YOUR PATH TO A HAPPY GUT
If you are confused by your digestive symptoms and still struggling to put your finger on what is upsetting you, then you should consider working with an IBS Specialist Dietitian, like me!
The low FODMAP diet is a medical diet designed to relieve the symptoms of IBS, but it is not the only show in town. There are many other digestive strategies that may be used in parallel with a dietary intervention.
In my practice as an IBS specialist dietitian, my Happy Gut Program starts with a complete a medical history to make sure that you have been screened for other conditions that are similar to IBS. I will assess whether the a FODMAP diet, a FODMAP gentle diet, or another way of eating is the right fit for you. Then, I will teach you about how your digestive system works and how to eat for good digestion. If needed, we will layer-in several other therapies with the end goal of being symptom free within about 3-4 weeks. That is pretty quick considering you’ve probably suffered for months, years or possibly decades.
There is a lot of (good and bad) IBS advice out there. So, you need to be careful about what you read. There are many questionable sources which may send you in the wrong direction, again and again. Take for example the IgG Food Intolerance test. There is no evidence to support its’ use with IBS, and yet many practitioners still recommend it. This is unfortunate on so many different levels. It will set you back hundreds of dollars and several months in your journey to discover your real triggers.
Research shows that the success of patients with IBS is largely reliant on the support provided by a dietitian with FODMAP experience. In addition, the skill set of the dietitian is paramount to patient success. I am a Monash FODMAP Trained Dietitian who has been specializing in IBS since 2016. I offer nutrition counselling across Canada by Zoom and with my very convenient nutrition app. This means I work exclusively with people with IBS or who experience digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, cramping, discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation and you can have me in your back pocket when you need me.
Here is an overview of what it looks like to work with me.
Relieve Your Symptoms
Most of the people that I work with have a very sensitive digestive system. Before we start talking about FODMAPs, there are a few things that you can do to help your digestive system work better that don’t require a lot of work. I like to call these my “quick wins.”
- Eat till you are no more than 80% full. Consuming a large volume of food and fluid can make bloating worse. Keep in mind that even water can put you over the 80% mark.
- Avoid eating a large amount of fat in one meal. A big bolus of fat may cause cramping and diarrhea. It may also feel like you swallowed a brick.
- Avoid polyols sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol, or mannitol which may be found in chewing gum and over the counter supplements.
- Avoid inulin and chicory root which may be found in a huge (and growing) variety of items including bread, cereal, granola bars, and even probiotics.
- Drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. You don’t have to drown yourself. Guzzling a very large amount of water adds to the volume in your stomach and may also make you feel more bloated and distended.
- Be active doing things that you love. Our bodies are meant to move! Everything works better when we are active.
- Be mindful of how stress and anxiety may exacerbate your symptoms. Do something nice for yourself every day because You are Worth It!
- Use a foot stool or Squatty Potty while sitting on the toilet for a more satisfying and complete experience on the toilet. Head over to Amazon to order one. You’ll thank me later.
If some of these strategies help, great! You are on the right track. These strategies are likely not going to solve ALL of your problems, but they will help fill in some of the pieces of the puzzle.
The next thing we will work on is to reduce your FODMAP load. Your goal is to swap high FODMAPs for low FODMAPs just enough for your symptoms to improve. The degree to which you will need to reduce FODMAPs is different for everyone. Despite what you may read online, it’s not really a “one size fits all” type of diet.
In my Path to a Happy Gut Program, I tailor this phase to be the least restrictive necessary for symptom relief in the shortest amount of time. We’ll work one on one (thanks to Zoom), you can message me through your app anytime you need, and you’ll get all of my best resources. This is what the first 3-4 weeks looks like for most people.
Discover Your Triggers
Now you need to put on your scientist hat. You will systematically test high FODMAP foods one at a time to determine what you digest well and the amount. This is the interesting part as you will finally discover which foods trigger symptoms which is likely what you have been searching for for a very long time!
This phase tends to last about four weeks and looks very different for everyone. I will tailor the foods and the amounts based on your symptoms. It is important that you get this part right as it will determine how you can expand your diet in the long run.
Expand Your Diet and Build a Resilient Microbiome
The pieces of the puzzle come together here. You will develop confidence in your body and the foods you can eat. You may find that you can eat some foods with reckless abandon, while others may need to be limited. Everyone is different and your tolerance for foods can change over time.
There is now cutting-edge research about how to build a resilient microbiome so I will give you the guidance you need to achieve exactly that! Please reach out if you have questions.