Recently, I received many questions about healing my IBS problems with a ketogenic diet. A?While the diet itself was key in my treatment, there are some other supporting components that contributed (and is still contributing) to my success.
1. Ditch the grains
Yes, I know ita??s hard, but ita??s so worth getting your health turned around. A?Seriously.
Coming from an Italian family, the though of not having bread or pasta with a meal made me sick. Literally.
Fortunately, when following a low-carb diet, grains are virtually removed. A?Be sure to check for additives to products like low-carb bread products, salad dressings, sauces, etc.
2. Test for allergies and avoid them
Unfortunately, getting allergy tests can be expensive and quite frankly, they arena??t always accurate.
Take it upon yourself to remove certain foods from your diet for a small amount of time (a couple weeks a?? month) and then slowly try to reintroduce it.
For me, I could tell the difference in removing gluten/grains in just a few days. A?Dairy is also allergenic for a lot of people, so make sure you test for that and eggs as well.
Fortunately for me, I can tolerate low-lactose dairy just fine (hard cheeses, heavy whipping cream) but more concentrated sources like milk and cream are still no-noa??s for me.
3. Avoid raw vegetables (initially)
From my experience, adding a bunch of raw vegetables to your diet is one of the worst things you can do for someone suffering from IBS. A?They are hard to digest and will likely leave you with painful and unfavorable bowel movements. A?Over time as your gut heals, you may be able to start incorporating these back in.
For beginners however, always cook your vegetables.
4. Use high-quality fats
Saturated fats are extremely helpful with IBS. A?They are a concentrated source of minerals that are easy to digest and absorb within the body.
It is highly recommended that you use the purest forms of fat. A?If you are using animal fat, PLEASE use something that is grass-fed and/or pastured.
If you are using non-animal sources, make sure it is a high quality, virgin and organic brand.
Some great fats to consider include:
- Grass-fed butter/ghee
- Coconut oil
- Grass-fed/pastured animal fat
- Pastured/free-range eggs
5. Get geeky about gelatin
Gelatin has been another important factor in my gut healing. A?Whether you choose to supplement, drink or eat your gelatin, please make sure that you include it.
Gelatin is extremelyA?healing to the gut lining and comes with a whole slue of benefits. A?Ita??s great for your stomach, your hair, skin, nails, joints and even has some protein.
For me, ita??s easiest to take a tablespoon before bed mixed in some water. A?The brand that I use is Great Lakes which is not only grass-fed, but much cheaper than buying the individual packets at the grocery store.
If youa??d prefer getting your gelatin from food, drinking homemade bone broth is an excellent and cost effective way to incorporate it into your diet.
You can even make fun little jello-like treats that are much easier to consume and a lot tastier too!
6. Fermented foods are fantastic
I cana??t stress how significant fermented foods are in this recovery. A?When foods are fermented, they colonize with live bacterias on them. A?This sounds really gross, but this makes them super healthy for the inside of your gut when consumed.
They improve digestion, fight off bad bacteria and raise your immune system. A?Not only are these guys helpful, but they taste fantastic!
So how can you get some naturally fermented foods in your diet Drink kombucha (fortunately for me, therea??s a local place that brews it here in Pittsburgh). A?Ita??s also not hard to make at home if youa??d like to make it yourself!
- Eat fermented vegetables. Sauerkraut, carrots, pickles, olives, etc. Just make sure that theya??re raw and not pasteurized (this kills of all the beneficial bacteria).
- Supplement with probiotic supplements. If you do this, make sure you get the ones that require refrigeration. These ones are actually live!
If youa??re interested learning about fermentation and making your own at home,A?I highly suggest the book Fermented: A Four Seasons Approach to Paleo probiotic foods, written by a fellow Pittsburgher!
Finally, it is important that we destress. You must take the time out of your day and justA?relax.
This can be done in the form of a short walk, meditation, a nap, deep breathing techniques, anything.
With this, also make sure to get adequate sleep. A?Whata??s the proper number? There isna??t one. Sleep until youa??re rested.
* WARNING: If you are easily grossed out by talks of bowels and pooping, you probably shouldna??t read this. A?*
In the beginninga??
When I was nearing the end of elementary school, I started developing very odd digestive issues. A?Every time that I would eat (what seemed like anything), I would immediately have to use the bathroom. A?My stomach would cramp, excessive gas would develop and I would get terrible diarrhea. A?So many times I would have to leave class immediately and pretend I was throwing up, when in reality, all hell was breaking loose in my bowels.
I went through many specialists to try and solve my tummy troubles. A?Without hesitation, they all quickly gave me the diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
a??Oh, you just have a nervous stomach.a??
a?? Youa??re just too stressed, relax a little bit.a??
a??More whole grains, you need more fiber.a??
One physician prescribed me Nexium. Another told me to cut out dairy.
a??How about probiotics?a??
These things would help me initially, but my symptoms always came back within a weeks time.
I had almost completely given up on trying to find proper treatment for IBS that would actually work.
Unexpected Treatment for IBS
Fast forward to March 2013. A?At the time, I had pretty much given up on trying to find something that would cure my stomach issues. A?I found myself constantly choking down at least 3 Imodium everyday just to be able to get through my day comfortably. A?Must have been my a??nervous stomacha?? talking.
In addition to the constant bathroom trips, I was still surprisingly overweight and at the same time trying to shed some excess body fat.
I stumbled upon theA?Ketogenic diet on RedditA?and was amazed at how many people experienced not only weight loss, but their ailments lifted by following a low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet. A?Now, I thought about this way of eating in the past, but just assumed because of my stomach trouble it would make it more unbearable than it already was.
I started the next day.
The first week was rough. A?I had constant diarrhea for a week straight but noticed that it wasna??t uncontrollable like usual. A?Hey, I will take what I can get!
After that initial week, everything started changing. A?For the first time in my life, I woke up in the morning and didna??t (for lack of better words) shit my brains out. A?I made it to work without the need to a??go as soon as I get there or Ia??m going to die.a??
My stool started turning from a brown sludge into nicely formed logs. I was going to the bathroom once per day. I had no gas and my shit didna??t smell like a rotting corpse. A?In fact, for the first time ever, I even went a day without dropping a deuce.
What sorcery was this?!
Where Am I Today?
Since then, Ia??ve been trying to follow a strict ketogenic diet as treatment for my IBS. A?Ia??ve been very successful, but not perfect.
I have slipped up a few times, and Ia??ve definitely paid the price. A?When I have anything that is made of wheat or very high in carbs, I am doomed for the next few days. A?I will develop terrible stomach aches, headaches and night sweats until it is completely out of my system. A?All of this coupled with my old friend, diarrhea.
While the exact causes arena??t quite known yet, I do know that eating gluten has a major effect on my body. A?As mentioned, it makes my stomach explode, induces lethargy, and causes my knee to swell/ache.
I poop once or twice a day, usually a very nice log. A?If I have too much coffee, it will sometimes be watery, but ita??s never an all day, uncomfortable ordeal. A?Ia??m officially down 30 pounds and am full of energy. A?I go out on weekends, have dinner dates and do activities all without a supply of Imodium and the constant fear of shitting my pants.
I am eternally grateful and hope that anyone else with this problem can help solve theirs!
Have you used a ketogenic diet as treatment for IBS? Another ailment?