I still had occasional gut episodes after eliminating gluten from my diet; I studied hidden gluten from many informative websites and read labels closely to make sure I didn’t eat hidden gluten by mistake. Since I had already ruled out the biggest diseases: colon cancer (colonoscopy), ovarian and uterine cancer (pelvic ultrasound), diverticulitis (CT scan), cervical cancer (pap smear), Celiac (bloodwork), and bladder infection (urinalysis w/ culture). I never saw signs of bleeding (fresh blood, tarry stools, or coffee-ground stools), so it probably isn’t ulcerative colitis. I decided it was time to do more research.

I found HelpForIBS.com‘s fiber page very helpful in teaching IBS sufferers how to always eat soluble fibers on an empty stomach, then IBS sufferers could eat insoluble fiber, but it’s better to finely dice or puree the insoluble fiber food. The linked page gives a list of soluble fiber foods that IBS sufferers can eat. The site also has a IBS cheat sheet in PDF free to download that prints up very lovely, and it’s great to hang on the fridge, or give to family members doing the shopping.

There’s also a page that teaches other IBS trigger foods. I’ve been able to tolerate many of the other triggers, except I’m not sure about plain milk — I can tolerate cheeses though. One of my most painful attacks came after eating rice krispies with milk, so I’m not very anxious to experiment with plain milk any time soon. And I usually don’t eat too much fat in one meal, since not having a gallbladder makes it difficult for me to tolerate too much fat.

I found HelpForIBS.com a few weeks ago, and have only suffered one gut episode while following their diet. It happened after eating red beans and rice with sausage, and brocolli and cauliflower mix with butter and lemon-pepper. I thought I’d be covered by the rice, but maybe there was too much insoluble fibers with the beans, brocolli and cauliflower (plus I ate the veggies whole instead of diced or pureed). And the sausage could have had too much fat also. But the episode that followed that meal was not as bad as prior episodes. But it taught me that maybe I shouldn’t eat three insolubles in one meal, or at least to dice or puree cruciferous vegetables. I’m also wondering if I had made the beans from scratch, rubbing the beans between my hands after soaking to remove the skins might have helped too, we’ll see later on. I’m thinking this also explains the two episodes after eating peas; I’ll probably try experimenting with rubbing the skins off of dried peas later on.

I have experimented with small amounts of finely ground wheat products, and did not suffer any attacks afterwards. It’s my guess that the reason for my past attacks after eating bread was because I used to eat whole grain bread (whole grains have insoluble fiber as well as soluble, whereas regular commercial breads usually just have finely ground wheat (which is mostly soluble fiber). It’s easy to mistakenly think gluten was the culprit.

I’m going to try the IBS diet for a few months before deciding it’s probably what I have, and bringing it up with my GP. But if I do bring it up with the GP, I’ll bring a copy of the cheat sheet with me.