Introduction

I then did some research to verify and annotate the accuracy of my medical/nutritional information (documented through extensive footnotes in the text so that readers may consult more technical and detailed authorities at the primary source). I also read a copy of every IBS book on the market. I have to admit I was having a very hard time believing that there was nothing with accurate dietary information already out there, despite what I was hearing from the people on the Irritable Bowel Syndrome boards. It was shocking to discover they were absolutely right – the books available had dietary advice that ranged from worthless to downright dangerous. One book's outrageous suggestions made me so angry I nearly threw it across the room. Had the author been standing there I think I would have smacked him, as he clearly had no comprehension of the physical torment people with IBS endure, let alone any sympathy for their suffering. I turned my email file into a full-fledged book after learning that there really was no legitimate IBS dietary information, and certainly no comprehensive eating guide with recipes, anywhere on the market.

I was helped immensely along the way by the terrific comments I received from fellow IBS sufferers via email. Their feedback was invaluable. The questions they asked had a very humbling effect, as I came to realize just how seriously people were taking the advice that I sent them. Here I was a total stranger, an anonymous nobody sending them email, and they were following every recommendation I had given them to the letter. This really drove home the fact that they had no other source of information – virtually all that they knew about how to control their IBS through diet they had learned from me and my email file. These people really provided the inspiration to see this project through, and the determination to get the information into the hands of everyone who needs it.

The end result was this, the first and only book about Irritable Bowel Syndrome written by someone who personally has IBS and has learned to effectively control the problem through diet. I honestly believe that this is also the first and only book to offer IBS sufferers the information they need to live a normal life by explicitly detailing how to manage IBS through eating habits. My conviction in this matter is backed not only by decades of first-hand experience but by the feedback from hundreds of other IBS sufferers. IBS is not a mental problem, nor is it strictly stress-induced, nor can it be solved through drugs or surgery. It is a problem that must be addressed on a daily basis through diet. The general guidelines and explicit recommendations in this book have helped everyone with IBS who has followed the advice. It is safe to assume that the information can in some way assist all IBS sufferers – the syndrome is not so highly individualized that no dietary generalizations can be made, as the colon reacts to specific foods in predictable ways. This is basic biology.

What I hope will be one of this book's major revelations is that, contrary to what people may think, eating for IBS does not mean deprivation, never going to restaurants, boring or bland food, or an unhealthily limited diet. There are safe recipes for traditional homestyle cooking, ethnic foods, rich desserts, snacks, and party foods. There is never any need to sacrifice an ounce of flavor or visual flair to create a gourmet IBS meal. As a result, it's quite easy to cook for others following IBS guidelines without people even realizing that the food they're eating is tailored for medical needs. In addition, the IBS diet is inherently healthy (low fat, plant-based), lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer, is slimming, and it's delicious, too. It's easily suitable for an entire family to follow. IBS sufferers do not have to cook weird or special meals for themselves while their families follow a "normal" diet.

In short, people with IBS who follow the advice in this book can achieve their dearest goal: after endless pain and suffering, they can finally eat without fear. I know this to be true because I am one of those people.

Click here to continue reading Eating for IBS.

I've received letters from thousands of people around the world who feel that the IBS diet has literally saved their lives. To read some of these letters, click here.

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