fruit and veg


So just about everything else on the planet that’s not on my Yum Tum List or my Big Bad No No List is to be treated with CAUTION. This can be quite a daunting task but most of these foods should not be eaten on an empty stomach first, need to be eaten in moderation, cooked to make them easier to digest or avoided when your gut condition is totally unstable. You will look at the list and go OMG but these are all the foods that we are told are ‘good’ for you. Yes nutritionally this is true, but for the IBS-gut they can have severe reactions and its about how and when you eat them.


Below is a list of a few additional foods that are classed as ‘soluble’ fibre gut-safe foods by one of America’s leading IBS experts Heather Van Vorous – see Heather’s Soluble Fibre Foods. Most of the foods on this list were not readily available to me twenty years ago when I was starting out on my journey so I haven’t included them within my Yum Tum List list as they haven’t been constantly tum-tested by me. You will need to experiment with these foods for yourself. If unsure, only try when your condition is stable.

Short List of Other Soluble Fibre Foods to Experiment With (see notes for guidance)

soy . quinoa . cornmeal . beets . chestnuts . avocados • mangoes • papayas

Short List with Notes of Other Soluble Fibre Foods to Experiment With 

Soy: – There are many varieties of soy based products now to choose from which gives you a lot more variety if you wish to experiment to it. Soy is something I eat occasionally as my gut is totally happy with wheat based food like white bread and pasta. If I’m doing a dairy-free diet then I would swop in some soy products like the milks and yoghurts. I should point out though that Soy is not recommended as a substitute for dairy for children as it contains a natural plant hormone which is similar to estrogen. Likewise there are many reports of people being food intolerant to Soy in equal measures to that of wheat or dairy due to the fact that it is often a genetically modified product.

Quinoa: – Quinoa is a relatively new food for me over the past 7 years. I first used it when I was living in Australia when my eldest daughter was a toddler. Its labelled as a ‘super food’ being low calorie, low fat and its gluten free. There are a number of varieties but we used the white coloured Quinoa or Quinoa flakes. Its used as a type of porridge for breakfast, or as the ‘carb’ portion of a meal.

Cornmeal: Cornmeal is a coarse flour-like substance ground from dried maize (corn). It is also referred to as corn flour, cornstarch, polenta and maize flour. I have eaten polenta many times before with no adverse reactions –  I have Italian friends who would use polenta as an alternative to rice. However it does come from corn – corn itself (like corn-on-the-cob is a gut irritant) and this is one of my foods to avoid plus I never did very well gut-wise with Cornflakes either. So treat with caution and try it when your gut is stable.

Beets: – For most of my life I really only knew about pickled beetroots – something I wouldn’t recommend if your IBS is chronic. Until I lived in Australia where they roast or bake them and eat them without pickling. Such a fab colour too – but only try if your gut is stable.

Chestnuts: – I have tried chestnuts but it wouldn’t be an ingredient that I have much experience off, so treat with care!

Avocado: I love advocados – it wouldn’t have been something that I would’ve eaten when I was younger but I eat them whenever I can now and had big cravings for them when I was pregnant with my second child! Again experiment when your gut is stable. Avocados do contain some fat but are not considered to be a ‘high fat’ trigger food.

Mangoes: I love Mangoes – again it wouldn’t have been something that I would’ve eaten when I was younger but when we lived in Australia they were readily available and a very tasty fruit! Again experiment when your gut is stable. If I need a fruit juice to drink then I would opt for one with mangoes or papayas in them.

Papayas / Pawpaw: Papaya is not a readily available fruit here in the UK but we would’ve eaten it in Australia and its very tasty fruit! Again experiment when your gut is stable. If I need a fruit juice to drink then I would opt for one with mangoes or papayas in them. Pawpaw Ointment in tubes is something just about every Australian carries around with them in their bags for cuts, burns and bites – Lucas Pawpaw Ointment!


Below is a list of all the foods that are high in Insoluble Fibre. These are the foods that will provide the IBS-gut with the most difficulty in digesting them. Some of them are on my Big No No List as trigger foods and foods that should be avoided especially if your gut is particularly unstable or you have had a relapse – particularly beans and pulses, leafy greens and the entire Onion Family! All these foods will need to be added into your diet in moderation. You shouldn’t east any of these on an empty stomach as some are particularly acidic and in general the IBS-gut can’t handle them – so for example if sitting down to a meal, eat the carb portion of the meal first before eating the Insoluble fibre foods. Living a life of salad and fruit alone is not the IBS-gut friendly way I’m afraid and this can be a very hard fact for people to learn.

Short List of Insoluble Fibre ‘Treat With Caution’ Foods

Cereals, Beans & Pulses: granola • muesli • all seeds • all nuts • popcorn • beans and lentils

Fruit: berries like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries • grapes and raisins • cherries • pineapple • peaches, nectarines, apricots, and pears with skins  • apples • rhubarb • melons • oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes • dates and prunes

Vegetables: greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, mesclun, collards, arugala, watercress • whole peas, snow peas, snap peas, pea pods • green beans • kernel corn • bell peppers • aubergine • celery • cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts • croccoli • cauliflower • tomatoes  • cucumbers • sprouts like alfalfa, sunflower, radish • olives

The Onion Family: onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic

Herbs & Spices: All fresh herbs (remember these are mainly a leafy green and therefore contain Insoluble Fibre so they need to be added to food with caution) • all spices


Below is a list of foods which have a high fat content. Fat is a known to be a severe gut irritant so any processed food that is high in added fat should simple be avoided at all cost. Other foods which naturally contain a higher fat content like ‘whole’ meat and dairy products need to be treated with caution, they shouldn’t be consumed regularly but can still be eaten and tolerated by a stable IBS-gut through moderation and considering limiting portion sizes.

Short List of High Fat ‘Treat With Caution’ Foods

Red Meat: mince beef (lean and good quality), roast beef (that you’ve roasted yourself), steak (that you’ve grilled or baked, not fried), beef burgers or meat balls that you’ve made yourself. All red meat should be limited in the IBS-diet as it is slow to move through the gut tract. For health benefits we should reduce our red meat intake as its hard to edgiest in general but that doesn’t mean it needs to be cut out all together. I can tolerate meat but I would avoid it if my gut is unstable in any way. Eaten once a week for dinner and once a week for lunch is fine.

Pork: pork chops (grilled), ham, bacon. Pork chops is the ‘purer’ meat here and is therefore better than choosing either ham or bacon. Both ham and bacon are ‘cured’ meats and should probably be avoided unless you can cure your own or know that it comes from a reputable organic farm where you can question how it was cured.

Lamb, Sheep, Goat, Deer: these all need to be eaten in moderation but don’t need to be avoided. Lamb especially is particularly fatty and so its fatty ‘tail’ should be removed before eating to lower its fat content. Sheep, goat and deer meat tends to have a much stronger labour than other meats and you will need to experiment with these to see how well they are digested.

Duck & Poultry’s, Dark Meat and Skin: the brown meat of chicken and turkey plus the skin should be avoided because of its high fat content. Likewise duck is a particularly fatty meat with high fat content in its skin so really it should be de-skinned before cooking and the its meat and its skin should be eaten sparingly.

Seafood: Prawns, Lobster, Crayfish, Clams, Muscles, Oysters, Squid, Calamari: Out of this list prawns, lobster and crayfish are the safer options for the IBS-gut and should be tolerated. I’ve treated this list in general as ‘high caution’ simply because this is a selection of foods that when eating out can cause serious food poisoning and this is the last thing an IBS-suffere want to get! I love prawns and crayfish and can tolerate these well and find them quite easy to digest. However the other more ‘slimy’ varieties do not agree with my stomach at all, so treat these with caution and experiment when your gut is stable.

Processed or Cured Meats Should be Avoided: hamburgers, hot dogs, pastrami, salamis, bologna, pepperoni, corned beef, ham, bacon, sausage: Remember that most of this list is processed so not only does it have a high fat content but they contain lots of added preservatives, artificial flavours, colours and E-numbers. You have to consider what every single one of these ingredients will do to your IBS-gut. I have Italian friends who used to bring home-made salami back with them from Italy and provided they didn’t have garlic in them they were always yum, but not something I would eat every day!

Dairy: cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, cream, ice cream, whipped cream: Many people are dairy intolerant so as well as being higher in fat, diary contains lactose, whey and casein, which can cause severe digestion problems in everyone. Dairy can be a big IBS trigger and you will want to experiment with this to see how it affect you. Dairy typically always made me feel sick. I could never drink a glass of milk for example (except when I was pregnant with my second child when I craved milk and drank it by the gloat, interestingly that child at age 1 was dairy allergic!!) but I can take a small amount in tea – although recently I have been swopping this for Almond milk. I can eat most cheese like cheddars, although I find feta, cottage cheese and mozzarella to be lighter on my stomach. Fried or grilled cheese is often a no-no! I would never take any form of dairy if my gut is unstable or I’ve had a relapse!.

Egg: I love eggs and I eat a lot of them – poached and boiled are better or scrambled with a tiny bit of butter. You will have to experiment with them as I know they can be an IBS trigger for some and I would avoid them if my gut was unstable. Eggs have been know to be a methane-fart producer. You can try avoiding the yolks as the whites are typically more tolerant both for eating and baking with – two egg whites will replace one egg in a recipe.

Oils & Fats: all oils, fats, spreads, shortening, margarine, butter: These are all pure fat and so in large quantities can be a IBS trigger. The ‘purer’ varieties are the healthiest like real butter, olive oil, coconut oil over anything that is processed like margarine – I’ll write a separate post about this. Basically you should use these sparingly in cooking and make up your own salad dressings.

Coconut: coconut milk & shredded coconut: Coconut has a high fat content and needs to be used sparingly. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with coconut anyway after an unfortunate food poisoning incident so it tends to make me sick even smelling it!!

Chocolate: milk, dark, white and carob:  Cocoa powder and carob powder are fine and good for baking with. All chocolate is high in fat but the chocolate itself is also a gut stimulant and therefore can be an IBS trigger. Im a chocoholic so this is a big deal for me! Milk and white chocolates are the worst as they obviously contain dairy but they are also full of added sugars which is an additional gut irritant. Stick to dark chocolates like the 80% cocoa ones and only eat a few squares, not the whole bar. Remember chocolate itself has a laxative affect on the body so don’t overdo it and try not to eat it on an empty stomach.

Pastries: croissants, scones, doughnuts, pies: All have a high fat and sugar content, both of which are IBS triggers, and so should be eaten in moderation. Making these items yourself will limit the ingredients and preservatives added to them and will allow you to control the sugar content.

Crisps: potato chips, corn chips and nachos: These are all high in fat as generally they are fried. If you can find baked varieties then this is better. However most crisps of any sort, even the ‘organic hand cooked’ options tend to be loaded with all sorts of flavourings and the more precessed ones have preservatives, E-mumbers and ‘fake’ flavours added. when eating these things you have to consider what every single ingredient on the list is doing to your IBS gut. Opt for the plainer varieties like just sea salt and experiment with the rest. As I have a garlic allergy I’m pretty much limited to sea salt, salt and pepper and salt and vinegar. I love a good crisp but I try to keep it as a treat for the weekend!