Do you feel like no one understands?

Unless people have themselves experienced, or been closely linked to someone who has a restricted dietary intake, they most probably aren’t aware of this concept. In fact, they may not even be aware that people can experience gastrointestinal symptoms regularly. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be interested to know and understand.

It can be helpful to talk with friends and family who you believe will be impacted when dining with you. Let them know you are making some dietary changes to increase your digestive and overall health, and for a while this means you will be restricted to eating certain foods. This isn’t forever; especially given the IBS Recovery Program can be completed in 5 weeks. If others are interested, type them out a list of what you are eating (this is often more helpful than a list of what you are not eating).

If you are visiting someone else’s home, discuss with them what the meal arrangements are and offer to take a dish to contribute. That way you can prepare something that meets your requirements and also helps out the host.

If you feel more comfortable, you may choose to take your own dish over. Let the host know beforehand so that all parties feel comfortable with the arrangements. It is common for other guests to enquire about your difference in food choice so have a think about a few responses you feel comfortable sharing. Some options might be:

  • Letting them know you have some digestive upsets and are trialing a modified diet with a dietitian. You never know, they might have their own experience to share.
  • You are optimizing your health and therefore have chosen to modify your diet
  • Humour can work too – making a joke about it can lighten the mood and help you feel more relaxed – and remember, the more relaxed you are, the better your digestive system will function

Have guests over to your home. This gives you the freedom to cook and prepare food suitable for you. You may even like to get your friends and family involved in the food preparation or cooking and make it a fun event. Who knows, they might come up with some great recipes with the ingredients on your allowed list. You could have your very own cooking competition.