We all want to get what we want, right? And sometimes we have to make some changes and compromises to get there… The question is, how much compromise are you willing to make in your IBS diet in order to get relief from your digestive symptoms?
I’m Anna Mapson, a registered nutritional therapist and I help people who’ve got IBS to navigate all the information out there and find a system that works best for them. You can get back to living life, rather than managing symptoms. Book a FREE call and let’s have a chat.
Your IBS diet change considerations
I hate to break it to you, but you might have to make some compromises to get what you really want.
Did you know that the eating habits we have today were formed in early infancy? In fact, the first years of life children’s learning about food and eating plays a central role in shaping subsequent food choices, diet quality, and weight status.
When you want to change your diet you need to take into account these factors:
- Cultural requirements around food
- Ethical values such as vegetarian or eating sustainably sourced produce
- Situational such as family and schedules
- Balanced nutritional diet
- Your specific symptoms of IBS – what kind of issues you need to resolve
- Expectations around the speed of improvement
- Habit – What you’ve always done
In my Gut Reset client conversations we often talk through the different compromises needed in order to to achieve change. Of course you want results, but you may need to make changes to get them!
Juggling food ethics with an IBS balanced diet
Some people really have strong environmental ethics around food and only want to eat seasonal produce or food sourced locally. Maybe you’re vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons.
Many of my IBS clients want to eat less meat, and yet they really struggle with any vegan sources of protein such as beans or tofu. So this is a tough conundrum.
I will always encourage you to have a good proportion of fats, carbohydrates, and protein to help you stay healthy. And sometimes our lifestyle constraints can make this harder.
As an example, if you’re vegetarian, it can be tricky to follow the low FODMAP diet. The low FODMAP diet involves removing a lot of fermentable carbohydrates. Read more about this tried and tested IBS dietary intervention – the low FODMAP Diet
Because the low FODMAP diet limits the number of beans, pulses, cheese and yoghurt, etc, you may feel quite restricted when it comes to the proteins that are available to you as a vegetarian.
It’s definitely not impossible, but it can take more planning. I can create a vegetarian version of the low FODMAP diet for you, and give examples of how to eat well during the restricted phase.
Dietary compromises for IBS
However, if you don’t like tofu which is a low FODMAP vegetarian protein, then the compromise in this scenario may be asking yourself if you’re prepared to try tofu in some different ways.
Can you try to change your perspective on certain foods you’ve not really gravitated towards in the past.
It’s important to note that sometimes if you can’t make certain compromises for whatever reason, then you can still get the results you want.
But, you may have to accept that change may come at a much slower pace. There are other changes you can make with supplements, exercise, stress management techniques and sleep support.
It might take longer this way than if you can be flexible with your diet.
Changing dietary habits for IBS
Another situation relates to people who just don’t like fruit and one of my goals is to try and get you eating as broad and varied a diet as possible.
Fruit is a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and fibre but I find that generally, people don’t eat enough fruit. If you’re a parent you might give it to the kids but not take any for yourself.
Or maybe you think “well I just don’t really like fruit”.
How to eat more fruit when you have IBS
We may need to explore other ways that we can build fruit into your diet, like blending it up into a smoothie so you don’t really taste it, maybe cooking fruit and having it in your porridge, etc.
There are different ways we can get around dietary habits, but it does depend on how much compromise you’re prepared to make in terms of changing the habits you’ve had for years, or even your whole life!
It’s possible to eat different foods and over time change what you like.
For example, if you’re used to eating really salty foods, then eating plain vegetables may seem quite boring.
The more vegetables you eat will help you develop a taste for it. With some simple herbs and spices you can learn how to appreciate flavours with less salt.
Get creative with your IBS diet
Do you have a fussy family of eaters? If your family won’t eat the same meals as you (maybe because your kids refuse to eat things like pulses or vegetables, etc) it might mean you need to get a little creative in the kitchen. Try things like:
- Blending cooked vegetables into a sauce for pasta
- Making a pizza with a cauliflower base
- Chopping up mushrooms very finely to replace half of the meat in a bolognese
- Replacing half of your spaghetti with spiralised courgette
- Using sweet potato puree as an alternative to bechamel sauce on a lasagne
I know that IBS can be a challenging topic, especially when it comes to changing your diet and lifestyle. The good news is that by taking steps to manage your symptoms in a healthy way, you may make things more manageable for yourself while living with IBS.
I can help you find a way to eat that reduces digestive symptoms and helps you feel better. Let’s have a chat!
Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritional Therapist.
I can help you to:
- understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
- eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
- develop better digestion and more energy
Find more about my 3 month 1:1 Gut Reset programme
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