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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Snacking - A Holistic Perspective

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Snacking - A Holistic Perspective

Written by Bonny Chow - Integrative Dietitian, Accredited Practising Dietitian

As an Integrative Dietitian, I view and treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) differently to when I was trained at University. We understand IBS is characterised by bloating, abdominal pain, alternating constipation and diarrhoea, bowel changes, food intolerance and fatigue, as a result of fermentation of fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) by gut bacteria.

Generally, I don’t recommend frequent snacking for my IBS patients. Up to 80% of IBS sufferers have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): an increase in gut bacteria in the small intestine that should normally be found in the colon. With this in mind, we want to minimise bacterial overgrowth with minimal snacking. Constant grazing or snacking doesn’t allow sufficient time in between meals for our Migrating Motor Complex to complete “housekeeping” (cleaning the small intestine). With an already sensitive gut, its important to allow rest, and to prioritize removal of old food debris, bacteria and cells.

Many gut related conditions result in similar IBS-like symptoms including SIBO, Dysbiosis, Parasites, Food Poisoning, Celiac Disease, Lactose Intolerance and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis). As you can see, the underlying cause can be unintentionally undiagnosed. Proper diagnosis, with likely further testing, is important to find the cause of negative digestive symptoms, and not simply restrict with a low FODMAP diet.

The occasional snack is fine. However, as a Dietitian, I’m interested to investigate why we don’t feel satisfied and look into causes of food cravings and hunger. Perhaps there’s an underlying hormonal or blood sugar imbalance?

For those who choose to consume a light snack; here are my top 5 FODMAP Friendly ideas to hit the spot:

Hard boiled eggs


Image of hard boiled eggs (source below)


Boil Free-range eggs for 12 minutes (8min for softer yolk). A tip is to cook multiple eggs, cool in cold water, dry and leave in the fridge unpeeled ready to go. Simple!

Eggs contain:
High quality protein
B Vitamins
Phosphorus
Fat soluble vitamins A, E, D, K
Iodine
Choline

Vegetable sticks with smashed Avocado & Lemon


Image of vegetable sticks and guacamole (source below)

Celery, carrot, cucumber, capsicum, cherry tomatoes are all low FODMAP. Enjoy them with homemade “Guac”  by smashing an avocado with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, chopped coriander, salt and pepper (most IBS patients tolerate 1/8 an avocado - monitor any symptoms, or choose natural low FODMAP nut butter).

Great way to get more veg in (potassium, Vitamin C) and beneficial monounsaturated fat. 

Chia Pudding

Image by Bonny Chow, Chia pudding from Lentil as Anything

Serves 2
2 tbl cup chia seeds
1 cup low FODMAP almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 Serving hydrolyzed collagen powder (I like Great Lakes)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup blueberries (half for topping)
Toppings (optional): Passionfruit pulp, sesame seeds, mixed seeds.

1.Combine ingredients (except toppings) in a bowl or Mason Jar. Crush half the blueberries into the mixture.
2. Let sit in the fridge overnight (or 4 hours until set)
3. Top with remaining blueberries, seeds and passionfruit pulp

Benefits of gut support and protein from the collagen powder, fibre and omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids from chia seeds.

Nuts and Seeds


Image by Bonny Chow

Choose natural almonds (up to 1/4 cup), macadamias, walnuts, pecans, pepitas (up to 2 tbl), and/or sunflower seeds (up to 2 tsp).


An excellent ready-to-go snack that packs a nutritional punch. Nuts and seeds contain protein, monounsaturated fat, fibre, magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron.

Coconut Yoghurt with Mixed Berries and Seeds

Images by Bonny Chow

¼- ½ cup Coconut yoghurt
Handful low FODMAP nuts and seeds
60g raspberries (30 berries)

Layer ingredients together, and enjoy!

Did you notice a trend? Eating low FODMAP doesn’t need to be stressful. Keep things simple, and don’t overwhelm yourself. If you need dietary support, feel free to connect with Bonny below.

Would love to hear your thoughts and creations!

Bonny Chow - Integrative Dietitian, Accredited Practising Dietitian

Specialising in Metabolic conditions (Diabetes, CVD), Gut Health, Mental Health, Eating Behaviours including Cravings, Stress and Emotional eating

Website: www.bonnychowdietitian.com 

Instagram:@theintegrativedietitian 

Facebook: Bonny Chow- Integrative Dietitian 

References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099351/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3400812/
https://www.livescience.com/50834-eggs-nutrition-facts.html
https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2
https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2
https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3125/2
Images sources from
https://alexfisherhealth.com.au/recipe/hard-boiled-eggs/
https://www.californiaavocado.com/recipe-details/view/31469/california-hass-family-guacamole

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