My FIASS Plan – Can You Mash It?

The first question everyone usually asks is ‘what can’t I eat’? As this is a negative statement in itself, I thought I would come up with a way to describe my plan for what you CAN eat with IBS.

I believe that the secret to stable gut-health for an IBS sufferer (for all three types of IBS) is to re-educate yourself to the TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIBRE. INSOLUBLE FIBRE – will give your gut nightmares. SOLUBLE FIBRE – will help to stabilise gut movement.

I tried to think about an easy way to try to describe what I wanted to say, so I came up with the FIASS Plan which stands for:

Fibre: Insoluble Aware / Soluble Safe

I also thought about: FISA – Fibre: Insoluble Soluble Aware; FIASA – Fibre: Insoluble And Soluble Aware; FICASA – Fibre: Insoluble Caution And Soluble Aware. However FIASS made me laugh as it has ‘ASS’ in it or that it could be read like F1-ASS (like Formula One – Ass) which is very fitting for IBS sufferers – I may change this at a later date lol!

So whats soluble fibre you ask – well basically its a substances ability to absorb water. I’ll go into scientific specifics in more detail elsewhere but for now my simple way to know if a food is soluble or insoluble is its ‘mashabilty’ – can you mash it?

Eg 1: A Banana: if you peeled a banana – Can You Mash It? Yes its insides are easy to mash, so its Soluble Safe (not the skin mind you).

Eg 2: A Potato: if you peeled & boiled a potato – Can You Mash It? Yes its insides are easy to mash. The skin is harder to mash even when cooked so its Insoluble and should be eaten as a caution food.

Eg 3: A Carrot, Turnip, Sweet Potato & Other Root Veg: if you peeled & boiled root veg – Can You Mash Them? Yes they’re insides are easy to mash. The skins are harder to mash when cooked so are more Insoluble and should be eaten as a caution food. They are hard to mash if raw so again this is treated as Insoluble and eaten with caution.

Eg 4: Leafy Greens like Lettuce, Cabbage, Kale: raw or cooked leafy veg – Can You Mash Them? No they’re pretty hard to mash and are therefore Insoluble and should be eaten as a caution food. For IBS suffers this food type is probably one of our most difficult foods to digest and needs to be added into our meals in small limited portion sizes.

Eg 5: Tomatoes: raw tomato – Can You Mash Them? The ‘flesh’ of a tomato is quite easy to mash but the skin and seeds are not mashable – so the flesh is Soluble and the skin and seeds are Insoluble. This is the same when a tomato is cooked. A tomato will be easier to an IBS tum to digest if the skin and seeds are removed and the flash is cooked.

Eg 6: Beans & Pulses: when cooked – Can You Mash Them? Yes the insides of most beans and pulses are easy to mash when cooked but the outside skin / hull / husk is pretty hard to mash and are therefore Insoluble and should be eaten as a caution food. For IBS suffers this food type produces a lot of ‘gas’ is probably one of our most difficult foods to digest and needs to be added into our meals in small limited portion sizes.

Eg 7: Stone & Citrus Fruits – like peaches, plums, apples, oranges: when eaten raw – Can You Mash Them? No most of these fruits are quite hard to mash, the flesh is often ‘stringy’ or ‘gritty’ and the outside skin is difficult to mash and are therefore Insoluble and should be eaten as a caution food. Cooking most fruits with the skin removed and de-seeded where possible will soften them and make them easier to mash and therefore they will become more Soluble and therefore easier to digest.

So its quite a lot to take in. Cooking our food in different ways will change the ‘mashability’ of what we eat and this will help to make certain foods more digestible for the IBS gut. Likewise how many times a week we eat our ‘caution’ foods and the portion size of these, will allow us to add in things like fruits and leafy greens without over-burdening the gut track. I will try to explain all this further in the Food section