Building Poos – you Don’t Just do Them

Contrary to what we all say, you don’t just ‘do’ a poo. It’s a lot more involved. You actually have to build it, prepare it for shipping & then move it (well the moving kinda happens at the same time as the building & prepping for shipping…like a mobile building team). It’s just like building an impressive sculpture or artwork, while simultaneously shipping it to its destination (obviously Uranus).  

So…if you often find yourself struggling to ‘do’ a poo, you should think of it more like ‘something is going wrong with the building materials or the workers, or there’s an issue with the shipping’. Ask yourself the following Q’s: 

Building Materials for Building Poos:

Am I consuming enough fibre, with plenty of variety? If you’re slack in this department, pooing for you will be like trying to create a giant outdoor sculpture using a handful of play-doh & a team of 2 people – you’ll never succeed because you simply don’t have enough material to work with or enough workers. Good dietary poo-building materials include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, & legumes. Unrefined plant food basically, & not just a small amount. To succeed in ‘poo production’ your diet needs to be mostly made up of unrefined plants (have a think about what your dinner plate looks like – chances are it needs more plants). Eating a large range of plant products is also crucial. More types of fibre = more types of gut bug (that’s a good thing, it means you’ll have a nice diverse team of workers with many skills!) Plant food provides food to support plenty of microbes (your team of builders) who will gobble it up, use it as an energy source to grow & carry out all their amazing helpful duties & reproduce (with a healthy poo as the byproduct). A poo is largely made up of these microbes (the accumulated bodies of exhausted / dead workers as well as loads of still-alive ones). There is also of course water, some left-over undigested plant matter & some bits n pieces of you from your gut lining & its secretions. Behold! A multi-media, living sculpture! You’ve just got to keep providing the inspiring building materials to keep your skilled workers happy & busy!

Workers Needed for Building Poos:

Do I have enough team members? Your gut-microbes are your poo-builders & sculptors (among other things, that’s just one of their more obvious roles). They like to keep busy, but they also appreciate a rest – so give them plenty of plant foods to eat but also provide some downtime (this will allow your gut to clean up after them as they build & sculpt & do their thing). Some people have a poo problem because there is a problem with the workers. Their population may have been wiped out by repeated bombing (with chemicals, medications, antibiotics etc), or there may be a skill shortage. If you’re missing important microbial strains you could be trying to build a house without a plumber or painter or electrician. You can still do it, but the building process won’t be so smooth & the end product will be imperfect. So, if your poos are imperfect / you feel like the building process isn’t going smoothly – get some new workers! Ask at your local health food store for a good multi-strain probiotic (you only want workers with good references)! And grab some kefir, kimchi, sauerkrout & yoghurt while you’re in there. 

Delivery Process: 

How are the roads? Think of your gut as the ‘road’ & your nervous system as the computer system controlling what goes where, at what speed & at what time. So the road needs to be kept in good condition, it needs constant maintenance & repair (which your workers will mostly do while they’re building, as long as you’re supplying the plant foods they need). The digestive ‘road’ has it’s own favourite building materials needed for big repairs as well.  Along with what the workers generate from the breakdown of fibre (short chain fatty acids), your gut also loves the amino acids glutamine, glycine & proline (make bone broth a regular addition to your diet if your gut-lining needs repair work). 

The control system:

Are you in charge? How’s the control tower – aka your nervous system? This also plays a huge role in determining how things move along. Too stressed & you can cause major blockages or even the opposite, uncontrollable flow of unfinished work (loose stool). Worse still is a constant alternation between the two! Sleep well, exercise well & have a plan to help you when stress creeps in, it will always be potentially there ready to get you, you just need to be prepared & have your coping mechanisms at the ready (& not just wine – I’m talking yoga, meditation, deep breathing, massage, getting out into nature, connecting with friends, having a good laugh…& maybe a wine every now & then – whatever floats your boat). These things help improve your gut function via activating the ‘rest & digest’ side of your nervous system (most of us spend far too much time in the ‘fight or flight’ response – no wonder digestive issues are so common)!

So…you don’t just ‘do’ a poo. It’s not that simple! You need to constantly supply the correct building materials, attract & keep enough good workers to build it & ensure you have a working delivery system to ensure it gets to its destination on time, every time. If you need some help with the materials try Blend11 or NeoBlend, & if you’d like some more workers to help out try Prescript Assist. PondWater can help with the road repairs & maintenance as well as provide some extra special building materials. 

If you need more support – request to join our gut health community Eat Play Poo or email me anytime. You too could become a great builder / sculptor!

Jeanie X
jeanie@goodmix.com.au 

My Poo Story / Join the ‘Poo Club’

Yep – it’s a private Facebook group for poo enthusiasts! This is the place where you can ask anything (yup, anything), share your own bad poo stories / good poo tips, gut health resources & experiences, & just feel free to chat about stuff that…nobody ever really feels comfortable chatting about in the outside world! No faeca-phobes allowed, this is a gut health zone & you can’t effectively cover gut health without a heap of poo talk!!

So don’t be shy – jump in & invite your friends. With this group, we’d love to be able to connect with:

  • anybody currently suffering from gut problems & looking for help
  • anybody who’s previously had gut problems but managed to fix them
  • anybody keen to learn more about gut health in general
  • anybody who’s good at / qualified in helping people with gut problems

So when you join, take some time to share your gut / poo story so that everyone has an idea of where you’re coming from & why you’re ‘in’!

 

JOIN THE PRIVATE GROUP

Here’s my poo story to get things moving (pun intended).

Looking back, my own poo problems as a kid were the catalyst for starting a career in the natural health field, so I guess I am now very thankful for them! I grew up on a cattle & sheep farm, in outback Qld. My mum was the best mum in the world in most ways, but an ex-nurse, & a bit of a worry-wort (bad combo)! Growing up on a farm was a great thing for my gut / immune system – I had lots of exposure to microbes from all the animals, dirt, manure etc that I was exposed to constantly from a young age. But mum coming from a nursing background (having seen lots of very, very sick children) was perhaps not such a great thing! Especially since at the time (the 80’s) there was no holding back on the prescription of antibiotics – they were given out like lollies. I was always getting coughs & colds (like many kids), & I cannot count the courses of antibiotics I would have been given to ‘treat’ them (a cough could easily lead to pneumonia & death remember!). I recall one time for a particularly nasty & long-lasting cough I took 7 courses of back-to-back antibiotics!!! No wonder that by the time I was 11, & went away to boarding school – my immune system was shot to pieces & there was some serious gut trouble brewing.

Leaving home at 11 was in hindsight a fairly stressful event (although I was totally keen & ready to go, there was a lot of change as I went from being home-schooled to fitting into a schedule with bells for everything, new people everywhere & completely different food that was only available at certain times). I lived in a dorm with around 40 other girls (only a few of us were still in primary school, the rest were older). It was nerve-wracking going to the bathroom for number 2’s as you were almost never alone, & at that age sharing my poo-stink & noises with everyone else was not something I was comfortable with! So – not knowing any better or thinking anything of it, I began to hold off until ‘the coast was clear’. Not a good idea, especially given the state of my already antibiotic-ravaged bowel! I would avoid the disgusting boarding school food & was living on sugary cereal or toast for breakfast, then sandwiches, cream buns or cake were morning tea, followed by a stack of 4-6 slices of white bread at lunch…with more cake / buns / sandwiches for afternoon tea, then depending what was on offer for dinner I’d eat it, or again have more bread & dessert to fill me up until homework break time where we had flavoured milk or juice, plus cream biscuits!  Looking back, knowing what I do now – I don’t actually know how we all survived on that kind of diet!! Plus the extra junk food we’d buy from the tuck shop when we had money, & the weekend excursions to Sizzler / Pizza Hut / McDonalds!

It was sometime in that first year away that I started to notice weird things happening with my bladder (don’t worry I’ll get to the bowel bit).  I would get the urge to pee really often & really urgently, & would have to run from class – then there would be hardly any pee (?) & I’d have to keep going to the loo all day like this. I can’t remember too many details, but in the end I was taken to see a paediatrician who found (by ultrasound or x-ray) that my bowel was at 3x it’s normal holding capacity & that the ‘poo build-up’ was causing constant pressure on my bladder!

I was given a heap of foul things to swallow – paraffin oil I think, & laxatives…& told not to avoid the urge to go anymore (no dietary advice other than to eat more fruit). I think after that I was more conscious of my bowel activity, but I can’t really remember much happening after that. I was not very healthy during the following years though – I had frequent bouts of vaginal thrush, very painful periods, skin issues & I missed a lot of school with colds that would turn into bronchitis, I had glandular fever for a whole term, gallstones & the surgery to remove them….my mum eventually took me to see a naturopath who asked what seemed like a million irrelevant questions about everything, & recognised immediately that my gut still needed a lot of rehabilitation. What she said made so much sense, & I had confidence that she knew more about what was going on inside my body than any of the Drs I’d seen. We walked out of the pharmacy I knew so well, this time with shopping bags full of really weird (& expensive) things that I was to start taking, along with a heap of dietary changes.

I remember taking cascara capsules (stimulating herbal laxatives), hydrated bentonite (detoxing clay liquid), psyllium husk (bulking fibre laxative), Pau D’arco bark (anti fungal herb tea – that was the worst), probiotics, liquid liver herbs, omegas & a heap of other really gross stuff. By this time I was 16 & luckily had switched to living with family friends off the school campus, so I had the ability to choose more healthy foods & take my pile of supplements regularly! This family were awesome, arranging their shopping & cooking to accomodate the ‘weird’ diet I had to switch to. I remember I had to have tuna & lots of salad on yeast free wrap bread for lunches (hard to find at the time) & dinners had to have heaps of veggies & rarely red meat. I had to report back to the naturopath on my bowel movements, energy, mood & what I was eating at each visit. She helped me so much – I can’t remember her name, but she was great.

I felt much better & became fascinated in this strange type of ‘medicine’, & so convinced that the world needed more people sharing this system – that at the end of year 12 I enrolled to study naturopathy. I continued to work on my own health as I studied. I remember the first time I got my usual ‘terrible’ cough / bronchitis that would normally have attracted a course (or 3) of antibiotics, & I stayed away from the Dr.  I was quite nervous (so was mum on the other end of the phone) but I just used fresh garlic, zinc, vit C & echinacea…& I survived, feeling so empowered afterwards!


I’m now 37 & – touch wood – haven’t looked back, or needed to take antibiotics since my teenage years (over 20 yrs). My gut seems to be in the best shape it’s ever been in, but I don’t take that for granted.  I know how easy it is for things to get ‘out of whack’ & I support it every day with my food, supplement, & lifestyle choices, knowing how important my gut health is to my general wellbeing. I’m also very grateful for my experience & learning as it’s allowed me to educate & keep my own kids healthy without the need for pharmaceuticals – I really feel for parents who are trying to raise healthy kids naturally without the training / help I’ve had. As a parent you have to ‘do the best you can with the info that you have’ (like my poor mum was doing)! In this internet age, it’s just so much easier to find health info & to share it –  let’s make the most of it, to help ourselves & others!

Anyway – that was my personal poo story – I hope you learned something from it, or at least can take heart that a terribly unhealthy gut can become healthy again! Please share your own poo stories as you join the page – even if you are in a terrible state & have no idea what’s happening – between all of us, we might just be able to help you get to the bottom of it (pun intended) ; )

 

JOIN THE GROUP & SHARE YOUR POO STORY

Jeanie Xx

Probiotics Make My IBS Feel WORSE, Not Better!

If you have been battling with IBS, you may have tried pre & probiotics unsuccessfully – for some they can really help a lot, but for many they just seem to aggravate the situation. A lot of people with IBS-D (more diarrhoea) find that they get worse bloating, discomfort & loose motions when they take pre & probiotics & eat fermented foods like yoghurt & sauerkrout etc. People with IBS-C (more constipation) may feel even more bloated, blocked & uncomfortable. But why…?

IBS…or SIBO?

IBS sufferers will often test positive for ‘SIBO’ (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which is where you have plenty of ‘good’ bacteria – but for some reason they are hanging out in the wrong place. We want these microbial helpers to prolifically populate the large intestine, but not the small. When you have SIBO, your misplaced gut bugs break down & ferment the carbohydrates that you’ve eaten in your small intestine instead of the large. This causes excess gas production, as well as the resulting gut disturbances (bloating, discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation, irregularity).  It can also cause leaky gut & all the problems that occur when you get things leaking through the damaged gut-lining into your bloodstream (ie allergies / intolerances & autoimmune problems to name a few). Depending on the balance of microbes you have populating your small intestine – you’ll have different gases produced, & you may have more constipation or more diarrhoea.

Different Bugs = Different Gas = Different Symptoms.

This is where it gets really interesting. Bacteria produce hydrogen gas when they ferment carbohydrates. Hydrogen gas is enough to make you feel bloated & give you diarrhoea, but then there are other microbes called ‘archaea’ which feed on the hydrogen produced by the bacterial carb-fermentation. The archaea produce another gas from this process – methane. Having high methane levels in your gut is associated with constipation. So if you have lots of the bacteria in your small intestine (but not the archaea), you’ll likely have bloating / gas / diarrhoea predominant IBS. If you also have the archaea, you’re more likely to be constipated. Remember also that the gut symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg – SIBO sufferers may also have immune system problems, mental / emotional disturbances, poor energy, joint inflammation, skin trouble – your gut can impact every single body system & when it is not balanced, everything else will struggle too.

So…what to do ?

Starve the critters out!

Remove The Bugs, Improve The Symptoms?

The bugs (both bacteria & archaea) depend upon you supplying the easily fermented carbs to survive in the small intestine. If their food supply dries up, they’ll gradually die off / migrate back to the bowel. So many people have great success eliminating their IBS symptoms by starving the SIBO organisms out, & there are some who have success using antibiotics too (these will apparently kill the bacteria, but not the archaea).

Will They Come Back Again?

IBS symptoms are not fun, but neither is permanent dietary restriction! You can definitely improve your symptoms by starving out the bugs, but as soon as you reintroduce their favourite carbohydrate food sources back into your diet, they’ll be back with a vengeance – won’t they? Normally, yes. But if you can figure out & understand ‘why did I end up with too many bacteria in my small intestine in the first place?’,  you’ll have a good chance of keeping things from getting that bad again. When you eat, don’t just consider the nutrition you’re feeding yourself, also consider the gut microbial impact – you need to eat in a way that helps support a balanced ecosystem. And this can vary a lot from person to person!

What Could Cause SIBO In The First Place?

  1. Low stomach acid – this makes the small intestinal environment more welcoming to the bacteria
  2. Stress – your gut bugs are linked to your brain & emotions, in a 2 way communication. Stress can also effect stomach acid production & intestinal movement.
  3. Impaired Intestinal Motility – the gut movements don’t ‘flow’ as they should due to nerve / muscular problems or medication, illness, being sedentary for long periods.
  4. Gastro infections – acute damage to your gut lining & resulting disturbances in your microbial populations can start overgrowths.
  5. Dietary choices – excess refined carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol, & other gut irritating foods i.e. gluten.
  6. Antibiotics & other medications i.e. acid blockers – changing the gut environment & creating imbalance.
  7. Excess pre & probiotics / probiotic rich food & drink – you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. If the small intestinal environment is out of whack to begin with, the influx of bugs & their fave foods can make things much worse. Your tummy will let you know if these caps / foods / drinks don’t agree!

How Can I Get Rid of SIBO?

If you suspect that your gut symptoms may be caused by SIBO, you should get tested. Ask your health professional for a ‘SIBO breath test’ to determine wether you have high levels of hydrogen & / or methane on your breath (sounds gross, but the gasses produced in your gut actually end up in your blood stream & you excrete them via your lungs (& of course out the other end when you fart!) Anyway – first step is to get the test to see if you have high levels of hydrogen & / or methane.

**Get breath-tested by a professional – & if you test positive for SIBO, it is best to work under the guidance of somebody experienced with a SIBO-suitable diet & treatment protocol**

What Is The SIBO Diet & Treatment Like?

You may find following a SIBO friendly diet is all you need to heal your small intestinal lining & reduce the overpopulation of bugs. Or you may need some extra assistance with antimicrobial herbs or even an antibiotic. Symptom relief can happen very quickly but long-term normalisation of the gut will take much longer, this is not a magic bullet!

There are a few diets (& many variations & combinations of them) that can be used for SIBO treatment, The Low FODMAP diet, the GAPS diet, the SCD diet & the Cedars Sinai Diet are all worth exploring – but to get good results with these, please seek the guidance of a professional! You may end up disappointed & rule them out as ‘useless’ just because you aren’t experienced enough to get the best out of them.

If you & your health professional aren’t getting the results you’d like with your gut symptoms, look into the possibility of SIBO, especially if you’re one of those people who can’t tolerate probiotics.

*There are some different types of probiotic that seem to be better tolerated / beneficial for SIBO. While many of the typical formulas tend to aggravate – here are a couple that should be ok for most.

Saccharomyces boulardii – this organism is available from many brands. Just ask in the healthfood store / chemist for an ‘SB probiotic’. It is a yeast which can help crowd out the baddies, & it is also really great to use with antibiotics as a preventative for the all-too-common post AB candida overgrowth.

‘Prescript Assist’ – this is a shelf-stable, broad spectrum (29 strains), soil-based-organism probiotic formula that many with SIBO report having success with.  We’ve added it to our website for purchase as it’s hard to find in stores & I get so many people asking for a good probiotic! We’ve read a lot of positive reviews & even done a few internal trials here ourselves, it seems to be a winner!

Click here to try some ‘Prescript Assist’

If you have any specific questions on Probiotics, just send me an email and I’ll try and help further.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Low FODMAP diet – Why you may want to give it a try.

The Low FODMAP Diet doesn’t sound quite as cool as ‘going raw vegan’ or ‘being Paleo’…it’s kinda clunky sounding & hard to remember, let alone explain to people what it’s all about when they ask you! But – it’s worth a look if you’ve never investigated, it may just be the easiest way to take back control over your badly-behaved bowels! Understanding FODMAP’s is a great tool to have in your gut-health belt. Find more on what is a Low FODMAP Diet here. 

The diet is based on keeping levels of potentially irritating / gut reaction-causing carbohydrates to a safe minimum, so that IBS symptoms are reliably kept at bay by food choices, over a short period of time (2-6 weeks on the diet to lessen the symptoms & try to figure out what effects you most).

The Monash University FODMAP team has studied many many foods, their carbohydrate breakdown & their gut effects to find the levels that will generally ‘set sensitive people off’ & levels that are generally well tolerated. When I say ‘generally’ I mean that for MOST IBS patients (around 3/4 of them) the diet helps to control symptoms (sometimes working as quickly as 1-3 days), & also to uncover their ‘worst’ foods, giving a feeling of being back in control. They then know which foods are likely to set them off & which foods they can eat with confidence.

Blend11 has recently been tested & certified by the Monash University Low FODMAP Certification Program to be ‘Low in FODMAP’s’ at the recommended 50g serving size. That goes some way to explaining why it helps so many with their IBS symptoms, & provides another safe option for many – but if you are wanting to follow the Low FODMAP diet strictly to see if it works for you, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when eating Blend11:

  1. make sure that you stick to the 50g serving size
  2. make sure that you’re not adding large amounts of high FODMAP foods to it

The Monash app (download it from the app store) will give you all the FODMAP info on foods like fruit & yoghurt that people typically eat with their Blend11 – you may find it useful to check levels in what you are combining – if you aren’t quite getting the ‘best poos ever’ from just including Blend11 in your diet! Sometimes it can be that you’ll just need to decrease your serving size of one type of fruit at breakfast to keep your tummy flat & comfortable throughout the day, or replace one type of fruit with another.

As an example, here are just a few good things to put with your Blend11 that are ‘low’ – good to know if you’re struggling with gut issues.  Even if you don’t have ‘IBS’ or any serious gut issue, you may be able to see patterns like ‘when I eat too many apples I feel bloated’ or ‘I can have rockmelon but not watermelon’  etc.

Low / safe to combine at an approved qty:

  • Milks / yoghurts etc: almond milk, lactose free dairy yoghurt or coconut yoghurt (just check for high FODMAP additives i.e. sweetener / flavours / fruits / inulin).

Low FODMAP Fruit – should be ok at approved qty’s:

  • kiwifruit
  • pineapple
  • blueberries
  • bananas  
  • grapes
  • rockmelon
  • honeydew melon
  • mandarins
  • oranges
  • passionfruit
  • paw paw
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

High FODMAP Fruits – watch these for possible reactions / IBS aggrevations:

  • mango
  • apple
  • apricot
  • figs
  • dates
  • currants
  • peaches
  • pears
  • nectarines
  • cherries
  • plums

This is only a very short list of highs & lows as an example! I would highly recommend that you go to the app store & get the Monash app if you’re wanting more options – & if you’re going to try the diet properly, make sure you work in with a diet professional.

FODMAP info in this blog post has been sourced directly from the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet (TM) App. 

Love to hear about your experience following a low FODMAP diet too.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

What is a FODMAP?

Should I be avoiding FODMAP ’S too…?

Well first you need to know what they are, & what they can do – then ask yourself that. You may have had friends telling you they are feeling great on a ‘low FODMAP’ diet. Or you might have seen products springing up in supermarkets claiming to be ‘FODMAP friendly’. Do you need to know how many FODMAPS are in your lunch today? Or can you afford to remain ignorant on this one?

Answer this quiz below to see if you need to be worried about FODMAP ‘s…

Never Heard of Them…until now, is this just a new dietary trend?

A Monash university research team developed the low FODMAP diet in 1999. They have proven, through their research that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for many people with symptoms of IBS. The diet has been published in international medical journals and is now widely recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS, go Australia!

What is a FODMAP?

The word ‘FODMAP’ stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. It’s basically just an acronym used to remind us of the complex names of a few ‘problem’ carbohydrates that just would not be practical to keep saying you are avoiding, or to write on menus. ‘Excuse me waiter, is this dish free from Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols?’ FODMAP’s it is!

Why are FODMAP’s so troublesome?

FODMAP’s ‘suck’ fluid (via osmosis) into the small intestine & bowel. They are also easily fermented by our gut bugs – a byproduct of this process is gas. So all that fluid, plus the gas can = bloating & discomfort. It also influences the muscular contractions that keep things progressing through to the ‘finish line’ (hopefully the toilet). This muscular influence can go either way – faster or slower, resulting in diarrhoea or constipation. But…this only occurs seriously in those battling with IBS – in fact, these very symptoms are generally what people walk in to the Dr complaining of – to then be put into the ‘you have IBS’ box.

So how do I know if I could benefit from avoiding FODMAPs?

Start a food diary – ask your body! Simply write down everything you eat & drink (including supplements etc), the time you consume it, & then in a different column – record how your gut is feeling / any symptoms (also with times of day). A pattern should start to emerge, which might point to a few foods as the main culprits for you. You can then check if they are high in any types of FODMAP’s. Some people are super-reactive to some types, but fine with other FODMAPS. There are many resources which can help with this (I’ll give details below).

What foods are they in?

FODMAP
Click the image for a bigger and better viewing.

There are many food lists online, but if you seriously wish to trial the diet (& you should if suffering from any IBS-type gut issues), I’d advise getting the Monash University App (it is very informative & helpful when shopping / planning meals) & uses a traffic light system to really show how much of a certain food you should be able to have in one sitting. It isn’t free, but will be super valuable to anyone struggling to know what they can & can’t eat. Just head to the app store & get it on your phone – or print out a list from another reputable site & stick in on your fridge / pantry / kitchen bench. Remember to take it grocery shopping, or just keep a copy in the car / handbag.

Is the FODMAP diet a permanent thing? Or can you become FODMAP tolerant again?

The team from Monash Uni recommend the diet as a ‘way to find out which foods are setting you off’, so you can gain control over your IBS symptoms – it is a sort of elimination diet, not a lifelong list of things to avoid. Many people will tolerate some of these carbohydrate-types fine, & can reintroduce them once it’s been established that they do not cause any problems, but some foods may always cause issues for individuals, at least without some sort of intervention (i.e. manipulation of gut bacterial population, or other supplementation).

It’s not fair! Why do some people not need to worry at all?

FODMAPs will still pull fluid into a non-IBS-sufferer’s bowel, & will still be fermented by gut bacteria – but for some reason there are people who experience severe symptoms when this is happening…& people who don’t even notice! Why? Nobody seems to know for sure, but if you think about it – the main variables would be 1) the amount & types of bowel bacteria available to ferment the FODMAPs, & 2) the connection between the nervous system & the gut – controlling the muscular contractions etc. If you have loads of FODMAP fermenting-types of bacteria – you’ll get loads of fermentation happening & therefore loads of gas. If you have a nervous system-gut connection that is highly sensitive / reactive – it might be completely freaking out with all these backward & forward messages saying that there is gas / bloating etc happening, & will likely either go on strike or go into overdrive (constipation or diarrhoea)…maybe – there’s still a lot of research to be done here, but my bet is that working on the gut bacteria you have (i.e. stop feeding them so many FODMAPs for a while & starve them out / take herbals & specific pre / probiotics aimed at improving the microbial balance) & supporting your nervous system & brain (i.e. massage, yoga, exercise – whatever de-stresses you) will yield the best results.

TAKE THIS QUICK QUIZ TO SEE IF YOU SHOULD GIVE LOW FODMAP A GO:

(if you answer yes to 1 or more of these Q’s – you’re definitely a candidate!)

1. Do you often get bloated? But with no real foods / triggers / pattern you can put your finger on as the cause?
2. Do you avoid eating out / stick to ‘safe’ foods when you are out & about, for fear you’ll end up with diarrhoea?
3. Do you seem to feel worse when you try to ‘get healthy’ by eating more fruit & veg / high fibre foods?
4. Have you cut out gluten & dairy (& improved) but still aren’t 100%?

If you know anyone who’s been to the Dr & been diagnosed with IBS, but still hasn’t tried this diet – please share, they will thank you – it really helps a lot of IBS folks!

ps – to save you time looking it all up, Blend11 & PondWater are FODMAP friendly, NeoBlend & BallBags are generally not! (Though you may be fine with them depending which FODMAPS you can’t tolerate & which ones you’re ok with).

pps – for any vegans (or big plant eaters) looking to trial a low FODMAP diet – this eBook could be very useful :-)