What are you irritable about this morning?

It might be the fact you have too much work every day. Maybe not enough time to be with your family as you juggle work responsibilities with keeping up with your children and those daily household chores. Or, it just might be your intestine. As a close relative of ours mentioned the other day, “I have irritable bowel syndrome – IBS – so besides my usual stressful life, I need to deal with a “nagging” intestine every day.”

You might have seen television ads regarding irritable bowel syndrome – IBS – and wonder why we’re talking about it this month. More than 37 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, a condition that affects the movement of food through the intestines.

IBS is not a disease but instead a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, where symptoms come and go, without signs of damage to the GI tract. Sometimes clients have reported uncomfortable symptoms, such as abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, constipation or both.

It’s important to keep a diary and track what you eat throughout the day, the types of symptoms that occur and their frequency. Certain foods or drinks might make symptoms worse, such as high fat foods, some milk products, drinking with alcohol or caffeine or foods that produce gas – such as beans or cabbage.

So, what does produce have to do with a reduction of these symptoms? Yesterday, one of our clients mentioned to us, “You know, each time I buy your weekly bag of fresh produce, I think of my intestine – and how I’m doing it a great favor.”

A high fiber diet may reduce the constipation caused by IBS. Think of including whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits and vegetables. The American Dietetic Association recommends that adults consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.

Eat more organically grown fresh produce! We produce more than 2,000 acres of certified organic baby lettuces and greens as well as a few hundred acres of conventionally produced cabbage and red potatoes.

If you don’t feel like munching on raw vegetables, try a stir-fry with different protein sources such as tofu, grilled chicken, baked salmon strips. On cooler days, start your lunch with a homemade vegetable soup, choosing color and variety – use fresh herbs for a tasty broth and add slices of carrots, celery, onions and dark, leafy greens. If the heat is getting to you, toss some raw spinach leaves, sliced tomatoes and slivered, toasted almonds, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.