5 Ways To Treat IBS Naturally

5 Ways To Treat IBS Naturally

IMAGINE HAVING A CONDITION with symptoms that leave you scrambling to find a bathroom at the worst possible moment OR anxious about traveling because you worry that your constipation will act up OR missing out on important moments in life because of stomach pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a widely diagnosed, often misunderstood condition that affects a large percentage of the population.

Symptoms of IBS include gas, bloating, and abdominal pain, accompanied by constipation, diarrhea, or both.

Because there is no recognized cause of IBS in conventional medicine, the standard treatment is to suppress symptoms through the use of drugs, like laxatives and pain meds. Reports of use show low satisfaction with little relief; and many of these drugs cause side effects that are similar to, if not worse than, the IBS symptoms themselves.

The problem with these so called treatments is that they focus on alleviating symptoms of IBS instead of actually fixing the underlying problems.

For the greater part of my life, I suffered from IBS with symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation and severe stomach pain. Most doctors gave me very little hope and none of them attempted to find the root cause of my problem. The common advice was to eat more fiber, avoid coffee and take a laxative.

I know from experience just how frustrating it can be to seek help and healing from your doctor, only to find no answers and possibly have your symptoms poorly managed with pills

In this article, I’m going to share with you 5 natural steps you can take to help treat the root cause of your IBS, so you can begin to enjoy life without daily nagging IBS symptoms.

These steps have been life-changing for me and have allowed me to put over 20 years of IBS behind me. I truly feel they are worth the effort and investment if you are serious about getting your gut healthy and living symptom free!

how to treat IBS naturally, food intolerance

5 Ways to Treat IBS Naturally 

#1: Identify Food Intolerances

Food sensitivities are extremely common among people with IBS and are often responsible for causing symptoms or making them worse. We know that certain food proteins (ie. gluten) can lead to inflammation in sensitive individuals, especially where a leaky gut is already present, and studies show that at least two-thirds of people with IBS show chronic low-grade inflammation. (1, 2)

IBS-like symptoms occur in most people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), making the two conditions nearly indistinguishable in many cases. One study estimated that about one-third of people with IBS have NCGS. (1)

Proteins in dairy, yeast, soy, eggs, and other foods may also contribute to IBS. (2) Removing problematic foods from your diet is an important first step in healing your gut and treating your IBS.

In addition, clinical trials have consistently shown that a low-FODMAP diet can significantly reduce the severity of IBS symptoms. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols and are short-chain carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion.

FODMAPs can cause problems in IBS patients for a couple of reasons. First, unabsorbed FODMAPs draw liquid into the intestines, which can contribute to abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. Second, these unabsorbed FODMAPs are fermented by intestinal bacteria, resulting in gas, bloating, and abdominal distention.

While a low-FODMAP diet can provide safe and immediate relief to those with IBS, it’s important to also address the underlying causes of the IBS and avoid staying on a low-FODMAP diet long term.

The gold standard for identifying food intolerances is an elimination diet. It requires a larger commitment, but it’s cheap and effective, and there are plenty of resources available to guide people through both the elimination phase and the slow reintroduction of foods.

TRY: The Love Your Gut Program. In this program, I coach you through an elimination diet for IBS and teach you how to properly reintroduce foods. 

#2: Support Digestion

Most people with IBS have compromised digestion due to digestive enzyme deficiency.

Digestive enzymes are small proteins that help to break down food. If you are deficient in any of these enzymes, your body may not be breaking down food as well as it should, leading to major issues in the digestive tract and an imbalance in gut bacteria (the “bad” bacteria can outnumber the “good”).

Enzyme deficiency can be caused by a number of factors including a leaky gut, low stomach acid, inflammation from food sensitivities and toxins, chronic stress, genetics, and aging.

Since enzyme deficiency is common in people with IBS, it’s important to support digestion with digestive enzymes. The supplement I use and recommend is Digestzymes. Learn more about Digestzymes here. 

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#3: Repair Your Gut

Small gaps in the intestinal wall called tight junctions allow water and nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream, while blocking the passage of harmful substances. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily substances pass through the intestinal wall.

Certain external factors, including food, infections, toxins, and stress, can break apart the tight junctions in your intestinal wall.

When the tight junctions of intestinal walls become loose, the gut becomes more permeable, which may allow toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “leaky gut.”

When the gut is “leaky” and bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream, it can cause widespread inflammation and possibly trigger a reaction from the immune system.

Leaky gut and associated low-grade immune activation affect between 12 and 50 percent of people suffering from IBS. (3, 4, 5)

Supplements that can help re-establish the intestinal barrier and heal a leaky gut include: L-glutamine, MSM and quercetin, N-acetyl glucosamine, nucin, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile and cat’s claw.

The supplement I use and recommend is GI-Revive since it contains several of the above supplements in an effective blend. Learn more about GI Revive here.

Probiotics can also help repair gut permeability, which brings me to my next step …

#4: Repopulate Your Gut with Good Bacteria

IBS symptoms have been linked to certain changes in the gut bacteria. For example, people with IBS have lower amounts of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in their guts, and higher levels of harmful Streptococcus, E. coli and Clostridium. (6, 7)

Additionally, up to 80% of IBS patients experience bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines (also known as SIBO), which can lead to many of their symptoms. (8)

It’s important to note that certain medications used to treat IBS can damage the healthy bacteria living in the gut. (9)

Changes in the gut flora may influence IBS symptoms which is why probiotics are being increasingly investigated as a treatment option for IBS. Aside from their potential to reshape the gut microbiome, there are several ways probiotics may improve IBS symptoms: changing intestinal motility, reducing gut sensitivity, improving intestinal barrier function, and calming gut inflammation and immune activation, to name a few.

The overwhelming trend is that probiotics have a beneficial impact on people with IBS, and there’s more than enough evidence to support their incorporation into a treatment protocol. (10, 11, 12, 13)

However, not all probiotics are alike. In fact, the term “probiotic” covers many different strains and types of bacteria and yeasts. Their health effects vary depending on the type.

Probiotics that have had positive results in treating IBS in placebo-controlled trials include various Lactobacillus species like L. rhamnosus GG and L. acidophilus, various Bifidobacterium species like B. infantis and B. longum, and mixtures of strains. (14, 15, 16)

ProbioMed 50 contains many of the bacteria species listed above which is why it’s my recommended probiotic for people with IBS. Learn more about ProbioMed 50 here.

stress and IBS

#5: Reduce Stress

It’s very clear that many, if not most, cases of IBS involve physical causes, BUT extensive research on the gut–brain connection shows how impactful mental function is on the gut and digestion.

The digestive system is connected to the brain directly through nerve pathways and also indirectly via the endocrine and immune systems. Stress signals in these pathways can cause changes in intestinal motility and secretion, increased visceral sensitivity and intestinal permeability, and even disruptions of the intestinal microbiota–all of which are symptoms of IBS. (17) Stress can not only trigger IBS symptoms, but often makes them worse and longer-lasting.

Several approaches targeting the gut-brain connection have been studied and found to be effective for treating IBS patients. Here are some well researched strategies that may help:

Yoga

A 2015 study in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine found that people with IBS who took an hour-long yoga class three days a week for 12 weeks had less severe symptoms and improved quality of life. The researchers noted that the combination of yoga postures and breath control exercises worked to help alleviate stress and reduce anxiety related to IBS.

TRY: If you are new to yoga, find a studio near you and start with beginner, gentle or relaxation classes, 1-3 times/week. You can also do a regular at-home yoga practice since there are plenty of online yoga classes available.

Meditation & Breath Work 

In a 2015 study in the journal PLOS ONE, people with IBS attended a weekly relaxation program that included meditation and breathing exercises and were encouraged to practice the routine for 15 to 20 minutes every day at home. After nine weeks, the group reported much lower levels of IBS-related anxiety.

TRY: Download a meditation app on your phone (ie. Headspace, Calm, Aura) and fit 15 to 20 minutes of meditation and/or breathing exercises into your day. You can split this up during the day to make it easier. For example, try a 5-minute meditation before getting out of bed, then a 5-minute breathing exercise mid-day and a 5 to 10 minute meditation before bed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The goal of CBT is to help you increase awareness of your thoughts and behavior and learn how to change your reactions to stressful situations. A 2015 study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that four weeks of CBT sessions reduced symptom severity among IBS patients and that the effect lasted up to three months.

TRY: Google “cognitive behavioral therapist near you” to find a therapist you can work with.

It’s clear that stress reduction and mind-body techniques have an important role to play in treating IBS, and it’s vital for people with IBS to have some way of managing mental stress in order for other treatments, including the ones listed above, to be maximally effective.

how to treat IBS naturally

In summary, there are many effective natural strategies for treating IBS, and these strategies are even more powerful when used together. The strategies described here are low risk and often high reward and thus deserve consideration when treating IBS.

In my work with clients (and my own personal journey), I have seen people who have suffered from symptoms of IBS recover after fixing their diets and implementing the strategies listed in this article. The process is not always quick and easy, but the end result is usually worth the time and energy you invest in your health.

If you are seeking more guidance and support in treating your IBS, I recommend the Love Your Gut Program.

 

Learn more about the Love Your Gut Program + 1:1 health coaching with me. 

The Ultimate gut Support KIt for IBS

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Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style (Gluten, Grain & Dairy Free)

Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style (Gluten, Grain & Dairy Free)

This paleo tuna pizza is absolutely delicious and the perfect recipe for your next pizza night! It’s gluten, grain & dairy free, making it the ideal pizza for anyone following a paleo diet.

The health benefits of paleo tuna pizza with cassava flour crust

DID YOU KNOW? Cassava is high in resistant starch, a type of starch that bypasses digestion and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can support digestive health.

There are hundreds of different species of bacteria in your intestine. In fact, the bacteria in your intestine outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1 — WOW! Science has discovered that the number and type of bacteria can have a profound impact on your health.

Whereas most foods feed only 10% of your cells, fermentable fibers and resistant starches feed the other 90%. Resistant starch not only feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, but it MAY bind to & expel “bad” bacteria, having a positive effect on the type of bacteria as well as their number.

In addition, resistant starch has also been studied to for its ability to contribute to better metabolic health and reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is due to its potential to improve blood sugar control, in addition to its role in promoting fullness and reducing appetite.

NOTE: Products made from cassava, such as flour, do contain resistant starch, but the levels are lower than in cassava root that has been cooked and then cooled in its whole form.

The best cassava flour pizza crust

This cassava flour pizza crust was created by Otto’s Naturals, one of the leading suppliers of cassava flour. You can get the original recipe here or check out the recipe below.

The texture and taste truly resembles regular pizza crust. The BF and I have been super excited to come up with different toppings for this awesome crust. We created this Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style this past weekend and absolutely loved it! Let us know what you think in the comments section below 🙂

Love this recipe?! Then you’ve got to try my Margherita Pizza & Sausage & Rapini Pizza with cassava flour crust!

Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style

Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style

This paleo tuna pizza is absolutely delicious and the perfect recipe for your next pizza night! It's gluten, grain & dairy free, making it the ideal pizza for anyone following a paleo diet. The texture and taste of cassava flour pizza crust truly resembles regular pizza crust, so you won't be disappointed by yet another gluten free pizza.
Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo
Servings: 3

Ingredients
 

For cassava flour crust

  • ½ cup warm water, roughly 105-110 F
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 5 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, optional
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup avocado oil

Toppings

  • 1 14-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 1 can wild skipjack tuna, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • ½ red pepper, sliced thin
  • Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Prepare yeast mix: In a small bowl, add warm water and honey. Mix to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast in. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate. It will get foamy on top.
  • Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl to combine.
  • Lightly whisk eggs and olive oil together in a small bowl.
  • Add egg mixture and activated yeast to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix to form a dough ball. Transfer ball to an oiled bowl, cover with dish towel and set aside in a warm place (70-80 F is ideal) to rise for 1 hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise a little.
  • Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 550 F. Preheat pizza stone, baking sheet or metal pan.
  • Place the dough on parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (if necessary) and shape dough with your hands by pushing down (on top of parchment, so it doesn’t stick) and roll with rolling pin. Flatten your pizza about 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Roll the crust thick or thin (to your liking) by shaping with your fingers and rolling the edges. Use extra cassava flour if dough is sticking. NOTE: Split the dough in half before rolling it out to make two smaller pizzas.
  • Season tomatoes with half the garlic and sea salt then spread over the rolled out dough.
  • Break up the tuna in a bowl then add 1 tbsp olive oil, remaining garlic and thyme & rosemary. Combine ingredients then spread over the tomatoes. Add hot pepper flakes, capers, and strips of red pepper. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the entire pizza.
  • Lift the whole piece of parchment paper with pizza on top and transfer to the preheated baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden, pulling out halfway and removing parchment paper. For a crispier golden crust, allow a few more minutes. Allow more time if cooking at lower temperature.

Paleo Tuna Pizza Mediterranean Style

Simple Sautéd Cabbage (AIP, Plant-Based, Keto)

Simple Sautéd Cabbage (AIP, Plant-Based, Keto)

DID YOU KNOW? Cabbage is a great weight loss vegetable since it’s packed with many beneficial vitamins, minerals, plus water and fiber.

It’s also low in calories, containing only 33 calories per cup of cooked cabbage.

Cabbage is full of gut-friendly insoluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that can’t be broken down in the intestines. Insoluble fiber helps support digestive health by adding bulk to stools and promoting regular bowel movements.

In addition, it’s rich in soluble fiber, which has been shown to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut , like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.

Enjoy cabbage on its own or use it various dishes including:

Simple Sautéd Cabbage

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Using a deep pan heat avocado oil, add cabbage and season with sea salt.

2. Cook at medium heat until cabbage begins to brown slightly.

3. Remove from heat and mix in olive oil, apple cider vinegar and black pepper. Add more salt if needed.

IMG_20200109_161120~2.jpg

Tuna & Sauerkraut Wrap

Tuna & Sauerkraut Wrap

DID YOU KNOW? Sauerkraut’s live and active probiotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body too.

That’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacteria that live within your intestinal flora.

Imbalances in gut bacteria have been associated with a long list of health related problems and increased risks of disease, but luckily obtaining good bacteria from probiotic foods has repeatedly demonstrated health benefits in clinical settings.

Probiotic foods can be beneficial for reducing symptoms like IBS, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, food sensitives and other digestive disorders since they can help lower the presence of toxins, inflammation and bad bacteria living within your gut.

In the process, sauerkraut and other fermented foods help you better absorb nutrients from the food you’re eating and even help manage your appetite, since they have an effect on hormones.

Sauerkraut with live bacterial cultures can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Read the label to make sure it contains live cultures.

Give this gluten free Tuna & Sauerkraut Wrap a try! It makes for a great lunch or dinner when you want healthy & probiotic-rich food.

Tuna & Sauerkraut Wrap

INGREDIENTS: (serves 1)
1 can wild albacore tuna
3 tbsp sauerkraut
1/4 cup sprouts (I like to use broccoli sprouts)
1 tbsp avocado oil mayo OR coconut yogurt (unsweetened)
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 coconut wrap

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Mix all ingredients (except for coconut wrap) together in a bowl.

2. Place mixture in the center of the coconut wrap, fold and enjoy!

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Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Plant-Based, Low-Carb, Grain-Free)

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Plant-Based, Low-Carb, Grain-Free)

3 ways chia seeds can support your digestive health …

1. Loaded with fiber! Chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber per ounce, which will give you 44% of your fiber needs for the day.

2. Promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Because of their high fiber content, chia seeds help increase stool frequency which can be beneficial if you suffer from constipation.

3. Prebiotic for good gut bacteria. The fiber in chia seeds act as fuel for your beneficial gut bacteria, which are not only essential for good digestive health, but for overall health too.

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to add chia seeds into your diet, I highly recommend chia seed pudding. It makes for a great snack or dessert!

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
6 tbsp. chia seeds
2 heaping tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ceylon cinnamon
2 tsp. maple syrup or honey
Cacao nibs (optional topping)

Turn this recipe into a satisfying breakfast by adding in 2 scoops of PurePaleo protein powder. Omit honey if adding PurePaleo protein.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

2. Store in a glass container or jar in the fridge. Let sit for a minimum of 1-hr before consuming. The longer you let the chia seeds soak the more delicious this pudding becomes (I like to soak them overnight).

3. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and enjoy!