So it’s been nearly a year since my gastro-intestinal issues led me to seek professional medical help. I’ve basically come to the conclusion I have IBS-D, and nothing can be done medically to cure this. So through trial and error I’ve come up with some rules for myself to keep symptoms to a minimum (disclaimer: this is not medical advice just simply what I’ve found to work for me!) I am also lactose intolerant and sensitive to sucralose sugar substitute.
- No coffee on an empty stomach. At first I completely gave up drinking coffee but found that one cup in the afternoon was ok. I have a cup of coconut chai tea with a touch of flavored creamer first thing in the morning which gives me that coffee-ish start to my day.
- No lettuce. This one I sort of stumbled across after reading some posts on a message board. I haven’t experimented with different types yet(wondering for instance is boston bibb is less problematic than romaine?), for now I’m substituting shredded cabbage for lettuce on Taco Tuesdays.
- No tomato sauce. This one was really hard at first since we had pizza/Italian at least once a week. Now that I’ve been keeping this out of my diet for months it’s not so bad. I can eat raw tomatoes without an issue and if I go “light” on the sauce I can tolerate it.
- No dairy. This one wasn’t so hard since I already knew I was lactose intolerant. What I DID learn was that most hard cheeses have little to no lactose – yay! And the coconut milk in a carton tastes great, it needs to be refrigerated to have the consistency of cows milk.
- No eggs straight up. This is a more recent discovery. Again, stumbled on this as a result of a “oh hey when I didn’t have eggs for breakfast I didn’t have GI distress” revelation. Eggs dispersed in baked goods seem to be ok.
The biggest help I came across just about a month ago – I was researching peppermint oil and came across the Heather’s Help for IBS website. Fast forward through hours and hours reading through posts on that website and reviews on Amazon.Com and I ordered the acacia fiber and peppermint oil capsules. The peppermint oil capsules didn’t have any effect for me but the acacia fiber has been a tremendous help!!!
Along with the acacia fiber I’ve switched to eating more soluble than insoluble fiber and by doing this have cut down my GI distress days to 1-2 per week as opposed to 10 days per week (haha, bad joke). The soluble fiber tactic I came across on the Heather’s website, in a section about what to eat when you feel like you can’t eat anything at all. It’s eating foods higher in soluble fiber that will make a soft slow moving gel in your GI tract, as opposed to insoluble fiber which wants to get everything moving moving moving. So I started with 1 tsp of the acacia fiber each morning, rice cereal with a banana for breakfast, baked potato or plain pasta for lunch, and low fiber dinners. Admittedly I am living a boring food life the past month but keeping to this truly keeps my distress at an all time low (and almost makes me feel cured).
In the midst of all this going on, I injured my achilles tendon running and messed my back up by limping around. It took 6 weeks before I dismounted from my stubborn horse and saw my doctor who referred me to physical therapy and gave me a prescription to help me sleep. After a month of PT and actually getting sleep at night I am starting to feel like my old self.
This non-calorie-burning carb-heavy start to 2017 has resulted in a 10 pounds heavier me but getting my GI distress down to a just slight annoyance is a huge relief and I know once I get back to my regular exercise routine I won’t have to squeeze into my shorts – which could also be a side-effect of wearing Lularoe all winter but we won’t go there 😉