My 3 Meds

My 3 Meds

Well, I’ve made yet another adjustment to my diet!!  It seems that just following a FODMAP diet isn’t enough for me to have regular bowel functions.  A bit of logic and investigation has led me to discover my new best friends – My 3 Meds.

My 3 Meds

In my posts earlier this month, I wrote that my symptoms seemed to be getting worse.  A lot of loose stools, a lot of gurgly tummys after meals.  I hate living like that so I went looking for yet another ‘tweak’ to my diet.

I sat down and took a look through the IBS Self Help and Support Group Forum (www.ibsgroup.org/forum/).  This is an awesome on-line resource for people suffering from IBS and related diseases – It’s a great place to see what others are trying and what new research is coming out.  Because there are so many causes for intestinal trouble, there are just as many possible solutions to try!  If you haven’t checked out the site yet, take some time to go through it.  If anything, it helps to not feel so alone.

Under one of the discussion forums I discovered something called Linda’s Calcium Info.  This intrigued me even though I am highly sceptical of anyone telling me to take stuff.  However, there were lots of people who seemed to be helped by it, and I already had calcium pills in medicine cabinet so I thought I’d give it a try… here is her suggestion:

With each meal, take a half calcium tablet.  Avoid calcium tablets with magnesium and avoid eating lettuce.

That’s it.  Weird, huh?

I figured that I already needed to take calcium (because dairy is on my ‘no eat’ list), and I had the calcium tablets without magnesium on hand, so…. what the heck – let’s give it a try.

Can you believe it – it worked!  I noticed right away that my stomach was less burbly, and within a couple of days I almost stopped having bowel movements.  This scared me a little, so I only started taking the half-calcium tablet with dinner.  I don’t know what the magic is, but I’m going with it.

Now, just a word of warning – according to the forum, this doesn’t work for everyone.  Some people find that it causes a gas problem.  As I said, everyone is different.  All I know, is that it worked for me.

I didn’t want to pin all my hopes on a miracle cure because of all the summer road trips we have planned – I’m just not keen about being on the road with diarrhea.  So I also began two other ‘treatments’:

  1. I figured that my stool might be soft because my diet is pretty light on fiber.  So I picked up a container of Metamucil and stared taking a spoonful with a glass of water each morning.
  2. My physician, naturopath, and dietitian all recommended that I take a probiotic every day, so I found a good quality one (that doesn’t contain FOS or other non-friendly FODMAP ingredient).

With the combination of the half-calcium tablet, the fiber, and the probiotic I almost feel normal lately.  Regular bowel movements that are of good colour and form, no burbly tummy and no bloating.

It does seem to be important that I take all three, and I will be experimenting to see if it’s critical that I take all three every day.  I’ll also experiment with the lettuce ban.  I have enough banned foods to deal with, I don’t want to add more.

I feel funny calling them  My 3 Meds, as no prescription was needed.  But I feel safe In taking them, and I’m feeling much more confident about the road trips coming up.  Stay tuned to hear how things go…

 

Gutsy Broad’s Coconut Fish

This recipe for Gutsy Broad’s Coconut Fish is a bit of work in progress.  I had wanted to develop something that had a bit of a different flavour (with a limited variety of ingredients, I didn’t want all my food tasting the same!), was easy to make, and was very, very gentle on my tummy.  When I have an IBS flare up this is one of my go-to recipes – I put it together after learning about the FODMAP diet this spring.

Yummy and gentle on the Tummy.
Yummy and gentle on the Tummy.

I had read that coconut and ginger are both good for the digestion system, so I wanted to incorporate both.  You can change this up a bit, to suit yourself.  I did find that I needed more salt than I was used to adding to food.  I think I’ve discovered just how much salt is in prepared foods now that I am making everything from scratch!  My taste-buds miss salt, so I’m slowly trying to wean myself off it (that being said, when I’m feeling icky, I crave salty foods!).

At the time I put this recipe together, I was mourning the loss of Indian curry dishes from my diet.  Too much butter, garlic and onions!  I found that pre-packaged curry spice mixes often have garlic and onion in them, so I experimented with just using the Tumeric, wich has a mild flavour but gives the dish a very curry yellow colour.

This FODMAP friendly recipe serves 2 to 4 people, depending on how big your serving sizes are.  It takes about 25-30 minutes to prepare.  The Son is suspicious of curry sauce, so I pan-fry the fish in a separate pan and add to the sauce at the end.  You could easily modify the reicipe and cook it all in one skillet.

Gutsy Broad’s Coconut Fish

  • 4 fillets of fish, chopped into large chunks. (I use whatever I have on hand – salmon, basa, cod, even shrimp (though shrimp takes a shorter time to cook))
  • Olive oil
  • 5-6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Tumeric (more or less to taste)
  • 1 Tsp paprika and or chili powder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1-2 handfuls of washed and chopped spinach (optional)
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • dash of lime juice (optional)

In skillet, sauté the fish in olive oil until cooked and a bit crispy.  It will get very crumbly, but this is ok.

In another skillet, start with sautéing the tomatoes, ginger, and spices in olive oil.  It will get very liquidy, but keep boiling until all the moisture has been steamed off (otherwise this dish is too watery).  Add the pepper and spinach if desired and sauté for a minute or two.  Add the coconut milk and cooked fish and then heat through.  Sprinkle with lime juice if desired.

I serve this with rice or quinoa, and have a side of broccoli or carrots.

If you have a picky eater (ha!  That’s coming from someone who’s following a FODMAP diet!) like The Son, I reserve some coconut milk and heat it with some pan-fried fish, salt and pepper.  Served over rice with a side of veggies, it’s pretty good.  Once his taste buds mature, I’ll be able to do this all in one pan, which will make the washing up easier.

Next post I hope to update you on my ongoing efforts to keep my symptoms in check.  We’ll see what I’m trying and how I’m doing…

 

Prepping for Travel with IBS

It’s been a while since I’ve chatted about how my health is… since going on the FODMAP diet a few months ago I’ve had an amazing stretch of good general health and predictable bowel movements (to us with IBS this is VERY important).

Recently, though, it feels like my symptoms are returning.  Not alarmingly, but still enough to cause me concern.  At this point in following the FODMAP diet I should be challenging my gut with various foods to see what my tolerance levels are.  But…. without even doing this, I seem to be having a few more trips to the bathroom that I’d like. I figure that I’m either not following the FODMAP diet closely enough (allowing hidden ingredients to slip in), or my physical system is changing yet again.  Oh joy.

This is particularly troubling because I have a big road trip planned this summer.  A loooong family road trip across the prairies.  The thought of travelling really makes me nervous and if my gut is unpredictable before we start out… I can only imagine the adventures we’ll have!

I suppose this means I need to get busy and do some big prepping for travel with my IBS.  I’ll look into what might be causing my gut it’s current annoyance, and figure out what I need to do for this trip.  What food do I/can I bring?  What can I buy on the road?  How will I handle restaurants?  It’s obvious I need to be incredibly prepared for this trip.

The Husband has already been very supportive and has tried to make sure that all the hotels we will be staying in will have an in-room fridge and microwave.  Now I just need to do a bit of meal planning, making sure I get the nutrition I need while we are on the road.  We’ve already decided to bring a cooler along, and stock it with my groceries.  I’ve done a little shopping for travel-sized safe foods (dairy and egg free, and FODMAP friendly), and found small tetra packs of almond milk.

 almond milk tetra

This should at least get me through breakfast – a cup of tea with almond milk, a rice cake with peanut butter and a banana.  Nutritious and easy!

It’s the other meals that will require some bigger prepping for travel.  Planning and creativity!

The old saying is ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst’, so I suppose I should prepare for the very real possibility that I will eat something that disagrees with my gut.  If it decides to rebel, I’m sure it will do so on a day we are on the highway, with no restroom in sight.

I definitely need a plan for this!  Stay tuned to hear how I do my prepping for travel with IBS….