IBS, Our Emotional Well-Being and Our Second Brain

Although our gastrointestinal tracts can affect our mood or happiness, our everyday emotional well-being may rely on messages from our second brain in the gut to our brain above.

low fodmap diet stressIf you experience psychological issues like stress, depression or anxiety, all can affect the movement and contractions in your GI tract. The result? Inflammation, infection and the inability to digest certain foods.  Did you know that the reason you may be moody might be due to what your gut is telling your brain?

There is a strong link between the brain and the gut. Many in the field of health and science believe the nerves in our gut, which are actually controlled by our second brain (located within the gut), influence negative emotions, stress or anxiety. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Whether we are angry or sad, relaxed or anxious, all can trigger symptoms in the gut! The brain can influence our perception of what is happening in the gut as well as the activity or “tuning” of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) “gut brain.”

Issues in your gut can affect your energy level, weight, mood, or may lead to premature aging, chronic disease or allergies. When you have IBS, a healthy diet is imperative, but so is taking care of the mind and body.

By taking care of the mind you may help relax your body and your gut.  Why would you need to try and relax the gut?  Because it’s possibly your gut that’s triggering changes in your mood.

“For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems (symptoms of IBS). But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around,” explains Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology.  Researchers now have evidence that when your gastrointestinal system experiences irritation, it may be sending signals to the central nervous system (CNS), triggering changes in your mood.

“These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety,” Pasricha says. “That’s important, because up to 30 to 40 percent of the population has functional bowel problems at some point.”

“A person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.” Harvard Health Publications.

Everyone’s brain-gut interaction is different and several factors can contribute like: state of mind (stressed, relaxed), surrounding environment (pollutants, temperature), distractions (people, technology), past experiences (good and bad) and the gut’s sensitivity to stimuli. The ENS is the master controller, mixing and moving contents around the gut, via a system of complex nerves in the walls of the gut. The ENS can sense what’s happening in the gut and it then controls motility; it is connected to the brain and can be influenced by signals but it can also work solo with its own networks of neurons (nerves).

What Can You Do?

  • Seek out mind-body therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medical hypnotherapy
  • Talk therapy
  • Meditate
  • Gentle exercise like yoga, Pilates, qigong, tai chi, stretching, swimming, golfing, light aerobics, or an easy bike ride.

What Else?

  • Eat slowly
  • Eat without distraction
  • Cook for yourself
  • Get creative

and finally

Be good to yourself –it’s one of the best gifts you can give. If negative talk is part of your everyday life, you need to start saying nicer things –to yourself. Become your own health advocate and learn as much about the low-FODMAP diet as you can. Use your Food & Symptom Diary everyday. Become more connected to healthy foods and cooking for yourself. Everyday send positive energy to your gut. Remind yourself why you are awesome. Life is full of ups and downs. There will always be hard times – have a plan in place for when disaster strikes so you can keep your gut, body and mind as healthy and calm as possible. Eat well, meditate, exercise and be grateful for all the positives in your life, and all the negatives that made you stronger.

Learn more about the Brain-Gut connection by downloading a free infographic here

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Have a great rest of your day!

Colleen Francioli

colleen frnacioliCertified Nutritionist Consultant

 

 

 

Sources:

The Brain-Gut Connection, Johns Hopkins Medicine

The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders

Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being The emerging and surprising view of how the enteric nervous system in our bellies goes far beyond just processing the food we eat. By Adam Hadhazy | February 12, 2010.

Irritable bowel syndrome: A microbiome-gut-brain axis disorder? Paul J Kennedy, John F Cryan, Timothy G Dinan, and Gerard Clarke World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Oct 21; 20(39): 14105–14125. Published online 2014 Oct 21. doi:  10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14105

 

Advertisements

TRAVELING on the Low FODMAP diet: Tips to keep the belly happy (and a simple recipe)

Hi friends!! I am beyond STOKED to contribute to this blog 🙂 and I want to thank Colleen for welcoming me! I hope to be able to inspire others on this FODMAP journey, maybe making life a little easier!!!

Since MEMORIAL DAY is around the corner, which means Summer weekend getaways (woooohoooo)I thought what a better time than now to talk about traveling tips on the low FODMAP diet.  Lets face it, traveling can be super stressful when you are on a restrictive diet (and cause anxiety which is a BIGGGGG NO NO for us tummy issue folk). Here are few tips that work for me and keep me sane on my travels, since I refuse to let my dietary restrictions control MY LIFE ( I shall control them 😉 :

ITEMS TO PACK:

MY TRAVEL NECESSITIES
MY TRAVEL NECESSITIES
  • PEPPERMINT TEA BAGS: Perfect for taming an upset traveling tummy.
  • RICE CAKES: Lundberg brown rice are my fave.
  • JUSTINS ALMOND BUTTER PACKETS OR A JAR OF PEANUTBUTTER : I prefer PB since almond butter has a limit, 1 tbsp= about 12 almonds which is OVER the low FODMAP limit of 10 almonds. Nut butters are great to spread on your ricecakes with Banana coins for breakfast, snacks or whatev. Bananas are easy to find anywhere. Perfect airplane or train snack!
The perfect tummy friendly snack
The perfect tummy friendly snack
  • CINNAMON: for your bananas/ricecakes
  • OATMEAL: I bring gluten free Bobs Red Mill quick cooking oats in ziplock bags. Add boiling water in a paper cup, add chia seeds, bananas,peanutbutter, cinnamon: fiberfulBFAST!

    photo 3-2
    YUM!
  • CHIA SEEDS: Fiber when traveling!
  • ZIPLOCK BAGS/PLASTIC KNIVES/MEASURING CUPS: I pack these because you can easily carry your snacks around, use the knives to cut bananas, and measuring cups for your oats/chia seeds/nut butters.
  • PRE SOAKED NUTS : raw almonds,hazelnuts, walnuts (all limit 10), pumpkin seeds(2 tbsp), when soaked are easier for digestion.
  • DIY TRAILMIXES:  Throw in gluten free pretzels, nuts, any low fodmap cereal, ‘enjoy life’ choco chips.. etc, get creative here and know your limits..
  • HOMEMADE COOKIES: this is one of my FAV traveling items because they can keep well for a week in a mini fridge and it can work as a breakfast/snack/dessert when everyone else is indulging in ice-cream or whatever those non FODMAP people eat ;), take out a yummy cookie!

RECIPE: EASY Oatmeal Banana cookie

The easiest oatmeal cookie
The easiest oatmeal cookie
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Optional add-ins: 10 or so chopped almonds,hazelnuts or pecans ,1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, 1/4 c enjoy life chocolate chips..

Instructions: Mix ingredients together. Flatten about a tablespoon fof the mix on baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil. Bake at 350 c for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are golden.  Makes about 10-15 cookies.

HAPPY TRAVELING AND WISHING DIGESTIVE PEACE AND LOVE FOR ALL!!

XO

SHOSHANA

P.S.: AWESOME TIP FOR DINING OUT: I always tell my server that I have ALLERGIES rather than intolerances. I always find this makes them take it more serious!

SURF
ANDDDDDD GONE SURFING 😉 ALOHA!

 

Feeling Gassy? Foods and Other Causes of Gas

FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods
FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods

There are many foods that can cause gas but there are also many ways in which a person can get gassy.  Through my own trial and error and sometimes learning the hard way, I’ve become numb to certain foods that cause even the slightest gas (or wind as they say over in Europe and elsewhere).  I have also included foods below that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Whether you are following the low-FODMAP diet or not, learn this list to for the sake of yourself and those that are near 🙂

  • Beer
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage (savoy), onions, leeks, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower,  mushrooms, shallots
  • Carbonated drinks and drinks made with artificial sweeteners or fructose
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruits, such as apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, cherries, lychee, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, tamarillo, watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Legumes – Most beans and peas as well as pistachios and cashews
  • Milk and milk products – the problem is the lactose content
  • Sugar alcohols found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, anything ending with -ol)
  • Whole-grain foods or wheat-based foods/products

FODMAP LIFE foods that cause gas

Things You Might Do to Produce More Gas

  • Not exercise, or even go for a walk
  • Chew gum
  • Use a straw to drink
  • Have or create distractions while eating (which makes you eat more or maybe faster) watching TV, checking your phone, or doing both at once; working on a project, etc.
  • Getting too much fiber in your diet by way of supplements or foods
  • Stressful lifestyle

Other Causes of Gas

  • Food intolerances
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Celiac Disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) which can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Diverticulitis or an inflammatory bowel disease (BD) like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine from diabetes
  • Menstruation
  • Panic disorder, anxiety, depression

Whatever the reason is for gas or other digestive symptoms in your life, don’t forget to get in some meditation everyday or stress-relieving activities.  Having a digestive disorder, food allergy or auto-immune condition can cause physical discomfort, but one of the first things you can do is relieve mental discomfort and treat your mind kindly.  Then be more aware of the foods you eat, and how you eat them.  If you’ve sought out health advice and feel you’re getting nowhere, keep researching to find a system and a health professional that works for you.  Treat your whole self – mind, body and soul.

  • Sign up for our Newsletter
  • Join our Facebook community to meet over 35,000 people across the world
  • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
  • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
  • Tweet with us on Twitter!

Here’s to your health!

Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

 

Are You Stressed When You Eat?

STRESS EATING

 

It’s no longer just the high calorie foods that could be contributing to people’s weight gain, it could be stress itself that is throwing off our metabolism and causing those unnecessary pounds. In new study from The Ohio State University (OSU), researchers found that women who experienced stress in the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in the time after eating a high-fat meal— which adds up to the equivalent of 11 pounds gained annually.

According to Dr. Perlman:

  • Everyone knows that we tend to reach for junk food to comfort ourselves when we feel stressed. Here’s another reason not to do that.
  • Not only is the food not healthy for you, but the stress affects your body in such a away that you burn less calories when you are stressed.
  • In essence, eating unhealthfully when stressed is a double whammy when it comes to weight gain.
  • As an alternative to eating, try relieving your stress by going to the gym or taking a walk to help ease your mind.

Dr. Perlman is a doctor for the stress reducing app meQuilibrium, he completed a residency in Preventive Medicine and is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Medicine and respected researcher and educator in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and wellness.

According to Me and the rest of the Digestive Disorder Community

Studies have shown that stress and anxiety tend to co-exist with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  In a WebMD article, Edward Blanchard, PhD, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany said the “most common mental ailment suffered by people with IBS is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).”  I know that when I am stressed my IBS gets worse – and I am sure if you get IBS and are reading this you can relate.  So if you do not want to gain extra pounds or experience additional pain and suffering from IBS, what can you do?  MEDITATE. According to a study published inThe American Journal of Gastroenterology, practicing mindfulness meditation over an 8-week period reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in women.

Here are some of my tips for peaceful MEDITATION:

Colleen’s Meditation for Belly Peace

  1. Sit yourself in a quiet place where you will be free of interruption.
  2. Inhale a nice long deep breath, and then exhale nice and slow.  Do this three times.
  3. Next, keep this slow and controlled breathing going and start to relax from the top of your head all the way down to your toes.  Relax every single muscle.  Be aware if the muscles in your face, neck, and chest are tense -release the tenseness.
  4. Be aware of any pain you feel in your gut – send peace to the areas of your body that are giving you pain.  Peace could be visualizing sending flowers or a soft yellow light to your gut, or imagining no distention, bloating or inflammation. Surround your gut with lightness and softness.
  5. Now imagine how you want the rest of your day to unfold, pain-free, symptom-free and positively charged.
  6. Imagine taking care of yourself, drinking enough water, getting in exercise, taking your supplements, getting to bed early.
  7. Imagine taking care of your mind – no negative talk, only positive affirmations, and a positive outlook on your body, your feelings, and your life.
  8. Think about five things or people you are grateful for – think about the feelings these people or things bring into your life.  Ask the universe (or your god – whatever or whomever you believe in) to bring you these wonderful experiences and feelings over and over again.  Say why you are grateful for each of the five things.
  9. Once you are done practicing gratefulness, think about three things you will do today to feel good.
  10. Now count slowly to the number thirty and gently open your eyes and smile.
* Try and meditate for at least 20 minutes per day.  You can set an alarm on your phone (choose a soft ring) to alert you once twenty minutes is up.  Stay tuned for the video version of this meditation.

Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

That's me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.
That’s me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.