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The silhouette of one man is happy and filled with strong, fresh fruits and vegetables while a second silhouette of the same man is filled with wilted greens and the position is of someone in discomfort.

Is Food the Only Medicine?

Food can be many things, like a luxury for wealthy people, a prop for studio sets, or even a toy for kids. But one thing for sure to many sick people around the world is that food is medicine. Not everyone can afford expensive cuisines or likes to get dirty by playing with food. So, the next best way to utilize food is by understanding the health benefits it can bring and use it as a natural source of healing or maintaining good health. However, having irritable bowel syndrome with predominant diarrhea (IBS-D) can make it very hard to perceive, let alone use, food as a medicine.

Food as medicine

I have had IBS-D for over 8 years now, and when I was officially diagnosed with the condition, one of the first things I was recommended to take was prescribed medication or over-the counter (OTC) medicine. I didn’t feel too comfortable with that idea because I’d tried many different prescribed and OTC meds before then and they either never worked for me or made my symptoms worse. So, instead, I asked for a more natural remedy to manage my symptoms, to which I was then suggested to go on the low FODMAP diet. “FODMAP” is an abbreviation for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, in case you were wondering. The low FODMAP diet supposedly helps people with digestive issues avoid many possible food triggers, so that they can potentially suffer less painful symptoms. Well, I tried out the low FODMAP diet, and it was actually working for me. The diet is not 100% perfect, but for a certain time period, I wasn’t dealing with as many flare-ups as before. For instance, I was able to go to the gym more consistently and make it to work on time. But then one day, while still on the diet, I suffered an extreme IBS attack. That was a moment I felt extremely defeated because I thought I was finally doing everything right. I then concluded that managing my diet was not the only way for me to find relief and avoid having IBS symptoms.

What works for one person may not work for the other

From being active in the IBS community over the past few years, I have noticed that it doesn’t always matter what a person eats, for he/she can or will still suffer from a flare-up. I know some people with IBS who have converted to veganism for several years and still experience horrible and painful IBS symptoms. However, on the contrary, I know other people who stand by veganism and claim that it works wonders for their condition, and overall health. So, as I’ve said many times before in my past articles, what works for one person might not necessarily work for another.

Positivity as medicine

I truly do believe that humans can use natural resources from earth, such as turmeric, ginger, aloe, etc., to ease things like inflammation, stomach pain, or even acne. I have personally used aloe from the actual plant to medicate my acne, and it worked. However, when it comes to complicated conditions, such as IBS, food and/or other natural resources can only do so much good. Sometimes, it takes a much more powerful source to be able to deal and live with pain on a daily basis. That power source is also known as the mind. I am known to preach positivity once in a while. Heck, I even have a YouTube channel called the Positive vIBS Tribe. Nonetheless, for years now, I have made it my mission to use positivity as medicine. That might sound corny to some of you, but people will be surprised how much of a difference it makes when dealing with painful symptoms. Also, what people don’t understand about those of us who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, is that any amount of stress or any negative emotion, whether small or big, can trigger our IBS and cause tremendous pain. So much pain that it can literally force us to stay in bed and miss out on life on a regular basis. Who wants to live life that way? Positivity along with other ways of managing my condition has truly helped me become more tolerant and mentally stronger while dealing with pain.

IBS management isn’t just about food

I don’t want to mislead people into thinking that I don’t believe food can be used as a medicine because that’s the opposite of what I believe. What I want people to get from this article is that food isn’t the only natural resource for people to maintain good health. It also takes mental (and physical) strength. I believe practicing good health all around, such as exercising, eating well-balanced meals, constantly being surrounding by positive-minded people, and actively loving yourself are great ways to lead a happy and a more healthy-lifestyle, even while suffering from a debilitating condition.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.