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IBS Success Stories?? Advice??


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Hi guys!

I just purchased the Kindle edition of 'It Starts With Food' and am really enjoying it. The reason I bought it and am now going to start the Whole 30 program tomorrow is because for the last 18+ years I've struggled with IBS symptoms of the diarrhea, cramping, and bloating type. It comes and goes in severity and frequency but it's always there. I'm fortunate that it's never gotten to the point that I've been bed ridden but the symptoms certainly interfere with my health (obviously), my energy levels, and my ability to work. Case in point, I recently stopped working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor because I was so drained (I was working too much overall but the IBS definitely played a role.)

What I'm looking for is some stories of Whole 30 program success from those with similar IBS situations, particularly the diarrhea-type IBS...

What worked for you what didn't?

Any advice about additional measures, dietary changes that you found helpful in controlling/lessening your symptoms? (Ex. cutting out FODMAPS, coffee, etc.)

Did the Whole 9/Whole 30 protocol take care of all symptoms, lessen them, or make them worse?

Here's a little more background on me...

I'm at a healthy weight (and don't want that to change), ~30 years old, and my husband and I are planning on starting to start trying to conceive in January. I do have a regular cycle but I do worry about how my digestive issues will affect my actual chances of conceiving and the health of a growing fetus. I take medication for hypothyroidism, Vitamin D, Vit C, fish oil, and a multi. I had a full blood work up two weeks ago and all levels are normal.

I do have a history of anxiety and depression due to my family history as well as the deaths of two immediate family members. Was on medication for a year but now control with meditation/yoga, exercise, and talk therapy. Coming of the medication (Cymbalta) wrecked havoc on my IBS so I'll do whatever I need to to stay off of it!

I was working out entirely too much because of my job (read 2-4 hours of exercise 5 days per week) and am so glad not to be doing that anymore (since 3 weeks ago). I took a week off from anything except walking and stretching and now try to get in some activity 5 to 6 days per week but keep it around 45 min and moderate in intensity with the exception of a long hike each weekend. I don't plan teaching again anytime soon so I am on the job hunt and hope I can get back to feeling healthy and energetic before starting a new position.

ETA: My face has also been breaking out a lot lately and that rarely happens. Could be from the change from working out a ton to now being active a reasonable amount. I will interested to see how the Whole 30 protocol affects this.

My diet is overall quite good and not that far removed from the Whole 30 program...

*Lots of fresh veggies at lunch and dinner

*Moderate amount of fruit, usually at breakfast

*Almost always have a small afternoon snack in addition to my three meals (typically a non-dairy KIND bar sometimes with fruit)

*Cut out Gluten containing foods, and the remaining small amount of dairy products I still ate a month ago

*Usually have eggs, fish or occasionally beef once a day

*Drink 1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 in the afternoon

*Drink lots of water. I often drink home brewed, unsweetenend herbal tea and homemade lemonade made with fresh lemon juice and lemon stevia from NuNaturals.

*Generally drink a cup of coconut water after workout/run etc.

A typical day of eating now looks like this...

Breakfast ~7am: 2 Egg and 1 banana pancake topped with nut butter, figs or strawberries, and cinnamon (also have 1/2 to 1 cup of coffee with almond milk)

Lunch ~12pm: big greens and veggie salad topped with salsa and avocado, 1 slice homemade gluten free bread, and 1 portion canned salmon

Afternoon Snack ~3pm: non-dair kind bar with or without fruit or homemade oat/nut/flax seed granola with almond milk (also usually have 1 cup of coffee with almond milk)

Dinner: Usually very similar to lunch but sometimes make homemade sweet potato soup or homemade gluten free, dairy free veggie pizza.

Evening Snack/Dessert: homemade oat/nut/flax seed granola with almond milk and berries

(Lots of water and herbal iced tea in the morning, when active, and throughout the day.)

The main changes that I need/want to implement to be on the Whole 30 is...

*Cut out the non-gluten grain products I'm eating daily, particularly oats

*Cut out any soy and legume products (usually have them ~once per day

*Make my own almond milk to replace store bought (used to do that but stopped because of cost and the fact that it spoils easily) and replace any other processed foods

*Eat more meat

*Cut out my evening snack/dessert (generally homemade oat/flax/nut granola with almond milk)

*I generally eat sunflower butter instead of peanut butter but need to cut the PB out completely

*Eat more meat/fish

*Stop consuming stevia.

Sorry this is such a long explanation - any help, advice you have is much appreciated. Thanks so much! :D

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I am still working out my issues, but while on a backpacking trip, I found a definite link between nuts/seeds and my IBS-D. Also, when I have ANY anxious feelings at all, coffee is a trigger. (I was hoping this was linked to the cream I used to put it in, but unfortunately, it's just the coffee as I've been drinking it only black for a while now!) A large amount of coconut milk at once seems to bother me also. Interested to hear what works for you! I have had A LOT of improvement in symptoms as I learn to eat better!

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Hi JennyH!

I don't have IBS, but I DO have Crohn's (which is very very similar in symptoms, if not cause). Here's what works for me:

- Mostly cooked vegetables. I do okay with raw greens, snow peas, bell peppers and carrots, but I shy away from much more.

- VERY FEW nuts. They taste good but the bloating and gas starts immediately

- I take a digestive enzyme to help me break down fat (I don't have a gallbladder). Something like that may be helpful at the beginning to give your body a little extra oomph.

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Thanks so much for replying with your thoughts and guidance.

Abril I think I'm likely in the same boat as you with the coffee and anxiety combo. I'm hoping that I can still enjoy a half cup a joe here and there when I'm feeling good but health is definitely my first priority. I tried that delicious yogi cocoa spice tea that you suggested in another thread Robin (with the addition of a spoonful of coconut milk) and it really is delicious!

Robin, I will definitely keep track of how raw and cooked veggies affect me differently. And I'll definitely keep track of the nuts and seeds. I made my own sunflower butter to have with breakfast (I like to top my egg and banana omelet with it.) But will try to limit my servings to that.

Thanks guys!

PS my husband and I are doing a 3 day camping and hike trip next weekend in Maine and it will be interesting to see how it goes with food prep especially because my husband doesn't like to eat much meat! Fortunately we're car camping so we'll have a big cooler, etc. I'll let you know how it goes!

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Things are going pretty well overall and I'm loving this way of eating! :D

Definitely have learned a few lessons/mistakes in the first few days of my Whole30 - despite filling a big bowl with my homemade beef, butternut squash and greens chili last night and topping it with avocado I was unable to sleep last night due to hunger and resorted to a 11pm bowl of strawberries + coconut milk + sunflower butter. The snack was within the Whole30 standards but I'm sure it affected my sleep quality and also the fact that for the first time since starting my Whole30 I had some GI problems this morning. That was also likely due to starting to drink my coffee before and not after I had finished my breakfast.

Overall though my energy levels are staying much more even, I'm able to go without my usual afternoon snack (still working on that late evening one), my GI issues are much better, and my skin seems to be clearing up.

I think I'm going to officially start my Whole20 again today since it's the 1st of October and it would be neat to do a full calendar month. Hopefully with a few less mistakes! ;)

ETA: I also want to cut back on nut/seed and fruit intake. Currently my breakfast usually consists of 2 servings of fruit and 1 serving of nut or seed butter. Also I've been having fruit and nuts in the evening if I do have an evening snack (which I'm working on going without). Goal is to have just one serving of fruit and one servings of nuts/seeds at breakfast and then possibly one serving of fruit later in the day at most.

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Thanks Robin! I'm at just one serving of fruit per day at breakfast and will try to go without it sometimes to see the difference. I do have a hard time doing a more savory breakfast (as opposed to the more fruit, egg, and nut centered one I'm used to).

My digestion is actually doing really well this week overall now I just have to make sure I'm not taking in any foods that have been causing sinus and throat irritation and congestion because yesterday sucked and I'm still feeling off today. (Pretty sure it was either peppers in a spice blend or sauerkraut that I ate on Tuesday night because the throat irritation started right after). I feel like a science experiment - I just want to get this figured out and feel better consistently!

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I'm on day 35 of Whole30 and plan to keep going until I have a real handle on my digestive issues. I am experimenting with FODMAPs, and what I'm finding is that using the Whole30 protocol has made it much easier to really zero in on what is causing my bloating, gas, cramps, (etc., etc...y'all know). For instance, about 3 hours ago I ate a red grape and almost immediately gained 4 inches in my abdomen! I have the FODMAP list on my refrigerator and am checking things off as soon as they hurt. Like Robin, I find that I can't eat a lot of raw things, and garlic is not my friend. I am also finding that I can't go crazy overboard on the fat intake or I'm sick sick sick for days.

My whole family is doing this together, btw. I can see that my 10 yr old daughter is starting to get what has always been called "the Taylor belly" with lots of gas and frequent bouts of diarrhea. I am determined to keep her from feeling bad and dealing with this for her whole life. It can be very disheartening for those of us with other tummy issues, but I do believe that I am on the right course for finding the answer. Good luck!!

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  • 9 months later...

I gave up FODMAPS and it pretty much cleared up most of my IBS issues that I've had my whole life. I am going to do the W30 AI without FODMAPS. I'm not sure what I can eat :lol:


I do have some lingering blood sugar/adreanal issues that I want to see if I can make better.

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  • 1 year later...



My doctor just recommended me for a trial with a Vida health coach, has anyone heard of this?


No, but I just looked it up. This is an ap that connects you with personal coaching on health related issues. It could be great...or it could be terrible...depending on the skill and point of view of the coach. I could not expect a mainstream ap like this to offer good advice regarding nutrition (they are much more likely to offer standard guidance; "healthy whole grains" "low-fat dairy" etc.)

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  • 4 weeks later...

FODMAPS are worth looking at again since they are so pervasive in our food and you might not notice something that is causing problems even in small doses. A very good app is available from Monash Institute that tells you the FODMAP level of many common foods. It also has a good guide to the condition and help putting together diet plans and shopping lists.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I see this is a really old post, but I'm going to put in my 2 cents worth. When I went paleo most all of my IBS issues vanished ... with a few exceptions. My digestive system can't handle large meals, so I split food into 4 medium-sized meals. Be very careful with nut flours and definitely cut out all legumes. Acidic foods could be causing this as well - cut or limit tomatoes and citrus. Higher fat content makes your bowels flow more, lower fat content bulks it up in your bowels ... finding that happy middle ground is different for everyone. I know that theory is contradictory to the Whole30 rules, but let's be honest, everyone is different.

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