How do people deal with IBS? It’s a condition most people don’t understand as to the hows and the whys, but what is most important is the dealing with it. As IBS is an undiagnosed phenomenon which affects around 20% of the population, it’s impossible to attribute one way of dealing with it. So instead I narrowed it down to five top tips which should help you towards making the best decisions for your IBS in the right way.

Avoid over-eating

It’s easy to say but very difficult to do, but when you have IBS it’s like having a gastric band (or so it feels), because your stomach can only take so much action at one time. This being said, if you eat a full plate of steak, eggs and chips, you’re likely to really be suffering afterwards, not only because of the high fat content, but also because of the sheer food overload.

Break down each meal into section, and eat it slowly. Perhaps have 5 meals a day instead of 3 but make them smaller and more nourishing. Order a side salad with a meal of fries. Ask for water rather than carbonated drinks. Make the most of starters, rather than solely waiting for the big prize of the unforgiving main meal. Know that your body can only take so much so let it ease its way through meal times.

Be an ingredients inspector

This I think we should all do, regardless of bowel problems. But checking the ingredients has never been more important, especially with the sheer quantity of over-processed, refined foods found everywhere, readily at your disposal.

Instead, read the packaging, make sure you know what the main ingredients actually are – and if you can digest them with ease. If the first ingredient is sugar, steer clear. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid all sugary foods, all I’m saying is have a digestive biscuit (first ingredient flour) versus having a Jaffa Cake (first ingredient sugar, second ingredient glucose fructose syrup). Being aware of what’s going in makes all the differences to how you feel on the inside, and makes approaching food not such a worrisome task.

Make nutrition decisions which are best for you, personally

IBS symptoms and trigger-foods differ from person to person. I can tolerate wheat fine, but have been told by other sufferers that that is their worse food. Not only this but my Doctor recommended cutting out all wheat before he even knew what my symptoms were. So sometimes it’s actually best to listen to your gut (literally) rather than all the chatter that’s going on around you.

Listening to IBS fads, diets and sufferer stories are useful and can be an eye-opener into where perhaps you were going wrong, but don’t immediately assume you must be intolerant to something just because everyone else is. The Low FODMAP diet is a useful starting tool for any IBS sufferer because its range of foods you should look out for is vast, meaning it’s not all check-boxes and big red crosses. You can see all about it here.

Plan and prepare

Ensure you have thought properly about what you’re going to eat that day. If you end up being so hungry you need to rustle up something quickly, you’re likely to not consider ingredients or pick something that’s only good for its high fat and high sugar content – none of which IBS sufferers can tolerate at all.

Make your meals in advance and ensure they’re loaded with lots of food from the ground, like veg and plant foods. This will stop unnecessary cravings which you wouldn’t be able to steer off otherwise.

Enjoy your food!

See eating food as a labour of love, and not simply a laborious task filled with dread. If you eat right for your body and start learning about it more, you’ll start enjoying the foods your body likes. It’s always a much more pleasant eating experience when your stomach is settled after consumption and you can rest easy whilst looking forward to your next meal.

Written by guest blogger: Carly Trigg

For more useful IBS information and nutrition tips, take a look at My Well Being Journal for personal support.

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