If you feel stuck on an elimination diet, I have an important PSA for you.
Elimination diets are meant for short-term relief, not for a long-term solution.
You need a professional to guide you through every step of the process – not just proper elimination, but reintroduction, too. Take it from a recent client of mine…
gutTogether client Catherine had been on low-FODMAP for YEARS when she came to me. What was meant to be a short-term tool had turned into her lifestyle, and she felt so trapped (and not to mention, she was still bloated and constipated). She’d been to a practitioner to help with her bloat and constipation, was sent home with a low-FODMAP pamphlet and was never given any advice on how to reintroduce foods.
She was so miserably isolated. She packed her food for every family outing, hardly ate out at restaurants and would just stare at the fridge paralyzed by what she should eat – not to mention, tired of eating the same things! She was desperate to find a solution, but knew that it wasn’t to stay on a long-term elimination.
I told her she was not alone. So many of my clients were stuck on restrictive diets for years in order to manage their bloat and constipation and they were searching for a solution, too.
Catherine had a lightbulb moment when she joined the program as she realized that even on a restrictive elimination diet, she still didn’t feel great. Her fear was holding her back from adding foods back in and it paralyzed her at times. She realized that over the years staying on an elimination diet had actually led her to not only feel worse, but to fear food even more.
Here’s why I don’t recommend restrictive diets long term:
- Long term elimination of FODMAPs specifically will restrict your “good” gut bacteria from the fuel they need to populate your gut
- Long term restriction leads to more food fear, which increases stress and in turn, impacts digestion and slows gut motility
- Long term restriction of fermentable carbohydrates actually SLOWS down gut motility due to the lack of gut bacterial diversity
- Your gut bugs are PICKY. The gut bacteria that like apples are different from the bacteria that like beans.
- Variety in your diet is important for long term digestive health
In my opinion and experience, you cannot repair your gut while on a Low FODMAP or SIBO restricted diet. Restrictive elimination diet’s lead to decreased microbial diversity which is overall critical to having a happy and healthy gut. In individuals with SIBO, low microbial diversity is often found in the intestines. The more diverse your gut ecosystem, the more resilient your ecosystem.
We worked together in my gutTogether program to understand why she was not tolerating foods and what was actually at the root of her digestive issues, so she wouldn’t have to be on a restrictive diet forever! I helped her slowly reintroduce foods, adding much-needed variety back into her diet. Catherine was overjoyed – she never thought she’d be able to enjoy the meals she loved again.
It takes some time to build up tolerance but resilience takes adding in foods, and not taking more foods away. Working on increasing diversity slowly, addressing food fear, and incorporating daily lifestyle habits that help you find relief is the key to long term gut relief.
If you find yourself stuck in Catherine’s situation and are ready to break out of a super-restrictive diet without suffering from digestive discomfort, apply for a limited spot in my program. With proper support, you can find food freedom and relief.