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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am 33 years old and have had IBS for most of my life as far as I can tell, although I was not diagnosed until my late teens/early twenties. Last Christmas I had a horrible flare up and was so ill I couldn't even eat anything. I finally began to slowly start being able to eat a plain, bland diet. I lost 70lbs in like 7 months because of how little I could eat. I finally got my weight stabilized in June and it has stayed stable since then. I am able to eat more than I could in the summer. But it is still not very much. I basically only have a couple fruits and one or two vegetables I can tolerate now, and I am limited to very plain meals, still. I can eat baked potatoes, mashed potatoes only if they are dairy free, bacon, ham, pork tenderloin, chicken, turkey, rice, cereal, eggs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (So I can eat bread, jelly, and peanut butter) I can drink clear soda, grape juice, rice milk, decaf tea (at least I could until I drank some that didn't taste right because I think it might have been expired/stale and now I can't bring myself to drink it anymore) The fruits I can eat are grapes, strawberries, and bananas. The veggie I can tolerate right now is green beans. I can probably eat shrimp and fish too, I used to eat them in the summer and they gave me no problems so I should be able to tolerate them still too. I can also eat pretzels and goldfish crackers, as well as saltines and ritz crackers. I just feel stuck because I don't want to eat or drink something that will trigger all my worst IBS symptoms. I am feeling a bit deprived because I have so few foods I can eat and so many of the tasty foods I enjoyed eating in the past now make me horribly ill. It is difficult to avoid feeling deprived when everyone around me can eat whatever they want without excruciating pain and horrible sickness, but I can't. It is very hard when my family is having something like pizza or barbequed ribs which smell absolutely delicious and they are really enjoying themselves but I cannot eat those things and have to have a completely different meal to avoid getting sick. It also doesn't help that I am lactose intolerant and have to avoid any foods with dairy products in them. (except goldfish crackers for some odd reason) The lactose intolerance makes buying canned or boxed foods very difficult because milk, cheese, and butter sneak their way into those kinds of foods very often. I have to read labels very carefully to keep from eating dairy that could make me really sick. It is hard to find recipies that I can eat because of my lactose intolerance and then even if I do, it would trigger my IBS for another reason, like the spices and herbs used to make it. It is hard to find tasty things I can eat so I am very reluctant to try new foods. I need to add more foods to my diet because I am pretty sure I am not getting enough nutrition. What should I do? How do I get past these worries and fears and add more foods to my diet? How do I find tasty things that my gut will actually tolerate? How do I know if there are any herbs or spices I can eat without getting sick? I am so sick of the uncertainty and anxiety I have about eating with my lactose intolerance and IBS. I am avoiding trigger foods, but I am probably avoiding foods that would be helpful, too. I am suck and need advice. Please help.
 

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If your weight is now stable since July....I think you are fine. You do not complain of any symptoms that would suggest malnutrition..so?? I would stop worrying about Malnutrition unless a Dr says you are malnourished.But I understand the wanting to try new foods. And I have been in your shoes.. "afraid to eat". But there is only one way that I have found to get over that and it is to eat. So>> try new foods! Try using Digestive Enzymes to help you maybe when trying something new. Also here is some info on Lactose intolerance. (You may be avoiding foods you may not need to avoid. Also.. try using lactase enzymes!)http://www.medicinenet.com/lactose_intolerance/page7.htmSo pick a time when you want to try some new foods or new recipes (like maybe a weekend would be best if you don't work weekends).... and just dive in and try. All the best
 

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it sounds like you have a large list of foods the foods i mostly eat areunsalted butter, eggs, meat, broccoli, cheese and sometimes once or twice a week berries or 1 fruitalso do you think its not the food list but more so something els? bad types of carbohydrates make you more hungry and are addictive that may explain why you feel deprived being hungry all the timeback when i ate lots of bad carbs like refind grains i would eat a big meal and still be hungryalso i don't know much about lactose intolerance but i thought it did not effect butter or sertain types of cheese? i can't eat any milk or whipping cream, sour cream, ricotta cheese, and maybe some other cheeses aswellbut i can eat butter and i think most cheeses like feta and etc good
 

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For what it is worth most canned or boxed foods are pretty low in nutrition overall and you are better off sticking to the outside of the grocery store where the whole foods are. There are several dairy free diet websites that may help.http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/dairy.../getstarted.htm has some info that may help you. Some people find soy makes them as gassy as lactose so you might want to try rice milk or almond milk rather than soy based products. Anything labeled "vegan" will be dairy free.Now if it is just the lactose you may tolerate hard cheeses as the bacteria that turn the milk into cheese do eat all the lactose, but some people can't tolerate the fat (but you tolerate some pretty fatty meats so sounds like fat isn't a big issue for you)Those fruits tend to be lower in lactose and sorbitol, so maybe look at the fructose restricted diet to see what veggies you might start with trying to add. I think it also has some spices and herbs that you may want to start with since they also don't have fructose that can set some people off.http://john.toebes.com/diet.htmlAnd sometimes we blame the food when other things cause the symptoms. Now even if weather or stress or not enough sleep set off the symptoms sometimes some foods are easier on us than others. Just if you focus all the blame on food that can lead to some food phobias that can make eating more stressful than it should be. Just knowing something will make you sick (even if it can't) will sometimes cause enough anxiety or stress to set off the symptoms.Trying to find more things you can eat rather than focused on what you can't have anymore can help, and sometimes you can take what you can eat and work on finding a lower fat, or lower carb version of it that will let you still have some things you love.Are you willing to take any medications or supplements or must all your symptom control be diet and diet alone? You might want to check out the calcium thread if you tend to diarrhea (most of the food fearful are) or probitoics (you can get lactose free ones) if you are willing to take dietary supplements.You can also feed your diet into any of the free online diet analysis programs. They can tell you how many of what vitamins you are getting so you can see if you really are low enough on anything that you may need to supplement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The thing with lactose intolerance is that it can be different for different people. It can be severe for some people to the point that can't eat dairy at all, or it can be mild and the person can eat certain cheeses, and certain other dairy products. For me it is pretty severe and I can tolerate only a very small amount of dairy, if any at all. Like for some odd reason I can eat goldfish crackers, which have small amounts of milk derived products in them to make the "cheese" flavoring. But I cannot eat any other cheese flavored crackers and most other dairy derived products will trigger my lactose intolerance symptoms. And if I eat butter, I am sick for days. I drink rice milk and it has my calcium and vitamins A and D in it, that I would be getting from milk. It's pretty tasty. Soy milk is pretty tasty too, but it gives me gas and causes this heavy, bloated, full feeling in my stomach so I don't drink it. Basically, now the only canned stuff I eat is green beans. I have given up on boxed foods because they all seem to have some form of milk product in them and my gut won't tolerate them. I have a hard time flavoring my foods because so many herbs and spices aggravate my stomach. I also have the added issue of GERD, so even if something isn't triggering my IBS, it sets off my GERD. And a lot of times once I start having GERD symptoms, those symptoms trigger my IBS. I have been using only salt and pepper to season my food for so long because I don't know what other herbs or spices I can use. I can eat chicken, pork, turkey, and probably fish and shrimp but I only have a few ways I can cook them, grilled, baked, broiled, or potentially in a crock pot. I can eat pasta, too, but I just can't have any sauce because the lactose intolerance prevents me from eating white sauces, and since I can't have spicy food, tomato based sauces don't work either. I haven't had tomatoes in over a year because they are just so hard on my stomach. I don't know how to cook things so that I can eat them without getting sick, and so that they taste good. I don't feel hungry all the time, I just feel bad when I can't eat what my family is eating and have to fix some bland meal separately for myself so I can eat without making myself sick. I feel deprived because I have had to give up almost all of my favorite foods and I don't really have a substitute or replacement for them. But when I eat I get full and I don't get hungry again too soon. Well, I also eat small meals like 4-6 times a day instead of just 3 large ones, because the smaller meals are easier on my stomach. I also know that stress and sleep deprivation can trigger my symptoms no matter what I've eaten or they can cause my symptoms to be more severe when something I have eaten does trigger them. I also sometimes have symptoms just because I ate anything, that were more because of the actual act of eating than what I actually ate. It is complicated and unpredictable, that is what sucks most about IBS. As for fat, I do have trouble with fatty food, but it seems to be more how much fat is in the meal that causes me issues, than how much is in any particular food. I have been eating meals that don't have a lot of fat in them, even though I do eat bacon and margarine which are basically mostly fat, as well as eating ham which is kind of fatty. I think it also depends on the type of fat, because the fat in fried, greasy food like french fies and fried chicken are sure to mess up my stomach, but the fat in something like olive oil, doesn't mess me up. The "good fats" work fine for me, but the "bad fats" (saturated, polyunsaturated, etc. the kinds in junk food and fast food) will surely cause my stomach to go haywire. I have like a medication phobia so taking things for my IBS isn't going to work. I basically need to just control it with diet, and I can use Pepto Bismol when my symptoms do get triggered but taking supplements or a prescription won't work because I have a phobia around taking that sort of thing. I just get frustrated when I find a lactose free recipe but then I am not sure if the herbs and spices used to flavor it will trigger me or if it has things like garlic, lemon, and onions, which I know will trigger me so I can't eat it or don't know if it will work for me. That seems to be my issue lately, a lot of the lactose free or vegan recipes (especially entrees and sides) have been flavored with things I can't eat or am not sure if I can eat or not. It makes it hard to try things if I don't know what seasonings or herbs I can flavor my food with. I think I might be able to tolerate herbs easier than spices, but I don't know where to start with those. The trial and error part sucks the most because I have to try it and it might very well turn out to be a bad thing for my gut, but if I don't try it I will never know. It is also really hard to have GERD and IBS together because somethings give me heartburm, somethings trigger my IBS, and somethings do both. I can't use Mrs. Dash seasoning because it is one of those things that triggers my GERD and IBS both. It has lemon which gives me heartburn and is hard to digest, onion which is both an IBS and heartburn trigger, and garlic which is both and IBS and heartburn trigger. I have been wondering if I could have things like dill, basil or parsley but I don't know. I guess I will have to try it and see. This is what is so hard about finding recipes I can use, if they don't have dairy then they have garlic, onion, lemon, and other flavorings I can't eat. The worst one is when it would be a great recipe for me if it didn't have peppers and chili powder in it or it is breaded, which I definitely cannot do. The last time I ate something breaded I ended up in so much pain and so sick I had to go to the ER. I would be willing to see if I could handle the lactose free/vegan "cheeses" work for me. I guess I have to start somewhere and try something. I had seen a nutritionist a few times since my diet problems were a lot worse than they are now and she gave me a handout that had some foods and drinks on it that would be better tolerated by a person with IBS, so I could go back to that and try some of those things from that list and see if they work for me. Maybe there are some flavorings on that list that I can start with to see if they work.
 

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Hmm... sounds like a plan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just discovered I can eat Baked Lays! Yummy! I am also giving some Crystal Light Iced Tea with Lemon mix packets a try. Seems to be okay so far. I usually have problems with citrus stuff but this doesn't seem to be a problem. It will get me drinking more water, because the packets just flavor the water and you're still drinking a glass of water with it. I doubt I could handle the lemonade one, but I am thinking I could probably handle other crystal light flavors than just the tea one. These tea mixes are caffeine free, if I did the regular one I would be in trouble already. I have an idea to try mushrooms with pasta and chicken at some point because mushrooms are tasty with pasta and I already know I can eat chicken with pasta. I just don't know how to bake chicken. I don't know how to season it or anything because I have had such trouble with herbs and spices in the past. Well, spices more than herbs, but I am not sure which herbs I handle and which I don't. On that note I am still trying to figure out where to start my trial and error process with herbs. I guess I figured out one thing, baby steps are helpful in getting me past fears and anxieties with eating. That is why recipes are hard, I see a lot I want to try but then they have garlic, onions, lemon pepper, peppers, paprika, chili powder and stuff like that in them. I can't tolerate those things and they seem to be in most recipes. I get so frustrated when I am trying to find a recipe I can use. If I could find some recipes that didn't have those kinds of things in it, I'd be really happy. Maybe I will just have to create my own recipes. I have decided that the tea things aren't going to work, the lemon is not good for my gut after all. But the baked lays work. I just poured the tea out because it was making me queasy. Oh well, I can always just drink water if I don't have any sprite or grape juice left or go back to my decaf green tea. I also want to figure out a way to bake fish and pork tenderloin. I get tired of always just grilling my meat because I can't eat it fried and don't how to bake it or broil it. I think I can eat things sauteed too, but I am not too sure about how to flavor my sauteed stuff. My doctor told me that I can have lightly stir fried things, too but I don't know about how to do that either. I guess I just want a little variety in my food choices is all. I guess I might just try seasoning some chicken with salt and pepper and putting it in a baking dish with a little oil or margarine and baking it in the oven until it's cooked through and see how it turns out. Maybe I might use an herb like basil, parsley or dill, too but I don't know. I guess I will figure it out eventually. It just sucks that it's so hard to find ways to cook that work for me and my dietary restrictions.
 

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A lot of times you can just leave out the spices you don't like or can't handle and they turn out OK. If you can find a few you can use then you can substitute those in. Stirfry is really easy as a technique. Just cut everything you can eat up into bitesized pieces toss the things that need to cook longer in first and then toss the tender things in last. If you want you can toss in a bit of broth or even water at the end, toss on the lid and let it steam for a minute or two. I stirfry just about anything. You can do it in a non-stick pan with just a bit of cooking spray or put a little bit of oil on a paper towel and rub it on the pan before you heat it up. Steaming can also be a good cooking method. I have an electric steamer. Toss water in the bottom, put the stuff in the top and use whatever time the little chart that came with it said to do.Ginger and turmeric may be some seasonings to check out as ginger helps reduce nausea and turmeric seems to be beneficial for the GI tract. Ginger is really good in stirfried stuff. Just chop up a little bit of fresh ginger root and toss it in at the start with the first things. Soy sauce (if you tolerate that) splashed on the stirfry at the end is good. One way I bake chicken or fish that helps keep it tender is put a bit of seasoning on it (salt and dill are good for fish and parsley would be good with chicken) and then seal all that up in a piece of aluminum foil and toss it in the oven (I often use my toaster oven for this). 325-350 degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on how thick it is. It keeps the moisture in so things don't dry out as much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's the way my aunt said to fix my chicken. I will try ginger and tumeric. I actually don't even know if I can tolerate soy sauce, I haven't eaten it since I stopped eating chinese and japanese food because so many of those dishes make me ill. I will try it and see if I tolerate it. I will try the baked chicken the way you and my aunt said to. I will probably try stir frying things sometime. I have started drinking decaf green tea again. It tasted funny last time I had it because that box of tea was definitely stale. With the fresh box you can smell the tea with the box closed but with the stale one it smells like nothing. Now that I know that I can avoid drinking stale tea and freaking myself out about it again. I guess I can use recipes but leave out things I can't tolerate, like lemon, garlic, or onions. It just gets frustrating when every recipe has those things and I don't know if it will work without them. But I am slowly getting more things into my diet, which is good. It will just take time and trial and error and I will have a more balanced diet with more variety in it. Thanks for your help.
 

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I stopped eating chinese and japanese food because so many of those dishes make me ill.
Maybe it isn't the food that makes you feel ill.. It could be they use MSG and THAT is what is triggering your symptoms. I have read here that more than one perosn has MSG as a trigger.
It will just take time and trial and error
Yup.. I have found that to be true. So have some patience with yourself.
 

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make sure you drink atleast a fair amount of plain water each day so you don't get dehydrated that can cause stomach problemsalso if your worried about nutrition hear this eskimos can eat just fish, and seal and water and have great health from itmind you you can't over cook the fish or els it ruins the little bit of vitamin C and you need to eat everything of the fish even the bones which you grind and gives calciumanyways have you tried organic beef liver before or other organs they would provide alot of nutritionand the margarine you eat make sure its nonhydrogenatedand that sucks about the lactose intolerance i never knew it could be that bad :(im sure theres some recipes out there you can eat just actually haveing the food available to do the recicpe is another story
 

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You mentioned Baked Lays, which were a staple of my diet when I first was "rebuilding" from my IBS. I would have a couple bags a day!My base diet was incredibly simple: Pasta with margarine, oatmeal (made with rice milk and sugar or margarine), turkey sandwiches (on white bread with cheese and olive oil, generally), saltine crackers (often with peanut butter), and applesauce. At the early stages, I supplemented my caloric intake with Ensure and Gatorade. I soon found out (as you have) that PB&J was ok for me - and a good, healthy, high-calorie meal to stop the weight loss!Baked Lays was the first snack food that you can get at any store that I tried. Those were a lifesaver in terms of stopping the weight loss.Other things I was able to work in: Roasted peppers (and eventually banana peppers), hummus/chickpeas, dark chocolate (dark as you can tolerate - they have lots of soluble fiber), and doughnuts/muffins.I never bought into the "natural foods" only mentality that many IBS sufferers have turned to, but I have learned to check the ingredients of things that I haven't eaten before. I'd suggest moving a new food in every few days. If you're ok for those few days, take note. If you have trouble, look at the ingredients and see anything that you think might have caused it. Over time, you'll probably see some particular ingredients popping up multiple times in problem foods. With me, for instance, I figured out that foods with basil or soy lechitin tended to set me off.I also started to take FiberCon to help ensure that everything moved along smoothly.As many have said: Trial and error is the marching order for this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I baked chicken a few days ago and it turned out delicious! I just thawed out the chicken breast tenders I had in the freezer, then got a baking dish and put a little bit of water and margarine in it, then salt and peppered my chicken and put it in the dish. I then covered them with foil and baked them at 350 degrees for like 35 or 40 minutes. Next time I shop I plan on getting some dill, parsley, basil, and tumeric to see if I can tolerate cooking with them. I don't know what I will use them to make, yet, but I am going to try them soon. Maybe fish or some pork tenderloin, I haven't figured it out yet. I am so glad I can eat baked lays because I was really starting to miss eating chips and baked lays were some of my favorites even before I had to go on my restricted diet after I got so sick last year. I also discovered that Dairy Queen has 1 item on their menu I can have, a grilled chicken sandwich. Everything else is either breaded, fried, beef, or a dairy product. I really miss soup, but something about it just sets me off now, when it never used to. I think it might be a combination of the fat in it and the seasonings used to make it. Not necessarily how much fat, but the type of fat. It's just weird the way my body started rejecting things that used to be totally soothing, like chicken noodle soup. Also a lot of soups have dairy in them, sometimes the soups you'd least expect to have dairy in them have it in them in some way. A lot of other IBSers say they can eat peppers (I am assuming like bell peppers and other mild ones) but I haven't been able to tolerate any type of peppers, bell or otherwise, in a year. A lot of people mention Ensure, and I tried that but I can't tolerate it since they started putting prebiotics in it. They call it ImmuneBalance and now all the Ensure seems to be that kind, so I can't drink it. I hate it when they ruin stuff for me like that, by adding something to it that is totally horrible for IBS. People keep saying they can eat dark chocolate with IBS. I am leery of it just because all of the dark chocolate I have seen in stores seems to have milk products in it, but maybe that's because I haven't looked at the more gourmet stuff like Ghirardhellis. I will check that out again but I am not very optimistic about it working for me. Oh well. That is the hardest part about having IBS and lactose intolerant, the number of desserts my stomach won't tolerate. I basically can't eat dessert anymore because they all seem to have dairy products in them in some way and if they don't, then they have a flavoring or ingredient that upsets my IBS for some reason. But I am going to try some vegan desserts I have seen. Like the carrot cake my aunt got me for my birthday that I was too scared to eat. I'll figure it out eventually I guess but until I do, it really does suck not to be able to eat dessert. And I am rambling so I am going to stop now. Thanks for your help and continued support.
 

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I actually never had an issue with Ensure, and I think lots of people are helped by prebiotics rather than feel worse. Again, it's a trial and error thing to see what works for you. There are other brands of nutrition drinks out there, obviously, that you can try - Boost, etc.
 

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Jeni-I'm one of these IBS-ers that basically doesn't know what is good to eat and what isn't ie my symptoms seems to be completely erratic with regards to food. Sometimes I think I have found a trigger but next time it seems fine. Just wanted to ask if you are absolutely "normal" if you stick to your safe foods. Is that how you know some particular food upsets you? How do you work it out and are you positive about the foods that trigger your problems.
 

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I now take a whack of supplements every day, to treat a number of chronic conditions. The last year of my IBS (1998) I started taking an exceptionally highly absorbed vitamin and mineral and later added a flavonoid complex to it. Between those two, my health improved immeasurably, including an eventual end to my Daily D. Sometimes you just need to get more nutrients into you than your diet provides and your body will do the rest.Mark
 

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Hi,You should see a dietitians. I received a lot of tips, recipe and informations in order to help IBS. I'm lactose intolerent and have IBS too. It is very important to eat enough calcium... don"t avoid dairy product. I did that since I'm 6 years old and now I'm 31 and I have osteoporesis. I understand that you don't like to take pills but lactase is an enzyme, not a drug. Instead of producing it by ourself, you eat it. You can either chew it or add some drops directly in your milk (and now, there is some milk with lactase already mixed inside: "Lactose free milk"... perfect!!) Also, lactose is present in a lot of food, so I always have some lactase with me, everywhere. Yogourt can help you A LOT so don't forget to take one portion per day. It will help your intestine ... and believe me, when I don't take my yogourt for some days, my symptoms are worst.My last advice: it is very difficult to understand that, but IBS is triggered by ourself, not food. I'm trying to go to the gym regularly, to sleep enough, to eat well .... but it is very difficult. Every time that I have IBS it is because I did something wrong... it takes a lot of time to understand that but once you understand that, it is a lot more easy to live.
 

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EmepeFirst I think one must remember that ALL IBS'ers are different. We are unique. WHat helps one of us may not help another of us or in fact may make some of us worse! So I think that it is quite important to remember that.
Every time that I have IBS it is because I did something wrong... it takes a lot of time to understand that but once you understand that, it is a lot more easy to live.
I am sorry but I must disagree with that kind of thinking. It kinda of smacks of IBS being our fault and I do not think that is the case. And I also think that blaming ourselves is NOT productive & can, very possibly, only make symptoms worse.Now if we somehow manage to discover ALL of our triggers.. food, organic and environmental etc... and we knowingly activate a trigger ... yeah, any symptoms that occur because of that, could be our fault. HOWever.. many/most people with IBS cannot identify ALL of their unique triggers. And when they experience symptoms.. I do not think it is in their best interest or healthy thinking to blame themselves for their flare.Sure SOME of us can learn what triggers our symptoms over time. But some IBS'ers will never be able to identify ALL of them. So I don't think that those people should be beating themselves up when they experience symptoms.
 

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Hi,ok, I understand that if you always blame yourself, this is not good. However, when I have a crisis, I just need 3 sec to found the problem; I will do a talk next week so I'm stress, I did a lot of over time last month so I need to relax, I lost my job so I'm stress, my husband lost his job so I'm anxious, I eated too much chocolat at easter so I didn't eat well, etc... Moreover, IBS is closely related to stress, and there is a lot of proof that exercise, meditation, relaxation etc. can make a good difference. It is not only me, only my situation, it is from a lot a study with a lot of person with IBS. If relaxation can help a person, well, maybe it is because that person needed to relax... Of course, some people will say that everything is good... well there is also a lot of "healthy" people that got an heart attack... Of course, after that, they will probably change a lot of thing in their life (new job, no more overtime, healthier food, more exercise). Everybody knows that this is what everybody should do, but we all watch TV, eat junk food, and have stressful life. I just want to say that yes, IBS is bad, I hate my condition but I can improve my health because I'm not an athlete. Of course there is some situation that you can't control (i.e. IBS before periods) and this is sad. However, if you can improve your life, try to do it ! Don't stay in front of your computer... take a walk... it will help your IBS and a lot more!
 

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Ok Emepe just as long as no is blaming themselves for stuff that it is NOT within their control. (For example I am one of those people with hormones for a trigger.. nothing I can do about that except pray for menopause...) I agree with what you said about making healthy lifestyle adjustments. They only help us to feel better.
 
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