Almost everyday I hear the words, “I have IBS,” from someone I’m in conversation with. I get it. You have diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, and probably some acid reflux too. It’s all extremely uncomfortable and it’s an inconvenience. Here’s the thing though…there’s no such thing as IBS!
I know what you’re thinking. Your doctor told you you have IBS and he offered you a pill to “correct” the problem. I know this because I’ve been there. My doctor once told me I have IBS and he handed me a piece of paper to take to the pharmacy so I could pick up the “magic” pill that would make all my stomach upset go away. But, for some reason that day I didn’t feel like getting a prescription for my stomach. I had something inside me that just didn’t feel right about it. And no, it wasn’t my IBS, it was a real gut instinct!
This doctor’s visit, the one when I was diagnosed with IBS, was a LONG time ago. It was before I started studying food and lifestyle. Actually, this doctor’s visit was one of the reasons I started studying food, nutrition, and lifestyle. I was in my early 20’s and I was tired of having stomach “issues” every single day. But, it just didn’t feel right to take a pill. Did he want me to take that for the rest of my life? I was confused. I felt like he should help me find the problem, not cover it up.
IBS. It stands for irritable bowel syndrome. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur together, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Bowel we all know means bowel movements, aka pooping. Irritable…Yes, the symptoms are irritating to deal with, but what if that word means SOMETHING is irritating your bowel system?
That’s exactly what IBS is, it’s something you are eating that’s irritating your bowel system and causing all your stomach upset. Diarrhea, gas, and bloating, are all ways your body is telling you something is wrong. Think about getting food poisoning or a stomach virus; You feel sick to your stomach. You get diarrhea, gas, bloating and maybe some vomiting. That is your body’s response to getting rid of something bad, something it doesn’t like. So, why would your body feel like that every day? Because you are consistently eating something your body doesn’t like and it’s begging you to STOP!
You do not have to suffer with so-called IBS! Stop saying, “I have IBS,” and start taking your health into your own hands. There’s not one food to eliminate that will cure all “IBS” but there are some common foods. Dairy is the most common, followed by alpha-galactose (all mammal meat and by-products), gluten, sugar, artificial sweeteners (including Stevia), artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives. But, the list doesn’t end there. Everyone is unique, this is something we learn at a very young age and it’s true. There is not one diet that is correct for everyone. A food diary and elimination diet is the best way to find out what is bothering YOU.
Keeping a journal of everything you eat (less processed foods are easier to journal, due to less ingredients) and the way you feel that day can help you determine the common denominator. Once you find a common denominator you can eliminate it from your diet and document your feelings. It can take weeks for a food to completely leave your body, so I suggest eliminating the food for 6 weeks. If you can’t manage that long you need to eliminate it for at least 2 weeks to determine if the food could be your culprit.
Foods can be tricky and keeping a diary of everything you eat can be time consuming, I know. There are other ways to help you determine what is causing your IBS. You can get a food intolerance test done by a nutritionist (such as myself, wink) and you can also get a food allergy panel done by an allergist. The two tests are different and do not look for the same things. A food allergy test looks for antibodies in your blood stream that are there specifically to fight a specific food. A food intolerance test looks for levels of inflammation caused by certain foods. Both tests can be helpful when trying to determine what foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid.
And when you’ve eliminated your IBS culprit once and for all you’ll need to take some time to heal your gut. All those years of suffering through IBS can really tear apart the lining of your intestines and that can lead to a lot more problems. There are foods and supplements that can help speed up the process of healing, such as L-Glutamine, which can aid in rebuilding your intestinal walls.
I promise you, you can completely eliminate your IBS if you take a little bit of time and give a little bit of effort. You can start feeling better so quickly you’ll forget what IBS felt like.
If you would like help curing your IBS and repairing your gut, I’d be happy to set up a consultation with you. I offer free 30 minute phone consultations and you can set that up here. Once you figure out what is causing your IBS it can be hard to decide what foods you CAN eat. I can help you with that too. Together we can transform your health, it all starts with a phone call.