So this is going to get a little bit gross so make sure you’re not eating when you read this.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can show up in all sorts of ways, you might have experienced one or both of the following:
1. A near miss with disaster pants
It’s 7:01am, you just got to the office, you’re having your first coffee.
Before you take your first sip,
you admire how beautiful it is, it’s delicious scent, it’s dark glow,
you probably even tell it how much you love it.
It’s now 7:04am
Oh no, it’s happening again…
If you don’t find a toilet in 10 seconds, something really bad is going to happen (like lose all of your dignity forever bad).
You find a toilet in the nick of time, but what happens next is a disgusting combination of explosives & human lava.
You think to yourself… please dear baby jesus, I hope no one from work walks in, they are going to think something has died in here, I am better off sitting here a bit longer to make sure the coast is clear.
… I hope the smell doesn’t stick to my clothes.
Coffee how could you do this to me, I thought we loved each other.
2. The Miracle Conception
You’re heading out for dinner.
It’s your favourite restaurant, you order garlic prawns & have a couple of glasses of wine. Dinner was great, but as you’re leaving it’s happening again.
You’re starting to feel really uncomfortable, it’s like someone has filled you up with air. This is not ideal, as you try to maintain your sexiness to impress your dinner date.
You want to get out of there ASAP and lie down, but you can’t move too fast because you will either:
or even worse
b.) give birth to a food baby in the middle of the restaurant.
You manage to get home without disgracing yourself, but there will be no sexy times tonight, you feel about as sexy as a beached walrus.
By now the food fetus has grown into a full sized baby. You have gone from 0 to 8 months pregnant in 3 hours.
Dear body, I hate you.
Apart from the near misses with disaster pants and the ruining of your post dinner sex life.
Why is this important?
Ever had an upset stomach and been the happiest person in the room?
No idiot, I felt like death.
The reason for this is, there is a nerve in your stomach called the “Vagus Nerve”. It runs from your stomach all the way up to your brain.
I know what you’re thinking… Vegas?! Why did they name it after something fun.
When you think Vegas, don’t think how much fun you would have in the first couple of hours of your Vegas trip.
Instead think about your flight home, the 3 day hangover, your bank balance & the regret from all of the bad choices you made.
The Vagus nerve has a direct link to the brain. The result?
“What happens in your stomach has a direct affect on your mood”
Fixing your stomach issues isn’t just about feeling better when you eat, this is about:
– Having better relationships with people in your life
– Being happier
– Performing better at work
– Being a better athlete
I can’t stress how much this can change your life.
So what’s going on?
Your insides hate you
Honestly there could be 1000 reasons. However one the common culprits is that that your food (& drink) choices are irritating your stomach.
We know that coffee is a huge irritant…
but it even happen on days I don’t have coffee. What about everything else? is it gluten? lactose? Maybe.
Although not 100% conclusive, I have found a common theme with my nutrition clients who struggle with this, the common culprit is FODMAP’s, it stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyol’s.
It’s a fancy name for a group of carbohydrates that are tough to digest. They draw in excess water to the digestive system and cause a lot of the issues we spoke about earlier… bloating, near misses with disaster pants & feeling gross after eating.
What’s important to note is that a lot of these foods are healthy by most standards; things like garlic, beans & apples are on the list.. WTF?!
So removing FODMAP’s will solve all of my problems?
Not so fast, there is no such thing as a magic cure. However, many of my clients who have struggled with this have found significant improvements from implementing a protocol that involves reducing FODMAP’s & other common irritants.
So what kind of foods contain FODMAP’s?
The fix-it plan
You’re probably going to read this and think… sure random nutrition guy, I will try some of this and see how I go.
I can’t stress this enough… please give me 7 days. Implement all of the strategies for a whole week before you give up on it.
Think about your stomach lining like a cut (ewww that’s gross). When it starts to heal, it forms a scab & then gets better, but as soon as you scratch it, it bleeds & you start from square one again.
Your stomach is the same, every time you eat something which upsets it, you start from square one again, it never gets a chance to recover.
Here is the protocol I have developed, I call it the SMS plan (Save My Stomach). It’s a combination of low FODMAP, low irritant + helpful supplements.
How long do I have to do this for?
Minimum of 7 days.
Ideally you follow the plan for 2-3 weeks, if you’re like most people with digestive issues, you will feel significantly better for it, which is awesome.
But there is no one answer here, everyone is built differently. Like I mentioned earlier it’s not magic. The plan is giving your stomach time to recover.
“It’s not going to give you an iron stomach so you can go back to eating everything under the sun”
For most people who struggle with this, they will need to implement this style of eating forever, maybe not as strict as this, but you will definitely need to be smart about your food intake from here onwards.
The best bet is to try the SMS plan for 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce foods one by one and see what your body does.
Just like with anything you try to implement, life gets in the way, you’re never going to be perfect.
Some situations you will have no choice but bad options. Don’t stress, just try and get back on the wagon as soon as possible.
If you try this out, let us know how you go!