Finally, FODMAPs, brings a new dimension of diet treatment to the ever-expanding world of IBS/SIBO. It’s been proven in research studies (1, 2, 3) and books on the topics are now available. Suddenly, previously in-the-dark physicians and nutritionists have something to hang their hat on. Oh the joy of avoiding the wad of fart-building foods we know as FODMAPs (fermentable oligo, di, monosaccharides and polyols). Foods that are high FODMAP are those that we used to enjoy in our stir -fries, casseroles and soups. Foods such as broccoli, onion, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, beans, celery and apples are now on the “to shun” list. Read about many more high FODMAP foods here 

Yes, it’s true; you can feel miraculously better by avoiding high FODMAP foods. You can also go to your integrative doc, have a bunch of testing done, have them put you on a further restricted elimination diet and hope for the best. Hope that maybe you won’t spend years and years on this diet, but wait isn’t this diet the apex of nutrition advice and treatment? Are we all better yet?

Remember eating apples and beans? Feeling like that was another chapter of your life and now you should instead eat meat, broth and fat all day to “heal” your gut?

Guess what?  Avoiding high FODMAP foods is not the end of the road for you. You most likely got into trouble with your gut because you have some bad bacteria and possibly a mix of toxicity (eg. heavy metals) coupled with a significant history of antibiotic use. People get sick because they have bad guys and toxicity in their system. Toxicity can be stress, pesticides/herbicides/insecticides, prescription or bad supplement residue, heavy metals, radiation, plastics/styrofoam, other chemicals, etc. If this sounds like maybe detox would be a good idea, does that require a diet of meat, broth and fat? Probably not.

Your body wants to heal, so give it what it needs. A sick gut will need more minerals, electrolytes, clean foods (not crackers, cakes, pies, donuts, and hamburgers), B vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Berries have been demonstrated in-vitro to secrete and antimicrobial substance (4). Bananas are a source of valuable potassium that an irritated gut will also appreciate. Potatoes can feed your good bacteria and are also antiviral (because of their lysine content). Maybe a gut that is hurting will feel better without having to process FODMAPs but in dialing down your diet to a few vegetables, a significant amount of fat/meat and broth, are you engendering a long-term healing strategy?

There is a way to get out of this conundrum and I know, you probably feel like a hot mess with food right now. There are foods you can work into your diet now in a titrated fashion over time that will begin the healing process. No matter where you are, you can begin this process. You can emerge from this. Don’t keep wasting your time with a low FODMAP diet and nothing else. Your whole body is waiting for the lifeline you can throw it. That lifeline is: building a robust immune system, rebuilding your digestion correctly, reducing the quantity of bad guys with targeted but gentle herbals, and detoxing the right way (not a high fat/high meat diet).  Soon enough but yet not soon enough, high meat diets (and keto diets) will run their course.  There will be a return to eating what the planet provides in abundance and what our bodies respond best to.  This is obscured with the pain and discomfort of IBS/SIBO and an urgent need to feel better.  There are pathways to healing the right way learned by those that have traveled that path.

Tammy Russell is an integrative dietitian that has had personal battles with IBS and SIBO.  She has written novel yet successful protocols – which offer comprehensive resources and support. Please visit this page for more information on these programs