Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Have you been eating whatever you have wanted for the last 10-20 or more years and suddenly find that your digestion is not working properly? That’s not surprising. Our bodies simply were not made to take in so much sugar, fat, salt and just general "non-food products" — and now our bodies are fighting back.
Our bodies are beautifully designed machines that tell us when things are not working right. You may feel constipated, bloated, gassy, or have chronic diarrhea. These are all signs the body is giving you to say “Hold on, you need to start feeding me what fuels me, and not what is making me sick."
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be a tool to show that you need to make some changes in your life to help you heal that beautifully designed body of yours.
Nutrition is the Key
Proper nutrition can be a huge help to those with IBS. It is also important to keep in mind that eating for health is never an overnight cure. Healing holistically takes time, it is more of a marathon than a sprint, a marathon that takes commitment to a healthy lifestyle to see the true effects of a healthful change in your diet.
Living with the conditions of IBS though can be a great motivator to make some positive changes in your life. Here are some top tips to change your nutritional habits to make that irritable bowel a happy one:
- Avera's Integrative Medicine health coaches, including me, help individuals work through elimination diets to see if you may have sensitivities to certain foods. Foods like gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, caffeine, sugars, certain meats and alcohol all can affect your bowel. If you work on taking them out of your diet and you have relief, we can work together to deduce which item may be causing the problem in your system.
- We also work to add foods that help support a healthy system. It’s not all about taking out; adding healing, soothing foods is important as well. Foods like healthy fats, vegetables and fruits and generally more "real foods" can have a healing, calming effect on the digestive system. Getting enough of the good stuff also helps ensure you are getting the proper phytonutrients your body needs to heal the gut.
- Drink more water and put away all the other stuff (with the exception of a little gut-healing tea.) This is the easiest and one of the most powerful steps you can take to heal your gut nutritionally. There are so many additives, artificial flavors and sweeteners in other drinks, as well as caffeine in coffee and soft drinks. These all are so hard on our digestive systems. Calm things down a bit and work on cutting all other drinks out and increase that water.
IBS can be hard to live with, but there is hope, and we see patients right here in our clinic find great relief with a little hard work and some lifestyle changes. That's just what we encourage: You're not just a changing diet but the way you live your life.
Let us know if you need some encouragement, education and support to make these changes, because we are here to walk alongside you.