Monday, May 6, 2013

What I'm doing right now

A couple people have commented or emailed asking what I'm doing right now, so I thought I'd just go ahead and post about it.

Recently, I've been transitioning from being what they call a "floater" pharmacist to being in one store- my store, the one I've worked at as an intern for 5 years. I'm working under my mentor, and my hours are also getting shifted around, so it's causing some stress. Because of that, I've increased my daily dose of Imodium to a whole tablet at bedtime. Unfortunately, I've gotten pretty stopped up, so I quickly dropped back down to a half tablet at bedtime.

As a pharmacist, my life doesn't allow me to follow any type of diet. A lot of you have mentioned the FODMAP diet, but, honestly, I don't have time to figure that out right now. Along with still trying to get used to my schedule, we're also building a house right now which takes up a ton of my free time. When I work, I work from 8am to 10pm, and it's rare that I get to eat, let alone pee or sit or grab a sip of water. So any type of diet I would try would get screwed up every other day.

On my days off, I'm too exhausted from the day before and thinking about the next day of work to do anything other than pop a freezer meal in the microwave. My diet is pitiful. On my off days, I've been eating a bagel with peanut butter (for protein, so my blood sugar doesn't drop low) for breakfast, a snack for lunch, and a frozen Lean Cuisine meal for dinner. I of course have my safe Lean Cuisine meals- not all of them work for me, so I stick to 2-3 of them and repeat them day after day. On days that I work, I have the same breakfast and try to sneak in a protein bar and Rice Krispie bar (for a quick bit of sugar so I don't pass out) around 7pm when I start to feel faint, but I'm lucky if I get time for that.

This is killing me because I had gotten SO close to 140 pounds, which has been my goal since I got super sick after food poisoning 7 years ago. Now that I'm not able to eat hardly anything every other day, I'm dropping back down. Also, although I always thought that avoiding food would make me feel better when I was sick, I'm feeling worse and worse. I need to find some safe foods that I can take with me to work. Trying to eat while I know I'm going to be stuck at work for 10+ more hours is pretty terrifying.

So the answer to the question about what I'm doing right now, in a nutshell, is failing. It's mostly working- I haven't had a loose stool in a while, but that's mostly due to not eating very much and taking a higher dose of Imodium than I require. I've been bloated almost constantly, though, and it gets pretty painful somewhat often. And, of course, I'm just feeling weak and too skinny again. I've got to figure something out.

Do you guys have any ideas for safe, quick work foods- ones that I don't have to eat with my hands? (Remember, I'm a germaphobe who works in a pharmacy full of sick patients.) I'd love your input.


  1. Hi Rachel,
    I feel for you as I went through similar symptoms for several years. I am finally better but it took some time to try out different strategies. My symptoms are much better now that I do the following:
    - stopped drinking milk and eating soft cheese (a little hard cheese and yogurt is ok)
    - stopped caffeine and also decaf coffee most of the time (replaced with herbal teas)
    - take a probiotics pill everyday
    - stopped eating wheat (that made a big change!) and replace bread with spelt bread and pasta with gluten free pasta (rice pasta, quinoa pasta)
    - eat mostly FODMAPS

    Easy lunches: salad made with sweet potatoes or butternut squash, tuna/chicken, string beans/ or spinach - I can eat almonds which many with IBS can't. So I often eat almond butter mixed with lemon juice for salad dressing. It's delicious.
    Also: shredded raw zuchini with some chicken/fish/hard boiled eggs with almond lemon dressing.
    I avoid processed foods and make food ahead of time in bulk (quinoa/sweet potatoes/ butternut ) and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to a assemble.
    I get great recipes from these 2 wonderful sites: Mynewroots and Deliciouslyella.
    Good luck! Aude

  2. Thanks for the websites, Aude! On top of having IBS, I'm also incredibly picky, but those sites have tons of options.

  3. Hi Rachel!

    This blog is really great and I'm so thankful for all valuable information. I suffer from IBS-D since several years and I'm finally getting back to somewhat a more functional life.

    I also recently read a great e-book that was really inspiring at

    Once again, thank you for a great blog and good luck with everything!


  4. Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing your story with us. IBS is such an uncomfortable condition.

    I wanted to ask you ... have you tried balancing your digestive system naturally with probiotics and with digestive enzymes?

    I've been using both of these supplements and, while they don't cure immediately, the benefits show up within a couple of days. After day 2 I was having regular (and pleasant) bms. After a week I experienced no abdominal pain or heartburn. After a month I was sleeping like a baby and had more energy for the day. And I swear my allergies went away. :)

    I sincerely encourage you to try this out. It's a natural way. Your immune system is based in the gut, so it's important to balance it naturally instead of pump it full of chemicals and toxins that the pharmaceutical companies tell you to trust. Please do give it a try!!

  5. Hey Rachel,
    I've got a really good recipe for you that takes 20mins to make and really healthy and will definitely help your gut :)
    Ok, so put a cup of rice in the rice cooker. If you don't have one, GET ONE! They're awesome.
    Over the stove put some frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen carrots, one celery stick chopped, some baby bok choy and some cashews with two tablespoons of olive oil into a decent size pan/wok. Cook until all veggies are soft. The softer the easier to digest and more gentle on your gut. Also easier if you can get frozen veggies cause then you don't need to chop anything.
    On a separate pan cook some silk tofu with a tiny bit of oil and salt until golden brown.
    Once rice is cooked add to veggie mixture. Then add a little salt, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. (about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil).
    Add cooked tofu to mixture.
    Bon appetite.

    Hope this helps. xx

  6. Hello,

    I only just stumbled across your blog today, but it seems from the comments that you're still actively posting and commenting! Most of the IBS blogs I find are already inactive, and I always feel like I missed out, so that's super exciting!

    Anyway, as far as safe foods are concerned, have you checked out Heather's IBS website? She has a cheat sheet that has helped me ENORMOUSLY with my symptoms. I found her website right before going on a cruise, which I obviously had a lot of anxiety about (what will I eat, what if I get food poisoning, what if I can't find a bathroom, etc...) and it was a GOD SEND! I have learned so much about myself and my symptoms thanks to that site.

    The main website is and the direct link to the cheat sheet is . I would just go directly to the cheat sheet for now, if you're interested in finding a list of safe foods. Generally, safe foods are going to be anything that doesn't have an outer layer of bran (this is why whole wheat and dark leafy greens can so quickly upset the stomach of someone with IBS if they haven't eaten safe foods first). So white rice, potatoes without the skin, white breads, stuff like that. (What helped me on the cruise was to eat a small piece of a white baguette before every meal. I did not have a SINGLE stomach problem until the very last day when I stupidly decided to have frozen yogurt, ice cream, and alcohol all at around the same time...)

  7. Yes, I have seen it! I put it on the back burner because my old kitchen was a pain to cook in, but now that you mention it I'm reminded that my kitchen is cook-friendly now. I'll have to take another look at it.

  8. Hey Rachel!!

    I gotta say your very brave for writing a blog but it's great that your putting it out there so people like yourself can feel less alone. I have suffered for over 10 years with this(I'm 33yrs now) and really have a tough time dating and being open about this disorder except to really close friends and relatives. I'll never stop searching for answers but I do get down sometimes cause there seems to be no cure in sight.

    Just wondering if you have heard of Dr Mark Hymen, he says there are easy steps to take to cure this disorder, I haven't taken these steps myself but am thinking of discussing it with my doctor, Thought you may be interested so I supplied the link below.

    Keep doing what your doing and thank you for such a great blog.

    Take Care