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A guide to getting through the holiday season with IBS


Dietitian, Bari Stricoff, and Nutritionist, Sophie Bertrand - authors of the much-anticipated, no-nonsense guide to health & nutrition, Forking Wellness: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Health and Nutrition, & co-hosts of the Forking Wellness podcast - give us the low-down on getting through the holiday without IBS ruining play. 

It’s normal for our eating patterns to change over the festive season. We eat foods we’re not used to eating year-round, such as mince pies, and our alcohol consumption may increase. Routines change, and depending on our holiday situation, we may have less control over our food choices. And that’s okay… food is a normal part of celebrating with friends and family! But, for those suffering from IBS, a disruption to your routine and eating habits may lead to exacerbated symptoms. Here are 10 tips that can help:

  1. Stay hydrated: Keeping up with your daily fluids is beneficial to your overall health. For those with IBS, drinking plenty of water also helps manage symptoms.


  1. Get enough sleep: We often forget IBS can be triggered by more than the foods you eat. Staying well-rested and prioritizing your sleep can help manage symptoms and decrease flare-ups.


  1. Be mindful of your alcohol (especially the bubbles): Alcohol can often trigger IBS symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink (or two...). Spirits tend to be better tolerated, especially compared to beer, cider and wine. Again, be mindful of your mixers, as carbonated drinks can also be triggers.


  1. Tell your friends and family about your trigger foods: There’s no harm in letting the people you are spending time with know about your triggers. Ask about ingredients and how foods are prepared. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.


  1. Remember to chew your food!: Eating with friends and family can also lead to less mindful meals. Often, this can mean we forget to thoroughly chew our food, which means it may be harder to digest.


  1. Wear comfortable clothing: Tight and compressing clothes can actually restrict movement in your intestines. Consider swapping your tight high-waisted jeans for something with an elastic waistband or something free-flowing!


  1. Try to keep moving: Exercise is known to help relieve symptoms of IBS. Long winter walks, gentle stretches or an easy yoga flow may be helpful.


  1. Consider probiotics: Probiotics have been shown to help your gut maintain a healthy ratio of beneficial bacteria, which can aid in managing symptoms, like gas, bloating and pain.


  1. Mind your stress: Although the holidays are filled with joyful moments, stress is inevitable – trust us, we get it, and so does your gut! Our gut and our brain are actually connected via the gut–brain axis. So when we feel stressed, it can cause our gut to react and leads to increased symptoms.


  1. Prioritize balanced meals (with fiber), when possible: Although your routine may be different, prioritizing healthy meals can help to regulate your digestive system.


Forking Wellness, published by Meyer & Meyer and distributed in the USA by Cardinal Publishers Group, is out January 2021 and is available to order now at your favorite bookseller. The no-nonsense guide to health and nutrition promotes balance, mindful and intuitive eating and teaches what ‘realistic’ wellness can mean to you. It includes some great recipes, too.

Forking Wellness

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