The IBS Meal Plan

I struggled with IBS when I was a teenager and into my early 20’s (not formally diagnosed). In college, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis after a long bout of sever heart burn and other unruly symptoms. I have been there, my friends. My gastrointestinal tract has never been my bestie. It is not easy dealing with gut problems and in-fact I have a funny story to tell to help us all get used to the fact that everyone poops and people who struggle with IBS know this all too well (unless you have the constipation version in which that’s no fun either).

Not the best quality picture but some of the most hilarious memories happened in or around this Plymouth Horizon!

Story: In high school my friends and I used to “cruise” in my 1983 Plymouth Horizon (pictured left). This is when my IBS was terrible and I would have serious stomach pains, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. One night while we were “cruising” it hit me…hard. I needed a bathroom and I needed it NOW! I drove through the “out” ramp in a fast food parking lot and as soon as I could jam the Horizon into park I ran… Thankfully I made it but sometimes those with IBS aren’t so lucky.

Look, it happens to all of us whether you have IBS or not. When people have IBS with diarrhea though, it happens all too often. This disease, regardless if you have IBSD (with diarrhea) or IBSC (with constipation), affects your quality of life socially, emotionally, and physically.

Things usually get better, you just have to figure out your trigger(s), find a good doctor, and stick to a diet that helps to improve your symptoms.

This is a GENERAL meal plan not meant to cure IBS (there aren’t any cures that we know of). This diet is intended to limit the symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Before we start, here is a list of what I recommend you do every. single. day:

  1. De-stress. Pray. Breathe deeply. Find the beauty in life. Smile at strangers. Be kind. Say no sometimes. Say yes sometimes too.
  2. Take a good pro-biotic supplement that does not contain dairy or lactose (remember the FODMAP diet recommends no lactose).
  3. Fit in ginger. Whether that’s tea, ground ginger, or cooking with whole ginger, eat it!
  4. Eat smaller meals. It cuts down on portion sizes and helps you digest food better (double bonus)!
  5. Exercise, be active, play, walk, bike, have fun outside!

Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Gluten free oatmeal with walnuts, blueberries, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon. Prepare oatmeal with lactose free milk or milk alternative. Drink with green ginger tea.

Lunch: Corn tortilla (use as a wrap) with grilled chicken (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles). Carrot sticks on the side. Grilled chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar, turmeric, ginger, and canola oil. Drink with ginger tea.

Dinner: Salmon cakes (made with wild caught canned salmon), with brown rice, and steamed broccoli. Drink with ginger tea.

Snack: Popcorn

Day 2

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with green pepper and spinach, gluten free toast, and strawberries. Prepare scrambled eggs with turmeric and black pepper. Drink with green ginger tea.

Lunch: Salad (lettuce, carrots, tomato, cucumber) with tuna and quinoa. Eat with a side of grapes (or put the grapes on the salad). Drink with ginger tea.

Dinner: Grilled chicken (marinated in balsamic vinegar, turmeric, ginger, oregano, basil and canola oil) with red skinned potatoes and green beans.

Snack: Olives

Day 3

Breakfast: Gluten free cereal and lactose free milk or milk alternative with a scoop of peanut or almond butter. Green/ginger tea.

Lunch: Turkey on gluten free bread with carrot sticks and a banana. Ginger tea.

Dinner: Shrimp stir fry with brown rice and FODMAP approved spices (turmeric, ginger, gluten free soy sauce).

Snack: Corn tortillas (gluten free) and tomatoes and green pepper salsa (no garlic/onion)

Day 4

Breakfast: buckwheat (gluten free) pancakes with nut butter and strawberry or grape jam/preserves. Green/ginger tea.

Lunch: Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps (tuna, mayo, celery, pickles wrapped in lettuce) with berries (on the side) and carrot sticks.

Dinner: Turkey burger (bunless) with broccoli and quinoa

Snack: rice cakes and peanut butter

Day 5

Breakfast: Smoothie (frozen bananas, other fruits/veggies, peanut butter)

Lunch: Chicken rice soup (no onion or garlic) with side salad

Dinner: Turkey tacos (make your own spice blend) with corn tacos shells, lettuce/tomato/taco sauce.

Snack: hardboiled egg

Day 6

Breakfast: Oatmeal with pureed pumpkin, raisins, pecans, and pumpkin pie spice

Lunch: Grilled shrimp on a salad (low FODMAP veggies) with vinaigrette dressing (no onion or garlic) and gluten free crackers

Dinner: Stuffed peppers (ground turkey, brown rice, and green peppers)

Snack: Lara bar (they are gluten free and dairy free)

Day 7

Breakfast: Cheese free omelet with broccoli, mushrooms, and tomatoes

Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich on gluten free bread with cucumber slices

Dinner: Quinoa pasta with ground turkey and pasta sauce (diced tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms…no onion/garlic)

Snack: Banana with nut butter

I hope this helps dear friends. My IBS is under control but I know what my triggers are and what foods set me off (lactose is a big one!). It’s worth a try to help improve your quality of life. I know from experience that IBS can be miserable, embarrassing, and down right exhausting.

Comment if any of this is helpful or if you have tried the Low FODMAP Diet before!

Week 6 Tips: Keep it off for life…from some people who have (or well on their way)

I asked a few friends of mine, who are successfully on the journey to weight management for life, to give a list of tips that are helping them on their path:

  • There isn’t a magic pill so you can stop waisting your money
  • Find physical activity that you love to do
  • Surround yourself with supportive people
  • Be aware of your food and portion sizes
  • Don’t deprive yourself of food you enjoy…learn moderation
  • Take advice from the experts (dietitians)
  • Set small, attainable, short term goals to get to your big picture goal
  • It’s not a diet but a choice to change your view of food and how you eat
  • Plan ahead…meal plan, carry snacks, avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach
  • Weight loss isn’t linear and sometimes there will be ups and downs but the key is to look at the big picture and to see a trend downwards
  • Diet is more important than exercise…you can’t out exercise poor diet choices
  • Saying “no” hard is difficult but sometimes necessary
  • Think of food as fuel for your body, it’s not a friend and it’s not the cure for a bad day
  • Balancing your diet is going to make you feel more satisfied

A special “thank you” to Kelly, Rich, Lisa, and Josh for these tips. You are helping in more ways than you can imagine!

A Few Dietitian Tips:

  1. Slow and steady weight loss is the best. 1-2 pounds per week is fat. Anything more than that is muscle and/or water weight.
  2. Dietitians are the experts in food and nutrition. Advice from other people (even doctors…sorry doc friends but I know most of you are with me on this) may be nice but check with a dietitian especially if it sounds too good to be true.
  3. Diet plans don’t work, if they did dietitians wouldn’t have jobs and people wouldn’t be diet-plan hopping.
  4. You eat more than you think. People don’t gain weight from eating within your calorie limit. I promise. Take a honest look at your diet, food journal in an app that adds it up for you, beverages count too.
  5. Overweight (per the BMI scale) does not necessarily mean unhealthy. I know MANY “overweight” individuals who eat very well, are active, in shape, and have healthy body fat percentages (that’s the key), and healthy waist to hip ratio (also key). Weight doesn’t always equal health. Get your body fat percentage and/or waist to hip ratio checked if you’re curious.

Week 6 Meal Plan

Surprise! There’s actually no “real” meal plan per say  here. You know the drill, you know the deal. I want you to create your own! Sit down with a pen/paper or your computer and come up with your own meal plan for the week (or for next week).

Here are some things to keep in mind:

BREAKFAST:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry:
      • Grab and go things like string cheese and whole grains crackers, apple and string cheese, Kind bar, nuts and dried fruit
    • Take your time:
      • Breakfasts that take more time and can be enjoyed at a slower pace like oatmeal with nuts/fruit, eggs and whole grain toast
  • You always want these to be included:
    • Protein: cheese, peanut butter, nuts, cottage cheese, eggs, hard boiled eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: fruit, whole grain bread, oatmeal, whole grain crackers

LUNCH:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry:
      • Pack a lunch that you can eat in your car, in a meeting, or eat without having to heat up: sandwich, salad, tuna salad/crackers/veggies
    • Take your time:
      • If you have more time to spare think of leftovers or soup
  • You always want these to be included in a balanced lunch:
    • Protein: chicken, fish, turkey, peanut butter, beans, cheese, eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: whole grain bread, brown rice, corn, peas, beans, whole grain crackers, fruit
    • Non-starchy vegetable: lettuce, carrot sticks, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower

DINNER:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry: there’s no shame in eating a sandwich or something quick for dinner!
    • Take your time: if you have more time to make a meal and sit down to eat it that is perfect!
  • You always want these to be included in your dinner:
    • Protein: chicken, fish, turkey, pork chop/loin, lean beef, beans, tofu, eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: quinoa, brown rice, potato, sweet potato, corn, beans, peas
    • Non-starchy vegetable: salad, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower

SNACKS:

  • Should give your body nourishment, not just “fill you up”
  • Think whole foods instead of highly processed foods
  • Think lunch box instead of vending machine
  • Nuts, fruit, veggies, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese

You CAN do this. You CAN and you WILL and you are ABLE.

Week 5 Meal Plan: Eating Out Less

This meal plan features all meals and snacks eaten (or made) from home. Try it one week and see how it goes! If you’re a person who eats out often, try to eat out 1-2 times less per week.

Personally I like eating out but we need to remember to do it less frequently.

For this weeks meal plan I tried to make sure it was easy, didn’t need any special recipes, and was quick along with healthy.

 BreakfastSnackLunchSnackDinnerSnack
SundayKind bar and bananaGreek yogurtTurkey sandwich on whole grain with carrot sticksString cheeseCrock pot pork chops, baked potato and steamed broccoliGrapefruit
MondayGreek yogurt with whole grain cerealAlmondsTurkey sandwich on whole grain with carrotsBananaTurkey tacos (with whole grain tortillas and veggies)Apple
TuesdayOatmeal with walnuts and fruitAppleSalad with leftover pork on top and whole grain crackersString cheeseGrilled chicken, brown rice, and green beansGreek yogurt
WednesdayKind bar and bananaGreek yogurtWhole grain crackers with tuna salad and carrot sticksRaisinsLEFTOVERSPopcorn
ThursdayGreek yogurt with whole grain cerealAlmondsSalad with tuna and whole grain crackersApplePork BBQ (pork loin with your favorite BBQ sauce) served on whole grain roll and vinaigrette coleslawGrapefruit
FridayOatmeal with walnuts and fruitGreek yogurtLeftover pork BBQRaisinsMYO Pizza night (instead of getting pizza out)Popcorn
SaturdayEggs, whole grain toast, and fruitAlmondsPBJ with carrot sticksAppleWhole grain pasta, your favorite pasta sauce, and a salad (instead of going out for Italian)Greek yogurt

Enjoy!

Week 4 Plant Based Meal Plan

Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zones. If you’re the meat and potato kind of person I want to challenge you to try some of these recipes. Check out the *. You can find them in the recipe section or linked below.

 BreakfastSnackLunchSnackDinnerSnack
SundayVeggie omelet with mushrooms, onion, tomato, spinach, and peppers - served with whole grain breadOrangeMYO burrito bowl (black beans, brown rice, and corn - no meat)AlmondsMinestrone soup* Greek yogurt
MondayOvernight oats*Apple and cheeseEgg salad sandwich on whole grain bread with red and green pepper stripsGrapefruitVegetarian lasagna*Veggies with Greek yogurt dip
TuesdayFruit and Greek yogurt parfait with granolaOrangeLeftover lasagnaHummus and veggiesVeggie burgers on whole grainGrapefruit
WednesdayKind bar and bananaGreek yogurtHummus with whole grain crackers and veggiesString cheeseLEFTOVER NIGHTPopcorn
ThursdayOvernight oatsApple with cheeseEgg salad on whole grain bread with veggiesAlmonds and cranberriesTofu stir fry (extra firm tofu, stir fry veggies in your favorite Asian inspired sauce [watch sodium & sugar])Veggies with Greek yogurt dip
FridayKind bar and bananaOrangeGrilled chicken on salad with black beansPopcornMYO pizza nightPopcorn
SaturdayVeggie omelet with cubed sweet potatoesAppleOUT TO LUNCHAlmondsLeftover soups with 1/2 sandwichGrapefruit

Minestrone Soup

Overnight Oats

Lasagna

 

Week 3 Meal Plan and Positivity Journal

Enjoy!

 BreakfastSnackLunchSnackDinnerSnackPositivity
SundayOver easy egg with whole grain toast and grapefruitKind barPorkloin with baked potato and asparagusApple with cheeseTurkey sandwich on whole grain with carrots and celeryPopcornEnjoyed Sunday dinner with the family
MondayGuacamole toast* with whole grain breadPineappleLeftovers from yesterdayGreek yogurt veggie dip with carrots and celeryCrock pot chicken* with brown rice and broccoliApple and peanut butterThe guacamole toast was super delicious! I know it was a heart heathy choice!
TuesdayCheerios with milk and a hardboiled eggWalnuts and cranberriesTurkey sandwich and veggie soupPineappleBaked haddock with baked potato and saladGreek yogurtEvery time I ate I felt satisfied
WednesdayGuacamole toastApple with cheeseSalad with turkey and whole grain crackers on the sidePopcornLEFTOVER NIGHT!PineappleI went for a 45 minute walk with a friend because I had a bad day. It was not only refreshing for my body but for my mind too
ThursdayHardboiled egg and grapefruitKind barTurkey sandwich and veggie soupPineapple dipped in vanilla Greek yogurtBuffalo turkey burgers on whole grain roll with celery and carrotsApple and peanut butterThe kids had a great time helping with the turkey burgers and they really enjoyed them
FridayGuacamole toastPineappleLeftoversGreek yogurt veggie dip with carrot and celeryOUT TO EATPopcornI made a nutritious choice at the restaurant AND it tasted amazing! I'll get that again
SaturdayOatmeal with walnutsApple and cheeseTurkey sandwich and saladPineappleWhole grain pasta and turkey meatballs with saladGreek yogurt veggie dip with veggiesI've been wanting pasta and I chose to make a big salad and had a "side" serving of pasta. It was satisfying and not over filling!

 

Guacamole Toast:

  • 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon red onion diced fine, 2 cherry tomatoes chopped, 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt, 1-2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon (or more) cilantro, salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix all of the above in a small bowl. Toast the whole grain bread. Spread guacamole on toast and knock your socks off!

Crockpot Chicken:

  • Chicken breast, lower sodium chicken broth/stock, 1 onion chopped, 3 stalks celery chopped, 3 carrot sticks chopped, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, seasoning (rosemary, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, whatever you like)
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

  • 93/7 ground turkey, 1/4 pack of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix, 1 celery stalk shredded, 1 carrot stalk shredded, 1 tablespoon (more or less depending on heat tolerance) Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • Mix the above together in large bowl. Grill, broil, or pan fry until internal temperature is 165 F.
  • Serve the burgers on whole grain rolls and Greek yogurt ranch veggie dip, celery, and carrots

5 Anticancer Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet

I get asked often “what can I eat so that I…” (lose weight, avoid heart disease, avoid cancer, just eat better, etc). These are my favorite questions! It takes a positive spin on eating for health. Instead of asking what you “should avoid” it’s asking the question, what am I missing that I can be enjoying.

It was hard to narrow down just 5. Maybe later on in this blogging adventure I’ll continue the list so just know this can be open ended.

Let’s begin…

  1. Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, kale, and radishes are all examples of these fragrant yet amazing veggies. These power houses have been shown to prevent specific cancers like colon and breast.
  2. Berries and pit fruit: I bet you guessed that blueberries and their cousins blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries would be on the list but another family of fruits have powerful anticancer properties as well. These pit fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, and avocados are definitely something to get into your diet regularly.
  3. Allium veggies: here I go again with my food and nutrition vocabulary terms…you’re never too old to learn. Allium veggies are things like garlic, onions, scallions, chives, shallots, and leeks. Strong smelling and strong anticancer properties. Garlic and onions are in everything I cook. They give food a great flavor but their nutritional properties are without compare!
  4. Green and white tea: Every.Single.Day. Green and white teas are less fermented which helps to keep the EGCG (the huge anticancer nutrient) in the tea. Brew it at home, do not buy the ready-made stuff because the EGCG cannot survive. Splash a little lemon, lime, or orange into your tea and you’ve got yourself a power packed cancer fighting beverage!
  5. Turmeric: if there is one thing I tell people who are looking for an anticancer, anti-heart disease, anti-arthritis, anti-inflammatory diet to incorporate into their diet it is this wonderful spice. Supplement companies will try to persuade you to buy it in a capsule but you NEED to combine it with your food for it to be most effective. Actually cooking it with black pepper, garlic, and/or ginger makes the turmeric work in overdrive allowing the anti-inflammatory compounds (curcumin) to do its job.

So what does an anticancer eating pattern look like? I love giving visual examples because that’s how I work best. This is an example meal plan to get you started on anticancer eating! (Side note this works for reducing the risk of heart disease and other inflammatory diseases [arthritis, IBD, etc])

Meal Example 1 Example 2 Example 3
Breakfast Oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries Pasture raised eggs with fresh fruit cup Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana
Lunch Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread with broccoli dipped in hummus Whole grain wrap with hummus and veggies Salad with black beans, corn, and oil/vinegar dressing
Dinner Pasture raised chicken with red skin potatoes and Brussels sprouts Tofu stir fry with stir fry veggies and brown rice Wild caught salmon cakes with sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli
Snack Peaches with vanilla Greek yogurt Blueberries with almonds Carrots and celery with hummus

Every day drink green or white tea. When cooking meals, use turmeric, black pepper, garlic, and onions. For snacks fit in fruits, veggies, nuts, or seeds.

Remember that no one expects you to eat this way 100% of the time. Part of a healthy lifestyle for preventing cancer is also enjoying a variety of foods that may not fit into this box. The main point is to eat this way most of the time making steps to always improve.

Breast cancer awareness month isn’t just to raise awareness for early detection through self breast exams and mammograms, it is also being aware that there are lifestyle changes you can make to try and prevent this terrible disease. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
– Hippocrates