SIBO and Digestive Issues
Do you have SIBO or IBS (many IBS cases are actually SIBO) and want to know what you can eat safely? I did too! I have had digestive problems for a while. Over the last few years I had overcome sooooo many health issues, but one thing that still needed work was digestion.
Specifically, I could tell that certain symptoms were related to what I ate. I also struggled with bloating, constipation, indigestion and sometimes nausea. After reading about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) I realized that the symptoms for SIBO were the same ones I had.
I asked my doctor about it and she gave me the breath test for SIBO. It was a test I took at home and mailed to the lab. When I returned to my doctor’s office I was told that I tested positive for SIBO. Actually, she asked me to sit down first because I was almost hanging over her desk trying to read the results. 🙂 My doctor recommended antibiotics-a specific antibiotic that is supposed to be successful for treating SIBO. But I really felt that wasn’t the right thing for me. And I kept reading about SIBO coming back shortly after treatment with antibiotics.
So, I worked in my typical fashion: thought, prayed, thought, researched. Then I repeated all those steps multiple times. Very long story short-I am now in the midst of treating SIBO with an herbal treatment. I am taking a specific high dose garlic to kill off the bad bacteria. I also found that diet wise I feel my best when I am eating a diet that looks like this:
- Healthy protein-eggs, chicken, grass fed beef, ground turkey
- Fat to cook with-coconut oil, palm shortening
- White Jasmine Rice
- Low histamine vegetable-greens, broccoli*, brussel sprouts*, green beans, lettuce or radishes
- Dessert-a little honey and coconut flakes
I really have been feeling very well most of the time. However, my diet is very restricted because I eat low histamine (I explain what histamine related symptoms I had here), and I eat jasmine rice as my main carbohydrate source because it has zero fermentation potential. That means that it digests quickly and doesn’t have too much fermentable fibers hanging around to feed the bad bacteria that have been causing my digestive problems. Many carbs do hang around and feed the bad bacteria. I found the information for the fermentation potential of foods in the book Fast Tract Digestion IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): The Latest Dietary Breakthrough Without Drugs or Antibiotics | Restore Your Healthy Gut by Eliminating SIBO – Foreword by Michael R. Eades, M.D.
I love feeling good, but-
I want to eat more variety!
After I finish killing the bad bacteria my diet won’t have to be as strict as it is now, although to prevent the SIBO from coming back it is recommended to follow one of the following diets-the SCD diet, the GAPS diet, the Low FODMAP diet or the Cedars-Sinai Diet. All of these diets limit what type of carbohydrates can be eaten, because the bad bacteria feeds on certain types of carbohydrates.
My diet is most like the Cedars-Sinai diet. This is how the Cedars-Sinai diet is explained on their site: “The dietary approach for IBS is to eat foods that are easily digested, so that most of the nutrients can be absorbed higher up in the intestine, away from bacteria.” Basically the science is the same as the Fast Tract Digestion book mentioned above. And I have found I have much less heartburn and bloating when I follow the Fast Tract Diet principles.
I will soon be expanding my diet to include different carbohydrates besides white jasmine rice. But I want to make sure that the SIBO is gone forever so I will be following the Cedars-Sinai and fast tract principles. AND, those carbs will also need to be low histamine and low FODMAP.*
After much studying of many food lists I came up with these foods to experiment with:
Sources of Carbs that are Low in Fermentation Potential, Low Histamine, Low FODMAP and Cedars-Sinai approved
- Winter Squash-Acorn, Butternut (1/4 of a cup)
- Russet Potatoes
- Arrowroot Plus-Moderate fermentation potential
- Honey-Alfalfa, Cotton, Clover or Rasperry-2 Tbsp
- Sweet White Rice Flour
- Coconut Milk-not many carbs but good to use in recipes with the above carbs
I also miss cooking with onion and garlic but because they are high in FODMAPs I haven’t been using them. Then I found this recipe that teaches how to make garlic and onion infused oil. So I can have the garlic and onion flavor without the digestion issues.
Have you had digestion issues? What have you found to be the most helpful?
*Broccoli and Brussels sprouts need to be eaten in smaller amounts for some people to avoid eating too many FODMAPS. 1/2 Cup broccoli is low FODMAP and 4 Brussels sprouts is low to medium FODMAP.
Note: The Fast Tract Digestion book is basically a stricter version of the low FODMAP diet, but just to be sure I checked the Low Fodmap food lists as well.
Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. You should consult your health practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements. I am not a doctor or medical professional.
You might also be interested in a simple meal that I eat all the time: