IBS can take away a lot of joy and fun from life… if you choose to let it. What do I mean? You can’t control the fact that you have IBS. Yes, it stinks and it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s something you get to live with. and you CAN control what you do with that. You can fall into a depression, filled with frustration and fear of food, or you can take action to create joy in your life.
You may be rolling your eyes and thinking “but you don’t understand.” I do understand. I have had IBS since I was a kid. I know what it’s like to fear public restrooms and first dates. I know how it feels to be anxious about hanging out with friends because you never know what food or drink options you will have. I know how it feels to call in sick to work because the pain in your gut is unbearable. But guess what? I have an incredible life and I find ways to still enjoy my life and food!
One way I enjoy food is by gardening. I don’t have a big yard with space for a full garden, but I do have a decent planter box I made my husband build for me (google it, you can do it too!). Before that, I had a few pots I used for different plants. Whatever space you have available, this is something you can do!
I do recognize that I am blessed to live in Tennessee, where we actually have four seasons and have plenty of sunlight each day to make gardening a bit easier. If you’re unsure what your climate is like, check out the Farmer’s Almanac or a local garden center. Your local farmer’s market or library may also offer classes you could take on starting seeds and gardening tips. For seeds, check out your local garden center, a farm, or even your local library for seed sharing programs! If you’re newer to gardening, it may be easier to buy plants that have already sprouted. You can find these at garden centers and farms (that sell produce and plants directly).
I am no gardening expert, so if you want to learn more about this, check out books from the library and connect with locals in your area who are already doing a great job. You may even find a community garden to be a part of!
If you’re ready to get dirty and dive in, here are some low FODMAP veggies and herbs to grow this spring!
1. Spring Onions
How often do you buy spring onions for their low FODMAP stems (not the bulbs!), but they quickly go bad in your refrigerator? Grow them, instead, so you can pick exactly what you need for each meal. The freshness will be so satisfying!
You don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy crisp lettuce. This would be a great option for salads, as well as grain free wraps!
Spinach is packed with nutrients and can easily be added to any meal, from smoothies to pasta! Grow it yourself and avoid throwing out wilted leaves.
This green is more hearty and is a great base for salads or macro-bowls. The fiber is these leaves is great for the gut!
5. Collard Greens
Another green to add to your plate. Collard greens have a unique flavor that can create the perfect side dish to a meal.
Who else loves Taco Tuesday? Cilantro is a must-have herb for your spanish-inspired dishes, as well as any salad, dressing, or sauce!
On the flipside, basil is your must-have for Italian-inspired dishes. If you haven’t enjoyed fresh basil on your pizza or pasta, grab some seeds and prepare yourself for a treat.
Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs. You can throw it in a homemade pasta sauce, a soup, or use it top your favorite mediterranean dish! It’s easy to grow and will literally last all year (mine seems to never weaken!)
If you have the space, grow a variety of carrots. These low FODMAP root veggies are packed with nutrients and add a sweet flavor to dishes like pasta, soup, tacos, and more! You can also pick them for a fresh snack!
Broccoli can be a bit controversial in the low FODMAP world, but most with IBS can tolerate the broccoli florets. Grow it yourself to enjoy maximum flavor in this fiber-rich, leafy green veggie. To improve digestion, cook it!
Turnips are one of my favorite veggies to roast or mix in mashed potatoes to add a unique pop of flavor.
These bitter red beauties are so much fun to incorporate in your dishes. They can turn a dish like scrambled eggs into an interesting new creation. They can also add that perfect pop of color for Instagram (you know you think about it).
While these all may not be feasible for you due to your local climate or available space, take a minute to think about what you CAN try and go for it! If you have a green thumb and would like to share some of your knowledge, comment below. If you try this out and want to share your journey with me, post on Instagram and tag me @ibs.nutrition.