IBS Lessons From The Holistic Health Community

I spend too much time on social media. Sometimes, it’s just because I’m bored and keep scrolling for no reason. Other times, it’s because I can’t find the information I’m looking for on Google and start looking for it elsewhere. This happened when I had a reflux-y baby whose symptoms were dismissed by healthcare professionals. And it also happened when I felt stuck with my IBS.

What is the holistic health community?

On Instagram, there is a whole community that talks about how everything within the body is connected. How diet and lifestyle can greatly impact any health issues we may have. While this in itself isn’t new, the specific things people talk about in this community were new to me. In this article, I wanted to share what I learned from different accounts within this community that ended up being helpful for me. Of course, I’m not an expert and am not saying that all these things are true for everyone. But they did work for me.

Animal products aren’t bad

For years and years, I’ve seen people around me eat vegan for their health. Meat and other animal products were always criticized and described as unhealthy. But for me, vegan, or even vegetarian, was never an option. And not for lack of trying!

I have IBS-D, and anything too high fiber sends me straight into a flare. Raw vegetables are impossible for me to eat, and plant-based protein sources like beans and lentils are high up on my trigger list. Every time I tried to eat “healthy”, I miserably failed. This made me feel guilty and hopeless, as everyone was telling me that I was just further ruining my health by eating the way I did.

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After discovering the holistic health community, I saw people praise animal products for the first time in my life. They talked about beef liver as nature’s multivitamin, different protein sources that aren’t plant-based, the benefits of butter compared to certain vegetable oils… For the first time since my IBS diagnosis, I felt excited about food. I’m able to eat all sorts of meat, fish, organs, seafood, and so on. I actually love beef liver and butter and always have. Seeing all these animal products described as nutritious rather than bad made me feel like cooking could be fun, even on my IBS diet.

Vegetables aren’t everything

While the holistic health community certainly doesn’t say that vegetables aren’t necessary, they don’t emphasize raw veggies, chickpeas, and lentils as much as the vegan community. For the first time, I saw that it’s okay to cook my vegetables. People around me always told me that cooked vegetables lose all their nutrients.

While I can’t tell you what’s scientifically correct, my gut certainly appreciates the cooked vegetables so much more. And there’s no way I can digest any nutrients in raw veggies anyway when they trigger flares and go right through me.

Another thing I randomly heard was that root vegetables can be easier to digest, and that’s certainly true for me. I just had never thought about it before.

Processed foods aren’t good

Now, it seems to be common knowledge that processed foods aren’t good for us. However, I somehow have missed this memo all of my life. The holistic health Instagram community opened my eyes to this and made me check all my foods for additives and unpronounceable ingredients. This led me to understand that the “gluten-free” foods I was buying were full of nasty things and motivated me to cook most of my meals at home, using whole foods.

Herbs can be effective

While herbalism is a whole different topic, I did see herbs mentioned as an alternative to medication within the holistic health community. This led me to research it more and find several herbal remedies that work well for me.

The importance of nervous system support

Through following Instagram accounts that talk about holistic healing, I finally understood the importance of stress management. It may be silly, but hearing what stress does to the body (like potentially burning through magnesium stores, causing deficiencies, not digesting properly in fight-or-flight) made so much sense to me. This showed me how a stressed body is physically incapable of functioning correctly in the long run. Knowing this motivated me to actively address my anxiety issues, which I had always dismissed before.

There’s hope for IBS patients

There’s a whole community online that believes that it’s possible to heal IBS. Not to cure it, but to figure out why our bodies are reacting that way. This would allow us to address these root causes to alleviate symptoms in the long run. Basically, the idea is that our bodies are trying to heal. Our job is to support them so they can, by listening to our symptoms instead of suppressing them.
Once again, I can’t judge how scientifically accurate that is, but it does make a lot of sense to me.

For instance, if my body is feeling tired, then maybe I need to rest instead of forcing myself to get tons of things done. I have never thought that way. All my life, I’ve been taught to push through and be productive no matter what.

Not all positive

Despite all the good parts, my experience with the holistic health community wasn’t purely positive. While it did help me a lot, it also made me
- terrified of mold by emphasizing how badly it can impact health. This is certainly good to know, but stressing over mold is probably more detrimental to me than any potential mold that may or may not be in my environment.
- scared of paracetamol and antibiotics because some accounts deem all medication as bad. I do think it’s good to limit the use of medication, but it is necessary in some cases and I don’t want to be super anxious about that either.

Have you come across the holistic health community on Instagram? I would love to know your thoughts!

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

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