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How to know if you're having a healthy poop

How to know you’re having a healthy poop

April 27th, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO No Comment yet

How to know you're having a healthy poop

How to know if you’re having a healthy poop

Have you ever wondered about what your poop says about you, and whether you are having a healthy poop? When you have SIBO your bowel habits can be all over the place, frustratingly changing from day to day. Toilet habits can be a taboo subject but your poop says a lot about your overall health. It’s important to know what healthy poop looks like, what should you look out for, what’s good and what might be an indication that there is an area for concern.

This week Lynda Griparic joins The Healthy Gut to share her toilet bowl confessions. Lynda calls herself the ‘poo whisperer’; using her own personal experience with constipation and her qualifications as qualified naturopath, yoga teacher and wellness practitioner, she shares with us what a ‘good’ poop should look like.

Our poop frequency and appearance gives us insight into how well our gastrointestinal tract is functioning and can even indicate if there is a serious disease process taking place.

The Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSFS) is a 7-point scale which has been used in clinical practice to measure stool appearance and bowel transit time (the time it takes for food to move from mouth to anus). There is even a modified 5 point scale Bristol Stool Chart for children.

Most of us are detached from our human “manufacturing”. Investigating only when we feel off, gassy, constipated, bloated or when there’s an uncontrollable urgency to pass poop.

I would like to ask you to do the unthinkable? …Get up close and personal with your poop.

To infuse some fun into this foreign concept, I along with the fabulous illustrator Joel Tarling have created poop characters to help your poop communicate with you better. Bridging the gap between you and your bowel behaviour. Consider me the poo whisperer who gently taps you on the shoulder when you’re not paying attention.

You see, your poop is trying to tell you what’s happening under the human epithelial bonnet. If you listen, it may just save you years of poor health and loads of money spent trying to band-aid treat symptoms.

Would you ignore taking action if your baby didn’t poop for a week or if their movements were explosive and strangely coloured? I didn’t think so.

Then quit ignoring the messages your poop is trying to deliver.

Poop characteristics to look out for

✓ Colour

✓ Texture – formed or loose

✓ Shape



✓Any noticeable bits in it (undigested food, mucus, blood, pus, fat globules)

✓ Does it sink or float?

✓ Smell – mild or foul

✓ Straining or easy to pass

✓ Accompanied by pain

✓Any changes from your normal frequency and appearance?

We are all so wonderfully unique which means that there are many variables to the appearance of our poop. There are however some poopy characters that warrant your attention. Some of these are mentioned below.

The Poo Talent Quest

How to know if you're having a healthy poop

The Rock Star

Looks like pebbles, pellets, rocks, nuts or rabbit poop

Often hard to pass

Feels incomplete and unsatisfying

Medium to dark brown





Could be – dehydration, dysbiosis (gut flora imbalance), stress, IBS, poor diet that lacks sufficient fibre and water. Pellet poop is constipation.

Try upping your fibrous vegetable intake to 3 cups per meal, increase purified water intake to at least 1.5 litres daily and make sure you move your body to help reduce stress and stimulate healthy bowel movements.



How to know if you're having a healthy poopThe Overweight Opera Singer

Lumpy,  large, hard and thick

Difficult to pass, feels like concrete, often accompanied by straining and pain

Stools may contain blood due to tearing of haemorrhoids or anal tears (fissures)

Bowel motions are often infrequent

Medium to dark brown




Could be – constipation, dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle, consuming too much protein which stresses the kidneys and can result in chronic dehydration. Hard dry stools are difficult to pass. Poor diet that lacks sufficient fibre and water.

Aim for one palm portion (excluding your fingers) of quality, unprocessed protein with every meal. Avoid processed meats and processed protein shakes and bars at all costs. Water, fibre and movement will support you here too.

How to know if you're having a healthy poop


The Pop Singer – The Exhibitionist

Likes to expose what she’s eaten

Contains visible undigested food remnants

Colour – varies



Could be – Maldigestion – incomplete or impaired digestion and Malabsorption – poor absorption of nutrients from food, dysbiosis (putrefactive or fermentative), low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) or pancreatic insufficiency.

Start optimising your digestion today by having 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in room temperature water 10-20 minutes before meals, chew food slowly and thoroughly, avoid having large glasses of liquid with meals and use loads of bitter foods and herbs and spices with meals. Learn more about optimising digestion here.



How to know if you're having a healthy poopSmooth Crooner – Da Man

Sausage, S shaped, smooth, long

Well formed

Slides out easily

Pinches off at the end without leaving any debris on the bum

Mild smell, not repulsive

Feels like a complete emptying of the bowels

Sinks slowly

Painless and without blood

Says hello once or twice daily

Medium brown like milk chocolate

You may even experience  Poo-phoria a feeling of euphoria after a bowel movement…It’s a real thing according to gastroenterologist Dr Anish Sheth.




Could be – a healthy poo-ing experience

How to know if you're having a healthy poop




The Tortured Lean Muso

Narrow, skinny, pencil-like stools

May be accompanied by straining

Feels Incomplete






Could be – Infrequent narrow stools is not of huge concern however if experienced often, consult your healthcare practitioner as it may be a sign of bowel obstruction, faecal impaction, or a tumour especially if accompanied with bleeding or severe pain.


How to know if you're having a healthy poop





The Toxic Musician

Can smell foul

Black, tarry (sticky and shiny), bright red, maroon or red





Could be – Black stools may indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, Ulcers etc. Red or maroon blood may be indicative of diverticula, Inflammatory conditions of the colon and rectum, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, Haemorrhoids and Anal fissures, even cancer.

Black or red stools can also be due to medications and supplements such as iron or foods such as black liquorice, squid ink, beets or blueberries. If your stools are black and or tarry seek an evaluation from your healthcare practitioner.

How to know if you're having a healthy poop




The Roadie – The Floater

Floats to the top of the water

Floating stools indicate gas production by bacteria in the colon and is often mistaken for steatorrhea (fatty stools)

Generally light in colour, pale, grey, green or yellow






Could be – malabsorption or excess gas in stool due to certain foods such as sugar, lactose, starch, fibre, lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal infections, Celiac disease or Cystic fibrosis.

Reduce intake of common trigger foods such as gluten, dairy and excess sugar and implement digestion optimization techniques to see whether the floaty behaviour subsides.

How to know if you're having a healthy poop


The Greasy, slimy singer

Contains fat globules (steatorrhoea), mucus or pus

Might be bulky, mushy, greasy or oily and difficult to flush

May have a foul stench and usually floats

An oily anal leakage or faecal incontinence may be present

Pale, light yellow, clay coloured, grey




Could be – Malabsorption and maldigestion. Impaired digestion of fats, poor bile production, an infection or inflammation in the bowel, IBS, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis, leaky gut, chronic pancreatitis, SIBO, cirrhosis, short bowel syndrome or colon cancer especially when associated with blood and pain.

Note – Mucus is produced in the intestines to protect and coat the gut lining.

Avoid harmful man-made fats and reduce excessive overall fat intake, avoid alcohol and gluten and consider having your bowel, gallbladder and pancreas checked.


How to know if you're having a healthy poop



The Love Song Singer

Loose, watery, liquid, diarrhoea

May contain food particles, blood, pus or mucus

May be accompanied by fever, chills, and abdominal pain

More than three watery bowel movements daily.

Colour varies




Could be – dehydration, a virus, bacterial or parasitic infection, food poisoning, nerves, IBS, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, carbohydrate malabsorption such as lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or leaky gut.

Diarrhoea can also be a sign of a type of constipation called bowel overflow where loose stool seeps out around a hard impacted stool. Your body’s desperate attempt to get rid of waste.

Medications and supplements such as magnesium, antacids and laxatives can cause diarrhoea. Diarrhoea dehydrates and upsets our electrolyte balance which weakens the body and should not be left unattended for more than three days.

During this time avoid common trigger foods such as gluten, dairy and excess sugar and make sure you re-inoculate with the appropriate prebiotic and probiotic strain. Consider stool testing if diarrhoea persists.

Poop colour and scent


Medium brown is ideal. Variations from brown may indicate incomplete or impaired digestion.


Green poop often means that food is passing through your digestive tract quickly, which can be a sign that something is not agreeing with your body and it is being removed asap. You may be moving toward diarrhoea. Certain foods and supplements such as leafy vegetables, spirulina and chlorophyll can cause poop to be green too.

Grey, yellow or white

May indicate the presence of mucus and/or a problem with the liver, bile production, gallbladder or pancreas. Certain medications such as antacids and antibiotics may produce white or yellow stools. Yellow stools may also indicate an infection from pathogens such as giardia or be indicative of Gilbert’s syndrome.

Black, tarry (sticky and shiny), bright red or red

Congealed blood is black; fresh blood is red. See The Toxic Musician for more on this.


It is normal for poop to smell, however if the odour is extremely foul, it should not be ignored. Foul smelling stool may be a sign of conditions such as a malabsorption, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, carbohydrate intolerance, food allergies, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, short bowel syndrome and infections (bacterial, viral or parasitic) such as Clostridium Difficile.

Please note that this is a general guide only. The big take home is that if you experience a change in bowel frequency and appearance, don’t ignore it or suffer in silence. Seek professional advice as your poo may be trying to tell you something.

Learn about how to get your poop back to normal with the following article 15 Tricks To Have A Great Poop, Every Time.

Illustrations by Joel Tarling.

SIBO Meal Plans




5 tips for managing anxiety

5 tips for managing anxiety

April 13th, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO 1 comment

5 tips for managing anxiety5 tips for managing anxiety

Anxiety. We’ve all felt it at some point and we all have different reasons why we have it. It could be anxiety about relationships, work, children, busy places, flying, we all have different triggers. When you become sick with a chronic illness such as SIBO, worrying about your health and wellbeing can feel overwhelming and cause anxiety. Our 5 tips for managing anxiety are about helping you to create a more positive outlook on life, seeing the little things and realising their importance.

I know that I found myself feeling anxious, spending time looking at my symptoms, trying to understand the complexities of what was happening to my body, dealing with feeling unwell and trying to manage my life. Those stressors added up to me feeling anxious all the time.

Managing anxiety is one of the biggest reasons that I developed the SIBO: Back to Basics Coaching Program. I believe that having an open forum to talk about any worries and concerns with others and the opportunity to learn more about your condition can really help you confidently tackle SIBO.

This week Kate from The Healthy Gut talks us through her top 5 tips for managing anxiety.

Before we get into my own 5 top tips for managing anxiety I want to reassure you that it is manageable and you will feel better. My own tale of anxiety started when I was pregnant with my second child. I had numerous issues with my pregnancy and was also suffering with severe gut health problems. I was plagued with panic attacks, could barely sleep at night, felt on edge all the time and became irritable over the tiniest things.

My stress about just being fit and healthy enough to be a mummy to two small boys became overwhelming and ended up with me feeling anxious all the time. It took a good friend to recognise that I’d tipped over the edge. She insisted on making me go out for a long walk with our buggies once a week. During this time we’d talk about everything. I’d download all of my worries and so would she. Somehow just verbalising it all helped enormously. Over time I realised that I was coping better, my anxiety had receded and I felt able to cope better with everything.

Anxiety occurs when you’ve been putting all of the things that make you stressed about into a box and not dealing with them. When the box is so full of those stressors that it starts to overflow, and you can start to become anxious. Stress is the cause of anxiety. One doesn’t happen without the other.

If you’re suffering from stress check out our 7 ways to destress with The Healthy Gut team. Dealing with stress before you become anxious is important but once you are already anxious then finding ways to manage anxiety in a way that works for you is key.


5 tips for Managing Anxiety


Talk about it

Talk to friends, family or a professional counsellor. Talking about how you feel can help you to feel the release you need, and enable you to get to a point where you are managing anxiety not just living with it. One on one time or in a small group is best. If you’re feeling emotional, you need to know that someone cares and is listening. It also gives you a chance to hear about someone else’s life, which often helps us to realise that we aren’t alone, or the only ones who have worries and concerns. I try and make sure that at least once a month I schedule some time in with a good friend to just catch up, talk about our lives and vent any of those things that are frustrating or upsetting me. Turn this into something fun. The last time I did this with a girlfriend, we went paddle boarding and made complete fools of ourselves. Laughing together was a massive release.

Just breathe

It sounds simple but stop and think, when was the last time you took a big, deep breath? Try it now, feels good doesn’t it? Breathing is an unusual bodily function in that it is both voluntary and involuntary. Breathing is managed unconsciously, however, when you want to you can be totally in control of it. Controlled deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to come online and counter your sympathetic nervous systems fight or flight response. You can find many apps online for assisting with breathing for relaxation. My own favourite is Breathing Zone. I try and earmark a few minutes a day, usually just before bed, lying comfortably, to breathe consciously. This lowers my blood pressure and puts me in the right frame of mind to get to sleep. If I need a little more support I’ll tune into one of the sleep stories on my Calm app just to completely turn my brain off.

The Healthy Gut Blog - 5 tips for Managing Anxiety

Find your joy

I say to my family all the time, ‘it’s just the little things’ that make us truly joyful. The big joyful events like the birth of a child, marriage, buying your first house, all evoke feelings of joy by a heightened, extreme form of joy. When you are feeling anxious you can struggle to deal with this kind of rollercoaster of emotions. Finding those little things that bring you joy is so important when you are struggling with anxiety. They are the sunshine from behind the clouds, the moments when you will feel like you are managing anxiety and that it’s not managing you.

We all have those little things that make us joyful, so what’s yours? Write a list somewhere you won’t lose it; on your phone, in your diary or just on a piece of paper that you pin on the wall. My own little things are simple and easy to find time for when I need that little shot of joy. I take the time to make myself a really great cup of something warm and drink it mindfully as it’s my treat, I persuade my boys to bundle into bed with me in the morning at the weekend and just be together and sometimes I just crack open a new bottle of bath bubbles and escape to the tub for a while. Whilst it’s not possible to be joyful all the time, those little pockets of joy keep me going when things are hard.

Write your own story

Writing down our problems has long been a recognised way of beginning to chip away at those things that cause you worry and stress. Think about the things that are worrying you and once they are written down spend a little time asking yourself what can be done to resolve any issues or make things better. Chipping away little by little will help you feel more in control.

There is nothing worse than a long ‘to do’ list. If you can’t deal with everything on your list alone then don’t be afraid to share it with friends and family. You might be surprised what help and assistance people come up with. For example when I first moved to a new town with my second son a mere 2 weeks old, I happened to mention to another mum, who I’d never met before, how hard I was finding the school run after a C-section. I was amazed when she offered her help and brought my older son home for me most nights until I felt able to cope again. The kindness of strangers is not to be overlooked. I belong to a couple of gut health forums where I also find the support invaluable.

The Healthy Gut Blog - 5 tips for Managing Anxiety


I remember someone telling me long ago when I was relatively footloose and fancy free that I’d grow to treasure and appreciate a good night’s sleep as I got older. I never knew or appreciated the amazing feeling that comes from a really good night’s sleep, as little disturbed me in those days, sleep came easy.

Now though, on the edge of menopause with depleted oestrogen, kids who think nothing of waking me up no matter the time, worries and stress galore and a snoring husband, I long for those simple days when I went to sleep at 10pm and woke up at 7am. When you’ve slept properly your physical response to anxiety is improved and you’ll find that you are managing anxiety better as your cortisol (stress hormone) has had a chance be regulated while you sleep.

My tips for better sleeping better are:

✓ Establish a regular bedtime ritual

A regular bedtime, a cup of herbal tea, magnesium tablets, whatever works for you.

✓ Take time to wind down and switch off 

Turn your devices off and leave them out of the bedroom. Sometimes a warm (not hot) bath helps too, have you tried Epsom salts?

✓ Make sure your bedroom is sleep friendly

Dimmable lighting or a lamp, your favourite bed linen and a tidy room can all help.

✓ Keep a sleep diary

What disrupted your sleep? Diet or emotions for example, what can you do to improve this.

The important thing to remember is that everyone feels anxious from time to time; you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out, there are so many ways to connect with people. Take our Facebook Page; SIBO Bi Phasic Diet Recipes. It’s so great to see people sharing ideas and helping each other. There’s a real sense of community and of supporting one another.

Get the support you need to live well with SIBO


7 signs that your IBS may be SIBO

7 signs that your IBS may be SIBO

April 4th, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO No Comment yet

7 signs your IBS may be SIBO

7 signs that your IBS may be SIBO

This month is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month and today we cover the 7 signs that your IBS may be SIBO.  So what is IBS and why are we interested in it? IBS can feel like a life sentence those who are diagnosed with it, as they are often told it can only be managed, not cured. IBS is a broad classification for people experiencing digestive discomfort that cannot be diagnosed and is said to affect 10-15% of people in the developed world. In Australia is estimated to affect 5 million people, while in the US, over 100 million Americans are predicted to have digestive discomfort.  People who have been diagnosed with IBS can experience abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, food sensitivities,  and/or abdominal pain or discomfort. It is twice as common in women as men, typically occurring before the age of 45. In conventional medicine, there is no known cure.

There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel for those with IBS. A relatively unknown condition, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is estimated to be the underlying cause of IBS on average in 60% of cases, with one study demonstrating 84% of IBS patients tested positive for SIBO.  So how can you tell if  SIBO may be the underlying cause of your IBS and digestive woes? Check out the following 7 signs that your IBS may actually be caused by SIBO.

1. Bloating

Have you ever had to undo your belt buckle because your gut has bloated, sometimes to the extent that you look pregnant? Bloating is a very common symptom of SIBO and is caused by gasses being released by the bacteria in your small intestine, as they ferment and digest your food.

2. Abdominal pain and cramps

Unexplained pain and cramping commonly occurs with SIBO and can leave you feeling miserable and very uncomfortable.

3. Constipation

Have you noticed that you don’t have daily bowel movements? Or perhaps you don’t feel like you have fully emptied your bowels when you have been to the toilet. The excess bacteria in your small intestine can disrupt the regular movement of the bowel, called the Migrating Motor Complex, which can lead to constipation.

4. Diarrhoea

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some people experience regular diarrhoea with SIBO because their gut is overstimulated. Not only is this unpleasant, it also makes outings difficult as you are left worrying about where the closest toilet is.

5. Gas and wind

Feeling gassy? This is another common symptom of SIBO. The gasses that can make you belch and suffer from flatulence are created by the bacteria as a bi-product of them eating and fermenting your food. The small intestine isn’t designed to be full of gas, so it needs to escape, often going up or down.

6. Food intolerances or sensitivities

The excess bacteria in your small intestine can result in you becoming intolerant or sensitive to foods. Have you noticed that foods you once ate with abandon now cause any or all of the symptoms listed above? Or maybe something in your regular diet has caused a rash/hives?

7. Restless leg syndrome

Have you ever felt like your feet and legs are full of ants and you want to rip them off or kick them until the sensation stops? Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is commonly experienced by people who have SIBO. It is believed that the damage to the gut lining, caused by the SIBO, increases the likelihood of RLS occurring.

So what can you do about it?

An easy first step is to take this free quiz by SIBOtest. By answering a few questions, it will tell you the likelihood of you having SIBO.  

From there it’s important to find a practitioner who understands this condition. SIBOtest have a useful Practitioner list, helping you find someone near you in Australia and New Zealand.  Your practitioner can arrange a simple breath test for you to carry out at home, which will indicate whether you have excess bacteria in your small intestine. If the results come back positive, they can then develop a treatment program for you to reduce the excess bacteria in your small intestine while also repairing any damage to your intestinal tract.

Common SIBO treatment options include antibiotics, herbal antibiotics or a specially formulated liquid diet called The Elemental Diet. In conjunction with these treatments, a modified diet is followed to reduce the foods the bacteria love to consume and ferment. 

If you’d like to find out more then head to our helpful two part blog on what you need to know about SIBO, Part 1 and Part 2.

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Getting SIBO breath test results

Getting my SIBO breath test results

February 18th, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO 31 comments

Getting SIBO breath test results

Last week I shared with you why I was re-testing for SIBO, three years after my original diagnosis.  It was quite a strange feeling, going through the prep diet when I thought I’d never have to do it again.  I felt nothing as I did the test, which perhaps gave me a false sense of security, as when I originally did it, I was quite gassy and had diarrhoea by the end of the 3-hour window.

I tried not to think about the impending results too much, but the inevitable day came where my Naturopath told me the results were in.

The Results

And the verdict is…. my SIBO has returned.

A little part of me felt really sad.  I’ve done so much work on my health over these past 3 years that I had hoped I would be able to keep it away.  But my sensible brain quickly took over, reminding me that my abdominal cavity is full of adhesions, and my ileocecal valve is caught up in them.  It would actually be a miracle if I didn’t have SIBO return.  Instead, what I have had is 3 years of amazing health.  I’ve been healthier and felt better these past 3 years than I’ve ever felt before in my life.  So all is not wasted.

I know you’ll be eager to hear what my results were.  I have hydrogen dominant SIBO.  I have no methane SIBO whatsoever, which I find interesting because I do veer towards constipation rather than diarrhoea.  But I’ve never really fit the mould, so why should I start now?  (Hydrogen dominant SIBO is generally categorised by diarrhoea in patients).  My numbers also peaked higher than they did on the original test.  I am intrigued by this because this bought of SIBO has been around for less time than the original critters.

My Treatment Plan

My naturopath has put me on the following supplements.  But before I share them with you, I want to remind you that what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, so do seek the advice of a qualified practitioner who has experience treating SIBO to work out which protocol is best for you. The SIBO Test website is a great place to find a SIBO practitioner if you need help finding one.

MotilPro – this prokinetic worked well for me last time and will help support me to get my small intestine flushing food and waste through it

Berberine and Bactrex – These two pocket rockets are commonly used to treat hydrogen SIBO.  I will be alternating them so that my body doesn’t get used to either of them.  I’ll do 4-5 days on one, then swap to the other.  I also have to start out at a low dosage, as I can be quite sensitive to the herbs.  I will slowly increase the dosage over several days until I’m confident I can tolerate the full strength dosage.

Candibactren – Due to my intense sugar cravings after eating sugar at Christmas, my naturopath suspects SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth) might be at play. I will take this once I’m established on the SIBO protocol and any die-off has occurred. I will monitor how I feel (if I have SIFO I should feel clearer in the head and my sugar cravings should disappear). If I feel markedly improved, then this will tell us there’s a fungal component too and we’ll treat that as well.

Zinc – My uBiome Explorer results indicated hydrogen sulphide SIBO might be at play. Zinc binds to hydrogen sulphide so if I do have critters who are producing it, this will help.  If not, zinc is good for overall health so won’t harm me.

What’s Next?

I will re-test in 4-6 weeks to see if the treatment has been effective at lowering my hydrogen numbers. Last time I went through my SIBO treatment, I was rigid with my diet, following the SIBO Bi Phasic Diet to the letter.  This time, I’m being more relaxed as I don’t want to end up fearing food like I did last time.  I’m working with Dr Jason Hawrelak on the health of my broader microbiome and am aiming for 40+ plant-based foods per week.  If you’d like to count how many plant-based foods you eat each week, grab a copy of my Plant-Based Weekly Food Tracker.

Most importantly, I am about to commence work on one of the underlying causes of my SIBO: adhesions.  Alyssa Tait from Equilibria Health in Brisbane, Queensland will be doing 4-hours of visceral mobilisation therapy on me in March.  I suspect I will require many more hours to improve the structure of my abdominal area, but I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel after 4-hours with her. I interviewed Alyssa for The Healthy Gut podcast. Check out the podcast if you would like to learn more about adhesions or visceral mobilisation.


SIBO: Back to Basics Coaching Program

SIBO Coaching Program

The start of the year is a great time to set some new intentions and goals around getting your health back on track.  I’m excited to announce the launch of the SIBO: Back to Basics Coaching Program. Over the next 12 weeks, I’ll be guiding you through my 5 Key Pillars to Health and why they have been vital to my own journey with SIBO, and how they will be an integral step in your recovery. Join me and other SIBOers for an educational, fun and interactive coaching program, as I show you how you can take back control so SIBO doesn’t ruin your life.

Learn more here >>

Why I'm re-testing for SIBO by Rebecca Coomes

Why I’m re-testing for SIBO

February 2nd, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO 3 comments

Why I'm re-testing for SIBO

In January 2015 I was diagnosed with SIBO. By July 2015 I had received my all-clear diagnosis.  For the past 3 years, I’ve immersed myself in all things gut health, with a particular focus on trying to understand why I developed SIBO in the first place.

Over the past few years, I’ve changed my life considerably.  I’ve cleaned up my diet, stopped drinking alcohol regularly, and invested a lot of time, energy and finances on recovering my health. This past December I went away for Christmas, staying with my partner’s family.  I have been able to eat a bit of gluten, dairy and sugar on occasion since clearing my SIBO, so I decided I would eat what was available rather than making special meals for myself. Anyone with SIBO knows the drudgery of being that person who has to eat special meals. After a while, you get sick of it, and I just wanted to feel like a regular person without any dietary restrictions.

Rebecca Coomes SIBO test

Me with my SIBO test kit from

After 10 days of eating gluten, dairy, sugar and drinking waaaaay more alcohol than I’m used to, I was feeling pretty rotten.  It’s not surprising, as those things are quite toxic to the body and I was asking my body to process them every day.  I was bloating most days (hello 6 months pregnant looking woman!), I had horrible heartburn by the end of the holiday, I felt exhausted and cranky, and my constipation had returned.  I was extremely conscious of how I was feeling and was concerned my SIBO had returned.  At the same time, I was watching with interest.  I see myself as a science experiment of one, and I like to test things out and see how I handle them.

In early January I had the results from my uBiome Explorer test come back.  I also had a long-awaited appointment with the amazing Dr Jason Hawrelak, and I booked in to see my naturopath Natalie Cruttenden so I could discuss how I’d felt over the Christmas break.  My uBiome Explorer results showed my gut diversity is sitting at 62%.  It could be worse, but I’ve got a lot of work to do to feed some of those bacteria colonies to improve my diversity score.  To do that, I need to increase my prebiotics and certain foods, which don’t make you feel good when you have SIBO. Check out my wrap-up video on what my treatment plan is.

We all agreed that the first step for me would be to re-test for SIBO.  That way we would know if it was safe to proceed with the increase in prebiotic foods, or if the first step would be to clear the overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine. Dr Jason Hawrelak also wanted me to test for coeliac disease. I’ll be sharing a future blog about this.

Why I’m retesting for SIBO

Since my original diagnosis, I have been on a steep learning curve, trying to uncover why I developed SIBO.  I even flew myself to the US to attend the SIBO Symposium Conference and the Synergy Integrated SIBO Conference.  While I was at the SIBO Symposium, I listened to Larry Wurn from Clear Passage Physical Therapies speak about the role adhesions play in SIBO development and relapse.  Larry was my light bulb moment.  I nearly burst into tears, as I realised I was most likely full of adhesions after several abdominal surgeries and inflammation from endometriosis and SIBO.  I have since had Larry Wurn assess me and confirm I do have adhesions, with a large mass, the size of a head of broccoli, sitting around my ileocecal valve. If you suspect adhesions could be an issue for you, check out my interview with Larry and Belinda Wurn where they explain what they are, how they form and how they treat them.

This little valve plays an important role and sits at the juncture of the small and large intestine. It should stop bacteria and matter from flowing back up from the large intestine into the small intestine, but in people like me, it can be prevented from doing its job.  Thus, I am more prone to SIBO relapses while those adhesions remain present.

Lactulose SIBO breath test kit

My lactulose SIBO breath test kit ready to go on the day of testing

Because I now know I have adhesions, it’s even more important for me to remain vigilant about how I’m feeling.  SIBO symptoms can return quickly with a vengeance, or they can slowly creep up on you, like they have for me.  The results of the SIBO breath test will be extremely interesting.  Has my change in diet and lifestyle helped support my small intestine enough to remain SIBO-free, or have my adhesions put it back to where it was?

I’ll be sharing my progress as I discover my results.  Make sure you’ve signed up to receive my blogs as I release them, so you can be the first to know if I’m SIBO free or not.

The most important thing for me is not whether I have SIBO, but that I now have the knowledge to know what to do about it.  I won’t see a positive breath test result as being a massive step backwards, but a reminder that my journey to improved health is ongoing, and that I’ve got other work to do (like treatment on my adhesions this coming March).  I’m not the scared woman I was 3 years ago, fearing I was on my way to cancer.  Today, I’m strong and empowered and approach my health with interest and intrigue.  I love that I am my own walking science experiment and that my body is encouraging me to continue learning long after I left school.

Rebecca x

Want to learn more about SIBO?

Integrative SIBO Conference 2018

Registrations are now open for the 2018 Integrative SIBO Conference.  Held on 7-8 April 2018 in New Orleans, you can attend in person or via webinar.

Read more here >>


SIBO New Year's Resolutions

How to set successful SIBO new year’s resolutions

January 9th, 2018 Posted by Blog, SIBO No Comment yet

SIBO New Year's Resolutions

At the start of every new year, people all around the world set resolutions for the year ahead.  Yet by the 3rd week of January, many people have given up. By the end of February, the majority of people have completely stopped and by the following December, many people are back to where they were, or worse off than before. 2018 can be a great year for you, one where you achieve your SIBO goals. We’re sharing our top 11 tips on how to set successful SIBO New Year’s Resolutions so you can make this your best year yet.

What happens when we set resolutions?

Let’s pause a moment and think about what we need to do to change our behaviour. Successfully achieving a new year’s resolution means forming new habits, and to do that we need to re-wire our brain. Habits are caused by thinking patterns which in turn create neural pathways and memories. These neural pathways are like highways which we travel along every day. We often don’t think about them, because we’re so used to doing them. Some common habits include brushing your teeth and showering. These activities are so commonplace in your everyday routine, that you barely spare a thought doing them.

If we have a habit that we want to change, thinking about not doing it only strengthens the pathway. Instead, we need to crowd it out with a new thought and neural pathway, such as the new habit you want to create.

Why do resolutions fail?

Given so many people set new year’s resolutions, it’s important to know why so many of them fail. The most common reasons include:

✓ They’re unrealistic

✓ They’re not well defined

✓ People aren’t ready to change their habits

✓ The worse the habit, the harder it is to change

✓ People put everything on hold until they achieve their resolution

✓ People didn’t have the right mindset

✓ People have had poor time management. A common expression is ‘life got in the way’

✓ There are too many distractions

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can set resolutions that will be successful for you in 2018.

How to set successful SIBO resolutions

Past, present, future

1. Forget the failures of the past

We cannot change the past, but we can influence our future.  If you set yourself goals for 2017 but didn’t achieve them, look at what you can learn from that experience.  Read through the following 10 items and identify what you can improve upon this year.

2. Set one resolution

You are more likely to achieve success if you focus on one thing rather than several. If you must choose more than one resolution, ensure they meet all of the criteria in this list. Ask yourself: is it realistic that you can succeed in all of these areas? From a mindset perspective, achieving success in one area makes us feel much better than only achieving minimal success, or even failure, in lots of areas. In 2017, Rebecca focussed on improving the health of her back. She had been in chronic pain from it for years, but her gut had always taken priority. With her gut in much better shape, she went into 2017 just focusing on her back. She found new practitioners who specialised in backs and worked with them every week for the entire year. Today, she is out of chronic pain and able to move freely. She feels she achieved great success, and credits the fact that it was her sole motive for the year.

3. Make it SMART

In business, we talk about setting SMART goals when measuring performance.  Setting personal goals should be no different.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. After dealing with chronic SIBO for many months or years, you may have found yourself moving your body less than you would like to.  A SMART goal could be that you want to run a 10km fun run in October. To achieve this you may start walking 3 days a week and build up to interval running, before slowly increasing your distance, time and speed until you are running the full 10km. The goal is specific. You can measure it. Did you run the race and the 10km? Yes or no.  You have allowed yourself enough time to build up to it (10 months) so it is achievable and realistic, and by setting a date and writing it in your calendar, you have a clear time frame to work with.

Setting intentions

4. Focus on the intention rather than the outcome

Psychologist Dr Vanessa Thiele recently coached members of the SIBO Coaching Program and discussed the importance of focussing on the intention rather than the outcome.  For many people with SIBO, a goal of being free from SIBO may be unrealistic.  Instead, when we focus on the intention, we can re-frame it as ‘this year I will eat healthy and nutritious food that will nourish my body and support it to heal from SIBO‘ rather than ‘by 31st December I will be free from SIBO‘.  Eliminating the overgrowth from your small intestine will be an enormous achievement, but if every day you made the decision to nourish your body in a way that it needs, you will be helping it to recover.

5. Identify any obstacles

Are there any roadblocks that will prevent you from achieving your resolutions? Assess your environment and identify what they could be, and how you plan to mitigate them.  You may be looking to improve the quality of your sleep in 2018.  Some roadblocks to this could be high levels of stress, which leave your system flooded with cortisol and adrenaline, making it impossible to sleep at night, or ensuring you to wake at 2 am with the world’s worries resting on your shoulders. You may choose to mitigate this with 15-minutes of meditation every morning and night, turning off all electronic equipment 1-hour before bed and removing all electronic devises from your bedroom so you’re not tempted to check Facebook in the middle of the night.

6. Take Responsibility

The only person who can make you achieve your resolution is you.  Others can support, encourage and guide you on the journey, but you are the only one who can make the changes to your life.  If you are prone to blaming other people or circumstances for your situation, look at what you could do differently to take control.

Female friends buddies

7. Find a Buddy

It is well documented that when people have a support system in place, they are far more likely to achieve their goals than if they try to go it alone. Could a friend or family member be your buddy?  If you feel there is no one there to support you, head to one of the many SIBO online support groups and ask for help. The Healthy Gut Facebook page is a great place to start.  You might like to buddy up with one person, or create a group of people who are all trying to achieve the same goals.  Agree how often you will check in with each other, and be willing to hear some tough love if your buddy can see you’re slipping and reverting to old habits.

8. Celebrate mini milestones

For many people, their big new year’s resolution is a huge change in their life, which can take many months, if not the full year, to achieve.  When we can break our big resolution down into mini milestones, which we celebrate, it can motivate us to keep going.  If we think about running in a 10km race, some milestones could be: running your first 1km without stopping, moving your body 4 days a week for 1 month, running 5km without stopping and ultimately completing the race.  Set some rewards for each milestone. They may include going shopping for new running shoes, a massage, a pedicure, or a completely new exercise outfit.

9. Write It Down

In a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, people who regularly wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them than those who just thought about them. When we write down our goals we engage both the left and right hand side of our brain.  This sends a signal to the brain that we mean business and are serious about achieving it. It also allows our subconscious brain to get to work, looking for solutions for our problems (our yet to be achieved resolutions).

Reset button

10. Focus on the present

We can’t control the past and the future hasn’t occurred yet.  But we can have an impact on today.  Treat each day as a new day, almost as if you have set the reset button.  If yesterday didn’t go according to plan, leave it in the past and don’t carry it into your present. If you’re a visual person, you may like to print out our reset button and stick it on your bathroom mirror.  That way, every morning you can literally hit reset to help you start the day.

11. Have fun

Look at how you can make achieving your resolution enjoyable.  The more fun you have achieving it, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Let us help you achieve your resolutions

2 for 1 SIBO cookbook sale

Is your resolution to get back on track with your SIBO diet?  The SIBO Cookbooks are jam packed full of delicious SIBO friendly meals, helping you to get back on track in no time.  Until Sunday 21st January 2018, buy one hard copy book and get the 2nd for free.  You might like to buy 1 SIBO Summer Cookbook and then you get the SIBO Family Favourites Cookbook absolutely free.  Maybe you have a friend who would like to join you.  You can buy 2 SIBO Family Favourites Cookbooks and only pay for one.  Simply enter B1G12018 at checkout. This offer is not available on electronic editions.

US & Canada Orders >>

Australia & Rest of World Orders >>

The Ultimate SIBO Christmas Gift Guide

SIBO Christmas Gift Guide

December 7th, 2017 Posted by Blog, SIBO 1 comment

The Ultimate SIBO Christmas Gift Guide

Shopping for Christmas presents for someone with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or any of the other gut disorders can seem overwhelming. We have compiled the feedback from SIBO patients themselves who told us exactly what they want this festive season.  There’s a range of gift ideas listed below in our SIBO Christmas Gift Guide, from super practical kitchen devises to pamper sessions.  Regardless of who you’re shopping for this year, we’ve got you covered.

The Ultimate SIBO Christmas Gift Guide

To make it easy for you, we’ve listed our favourite SIBO friendly gifts below in categories so you can search them and find the ultimate gift (or gifts).  Have any other suggestions?  Pop them in the comments below.

Pampering, Relaxing and Therapeutic

The Ultimate SIBO Christmas Gift Guide

Having SIBO is super stressful so anything you can do to help your loved one relax will be hugely appreciated.

✓ Relaxation massages (we love Endota Spa in Australia for their sublime massages)

✓ Spa treatments

✓ Acupuncture sessions or an acupressure mat

✓ Gift card to a yoga studio or 1 on 1 yoga tuition

✓ Essential oils (how cool is this festive essential oil blend by Black Chicken) and a diffuser

✓ A subscription to a meditation program or app (Rebecca uses 1Giant Mind and HeadSpace)

✓ Hydrotherapy sessions

✓ Sessions with a health psychologist

✓ Infrared sauna sessions

✓ A squatty potty or any other toilet stool

✓ The My Calm weighted blanket

✓ A heating pad (we like this one) can be really soothing for a sore, painful body

All Things Food

SIBO Cookbooks

✓ You can’t go past the world’s first dedicated SIBO Cookbooks by Rebecca.  Choose from the SIBO Family Favourites, SIBO Summer and SIBO Christmas Cookbooks. Available in Australian editions and US editions.  Order before 14 December to have yours delivered in time for Christmas

✓ Health food store gift voucher

✓ Low FODMAP bone broth, like the GutRxGurus broth (available in the US) and Best of the Bone broth (available in Australia)

✓ Membership to the GutRxGurus low fermentable recipe website

✓ A food hamper full of low FODMAP and SIBO friendly foods (FODY make a great low FODMAP range of foods)

A kitchen garden box by fellow SIBOer Kyrstie Barcak (so you can grow SIBO friendly veggies)

✓ A gift voucher to a SIBO Shopping Tour with Rebecca

✓ Herbal teas like ginger, peppermint or fennel

✓ Anyone with SIBO finds themselves cooking a lot more, so getting a range of flours (nut flours, coconut flour, etc.), subscription to organic fruit and veg (like from our friends at Organic Angels), or grass-fed meat home delivery (like ButcherBox) can save a heap of time and money


Kitchen Equipment

Kitchen equipment

Find out what your SIBO gift recipient needs in the kitchen to make their life a little easier, and surprise them with a new kitchen gadget or piece of equipment.

✓ Yoghurt maker (this is the one Rebecca uses)

✓ Yoghurt culture (we love this one by Kultured Wellness)

✓ A slow cooker or crockpot

✓ Glass food storage containers like these, so you don’t get any nasties from plastic seeping into your food

✓ A juicer to make fresh vegetable juices

✓ A spiralizer to make veggie noodles (Rebecca has this one)

✓ An insulated lunch bag (pick a funky colour that matches the person you’re buying for)

✓ A good set of knives can make cooking so much more enjoyable



✓ Comfortable pants (trousers) with a stretchy waist that can accommodate bloating

✓ Warm and snuggly robe

✓ Stretchy underwear (these might technically be ‘maternity wear’ but are great for bloated bellies)



SIBO Coaching Program

✓ A subscription to the SIBO Coaching Program

✓ Access to the SIBO SOS Summit I and SIBO SOS Summit II videos

✓ Access to the Better Belly Project videos

✓ A 1 on 1 SIBO coaching session with Rebecca Coomes

✓ Download all of the episodes of The Healthy Gut podcast onto their phone. It’s both educational and free!



✓ Book a session with one of the top SIBO docs, like Dr Allison Siebecker, Dr Steven Sandberg-Lewis, Dr Mark Pimentel, Dr Nirala Jacobi or any of the other great docs who are treating SIBO

✓ Cover the cost of the medications/herbs/supplements. They will seriously love you for this!


Beauty and Skincare

Ecology skincare moisturisers

The skin can be problematic when someone has SIBO, so using natural beauty and skincare products can help sooth the skin and ease inflammation.

✓ Natural moisturisers like Ecology Skincare are perfect for sensitive skin (Rebecca has been using these for several years now and loves them)

✓ Natural deodorants like Schmidt’s (why not get this handy 3-pack as a great gift idea?)

What are some of your favourite SIBO Christmas gift ideas?  Share them in the comments below.



Need SIBO friendly Christmas Recipes?

The SIBO Christmas Cookbook is jam-packed with delicious SIBO friendly recipes that are perfect for your Christmas celebrations.  Enjoy delicious appetizers and entrées, perfect vegetable sides and accompaniments, mouth-watering desserts and gorgeous gifts and baked goods.  All recipes contain AU and US ingredient names, temperatures and measurements.  Available immediately via email download.

Order today >>

SIBO Christmas eCookbook

How To Recover From Thanksgiving Overindulgence

How To Recover From Thanksgiving Overindulgence

November 25th, 2017 Posted by Blog, SIBO No Comment yet

How to recover from thanksgiving overindulgence

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but for those with SIBO and other digestive disorders, it can also be a minefield.  If you threw caution to the wind this Thanksgiving, you may well be feeling the ill effects today.  Symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, rashes, gas and belching can be all too common for people with digestive issues after a day of excess. You can’t undo what you ate for Thanksgiving,  but you can control what you do today.  We’ve shared our top tips on how to recover from Thanksgiving overindulgence below.

How To Recover From Thanksgiving Overindulgence


1. Remember: It’s Only Temporary

It may feel like the world is ending today, but take heart in the knowledge that a reaction to food is only temporary.  It can last from a few hours to a few days, but it will subside. You won’t be stuck in this state for eternity.


2. Drink Plenty Of Water

You’ve heard it before, but water is a key ingredient to keeping your system hydrated and helping to move the food along.  Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water throughout the day.  If you’ve been dealing with diarrhoea, put a small pinch of sea salt into your water.  This will help you absorb the depleted minerals more easily.


3. Eat Calming Foods

If your system is inflamed, choose foods that you know are easy on your digestive tract.  Go for well-cooked vegetables that you can tolerate.  You may even like to mash or purée them to make it even easier for your gut to handle.  Soups made from broths (chicken meat or beef/lamb bones) with well-cooked vegetables and some protein can be soothing and easy to digest. Choose grass-fed organic meat and poultry or high-quality fish or seafood.  If you can tolerate them, ensure you’ve got plenty of good fats in your diet today, such as olive oil, macadamia oil, ghee, tallow or lard.  Be aware that eating leftovers can increase your histamine load, and put you at risk of going into a histamine flair.  To be safe, eat freshly cooked food while your system calms down. And be mindful of your portion sizes.  Go for smaller portions to reduce the load on your gut.


4. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be beneficial when the digestive system is inflamed.  Choose a fasting window that suits you.  You may like to fast for 15 hours and eat in a 9-hour window.  You may like to eat 1 meal for the day and fast for the rest.  You may even like to do a water fast for 24 hours, where all you consume is water.  Listen to your body and choose an intermittent fasting window that works for you.


5. Supplements

There are some great supplements that can be beneficial when calming down a temporary flair.  Dr Allison Siebecker has a wealth of information on her website about the types of supplements that can be beneficial. Things like activated charcoal and iberogast can be useful for bloating, magnesium citrate or oxide can be useful for constipation and ginger can provide relief from nausea. However, be mindful that when you’re in a flair, you may be more sensitive to supplements, so start with small doses to test your system can cope with them.


6. Exercise Gently

Gently moving your body can help flush the toxins out of your system and can help you feel better.  Go for a leisurely stroll or if you have an indoor heated swimming pool nearby, head there and do some gentle laps.  A relaxing yoga class could be restorative or even tai chi. But don’t overdo it.  High intensity exercise can be stressful for the body, so treat it carefully and allow it to recover.


7. Rest and Relax

The more you stress about how you’re feeling, the worse you will feel.  Be kind and allow yourself time to rest and relax.  When we go into a flair, our system is on full alert.  Things like meditation (we love the 1 Giant Mind free meditation app), deep breathing, napping, listening to relaxing music, reading a good book under a comfy blanket, or a warm bath with epsom salts can be great ways to rest and relax your body.


8. Get To Bed Early

Your body needs time to recover so ensure you get to bed nice and early.  Turn off all electronic devices 2 hours before bed, avoid caffeine a few hours before bedtime, and don’t do anything too stimulating, like watching a scary movie right before bed.  A warm (not hot) shower can also help you to fall asleep.


9. Get Back On Track

Thanksgiving is one day of the year and doesn’t need to see you fall off the wagon completely.  Acknowledge that it is in the past and that you can make wise food choices from today onwards.  The quicker you can get back into your regular way of eating, the easier it will be on your digestive system.  Many people find it helpful to plan their food for the week ahead so they know they won’t be tempted to eat off plan.  Download our free Meal Planner to organise next week’s meals.



Want SIBO Friendly Christmas Recipes?

SIBO Christmas eCookbook

Don’t feel deprived this Christmas!  The SIBO Christmas eCookbook is bursting with SIBO-friendly appetisers, sides, desserts and sweet treats.  All recipes are based on the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet by Dr. Nirala Jacobi ND and clearly list what phase they are suitable for.

All recipes are 100% gluten-free and soy-free.  There are dairy-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and low FODMAP options available. Recipes list AU and US measurements, temperatures and ingredient names.

Order today >>


Eating Fruit and Veg in season for SIBO

How to buy SIBO fruit and vegetables in season

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog, SIBO 5 comments

The Healthy Gut blog - Eating fruit and veg in season with SIBO

How to buy SIBO fruit and vegetables in season

Eating with the seasons is something that we can tend to forget in this day and age of convenience. If you want strawberries in the middle of winter, simply head to your local supermarket and there they are on the shelf, shipped from far away. Often harder on your wallet than when they are in season, but available all the same. Yet compare a strawberry that has come from the other side of the world to that of one grown locally, in season, and you’ll see why eating in season tastes so much better. 

Synchronising your diet with the seasons is certainly not a new concept, indeed it was a necessity for our ancestors. These days much of our food supply reflects the technological changes that have occurred in farming and food has been engineered for efficiency and convenience, rather than entrusted to nature and the seasons.

The benefits that I see from eating seasonally include taste, better nutrient content, diversity, price, environment and the sense of community I feel from supporting my local food market and other independent food producers that work with the seasons. Look for businesses like our friends at Organic Angels who produce amazing organic seasonal produce boxes. If you’d like to know more about switching to organic and why it might be a good idea listen to The Healthy Gut Podcast with Nicole Robins on going organic. And if you’re super keen, you can learn how to grow your own fruit and veg at home with Kyrstie Barcak from A Fresh Legacy. Check out her handy growing guide.

So what SIBO friendly fruit, vegetables and herbs are available when? I’ve put together a list of the foods you can eat on the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet to make eating seasonally even easier to do.

The Healthy Gut - How to eat fruit and veg in season


My favourite month, bringing with it the promise of renewal and more fresh produce. Gone are the cold days and the need for warming foods. By this time of the year I’m normally ready to eat lighter meals and I become inspired by the change of available produce. At this time of year I love heading to my local fresh food market and seeing the bright, beautiful colours reappearing after the winter months. You will find me keeping my food simple, as I let the flavours shine through. I adore a little pile of green beans alongside my meals, simply dressed in a little olive oil with a few toasted flaked almonds scattered across them.

SIBO Vegetables SIBO Fruit SIBO Herbs
✓ Artichoke ✓ Avocado ✓ Basil
✓ Asparagus ✓ Banana ✓ Chervil
✓ Beetroot/beet ✓ Blueberries ✓ Chilli
✓ Bok choy ✓ Cantaloupe ✓ Chives
✓ Broccoli ✓ Cherries ✓ Coriander
✓ Brussels sprouts ✓ Cumquat ✓ Dill
✓ Cabbage ✓ Grapefruit ✓ Ginger
✓Capsicum/pepper ✓ Honeydew ✓ Kaffir lime leaves
✓ Carrots ✓ Kiwi fruit ✓ Lemongrass
✓ Cauliflower ✓ Lemon ✓ Mint
✓ Celery ✓ Lime ✓ Oregano
✓ Cucumber ✓ Lychee ✓ Parsley
✓ Eggplant ✓ Mandarin ✓ Rosemary
✓ Fennel ✓ Orange ✓ Sage
✓ Green beans ✓ Pineapple ✓ Tarragon
✓ Leek ✓ Melon ✓ Thyme
✓ Lettuce ✓ Rhubarb
✓ Parsnip ✓ Strawberries
✓ Peas
✓ Pumpkin/squash
✓ Radish
✓ Salad leaves/greens
✓ Silverbeet
✓ Spinach
✓ Spring onions/scallions
✓ Tomato
✓ Watercress
✓ Witlof
✓ Wombok
✓ Zucchini/courgette


The Healthy Gut - How to eat fruit and veg in season


The most bounteous of the seasons, summer is the time to eat fresh, beautiful produce. I love to eat outdoors while enjoying the warm evenings and later sunsets. Head to your local farm and pick your own produce to truly take advantage of the season of plenty. I love nothing more than a simple handful of berries after a meal at this time of year.

SIBO Vegetables SIBO Fruit SIBO Herbs
✓ Artichoke ✓ Avocado ✓ Basil
✓ Asparagus ✓ Banana ✓ Chervil
✓ Beetroot/beet ✓ Blueberries ✓ Chilli
✓ Bok choy ✓ Boysenberries ✓ Chives
✓ Broccoli ✓ Cantaloupe ✓ Coriander/cilantro
✓ Brussels sprouts ✓ Cherries ✓ Dill
✓ Cabbage ✓ Grapes ✓ Ginger
✓Capsicum/pepper ✓ Grapefruit ✓ Kaffir lime leaves
✓ Carrots ✓ Honeydew ✓ Lemongrass
✓ Cauliflower ✓ Kiwi fruit ✓ Mint
✓ Celery ✓ Lemon ✓ Oregano
✓ Cucumber ✓ Loganberries ✓ Parsley
✓ Eggplant ✓ Lychee ✓ Rosemary
✓ Fennel ✓ Melon ✓ Sage
✓ Green beans ✓ Mulberries ✓ Tarragon
✓ Leek ✓ Orange ✓ Thai basil
✓ Lettuce ✓ Passionfruit ✓ Thyme
✓ Parsnip ✓ Pineapple  ✓ Vietnamese mint
✓ Peas ✓ Raspberries
✓ Pumpkin/squash ✓ Rhubarb
✓ Radish ✓ Strawberries
✓ Salad leaves/greens
✓ Snow peas
✓ Silverbeet
✓ Spinach
✓ Spring onions/scallions
✓ Tomato
✓ Watercress
✓ Witlof
✓ Wombok
✓ Zucchini/courgette
✓ Zucchini/courgette flowers





Untitled design (55)Autumn

As the season’s change, we tend to change our eating habits to warming foods. I find myself using my slow cooker more at this time of year. After all what could better than coming home to a house that smells of your delicious meal all ready to eat?

SIBO Vegetables SIBO Fruit SIBO Herbs
✓ Beetroot/beet ✓ Avocado ✓ Basil
✓ Bok choy ✓ Banana ✓ Chervil
✓ Broccoli ✓ Cumquat ✓ Chilli
✓ Brussels sprouts ✓ Grapefruit ✓ Chives
✓ Cabbage ✓ Honeydew ✓ Coriander
✓Capsicum/pepper ✓ Kiwi fruit ✓ Dill
✓ Carrots ✓ Lemon ✓ Ginger
✓ Cauliflower ✓ Lime ✓ Kaffir lime leaves
✓ Celery ✓ Mandarin ✓ Lemongrass
✓ Cucumber ✓ Orange ✓ Mint
✓ Eggplant ✓ Passionfruit ✓ Oregano
✓ Fennel ✓ Pomegranate ✓ Parsley
✓ Green beans ✓ Raspberries ✓ Rosemary
✓ Leek ✓ Rhubarb ✓ Sage
✓ Lettuce ✓ Rockmelon ✓ Tarragon
✓ Parsnip  ✓ Strawberries ✓ Thyme
✓ Peas
✓ Pumpkin/squash
✓ Radish
✓ Salad leaves/greens
✓ Silverbeet
✓ Spinach
✓ Spring onions/scallions
✓ Tomato
✓ Watercress
✓ Witlof
✓ Wombok
✓ Zucchini/courgette




Untitled design (56)Winter

The time when we all want to hunker down, keep warm and eat food that will help to stave off coughs and colds. One of my favourite vegetables at this time of year is the gorgeous deep, rich green kale, which we SIBOers can eat in unlimited quantities. Check out my delicious Winter kale salad recipe, one of my favourite ways to eat this powerhouse of a vegetable.

SIBO Vegetables SIBO Fruit SIBO Herbs
✓ Beetroot/beet ✓ Avocado ✓ Coriander
✓ Bok choy ✓ Cumquat ✓ Dill
✓ Broccoli ✓ Grapefruit ✓ Ginger
✓ Broccolini ✓ Kiwi fruit ✓ Mint
✓ Brussels sprouts ✓ Lemon ✓ Oregano
✓ Cabbage ✓ Lime ✓ Parsley
✓ Carrot ✓ Mandarin ✓ Rosemary
✓ Cauliflower ✓ Orange
✓ Celeriac/celery root ✓ Pineapple
✓ Celery ✓ Rhubarb
✓ Fennel ✓ Tangello
✓ Kale
✓ Leek
✓ Lettuce
✓ Parsnip
✓ Peas
✓ Pumpkin/squash
✓ Radish
✓ Silverbeet
✓ Spinach
✓ Spring onions/scallions
✓ Wombok



What you need to know about SIBO part 2

What you need to know about SIBO – Part 2

August 21st, 2017 Posted by Blog, SIBO No Comment yet

What you need to know about SIBO Part 2

What you need to know about SIBO

In Part 2 of our blog on what you need to know about SIBO, we’ll cover what SIBO actually does to you, the difference between hydrogen and methane dominant SIBO, your treatment options and what supportive practices you could consider.

In Part 1 we covered symptoms, risk factors and associated conditions, what SIBO is and why you should treat it, finding a practitioner and testing. If you missed it, head over to What you need to know about SIBO – Part 1.

What does SIBO do to you?

Knowing what SIBO actually does to your body can help to explain some of the health concerns that you might be dealing with. It will also help you to feel more empowered to begin tackling your SIBO.

Under normal circumstances the digested food passes through your small intestine, flowing over your villi and microvilli, which absorb the nutrients in your food. However, when you have SIBO the bacteria digest it instead, which causes fermentation. A by-product of the bacteria’s fermentation is methane and/or hydrogen gas, which is only produced by the bacteria and not our bodies. These gases cause bloating, wind, cramping, diarrhoea, burping, constipation and more. It is also believed this gas can make the lining of the gut permeable, also known as leaky gut syndrome. This allows food particles through to the bloodstream, which creates an immune response (meaning, your immune system goes on the defensive thinking the food particles are an invading force).

The other side effect of SIBO is damage to the villi and microvilli, which results in nutrients not being absorbed. When the bacteria digest your food, it means they’re taking a lot of the nutrients before they make it to you, which leads to malabsorption of monosaccharides, amino acids, vitamins (especially B12 and folic acid) and minerals (especially magnesium, iron and calcium). Some side effects of poor nutrient absorption can include:

✓ Fatigue

✓ Hormonal imbalances

✓ Restless leg syndrome

Other damage caused by the bacterial overgrowth can be the impairment of the natural muscular wave, the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC), that helps to push food along the digestive tract. Learn more about this here on our Migrating Motor Complex podcast with Dr Allison Siebecker. The migrating motor complex occurs in between meals and overnight when we have been fasting.  When it is impaired, it further increases the time food spends in the small intestine, thus increasing its ability to be fermented by bacteria. This is why it is often recommended that SIBO patients leave 4-5 hours between meals and fast for at least 12 hours overnight, to help support the MMC.

Foods containing fermentable fibre, starch, lactose and fructose can make SIBO symptoms worse. Foods that contain gluten, grains, starches like potatoes, legumes and pulses, fruits and some vegetables are generally problematic. And despite the promotion that we should be having a high fibre diet and use fibre supplements, this only exacerbates the problem and people suffering SIBO will feel worse, not better.

SIBO generates toxins, which put pressure on the lymphatic system, the immune system and our body’s own detoxification system. Unfortunately, SIBO goes largely undiagnosed which can result in years of damage to the small intestine. People may develop intolerances to certain foods like gluten, lactose or fructose, as the small intestine becomes less equipped to manage it. SIBO patients are also more likely to become sensitive to histamines, salicylates and oxalates in foods.

SIBO is a major cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and is estimated to be the underlying cause of IBS in 60% of cases. It is difficult to treat other digestive problems if SIBO remains present, and the longer it remains in the small intestine, the more damage it can cause. Read our 7 Signs Your IBS Could Be SIBO article for more information.

7 signs of SIBO

What’s the difference between hydrogen and methane dominant SIBO?

You may have heard that there are two different types of SIBO: hydrogen and methane SIBO. If you’re hydrogen levels are the highest, then you have hydrogen-dominant SIBO. If you’re methane levels are the highest, then you have methane-dominant SIBO. A diagnosis of hydrogen or methane SIBO doesn’t mean you only have that type of gas present.  You can have both types of gases, it’s just that one is more dominant than the other. There is a third type of overgrowth in the small intestine; SIFO or Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth.  Unfortunately, there is no test currently available to accurately diagnose this overgrowth, however we understand that one is being developed and we hope this will be avilable for patients in the near future.

So, the main points to remember are:

  • Bacteria produces hydrogen which can quicken the transit time of food through the intestines
  • Archaea produces methane which can slow the transit time of food through the intestines
  • Hydrogen SIBO usually causes diarrhoea, and is sometime referred to as SIBO-D
  • Methane SIBO usually causes constipation, and is sometimes referred to as SIBO-C
  • Breath tests for SIBO will measure levels of methane and hydrogen. Read more about SIBO breath tests
  • There is not currently a test available for SIFO


What treatments are available for SIBO

What are the treatment options for SIBO? 

Currently, SIBO can be treated through three options: antibiotics, herbal antibiotics and the Elemental Diet. Listen to Dr Nirala Jacobi discuss the SIBO Bi-Phasic diet, testing and herbal treatments

Some patients only need to do one of the three treatment options to recover from SIBO. However, for two-thirds of people, SIBO is a chronic, recurring condition and multiple rounds are required of one or all three of the available treatments.


Antibiotics are often a preferred treatment option by gastroenterologists and patients alike, as they seek to attack the bacterial overgrowth quickly. Rifaximin and Neomycin are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for SIBO, as they are almost completely non-absorbable and stay within the small intestine. This means they have a localised action and don’t cause systemic or widespread side effects.

Herbal Antibiotics

Herbal antibiotics also seek to attack the excess bacteria directly by reducing the number of bacteria living in the small intestine. Herbs are often the first choice for alternative practitioners, naturopaths and integrative physicians. They do take longer to take effect, so for every week on an antibiotic, two weeks are required on a herbal antibiotic. Studies have shown that herbal therapies are as effective as Rifaximin and have a similar response rate and safety profile. Some of the most commonly used herbs include allicin, oregano, berberine and neem, among others. Like all treatments, the correct herbal protocol needs to be determined for each individual patient and their specific type of SIBO with a qualified Practitioner.

Elemental Diet

The Elemental Diet replaces meals with a pre-digested liquid diet, which seeks to starve the bacteria while providing the individual with amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, which are absorbed in the upper digestive tract. The Elemental Diet can be made at home or purchased in over-the-counter formulations. Some formulations taste better than others, and this diet can be challenging, as it requires a complete liquid diet for at least two weeks. Some patients also complain of dramatic weight loss, which can be problematic for those already underweight. The Elemental Diet is has a high success rate in the treatment of SIBO, but it has many challenges, including cost, taste, food deprivation and weight loss. It is often a last resort for patients.

What SIBO Diet Should I Follow?


In addition to the treatment protocol, a patient’s nutrition is important in supporting the recovery from SIBO. It is currently believed that diet alone cannot cure SIBO, and instead is used to support treatment and provide relief from digestive symptoms. A restricted diet is designed to be used only for a short time. It is important to reintroduce a wide range of foods and fermentable fibres, as they feed the broader gut microbiome. In addition, it needs to be understood why the body developed SIBO in the first place.  

Just as bloating can be a symptom of SIBO, SIBO is a symptom of an underlying condition that has allowed the bacteria to migrate and multiply in the small intestine.  The normal functioning of your small intestine has failed, so it is important to understand what has gone wrong and address that in order to support the likelihood of a permanent recovery from SIBO.

Check out our handy SIBO risk factors download here


There are several diets that can be followed by SIBO patients. Whilst diet cannot cure SIBO, it can be extremely beneficial in reducing painful and uncomfortable symptoms.  Some diets have been developed specifically for SIBO patients, whereas others have been developed for other conditions, but can be used successfully by some SIBO patients.  Finding the diet that suits you can take time and experimentation.  Dr Allison Siebecker recommends choosing one diet and sticking with it for several weeks to determine if it is suitable for you.  Immense confusion can ensure when SIBO patients try to compare all SIBO diets against each other, as what is suitable for one diet may not be suitable on another.  Hear SIBO nutritionist Kristy Regan speak about finding a nutritional program that’s right for you.

SIBO Specific Food Guide

Dr Allison Siebecker developed the SIBO Specific Food Guide specifically for SIBO patients after years of clinical experience.  She combined the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Low FODMAP Diet. This protocol restricts a broad range of fermentable carbohydrates and is more limiting that some of the other diets.  This diet is great for people who are highly sensitive to a broad range of foods or those with a more extreme case of SIBO. Read more about the SIBO Specific Food Guide.

SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet

Australia’s leading SIBO specialist, Dr Nirala Jacobi, further developed the SIBO Specific Food Guide, breaking it into two phases, hence the name ‘Bi-Phasic’. Phase 1 is the most restrictive, and is used to help calm digestive symptoms, and is often used prior to treatment commencing.  Phase 2 introduces more fermentable carbohydrates and allows for greater quantities of certain foods.  This is the protocol Rebecca Coomes followed and what her SIBO Cookbooks are based on.  This protocol works well for people who prefer structure and rules to their treatment plan. It can be meat heavy, so may be difficult for vegetarians and vegans. However, Dr Jacobi is developing a version for vegetarians and vegans so we look forward to sharing this with you in the coming months. Read more about the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet.

SIBO Cookbooks


The Low FODMAP Diet was by researchers at Monash University for IBS/FGID patients to help control gastrointestinal symptoms associated with those conditions. The diet targets a specific group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed: Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols.  This diet is less strict than the previous diets and can be used successfully by patients with mild SIBO or symptoms, prevention once tolerances have expanded, underweight patients, vegetarians or vegans.  Read more about the Low FODMAP Diet here.

Cedars-Sinai Diet

The Cedars-Sinai Diet (C-SD) is probably the easiest diet to follow and was developed by Dr Mark Pimentel, one of the leading researchers on IBS and SIBO. It does allow a moderate intake of grains and starches, which is why some people prefer to follow this diet. This diet can be suitable for people with mild SIBO or symptoms, prevention once tolerances have expanded, underweight patients, vegetarians or vegans.  Read more about the Cedars-Sinai Diet here.

Fast Tract Diet

The Fast Tract Diet was developed by Dr Norm Robillard after he suffered from terrible acid reflux for many years.  This diet determines the fermentation potential (FP) of foods, with patients eating to a certain daily FP allowance. This diet works well for people who like an amount of freedom during their day but who are comfortable tallying daily points. Listen to Dr Robillard join Rebecca Coomes on The Healthy Gut podcast to explain the diet.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Originally developed for children with coeliac disease, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was brought to the limelight in Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. While not specifically a SIBO diet, some patients may find symptomatic relief when following it. It can be used by patients with moderate SIBO, Inflammatory Bowel Diseased, Coeliac Disease or diarrhoeal disease.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet was developed by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, after her son suffered from autism and was greatly helped by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The GAPS Diet has been further modified from the SCD Diet, and can be particularly helpful for autistic patients.

What supportive practices can be useful when treating your SIBO?

SIBO generally doesn’t develop in isolation.  Many things have become dysfunctional in the body to allow bacteria to overgrow.  Using this time to reflect on your nutrition, how you move your body, lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress and your mindset can be really powerful when returning to health.

The 5 Key Pillars to Health address the most important elements of supportive practices for supporting your SIBO journey.

5 KEY PILLARS_banner

5 Key Pillars To Health


The first step to regaining your health is to become aware of how you are feeling. Understanding how to listen to your symptoms and what they may mean is an important first step in your recovery.

✓ Listen to the symptoms your body is sending you

✓ Calming down will have a positive impact on your gut

✓ Track your food and symptoms to see patterns

✓ Acknowledge your journey to healthy has now begun

Use handy tools and resources to support your Awareness


Nutrition is vital to living a healthy gut life. With SIBO, the food you eat can help or hinder your progress. Awareness of what you eat and how you eat is essential to your recovery.

✓ Enjoy food. It is our greatest source of nourishment

✓ Eat the foods that help, not hinder, your recovery

✓ Watch the timing and quantity of your food to manage your symptoms

✓ Make a plan and stick to it

Enjoy delicious recipes and menu planning tools to support your Nutrition 

SIBO Meal Plans now available FB



We were designed to move, yet many of us find ourselves spending several hours a day being sedentary. Our gut can respond positively to exercise and movement. Understand how you move your body and what type of movement will help or hinder your recovery.

✓ Move your body to move your gut

✓ Find the right type of movement for your current health state

✓ Exercise to release endorphins and feel better

✓ Get outside, breathe fresh air and connect with nature

Get the support you need to bring Movement into your day


What we think has an enormous impact on our health. When you have been unwell for some time, it can be very easy to fall into a negative mindset. Turning negative thoughts into positive beliefs will support you to achieve your wellness goals.

✓ Write down 5 things that make you happy everyday

✓ Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do

✓ Meditate, breathe or practice yoga to calm the mind

✓ Make time for yourself. You will feel better for it

Use handy tools and resources to support your Mindset


The way you live your life is fundamental to your recovery. Stress, sleep, relationships, social activities, relaxation and goal setting play an important role in how quickly you regain your health.

✓ Get plenty of sleep to support your recovery

✓ Address your stress levels.  Stress has a negative impact on the gut

✓ Spend time with people who support your health journey

✓ Prioritise your health. You’re worth it

Implement easy tips to improve your Lifestyle


This is Part 2 of a 2 part series on understanding SIBO.  Check out What you need to know about SIBO – Part 1 if you missed Part 1.