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The IBS Cookbook for Dummies is a publication by Dr. Carolyn Dean and Christine Wheeler, MA, providing a unique dietary guide for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)In the United States alone, there are around 35 million people living with IBS and its associated symptoms. Learn more about the symptoms of IBS in the PDF attachment to this post. Medically, there is no known cure or any single medication that can get rid of IBS permanently, but there are various alterations to diet that can help alleviate symptoms dramatically. The IBS Cookbook for Dummies offers over 70 recipes for meals that have been shown to help reduce symptoms and incidences of flare-ups in IBS patients. Dr. Carolyn Dean and Christine Wheeler also offer a series of tips for planning healthy menus and advice on what to look for and avoid when eating out or traveling. 

Foods to Avoid 

There are various trigger foods associated with making the symptoms of IBS worse, some of which need to be avoided completely and others eaten only in moderation. These may vary from person to person, but typical trigger foods include hot spices, caffeine, stoned fruits and apples, pulses, onions, fatty meat, milk and other high-fat dairy foods. Drinks to avoid include fizzy carbonated drinks, caffeinated beverages, alcohol and certain types of flavored water that contain additives such as xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. These sweeteners are also present in many chewing gums and sugar-free mints, so they should only be consumed in moderation. Most people will find that they can gradually reintroduce small amounts of most of the foods on the restricted list once their symptoms begin to improve. 

Food Rotation 

The IBS Cookbook for Dummies suggests using food rotation as a way to keep eating smaller amounts of certain trigger foods to gain the nutritional benefits without provoking a flare-up of IBS symptoms. Food rotation involves only eating certain types of food in small portions only once every 72 hours. After 72 hours, most foods will have cleared the digestive tract and will not build up and cause a reaction. Foods to try on a rotation diet include wheat and dairy – there are essential nutrients in whole grains and dairy, but eaten in quantity, you can build up a food intolerance. Food intolerances are not the same as food allergies; you can find a definition in the embedded short video. 

Foods to Fill Up On 

There are many different foods that are safe for most people with IBS to eat, so meals can be planned around these foods. Home-cooked meals based on protein and carbohydrates provide essential nutrients and are unlikely to cause IBS symptoms. These include lean meats such as chicken, beef or turkey; fish; lightly cooked vegetables; cooked fruit, and cooked grains. Healthy options for snacking or light lunches include rice cakes, tinned tuna or wild salmon, oat cakes and baked potato chips. Any food that comes in a box or a can has the potential to contain undigestible processed foods or additives, so always check labels carefully if there is no time to prepare homecooked food.  

IBS can be a lonely condition as many people feel embarrassed to tell their friends that they have food sensitivities or why they are always running to the bathroom, despite the fact that an estimated 20 percent of the global population has symptoms. View some more statistics for IBS within the embedded infographic. However, letting friends know your sensitivities means that you can accept dinner invitations rather than avoiding socializing. The ability to Google restaurant menus allows you to plan ahead when you eat out at restaurants.