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The Short Version: Sometimes, butterflies in the stomach are a great thing. But when gastrointestinal issues — not an exciting date — cause those butterflies, they can be a lot less fun. Singles and couples who battle IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, SIBO, and celiac disease know how challenging it can be to enjoy life. Epicured is a health-conscious company that uses natural foods to help those people live better lives. In addition to providing ready-made food delivered to their door, the platform also offers expert advice and dating tips for those with sensitive stomachs.
Feeling butterflies in your stomach when you’re getting ready for a date can be exciting. But when those butterflies are due to a chronic gastrointestinal issue, singles can benefit from Epicured.
Epicured is a company that delivers healthy, ready-made meals to those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, Colitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and celiac disease. The company also works with licensed and certified health experts to develop resources that can help clients feel better and live their best lives.
“With nearly one-third of the population affected by IBS, celiac, and other chronic digestive disorders, getting through a day without symptoms is on the top of many people’s minds,” according to the Epicured team.
And when a big date night comes up, it can be a stressful situation. It’s hard to explain to someone early on in a relationship that a stomach ache isn’t an excuse but a serious condition that can sometimes be debilitating. The secret to a stress-free date night is to prepare for the evening in a way that goes beyond dressing sharply and coming up with fun things to discuss.
Erin Judge, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in working with women with IBS, recommends that daters communicate with their partners about what’s going on underneath the surface.
“If you want to build a strong relationship with a partner, it’s important to share that part of your life with them, and let them know how they can best support you,” Erin said. “This can also prevent a lot of confusion or miscommunication if you aren’t able to do certain activities or eat certain types of food, or if you have to cancel plans last minute.”
Epicured offers a delicious solution for singles and couples looking for gut-friendly meals at home.
When someone signs up for Epicured, they can filter food options in many ways. They can pick foods that are GERD-friendly (meaning they are low acid with no citrus or tomato) or are vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian. Those can help sensitive systems digest the food more efficiently.
People with allergies also won’t have to worry, as everything from dairy to peanuts to soy is labeled correctly in all meal options. People can choose from popular dishes, including Sea Bass with French Polynesian Pineapple Green Sauce, Vegan Chili, and Shrimp Tacos, that are low in FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols).
Erin suggested a few ideas for stress-free and stomach-approved date nights, saying, “Order low-FODMAP and gluten-free meals from Epicured for takeout while watching a new movie or playing board games. Or try cooking a new recipe together to learn more kitchen skills and how to use ingredients that are more gut-friendly.”
It’s important to have a refrigerator stocked with the right kinds of food for the hours leading up to a big date. Don’t make the mistake of grabbing a trigger food in the hours before a date. Instead, eat a lighter lunch and stick to your tried-and-true safe foods with no new ingredients.
“Grilled meats with sauces on the side or fish with salt, pepper, and lemon juice can be safe options for protein,” Erin said. For sides, steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, and simple grains without a lot of added spices can all be safe options for sides.”
Another way to ensure a successful date that doesn’t tie your stomach in knots is to plan a dinner at home. Many singles save a special Epicured meal delivered so they can cook with that special someone special. Michelin-star chefs prepare each meal, so there’s no worry about it not turning out perfectly.
“Stress can trigger symptoms, so make it easy and eat in,” according to Epicured’s experts. “Our cooking is handled by the pros, so you can be the sous chef. Simply reheat on the stovetop, garnish with some fresh herbs, drizzle with oil, and set the scene.”
People have a lot to learn when a doctor diagnoses them with a chronic gastrointestinal condition, and they will likely deal with it for the rest of their lives. That’s why Epicured offers so many informative blogs written by experts, including Erin.
Another tip for daters is to hydrate well before going out. Erin said that’s especially important for patients with IBS who suffer from bouts of diarrhea, which can dehydrate the body even further.
Water is key for anyone’s body and brain to function properly, and this is doubly true for IBS patients. Make sure you get enough water before and during your date — that will keep your body energized and your mind alert so you can be your most charming self.
Epicured’s dietitians also recommend daters with sensitive stomachs steer clear of alcohol, no matter how tempting it may be to have a drink to take the edge off. While one drink may be OK, it’s never a good idea to risk it on a big date — especially when so many bars and restaurants now cater to non-drinkers.
Instead of a cocktail, order a mocktail. Alcohol can be a gut irritant, so it is often best to skip the booze.
That’s true for coffee, too, which can often make symptoms worse. Hot herbal tea can be a good option for an extended date if things are going well.
“Another big tip I would give is to be intentional with the language you use with yourself. With a GI condition, it’s tempting to beat your body up for the symptoms you are having or the barriers that are in place due to the condition,” Erin said. “Practicing self-compassion and kindness towards yourself and your body can improve your confidence as you put yourself out there with dating.”
If the date involves heading out to a restaurant for dinner, Erin recommends that singles do their research, so they feel comfortable throughout the evening. Restaurant menus can be full of all sorts of hidden challenges, but daters can look out for their stomachs by planning ahead and looking at the menu beforehand.
“If a restaurant can’t accomodate all of your needs, it can be helpful to start with smaller portions and eat slowly, then have a snack before or after so you are fully satisfied,” Erin said. “The smaller portions can typically decrease some of the dietary triggers enough to keep you feeling good.”
Even better, plan a date that isn’t centered around food to reduce the stress that comes from digestive issues. Erin said there are plenty of fun, creative dates that veer away from restaurants and bars. Consider going to a museum, concert, poetry reading, or a walk around a nearby park.
With a date that’s not focused on food and drinks, people can leave the meals to Epicured, which offers subscription plans for bundled meals or ordering à la carte. Customers can order entrées, bowls and salads, soups, sides, snacks, breakfast items, and beverages.
Customers can choose from more than 100 items on the Epicured menu. All menu items are gluten-free and low in FODMAP to ensure people can enjoy their meals while getting all the nutrients they need.
“Get support. Nutrition for GI conditions is not one-size-fits-all and there are many nuances to it,” Erin said. “If you feel restricted or confused about what to do, get support to personalize your plan and figure out what your body needs.”
Chief Culinary Officer Chef Dani Chavez-Bello said Epicured rotates its menu every month for variety and to add seasonal dishes, so shoppers will never be bored with the food options.
“Knowing that the food we create is helping people to feel better and to love food again is all I’ve ever wanted as a chef,” he wrote on the website. “So much goes into creating new recipes at Epicured. Our team of chefs, doctors, and dietitians makes our food delicious, nourishing, and healing.”
All the ingredients Epicured uses in its ready-made meals are free of hormones and antibiotics, as well as non-GMO. That way, people can easily create a menu that meets the specifications outlined by their doctor or nutritionist. It also makes it simple to home in on triggers.
That means singles can always be at their best when an exciting date is on the menu.
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