IBS Awareness | Torrance Memorial

Published on April 11, 2022

IBS Awareness

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month

by Maggie O’Meara, MS and Briana Jacinto, Dietetic Intern

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, however, the disease can be shrouded by taboo, causing for individuals with IBS symptoms to not seek medical care despite it being the most common GI disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists.  IBS is a chronic disorder affecting the large intestine and is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and altered bowel habits. April is designated as IBS Awareness Month, and it is essential to be educated and increase public awareness of this condition so the needs of people who suffer from IBS can be met and understood. If you or someone you know suffers from IBS, you can help reduce the social stigma or shame associated with discussing this condition and share more information during IBS Awareness Month! 

Despite being such a common condition, IBS is still not well understood, and there is no specific cause or cure yet found. People with IBS must go about their day strictly planned due to symptoms they may experience. No exact food causes IBS, but people may find that eating a particular food can affect symptoms by making them better or worse. Tracking triggers is recommended for people with this condition or similar digestive problems.

The Low FODMAP diet stands for “F-ermentable O-ligosaccarides, D-isaccharides, M-onosaccharides A-nd P-olyols,” which is a mouthful! These words are simply types of carbohydrates that may make your gut unhappy and cause more gas, pain, and diarrhea. Recent research shows that people with IBS may be able to reduce symptoms by eating fewer foods with these substances. If you have IBS, trialing a low FODMAP diet with the guidance of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) can help you identify foods that you may be sensitive to while still meeting your nutritional needs.

Low FODMAP Foods to Enjoy Include:

  • Dairy: Almond milk, lactose-free milk, rice milk, coconut milk, lactose-free yogurt, and hard cheeses (parmesan, colby, and cheddar).
  • Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges, and strawberries.
  • Vegetables: Cucumber, celery, bok choy, carrots, chives, cucumber, eggplant, ginger, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, and turnips.
  • Protein: Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, tempeh, and tofu.
  • Nuts/Seeds: almonds (no more than 10 per sitting), macadamia nuts, peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Grains: Oats, white and brown rice, lentils, gluten-free pasta, quinoa, and corn flour.

Low FODMAP Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast: Blueberry Hemp Oatmeal (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • Splash of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ½ cup of Blueberries
  • Optional toppings: Pumpkin seeds & walnuts

Directions

  1. Cook ½ cup rolled oats with 1 cup water & splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk for 1-2 minutes.
  2. After allowing to cool, top with 2 tbsp of hemp seeds and ½ cup of blueberries. For extra crunch and healthy fats, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and walnuts-Enjoy!
Lunch: Lentil Kale Salad (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2-4 cups of leafy greens
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil-based dressing

Directions:

  1. Drain black lentils after rinsing with water. Set aside and dice vegetables.
  2. Dice the cucumber, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Add together in large mixing bowl along with leafy greens.
  3. Drizzle olive oil-based dressing and stir together gently.
  4. Add in black lentils and with pumpkin seeds for extra crunch and vitamins! Enjoy this plant-based meal!
Snack: Chia Pudding (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ cup of strawberries, kiwi or blueberries

Directions:

  1. Pour chia seeds and almond milk together in jar and mix. Let settle for a couple of minutes and mix chia evenly.
  2. Cover jar and store in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 1 hour.
  3. Top with fruit of choice (strawberries, kiwi, or blueberries)-Enjoy this light, yet filling snack! 
Dinner: Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed and pressed
  • ½ cup of each- shredded carrots, diced bell peppers, chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Sauce:
    • 4 tbsp of creamy peanut butter
    • ¼ cup of low sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
    • 2-4 tbsp water (until consistency of choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cube tofu and flip after a few minutes until both sides are golden brown.
  2. Chop veggies and prepare rice. Boil rice in water for 15 minutes or as directions state on package. Remove tofu from skillet and set aside.
  3. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in cooked rice and tofu to the vegetables.
  5. Pour in sauce and stir evenly together until all ingredients are coated. Serve immediately and enjoy this flavorful meal packed with nutrients!

If you are interested in learning more techniques to help build a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, contact one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists at the Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapy Office or our Diabetes Self-Management Program to schedule a consultation! Located in the Torrance Memorial Specialty Center, 2841 Lomita Blvd., Suite 335, Torrance. Call 310-891-6707. Visit our Nutrition Blog for our monthly recipes and posts: https://www.torrancememorial.org/Nutrition