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All Boards >> Eating for IBS Diet Discussion Board

Sand

Reged: 12/13/04
Posts: 4483
Loc: West Orange, NJ (IBS-D)
Enabling
      04/23/08 02:28 PM

I’ve been reading Candy2’s posts for a couple of weeks now. I’ve seen her post that the diet is terribly hard and she’s afraid she’ll have to wait until 2010 to eat a normal meal. I’ve watched her report that she’s eaten beef tacos, a ham sandwich, an Oscar Mayer lunchable and a half a chocolate doughnut. Then I read that she ate (apparently at a restaurant): broasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn, a few fries, and a little bit of white cake with chocolate frosting. Then I read that she really, really wants to try wine. Not one single person on the Diet Board replied to any of these posts with the information that her food choices were not in keeping with the EFI Diet principles.

At that point, I thought I should really say something. I should say that I eat normal meals every day of my life. My meals aren’t loaded with trigger foods and overflowing with fat, but they’re all normal everyday food. I should say that beef is red meat and is on the list of trigger foods. Ditto for ham. I should say that the odds are that there were triggers in the Oscar Mayer lunchable and the only way to know was to read the list of ingredients. I should say that a donut is so high in fat that it’s practically fatal especially in the morning. I also thought I should say that broasted chicken is almost certainly basted with and probably injected with butter; that mashed potatoes are loaded with milk and butter; that gravy is very high in fat and may contain dairy; that stuffing is almost always high in fat and usually contains butter; that corn is a brutally difficult IF; that fries are high in fat and with the fat already consumed would result in calories from fat higher than I can count; and that white cake contains egg yolks and it’s frosting probably contains milk.

But I didn’t have the energy to say any of this and it’s largely because I knew what would happen. Syl would post that there’s no evidence dairy is a problem for IBS. Beth would post that some authority just told her something that directly contradicts part of Heather’s program and, by the way, the EFI Diet doesn’t work. One by one other people would stop by to post. Each one would say “I know how terribly hard this diet is” and then add one of the following statements:
- I eat beef tacos all the time
- I have a ham sandwich at least once a week
- I haven’t read the ingredients but I bet there’s nothing wrong with Lunchables
- I can’t believe half a donut would make any difference
- I do fine with broasted chicken
- I find mashed potatoes very soothing
- I can eat gravy
- I have no trouble with stuffing
- I can have a few fries with no trouble
- I love white cake with chocolate icing
- I drink white or organic or homemade wine with no trouble.
No one would stop by to post anything nice about eating corn.

After all this happens everyone involved will feel pretty good about things. Syl will feel good because she does truly want to be helpful and honestly believes the best way to do that is to clear up the pesky little unscientific problems with Heather’s otherwise helpful approach. Beth, on the other hand, will feel good because she will have once again undermined Heather’s approach. Everyone else will feel good because they will have sympathized with Candy2’s feelings about how terribly difficult the EFI approach is and will have helped her understand that she has to discover what works for her personally because, hey, we’re all different.

Candy2 will feel great about all this. She’ll realize that the Board posters are a truly warm, supportive group of people who are trying very hard to make her feel better. She’ll feel vindicated in her assessment of the incredible difficulty of following this approach. And most of all she’ll feel relieved: she’s not actually going to have to make any major changes in what she eats because every single thing she eats is well tolerated by people on the EFI Diet. She can just keep eating what she’s eating. (Well, except for the corn of course.) Thank goodness for that!

There is one small problem, of course, one tiny snake in this Eden of support and good feeling: Candy2’s IBS is not going to get any better. So she’ll hang in there for a while (because the Board really is a great place) before finally deciding that Beth is right, the EFI Diet doesn’t work. She’ll do one final post to say she’s leaving because this approach is worthless and she’ll be gone. She’ll then try acupuncture, herbal medicine, Reiki massage, and having her chakras rebalanced. She’ll blow through several nutritionists and possibly end up with a doctor who wants to put her on Lotronex. Eventually, if she’s very lucky she will - after years of suffering and endless trial and error - figure out which foods to eat and not eat to keep her IBS under control. The diet she comes up with will bear a striking resemblance to Heather’s EFI approach.

Support, validation, and comfort are wonderful beyond words. But for people with IBS, help is even better. And that’s why people come to the Diet Board - for help. Specifically, they come because they want to try the approach that Heather has laid out and they believe the Diet Board will help them do so. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. The Diet Board is no long truly a support Board for people who want to follow the Eating for IBS Diet. The elements of EFI are still floating around in the background but the Diet Board is now primarily a general IBS support board. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself; certainly most of the people on the Boards are incredibly warm and caring and that’s like Heaven to new posters who are struggling with IBS. However, the tone of the Diet Board does a terrible disservice to those who come to it believing it will help them conscientiously follow the EFI Guidelines.

When I came back to posting on the Diet Board after a lengthy absence, I decided consciously not to engage with posters who said that red meat, dairy, egg yolks, and alcohol were fine; that Heather’s food lists were inaccurate; and that her ancillary thoughts about water, soy, sugar, and canola oil were at best useless and at worst dangerous. I was okay with that decision - I figured if new posters wanted to know how the EFI diet really worked they could always read what Heather had to say.

I’ve realized, though, that a couple of other things have happened to me. First, I find myself sliding into the “oh, what the heck” mindset - I actually told Candy2 that she might be able to get away with drinking Coke, a piece of advice that in retrospect embarrasses me terribly. Second, as I said at the beginning of this post, I find myself reluctant to repeatedly explain the basics of EFI even to someone who is way off base because I know that my type of strict constructionism is out of favor. (Heck, even a semi-firm construction of the EFI approach is out of favor.) Those two factors have made me realize that my refusal to engage makes me as unhelpful to people who truly want to follow the EFI approach as the Board in general. At this point the only piece of advice I feel comfortable giving to new posters who actually want to give the EFI Diet a fair try is, “Read what Heather herself says. And whatever you do, stay off the Diet Board until you truly understand how EFI is really supposed to work.”

A while back I ran across a post. I think it was by LauraSue. In it the poster who had been stable for quite some time essentially said, “I’m not going to tell you what cheat foods I can eat. You’re not helping yourself if you’re always thinking about what you can get away with and I’m not going to encourage you to do so.” I can’t imagine anyone on the Diet Board today saying that except LittleMinnie. There’s another thing I can’t imagine anyone on the Diet Board today saying. I know this is from LauraSue and I think it’s the most important piece of advice about EFI there is: it works if you work it!

--------------------
[Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate. - Sandra Boynton]

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