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Hi, all! It’s IBS Awareness Month.

And in honor of IBS Awareness Month, registered dietitian nutritionist and IBS expert Kate Scarlata has created the campaign #IBelieveinyourStory.

This is the perfect hashtag for IBS Awareness. On the one hand, IBS is a relatively benign condition in that it isn’t fatal and doesn’t usually have any serious complications or consequences besides just, well, feeling crappy. The exception, I’ve noticed in reading a lot of accounts by people who have IBS, is that it seems to sometimes cause unhealthy weight loss, even among those who don’t have any anxiety about food and weight.

But on the other hand, whether or not IBS leads to any serious physical consequences, it can seriously diminish a person’s quality of life, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago. It can be intensely painful; the worst IBS flare-ups I’ve had were more painful the time I broke my finger. And it can be can be super awkward; you don’t want to have to explain to your boss that you had to abruptly run out in the middle of a meeting because you had diarrhea.

Unfortunately, IBS is too often misdiagnosed or unrecognized. This client of Kate Scarlata’s, for instance, wrote that a number of doctors “diagnosed — really dismissed — my condition as ‘just IBS’ without real long-term treatment plans which left me frustrated AND belittled.” I 100% relate to what this client is saying; in fact, a gastroenterologist once flat-out told me that my condition was imagined.

This, in my experience, is where the most awareness of IBS needs to be raised. Thank goodness IBS is not a particularly dangerous condition, and for that reason, I understand that it’s not nearly as urgent to research and treat as much more dangerous conditions. That being said, IBS sufferers do want our stories to be believed, especially by our doctors, and we want those doctors to take seriously the task of helping us find a way to live with it.

Fellow IBS sufferers can participate in the campaign by posting to social media (i.e. those things I’m super-oblivious about like Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #IBelieveinyourStory.

And on that note, here’s what I ate on Wednesday. Thanks to Jenn, Arman, and Laura for hosting the link-up. (I continue to be a very hungry caterpillar and find myself eating about every two hours or so. It’s exhausting but I know I need to respond to that hunger.)

Breakfast: Cheerios with lactose-free milk, half a grapefruit, and two vegan soy sausages. I’ve discovered I like this brand of soy sausages much better if I cook them in a pan with a little oil rather than just microwaving them. Went back for a little more Cheerios because I was still hungry.

Snack before teaching: S’mores Luna Bar. Definitely not as good as the white chocolate macadamia, but not bad.

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on gluten-free oat bread with avocado, baby greens, and half a tomato. I’m experimenting with avocado because, even though I don’t tolerate sorbitol, like, at all, the two different organizations who test FODMAP content have found different levels of sorbitol in avocado, so I’m giving it another try. String cheese and some carrots on the side.

Pre-workout snack: Two rice cakes with almond butter and psyllium husk powder on top. I’m getting gradually more used to the psyllium husk powder my dietitian recommended I add for fiber, but I still find it pretty funky.

Supper: I made this delicious Chicken Tikka Masala from Strength and Sunshine. I made my own curry, guys! I felt so badass. Plus rice that I’m still bad at cooking–how can something so simple be so difficult?–and broccoli.

Dessert: Lactose-free ice cream with strawberries


Have a story you’d like to share about IBS? Feel free to leave it here in the comments section! (Or, even better, head over to Kate’s blog and leave it there.)

Ever worked with a medical professional who didn’t believe your story? (about IBS or anything) So frustrating!

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  1. Cora says:

    Joyce you are such an awesome advocate for IBS awareness. I’m not in “that world” so I don’t know how many IBS focused blogs are out there, but I definitely know that you are a big part of this support system. I honestly would not have known the severity of the discomfort you and other people who struggle with this have to go through. You are my own IBS awareness celebrity!

    Your eats are also looking fabulous. What your dietician has guided about the different food groups is so clearly coming through, and it just ends up looking like a full rounded day of eats with so many different whole food nutrients. How did the avocado settle for you? And how is the added fibre going? I know that was a risky one.

    1. Joyce says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I certainly want to be part of a support system both for folks with disordered eating and for folks with IBS.
      The fiber is…okay. No worse than usual, but unfortunately no better. The same is true of the avocado, so I’m giving 1/4 avocado the green light. Hurray!
      Lol on the well-rounded day of eats. I feel more and more like a poster child for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! Minus the fear-of-calories part. 😉

  2. I totally agree with Cora; you are a wonderful advocate for IBS. My family has it in our family; it runs in our genes; and I’m so thankful that in God’s grace, He has enabled people ti discover more about it and to find ways to work with it and even sometimes work on gut healing.

    I LOVE your day of eats; it looks so yummy and comforting.

    1. Joyce says:

      It runs in my genes as well. Agreed; I am so thankful that more research and resources are being put into it.

  3. Diane Wahto says:

    My doctor did believe me and tried several remedies, including a drug that put me to sleep and cooked carrots. What worked was a daily dose of non-lactaid milk.

    1. Joyce says:

      Cooked carrots? My grandpa would not be pleased. He has a very low opinion of cooked carrots. 🙂
      I’m so glad the lactose-free milk worked for you. It’s good that you were able to find a relatively simple solution.c

  4. Not wanting to repeat previous commenters but I agree with Cora. As somebody who had no idea of what IBS was – this most likely because, similarly to celiac’s disease, it’s just not in the media or talked about anywhere else over here – and found your posts very educative. When my colleague told me about her symptoms I directed her to your blog to see if IBS might be the reason behind them and to get an idea of suitable meals.
    I’m a little shocked a doctor didn’t believe you. That’s just not right.

    1. Joyce says:

      It surprises me that there’s not more awareness of celiac in Germany. IBS is one thing, but celiac is really dangerous long-term. Thank you so much about the kind words. I certainly want to be a resource in that way. And I’m so glad that you were able to help your colleague out and point her to the resources she needed!

  5. I had so many digestive issues and terrible debilitating migraines and went through so many doctors for years and years and so many of them just acted like I was crazy or like it was in my head! S0 frustrating!
    This day of eats looks lovely! I hope you can enjoy some avocado it surely is delicious! Whats your go-to GF bread? The one in the picture looks nice and fluffy!

    1. Joyce says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry Heather. It’s so belittling to be told by your doctor like your health problems aren’t real or don’t matter. 🙁
      My go-to gf bread is this brand we can get here in Colorado called Outside the Breadbox. It is really good–and vegan too. It’s made in Colorado Springs, but I’m afraid it’s only available in Colorado. I’d send some your way if it were the sort of thing you can ship!

  6. Kaylee says:

    I am crossing my fingers that the avocado sat alright with you. I wouldn’t wish even my enemies with not being able to savor its deliciousness!

    So happy to hear that you are honoring your body’s hunger cues. Also, I am sorry to hear that IBS is oftentimes belittled. I honestly believe that any struggle is a real one no matter how “small” people may perceive it to be. Your feelings are valid. Thank you again for sharing your insights on IBS with the blog world. I believe in you and your story. ❤️

  7. Alyssa says:

    Praying your IBS lightens up. Proud of you for listening to your body though, and honoring it in every way! Happy to be catching up on your posts too <3

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