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Hello All!I'm new to the site and so far have found the information quite helpful aside from some fairly unfriendly postings.I was diagnosed five years ago as a result of serious cramping, painful gas buildup and frequent diarrhea. My condition has worsened over the last 18 months and I've tried to keep food journals to see what upsets my system and what seems to go down okay. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it and it's causing me to become very depressed and more of a recluse.I don't feel comfortable to eat in restaurants anymore and aside from going overto the homes of family or good friends I don't like to visit for fear of an embarassing onset and dating is right out of the picture! Saturday night I was awakened with serious cramping and had to crawl from my bed to the bathroom and after nights like that I find myself depressed for days.Does anyone have any tips on how to deduce what foods are triggers? I appreciate that all our systems are different but there mustbe some common threads. I know that legumes are a no-no, deep fried foods are out.I can eat butter on bread but cannot digest melted butter on vegetables...Any suggestions would be appreciated.AGD Baby
 

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Generally there are two approaches. The first is keep a food diary where you also log your symptoms. Remember foods can cause reactions for a couple of days (most people's transit time lasts between 18-72 hours) so it may not be the food you just ate that caused the symptoms.The other approach is to eat a very limited diet for a week or two to see if all symptoms go away, or are greatly reduced (there are non-dietary triggers so depending on what yours are, it may not be possible to be 100% symptom-free even on that diet). If the diet helps, in that time frame (if it doesn't you may need to try a different diet, or decide that type of food isn't the problem--for me volume was the issue when the IBS was bad. More than a few bites of anything or any meal triggered symptoms) then you move to phase II. You don't want to say in Phase I for long periods of time. You could sensitize yourself to those foods, and elimination diets are usually do not meet all dietary nutrient requirements (taking a vitamin pill is a good idea). You now introduce foods back one at a time for 3 days and then put either in the safe category or the not-safe category, until you have built up enough foods to be able to have a varied, nutrient-sufficient diet.K.------------------I have no financial, academic, or any other stake in any commercial product mentioned by me.My story and what worked for me in greatly easing my IBS: http://www.ibsgroup.org/ubb/Forum17/HTML/000015.html
 

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I'd go with what kmottus said.But first of all, take the 'sensible' measures of not eating commonly problematic foods, the stimulants hot spices, alcohol, caffeine. Wheat is also a good place to start to see if that helps at all. Take some time between eliminating stimulants and then wheat, to asses effectiveness.I was like you too - I couldn't work out what my triggers were, or rather I didn't appear to have any triggers, because I was in a permanent state of cramping, pain diarrhoea etc.I managed to calm down the IBS generally through stress reduction, hypnosis, taking remeron (reduces the amount of serotonin in the gut which is responsible for peristalsis) and taking a calcium carbonate supplement.After that, the triggers became apparent because they caused bad D in otherwise fairly predictable IBS. Over time, I've developed more and more intolerances to food - more triggers. So, previously 'safe' foods have become diarrhoea producing. My diet has gotten fairly restricted, but its worth it, and I'm finding lots of new foods to enjoy that I hadn't thought of eating before. Seeing a herbalist who identified the food 'allergies' helped a lot, because I knew then that if I had D after eating say, soya, along with a whole load of other things, I could say it was the soya that was the problem, because he said I was allergic to soya. This saved me trawling through every food I had eaten at that point. hIf you've got some spare cash, you could try the LEAP program (see advertisment top left in red), or going to a herbalist that can do allergy testing. It's important to say that not everybody's IBS is made worse by particular foods. So, if you have no success with diet alteration and exclusion, this could by why.take care, lots of luck, and don't give up! It's taken me 2 years to figure out most of my triggers, but it's worth the wait. susan
 

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Trigger foods are hard to identify because they seem to change. I have done a lot of research recently about this after a bad relapse of my own, and I've come up with these foods that pop up most on people's lists of problems foods: onions, garlic, tomatoes, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, carbonated beverages, corn, wheat, sugar and chocolate. Also, after a really bad relapse, I go on a braised chicken and rice diet for a few days until things calm down.The Caltrate 600 Plus calcium supplement seems to help with the D also. I just bought Mike's relaxation tapes, and the first one (the only one I've tried) is wonderful. So, keep at your food diary. It may turn up something of interest. Eliminate the most common triggers, and RELAX! You're not alone! Just look at all these posts!Good luck!
 

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I agree with what the others have said and want to add something. If "doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it" then look closer. Additives can be a determining factor. I find I can eat one brand of bread but not another, one brand of pasta but another brings on a big attack. I also find that vegan foods, which usually contain a lot less additives and are more natural, are usually safer for me. Chocolate is also a bad trigger food for me.Don't be discouraged, things will get better. You just have to determine what will work for you. After years of finding eating in restaurants an unpleasant experience, I now go out often and really enjoy it!
 

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AGD:The information posted so far is quite factual. It also reflects the difficulty of trying to identify offending foods or additives on your own without the supervision of a person qualified to do so. Many claim to be, few are. Self-education to the nuances of food ALLERGY versus various other forms of food intolerances is key to being able to feel confident about getting control of your diet.This book I recommend unequivocally...it is written for patients by the worlds' leading authority on the subject of fooda llergies and intolerance, Professor Jonathan Brostoff.It is worth its weight x 10 in education on the subject geared to PATIENT-speak: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/089...6487508-3420903 Also, in the interim as my time is very limited these days, here is a discussion of ONE area (foods which can cause false-food allergy type reactions) which can be used as a starting point. It is not by any means an end-point but can serve to illustrate the degree to which foods can unwittingly affect the function of the neuro-gastro-immuno-endo-exocrine system. _______________________CHAPTER 1 ON FOOD REACTIVITYAs we have all read over and over, once a correct diagnosis of IBS is made (all the post-infection, inflammatory bowel disease, enzyme deficiency, and traditional "rapid onset" allergy causes of bowel dysfunction have all been evaluated and ruled out or treated) what is left is a problem of a hyperactive/reactive gut combined often with systemic symptoms (that can manifest themselves a number of ways). Diet, mental state, and overall health at any given time influence symptoms. Mental state is managed with various "affective" therapies depending upon the disease management approach of the particular clinician/patient combo (some prefer cognitive therapies, meditation or yoga, hypnotherapy, and forms of supportive pharmacotherapy).Interventional pharmacotherapy and dietary supplement therapy are often used to manage direct GI symptoms as non-patient specific dietary therapy is often frustrated by inconsistency in results and accurate identification of the actual offending foods and additives.WHY?Diet affects everybody, healthy and unhealthy alike. our largest interface with the outside world is the digestive tract and it is designed to differentiate the good (nutrients) from the bad (pathogens, toxic chemicals, foreign substances) and then process each accordingly. The good stuff is supposed to be broken down into specific components far enough that it can be safely assimilated into the body through the intestinal absorption structures (see villous anatomy) and the waste leftovers disposed of competently. Some food particles are assimilated "undissassembled" so the cellular immune system can perform its normal functions of "identify, classify and tag" food substances as "safe".The bad stuff (pathogens), once identified, can be attacked and neutralized, or otherwise processed within the normal gut, or if it gets into the bloodstream by phagocytosis then on to other organs like the liver, and circulating structures and then disposed of. This involves evoking various protective mechanisms that are components of the immune system which are managed by a chemical management system (mediators) and linked to the organs and nervous system (peripheral and central ) which also contributes to controlling the process. Under normal circumstances and with a normal immune-neuro-gut structure interface, this whole complicated process works fine at processing your food and sorting out the wastes and foreign invaders. From time to time a person gets a bout of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, flushing, dizziness, maybe even body pains and inflammation at the same time, fevers, and all combos thereof. Which is nothing more than the immune system detecting (either quickly in the upper digestive tract or more slowly as the objectionable pathogen or chemical makes its way down into the intestines) a pathogen or potentially harmful chemical and then taking steps to isolate it and then remove it from the body. That simplified explanation in place, the first thing to explain is how if you did NOT have IBS or any allergy of any type whatsoever, you could and would still get sick digestively or otherwise from time to time from something you ate. If you have IBS, these inate food :hazards� become more important as ONE element potentially of the symptom-set etiology.CHAPTER 2: FOODS THAT CAN BITE YOU!Some foods, especially vegetable matter, developed (genetically) DEFENSE MECHANISMS like animals. HUH? Animals do not want to be killed and eaten so they develop defense mechanisms. We humans went from sticks and rocks to guns and grenades. Someone attacks you, nuke 'em. Animals develop camouflage, or teeth and fangs and claws not just for eating but for defense. A lot of plants that we eat do not want to be eaten either so they have their own defenses. These include plants (fruit, veggies) that produce chemicals designed to be in sufficient concentration to make a little animal sick if they eat them, so little animals do not eat them. THIS IS BY NO MEANS A COMPRHENSIVE LIST BUT AN EXAMPLE TO BE CONSIDERED. Time is short today again...One chemical weapon that some veggies have that�s real cute is a weapon that causes your immune system to Turn On all by itself! There are a lot of chemicals found in foods that can do this but one of the most prevalent is a group of similar chemicals called "lectins". In short, lectins are a group of chemicals which trick mast cells in the mucosa of the digestive tract into "degranulating". The mast cells contain chemicals (mediators) which either act directly on an invader or cause things to happen which bring other immune chemicals and cells into the fight to control an invader. And when the mast cell releases these chemicals it also causes local irritation of the mucosa, nerve tissue, and smooth muscle and systemic reactions s well.In the lung, spasm of the muscle and swelling of the local tissues engorged with fluid bearing defensive cells, and an outpouring of secretions can happen. The small bowel reacts very similarly to the tracheobronchial tree. In your gut, smooth muscle spasm, increased mucous production, swelling, and then the systemic effects of mediators that get taken into the lymphatics and/or aborbed into or released into (secondary cellular response) blood stream can cause the other symptoms we discussed as the body tries to expel the apparently foul substance. Now most peoples bodies are structurally sound enough to process the results of this defense mechanism sufficiently that the person does not get clinically sick (or very little) from consuming a normal 'dose' (side dish) of these veggies that contain lectin. Many times reaction is totally absent.But a compromised and reactive gut, overreactive central and peripheral nervous system combined with the anxiety accompanying the syndrome which is part of the trigger-loop can make a person with IBS get an "attack" from something another might not. When this happens it is not an allergy, because your immune system is functioning normally. It has been tricked into reacting by the veggies weapon, and with IBS it is more reactive than normal (the gut and the rest of the nervous system) and this can be amplified by the stress/anxiety responses. This is sometimes called "false food allergy" or "pseudoallergy".Lectins are found in high concentrations in legumes (peas, beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.)Some contain so much that if they are not prepared properly without a lot of presoaking and cooking even a healthy person can get a pain and/or diarrhea attack. Kidney beans, improperly prepared and put in a dish or salad, or in a slow-cooker instead of the usual high-temp cooking, have been responsible for more than one attack of "I must have an intestinal flu bug". And since it takes a while for the beans to get eaten, processed, start moving through the bowel and releasing quantities of lectin, we are talking many hours or even the next morning (if the persons transit time is slowed as it is in some gut dysfunction) after breakfast before the dreaded explosion occurs! And lectin response is different in everybody, normal and IBS alike. That is why they are called "lectins". This is from the Latin ,means "to choose" I think (see Dr. Brostoffs Book referenced below for a better discussion). Some of the lectins interract differently with different even healthy people due to each persons slightly different makeup of the short-chain carbohydrate molecules that are attached to the bodies cells. Different lectins are specific to specific to certain carbo structures. AGGGHHH! Smart beans! It gets more complicated as some lectins trick the mast cells directly and some lectins can bind IgE creating an "antigen" and actually can make a person have a positive skin-prick test or �blood test� for a pea or bean when they are not actually allergic! Some other foods (strawberries, shrimps, crabs, lobsters, tomatoes, fish pork, chocolate and more) contain special types of "peptides" which can also indirectly trick mast cells in your gut into losing their integrity and dumping mediators. There are also foods and processed foods which contain pressor amines, which can effect nerve tissue and blood vessels, eliciting such systemic effects as headache, dizziness, fatigue, and aggravate ADD (phenylethylamine and tyramine). These are found in various concentrations in a broad range of foods, from bananas, tomatoes, avocados, prunes, raisins the beer, wine, cheeses smoked flesh-foods, and chocolate.Again, a normal person might not notice as the body processes these inappropriate mediators without clinical symptoms, or do not notice unless they eat a high concentration of them (plus ketchup and tomato sauce tend to concentrate the chemicals as they are processed). But an IBS or IBD victim might get "killed" once the stuff gets into the gut, and the farther it goes the worse it gets until they reactions finally expel it all.Histamine is another beauty. You know Histamine is one of the main chemical mediators released in allergy (immediate-like hay fever or the severe anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, say) or in other slower allergic reactions, or in tissue reactions which seem delayed because it takes time for the trigger to get in contact with mast cells. But some foods are high in histamine, and if consumed either in larger quantities or by a compromised gut or both can make you say "AHHHHH there it goes again!". Red wines, champagnes, even beer and white wine are beverages that can contain can contain histamine. And of course �lets have a little party and put some cured sausages out (summer sausage, genoa,and other hard sausages) and some [well-ripened] cheese� and you will get a real good dose of histamine from these. Mackerel and tuna can have histamine in them as well, especially if they are not kept very cold during the processing and canning process. These histamines come from the normal bacterial action in these foods as a byproduct. This direct-release of histamine can trigger faster responses if the concentration is high, especially in beverages, because it can be directly absorbed through the buccal mucosa (oropharynx-mouth & throat) and bang you with a headache, dizziness, nausea, then just wait as it gets to your reactive gut..BAM ZOOM TO THE MOON.CHAPTER 3: PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONSThat is a quick summary of some examples of food self-defense, and it can make our IBS symptoms appear even if we are NOT �immunologically hyper-reactive� to these foods.Add to this the fact that your food triggers may be also from one of several types of ABNORMAL immune reactions (hypersensitivity reactions and direct cytotoxic effects on immune cells), not just classic Type I allergy (immediate reaction). This reactivity-class is delayed either by the reaction onset is slow, or by the time it takes the reactive substance to get spread around the area of the GI mucosa so it is "seen" to be reacted to, absorbed and circulated or all these variables, before the process and symptoms even begin and you can be talking about 12, 24, even 72 hours for full-onset. If a person suffers reactivity other than allergy, there is slim chance a standard food and symptom log is ever going to have a HIGH correlation to the onset of symptoms unless done in a very specific and structured manner, starting with a base diet that is established to be 100% "non-reactive" for that patient. And even then it is almost impossible to isolate the reactions that are highly dose-dependent, as it may take a combination of 2 or 3 of these consumed together to be able to PERCEIVE the response. One can, however, find the gross reactions (things which a relatively low dose or low exposure produce a strong enough response to be perceived clinically)It could be something or things eaten or drunk 3,4,5 meals ago...and since the consumption patterns fluctuate, as do the amounts consumed (some reactions are not seen as clinical symptoms until a reactive-threshold is passed by a certain dose of the trigger food, just like an asthmatic not going into a full-blown event until a certain dose of antigen is taken in).CHAPTER 4: WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?This is why some various (and at times stringent) dietary regimens have been developed to try to uncover more accurately these triggers. And why books like Dr. Brostoff writes are contructed�.to help people get accurate guidance in the means of isolating the offending foods �manually�.There are (2) general types of approaches. One is to go on a specific diet that is given, is very structured to remove just ALL KNOWN PSEUDOALLERGIC POTENTIAL FOODS. Then see if the symptoms start to subside over time (not a week...must be followed for NO LESS than 30 days before evaluated). Then if that worked, reinstituting foods one at a time by challenge is done. If not, one must rotating foods OUT of the base diet and allowing sufficient time to pass for symptoms subsidence...then the patient has a starting point. There are several specific diets to choose from that are spelled-out as daily menus that follow this approach in Brostoffs book, based on his 30+ years of experience in research and clinical care in this area. ANOTHER way is to start with a stoneage diet regimen which removes all the pseudallergic sources AND all the High-Probability allergic and delayed-allergic foods. Like the Rice-Lamb-Pear diet. There are several. Ditto the procedure (in general...specifics are explained in the book). Then there is the BRAT diet...each is a variation of a low-reactivity base diet.In any case of an investigatory diet, because any of the reactions may not be the FOOD but an ADDITIVE, ALL processed foods, additives, and colorings are forbidden. And nowadays organic is one step better, since there may be an antibiotic in the Chicken you bought that they gave it your immune system reacts to, not the chicken. Or some people are told or lead to believe they are "lactose intolerant" when it is actually another milk-fraction (casein, whey, or one of the proteins). Or it�s not the milk at all. They get diarrhea from Ice cream but when they drink a glass of milk: nothing. Sorbates (polysorbate, sorbitol) in the ice cream may be the culprit. Dr. Brostoff's book is a good one, probably the best for patients written by the top immunologist in the field. I recommend it for people trying to get a grip on their eating patterns and how they relate to constitutional symptoms that have been linked to food and additive sensitivity.There are also tests available to speed the identification process by analyzing immune reactivity in vitro to antigens. Type I allergies are easy to spot (IgE/IgG mediated for example). If you have one and you are an adult you have probably figured it out already (you eat, get sick right away in one or more ways within minutes to an hour) so you are avoiding those items. If not there are several reliable ways of finding �allergic� reactions. This is simple since they are fast and response is to a low-dose of allergen. Oral challenge is fairly simple with �food allergy� but, this does not usually lead to much relief for IBS and the like because this is not the predominant problem.There are several other types of in-vitro tests that have been developed which to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy can help identify the other multiple sources of abnormal immune reactions (non Type I reactions that cannot be found except by careful oral challenge, represented by other technologies developed over the past 2 decades).These have been developed for the purpose of seeking Speed and Convenience, a �short cut� to finding the offending foods and additives. These alternatives have been sought by practitioners and patients alike as the dietary trial regimen is quite difficult for most non-�allergy� food or chemical reactivity. The exchange for saving time is that like all medical services and tests they are not free, and some are better than others.The point is that doing it yourself is more tedious, but it Costs Nothing except time and self-discipline and often can achieve success rates as high as 70% (or as low as 0% depending upon carefully it is done. But if you go off on this trip without a real good understanding of the terrain, there is a high likelihood of getting lost and a sense of futility. It is the most common outcome.Awareness of your diet and how it affects your health tends to increase both knowledge and discipline in dietary discipline matters, and can build a sense of commitment when any such program is implemented carefully and results are obtained.A FOOTNOTE ON ADDITIVES AND FLAVORINGS:Additive reactivity is very hard to discriminate with challenges...think of the possibilities...300 additives and 3,000 flavorings (not all are commonly used in all societies...there are usually around 100 or so to deal with and some are of the same chemical family so find one reaction, eliminate the others).With IBS we should avoid additives anyway. The 3P's RULE is a good rule: Packaged + Processed = Poison. Many can irritate your colon all by themselves without any allergy due to the reactive nature of the gut. So we always try to direct patients to an additive-free diet.-----------------------Hope that helps get you thinking anyway...Eat well. Think Well. Be wellMNL_______________ www.leapallergy.com
 
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