@jdmc123 I wasn’t paying specific attention to the sugar vs starch thing, I’d say I was pretty balanced between the two. I was eating neither refined sugar nor potatoes. I was getting my carbs in the form of the porridge I mentioned, as well as the natural dairy sugars in the kefir/yogurts I was eating, and that was it. Potatoes felt not so good at first, but I think I adjusted to them after the first 10 days so now they’re fine. I would say it took about a week for me to start seeing improvements.
Yes @cindy01, I think you can keep eating those things! In fact, I think you must! I’ve was diagnosed with IBS when I was about 8, and I’m only now starting to feel some relief. I’m not quite sure exactly what the issue was as a child because I had a super high metabolism, I just also had stomach aches all the time (maybe amalgam fillings? flouride treatments? antibiotics for strep throat? repressed anxiety? who knows), but battling stress and anxiety has definitely been the biggest component of my recovery. I’ve had to fight to convince my body that everything is okay, that it will get what it needs, and that it’s safe to relegate resources to digestion–which always seemed to be last on its priority list. And so much of sparing myself from stress and anxiety meant overcoming the crippling feeling that there’s something wrong with my stomach and no one understands what, so no one can help me. This became so deeply ingrained within me that at some point I realized I believed more in my illness than in my ability to get well. It’s especially hard to overcome this when you have guaranteed symptoms with real physiological indicators, and a real desire to free yourself from their bondage! And, as a fellow IBS sufferer, you’re probably familiar with being made to feel like “it’s all in your head,” which is frustrating as hell. Which is why my next statement will likely seem weird and off-putting: in order to cure my IBS, I had to decide that I no longer had IBS.
Now let me explain a bit. I downplayed my recent visit to the gastroenterologist, which was actually a really intense series of visits that included a CT scan, an ultrasound, a rectal exam, 10+ blood tests for all possible metabolic issues or intolerances, all sorts of hormonal tests (for thyroid & adrenals), the full scope of stool tests for enzymatic activity, parasites, etc, and even an endoscopy (truly traumatic). Some results were abnormal, but not enough to give clarity. The most significant results: the doctors found that my small intestine was distorted and inflamed (explaining the pain), that my intestinal microvilli were atrophied (normally a sign of celiac or chron’s, but I’m negative), and that my microflora were compromised (explaning the immune suppression and subsequent chronic fatigue). What the doctor couldn’t explain is why this was all happening–it ultimately seemed the most likely culprit was hormonal issues, but those tests are frustratingly inconclusive.
After all of these traumatic invasive exams and many hundreds of dollars spent (and I’m a 23-year-old farmer/aspiring filmmaker, aka – poor) I was really devastated to walk away with disturbing evidence of how effed up my gut is, but ZERO explanations or solutions. Just for the sake of prescribing something, the doctor put me on something called Intetrix to reduce the intestinal inflammation and an immune-targeted probiotic called RioFlora for two weeks. I don’t think those exist in the states — I’m currently living in Russia. I also don’t think they’re entirely necessary.
What actually helped was getting my body to stop stressing out. This, like I said, meant eating constantly but eating gentle foods so I never experienced hunger-related stress. After a few weeks of eating carbs I deemed “safe” for my damaged gut, I had to eliminate the stress of my IBS-inspired food fears. I had to decide that I could eat anything because I’m totally fine, and I only feel bad when I put bad energy into the food due to negative thoughts/fear/hesitation.
IBS is a catch-22 situation. Your weakened state elicits a nearly constant stress response and compromises digestive abilities, subsequently irritating your gut and causing pain, leaving your body incapable of extracting the necessary nutrients (ie calories) to crawl out of the weakened state, and leaving you conditioned to expect the pain to return, guaranteeing further stress. That’s why, in order to return to a state of strong confident digestion, you need to enter a strong and confident emotional state, especially in relation to food and health. The symptoms may persist for a while, but they will eventually recede!!
Finally, there is real physiological damage that the guts of IBS sufferers incur, and I do think it’s important to address this in addition to addressing food phobias and low metabolism. You can supplement with Colostrum and L-glutamine to repair the intestine if you suspect leaky-gut, if consuming bone broth/ gelatin is undesirable (though jello’s great!) or insufficient. I also recommend a probiotic called HMF Neuro Powder. It’s the only probiotic derived from human microflora so it’s more likely to recolonize in your intestine, and it also contains L-glutamine. Mix one scoop with a small glass of juice (I always make it salty!) and drink first thing in the morning or between meals.