(TMI alert — I revealed this in an upcoming interview so that’s why I’m posting it a little ahead of time)

I haven’t told you another thing: Two years ago a gastroenterologist diagnosed me with IBS (he ran lots of tests so no need to suggest additional ones). It certainly wasn’t a shock; something was up and my whole family has digestive issues. I control it with my normal diet just fine (avoiding caffeine, excessive fiber, eating fresh food, etc). And then…

….I started this project. I think the processed foods have caused a small increase in digestive issues. Nothing major, but every weekend I eat a plain diet to give my body a break.

Keep in mind there is an emotional component of IBS. I’m a little stressed out so that upsets my system sometimes too. That’s why it’s so hard for me to pinpoint what exactly causes problems.

I got a referral to a new gastro and I’m hoping to get some additional answers. I’ll keep you guys updated. I’m really doing fine, but I just want to get another opinion.

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17 thoughts on “IBS

  1. no doubt this horrible diet is irritating your IBS! you need to consider if it is worth it???? we all KNOW school lunches STINK…maybe your time would be better spent trying to get it changed instead of ingesting it all??? have you ever heard of Health Corps?? you should ck it out. it is MY plan to get involved this year, maybe you could focus on something like this instead?

  2. I am lactose intolerant and have IBS. I have found that taking a pro-biotic really helps relieve a lot of symptoms. Obviously a diet that is basically the exact opposite of what you are eating for lunch is optimal. I am assuming that you make pretty decent breakfast and dinner choices to make up for the lack of nutrition you are getting from your "school lunch". When I heard about this blog I thought I knew how bad school lunches are. Most days my kids take their lunch to school. I was shocked by not only the pictures but the descriptions of what is served at your school. It also lead me to pay much more attention when I join my kids for lunch at school. I learned and was surprised that students at our school use plastic utensils and styrofoam trays. So thanks for what you are doing.

    Also, take care of you!

  3. @Tomato, I'd agree. A major cause of IBS is a gluten intolerance or worse, celiac disease – and gluten is everywhere in processed foods.

  4. @Bluets & Tomato: any gastroenterologist worth their salt would test for gluten intolerance/celiac disease before giving a diagnosis of IBS. IBS is a diagnosis-by-elimination: they test you for everything else, and if it all comes back negative, then they presume it's IBS. While excessive gluten can be a trigger for IBS, it's not the same as an intolerance. And everyone with IBS has different triggers.

    Mrs. Q: I also have IBS, and I can't imagine how horribly flared up I would be eating these lunches. Grease, fat, highly processed food items, frequent corn and beans, lots of whole wheat bread: it's an IBS minefield. And I know some things that trigger IBS (or mine, at least) are generally good for you, but I'm sure there are plenty of kids who get stomachaches from the food. I wonder if there are policies in place for kids who need special diets and qualify for free lunch? IBS is a little easier to work around, but I'm sure there are plenty of kids on free lunch with celiac disease. Or diabetes. Or food allergies. What do they eat?

  5. OMG! I so love your dedication to what you're doing, in spite of the IBS. Girl, you're strong.

    Hope the new referral has nice things to say. try not to stress is the only lame advice i can come up with. the rest, you're already doing a great job.

    Hope it betters itself soon.

  6. wheat and dairy are big contributors to IBS. the real test to see if they are culprits is to eliminate the suspected offender for 14-21 days and reintroduce after that to see if symptoms get worse.

    unfortunately most physicians, even gastroenterologists, don't have a full understanding of the role that food plays in health and disease.

    you are definitely putting your health on the line by eating school lunch. but then again so are 30 million children.
    if only Congress could connect the dots between health care reform and school lunch, our country would save loads of money.

  7. My suggestion–

    Keep buying, photographing, doing a "tiny" taste test so you can comment and keep the blog going. But pack you own lunch and maintain your health. You are not an island anymore. You have yourself, your family and a life to take care of.

    Sending wishes for wellness to you.

  8. I take 2 acidophilus pills and 2 fiber pills daily and that helps my ibs immensely. If you go this route be sure to buy the acidophilus from a store that keeps it in the refrigerator. I can tell when I am off the routine and my ibs flairs (which has been a lot lately – school is really stressing me…).

  9. Actually, now would be a great time to be tested for celiac disease, since you're ingesting plenty of gluten with these school lunches. Go to the University of Chicago celiac center's web site to get info about which tests to get, lots of Doctor's aren't aware of the current tests.

    I'm celiac, and for your sake I hope you aren't! BAsed on what I've seen on your blog, it looks like my celiac son will be packing his lunch every day until he graduates high school!!

  10. I am an IBS'r too! I notice that certain foods tend to.. umm… slip thru faster than others (Fast Foods). And when I have a bout with "Fast Foods" I don't have ANYTHING for like then next 3 days. So, maybe you could eat a bananna in the evening with dinner and toast in the morning with breakfast, to help stop the "Fast Foods"? ♥ m

  11. Grains are not a natural food for animals or people. Millions of years of not eating them, then suddenly just a few thousand years of eating them. We aren't made to eat them, and science shows that everyone is damaged by them, some more than others, with the end result being inflammation and all the diseases and symptoms that accompany it (cancer, arthritis, heart disease, celiac, and on and on). Being tested isn't going to be very helpful in my opinion, as the solution will always be to cut out grains whether you show symptoms or not.

  12. First, LOVE that I stumbled across your blog! I've written many blog posts about school lunches, nutrition, kids health & obesity on my blog & am so glad that we have you "in the trenches" reporting back to those of us now out of school!
    Second, have you talked to a naturopathic doctor or integrative physician yet about your digestive issues? I suffered from digestive issues too until I began healing my body w/ the help of a naturopath (diet changes, supplement & vitamin changes, a few liver detoxes & cleanses supervised by him, etc…) & I can't tell you how my life has changed since then! IBS is treated differently in the Western medicine world than in Easter or Integrative worlds. Just a thought, I'm sure you're doing your research! 🙂 -Kate, http://www.fitforreallife.com

  13. I also have IBS. An excellent book that has helped me is Living with IBS. Talks about trigger foods (mine is any dairy) and recovery foods. It has recipes. I have recommended this to so many people.

  14. I have IBD or crohn's disease and I am lactose intolerant. It is the worse. If I had to eat some of that food, I would be in the bathroom all day!!

  15. If you haven’t already, please PLEASE have your doctor screen you for Crohn’s Disease. Its symptoms are the same as IBS, and a lazy doctor can easily misdiagnose. Complications from Crohn’s Disease can be fatal (including cancer), so the sooner you find out, the better. My husband had some crappy doctors who missed it, but we finally found one who caught it before it was too late. My husband is doing great now that he’s in treatment for the correct disease. He would probably be dead by now if we had listened to that lazy doctor.

    I hope that you also had an allergy screening for wheat, corn, and soy. (The skin test, not the “stop eating it for a while” test.) These ingredients hide in everything under disguised names like “dextrose” and “vegetable protein.” Unless you eat only organic whole foods at home, you’ll be eating these allergens three meals a day. Food allergies can also cause IBS-like symptoms, and long-term allergen exposure can aggravate other conditions, including IBS and Crohn’s.

    While eating these horrific meals and reporting the health effects firsthand is dramatic, I hope that you won’t go to extremes. Please feel better and take care of yourself. Thank you for trying to make a difference for the kids.

  16. You might want to stop eating gluten. I supposedly had IBS for 15 years and suffered terribly. I had every test known to man performed and was on many pills to control the IBS. Nothing worked. I finally found an amazing doctor. I was tested for Celiac. I have had Celiac all of these years. School lunches are terrible nutrition wise. They are nothing but processed garbage slop on a tray or in a box. Most of the food is corn based, wheat based, and I would bet has high amounts of high fructose corn syrup in it. No wonder you are having GI issues.

    I would be interested to see how the school's cafeteria caters to someone who has Celiac and needs to eat gluten free. Maybe you could try a week of "allergy free" eating (Celiac is not an allergy, but an auto-immune disorder). A lot of children have allergies to dairy, peanuts, etc. In general, kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD do not have a mental illness, but are suffering from poor nutrition and/or allergies/overload of chemicals, preservatives, food coloring, etc.


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