Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects as many as 1 in 5 people in developed countries. Studies have identified a number of foods that are often problematic and symptoms can often be managed through diet. Now a new cooking website shows sufferers how to go from a bland, tasteless diet to gourmet meals, safely.
When gourmet cook Lynda Shannon contracted a digestive disorder 6 years ago, she went from foie gras to chicken broth overnight. It started with the stomach flu but then just didn't go away, she says.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one of many functional gastrointestinal disorders, affects 15-20% of the population in Canada and the US. It crosses all age groups: it can affect the young, the middle-aged and the elderly. Symptoms include: abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea (some experience all of these at different times).
The general public remains unaware of its impact despite the fact that IBS has become one of the most common complaints doctors see. The unpredictable and debilitating nature of IBS wreaks havoc on professional and personal lives. Many people with IBS are afraid to leave home in case they have an attack. Some fear what they eat, and can't eat in restaurants or attend social events. They are often forced to miss work and cancel vacations.
"Until you have it, you just can't believe how devastating a digestive disorder can be," Lynda says. "I went from being a healthy, active, productive woman to someone frequently house-bound because of my symptoms."
There is no cure for IBS but symptoms can often be managed through exercise, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation and, most important, diet. "I couldn't cook the way I had before I got this disorder", Shannon says, "I had to identify the foods that made my symptoms worse and then modify recipes to eliminate those foods: red meat, dairy (especially cow's milk), trans fats, and insoluble fibre (raw fruit and vegetables, beans and whole grains)."
Scientific studies have confirmed that certain foods can cause symptoms to flair in IBS patients. There common foods such as dairy products and wheat which problematic for many sufferers but everyone is affected by different foods as well. This makes it important for patients to discover which foods are triggering their own symptoms. This is often done using an eilmination diet or by testing for food sensitivities.
Lynda studied all kinds of cookbooks to find recipes she could modify to work with IBS. When she came across recipes that included ingredients unsafe for IBS, she experimented with creative alternatives. Using her culinary talents, she found ways to make the same recipe taste great without the IBS-triggering ingredients. She created delicious recipes that are safe for her and that her family and friends rave about.
"I realized that other people who suffer from IBS could benefit from my recipes and my experience", Shannon continues, "I talked to my sister Laurel-Lea, a web designer and writer, and we decided to launch Good Eats For IBS."
Good Eats For IBS is the ONLY cooking website dedicated to people with IBS. The website offers free monthly recipes and will be expanded to include:
Reactive/Stable (IBS Related Information):
Each recipe has flexible versions that work for the IBS sufferer whether her condition is in a reactive or stable phase.
Tips: These are cooking notes related to IBS such as lists of triggering foods and the dos, don'ts and maybes of the IBS diet.
Getting Organized: A special diet requires careful planning. To help with this the website will include: prepared shopping lists, food preparation that can be done ahead, and freezer friendly dishes.
Cooking: This section will also include cook's notes: cooking terms defined and time-saving equipment.
Here are sample recipes (including many vegetarian-friendly alternatives) that will be available on the website:
SOUPS & SALADS:
Pumpkin soup with fresh basil
Belgian Endive salad with toasted walnuts and pears
Puree of asparagus soup
Chicken stew with leeks and fresh marjoram
Breast of duck with red wine sauce
Roast Cornish hen with shitaki mushrooms and preserved lemon stuffing
PASTA & RISOTTO:
Fusilli with sweet yellow pepper sauce
Risotto with sautéed leeks and fresh peas
Tagliatelle with scallops in a saffron-scented broth
Oven-roasted salmon with braised artichokes
Rainbow trout baked on a bed of leeks
Sear-roasted halibut with roasted carrot puree
SIDE DISHES (flans, purees, braises):
Corn flans with red pepper coulis
Braised fennel with leeks
Roasted cherry tomatoes with chiffonade of fresh herbs
Aunt Alice's Orange cake with roasted orange slices
Vanilla-scented poached pears
Hazelnut and dried cherry biscotti.
Visit Good Eats for IBS at: http://www.goodeatsforibs.com/