General Question

nebule's avatar

What's the best way to give my digestive system a rest?

Asked by nebule (16457points) March 24th, 2010

I have IBS. I’ve gone a little mad on food in the past few days – emotional issues. But I’m wanting to get back on track with not overeating and give my digestive system a rest. I normally do weight watchers and I’m not really sure that even that kind of a diet is very restful for one’s digestion…all the sugar in the low fat products is quite high.

Obviously my first thought is eating just fruit and veg or even fasting…but I don’t really want to fast as I think my system might just shut down completely. What about eating fish? Cutting out meat? Starch? Would like your thoughts on calming and resting my digestive system and giving it some TLC. Probably need time-scale indications as well where necessary. Thank you

It’s sure needs it…. :-(

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33 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

My friends with IBS or Crones’s try baby food for the really bad times. Why not check the online IBS info sheets or forums?

Here’s the main page from the Mayo Clinic.

Here’s the hyperlink for diet and behavior suggestions;

And here’s a forum in the UK:

dpworkin's avatar

Congee, which is a sort of rice porridge. Very comforting, and pretty good for you.

nebule's avatar

thanks @gailcalled
@dpworkin never heard of that…but I drink rice milk because of the dairy thing so thank you I’ll check that out!

bunnygrl's avatar

@lynneblundell I wish I knew what to suggest, when I was ill my Gran used to make me chicken soup which was chicken stock (she used to make her own but a stockcube would do the same job?) with rice and grated carrot. Very easy on the stomache and calming I’ve always found. Hope you feel better soon honey <hugs>

meagan's avatar

Yogurt and lots of baked chicken

Facade's avatar

Try cutting out heavy foods and adding the appropriate fibers.

Cruiser's avatar

My son had a bad issue with this and probiotics got him back on track. Thoroughly chewing his food helped as well. Drink lots of water!

JLeslie's avatar

I think eat less over all, don’t eat raw veggies or nuts. Maybe fruits like bananas and apples. Beans and rice possibly. Soups, because they are easy to digest since the veggies are super cooked. You might try going off dairy for two weeks and see how you do. The way you know if it is really helping is when you try it again and you feel like shit. Some people say a gluten free diet really works for them. I would not try the gluten free and the dairy free, and anything else free all at once, because better to know what exactly is working.

I used have to run to the bathroom after eating dairy. It lasted for about 8 years. I don’t have any problem anymore. At one point I was on megadoses of antibiotics for something unrelated, I don’t know if that cured it, or if it was the probiotics I took to try and help me while taking the antibiotics. Personally I think it was the antibitiotics that worked, that I just got lucky. Not that I am recommending you try antibiotics, I would not even be able to tell you what I took that worked, because I took about five, two were IV, and who knows what worked. What I will say is if you ever take antibiotics for something, sinus infection, skin infection, etc, pay attention if your digestive track is going better, especially days 4–6 of the medication.

Good luck.

Trillian's avatar

You could try a BRAT diet, which is what we give patients coming off of a clear liquid diet. Bananas, rice, apples and toast.

drClaw's avatar

Hire a skinhead to kick you in the stomach then eat a bran muffin. Trust me I’m a doctor.

janbb's avatar

Yes, I woul go with the BRAT diet too. You want pretty bland foods and not a great deal of roughage, I would think.

I think @dpworkin is on to something too. My sister-in-law who had terrible health problems lived on congee for a long time.

jazmina88's avatar

the BRAT diet and soups…...I adore fish…..

nebule's avatar

@bunnygrl thank you xx
@janbb @Trillian @jazmina88 hmmmm….not sure about the BRAT diet…various sources say it’s used for diarrhoea so I imagine that will bung me up perhaps? which I really don’t want…:-/
@dpworkin some of the recipes say you can just use normal rice but I thought it had to be some special kind of rice? not so?

@meagan whats the yoghurt and chicken thing about? sounds hideous! lol x

janbb's avatar

@lynneblundell I guess we don’t know whether you’re looking to get “bunged up” or “unbunged up” so we’re sort of shooting in the dark here.

JLeslie's avatar

If you are constipated definitely stop eating raw veggies and nuts. Wheatina hot cereal always works well for me. Also, at minimum a small handful of a raisin every day will get your system moving. You can eat prunes instead, but most people prefer raisins.

PadmanJones's avatar

Lots of fiber, plenty of water, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.

nebule's avatar

@janbb sorry… unbunged up :-)

janbb's avatar

In that case, water, fruit, salads or maybe what @JLeslie suggests.

Mariah's avatar

Do not fast. Yogurt and bananas are always good to have. Outside of those, there are very few foods that are universally good for the digestive tract. I know that this is obnoxious to hear, but it takes some playing around to figure out what’s best for you individually. Oddly enough, I find that sticking only to carbs helps me, but eliminating carbs helps other people. Sorry, I know that’s probably not what you want to hear. :\

You can also try going on an all liquid diet. Drinks like Boost and Ensure have all the minerals you need, with less digestion required. Just do not fast.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

For about the last three years of her life, my mother lived on nothing but Ensure™. I don’t know how she did it (and she was more or less incapable of explaining by that time), but she did okay, aside from the dementia that eventually killed her.

Judi's avatar

I would say rice only for a few days, then add a little milk, then slowly add vegetables and fruits. After that, eat sensibly, avoiding red meat, maybe fish for protein. Stay away from high fat, high sugar and processed foods.

dpworkin's avatar

I use plain old medium grain rice.

filmfann's avatar

6 days rice sounds right. Just chill.

janbb's avatar

@filmfann Who – the rice or @lynneblundell ?

thriftymaid's avatar

Only liquids for 48 hours.

nebule's avatar

thanks all xxx

bunnygrl's avatar

@lynneblundell just normal rice does the job just fine, doesn’t even need to be expensive when I make soup I use smart price from asda, its just as good as the more expensive brands. Hope you’re feeling better honey <hugs> xx

gailcalled's avatar

An excerpt from a college friend’s letter. Her husband struggles with the same problems. They found a solution: (Severely edited by me but still long. Worth reading, however.)
about Crohn’s disease: I’ve been meaning to share with this group except it sounds too good to be true.

Our stories, Mac’s first:

Mac has suffered for several years pretty severely from a variously identified gastro disease——maybe IBS, maybe Crohn’s, maybe colitis. He would spend his mornings in the bathroom and was nervous about going most anywhere because of the going and going and going.

After many expensive tests and meds that seem to make things worse, I went on an internet hunt. I ended up on Amazon reading the many consumer endorsements of probiotics——good bacteria that most of us have heard of in connection with yogurts. There’s one product called Digestive Advantage that seems to be the favorite of over 100 people who bothered to write product reviews on amazon..

I ordered some. Mac takes it every day and it has totally cured him….really amazing, so amazing that I hesitated to post it because it seems like such a simple safe solution to gastric problems that are driving people crazy. Below is the Amazon link to Digestive Advantage and we will never, ever be without it again. Made a huge difference in our lives as we were getting tethered to bathrooms. Has many more good bacteria than fortified yogurts. If you want to read more about probiotics, Dr. Andrew Weil has good things to say about them.

, The same manufacturer makes .. Digestive Advantage for Crohn’s and Colitis but it only has 10 reviews and we have had no experience with it. However, if you read way down into the consumer reviews for the Digestive Advantage for IBS, you will find some with Crohn’s have found relief.

2nd story: I’ve had a semi-extensive infection in my mouth that resulted in the extraction of 3 teeth and I was on antibiotics for maybe 20 days. I know how those drugs kill off the good bacteria with the bad and leave a bad bacteria,.. the ruler of the gastric roost, causing serious runs and so forth. So I looked on the internet for myself. Again, I found a product on Amazon, a probiotic, Enzyamytic (sp?)Therapy Pearls. These are tiny cream colored pills taken once a day; I avoided all the bad gastric stuff from taking so many antibiotics. I found they also relieve constipation and those who have that problem alone might try the Pearls. I will keep on keeping on with them. Very small so can tuck in your purse for travel.

On amazon, search for Pearls probiotic and read the consumer reviews. I can send that link in the next email,

I hope this helps and am disturbed that our gastro guy never mentioned anything so simple, inexpensive and effective.

dpworkin's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks. If you subscribe for regular delivery on Amazon the price goes down to $19.04, and shipping is free.

sunny51's avatar

Please please please read the ingredients ls on the ‘meal replacement’ drinks such as Ensure and the like. They are loaded with sugars. Which directly feed all the headfirst that cause the problems in the first place, as well as feed dormant cancer cells. Just not smart. A good guideline for any dietary approach,
“If it has an ingredients list DONT EAT IT!”

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