d like to recommit to my goal of writing at least one weekly post.

Second, let’s face the hard truth about IBS. Once you have it, you have it for the rest of your life. There’s no real “cure” for IBS, no magic pill you can take that will let you eat whatever you want, at least not in my experience. Even the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (that’s a mouthful) says IBS does not have a cure.

When I was in the process of getting my diagnosis, I was in so much pain I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. When my symptoms first started, I was in the middle of an internship I had to give up because my advisor said she “couldn’t have an intern that was getting sick all the time.” This, coming from a woman who barely showed up to work three days a week, but that’s besides the point. So I moved back home and went through over six months of tests to see if there were other problems — Crohn’s disease, cancer, whatever — causing my symptoms, but it all came back negative. I had one doctor prescribe anti-spasmodic pills, but they honestly didn’t do much for me. Another doctor prescribed pills to ease bloating, which also just didn’t really do anything. I realized fairly quickly that IBS wasn’t something I could mask with a pill.

I read Heather Van Vorous’ book “Eating for IBS” and discovered that radically changing my diet was the only way to get relief from IBS symptoms. I have found that some of her advice doesn’t work for me, just proving the fact that IBS is different for every person. And I’m still discovering foods that I simply can’t eat, or else I’ll suffer the wrath of an angry colon. I’ve also accepted that diarrhea is my norm and probably will be forever.

I’ll never be “all better.” Phew. I think part of dealing with IBS is accepting those hard truths. And now that I accept it, I can be proactive about making life easier.

The “cure” for IBS is modifying your diet. And I’m hoping here I can pass on what I’ve learned to make it easier for you, too. Stay tuned.