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Clean Eating and The IBS Diet

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Cramping, aching and nausea. That is what I experienced from the moment I woke up this morning through the entire workday. If you have IBS, you already know that dealing with it, especially when you aren’t at home, is just the worst.

a picture of produce in a white apron and words that say clean eating and IBS

This morning I was given a painful reminder of just one of the reasons why we started the Clean Eating Diet. Read on to find some of the symptoms and some foods that will help you answer that popular question…How do I manage IBS symptoms?

Not sure if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? THIS LINK has great info on the signs and symptoms.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Vegan Oatmeal – This is what I eat to recover from an IBS episode

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

The first time I went to the doctor for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), I actually thought I might be pregnant! My lower stomach felt like someone had punched it and I had a constant ache for days. I was constipated and nauseated.

Anytime I ate, I felt queasy 5 minutes later. I was miserable. The doctor first diagnosed me with IBS in 2010 (right smack in the recession) when I was going through a very stressful time in my life. We had a baby at home and at the same time work had announced a merger, meaning we didn’t know who was going to keep their jobs.

I wasn’t paying attention to stress because I thought I was managing it. Over the years I have identified stress as a trigger for my IBS. Though IBS triggers are different for everyone, stress is a common one.

I should also note that some people experience diarrhea rather than constipation.

What to Eat for IBS

The good news is that if you are already Clean Eating, your symptoms are likely controlled most of the time. Since we have started eating Clean, my IBS symptoms only bother me maybe 2-3 times a year. And each time I could tell you why.

Last night we picked up Teriyaki Chicken with white rice. While that isn’t typically a problem. we also ordered a plate of teriyaki vegetables which ended up being a head of cabbage sauteed in lots of oil. As I ate it, I knew I would regret it.

But I did it anyway. The cabbage coupled with the oil and White rice was enough to trigger IBS. So let us start with foods to avoid with IBS:

What Foods Trigger IBS Attacks

Here are some foods to avoid if you suffer from IBS:

foods to avoid with ibs

Now the fun part. What you CAN eat!

What to Eat on the IBS Diet?

Fortunately, there are a lot of foods you can eat on the IBS diet:

  • Take Probiotics! Take it twice a day during an IBS episode
  • Fruits that are low in fructose – bananas, oranges
  • Sweet potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, carrots
  • Peppermint Tea
  • Turmeric Tea
  • Turmeric, ginger
  • Whole Wheat Bread or Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal & Almond Milk – This is my go-to recipe when my stomach is upset: The Best Vegan Oatmeal

IBS At Work – Eating Out With IBS

IBS at work can make you paranoid about eating just about anything. Here are a few lunch ideas on the IBS diet that you should be able to find at a cafe, coffee shop or restaurant.

  • Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat (avoid white bread)
  • Veggie Sandwich – A small amount of avocado is safe but you may want to avoid it
  • Clear soups – look for Chicken, beef or vegetable broth bases. Chicken and Rice is my favorite. Avoid creamy soups
  • Fruits – find low Fructose fruits like Pineapple (especially good for IBS), Grapes, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Banana, Oranges and Berries
  • Tea – Peppermint Tea is best for soothing your stomach. Turmeric tea may help too
  • Drink LOTS of water

How Long Does it Take for IBS to go Away?

An IBS attack can last 2-4 days and sometimes even up to a week. That doesn’t sound like a long time but for someone suffering from IBS, it can feel like it is never going to end.

How long you will be symptom-free between attacks will vary from person to person. It is unknown what causes IBS and it is thought to be genetic.

I know from experience that diet, stress, and hormones are all contributing factors for someone like me who is prone to IBS attacks. Clean Eating, probiotics, and exercise are all things that help me. But it has taken many, many years to figure that out.

Update: What I Have Learned Over the Years:

It has been a few years since I first wrote this post and I have learned many things over the years on how to manage IBS. I wanted to share them here because they have been life-changing:

  • Working With A Naturopath: I became so frustrated that I reached out to a holistic doctor who specializes in digestive issues. There were a few tests that were completed and then I was put on a supplement plan. I have been on these supplements for 3 years and I have only had 2 IBS attacks.
  • Drink a lot of water – Every test I did showed that I wasn’t absorbing water. It turned out that I had to add electrolytes or salt to my water for my body to properly absorb it. Dehydration is a major contributor to IBS. I was instructed to drink half my body weight in ounces.
  • Figuring out which vitamins my body was lacking in – I was so afraid of having an IBS episode that I eliminated several foods without accounting for the nutritional benefits that were also being cut out. These foods do need to be cut out in the middle of an IBS episode, but that meant I should have been taking the appropriate supplements. Nutrient absorption was part of the issue – the naturopath can help with that
  • Stress is a primary trigger for me – I had to slow down and take care of myself which is so hard with kids! There are 5 minute or less vagus nerve exercises that can be done daily and these help to relax the body. I do them with the kids to make it fun. I didn’t realize how stressed my body was until I was no longer in fight or flight mode.
  • Get Moving – Another hard one! I work from home and had to find ways to stay active. I bought a walking pad with a table and use it for an hour a day. Also, end your day with Yin Yoga. It is truly life changing! I watch Yoga With Kassandra videos each night and they are only 15 minutes. It’s perfect right before bed because the videos make you sleepy.

I hope this helps. I wouldn’t wish IBS on anyone and I’m happy to share what works and what doesn’t work for me. Each person is unique and unfortunatley it takes trial and error to see what works.

Please share your experiences in the comments and it may help someone else! Or ask any questions and we’ll try our best to answer them!

You Will Get Through it – Seek Help if You Have Frequent IBS Episodes

In the end, IBS sucks. There is nothing fun about it and it can cause stress and anxiety when you have to leave the house during an episode. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be managed with Clean Eating, but sometimes there are reactive foods that are specific to your body.

If you are experiencing frequent episodes, talk to a doctor and see if there is something else going on.

By on April 13th, 2019

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2 thoughts on “Clean Eating and The IBS Diet”

  1. Came across this when searching for Digize uses with kids. I just ordered my first YL set. I am getting the oils after learning about how to use them for regulating/supporting my hormones and other systems. I suffer from self-diagnosed IbS and am facing the road of trying these oils and a low fodmap diet to figure out what all my triggers are and hopefully get relief. IbS has been pretty life altering for me especially now with 3 kids. I have to try something!

    • I hear you, IBS really is life-altering. It is one of the things that sent me down the clean eating path. I hope you find some relief and that the Digize helps!


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