I’m not one for diets or labels. A diet that works for someone may not always work for the other person and the term ‘diets’ represents a temporary way of eating where I would rather change my eating habits for the long term.
The idea of labeling those of us with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) seems a somewhat underrated term. The acronym it’s self is used when doctors may not specifically know what/why people suffer with the symptoms they do:
- Severe bloating
- Diarrhea, constipation or both
- Bowel spasms
- Brain fog
- Intolerance to specific foods
Many of us may suffer with varied degrees of these symptoms and some may only suffer occasionally. Instead, doctors only know that the biggest contributor to these symptoms is often food related.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the low FODMAP diet, I think it’s a huge step in the right direction for the better understanding of IBS, but with all diets they are not to be followed religiously. There are some of us who can tolerate certain amounts of high FODMAP foods more than others and those that if they even get the sniff of a mushroom, feel the need to run to the loo.
Recently, I’ve had quite a few of you contact me regarding the Low FODMAP diet (specifically those prone to chronic constipation) who are following the diet, and it goes a little something like this.
“…I’ve been following the low FODMAP diet word for word but I’m still suffering with severe constipation and IBS symptoms, please help!”
“I suffer with IBS C and started following the low FODMAP diet for 4 weeks now and I still have no relief from constipation, bloating, fatigue and headaches.”
First of all, bless you all, I feel for you, I really do. Even though I’m a nutrition blogger and eat to my body’s likes, 90% of the time, I still have off days, so remember, you’re not alone!
One Diet Doesn’t Fit All
I use the low FODMAP diet as a base to what I eat daily. I also incorporate a few ethics from the Paleo diet such as grazing on seeds ‘n’ nuts and no sugar. I’m predominately a ‘pescetarian’ (Someone who doesn’t eat meat but does eat fish), again another label but it helps get the point across.
Meat and Constipation
If you’re prone to constipation, meat can be a challenge on your digestive system. Not only that, it can also cause the production of methane gas and as a result causes constipation and bloating.
As a realist to the fact that we’re human and our bodies require complete proteins and fatty acids I choose fish and eggs to be my main source of protein. It’s gentler on the gut and has high amounts of good fats that also keep the gut healthy.
I snack on Pumpkin seeds as they are a great source of magnesium. A vital nutrient in combating constipation. Magnesium works by drawing water into the bowel and gently stimulates the bowel. Many choose to supplement with magnesium but the truth is, if you incorporate it into your diet, it will save you money and food is tastier.
Vitamin B12 and Constipation
One of the side effects of low levels of vitamin B12 is constipation. Many people who suffer with poor digestion struggle to absorb nutrients from their food. I also take B12 as I don’t eat red meat but I do eat eggs which are a good source of Vitamin B12.
Drink, drink and drink some more…
…water that is! Most of us don’t realise how dehydrated we are on a daily basis and it can wreak major havoc on not only our skin, hair and nails but also our gut. We could survive a few weeks without food but only 3 days without water! You do the math.
Workout and get your abs moving and boost those serotonin levels. Serotonin stimulates the bowel greatly. Read more about the gut-brain connection here.
If that still doesn’t work
You could be suffering with a bacterial imbalance in the gut which is often referred to as SIBO. Or a bigger problem. Get in contact with your local GP to ask for tests.
So I hope you feel a little more hopeful and always remember you’re not the only person with digestive problems but knowing which path to take will lead you to a happier healthier gut!