IBS: What are you feeding yourself?


As IBS sufferers, we’re acutely aware of what we are feeding ourselves in the way of food. We often have a limited choice of diet and what we can digest.

Although most IBS treatments are centred around food and the digestive tract, eating is not the only way we feed ourselves.

We are not merely a digestive tract.

All our 5 senses bring us information that can affect how we are feeling. And they all contribute to our overall well-being.

Apart from food, what else you are feeding yourself every day? We are all on autopilot for much of our day. So it is useful to stop and think about some of our automatic habits that we no longer notice.

IBS: What are you feeding yourself (especially your mind)?

Back when I had chronic IBS and young children I would give anything just to be able to slump on the coach, watch TV and relax. It didn’t really matter what was on. I just saw it as resting time.

The only problem is that what I was watching wasn’t helping me relax at all.

When I could, I would watch the news. After all it’s good to keep up with what is happening in the world, isn’t it?

However, the news is often bad news. And it feeds us constant messages like:

  • the world not safe
  • people can’t be trusted
  • the government doesn’t act in our best interests
  • there might not be enough to go round
  • the world is chaotic and natural disasters and disease threaten us

And recent events like the Coronavirus just go to confirm all these fear-inducing negative messages.

Most of us have no idea of the impact of feeding ourselves a meal of this type of message 3 times a day – just to keep up with what’s going on.

Fear is a very potent emotion. It can make you sick, and keep you sick.

(Fun and laughter are the antidote, by the way:)

Food for thought

I hadn’t considered any of this until I read a really eye-opening book by Laurent Gounelle.

It was the story of a man who was out to avenge his wife’s murder by a primitive tribe in the Amazonian forest.

The tribe all lived peacefully, in harmony and in full respect each other.

So he and his associates set out to destroy their natural state of joy and happiness and make life hell for them.

This is what he did:

He sent villagers out to get news of all that was going wrong in the village. And they got a recompense for each juicy piece of news. And in the evening, instead of having the old sage telling tales of wisdom, they read out all the bad news in the village.

Finally he installed a machine where bubbles of air went slowly up a tube.

Instead of exchanging thoughts, songs, congratulations or wisdom, everyone sat in front of the machine and watched it for hours, mesmerized by the bubbles.

This is exactly what we are doing while we watch the news on TV!

Junk food for the soul

So I became more mindful of what I watched. Exit the news – I just watch the main titles now, and just from time to time.

Even soaps that many of us watched are rarely very positive. They are often about manipulation and mistrust. All this may seem innocent enough. But we take it all in. Night after night.

And what about all the crime series? It’s amazing the number of police serious involving violent crime that are on TV or Netflix. Some of them are particularly bad on projecting images of young girls being abducted, tied up and tortured or abused. Not to mention violence in films.

And we slowly get fed with the idea that the world is an awful place to live in and that we have to protect ourselves from others at all times. The sort of idea that can insidiously ramp up levels of negativity and anxiety. And do nothing to help your IBS.

Yes, you can still watch TV. Just be aware of what you’re watching.

(Why not opt for some hilarious comedy, or an inspiring film instead?)

It all adds up…

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