About Me

IBS Diet

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not something that people want to talk about very often.  I mean, do you really want to know my poop cycles or lack thereof?  Probably not, but considering it is IBS awareness month, I felt like I needed to share my experience.  If I can help at least 1 person get some relief, sharing my quite personal story will be worth it.

A quick review of what IBS is from aboutibs.com : Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder in which abdominal discomfort or pain is associated with a range of symptoms. Typically, these include intermittent abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, or alternating episodes of both. Other symptoms may also be present.

I’m not going to go into extreme detail, but I will say that I have been dealing with this for over 10 years now.  One day I wouldn’t be able to stop going to the bathroom, to the point where I couldn’t leave my house, then it would be a week before I could go again.  It wasn’t predictable on which it would be and I couldn’t really come up with specific trigger foods.  I would eat a meal and then look like I was 5 months pregnant.  The bloating was uncomfortable and then to make it worse, sometimes I would be doubled over with extreme cramping.  The type of cramping that takes your breath away.  This pain was so intense sometimes that it made my childbirth contractions not seem so bad.

I tried every natural remedy that was recommended to me.  Extra fiber, prune juice, colon cleanses, probiotics, teas, herbal supplements, more water, exercise, EVERYTHING!  I decided that enough was enough so I went to the doctor where she simply told me to drink MORE prune juice.  After getting sassy with her she prescribed me Bentyl, which I was to take 4x a day, 30 minutes before every meal.  To my understanding, this is a smooth muscle tissue relaxer.  It worked great and I felt relief for the first time in a long time!

I didn’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life though, so I set out to find something else.  The paleo diet was just coming out as the best fad diet ever, so I thought I would give it a try.  Quick rundown on Paleo:  There is wide variability in the way the diet is interpreted.  It includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat while excluding foods such as dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, and alcohol or coffee.  Some people follow this diet because it is supposedly what our ancestors ate long before the agricultural revolution – the Paleolithic era.  I don’t even know when that is, stone age time?  Others, like myself, follow it because it felt like common sense to remove processed, “fake” food and replace it with natural, “real” food to make it easier on the body to digest.  Never hurts to try something new anyways right?

I did my research and gave this diet a try.  It wasn’t restrictive of calories, just cut out all the junk.  I FELT AMAZING!  I was eating more food than ever, losing weight, and my stomach finally didn’t hurt.  There are “no-no” foods that I thought were just silly, so I still use them, mainly COFFEE (I’ll die before I give it up!), salt (did change to sea salt), alcohol, potatoes (I mean, they grow in the ground, come on), and occasionally legumes.  I have found that the key is always listening to my body and going from there.  There are some days where I know based on how my stomach feels that I should stay away from legumes or alcohol, or even broccoli or onions (the gassy foods).  This “diet” just really got me in tune with myself and brought awareness to how much of what I eat affects me.

So that’s why I choose to live the paleo lifestyle.  At least 95% of the time that is.  Its not because my ancestors/cavemen, whatever, supposedly ate that way.  It’s not because of some government food conspiracy (which I’m not saying isn’t real).  Its not because I’m on some gluten free bandwagon or extreme diet.  I live this way because I feel great and I don’t have to diet hard or restrict calories to stay lean.  You can’t deny that sugar, grains and dairy make you feel off in some way or another.  We have trained hundreds of clients, asking that they cut all that stuff out for at least 3 weeks, then make their decision on whether they want to stick to it, and with those that comply, not a single person has said that they feel better eating the way they did before.

My IBS is not cured.  I have random flare-ups no matter how well I eat.  Sometimes a specific food will all of a sudden hurt (a half cup of grapes had me doubled over the other day), and stress usually exacerbates my symptoms, but there is no denying that I feel so much better eating this way.  Enough to stick to this lifestyle even when it’s not convenient or what I really want.  I mean, I’m only human, I want a Coke, sub sandwich and entire key lime pie when I’m PMSing just like anyone else 😉  I will always promote a clean eating lifestyle and that’s why I work hard to share my favorite recipes and tips to help others that are suffering too.  *All of the recipes on this site are paleo or at least paleo-ish.

Some key tips when following the paleo diet:

  1. Read labels, sugar is added to just about everything!
  2. Almost all of the food you will eat is fresh.  The only packaged stuff will be sauces, dressings, nut butters, dairy substitutes (coconut/almond milk), etc.  If it doesn’t go bad quickly, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
  3. Fruit is not a free for all.  It still contains natural sugar which will sabotage your diet if you eat too much and weight loss is your goal.  Depending on what you choose, expect to get a serving or two, but that’s about it.
  4. Plan ahead.  Research quick snacks in case you need something on the go and meal prep when you can.  If it’s already cooked and in your fridge, you don’t even have to think about not sticking to the plan.
  5. When it gets hard, and it will, remember how much better you feel!
If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask, I’m really not shy!
xo-jessica-signature
*As for this fabulous shirt, my friend/training partner of 3 years who witnesses my IBS issues more than anyone else, found it and thought it would be funny.  While it is super amusing, I typically only wear it to the gym 🙂
IBS Diet

 

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