The 10 Commandments Of Eating For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Much of the dietary information available for Irritable Bowel Syndrome is outdated and useless - or so inaccurate it's actually likely to trigger symptoms instead of prevent them. What's a reliable, fast and easy way to start following a diet that will actively help your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, instead of making them worse? A terrific first step is to start following:
The 10 Commandments of Eating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
1. ALWAYS eat soluble fiber first, eat soluble fiber whenever your stomach is empty, and make soluble fiber foods the largest component of every meal and snack.
2. Minimize your fat intake to 25% of your diet, maximum. Read labels and at restaurants, ask. Focus on small quantities of heart-healthy oils.
3. Never eat high fat foods, even in small portions, on an empty stomach or without soluble fiber. Better still, don't eat them at all.
4. Eliminate all red meat, dairy, fried foods, egg yolks, coffee, soda pop, and alcohol from your diet. This may be the most difficult dietary strategy to adopt, and I know it probably won't be fun or easy, but neither are Irritable Bowel Syndrome attacks.
5. Never eat insoluble fiber on an empty stomach, in large quantities at one sitting, or without soluble fiber.
6. Eat small portions frequently, calmly, and leisurely.
7. If you're unsure about something, DON'T EAT IT. It's not worth the risk.
8. Food is fun and eating should be pleasurable. Take the time and make the effort to eat safely, and then enjoy yourself.
9. Remember that you have absolute and total control over your diet. No one can force you to eat something you know you shouldn't.
10. Practice creative substitution, not deprivation. Use soy or rice replacements for dairy, two egg whites to replace a whole egg, try low-fat vegetarian versions of meat products, replace some oil with fruit purees in breads or cakes, use veggie broth instead of oil in sauces, bake with cocoa powder (it's fat free) instead of solid chocolate. Use herbs, baking extracts (vanilla, peppermint, maple, etc.) and mild spices generously to heighten flavors.
As an aside, if you're currently trying to break the cycle of ongoing Irritable Bowel Syndrome attacks, it is best to strictly limit your diet to soluble fiber foods and strong peppermint or fennel tea for several days. This will allow your GI tract to stabilize, and then you can gradually and carefully add in other foods following the rules. At that point you'll be ready to go shopping, re-stock the pantry with your new safe staples, and learn how to cook fast, easy, fabulous meals following the Eating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome guidelines.
(This information is copyrighted by Heather Van Vorous, The First Year: IBS, 2001)
About the Author: Heather Van Vorous is the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year IBS. She's the founder of Help for IBS ( http://www.helpforibs.com ), the internet's largest Irritable Bowel Syndrome community. Her IBS dietary work has led to clinical research studies of diet and IBS and her inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare.