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IBS quick Christmas survival guide

Victoria Shorland, IBS Specialist Clinic, Faversham, Kent, www.eattolive.org.uk 01795 534627

Stay Calm – That may sound crazy, but anxiety and stress are huge triggers for IBS/IBD sufferers.  By managing your stress levels and allowing yourself to stop from time too time to recharge your batteries, you are actually reducing the likelihood of IBS symptoms.  Also Acid Relux, Diverticulitis and many other gastric problems can be helped.

Do Not Eat On The Go – As we rush around the shops, taxi the children about and then manage to fit in housework, Christmas shopping, job and social life, we forget a fundamental part of digestion.  For IBS spectrum sufferers, chewing is essential.  By making sure you do not swallow lumps of partially chewed food you are actually eliminating another trigger for a flare up.  Therefore, no matter how busy you are, chew your food so it is very mushed up.

Hydrate – Liquid consumption is, in my opinion, as important as food.  Remembering to drink as we go about our daily lives during the festive season, is essential.   We can become dehydrated very quickly, and this in turn can lead to constipation.  So you could have an excellent diet, and undermine the hard work with food, with poor hydration.

Avoid peels and pips – Fibre can be a friend or a foe for IBS sufferers. To ensure you do everything you can to have a flare free festive season, peel your fruit, avoid the pips and leave the skins. If you apply this rule literally, that would mean you avoid dried fruit, as it is very very difficult to peel !  The little capsules of fruit sugar are a potential trigger and we do tend to consume more during the Christmas season.

Be Happy – The happy hormones do create a happy gut.

Just One ! – DON’T DO IT – Do not compromise your health and fun, by saying ‘just one’.  Those naughty nibbles and yummy deserts could trigger an IBS flare up, so be strong.

Plan – Have some stand-by foods in your bag, so you do not get caught out.  Take some of your own breads or biscuits with you for example, and most of all, if you are eating out, do not be afraid to ask the staff for information.  Restaurants have to supply allergy and intolerance information now, and a quick glance at their guide could save you days of discomfort.


Lucy Guthrie



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