Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): What Do I Eat? (cont.)

Elaine Magee:  Restaurant Rules. There's a whole chapter on eating out in restaurants in my book. Here are a few tips. Make yourself more comfortable when eating out by making sure you eat only modest amounts and by looking forward to taking a doggie bag home for tomorrow's lunch. Relax and eat slowly. Choose menu items that aren't too high in fat. Stick to dishes we tend to do well with. I can't emphasize enough the idea of portion size and moderation. For example, I personally can get a way with half of a tempura order. The minute I eat a whole dinner, I am uncomfortable. Cramps ensue. I have learned that I can have half the order and take the rest home. I can appreciate your comment about doing better at home. If I eat fettuccine alfredo in a restaurant, I might have trouble because it's so rich in fat, but I have no problems with my lighter version that I make at home. Someone else might have trouble with a hamburger and fries at a restaurant but not have problems with a lean sirloin burger and oven-baked fries made at home.

Moderator: Appetizers are smaller than entree portions and can sometimes substitute for the larger portion.

Elaine Magee: Tell the server to package half of it in the doggie bag right in the beginning. They are there to make you happy! If it's delicious, you will enjoy it later. At one time, it may be too much for your system.

Elaine Magee: Once you find a restaurant and items that you order and that you do well with, you will know where to go back and try again.

Moderator: You have some wonderful recipes in the book: The 20 Recipes You Cannot Live Without. On what basis were these recipes chosen?

Elaine Magee: We tried to give you a potpourri of recipes to get you started, so you'll find a handful of recipes that are low-fat versions of high-fat favorites and soluble fiber sources and recipes, and there are also a handful of recipes for when you are having particular difficulties. Lemon rice is a good one for when you are having more pronounced symptoms.

Moderator: One of the things you recommend is boosting fiber intake. Tell us about your raisin bran muffins recipe.

Elaine Magee:  Mmmm! Raisin bran, as a cereal, for me is very comfortable. I put together a raisin bran-muffin recipe. They are addicting. Make a batch and freeze them! How easy can that be! In this recipe, we use canola oil, and maple syrup becomes a fat substitute. Buttermilk, whole wheat flour, some white flour and some raisin bran cereal. It's a winner.

Moderator: For a delicious and easy meal, I liked your recipes for lemon rice and salmon in wine sauce. Both cooked well in the microwave.

Elaine Magee: This lemon rice recipe uses basmati rice, chicken broth, lemon juice and green peas, if tolerated. But it basically cooks in the microwave for about 15 minutes. Then you sprinkle the peas over the rice and cook another five minutes. Rice is easily tolerated and is easy on the intestines. It tends to be one of the first foods people eat after an intestinal sickness. Another well-tolerated food is yogurt, by the way, as long as you don't have lactose intolerance, and so is the canned fruit we talked about before.

Moderator: The rice would be well paired with the salmon recipe. I love this recipe. Salmon is just one of those super foods because it's one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids (one of the good fats). But to make this recipe, you throw a few things together in the microwave and in the end, you have your salmon with a created wine sauce. All of these recipes that we have been discussing are in Elaine's book, along with several other tasty ideas.

Elaine Magee: It helps people just knowing what they have. Sixty percent of people never go to a doctor. They learn to manage it on their own, although I don't recommend that. The good news is it doesn't cause colon cancer. It doesn't kill you, it is just uncomfortable at times. Information is power. By reading the book, you'll understand what normal intestines and IBS intestines are like and what you can do about it.

nancybeach_webmd: You suggest limiting caffeine. I take a pain medication that includes 130 mg/day, and I seem to tolerate it pretty well. Any objections to that limit?

Elaine Magee: The food steps are there to help all the different people with different types of IBS triggers. So you'll find that certain food steps in the book will help you more than others. For you, it sounds like that particular amount of caffeine is being tolerated, but to another person, it might spell trouble. So the food steps are there to cover the bases. You will be the detective discovering which ones help you the most.

Moderator: Speaking of detective, how can you detect what foods in the market really are low fat, high fiber, etc?

Elaine Magee: There's a whole supermarket chapter in the book. Hopefully, I read the labels for you so you won't have to as much. Basically, what I tell you is to look at the nutrition information label. That is where you'll find the number of grams of fat and the true amount of grams of fiber per serving.

Moderator: We are almost out of time. Before we say goodbye, Elaine, do you have any closing comments?

Elaine Magee:  In all my books and my articles, I represent someone who believes food should be enjoyed. I try to do that in everything that I do. I don't want you to feel deprived or punished. I keep that in mind in everything that I do. Trust me, I understand, and you too can become a lot more comfortable again. If you like to cook the least bit, check out The Recipe Doctor cookbook! I try to cut corners everywhere I can. If you're a small-time cook, I think you'll like it even more.

Moderator: Unfortunately, we are out of time. Thank you very much for joining us today Elaine and thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. For more information, please read Elaine Magee's book: Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and her new book The Flax Cookbook. And please be sure to visit our WebMD Weight Loss Clinic message boards.

Moderator: Thank you everyone for joining us today. Be well and goodbye.

Elaine Magee: Thank you.

nancybeach_webmd: Thank you very much for your participation!

Originally published December 14, 2000.

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