Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back to Basics

I know that everyone's IBS is different. However, it might be helpful to some people if I give a list of what I can and cannot eat. So here goes:


~Meat fat
~rare-medium well meat
~dark meat poultry
~fresh fruits
~fresh vegetables
~whole grains
~high fiber
~spicy foods
~egg yolks
~aspartame, stevia, etc

There are some exceptions to the above, and with that in mind, I CAN EAT:

~lean meats (ex - I have to cut every piece of fat off of chicken breasts, pork, etc, and I have to drain my 93% lean ground beef with paper towels at least twice)
~well-done burgers and steaks
~soy meat substitutes (bacos,etc)
~white meat turkey dogs
~white fish (tilapia, cod, etc)
~fruits and vegetables without skins or seeds that have been cooked (ex - applesauce, peeled broccoli stems, seedless jam)
~white rice
~most white flour products (pasta, angel food cake, etc)
~potatoes (or any kind of starch)
~egg whites
~sugar (ex - maple candy)
~the only artificial sweetener I seem to be able to take is Splenda
~dairy products (many people with IBS cannot have these - I'm very lucky)


~I use applesauce and egg whites instead of oil and eggs when I bake
~An alternative is to pour a can of pop into a boxed cake mix - it takes the place of everything the box says to put in
~frosting is made by pouring a packet of instant pudding mix into a tub of fat free cool-whip. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for an hour or two, and it will coalesce into a nice, fluffy frosting
~for mashed potatoes, heat a cup of milk and dissolve a tsp of chicken bouillon granules into it. Stir into potatoes to give flavor without butter.
~Chicken bouillon can be used in place of oil and butter in a lot of other ways too.
~Days when I think I can't eat anything, the one thing I can take is white rice cooked in chicken bouillon and ginger. I make huge batches of this when I'm feeling well so that I have it when I'm not.

Everyone is different, but hopefully this will be helpful to someone who's just found out what they have and need some guidance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Venting frustrations is good for stress...

...and if I don't get some of the stress from my morning and evening drives out, I might scream. I travel on I-90W to get to school in the mornings and, of course, I-90E in the evenings to get home. Freeway driving can be incredibly stressful. Right now I'll count down my three biggest annoyances in an effort to get them out.

1) Riding my bumper

Here's a handy tip - being 6" or even a foot closer to my car is not going to get you where you're going any sooner. All it's going to do is possibly cause an accident when you rear end my car.

But maybe I'm just not going fast enough for your liking. Here's what I have to say to that - if 10-15 mph over the speed limit isn't enough for you, GO AROUND ME IF YOU WANT TO GO 80! It may be a tad vindictive, but I hope you get pulled over. You're an unsafe driver.

2) Waiting until the last second to get out of a lane that's ending

This one is actually a bigger problem once I get OFF the freeway. You can see the sign up ahead showing that the lane is ending. So do you calmly, in a timely manner, merge into the left lane? No. You scooch up past the line where you were supposed to stop at the light, and when it turns green you screech around the cars who actually complied with the sign and merge over - cutting someone off, no less - when there's slightly less than one car width in the "lane" you're in. Unless you're having a baby/someone is dying/the world is ending/you're about to have an awful IBS episode, there's no need to be that rude, dangerous, and act like a huge jerk. Side note - even when I'm crying because my stomach hurts so bad and I'm about to be sick, I will still, if necessary, turn right and loop back around rather than act that selfishly.


You are already turning the wheel. It's not difficult to stick out your finger and FLICK A LEVER. I can't count the number of times I've been cut off on the freeway, but they all have one thing in common - the people nearly causing accidents didn't use a turn signal. If you have your signal on, I will let you over. I will slow down so you can get into the lane you need. Not to mention the fact that if I see someone trying to get over, I won't speed up. I also can't count the number of times I've sped up and the person next to me, panicking, screeches into the tiny slot in front of me without a signal, causing me to slam on my brakes on the freeway. This one doesn't even have to do with how much of a hurry you're in. You can do it WHILE you merge, or turn, or whatever it is you're doing that BY LAW requires a turn signal. I'm sorry, but I hope you get pulled over too, before someone gets seriously hurt.

And that's all. I'm sure a lot of you have the same frustrations. Here's hoping people will wise up and drive safely before more people get seriously hurt.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Rest My Case

This is not my bed:

Part of me wishes it was, although according to the site (dominomag.typepad.com) it's a few thousand dollars. Which got me thinking - how much is sleep really worth?

If you have IBS, it's worth just about anything. Lately, in an effort to make myself healthier (Here I feel the need to update - I lost 7 pounds in a week using sparkpeople.com!), I have been attempting to sleep more. Normally, I am a habitual insomniac. And even on nights when I certainly could sleep, I find myself unable to just go to bed. It feels like I have more to accomplish - how could I possibly go to bed?

And then I started forcing myself to go to bed early and get 8-10 hours of sleep, and I found out something so common sense I had to restrain myself from shouting out, "Well, duh!" My insight? Getting more sleep makes my IBS better. I had noticed that my IBS got better once I moved 30 miles closer to school and cut my driving time down to less than half. But I thought it was just the idea of not having to drive on the freeway (that's a whole other blog - coming after this one).

I now know that a great deal of that is that I can sleep later in the mornings. When you don't sleep, you're much more prone to stress. That stress then makes it more difficult for you to sleep. Patterns, anyone?

I know it can be difficult to modify your day to include that much sleep, especially if you have a particularly demanding boss, or children, or a million other things to deal with. But a few extra hours can make the difference between a symptom-free day and a toilet-hopping experience. Try these small modifications to get started:

1) Turn off the TV an hour earlier than normal. This may mean you miss the news, but you can look up the weather or read the paper in the morning. Is it really worth it to hear someone else read it to you?

2) Hands off that snooze button! Going to sleep for a few more minutes can actually make you groggier. Instead, set it for the time you will actually get up. This way, you won't wake up until you have to, giving you 9-18 more minutes (or more, if you're a habitual snoozer) of sleep in the morning.

3) Buy yourself a bottle of lavender-scented lotion, and rub it on before bed. The smell will help soothe you and get you to sleep faster.

4) Get rid of those 8 million racing thoughts! The women I know (myself included) are especially prone to this aggravating trend. Try this simple visualization tactic: picture each thing you're worried about as a sheet of paper with the worry written on it. Mentally crumple it up, and throw it in a bin. The ones that are really important, you can "take out of the bin" the next day, and the ones that aren't can be thrown out for good.

5) If you have half an hour in the middle of your day and are by a bed, couch, or comfy chair, lay down and close your eyes. Just the act of relaxing and shutting out light and noise for a little while will leave you feeling at least a little more refreshed. Careful though - too much more than that and you'll get groggy.

Bottom line - Those three little letters - IBS, can be helped by three others: Zzz