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  • Danie van Kay

SIBO & stress


I've been meaning to publish this blogpost two weeks ago, but life, pain and things in general got in the way. Honestly; I also felt like some people might read this and think: '"Sure Danie, like managing stress is soooooo easy" cue the eye roll.....

So first of all: let's talk about the micro biome. The what?!

The micro biome is a collection of little micro-organisms that live in and on our body. The vast majority of the micro-organisms that are in our gut should reside mostly in our large intestine, but with SIBO (which stands for SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH) there's an excessive bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

People with SIBO typically develop symptoms including nausea, bloating, diarhea, constipation, malnutrition and sometimes mood disorders and vomiting. Fun, right?!

It's actually way more common than we think and many people suffer from SIBO, but generally it's something people feel reluctant to talk about.

So this is where my experience and knowledge comes in. I have been dealing with SIBO for many years without actually knowing it, but once it was confirmed by a hydrogen/methane breath test I knew I had to change some things.

The typical advice for someone with SIBO (and many other intestinal issues) is to follow a certain nutritional protocol such as a low FODMAP diet, an auto-immune paleo diet, the candida diet.... you name it in combination with a targeted antibiotic such as Rifaximin or Vancomycin.

Like I said; I'm only speaking from experience and what worked for me. But let me tell you. Following a certain nutritional food protocol/healing diet causes A LOT OF STRESS. Figuring out what you can and can't eat can impact your life in so many ways. I've been on every kind of nutritional protocol in the past few years and it only made my eating disordered behaviours worse and my SIBO/intestinal issues flare-up due to the stress the "diets" caused me.

Back then I never really connected to the two together: stress and bloating, pain and the overal UGH feeling. But since I've been better at managing my stress and let go of the "food" restrictions, I've been doing so much better.


'm less bloated, my bowel movements are back to semi-normal and I'm NOT gassy at all. I KNOW! I get extremely bloated the week before I'm getting my period and I usually have a mini bloat going on, but I know that's not the end of the world and is usually caused by what I eat.

But guys; I'd rather eat a high FODMAP food and suffer with some bloating than restricting what I eat and stress the hell out about what the next boring meal will look like.

I also have to add that doing two cycles of Rifaximin helped loads.


Research suggests stress contributes to ongoing problems with SIBO and managing stress is essential for restoring gut health over the long-term.

I know there are way more extensive blog articles out there about what, when and how to eat and live when you have SIBO/intestinal issues; But in the end it's your body and you might not respond to certain diets or protocols in comparison to someone else. Some people have EXTREME painful reaction by just eating a simple high FODMAP food and others have mild symptoms. If a low FODMAP is working for you and doesn't cause anymore stress (taking an eating disorder out of the equation) then DO IT!I'm all for bio-individuality and we should be our own health coach. Don't just blatantly follow a plan because someone told you. Try different things by trial and error.It won't be a pleasant ride, but in the end you hopefully know what triggers your symptoms and what doesn't. First of all I suggest you read this amazing article. I think Kris is one of the best in his field and this made so much sense to me.



To summarise:

These are the things that helped me.

1. STRESS LESS! I can't stress this enough. (no pun intended hehe)

Do whatever floats your boat in order to minimise your exposure to stress. I do deep breathing, short yoga exercises, drink approx. 4 glasses of red wine per week with friends (I'm not promoting drinking, but I keep repeating: this works for me) and mainly I don't stress about how much, what and when I eat. This has been crucial!

If I'm hungry for bread, I eat bread. If I crave something in the middle of the night, I eat that something. #intuitiveeating




2. Take a daily probiotic. I take the brand BioKult (THE BEST!) and I take two in the morning and two at night. I also take two Lactoferrin in the mornings and two at night.

3. Rifaximin. I know.... it's an antibiotic. BUT, my goodness. It helped so much. I did two cycles of two weeks with six weeks apart.

That's it!

Food wise I eat a mainly gluten free whole food diet.


t currently looks a bit like this: TONS of organic gluten free (crap free) oat bread, eggs, veggies; including nightshades, a couple of spoonfuls of nut butters per day (mainly PB, tahini and almond butter), cocoa powder, soy milk in my cappuccino (hey Paleo police;)), salmon, tilapia fish, organic roasted chicken, potatoes, olive oil, lamb lettuce, capers, balsamic vinegar, rice pasta, buckwheat pasta/crackers, oatmeal, unsweetened applesauce, stevia.

TONS of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, bananas, goats cheese, soy yogurt, no-cow bars, dates, red wine, prosecco, normal bread with olive oil in restaurants and the occasional fried snacks or pastries. I eat a ridiculous amount of organic quark (it's thick yogurt) per day with TONS of rice cakes, Matze crackers, regular crackers and pretzels. Anything sweet and savoury: salty & sweet is my thing right now.

I'm still in the phase where all I want is yoghurt with bread or crackers, nut butters and berries. AND THAT'S FINE.

Oh, and don't forget about the oat cookies with jam and goats cheese. DROOL.

So there you have it. I'll probably tweak this post once I know more helpful tips and tricks, but this is what worked for me so far.

If you want 1 on 1 coaching: send me an email!

#bloating #sibo #sibotips #siboandstress #HPAaxis #guthealth #healingdiet #lowfodmap #foodbaby #healingdiets #eatingdisorderrecovery

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