Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Diet


Hi Heather - I have some food issues and I'm wondering how long I need to stay on the initial diet.  I'm allergic to legumes and potatoes, which greatly limit my food sources (although I've had some sweet potatoes recently that didn't upset my stomach - usually diarrhea).  I also have reflux, which Ranitidine helps quite bit. Your peppermint pills are like a miracle drug, for cramping, that work almost immediately until the Dicyclomine kicks in (thanks for that).  Ideally I'd not be taking all of these pills but I'm tired of the downtime that results from the serious cramping. If I eat a meal of the soluble  diet, is it possible to have a glass of wine after?  The cramping bothers me the most.  (I'm used to my system being super irregular and, thankfully, it's not so bad for me that it's limited my travel.) Thanks - Sue

Hi Susan - are you talking about the "breaking the cycle" diet? That is just meant to stabilize you, and it's so limited it's best to do that for just the first several days. After that you can expand your diet and stay stable.

There are tons of options for soluble fiber staples for you, don't worry - check here for a great big long list.

Yes, if you are stable, on a full stomach of soluble fiber foods you may well be able to tolerate a glass of wine. I'd wait till you're stable, and go cautiously. Alcohol is a GI irritant, so be careful - check here


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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M.A. 1996
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Eating for IBS Finalist for an IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award 2001

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