You’ve been diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) with IBS, IBD, SIBO, or some other digestive disease acronym. I’m sure you’d do almost anything to make it better. I get it. The gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, and/or constipation can be unbearable and downright debilitating. For a lot of people out there, the starting point is usually cutting out foods…a lot of foods.
It really hit home when I spoke with a new client the other day. She had been trying to work through her SIBO and food intolerances on her own and all she kept saying was “it’s really freaking hard” or “it’s really overwhelming”. She had cut out all grains for nearly two years and her veggie and fruit choices were pretty slim pickings. She was just about existing on chicken and eggs. That is NO. WAY. TO. LIVE.
We know cutting out a ton of food groups isn’t healthy long term. But we also know dietary changes can be a big help when it comes to your digestive issues. Instead of focusing on all the foods you “shouldn’t” eat, focus on the foods you should. A few little tweaks to your routine can make all the difference. For my clients who want to take a food-first approach, these are generally a few of the foods I make sure they include.
- Low Fodmap Foods: The best place to begin is by eating easy-to-digest foods that are low in fermentable carbohydrates, better known as FODMAPs. FODMAPs are carbohydrates that can be harder to digest. They stay in our bodies for a longer period of time and draw too much or too little water into the gut. FODMAPs can also be fermented by the bacteria in your gut, causing uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Some of my favorite low FODMAP carbohydrates include zucchini, green beans, blueberries, grapefruit, quinoa, oats, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. While it can provide a lot of relief for many, it shouldn’t be followed long term.
- Cooked-Peeled-Seeded Veggies and Fruits: One reason you may not tolerate otherwise “healthy” foods, is you’re eating too many of them raw. Uncooked vegetables require more work from your digestive system in order to break them down. By cooking, roasting, or steaming your fruits and vegetables, you’ll help jumpstart the digestion process. To take it a step further, you may also want to consider peeling them and/or removing seeds. This removes some of the insoluble fibers, which are harder to digest. If you can’t skip the raw vegetables, be sure to use a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme, like Utilyze.
- Bone Broth: To state the obvious, it’s a super easy food to digest. But beyond that, bone broth is loaded with gelatin and amino acids (glutamine) that can help repair the lining of your gut. That gelatin component can also make your bowel movements easier to pass!
- Aloe: It’s believed that aloe vera helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Just a couple ounces of aloe gel or juice can decrease irritation in the stomach and intestines. Used regularly, it may even restore the mucosal lining in your gut. Some studies suggest it can also feed the good bacteria and improve digestion.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are one of the select, low fodmap nuts/seeds! Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3s, which are essential for gut health. Chia seeds contain soluble fiber which binds with lots of water to make bowel movements more comfortable and easy to pass.
For those who have been struggling with digestive issues like IBS, IBD, or SIBO, a food-first approach is a great place to start. Making simple changes when it comes to food can make a significant difference. But when it comes to gut health, there isn’t a silver bullet that works for everyone. If you’ve tried a food-first approach, but are not getting better, a Nutrition Dynamic health coach can help. We work with clients every day to support their overall health, relieve their digestive issues, and heal their body. Sound like we could be a good fit? Book a FREE discovery call here.