When you have irritable bowel syndrome, socializing can be a nightmare. In this video, I summarize some of the strategies I use for eating out and I include some tips on how to keep alcohol consumption within safe limits.
How to be social with IBS
Today, I want to talk to you about how you can still be a social creature with IBS. I see too many people saying that they have retreated to their homes and that they refuse invitations out for dinner or even just to socialize with their friends and have a drink. This is totally unnecessary even if you have IBS. And I imagine you’re on the low Fodmap diet, so you know what foods you can eat and what you can’t, what your major triggers are. And those are the things you have to avoid. I’ve already made videos before about how to eat out on the low Fodmap diet. But I’ll just quickly summarize the main points of how to do that safely.
If you know where you’re going to go, then look up the restaurant online and check out the menu. And pick out a few things that you think might be safe for you. And then ring up the restaurant and talk to the chef, not the wait staff or the receptionist, to the actual chef. So you probably have to ring later in the afternoon when they start work. And discuss with him or her what your main triggers are. We’re not going to go through the whole low Fodmap diet. We’re going to talk only about the foods that could be hidden like garlic and onion, lactose, and wheat. So talk to them about your major triggers and see what they suggest. And perhaps start the conversation by saying what you’ve seen on the menu that you thought might be suitable. In many cases, they’ll be quite happy to make you up a meal to suit you. So when you arrive at the restaurant, you’ve already decided what you’re eating and everybody else is scrambling around trying to decide what they want, and you’re the one who’s organized.
How about if you want to spontaneously drop into a cafe or a restaurant and you haven’t had time to look up the menu or to ring the chef? That’s when you need the laminated card that you will have heard me talk about before. And on that laminated card, you have no garlic, no onion, no lactose, and no wheat unless you already know that you can tolerate one of those. For me, I can tolerate some wheat and I don’t have a lactose problem. So I only have no garlic, no onion on mine. And then when I get to the restaurant or the cafe, I check the menu, maybe outside or I ask for one at the desk. And I look through it to see if this is going to be an appropriate place to eat or not. And I will walk out if I can’t find something that’s suitable. Once I’ve found a place where there is obviously something that they’re going to be able to work on with me, then I go in and I show them the laminated card and I ask the wait staff to take that to the chef and ask for suggestions. Do not ask the waitress. You’ll have a Chinese whisper situation where by the time she gets back to the chef about it, the message will have been changed. And that’s why we have a card because again, if you tell her orally, the message could change on the way to the chef. So that gets you out and eating quite easily.
Now to drinking – if you’re just going out for drinks with friends, you are going to have to nurse a drink and sip on it. You don’t have to just have water. A glass of dry wine is permitted. If you want to fill the glass up half way with ice first and then put the wine in, then you can have two glasses and that will last you longer. Or you can have a spirit with something added to it that’s not high Fodmap and not carbonated. So it is a little bit more difficult with spirits, but wine is fine. With beer, you can probably get away with one even though it has the carbonation. So again, no reason not to go out. And nobody’s watching how quickly or slowly you’re drinking your drink or at least they shouldn’t be. Not in this day and age with drunk driving, etc.
So, please do not lock yourself up in your home. Do get out there and socialize. But take into account some of these tips that I’ve told you.