What to Eat When you Have SIBO or IBS

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Healing from SIBO requires a three-pronged approach:

  1. Reduce the amount of bacteria in the gut through herbal or very specific pharmaceutical antibiotics
  2. Maintain the reduced level of unwanted bacteria through diet
  3. Support the gut through pro-kinetics and specific probiotics

Today I’m going to focus on #2 because this is the area of most confusion and, frankly, the most fun. The diets thought to best support the gut during this healing process is are the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the low-FODMAP diet, or some combination of the three. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest. When you have SIBO it’s important to “keep things moving” because the longer food sits in your intestines, the more likely it is that bacteria will grow. I won’t get into the specifics of each diet here, but all three are similar and it could be argued that each is a variation of the others. Will all the diets, grains, high-carbohydrate vegetables, most legumes and most sweeteners are removed, as well as a host of other odds and ends. You can find the food list for each diet at the links below.

OK, enough of all that. I did say the diet is the fun part, and so far it probably sounds pretty awful, right? Well, never fear. All it takes is a little planning and the willingness to try some new recipes and you’re good to go. The most important thing to do in making sure that you follow the diet strictly is to always have something on hand that you can eat. You don’t want to find yourself suddenly starving with nothing “legal” available. So, always always always carry food with you. Here are some examples of things I carry with me when I leave the house:

  • Veggie sticks – carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc
  • Homemade beef jerky – experiment with various seasonings and marinades
  • Muffins – made with almond flour and/or coconut flour
  • Fruit – blueberries, strawberries, grapes, etc
  • Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc
  • Seeds – pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds

Meals are mostly going to be meat and veggies. Here are some of my favorite SIBO-healing meals:

Breakfast

  • Leftover veggies in a scramble with grated cheese
  • Carrots, broccoli and greens with bulk pork sausage
  • Muffins with almond butter
  • Squash pancakes

Dinner (lunch is usually leftovers)

  • Steak, roasted veggie medley, braised greens
  • Herbed turkey burgers (no bun) topped with bacon and a slice of cheese, steamed broccoli with butter and slivered almonds
  • Ground beef and tomato stuffed peppers, lentils and bacon
  • Stew of Italian sausage, lentils, kale and butternut squash
  • Roasted chicken with acorn squash and beet-topped salad
  • Chicken thighs marinated in orange juice and coconut aminos, collards with bacon, honey’d carrots

Dessert

  • Strawberry or blueberry muffins
  • Banana with almond butter
  • Melon slices
  • Handful of grapes or berries

So, there you have it. Delicious, right? If you would like help coming up with more meal ideas, want to know how to make all this a reality, or just aren’t sure where to start, please feel free to contact me.

Questions or comments? Please click here!

What is SIBO?

gut-bacteriaThere’s a lot of talk these days about the gut microbiome and ‘good bugs’ and ‘bad bugs’ kind of duking it out over who gets to rule your gut. While I agree that a healthy gut is key to avoiding many major diseases, I tend to think the good vs bad bacteria argument is over-simplified. I would argue that a very small percentage of gut bacteria is inherently bad for us. Most illness or inflammation in the gut comes from a lack of balance of these bacteria. One problem that results from this lack of balance is SIBO.

SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is a result of bacteria that is beneficial and needed in the colon migrating or overflowing into the small intestine. Symptoms are similar to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and my guess is that a lot of people with an IBS diagnosis really has SIBO. IBS is more of a list of symptoms, while SIBO is getting at the ‘why’ of the symptoms. Some of the symptoms associated with SIBO include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Cramping
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Environmental allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Itching and rashes

SIBO is diagnosed with a breath test in which you drink a fructose solution that gets the bugs in your gut actively feeding then breath into a tube every 20 minutes for 3 hours. Your breath is then tested for gases that area expelled by the bacteria. You’re basically flowing a billion little farts (out your mouth) into the tube. If what results has a high enough concentration of methane and/or hydrogen, you have SIBO.

Here we go!…And here we go again

sick-figureWelcome to my first blog post!

Here you will find a variety of information on dietary options, reviews of books on topics related to natural health, trails to explore in the Pacific Northwest, and a variety of potentially irrational musings. But, in the next few months, if you choose to follow this blog you will likely hear an awful lot about SIBO. As I was just recently diagnosed with SIBO…again, that is what is mostly going to be on my mind and the treatment thereof will be much of what occupies my time and efforts. If you are unfamiliar with SIBO (or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), fear not – much more to come on that in the coming weeks. In the meantime, just know that if you are someone who has:

  • digestive issues
  • fatigue
  • restless sleep
  • unwanted weight gain or loss
  • general interest in seeking optimum health

…then I am here for you!

If you have specific inquiries please feel free to ask in the comments below, or if you would like for more private communication (I know these things can sometimes be embarrassing), feel free to contact me here.