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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Just been diagnosed with IBS and really struggling?

Hi, I hope you can help! I have just been diagnosed as wheat and dairy intolerant and I am really struggling to integrate this into my healthy eating plan. Normally I rely so heavily on low fat yogurts, cottage cheese, and other cheeses, and Nimble bread and Ryvita, and cereals like Special K that I can no longer have, Wheat free products are often high in fat and sugar, so am trying to steer clear of them really. Milk is fine, as I have coffee black, and the Oatly milk is actually quite tasty and low in fat too. I ate bread at the weekend and was in excruciating pain all day on Sunday, so I am 100% I have to stick to no wheat for 6 months and then see if I can gradually re-introduce it in small doses, as my doctor has instructed me to. Have you any suggestions for small meals or snacks that I can take to work with me? Do you think it is worth seeing a dietician? Thanks in advance, Katylo

A.

Our expert says...

Hi Katylo,

 

IBS can be very difficult to manage, so I really feel for you having to cope with this as well as trying to lose weight.  But, don’t despair as, over time, I am sure you will find a new diet and way of eating that will help with both situations.

 

A wheat-free diet means avoiding bakery goods, bread, cakes, biscuits, pastry, pasta and couscous.  You also need to guard against ‘hidden’ wheat, which can be in the form of flour included in many packaged foods.  As rye and barley contain chemically similar types of gluten to wheat, it may be beneficial to avoid these grains too whilst following a wheat-free diet.  Oats, however, should not pose a problem. 

 

In place of these try oatcakes, rice cakes and wheat-free pasta and cereals.  These are all acceptable and readily available in the majority of supermarkets.  So for breakfast, for example, I would recommend a wheat-free muesli or porridge and for lunch, something like a rice salad with chicken or fish.  Dinner is generally less of a problem and for snacks, I would look at eating oat or rice cakes with a savoury spread, like houmous, or a natural sugar-free jam if you fancy something sweet.

 

As you have found out, there are a number of substitutes for dairy products.  For alternatives to milk there are soya, rice and oat milks.  All of these are available as unsweetened milks. Dairy-free margarine and plain soya yoghurt are also good substitutes.  Did your Doctor tell you to avoid goat’s milk products? If not, you could try goat’s cheese, which is available as a soft cheese, but also as a hard cheese (it looks like cheddar) which can be useful for grating onto potatoes etc.

 

Take a look at the website www.wheatanddairyfree.com for some more ideas and inspiration.

 

Apart from this, try to eat regularly, avoid large meals, include plenty of dietary fibre by always eating your 5-a-day and drink plenty of water.  Peppermint tea can sometimes calm the gut during an attack and is well worth trying.

 

I hope this helps and wish you well.



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