The Eating for IBS Diet: Think Substitution, Not Deprivation

* For all IBS cooking and recipes, substitute soy, rice, oat, or almond milk for dairy milk (check the ingredients to be sure there is no oil added). Try a wide variety of brands and flavors as the difference in taste can be dramatic. Some brands are truly wretched and some are delicious.

Most people are happily surprised by Silk (vanilla and chocolate) and Soy Dream. I've also had good luck with health food store generic brands such as 365 by Whole Foods, and they're very inexpensive.

It can be helpful to keep two types of non dairy milk on hand: unsweetened or plain for cooking, and vanilla for cold cereals or drinking. Chocolate milk is delicious cold and heated up for glass of hot cocoa!

* Use soy, rice, oat, almond substitutes for cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products (check the ingredients to be sure the items are low-fat). For cheese, pay attention to whether the brand is truly dairy-free or simply lactose-free. Most non dairy cheese brands contain small amounts of casein, a dairy protein. The tiny quantity is often very tolerable for IBS, but if you're completely intolerant to casein you'll have to find a non dairy cheese that is entirely dairy-free.

* Many hamburger-based recipes such as tacos, sloppy joes, chili, etc. can be easily adapted to IBS diet by substituting TVP (textured vegetable protein, a soy food available in health food stores) for the ground beef. Simply eliminate the cooking oil and season the TVP as you would the meat. When well-prepared most people honestly can't taste the difference. In addition, there are many vegetarian cookbooks available that replicate traditional American homestyle recipes with vegan substitutes for the dairy and meat ingredients. Try out several of these books from your local library and buy your favorites.

* Find a well-stocked local health food store and try a wide variety of vegan versions of deli meat, hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings, etc. There are tasty versions of just about every fast food and junk food on the market - just check the ingredients for a low fat content.

* Use only fat-free salad dressings, mayonnaise, etc.

* Substitute cocoa powder for solid chocolate in IBS baking - fabulous chocolate cakes are your IBS-safe reward!

* For most recipes, you can almost always reduce the amount of oil called for by at least 1/3.

* When baking for IBS replace from 2/3 to 3/4 of the oil called for with applesauce.

* Use only egg whites - simply replace each whole egg in a recipe with two egg whites. Egg Beaters are also a good choice.

* Use non-stick pans and cooking spray for all IBS cooking, as this will dramatically lessen the amount of oil you cook with. You can get wonderful crispy, golden, and crunchy food with just a little cooking oil spray and a non-stick skillet instead of deep frying - try it!

* If you have a weakness for a particularly deadly IBS trigger food (mine's cheesecake), try slowly eating just one to two measured tablespoons after a satisfying meal of low fat, high soluble fiber foods. I've found this to be a pretty foolproof method for occasionally treating myself to a splurge on my IBS diet.

* Watch out for hidden fat in seemingly safe foods: biscuits, scones, pancakes, waffles, restaurant French toast, crackers, mashed potatoes, store-bought dried (usually fried) bananas.

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