10 Must-Have Low FODMAP Pantry Staples

The low FODMAP diet can be tricky and can take a lot of your time in planning and meal preparation. Make things easier for yourself by stocking your pantry with these 10 staples. They’ll make the low FODMAP diet a little more manageable, and will be your lifesaver during busy weeks.

1. Brown Rice

This non-perishable grain should always be in your pantry if you’re following a low FODMAP diet. It is wheat-free, but still loaded with essential nutrients like fiber, B-vitamins, and protein. My favorite is the sprouted brown rice from Thrive Market.

2. Oats

Oats are an incredible fructan-free, fiber-rich breakfast base. If you struggle with your morning poop, this is a great option to get things moving along. But don’t worry, things won’t move TOO quickly. I love the Thrive Market brand, as well as Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. I usually cook mine in almond milk, cinnamon, and pure maple syrup, then top it with some blueberries or strawberries!

3. Wheat Free Pasta

If there’s a world where pasta isn’t allowed, I don’t want to be there. Pasta is great to have on hand because it can be made quickly during those busy weeks. Wheat free pastas, including those made from brown rice, corn, and quinoa, are amazing because they usually contain more protein than wheat pastas! You could add in more protein, like chicken, ground beef, or hemp seeds, but you can also keep it simple and still get the protein you need. Win-win.

4. NOGO (no garlic/onion) Marinara Sauce

You can’t have pasta in the pantry without the perfect sauce to top it with. In the past, it was a struggle to find sauces that didn’t contain garlic and onion. Now, there are brands that are stepping up and giving us delicious options! My faves are Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara, Fody Foods Marinara, and Prego Sensitive Recipe. (click here for a full comparison of them all).

5. NOGO Salsa

Salsa is a must-have in the pantry and fridge because it can add a flavor punch to so many different meals! From tacos to huevos rancheros to shredded chicken to a simple snack, you gotta have a low FODMAP salsa on hand. My favorite is Fody Foods Mild Salsa.

6. Garlic Infused Olive Oil

What smells better than fresh garlic cooking in a pan? Giving this staple ingredient can be devastating, but have no fear. Garlic infused olive oil is your answer to getting that same flavor punch and pleasant aroma, without the gas. My favorite is from a local Nashville company, Galena Garlic. Fody Foods also has a great one!

7. Pure Maple Syrup

Did you add honey to everything before going on the low FODMAP diet? Same! Instead of missing out on that perfect touch of sweetness for oats, teas, baked goods, dressings, and marinades, swap it out for pure maple syrup. I’m not as picky about which brand I choose, but Thrive Market usually has good deals. Thankfully, you can find this at any grocery store you choose!

8. Low FODMAP Bars

If you are always on the go for work or family events, bars are a great way to avoid being either hangry or having to grab something quickly that may cause symptoms. My absolute favorite is the Go Macro Sunflower Butter and Chocolate bar. Fody Foods also has a couple of great options.

9. Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

If you like to bake, be sure to keep a 1-to-1 GF all purpose flour on hand. These aren’t perfect, but they’re better than nothing. My favorite, so far, is from King Arthur. You can find these from Thrive Market, or from your nearest grocery store!

10. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of your best low FODMAP nut butters because you can get 2 Tbsp in a low FODMAP portion. Brand doesn’t matter too much, but I usually go for organic, all-natural PB. Ingredients should only be peanuts, and maybe a little salt. Some grocery stores have the option to grind fresh peanut butter on the spot, so that would be a great option too!

How to Deal with IBS during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful part of the life cycle, but it can be challenging for women dealing with IBS. For all women, pregnancy causes changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that can increase the risk of constipation. Changes include an increase in progesterone levels and decrease in motilin hormone levels that leads to an increase in bowel transit time (ie feces moves slower through the GI tract); an increase in water absorption from the intestines that causes stool to dry out, which will make it harder to pass; and an enlarging uterus throughout pregnancy that may further slow the movement of feces. With both IBS-C and IBS-D, these changes can be extra uncomfortable. Other factors that may contribute to worsening GI symptoms during pregnancy include decreased maternal activity and increased vitamin/mineral supplementation, including calcium and iron.

Does this mean women with IBS should avoid pregnancy?

Absolutely not! IBS should never keep you from having a family. Instead of avoiding it altogether, take these steps to ensure that your IBS is somewhat manageable during pregnancy.

1. Find your food triggers and create an IBS management plan before pregnancy. This may not always be possible due to unexpected pregnancies, but if you know you’d like to have children in the future, then the time is now to get your plan together! If you’re able to find ways to successfully manage your symptoms before pregnancy, you’ll be more likely to manage them well during pregnancy. This is where my IBS Management Program can help!

2. Avoid major trigger foods and focus on dietary fiber in your diet. This is not the time to be overly restrictive (see considerations below), but you can avoid your biggest triggers, while keeping the diet balanced. You should also focus on consuming adequate dietary fiber to help prevent constipation. Sources include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

3. Stay hydrated. Hydration is so important for a healthy pregnancy, as well as for preventing constipation. As you increase dietary fiber, increase water intake. Avoid dehydrating liquids like coffee, soda, and teas. Stick to water and keep your water bottle with you at all times to get the ounces in.

4. Move! Pregnancy is not the time to join CrossFIt or run a marathon (unless that’s what you’re already doing), but it is important prioritize activity each day. Not only will the movement help you relieve any stress of preparing for a baby, but it will also help increase blood flow to the gut to move feces through the body. Check with your doctor before adding in exercise to make sure it’s safe for you during pregnancy.

Special Considerations

There are a few things to note when making a plan to manage IBS during pregnancy.

  • The Low FODMAP diet may not be appropriate. A very restrictive diet is not recommended during pregnancy to ensure you are well-nourished as you create a human. Work with a dietitian to modify this approach to help you identify triggers during pregnancy.

  • Herbal supplements may not be safe during pregnancy. If you are using herbal remedies to help with your IBS symptoms, tell your doctor about them to make sure they are safe for the baby.

  • Digestive enzymes and probiotics are safe to use during pregnancy. Work with your dietitian to find the right ones that could help your symptoms.

  • Gentle laxatives can be used during pregnancy to help with severe symptoms, but should not be used excessively. Talk to your doctor about this if you use laxatives as a remedy for constipation.

As always, there’s never a one-size-fits-all approach for managing IBS. This is even more true for pregnant women with IBS. Working with a dietitian and talking openly to your doctor will help you find joy in this season, instead of being discouraged and in pain. If you’d like to work with me, apply and schedule a consult call today here!

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418980/

Why Marie Kondo is the Best Thing to Happen for the IBS Community

Marie Kondo has taken our generation by storm with the Netflix hit Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. If you haven’t watched it yet, I encourage you to carve out a full day to watch the season and start your tidying journey.

What does this have to do with IBS?

One of the major triggers for IBS symptoms is stress. Whether it comes in the form of anxiety, fear, or busy days, stress can wreak havoc on the digestive system. The message of Marie Kondo’s Konmari Method is to create space in your home for joy, clarity, and peace. She teaches people to do this by touching items to determine what “sparks joy” and what does not. She also teaches how to fold and store items so that every item has a home, and is organized in a way that is pleasant to look at. If you open a drawer full of random items, all mixed together, that can easily cause a moment of stress. If you have an organized drawer with everything placed where you can see it, that creates a very different moment in your day.

I’ve done this myself, and I highly recommend it as part of your IBS management plan. Here are my tips.

Clear Out Space

When you clear out space from items that don’t spark joy, you are opening space to either sit and breathe, or to fill with what does spark joy. What spaces in your home make you feel anxious? Imagine if those spaces began to spark creativity or created a sense of calm. Take your time here to embrace this stage in the process fully.

Organize Items in a Way That Saves Time

Many of my fellow IBS-ers have a busy schedule, whether from work or taking care of kiddos. Organize your home in a way that makes your morning, meal, and evening routines a little more efficient. In your pantry, you can organize items on lazy susans to make them easier to grab immediately. In your bathroom, you can organize your beauty products to save time you would have spent digging around for that one item hidden at the bottom.

Apply These Principles to Other Areas in Life

You can Marie Kondo anything, not just your home. Go through your Instagram feed - are there people you follow that make you feel anxious, angry, or insecure? Let them go. Instead, follow people that bring joy to your life, whether they are professionals you can learn from, super cute dogs that make you smile, or your friends with life updates you want to see. In your job, are there tasks that suck the life out of you? Can you pass them along to someone else? Is there something you would love to do that you can ask for an opportunity on?

I know a show about cleaning your home may not seem useful to live life better with IBS, but if you can alleviate any unnecessary stress in your life, your gut will thank you.

If you would like to up your IBS management game, my IBS Management Program can transform you from insecure to confident in managing symptoms through the low FODMAP diet and lifestyle modifications (like what you’ve read above)! Click the button below to learn more and apply for a free consult call!

5 Mistakes you may be Making on the Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet is a nutritional approach to help those with IBS manage their symptoms. It is designed to help you identify your specific food triggers, and is best done under the supervision of a dietitian to ensure it is done properly and you are still getting all of the nutrients your body needs.

From working through the diet myself and helping others do the same, I have noticed 5 key mistakes that most people are making. These mistakes can lead to frustration, because you may not see relief from symptoms.

  1. Not following a strict elimination of high FODMAP foods. Many people try the elimination phase of the diet with a focus on only a few foods, usually wheat and dairy. Many times, other top triggers like onion and garlic have not been eliminated, which can lead to symptoms and cause frustration.

  2. Skipping the challenge phase of the diet. The low FODMAP diet must include a challenge, or reintroduction, phase if you want to find your unique food triggers. If you skip this phase, you will most likely burn yourself out from being strict and give up on the diet altogether. The point is never to be super strict with your diet, but it is to help you find which foods cause symptoms and in what portions.

  3. Not reading food labels. Many times people grab gluten free products, or products marketed for gut health, but never read the labels. High FODMAP ingredients are readily found in these types of products, so you could be triggering symptoms without knowing it.

  4. Not measuring moderate and high FODMAP foods. Portion sizes are key when it comes to FODMAP content. Take time to learn which portion sizes of foods may become high, and be intentional about measuring these out to avoid symptoms. Same is true when you are challenging foods back in.

  5. Forgetting about the rest of your lifestyle. Food is not the only part of your life that can be triggering your symptoms. Sleep, stress, water intake, and movement are all key factors that should be addressed to prevent symptoms. If your plan doesn’t include a focus on these, you won’t find long term success.

Stop making these mistakes today by getting help! In my IBS Management Program, I help you avoid these mistakes by guiding you through the entire low FODMAP diet with support and resources. I also teach you how to manage symptoms by modifying the necessary lifestyle behaviors. You’ll leave the program CONFIDENT in your plan to manage IBS long term.

Comparison of 3 Low FODMAP Pasta Sauce Brands

Italian food is my favorite, hands down. We eat some variation of pasta or pizza at least once a week in our home, which can be tricky with a no onion and garlic policy. Thankfully, there are companies out there that have heard our struggles and have developed pasta sauces that are low FODMAP and delicious!

Since I’m committed to being real with you guys, I decided to compare a few different low FODMAP pasta sauces as unbiased as possible. I know cost is usually a concern of many of my followers, so I will start with your cheapest option and progress towards a more expensive option.

Prego Traditional Sensitive Recipe

What I like: affordability, accessibility, and flavor! This sauce is cheaper than other options, currently priced at $2.19 for 23.75 ounces at my local store. It is also found at more stores, versus the options below. I shop at Kroger when my grocery budget is a little tighter and I can always find this! The flavor is also great! I can hardly tell it is an onion- and garlic-free alternative, which is a big bonus.

What I don’t like: the ingredients. The reason for the lower cost is found in the quality of ingredients. Not that they should never be consumed, but they wouldn’t be my first choice. This sauce contains sugar and canola oil (see full ingredient list below).

Ingredients: Tomato Puree (tomato paste and water), diced tomatoes in tomato juice, sugar, canola oil, contains less than 1% of salt, citric acid, and spices.

My recommendation: If your budget is tight or if you can’t find other low FODMAP options in your local store, this is a great sauce to have on hand for simple meals. This would also be a great option if you have kiddos that are picky and would notice a drastic change in sauces for your pastas and lasagna!

Fody Foods Tomato Basil and Marinara Pasta Sauces

*Fody Foods just released a new pasta sauce option, Arrabiata. I have not personally tried this sauce yet, so I will not include it in my comparison.

What I like: the ingredients. Both of these sauces are made of simple ingredients for both options, and void of any high FODMAP ingredients in the Tomato Basil Option. While they are a little more expensive usually, Fody Foods offers discounted bulk options and you can get 15% off your total order with my code ibs.nutrition15 (I do get commission for every order placed with my code). If you take advantage of those options, the cost definitely becomes a pro! For the Marinara option, flavor is also a pro. It takes like your basic, everyday marinara that can be used for pizza and pasta!

What I don’t like: accessibility. These sauces may be available in stores near you, but they can be harder to find than other options. It’s best to order them online, but that means you may have to pay for shipping or order larger orders at a time to get free shipping. For the Tomato Basil option, flavor is also a con, in my opinion. The added basil gives the sauce an odd flavor that I’m not a big fan of. I also don’t love that the Marinara option contains celery, in case it is a major trigger for some individuals. However, the portion of celery should be tolerated for most individuals in a single serving.

Ingredients for Tomato Basil: chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil, salt, basil.

Ingredients for Marinara: chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil, carrots in puree, celery in puree, salt, basil.

My recommendation: I recommend that you try these sauces out. They can make cooking much easier and can help you prevent symptoms. If you do, I recommend you use my discount code for 15% off, and buy in bulk to save money on shipping. This can also help you stock your pantry with other low FODMAP sauces.

Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara Sauce

What I like: the flavor and ingredients! This sauce is definitely the best in flavor, which is really what you are paying for. It also has a very fresh, homemade taste, which is attributed to the simple and whole foods ingredients (see full list below).

What I don’t like: the cost, the inclusion of celery, and poor accessibility. This sauce is a little more expensive, currently priced at $8.99 on their website, and even more at my local Whole Foods. It’s harder to find in stores, which can be an issue for those who don’t live near a Whole Foods or don’t want to order from their website. Even though I love the ingredients for myself, another con is the inclusion of celery in the sauce. This is fine for most with IBS, but isn’t the best option if someone is highly triggered by celery or working through the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

Ingredients: Italian whole peeled tomatoes, olive oil, carrots, salt, celery, basil.

My recommendation: try this sauce at least once, if you can find it. The flavor is so good that you may find yourself putting a few extra dollars aside for the value it will add to your meals. This also makes a great sauce to make when hosting family or friends for dinner. Wow them with the flavor, but save yourself from the bloating.

What Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health

Co-written by Erin Judge, RDN and Aubrey Baker

Talking about poop may not be the most appealing conversation, but poop can be one our best indicators of what’s going on in our digestive system. Poop can come in many different forms and colors, as I am sure you’ve learned by now. Knowing the meaning behind these characteristics can not only help you understand what’s going on in your digestive system, but can also help you make changes for a healthier life.

We all poop, but do we really know what it is?

The medical dictionary defines poop as “The matter discharged from the bowel during defecation, consisting of the undigested residue of food, epithelium, intestinal mucus, bacteria, and waste material from the food.” In short, poop is the waste from digesting your food, mixed with parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

How the process works

After consumption of foods, your body starts to break down the nutritional components, including carbs, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. After passing through the stomach, the nutrients turn into a substance called chyme.  Chyme goes through the rest of the digestive process. Fats, however, are emulsified during this process by a product, produced by the liver, called bile. After chyme has been absorbed through the intestines and colon, it turns into a semi-solid product called feces, aka poop.Feces is stored in the rectum until the body is ready to release. Once the bowel movement is released from the rectum, it passes through your anus and out of your body. Hopefully into the toilet…

What is “normal” poop?

Poop can come in all shapes, colors and smells. Your poop may be unique and different from someone else’s. However, there are a few standard norms to look for when analyzing your poop each day.

Shape: The typical shape of poop is one long cylinder. Occasionally you will find a few smaller excess pieces trailing behind. (No pun intended)

The coloring of your poop should be a brown to dark brown hue, depending on what you have eaten during the day. A healthy bowel movement should be stress free with minimal to zero strain. Normal poop should be passed every 1 to 3 days, or for some people, poop is passed 1-3 times daily. The consistency of your poop will depend on your diet and lifestyle.

Poop the rainbow… sort of

Brown - medium to dark brown is the typical color of poop. The coloring is caused by a pigment called bilirubin.

Black - If you have ingested bismuth medications (Peptmo-Bismol) or iron tablets, they can be the culprits to the dark coloring of your stool. If you have not had any of these medications or black licorice, then this may be an indication that you have upper GI bleeding and you should seek medical attention asap.

White - This coloring, also seen as grey or clay colored, can be caused by a lack of bile due to medications or digestive complications. If this coloring is not written as a side effect on the container of your medications, then you should seek medical attention asap.

Green - This is typically due to a high consumption of leafy green vegetables, or green food coloring. This could be an indication that food is moving too quickly through your system, so you may benefit from adding a little more soluble fiber to your diet, like those found in oats and lentils.

Red - Red coloring could be the result of GI bleeding, or if it is in a small amount, this could be a sign of hemorrhoids. Either way, seek medical attention asap. If you eat a lot of beets or drink beet juice, you may notice a slight red tint to your poop, as well. No need to seek out help for that.

Orange - This could be caused by a high consumption of foods containing beta-carotene such as oranges and carrots.

Yellow -If your poop is leaning to yellow tint, then this is typically a sign of excess amount of poorly digested fat. Seek medical attention to make sure you are not malabsorbing fats, then consult a dietitian to decrease your overall fat consumption.

Shapes of poop

The color of your poop is not the only indicator of what’s going on with your GI system. The shape is also important. These are the different shapes, according to the Bristol Stool Chart, and what they may be trying to tell you.

Type 1 - Separate, hard lumps, resembling marbles or nuts. This shape is hard to pass and usually causes strain due to how dry and solid the poop is.   Indicates that you are constipated, and should not be seen frequently. If it is frequent, see a GI doctor about possible causes and a dietitian for nutrition recommendations.

Type 2 - A lumpy, sausage or caterpillar shape. This type is long and cylinder-like, but also lumpy and not smooth. This is another sign of constipation and once again, should not be frequently seen. A more fibrous, plant-rich diet plus water and movement could be helpful to prevent this.

Type 3 -Sausage shaped, but with cracks on the surface. This is more normal-ish. The cracks could be an indicator of poor water intake.

Type 4 - Smooth and soft, like a snake. This shape is usually smooth like a snake and easily passed. This is your gold standard and is what you want to see most days. It can be a sign of a balanced diet, adequate water, and good movement!

Type 5 - Small blobs with clear edges. This type is soft and easy to pass, unlike Type 1. Although this shape is easy to pass, it is not a strong solid form, like Type 4. This can be a sign of inadequate fiber intake. Increase whole grains, fruits, and veggies.

Type 6- Soft, fluffy pieces with ragged edges. This type is mushy, and not very solid at all. The consistency is too smooth for normal poop and may be a sign of mild diarrhea. To prevent this, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods and manage that stress or anxiety in your life. When it happens, prioritize electrolytes and bland foods, like white potatoes, chicken, and rice.

Type 7 - Watery with no sign of solid pieces or definition - the runs, aka diarrhea. This is a sign that your stool has moved very quickly through your bowels and was not able to form a healthy poop. Again, deal with those stressors, assess whether or not you obtained food poisoning, get in your electrolytes, and balance your diet once the gut has settled down.

Poop is a great indicator of your GI health, so you should get into the habit of checking it out regularly. The more you learn about your poop, the better you can know what changes to make in your diet and lifestyle. Remember to find time to take care of yourself because stress can cause digestional issues and can alter the characteristics of your bowel movement. If you are experiencing complicated bowel movements and think it could be from your diet, you should make an appointment with a dietitian so they can appropriately guide you back to a normal bowel movement. If you suspect that this could be a serious medical health issue, then contact medical attention immediately.

Happy pooping!


Review of Fody Foods Green Enchilada Sauce

I LOVE enchiladas! They’re delicious, easy to make, and can easily cover many meals throughout the week. I used to make enchiladas with the expectation that I would be bloated afterwards because my favorite sauce was loaded with garlic and onion. No bueno. Thankfully, I have discovered a sauce that is equally delicious, but doesn’t lead to symptoms! (cue all the praise hands)

Fody Foods is a food company that has created low FODMAP products to make life with IBS easier, and tastier. You may be thinking “that’s great, but do their products actually compare to high FODMAP ones?” Don’t worry, I will do the research for you so you can purchase with a well-rounded expectation. First product to get a deeper look: Green Enchilada Sauce.

Let’s start with the cons. I love my enchiladas fully smothered in sauce. One bottle of Fody Foods Green Enchilada Sauce wasn’t quite enough to cover my entire pan (9x13). It still did the job, but I’d want a bottle and a half to get my ideal level of smother-ness. On that same note, one bottle is a little pricey at $5.99. I’ll pay it, because that cost will cover the time I would spend trying to make my own from scratch, or the pain I’d feel from a garlic-loaded sauce from the store.

Now to the pros. This sauce is packed with flavor! Many low FODMAP products have that “it’d be better with garlic” flavor, but this one is perfect! It is sweet and fresh, with a hint of spice. Also, the ingredients are all simple and whole foods. Listed, in order: tomatillos, water, anaheim peppers, distilled vinegar, avocado oil, arrowroot powder, organic cumin, himalayan pink salt, organic black pepper, and organic cilantro. No added sugar and nothing crazy hidden in this bottle. I felt no symptoms after the meal and my taste buds had no idea that I used an alternative. I will definitely be using this in my enchiladas moving forward, and may even use this as a sauce for tacos, huevos rancheros, and more! If you want to try it for yourself, click here. Get 15% off your order by using code ibs.nutrition15.

My Low FODMAP Favorites From Thrive Market

I have mentioned my love for Thrive Market many times on here, but it’s time to talk about it again. Thrive Market is an online grocery store that is determined to bring high quality, and lower cost, food to your front door. They sell non-perishable items below market value, but you do have to be a member to enjoy the lower prices. Membership costs $59.95 per year, but they will tell you how much money you have currently saved and are projected to save with every purchase.

What I love: Thrive Market saves me time and energy because I can quickly order my favorite items in only a few minutes, then have them delivered to my front door a few days later. This helps me keep my pantry stocked with low FODMAP goods, so I can focus on fresh produce at the grocery store. I also love that they have deals every single day, so I can try a new product for free with every purchase. They carry many of my favorite brands that I usually can’t find in a single store. As a business owner, efficiency matters to me, so this is where I find the most value in my membership fee.

What I don’t love: This wouldn’t be an honest review without a look into the cons. I don’t have many, but one thing I don’t love about Thrive Market is shipping time. I am sadly accustomed to Amazon prime 2 day delivery and Instacart same-delivery, so waiting a 3-4 days for Thrive can test my patience. However, I have learned to plan ahead and be smarter about when I order my goods. Another con is the membership fee. It does seem like a barrier, but it has been worth it so far for our household.

My Low FODMAP Favorites

Okay, this is what you actually clicked on the blog for. This is a list of products I love and order often to manage my low FODMAP lifestyle. This isn’t a complete list of everything low FODMAP you can get on Thrive. They actually have an option for filtering low FODMAP options. Under the “Food” tab, click “See All Values & Diet” then scroll down to the bottom!

  • Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Quinoa

  • Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Brown Rice

  • Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Flour

  • Thrive Market Organic Diced Tomatoes

  • Thrive Market Organic Crushed Tomatoes

  • Thrive Market Organic Tomato Sauce

  • Thrive Market Salt-Free Organic Brown Rice Cakes

  • Thrive Market Organic Rolled Oats

  • Thrive Market Organic Maple Syrup

  • Thrive Market Organic Pecan Halves

  • Thrive Market Organic Walnut Halves & Pieces

  • Thrive Market Organic Raw Brazil Nuts

  • Thrive Market Organic Coconut Aminos

  • Thrive Market Organic Sunflower Seeds

  • Thrive Market Non-GMO Chunk Light Tuna

  • Thrive Market Non-GMO Wild Pink Salmon

  • Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

  • Divina Organic Green Olives Pitted

  • Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

  • Sea Tangle Noodle Co. Kelp Noodles

  • Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta - Spaghetti

  • Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta - Spirals

  • go Macro Organic Peanut Butter Protein Replenishment Bars

  • go Macro Organic Sunflower Butter & Chocolate Protein Purity Bars

  • Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Organic Black Lentils

  • Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein - Chocolate

  • Hu Simple Chocolate Bar

  • Birch Blenders Paleo Pancake Mix

  • Lundberg Farms Organic Red Rice & Quinoa Thin Stackers

  • EO Juniper & Cedarwood Epsom Salt Soak

Start your free Thrive Market Trial and get 25% off your first order here! If you have other low FODMAP products you love to order from Thrive, comment below!

Travel Tips for IBS

There’s no need to shy away from the truth here. For those of us living with IBS, traveling means trouble in the poop department. If even the thought of traveling makes your bowels lock up, take a breath and relax. I’ve got you covered.

Stress from traveling can be a major trigger for IBS symptoms. While you may not be able to control all of the factors that cause stress, there are some things you can do to help lower your chances of symptoms, or even just help them not be as severe. Take a look at these tips and give some a try on your next trip!

  • Choose low FODMAP options as much as you can. Yes, you may not eat your favorite meal every meal, but reducing symptoms to enjoy your trip is 100% worth it! 

  • Keep trigger food portions, and meal sizes, small. Sometimes all you need to do is eat a smaller portion to avoid symptoms! If you eat large portions all day, your gut will be overloaded and you may not feel your best. 

  • Pack snacks! Find low-FODMAP snacks that you enjoy and load your bag with them. This comes in handy when you're stuck at the airport, or when you eat a small meal due to triggers and need more calories until your next meal. My favorites? Carrot sticks, GoMacro bars, Fody Foods dark chocolate bars, pecans and macadamia nuts, and firm bananas with peanut butter. Check out this post for more low FODMAP snack ideas!

  • Drink plenty of water & watch out for those hidden triggers in drinks. Try choosing a wine to avoid mixers, or mix your favorite low-FODMAP liquor with something simple like ginger and lime! For coffee, try to limit your intake to 1 cup/day and if you choose a latte, add a non-dairy milk. 

  • Avoid super tight clothing. It won't help your digestion & won't help with confidence if you're bloated. 

  • Be bold and ask restaurants if they can omit trigger foods like onion and garlic from your meals. They may say no, but it never hurts to ask. And if they say yes, you'll feel so much better the rest of the day!

  • Move your body! Incorporate plenty of movement throughout the day by walking between locations, trying a local workout class, or doing an online yoga/pilates video in your hotel room. If you can wake up, drink water, and do gentle movement like walking, pilates, yoga, or barre before you start your day, that could help support digestion and relieve constipation! 

  • If you use medications for severe symptoms, don't forget to bring them. The anxiety of travel may heighten symptoms, so if you know you may need something to relieve severe constipation or diarrhea, pack it first and use it. 

  • Be mindful! If you are someone who loves to indulge in local eats when you're away (hello, me too!), be mindful as you eat and drink. If you take time to be present with food, you can enjoy it to the point of being satisfied and avoid overeating it, or drinking so much that you black out. This practice helps with digestion because you're not overloading your gut with foods you don't typically eat, but it also helps you fully enjoy foods without feeling too stuffed after. 

  • Plan ahead to reduce anxiety. If traveling stresses you out, give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead, pack well, and communicate your needs to your travel companions! You'll be surprised how much this helps. 

  • Have groceries at home for your arrival to avoid grabbing more food on the go days after you get home. It's hard settling back into routine, so it's nice to either stock your fridge before you go, or order groceries on your way home to be delivered when you get there. I like to use Instacart or Thrive Market for this!

Do you have more travel tips to share with your fellow IBSers? Comment below!

Probiotics & IBS

Probiotics are all the rage in our culture right now and have made their way to the top of the supplement industry. That’s no surprise, because as we gain knowledge about the connection of our gut microbiome to our overall health, probiotic use is becoming a common recommendation from medical professionals, as well as other health gurus. If you have IBS, you have probably heard that you should be taking a probiotic, but do you know why? And do you know what kind?

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that confer positive effects on the host after oral administration.” More simply put, these are live bacteria that can improve our health when we eat them. Probiotics can be found in the diet, but I want to focus on supplements for today and we will talk food later on. While we do know probiotics are great, there are so many different types and each individual bacteria has a unique effect on the body, so different bacteria may be useful for different needs.

So, what DO we know? Currently, we know that probiotics may help protect the gut from pathogenic microbes via their antimicrobial properties; they may boost the intestinal tight junctions to stabilize permeability (ie more protection from the “bad guys” entering the body); and they may stimulate intestinal cells to produce mucus that improves intestinal barrier function (ie security guards), normalizes bowel movements, and reduces pain. It’s hard to extrapolate concrete evidence for each of these possible effects due to the diversity of bacteria available in probiotics and to the unique makeup of each individual’s microbiome. As we learn more, our recommendations can become more specific and targeted.

Although there’s a lot we don’t know yet, there’s also a lot we do know and have enough confidence in to apply! There are many strains of bacteria and specific probiotics that have at least one solid study to support a positive effect for those suffering with IBS. Note that the specific strain of bacteria, as well as dose matters when it comes to a probiotic. Also, note that there are some studies that show a decrease in effectiveness with long-term use. This means that, currently, probiotics are not a single solution to manage your IBS. They can be included, alongside individualized diet and lifestyle interventions given by a registered dietitian, to create a well-rounded plan. (I help my clients develop a plan like this in my signature IBS Management Program).

Here is a chart of specific brands and the strains they contain that have been shown (in at least one valid study) to have a positive effect on IBS, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Do not take this an individualized medical advice, but always consult with your doctor or dietitian to determine which may be best for you! Also, remember that the supplement industry is not regulated, so be intentional with choosing trusted brands like those below. Others may claim to contain the same strains of bacteria, but unless they conduct studies to prove their probiotic is what they say it is, it’s hard to know for sure what you’re getting.

PROBIOTICS FOR IBS.png

2019: The Year of the Gut

I love the new year and I love setting goals! If you have known me long enough, you know I am a serial list maker, and I am usually thinking months down the road. I like to plan and I feel the need to be prepared for everything. Anyone else relate? There’s nothing wrong with goals and plans, but this kind of mentality can easily add stress and anxiety to our lives. How do you feel when you don’t meet your goal or you don’t check off every item on your list? What happens when our plan doesn’t happen the way we expected? What happens when life throws a curveball in the present moment, but our minds are already months ahead?

For me, personally, this has been a major struggle in my life, and has had a huge effect on my IBS symptoms. Especially around this time of year. When I look back at a previous year, I usually see all the things I didn’t do or the things I didn’t do as well as I should have. I feel the pressure to set a page of “to-dos” that should make this year better than the last. But, I have learned that this never really works. Goals are great and reflection is necessary, but a checklist doesn’t lead to growth. Instead, looking at the foundation of each success or “failure,” then making small adjustments at the core of who I am will lead to the growth I desperately need to be my best, personally and professionally.

I declare this year to be the Year of the Gut, but instead of challenging you with a list of things to do like work out everyday or eat more kale, I challenge you to take time to reflect on who you became this year, what changed in your life, and what needs to be adjusted for a more vibrant life, and consequently a happier gut. Here are a few questions to help guide you through this reflection, and I will give you a few examples of mindset shifts, as well as applicable steps, you can make as we enter 2019.

Does my fear of food or anxiety about my success in life control my days?

Are my relationships feeding my soul or are they taking the life out of my body?

Am I truly grateful for and connected to my body, or am I disconnected from and frustrated with it?

Do I eat food that nourishes my body and am I confident with the food choices I make each day?

Do I move my body with the purpose of caring for it, or do I punish my body with either lack of exercise or over-exercise?

Am I satisfied with the work I accomplish each day, or do I work with no purpose?

Do I have hope in my life or does my cynical outlook on life keep me in depression?

Do I take time to care for myself or do I ignore my body’s needs in order to “hustle”?

These are only a few examples of questions you could ask. Don’t be afraid to sit in silence and explore the tangents these questions can take you on. After you answer them honestly, either with someone you trust or by yourself, these are a few examples of what you can do to move forward.

I am going to establish care with a therapist to talk about my anxiety.

I am going to seek counsel from leaders in my faith to find freedom from my fear and anxiety.

I am going to let go of the people and things in my life that cause more fear, stress, anxiety, or hopelessness. I will seek out positive relationships, fulfilling work, and life-giving community.

I am going to work with a dietitian to learn about how to manage my IBS, so I can be confident in my choices and feel connected to my body again.

I am going to create space each day to check in with my body and give it what it needs. (Ideas: movement, nourishing food, stillness, breath, self-care, etc.)

I am going to join a fitness community that is body-positive and challenges me to connect with my body, instead of one that pushes my body too far and makes me insecure in the way my body looks.

I am going to be brave and be more vulnerable with the people in my life so I don’t feel so isolated and alone.

Growth isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always feel like sunshine and rainbows. However, when we take the time to dig deep and make changes in our foundation, including stress management, movement, food choices, outlook on life, and vulnerability in relationships, we will step into a life that is free from fear of food and control from IBS. Who is ready to feel confident, secure, and free in their body? Who is ready to have a vibrant life with meaningful relationships and lasting impact? Challenge yourself to step away from your giant goal list and take the time to create resolutions that will take you further than any goal ever could.

Grief & IBS... featuring guest blogger Hannah Dixon

Depression and anxiety, even in the form of grief can worsen IBS symptoms. We know there’s a connection between the gut and the brain, so when we face stress, especially psychological stress from anxiety, fear, grief, and depression can affect the mobility of the gut, ie make IBS symptoms worse. There are also studies that connect childhood psychological trauma to the onset of IBS.

This is something I understand first hand. When I was first diagnosed with IBS, my father was diagnosed with a chronic illness and was in and out of the hospital. I don’t remember much about processing what was going on during that time, but as I look back now I truly believe the stress my family was going through may have triggered my IBS. If not caused it, it definitely made things worse.

Fast forward to college when my IBS flared up from the stress of school, my dad passed away from lung cancer. My symptoms worsened, but I knew I had to deal with my grief or it would ruin my body. Through my faith, my community, and priorities in my life like fitness and nutrition, I have learned how to work through grief so it doesn’t wreck havoc on my digestive system. At least not for too long.

I am thrilled to share a post by my childhood friend, Hannah Dixon, on how she has learned to deal with grief from her personal experience, as well as through her education to become a counselor. Read below and continue reading on her site The Southern Chic for more…

Hope for the Holidays

Christmas has always been my very favorite holiday. Time with family, celebrating Jesus’ birth, church, traditions, memories, food, and gifts. There really is so much that makes this a season of joy!

On Christmas Eve, we would go to the annual candlelight service at our church, followed by dinner with family. Then on Christmas morning we would wake up, wait for my mom to get her video camera ready (anyone else’s parent do this? It seemed to take her forever!), then my brother and I would open our gifts. Once we finished, my Daddy would start cooking the most delicious breakfast. My grandma and grandpa would come, and we sat around the table talking and laughing.

Growing up, Christmas to me was always mostly about the gifts, as I think it is for most children. However, the holidays are not always easy for everyone. I never understood that until I experienced it first hand.

It was December 2011 when my life changed forever. My Daddy had struggled with health problems for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until April 2011 that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. That following October, he had surgery to remove his bladder. We knew that this was a very serious surgery, but we were believing that he would come out just fine. He had surgery on Halloween and everything went fine, but the healing process after was anything but fine. For 50 days, he was touch and go. Then on December 12th the doctors told us what we feared most; “there is nothing more we can do.” As a family we decided to put my Daddy in Hospice. We were told he would probably have about 4 days left. However, at 11:59 PM on Monday December 12th, 2011, my Daddy took his last breath this side of Heaven.

Our family, though strong in our faith in the Lord, was shattered. We knew this day would come, but we were no where near ready to let him go. That was the hardest, saddest Christmas I have ever experienced. Though it has been almost 7 years, the pain by no means has gone away.

Every holiday since then, we are reminded that he is in Heaven by the very real absence we feel. We miss him every second of every day, but Christmas is no longer a time of sadness. After the year of firsts, we realized that my Daddy wouldn’t want us to live our lives being sad. The holidays are now filled with laughter, joy, and memories that make my heart swell with love.

People deal with grief in many different ways. I have seen many individuals stop living their lives after the death of a loved one; they are so deeply affected by this loss that they find it nearly impossible to go on. Others, from the outside looking in, may seem as though they have forgotten about their loved one that passed. They live their lives like nothing ever happened and are often judged very harshly because of it. No one knows the real level of a person’s grief except for that person.

So the question seems to be, how do people face the holidays while still grieving the loss of a loved one? I have learned a few things over the last 6 holidays since losing my Daddy.


Read more here!

What are FODMAPs?

The low FODMAP diet is the first line of nutritional therapy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). FODMAPs are short-chained carbohydrates (sugars) that are not easily absorbed in the gut, so they can cause IBS symptoms, like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal cramps. The FODMAP diet is not as sexy as other diet interventions out there, but is shown to be highly effective in managing IBS symptoms. Let’s dig deeper to learn more!

What does FODMAP stand for?

Fermentable

Oligosaccharides

Disaccharides

Monosaccharides

And

Polyols

Fermentation is the process by which the gut turns undigested carbohydrates into gas, so this highlights the effect these carbohydrates can have on the body. Oligosaccharides include fructan and GOS. These are found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes, and other pulses. The disaccharide group contains lactose, which is found in dairy products. The monosaccharide group contains the simple carbohydrate, fructose, which is found in fruit, honey, and high fructose corn syrup. Polyols include sorbitol and mannitol, which can be found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as artificial sweeteners.

FODMAPs are not “unhealthy,” but are simply not absorbed as well, when eaten in large amounts. These carbohydrates can be beneficial for gut bacteria due to their fiber content, but with IBS, the gut wall is more permeable, so increased difficulty digesting these carbohydrates leads to negative GI symptoms.

Who is the FODMAP diet for?

The FODMAP diet has shown success in managing IBS, and may also help with SIBO treatment. Because this diet is very restrictive, it is not ideal for the general population. However, if you are dealing with chronic GI issues like constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and cramps, the FODMAP diet may be able to help.

The FODMAP diet is not a weight-loss diet. It is an elimination diet that helps IBS patients identify the food triggers that cause their specific symptoms. However, like many restrictive diets, it can be challenging and can lead to disordered eating. Because of this, the FODMAP diet should be done under the supervision of a registered dietitian to ensure success and avoid an unhealthy relationship with food.

How does the FODMAP diet work?

Under supervision and guidance of a registered dietitian, the low FODMAP diet starts with 2-6 weeks of elimination of all high FODMAP foods, then moves to a 4-6 week challenge period where foods are reintroduced to identify triggers. For my signature IBS management program, I also include a third stage of customization so that my clients are confident with how to integrate their trigger foods into their diet, in the right portion sizes, to manage symptoms.

FODMAPs are not the cause of IBS, but when you identify which foods trigger your symptoms, it is easier to prevent occurence of symptoms. Questions? Comment below or enter it in the “ask the dietitian” block to your right!

If you are interested in applying for my signature IBS management program that will empower you with knowledge and confidence about the FODMAP diet and IBS, click here!

What is IBS?

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a complicated and somewhat mysterious functional bowel disorder, which means it is characterized by the function of the digestive system. It is a heterogenous disorder in that no single abnormality accounts for symptoms in all patients. The most common symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, and chronic diarrhea and/or constipation. Itis classified as IBS-D if diarrhea is the more prevalent symptom, IBS-C if constipation is more prevalent, and IBS-M if there is an equal mixture of the two.

IBS is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses, and is prevalent in about 10% of the population in Western countries. IBS is symptoms-based, so definitive testing for a diagnosis can be difficult. Currently, diagnosis is determined with the presence of the common symptoms, in absence of other diseases with common symptoms, including irritable bowel disease (IBD), which includes diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease; systemic hormonal disturbances like thyroid disfunction; enteric infections; colorectal cancer; and diseases associated with malabsorption. Sounds confusing, right? Routine testing for these conditions is not routine, so unless symptoms are severe, it can take a long time for a diagnosis of IBS to be determined.

Due to the increase of common IBS symptoms, a new term of IBS-like disorders have been developed. These include celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a-amylase/trypsin inhibitor (ATIs) sensitivity, and nickel allergic contact mucositis. These can overlap with IBS, and there is small research that links many of these to increased prevalence of IBS. If you have any questions about these specific disorders, send me a message and I can send you info!

What is the cause of IBS?

The cause of IBS is also very mysterious. The gut is complex and there are many factors that are connected with the development of IBS. The most common factors that are linked to IBS are altered gut immune activation, intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”), and the intestinal and colonic microbiome. Causes are thought to include chronic psychological stress, changes in microbiota, and acute episodes of infectious gastroenteritis. Chronic psychological stress, including depression and anxiety can induce changes in gut bacteria and enhanced bacterial wall adherence, which allows pathogens and nutrients to pass through the gut wall, leading to IBS symptoms. Changes in the microbiota (bacteria) in the gut can lead to gut inflammation (bloating) and altered digestion (constipation and diarrhea). Infection in the gut can cause structural damage, which can also affect digestion and bacterial makeup.

While these factors seem promising in helping us understand the cause of IBS, there is still a lot of research to be done here. Long story short, it’s hard to tell exactly what may cause IBS for each individual, but stress, gut microbiota (influenced by genetics, environment, and diet), and infections may play a role.

Can IBS be treated or cured?

There isn’t much talk of “curing” IBS, but symptoms can usually be managed by lifestyle modifications. There are also therapeutic treatments that may be helpful in managing some symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications for IBS management include consistent exercise, adequate sleep, diet modifications, and stress management.

Food allergies and intolerances are not shown to play a major role in the development of IBS, but foods that are more difficult to digest, those high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) could trigger symptoms. As the gut epithelial layer becomes more permeable, these food components are thought to pass through and cause inflammation (bloating) and pain. Therefore, a low FODMAP diet is a great treatment tool to find which foods trigger and individual’s symptoms. This diet can be very restrictive, however, and can lead to poor nutrition and inadequate fiber intake, so it’s vital that you seek the guidance of a registered dietitian if you are wanting to try it out. Look for a post coming soon describing the diet in more detail. Other diet modifications that can be beneficial in IBS treatment include increasing water intake, increasing fiber intake, and avoiding highly processed foods and saturated fats that may not be easily digested.

While diet modifications can help with symptoms, stress management may be more likely to help with the underlying cause or major trigger of the symptoms. Many IBS patients benefit from meeting with a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist for guidance in this area. Exercise, breath techniques, meditation, and support from community may also help.

Therapeutic treatments are also being used to treat some IBS symptoms. IBS-D may be treated with antispasmodic agents, antidepressants, serotonin 5-HT3 antagonists, and the gut specific antibiotic rifaximin. IBS-C may be treated with dietary fiber, laxatives, and the prosectratory agents lubiprostone and linaclotide. While these may help with severe symptoms, these treatments do not guarantee definitive and lasting solutions.

Now I’m more confused. What do I do?

If you have IBS or experience IBS-like symptoms, I’m sure all of the information above is a little stressful. It’s complicated and hard to understand. I’m with you and I get it. Here are a couple of things you can start doing now, if you aren’t already:

  • See a gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis, to talk about symptoms, and find out what type of IBS you are (if you do have IBS).

  • Meet with a registered dietitian (me!) to develop a nutrition plan that can help you manage/prevent symptoms, while continuing to prioritize adequate nutrition.

  • Find an exercise routine that you enjoy! If you’re not confident in the gym, join a group fitness studio, get a personal trainer, or find an online workout program you can do at home. I have recommendations if you need them!

  • Be introspective to find the stressors in your life. If you need guidance, meet with a reputable therapist. Do what you need to do to develop a stress management plan in your life. This could even look like letting go of things that are causing unnecessary stress.

If you have more tips to share that have helped you on your IBS journey, comment below! If you have questions you’d like me to address, put them in the little box on the right. If you would like to be a client, apply here for a quick discovery call!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25339801

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202343/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5495893/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5210026/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24716562

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5598808/

How to Navigate Thanksgiving with IBS

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. I love spending time with family, eating yummy food, trying out new recipes, and welcoming the Christmas season. Although I do love the day, I can get really anxious about how my IBS symptoms will affect my day. Will I have to turn away some of my favorite dishes? Will I be miserable after the meal and miss out on my family traditions, like putting up the Christmas decor? Will I be embarrassed using the shared bathroom for my body’s response to the food?

If these are concerns you are having this week, know that you are not alone. While there’s no easy way to completely eliminate all symptoms, I wanted to encourage you with some tips to minimize them as much as possible. This is not individualized nutrition advice, so know that these tips are not a one size fits all approach. If you want a customized plan for the holidays, apply to become a client so we can target your specific needs.

Communicate your needs & contribute a dish!

If you have triggers that will cause symptoms, no matter how small the serving serve, communicate those to your family members. Everyone may not alter their recipes, but some may change the dish or create a separate dish for you! You can also contribute a dish that you love, without a single trigger. This will help you have one dish to fill up on, while you try the rest!

Be mindful of portion sizes.

The portion size of a trigger or entire meal can be the key to preventing symptoms. Instead of pilling a mountain of food onto your plate, keep portions small. You can save a little of what you loved most or dishes you didn’t get to choose to enjoy as a snack or meal later on. Chew slowly and really enjoy each bite to avoid eating your smaller meal too quickly and feeling unsatisfied.

Start the day with fiber & drink water.

Prioritize a fiber-rich breakfast, with no triggers, to support the digestive system early. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to also support digestion and prevent constipation.

Move your body.

Movement aids in digestion and also helps reduce the stress of what to/not to eat. Start your morning with light yoga or a walk, then find ways to move with your family after the meal. Play a game of football, go for a walk, or play active games inside.

Don’t stress it.

This is the hardest one, but avoiding excess stress will help prevent symptoms. Planning ahead of time, communicating your needs/fears, prioritizing the tips above, and finding times for mindfulness will help you keep the stress level down and the gratitude level up!

I hope these tips help you as you celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow. If you have any more tips to add or encouragement for fellow IBSers, comment below!