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What happens if you eat right but still feel wrong?

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Vegan author and activist Jo Stepaniak asks this question on her blog IBS Vegan and I think it is an important point to consider. Science and common sense back clean eating with as many whole, natural foods as possible. But no diet is a magic bullet. As Jo writes…

There are countless stories of people who have recovered from debilitating illness or disease, went from obese to svelte, or miraculously rose from the brink of death just by moving to a plant-centered diet. I’d wager that almost everyone who becomes vegan expects to feel better, or at least feel good, even if they didn’t have health problems before changing their diets.

Because of the high expectations new vegans have, and because we all want veganism to receive positive press, people who don’t feel good after adopting a plant-based diet are usually given a litany by other vegans of what they are doing wrong or all the approaches they need to try….

But the fact is that some people simply don’t do as well or feel as well on a totally plant-based diet as others, and there are actually some very valid (and scientifically proven) reasons for that, particularly when it comes to people with IBS. That’s because the foundation of a plant-based diet are foods that are high in FODMAPs, which are specific types of carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and trigger or worsen IBS symptoms.

Even a clean plant-based diet, which is generally a good thing, isn’t right for everyone. Friends with IBS or other food issues can vouch for the fact that healthy meals can upset a delicate digestive system.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen and stimulate the digestion, but it’s not a cure-all. The fact is, no one way of eating is right for everyone. Part of our practice is learning to listen to our bodies and respect their needs. If we discover over time that certain foods or eating patterns don’t suit us we should feel free to change, even if it goes against popular ideas about what’s best. I’m not saying swap salads for super-size meals, but rather pay attention to the signals from your body. The right diet is a little different for everyone, so be willing to experiment and find what truly works best for you.


For healthy eating to manage IBS visit Jo’s site: IBS Vegan.

Has a “right” diet felt wrong for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.