Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS. It runs in my family, and it often leaves us feeling kind of poopy.
Sorry. Couldn’t help it…
Honestly, I’m not sure that I actually have full-blown IBS. I don’t have a real diagnosis (it’s often diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50, but symptoms can start in childhood) but I can tell you for sure that a temperamental tummy has been a problem for me for years. I kind of just assume that since several close members of my family have IBS, and I have some symptoms, I should follow the best recommendations to lessen my discomfort, too.
See, the thing about IBS is that many people *might* have it, but never seek medical help. As many as 20% of US adults have symptoms! So here’s my take on it: if that many people are suffering and there is no actual cure, we all need to be finding out what helps the most and making it a habit. For me, that means two things:
An IBS-Friendly Diet
Dietary restrictions are no fun, but they don’t mean the end of delicious food. The trick is knowing which foods and ingredients trigger symptoms and eliminate them without eliminating everything you love. (Good food = quality of life, after all.)
We all know that probiotics are those live things found in yogurt, but there’s so much more to them than that. Probiotics are good bacteria or microorganisms that can mean the difference between a healthy G.I. tract and an unhealthy one.
While many people are familiar with probiotics in general, what many might not know is which specific strain of organism should be used for a specific condition, or that it’s suggested that adults take at least one billion cells (CFUs) daily.
Over the past several years, my family’s probiotic intake has increased dramatically. We like to make our own yogurt, sauerkraut is on the to-do for spring, and kombucha is an everyday favorite. In fact, my mother suffered from IBS for decades, but is about 99% symptom-free after adding 4oz of kombucha per day to her diet! Between her symptoms and mine, I’m here to tell you that probiotics are amazing, life-changing little bacteria that are way more potent than their size would have you believe!
Meet VSL#3 – a different kind of probiotic
So if you or a loved one has IBS or IBS symptoms and might be considering dietary changes and the addition of probiotics, you need to meet VSL#3. It’s a high potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS (and ulcerative colitis.)
Not just any old bacteria, VSL#3 is a proprietary formulation of a mix of 8 strains of live lactic acid bacteria – one of the few probiotics with this many strains. It’s over 10 times more potent than the average probiotic.
There’s even a VSL#3 Junior, clinically proven to improve abdominal discomfort and bloating in children ages 2–12.
And if you noticed above, I called this a “medical food.” VSL#3 is actually a food, not a supplement, which definitely fits into our family’s mission of getting as many things from natural food sources as possible, and relying on help only when needed. To me, VSL#3 seems like the perfect solution for those who are trying to get into an IBS-friendly diet groove while keeping symptoms to a minimum.
VSL#3 comes in several formulations:
- VSL#3 Double Strength (900 billion live bacteria, prescription only)
- VSL#3 Packets, lemon or unflavored (450 billion bacteria)
- VSL#3 Junior (225 billion bacteria)
- VSL#3 Capsules (112.5 billion bacteria)
But this company doesn’t just want to sell you an alternative to a healthy diet. They want to help you achieve a health-focused IBS-friendly diet that will work hand-in-hand with their product. To do that, they’ve developed a collection called “VSL#3 Cooking Up IBS-Friendly Recipes” filled with IBS-friendly recipes that will help you make healthier choices while enjoying the foods you love. Chocolate Macaroons, Gluten-free Jalapeno Puffs, Cornflake Chicken Tenders…there’s no shortage of delicious options that everyone in the family will love (even the kiddos!), and they won’t flare up IBS or UC symptoms.
We received the recipe collection to look through, and the first thing I made was the GreenSleeves Smoothie. The idea of a more savory veggie smoothie was right up my alley since I’m trying to cut back on sugar, and the tomato/parsley/lime blend was the perfect wake-me-up. (Plus, I always choose drinks over food in the morning.) Next up: definitely the horchata! (I LOVE me some horchata.)
I can’t wait to see what happens when I have these for breakfast instead of just coffee for a week or two. I have a feeling my tummy is going to love me!
So, how do you get your hands on the recipes?
Well, you can find them online on the company’s recipe page, or you can enter to WIN a leather recipe card book filled with VSL#3 recipes, a copy of Flavor without FODMAPS Cookbook: love the Food that Loves You Back by Patsy Catsos, RD, a $50 pharmacy gift certificate AND a cookware set from Sur la Table worth $300! This is one you don’t want to miss, so click over to the entry form here! Ends 11/20.