How to Manage IBS at Work
When you are in the comfort of your own home, it can be a lot easier to stick to whatever eating regimen you are on, especially when you are following an IBS-friendly regimen like low FODMAP. When you have to go off to work in an environment full of IBS-unfriendly foods and temptations, sometimes you may stray from safe eating and indulge, only to regret it later when your symptoms start to flare. Therefore, follow these easy tips to help you stay on your IBS-friendly regimen at work or anywhere outside the home for that matter, so you can stay in control of your IBS no matter where you go.
- Bring meals and snacks from home. If you bring leftovers from last night’s dinner and snacks that you have already checked for safe ingredients, then you have more control over preventing flare-ups of your IBS symptoms. Try snacks like Casa de Sante granola or low FODMAP and protein probiotic oatmeal
- Limit eating out unless you plan ahead. It may be a weekly, or more often, tradition in some workplaces to order food out. However, unless you know exactly what ingredients are used in cooking such dishes, you may be in danger of ingesting high FODMAP ingredients that could wreak havoc on your digestive system. Common high FODMAP ingredients in processed and fast foods include garlic, onions, gluten, and high fructose corn syrup. Therefore, if you want to eat out with your co-workers, or if your work is hosting a special event, see if you can get your hands on a menu ahead of time. This way you can plan your meal at that event and bring something to eat from home to supplement your work meal if necessary.
- Carry digestive-friendly beverages with you. A water bottle is a must to bring with you at work. However, other beverages such as LemonAID ayurvedic drink that provides anti-inflammatory and digestive-soothing herbs, fruits, and spices infused in a flavorful drink. Just 4 ounces a day of this drink mixed in your water bottle with tea, water, or fruit water can help keep your IBS at bay during the work day. Also, if there is a coffee maker at work, but no plant-based milk on hand, bring your own almond or coconut milk-based creamer with you in your lunch bag. Another option is to bring your own tea in a thermos such as low FODMAP Superior Grade Matcha Green Tea, which will give you the caffeine boost you need in the morning, while providing health-boosting antioxidants.
- Keep a stash of low FODMAP friendly snacks at work when you feel hungry in between meals. Keep a bag of granola in your desk, or low FODMAP friendly granola bars, low FODMAP protein shake powder, low FODMAP friendly Brownie Brittle, or gluten-free pretzels or popcorn in your work bag just in case you get hungry or face temptation at work. This will help prevent any flare-ups at work and keep your hunger satisfied safely until it is time to go home. Pack snack in your bag the night before so you don’t forget to pack them in the morning rush. Keep them in a safe space at work or just keep them in your car so you always have them on hand.
- Keep a reference card of the major foods you should avoid around. Just go to the low FODMAP info page at Casa de Sante and use this information to jot down the essential things to remember to stay on an IBS-friendly regimen. Keep this card in your work bag and/or desk area as a reminder for meal and snack time.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.