The Problem with Food and IBS
Here’s the thing, food and IBS are complicated. I know you know this. Getting unsolicited food advice from outsiders can be some of the most annoying and aggravating things to hear. I’ll bet you have heard countless times to do the Low FODMAP Diet or try the AIP Diet. Or cut out dairy and gluten. And perhaps they do help you, but for so many, they don’t.
The issue people seem to forget is that IBS is so individualized that no one diet or elimination of a food group helps us all across the board. We are all extremely different when it comes to our food tolerances.
Not every person with IBS is the same
I have met many IBS sufferers whose food choices don’t match up with mine in any way. For example, wheat is a big trigger food for me. And of course, it is what I love the most—pasta, bread, pizza, sandwiches, etc. But there are IBS patients out there that eat wheat as a safe food! Isn’t that wild?
Literally, I have spoken with some who turn to toast, and pasta with olive oil as a staple food when in a flare. If I did that, you may have to take me to the hospital.
Others with IBS, can’t tolerate fruit or fruit juice, while I tolerate them completely fine. It’s crazy.
And then to make matters even more complicated, within an individual, our food tolerances can constantly change. And boy, is this the most frustrating thing to experience. Can I get an Amen?
My IBS tolerances
For example, for me personally, my tolerance for eggs, potatoes, and tomatoes is never ever consistent. There are moments where I can have a baked potato and feel amazing. And I can have the exact same potato the following day and immediately feel ill. I rush to the bathroom with horrific abdominal cramping or just begin vomiting immediately. Why?
Same with eggs. There was a time that for what seemed like a whole month, I had eggs for breakfast in the morning. I love eggs for breakfast. Well, after a month, poof. My body decided that eggs were going to be a horrific trigger food for me. Now, the thought of eating eggs almost makes me nauseous.
IBS is unpredictable
It really seems like at times there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to what foods we can safely digest which makes following a diet challenge. I did the Low FODMAP Diet at one point and found that most foods I needed to avoid were my safe foods, and the ones I could have were trigger foods. Talk about frustrating!
Overall, what I have learned with time, is you need to do what is right for you and it WILL look different from others dealing with IBS. Keep a food journal. Track your food and symptoms. And just go with what you know is best for your body. It will look different. It may not make sense, but safe food is safe food. And when your body decides to turn a safe food into a trigger food, just go with the flow. Be flexible and keep the mindset that when it comes to food and IBS, it will always be ever-changing.
How do you feel about this complicated issue of food and its effect on IBS? Do you constantly have to adjust your safe foods, too? Share below, we love to hear from you.
Have you tried eating smaller portions to manage symptoms?