Valentine’s victory

If your lover, spouse or significant other is suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that food can be a sensitive issue. As with many life-long illnesses, diet and lifestyle play a huge part in the long-term management of symptoms and flare ups.

Valentine’s Day, the most romantic of holidays, is best celebrated over a great meal. Preparing a romantic dinner for your partner is a wonderful gesture, but if they suffer from IBD you should be careful to plan a tummy-friendly menu. Here’s a few tips to make your Valentine’s Day extra special.

The menu

Given that every IBD sufferer is different, foods that trigger symptoms can vary greatly between individuals. Your best bet is to find out in advance what foods your special someone avoids, or take note of what they enjoy when dining out and whip up a similar dish.

There are some great websites featuring easy, tasty recipes catering to all sorts of food sensitivities, including IBD. You just need to know what to look for. A good starting point is to ask your partner what their trigger foods are.

Dairy is a known common trigger food for people with gastro issues, so consider skipping the rich dessert in favour of some fresh berries. And be sure to offer some non-acidic alternatives to soft drinks and alcohol, such as a refreshing ice-tea or a glass of chilled water.

The scene

Turn your home into a Valentine’s Day haven with these simple tips:

  • First of all, engage the services of a child-sitter or relative if you have kids. This is time to indulge in your grown-up relationship and not be distracted by a noisy DVD running in the background.
  • Candles are a must-have romantic dinner accessory because…well everybody looks great by candlelight! Candles also act as a visual stimulus to signal the switch from day to night, work to play, and stress to relaxation. See where we’re going with this? Trust us – go with the candles.
  • Flowers make any table look special. They don’t have to be big, expensive or fancy. A blossom or two from the garden is enough to add colour and texture to your table setting.
  • Use your good plates and glasses. You know, the ones you’ve been saving for a special occasion? A dinner with the one you love is a special occasion.

The music

Music is an essential mood definer, but we all have different tastes. Classic jazz can be a good neutral option. Maybe pick a couple of your date’s favourite tracks and some they might not know and hit shuffle.

Eating out

If you’re stuck on menu options or pressed for time, a good alternative is to dine out. Empower your partner and help alleviate some of the dining-out stress experienced by many IBD sufferers by suggesting they choose the restaurant.

If your partner has recently experienced serious issues with their condition, you might like to consider some other non-food focused Valentine’s ideas instead.

These could be as simple as a romantic stroll along the beach or as elaborate as a weekend away. Whatever you do, it will mean the world to your partner if you demonstrate that you are understanding and supportive of their health issues.