When you have SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), what you eat, when you eat, why you eat, where you eat, and how you eat all become vitally important if you want to overcome this thing and get your life back. Everything you put in your mouth becomes in direct contact with your digestive tract, making eating a huge part in your recovery.
A shortened version of the SIBO Diet gives you an idea of what to eat and what not treat. For a more extensive look at the diet and how to implement the diet into your lifestyle, order Dr Lisa’s free eBook here.
In the meantime, start with this:
When you should eat and how frequently is going to vary based on your body’s internal mechanisms. Many SIBO patients deal with motility issues, referring to how well their body coordinates the nerves and muscles that transport food contents through the digestive tract. When these efforts aren’t coordinated properly, symptoms such as reflux, delayed or rapid emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine or colon, constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel problems can manifest.
Some people do well to eat upon rising, then eat at 5 to 6 hour intervals. For instance, if you ate at 7am, you would essentially fast until 12 or 1pm, and fast again until 6pm. Then you’d want to do an overnight fast, eating nothing again until your first morning meal. This allows for the Migrating Motor Complexes to trigger peristalsis which moves your food through your entire digestive tract.
However, I have seen a number of patients who do better with just the opposite approach, snacking on small meals throughout the day. Some people find that if they aren’t eating pretty consistently throughout the day, nothing moves along and big painful gas bubbles form in their intestines causing flatulence.
SIBO is such an odd condition, and unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error as you find out what works for you.
One of the misdiagnosis I see with SIBO is that people are often labeled as anorexic. Now this is by no means a body image induced issue. What happens is the person has become so accustomed to experiencing such horrendous debilitating symptoms with their SIBO that they unconsciously have learned to avoid food in an attempt to avoid the bloating, nausea, reflux, diarrhea. . .whatever they suffer with.
The SIBO patient has enough trouble absorbing nutrients through a damaged small intestine, so it becomes all the more important to eat, but eat as nutritiously as possible. Without vital nutrients, the immune system fails, the cells of the intestinal wall cannot rebuild and replace themselves properly, and the patient will waste away. Literally.
Medical foods, bone broth and tolerable vegetable juices can be soothing and healing yet nutritious.
One criteria I ask my SIBO patients is, “Are you willing to prepare your food yourself, from scratch, at home?” The reason for this is that when you eat out at restaurants and even when you buy prepackaged foods, you are being doused with who-knows-what that is covertly snuck in without you knowing. Hidden food triggers are everywhere. Our food supply is laced with chemical food-like-substances that our bodies do not recognize because they are not found in nature. They cause inflammation, immune reactions, and feed your bacterial imbalance.
Restaurants add in lots of sweeteners, dairy products, condiments that contain sources of gluten or soy, and none of these are tolerated by or recommended for the SIBO patient. In addition, genetically modified foods and pesticides create similar issues and reactions, none of which support healing.
Your best bet is to use organic, non-GMO foods that are found in nature, and prepare them at home where you can control the ingredients.
My top three tips on how to eat are:
1) Slow Down:
You will never properly digest your food if you are in a rush, driving in your car, or running out the door. Your nervous system has 2 modes: Fight-or-Flight and Rest-and-Digest. You can’t digest if you’re on the run, so slow down and relax at meal time.
2) Chew Your Food
The average number of times a person chews before swallowing their food is 8. Eight times is barely enough to get it down without choking. Digestion starts in the mouth and you should thoroughly chew your food 30 – 40 times before swallowing. Then you won’t overload the rest of your digestive tract that ends up having to do the job your teeth were supposed to do.
3) Just Eat
When you eat, just eat. That means no electronics, stop checking your Facebook, don’t watch TV or answer emails at mealtime. Remember, Rest-and-Digest.
For a more detailed look at this topic, see my other article: Three Free Things You Can Do to Improve Your Digestion.
And for more tips on eating such as:
- Keys to Success
- How to Avoid Hidden Offenders
- Sample Menus
- Lifestyle Tips
- Eating Out
- Travel Tips
. . .and so much more, you can order your free copy of Dr Lisa’s EndSIBO eBook Here