Taming your touchy tummy:
One in five of us are suffer from some form of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. One of the most challenging things about IBS is the 'surprise' factor...just never knowing when it will act up and suddenly you have attacks of terrible gas, bloating and urgent diarrhea. Some of us spend our lifetimes trying to figure out what causes this for us. Often we figure out a part of it like gluten-intolerance and or lactose intolerance. If we are fortunate we feel infinitely better just avoiding gluten and/or lactose. Many of us aren't that lucky. Even strictly avoiding all gluten grains and lactose dairy we still get ambushed by sudden unexpected attacks of very unhappy large intestines. This is not just a puzzle but a major challenge.
While the symptoms are distinct, the causes often seem elusive, not fully understood.
- Infections and/or antibiotic therapy that alters normal intestinal flora
- Altered motility of the intestines
- Food intolerances
- And other unknown factors
Most people try a myriad of medications and dietary and lifestyle changes trying to find a solution to their problems, seldom with long term success. Meanwhile most of our immune system is in our intestines, so it is of major importance that we keep it in good working order.
Now, at last, there is a scientifically based dietary approach, developed in Australia that is bringing hope to millions.
Most of the foods we eat are broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. Some of us don't seem to have the ability to break down certain sugars and insoluble fiber before it arrives in the large intestine. The large intestine is populated by different bacteria happy to get to work on those substances. This process is called fermentation and produces a great deal of gas. This causes the large intestine to swell up and create the pain and bloating characteristic of IBS. It also prompts the intestine to empty too quickly creating diarrhea.
Sue Shepherd, a senior researcher of gastroenterology in Melbourne, Australia was motivated by her own IBS to study this problem. Working with Peter Gibson MD she identified the 'problem' sugars that ferment in the large intestine and created an effective new diet for the treatment of IBS symptoms based on avoiding those particular sugars.
She calls this way of eating by the acronym for the sugars involved: FODMAP. This acronym stands for:
Oligosaccharides (from gluten grains and some vegetables) and beans
Disaccharides (or lactose)
Monosaccharides or fructose found in fruits and vegetables
Polyols or alcohol sugars used in low sugar food and drinks
Trust me, the avoid list for FODMAPS is a long one and a bit intimidating. If you suspect that your IBS may be triggered by FODMAPS it is worth avoiding them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference. Then you can add them in one by one to see which are particularly troublesome for you. That is what I am doing and I’m delighted to have a starting place. It's a whole new world of eating when I know what may give me difficulties after I eat! If I choose to eat a FODMAP food I know eating less is good plan for me.
Want to know more? Read:
"The IBS Diet Breakthrough" in the Feb./Mar. issue of Living Without Magazine or Patsy Catsos informative book "IBS, Free at Last".
You may also just do a web search for FODMAPS and find of list of offending foods. or I'm happy to send you the list.
I'm happy to be a resource as you fine tune your ideal way to eat. It's helpful to find out your ideal balance of basic nutrients (proteins, fats and carbs). I'm able to do your metabolic testing and I’m practiced at helping others through the challenge of eating well with food sensitivities. I can remake virtually any recipe for you. My cookbook "Sheila’s Kitchen” for those with food sensitivities is available for $25 shipped to you. I’m currently working on a cookbook filled with recipes with NO FODMAPS. The working title is "Taming the Touchy Tummy"
Yours in good health! Sheila