IBS Trigger Foods #2: Too Much Fiber

May anyone who has ever been diagnosed with IBS see this post.

Your doctor probably said, “Eat more fiber” when you asked how to deal with your bowels of Hell.  Did you try to eat more fiber?  Did it work out for you?

Well, it didn’t work out for me.  And I was so confused because I did what the damn medical professional told me to do, so WHY IS MY BODY HOLDING ONTO STOOL FOR OVER FIVE DAYS?  I didn’t poop for nearly a week, I shit you not.

And when I did, I felt like I lost about a billion pounds, and I found bits of undigested “roughage,” as they like to call it.  Surely if it had been in my body that long, it would be somewhat broken down.  So I added “too much fiber” to my list of trigger foods.

And, NEW RULE.  I don’t eat anything that looks the same coming out as it did going in. Sounds simple, but it’s pretty effective.  I stopped eating peas (well, I never actually ate peas) and corn (that was a sad one to give up…those sweet buttery nuggets on the cob…mmm), and I started peeling my apples before eating the juicy, digestible flesh.

Medline Plus is telling me that insoluble fiber helps pass stool more quickly through the stomach.  But when you have IBS, all normal functions of the bowels can be turned all around, and perhaps the opposite will happen.  That stool sits in you until you become convinced you’re pregnant or you have a billionth cup of coffee and finally let it all fall out.

I do still eat things with lots of fiber, like beans and nuts, but I chew chew chew until it’s like baby food in my mouth before I swallow.  I mean, you obviously can’t get rid of fiber from your diet completely.  My trigger is too much fiber, and that’s the difference.  I avoid eating raw vegetables, especially leafy things like lettuce.  I remember thinking salads were safe foods, but then I’d get that pain all on the left side of my middle body that at one point had me convinced I had some form of cancer.  It’s not that I’m overly dramatic (obviously), but I was in that much pain.  I also don’t do things like oatmeal or granola because I swear my stomach just doesn’t digest it, and the end result just ain’t pretty.  The chick in the picture above looks too calm and comfortable, honestly, to accurately depict what too much fiber does to me.

There, that’s more like it.

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She works hard for the stool…

Well, in actuality, if I have to work barely at all to pass stool out my bottom, I just wait a little while.  Drink some coffee, y’know?

w-Giant-Coffee-Cup75917So I was out to dinner with friends the other night, and my pal told us about the time she did the “Master Cleanse” diet and had poop literally peeing out of her ass.  Peeping, I believe she called it.  She explained how she just couldn’t keep it in and needed to be by the toilet at any moment…just in case.  She’s pretending like it’s a big deal, something totally crazy that she would never want to repeat.

hot-girl-on-toiletAnd I’m just sitting there thinking, that’s like an every week occurrence for me, even if I’ve been good on my diet.

And it dawns on me that my pooping routine isn’t normal.  It’s not normal to have feces just fall out of your body and sit in the toilet in one sloppy lump before they get flushed to the nether regions of sewage.  It’s not normal to be worried every time you fart it might not be just a fart…  And it’s not normal to think, surely that’s the last of what my body has left to offer to the waste gods, only to need to rush to the toilet three or four more times.  I don’t think I remember what it’s like anymore to have to really work to push the stool out.  Until those times I get constipated or eat too much fiber.  That’s when I take a bite of cheese or have a milkshake so I can let the feces flow like I’m used to.  Waste gods forbid I have to pass a hard piece of poop ever again.

I might have mentioned to my friends that such an “assplosion,” if you will, is somewhat commonplace for me, and they seemed to just smile and shrug it off.  Let this post be a sign of my solidarity for you, reader who has definitely been there.  Again and again.

I’d venture to say that loose stools are the least of my worries, so I’ve created my own norms, I suppose.  What is important is that I know I eat healthy (most of the time) and feel good about it.  What my body decides to do with it is just gravy (….literally).

Trigger Foods #1: Dairy

Some people with IBS can eat dairy and get away with it.  The normal people that surround me can eat dairy all fucking day long.  But for me, dairy is public enemy number one.

Go to your pantry and pull out boxes.  Now tell me how many of those foods have dairy in them.  Or harder yet, find one that doesn’t have any dairy.

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I have a habit of picking up every box in the grocery store and going immediately to that bold statement: CONTAINS MILK.  If I see those four letters — “MILK” — that reads a little more like “DEATH TO YOUR INTESTINES,” the box gets put back on the shelf.

And then I cry a little on the inside because I won’t be eating yogurt or ice cream or cereal or chips or pasta sauce or mac and cheese…ET FUCKING CETERA.

Then ignorant people are like, Why don’t you just do lactose free or Why can’t you just take a pill?  Why don’t I shove that ice cream cone up your…

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aaaaaaaand I digress.  It’s not just about lactose, it’s the whey and casein that can also cause severe digestion problems.  You can read about it in detail from Nutribody Protein, but what it boils down to is that you can’t digest the stuff.  Thus, a food intolerance is born.

And just when you think you have things figured out, you might be tempted to pick up that impulse buy without looking at the label.  DON’T DO IT!  I once bought a bag of jalapeno chips thinking they’d be IBS safe.  I ate half the bag that night, and little did I know these chips contained whey powder.  Someone please explain to me why chips need to have stupid whey powder sprinkled on them.  Well, those chips (they were delicious at the time) was the catalyst for two days in bed because I couldn’t move.

All my warnings aside, I do “cheat” about once a month.  I’ll eat something with cheese or perhaps order dinner without knowing EXACTLY what’s in it.  Because there are times I can eat dairy and get off scott free.  But the times (a majority) I do get an attack, they’re pretty darn debilitating.

I switched to soy and eventually almond milk.  I never drink regular milk or put it in my coffee.  I ignore the lovely cheeses at Whole Foods and go straight to the olives.  I’ve tried dairy-free cheeses, and with the exception of Daiya, they’re pretty darn disgusting.  I eat almond yogurt, which is well worth the high price.  When I eat at a restaurant, I order everything without cheese.  And the servers always look at me funny, and I almost wish they could see what I do in the toilet or feel the rabid bunny gnawing at the left side of my intestines.  There are alternatives, people.

I have a feeling we’ll come back to dairy at some point, since it’s such a big one for me.  But for the time being, read labels and just try to go dairy free for two weeks — do you notice a difference?  Cutting out dairy (for the most part) is ultimately one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Welcome

This is me.

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And I have IBS.

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And it seems like these days who doesn’t have some kind of funky stomach crap going on?  And yet just the other day, I met a new friend who also has IBS, and after his recent diagnosis, his doctor just said, “So eat more fiber” and sent him on his way.

REALLY, person with a medical degree, that’s all the wisdom you have to impart?!

Did I tell you about the time I farted after lunch and had to rush home to change my pants?  Or the time I called my daddy, crying and curled up into the tightest ball you’ve ever seen in an adult woman?

OR how about that time I ate your recommended amount of fiber and couldn’t take a s*** for five days.  FIVE DAYS.

I’m so livid at the amount of people and professional that know jack squat about IBS that I want to do something about it.

I am not a nutritionist.  I am not a doctor.  I cannot diagnose you, prescribe medicine, or magically heal you.  But I’m hoping that some things that work for me might work for you.  So you won’t have to spend years (like I did) trying to navigate the stream of stools that is now your life.

So, welcome, my fellow diarrhea darlings, foodies who seemingly can’t eat anything, space travelers convinced they have one of those freaky aliens inside them waiting to spring out.  Here you’ll get my honest opinions and experiences about IBS — no holds barred.