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Tips for Dining Out and Celebrating Worry Free with IBS

Jun 12, 2024
Tips for Dining Out and Celebrating Worry Free with IBS
This article was authored by Kristina Zalnieraite, Licensed Dietitian and Head of Dietetics and Medical Affairs @ Guthealth.care. Do you need support with a symptom, condition or gut health goal? You can book a free online consultation with Kristina here.

Living with IBS can make social events like dining out or celebrating with friends stressful. You might worry about finding a bathroom quickly or triggering symptoms with certain foods.

Unfortunately, many individuals with IBS experience mindset concerns when eating out. This anxiety often leads to restrictive eating habits or avoidance of social occasions altogether.

Rest assured, you're not alone! Many people with IBS experience anxiety and avoidance due to past negative experiences. But with the right strategies, you can enjoy social occasions, dining out, and celebrating without fear of flare-ups.

Understanding IBS

Before diving into our topic, it’s important to understand IBS. IBS is a chronic condition affecting the digestive system, characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. These symptoms can be triggered by certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, or environmental factors.

Common IBS triggers

Stress is a major factor in IBS, with about 75% of sufferers reporting that it significantly exacerbates their symptoms. However, stress isn't the only trigger. Dietary choices play a crucial role in managing IBS. Foods high in FODMAPs, which are types of carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest, often trigger symptoms. Additionally, high-fat foods and spicy foods are known to worsen IBS for many people. Being mindful of these triggers can help manage and alleviate IBS symptoms effectively.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, are a group of short-chain carbohydrates found in many foods. These carbohydrates are known to be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can ferment in the colon, leading to gas production, bloating, abdominal pain, and other digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals, especially those who have IBS.

Common examples of high-FODMAP foods that trigger IBS symptoms include certain fruits (such as apples, cherries, and mangoes), vegetables (like onions, garlic, and cauliflower), dairy products containing lactose, wheat-based products, and some legumes and sweeteners.

Here are our top tips for navigating social occasions with confidence:

Communication is key: 1 in 5 people suffer from IBS symptoms at some point in their lives, so it’s a common problem. If you share information about your condition, you’ll be surprised how many others can directly relate to your symptoms. Open and honest communication is essential when dealing with IBS in social settings. By explaining your symptoms and triggers, you create a supportive environment where those around you can be understanding and accommodating. This takes the pressure off the situation, and you can feel more at ease.

Practice mindfulness: To reduce stress, practice relaxation techniques before heading out. Try guided meditation or 1-2 minutes of breathwork to support your gut-brain connection.

Research the restaurant: Before making a reservation, research the restaurant's menu online or call ahead to inquire about their FODMAP-friendly options. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free or allergen-friendly menus, making it easier to find suitable dishes.

Choose meals wisely: When scanning the menu, opt for dishes naturally low in FODMAPs, such as grilled or roasted meats, seafood, salads that are without high-FODMAP ingredients like onions or garlic, and sides like steamed vegetables or plain rice. Opt for small portions of hard cheeses over soft, and inquire about dairy-free options. Consider requesting gluten-free bread or pasta, and ask for dishes prepared without garlic and onion, if possible.

Avoid Non-FODMAP Irritants: Spicy dishes, buttery and creamy sauces, fried foods, and fatty meats are common IBS triggers. To minimize symptoms, choose alternatives like grilled or steamed vegetables, lean meats, and fish. When dining out, request mild sauces and ask for foods to be grilled or cooked with minimal oil.

Be clear about your needs: Don't hesitate to ask questions about how dishes are prepared or request adjustments to suit your dietary requirements. It's essential to advocate for yourself to ensure a positive dining experience. You will be surprised to see how helpful the restaurant staff is and how they will definitely accommodate your needs.

Choose gut-friendly fluids: Begin your meal with water or herbal teas that aid digestion, such as ginger, chamomile, or peppermint. Limit alcohol intake to one standard drink (5 oz of red wine or 1.5 oz of spirits mixed with soda). Additionally, avoid carbonated beverages to reduce the risk of gas and bloating.

Practice portion control: While dining out, portion sizes can often be larger than necessary. Be mindful of how much you're eating, as overindulgence can exacerbate symptoms even with low-FODMAP foods.

Try digestive enzymes such as FODZYME: Consider using digestive enzymes like FODZYME for managing FODMAP sensitivities, especially during special occasions or dining out. This supplement aids in digesting the most common FODMAP triggers - fructans, GOS, and lactose, reducing discomfort after meals. It's a convenient option for dining out when you can't control your food choices. FODZYME has been a lifesaver for many with FODMAP intolerances! It’s one of our top suggestions because it is easy to use at home and when eating out, and it has been a huge help in enabling our clients to enjoy the high FODMAP foods they love with fewer symptoms! 

How FODZYME Enhances the Dining Experience:

FODZYME is a novel enzyme blend that breaks down FODMAPs fructan, lactose, and GOS, helping you confidently enjoy your favorite meals and giving your body the nutrients it deserves.

By taking FODZYME with meals containing FODMAPs, you can enjoy your dining experience without fear of digestive distress, allowing you to savor the occasion fully.

Check the link to get a special 15% off your first order online!

Seek professional support

Consulting a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian specializing in IBS and gut health, can provide tailored guidance and strategies to manage your symptoms effectively. At Guthealth.care, our IBS online course is designed for those living with IBS. Believe us, no matter how long you have been battling your condition, our unique evidence-based and time-tested IBS course will equip you with the right validated tools to regain control of your gut health and rediscover the joy of life. 


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