What is IBS?
This article was originally published in April 2015, but we’re reviving it with a little facelift! Keep reading to learn about IBS, and my original reason for founding GMGH.
IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
God I hate that name.
It’s like when you’re having a bad day and someone comments, “Well, you sure are grumpy today.” That just makes me more grumpy.
Perhaps I should back up. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder – as in, people with IBS have a digestive system that doesn’t work properly. IBS is a catch-all diagnosis for anyone with digestive issues who doesn’t have another disease (Crohn’s, celiac’s, etc.). Common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, & constipation.
So now imagine: here I am, feeling pretty miserable – irritable, if you will – and some doctor tells me I have irritable bowel syndrome. Gee, thanks.
To make matters worse, very little is known about the cause of IBS, and there is no one easy cure. IBS acts differently for everyone, and everybody responds differently to treatments. Because of this variability, and because I hate the name so much, this will probably be the only time you hear me talk about IBS (on the blog or in real life). I prefer to just talk about digestive issues, and to focus on the solution rather than the problem.
Speaking of solutions, there are about a million different ones. It can get confusing & overwhelming quickly. I treat my digestive problems with a combination of medication and diet. I’ll go into detail about meds in a later post, but my main focus here is to share the diet I’ve found that works for me, and help other people with digestive problems live a normal life and still eat delicious foods!
Because IBS is way more complicated than a single post can do justice to, here are some resources to help you navigate these murky waters!
People & organizations
Dr. Megan Rossi, the Gut Health Doctor
(Instagram / Website) Dr. Megan Rossi posts quick, easy to understand summaries of new research and facts about gut health. Always informative! She also recently published an awesome book about gut health (more below).
(Website) Patsy is one of the leading FODMAP diet experts and author of several books (more below).
Registered Dietitian Directory
FODMAP Everyday has also created a directory of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) who have experience with the low FODMAP diet!
Books & apps
Monash University low FODMAP app (iPhone and Android) — This app is the source of truth for lwo FODMAP serving sizes of most common foods, and they update it whenever they test new foods. It does cost money (I think about $10), but it’s totally worth it.
Eat Yourself Healthy by Dr. Megan Rossi — As mentioned above, this book is an awesome intro to gut health beyond just IBS. Highly recommend to anyone looking to learn more about their gut health! She also includes a “FODMAP lite” approach which is way less intense than a full blown elimination diet (and very similar to my own approach), which I love.
The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook by Patsy Catsos — This was my introduction to the low FODMAP diet, and was foundational in understanding what was going on. It’s a little outdated now, but still a great read for basic understanding behind FODMAPs.
Flavor without FODMAPs Cookbook by Patsy Catsos
IBS Free Recipes by Patsy Catsos
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I’m not a hoarder. I’m generally terrible at stocking up on things, and have been accused on more than one occasion of throwing away things that we actually needed (sorry, second pitcher). Except… apparently when it comes to flours…
When I first started the low FODMAP diet, there were pretty much no resources available for finding low FODMAP prepared foods (a big reason why I started the blog!), which was especially problematic