I feel it is now time for a first review. I don't want to make you wait, so here goes: it has changed my condition in an incredible way. In fact, I am beginning to think that I can get cured within a few months. If you want detailed results, and advice how YOU can start the diet and get better, this article is for you.
AchievementsI already was under the low-FODMAPS diet, and I already had given the results I had gotten thanks to it.
Here is a quote from the original article:
As you can read, I was very satisfied by it, but not totally. When going out, there still was the chance that I would feel bad, and eating was always dangerous, because you never know when a sauce contains lactose, which is my worst trigger-food.
Now, for the results I obtained: Very impressive! If I stick to the diet, I don't have a single symptom in everyday life. That's an incredible change. You read that right, no symptom.So, am I cured of IBS? Well, no, because of two drawbacks:
- In very stressful situations, the symptoms come back
- Eventually you will have to leave your home and eat outside. There, you can't control exactly what's in your plate, even if you pay attention. Cream or onions are widely used, it's hard to avoid them.
So here is what I did: On the 10th of December 2011, I began counting every carb I would eat, and limited the amout to 72g of carbs a day. It's not much, but perfectly manageable, in comparison to more extreme sorts of low-carb diets like Atkins (less than 20g of carbs a day). For example it allows me to eat many vegetables.
At first I was willing to try the specific carbohydrate diet, but it was too hard for me. So I switched back to following the FODMAPs diet and limiting my carb intake at the same time.
And now for the results:
In two months, I didn't get a single crisis. I had one yesterday, but I will explain why later.
Gas was a major problem for me, and I hardly have any nowadays.
I went out several times without the slightest problem. This was often a trigger for me, going out knowing that I would not have a toilet a disposal. This is where the FODMAPs diet felt short.
Now what I would need is something very stressful to see how I cope.
A real IBS treatment?
Two months without a symptom, one could ask himself if he is cured.
Actually, seeing how incredible I felt, I tried after a month to eat small portions of my trigger-foods (for those who don't know the term, these are foods that provoke an IBS crisis when you eat them). At first I could feel some symptoms coming back for a few hours, but it was very mild, generally a stomach ache for a few minutes and a need to go to the bathroom, but no diarrhea.
And this week-end I felt so confident I tried something a bit crazy. I ate food containing lactose every single meal. Small portions of it of course, but that was something I could never do. And here's what happened. The first two meals went perfectly, I did not have the slightest problem. The third meal already triggered stomach pain. The fourth and last meal unfortunately triggered my first diarrhea in two months.
This experience is actually very positive: two meals with my worst trigger food, and I was ok. I will try this test in a few months time, and see if it got better.
Some of my old trigger foods are actually safe now: red beans, onions, fructose. I will not try to eat loads of them, but in small amounts I don't have any problem. Another victory over the low-FODMAPs diet.
Some advice for starting the low-carb diet
Dear reader, there is only one thing I want to tell you: TRY A LOW-CARB DIET! NOW! It is by miles the most efficient method, if I avoid my usual trigger foods, I am completely symptom free.
To help you getting started, here is what I learned within those two months:
- Limit your carbohydrate intake to 72g a day. I would not advise trying more severe versions of the low-carb diet, these are very hard to stick to. Alternatively, you can decrease you carb intake by 50g per week until you reach 72g. It could be easier for you that way.
- It may seem hard at first to count every carb, but you actually get used to it. There are lots of websites providing information for every possible food. A google search ending with "carbs" works wonders. In fact, after a few weeks, you will know most of the food you eat and will hardly need to check anymore. But for starters, count everything, you can use an excel file to help you out.
- The first week is really hard to get through. In fact you will get stomach pains, go very often to the toilet and feel dizzy. The pain probably comes from bacteria dying in you gut, they release some toxins as they do so. Drink green tea to help flushing these toxins. So be sure to start the diet on a week where you should always have a toilet at your disposal. For some people this might mean waiting for the holidays.
- Even if you follow the low-carb diet, you have to stay away from your trigger foods. The most common contain lactose, fructose, gluten, dry beans and lentils. Everyone is different, so if you are not sure, cut all of these from your diet, and reintroduce one after one week or two and see how it goes.
- After one month being into the diet, choose one of your trigger foods and try eating a small portion of it. See how it goes. Try this every now and then.You may be pleasantly surprised.
- From time to time, you may experience stomach aches, they generally last a few minutes at most, nothing very troublesome. My interpretation of them is the bad bacteria still dying and releasing toxins.
- You will probably lose weight with this diet. This can be a problem if you are skinny like me. In that case, avocados, nuts and oils are your new best friends, eat lots of them. I lost 1,5Kg (3,5Lbs), but I seem to have stabilized, so it's no big deal.
- IMPORTANT! After a few months in the treatment, I realized I had some joint pain. This seems to be a known side-effect of the diet. To counter this, take some multivitamin supplements.
Some people might be afraid of changing their diet so drastically, for an unknown period. Here is what I would advise: try the diet for just one month. It's not that long, and if you find it that unbearable you can always go back to your old diet afterwards. But at least you tried it.
So. what is left for me? If I trust life without bread, most people become cured after six months to one year using the diet (more on that in a future article). Healing the intestines sure is long. But for the first time in decades I do believe I can get cured of IBS. It does feel like a real irritable bowel syndrome treatment, since my trigger foods don't necessary trigger a crisis anymore. Even if I have to stick to the diet for my whole life it is still worth it.