Can You Stay Vegan with IBS? (A Gut Health Dietitian’s Take)

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In this podcast episode, I chat with a gut health focused dietitian – Dahlia Marin from Married to Health, all about this subject: ‘Can you stay vegan with IBS?’

Ready to dive in? Read the transcript below, or listen to the episode here:

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Disclaimer: This article and podcast episode is only providing information and is not personalized dietary advice. It is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Talk to your doctor about any health or dietary concerns and questions. See our Disclaimers for more details.

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Transcript (Can You Stay Vegan with IBS? (A Gut Health Dietitian’s Take) )

Christine: Welcome to the Plant Powered You Podcast! This is the resource for all things vegan nutrition. I’m Christine, your host and vegan bestie, and I also happen to be a dietitian. As a disclaimer, this podcast is just providing education and a bit of entertainment. If you have any questions about your health or diet, talk to your own healthcare provider.

Our full disclaimers will be linked to in the show notes. Now let’s get to the episode.

I am so excited to have Dahlia Marin from Married to Health on the podcast in part because We’re recording in April, and it is also known as IBS Awareness Month.

And also because not only does she have loads of experience helping folks with nutrition concerns related to IBS, she also has her own personal experience dealing with irritable bowel syndrome. Now, as my listeners are more likely to be vegan or vegan curious, I really wanted to have this conversation about how vegans with IBS might consider navigating some of these, let’s say, confusing messages out there.

But before we dive in, I’d love to introduce you to Dahlia. So I’ve been following you for a while on IG and I know you offer a variety of services, including a 100 percent plant based IBS nutrition program! But just to start off, Dahlia, can you introduce yourself, and feel free to share your vegan origin story if you would like.

Dahlia: Yes, absolutely. I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me!

I am Dahlia Marin. I’m an integrative plant based registered dietitian. I’m also a certified gastrointestinal nutritionist. I’ve been in practice for over a decade and I’m in a unique situation. I also married a dietitian! So my husband James and I have a practice and just a company called: Married to Health.

And we offer lots of different services there. We have a seven total plant based and plant forward Dietitians on our team, all with their own respective specialties, ranging anything from the gut, SIBO, IBS to things like oncology, pediatrics, metabolic conditions.

One can lead into the next. So we all just really support one another in that sense. And. You know, my road to becoming a dietitian first and foremost was very heavily influenced by my gut and the gut symptoms that plagued me. I always say I was my very first own patient and what made me kind of health curious was at 17 years old.

Really feeling like something was off. I kept telling my mom, don’t think it’s normal that I can hear my blood rushing in my arteries past my ear. I feel really fatigued. You know, I was an unhealthy child. I went from being sedentary and not having a healthy body composition or relationship with food to continuing to progress to that into my teens to where I was like: “okay, I think something’s off.”

And of course, leading up to that point, I saw my pediatrician who had nothing to offer me except rude comments of you need to lose weight. And I was like- ok, that’s helpful (sarcastic). I then kind of became aware something is off. So for the first time in my life, I really received comprehensive medical care and got labs done.

I saw an endocrinologist and he got my results back, sat me down and in one single day diagnosed me with a large list of different things. He said, because of your lifestyle and diet, you are prediabetic. You have polycystic ovarian syndrome. You have an autoimmune thyroid condition. I had high cholesterol.

I had the energy of, you know, a 90 year old and, I just knew things were off. And that confirmed it, you know, my hormones were not functioning well. My endocrine system wasn’t functioning well. My gastrointestinal system wasn’t functioning well. So outside of just the symptoms that I had been kind of brushing off day to day, I had this confirmation that my body did not like what I was doing to it.

And I knew I needed a wake up call. So initially I just thought, “okay, I’ll go home. I’ll be a good patient and I’ll take these medications that my doctor’s prescribing to me.” And I did, and I felt no better. If anything, I felt worse because now I had medication side effects on top of the fatigue that I was already feeling the apathy, the GI symptoms, all of the above that I had already been feeling.

And that I kind of just chalked up to like, “Oh, I’m just kind of a lazy teen.” So after three months, I just knew this isn’t going to be my life. I looked around, I saw other family members who lived on their little pharmacy of medications and not that I am anti medication, but it’s not going to be a replacement for diet and lifestyle.

So that’s when I started with the first thing that I felt like I could, I just kind of new, intuitively, right? We all kind of know, okay- excessive amounts of hyper, ultra refined food are not conducive every single day to your best health. So that was my first step. I said “let me try to reduce hyper refined foods.”

I started with soda. For one year I’m going to not drink soda. And then I, said, “okay, I’m gonna pull back from fast food.” And from there it kind of just became… nutrition curious in general. I took a nutrition class over summer because I was in college at this point. And just for my own information, wanted to learn more about nutrition.

I was a psychology major at the time, and then really started to correlate the two to one another. Okay. There’s good mood food. There’s, you know, a whole food relationship, food psychology. And I became more and more engaged and enamored with nutrition and kind of just decided thought – hey, actually, I’m more interested in this than I am in psychology… There is an overlap between the two of them, but nutrition is really where I wanted to focus in for college.

So, you know, I wasn’t in a school that offered a nutrition program and I ended up transferring and that’s where, you know, my husband and I met and he was also kind of having a similar health story to myself.

So then he and I kind of just were like, “Okay. We became friends, you know, then became more.” And then we both started researching on our own and it first started out: I took a food ethics class. and he was taking a research methods class at the same time. We were taking two different classes and we would kind of share with each other.

I was like, “Hey, I’m reading Michael Pollan. And did you know that this is happening in our food system? There’s concentrated animal feeding operations. And do you know that there’s such a high contamination rate? And so much of our mass produced food? So that just piqued my curiosity and my interest in food in general.

And kind of just that: it’s not just what you eat. It’s where it’s coming from, who’s touching it, what it’s exposed to. And then he was learning more about reading the research and research methods. And so one thing leads you into the next, right? I think it was like, “Oh, you watched food Inc. We suggest you watch the China study.”

He ended up reading the China study, brought it to me, and he was like, “this is interesting data.” That was many, many years ago. And that was one of the first things that was widely available and out there for us to read. So here we are: it’s been a journey of becoming more and more plant based with not only our own health and what was helping us, what was in the data, and what we felt.

Ethically, it was best for us, the food system at large. And, it’s been almost 13, 14 years since we’ve made that transition. And we did take it slow because neither he nor I were raised plant based in any way, shape or form. I would say him more so than I, it was kind of just like: I need a wake up call. You know, with my gut.

Tt was really also James that brought it to my attention. I didn’t realize that literally almost every time I would eat, I would say, “I have a stomach ache, or I’m bloated, or I need to lay down. I don’t feel well. I feel really low on energy now.” I had known I didn’t have great gut health, but never realized how highly Just influential.

It wasn’t in my life and how it removed me from so many regular life experiences and life situations until he was like: “Something’s up with your gut.”

So, you know, as we started eating more whole food, plant based, more plant based food, I was like, “Hey, I’m starting to feel a little bit better.”

So then, you know, embarking in my career just kind of went on this journey of finding the roots of where it was all at and whether that was me working in inpatient settings, outpatient settings, I worked in pediatrics, I worked with integrative and functional nutrition, and then all of that kind of ended up pointing me into the gut and I’ve just been obsessed with learning about gut health for, you know, over half a decade and just can’t get enough of the research and it’s an exciting time because this time, you know, 20, 30 years ago We didn’t know what we know about the gut.

So that’s just been my journey, but it started with me, and then this passion and this desire for me to help others do the same. Because you don’t want to gatekeep when you have this really good information!

Christine: Wow, that is an incredible story And I love how you talked about how you kind of learned about this, like through the food systems that you were learning about, like through the Michael Pollan book, because a lot of people choose veganism because they look at the food system and they’re like, ‘Hey, this is, you know- kind of messed up with how animals are actually used!

So let’s say that a vegan has a diagnosis of IBS, and a doctor says, like “You know, stop eating fibrous foods” – for a hypothetical example: it’s usually not just a simple thing where I will be like, “okay, I’m going to start eating animal foods!” Because we know that animal foods don’t have fiber and plants do. So I love that, that that’s how your journey kind of evolved.

Did you guys meet at Loma Linda per chance?

Dahlia: We didn’t. Nearby Loma Linda. So we are in California. We met at Cal Poly Pomona. Another agricultural school, but Loma Linda is such a cool hub of just those who are very conscious about lifestyle and nutrition.

Christine: Yeah. It made me think of that automatically because I think they have like a vegetarian curriculum for dietetics over there. So that’s kind of cool.

Dahlia: And all our alma mater now does as well, they now have a plant based program, which I think is super cool.

Christine: Oh, cool. Yeah. That’s very innovative- that you don’t get that just anywhere! So yeah, love that. So let’s get started with a lot of the juicy details in this podcast, because we are going to try to tackle the question: Can vegans actually continue to stay vegan, even if they have a diagnosis of IBS?

So, what exactly is IBS? Let’s start there.

I just took this kind of quote from the American College of Gastroenterology and it says:

“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that leads to belly pain and problems with bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, or both.) People with IBS may have bloating, gas, or a change in how their bowel movements look.”

American College of Gastroenterology

And so I feel like that’s kind of a broad overview, but I was listening to – Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, I can’t say his last name!

He was on like the Zoe, YouTube channel, and he was talking about the four types actually of IBS, right?

So can you chat more about what those are? Because it’s just one thing to say ‘IBS,’ right? But there’s actually different types.

Dahlia: There are. Yes, such a great question…and you know, someone’s lucky if they can be categorized in one of those four types of IBS, where you have:

  • IBS – D (IBS with predominant diarrhea)
  • IBS- C (IBS with predominant constipation)
  • IBS – M (IBS with mixed bowel habits)
  • IBS- U, (IBS unclassified)

But, I think we need to do a better job in the world of gastroenterology of helping people understand the ‘why’ behind it.

It’s kind of like just saying, “well, you’re an irritable person.” It doesn’t matter, right? Like usually life events lead up to someone becoming anxious, depressed, you know, irritable if you want to call them that- just a change in their behavior. So why is your bowel behaving in an irritable way, right? What is going to explain those symptoms that you’re having? And so it’s not enough to just receive this diagnosis. You always want to ask ‘why’. For example. Over 60% of IBS with diarrhea may be post infectious. So usually it’s caused by food poisoning.

There are certain bugs that have been implicated in the data that cause that diarrhea. We have E. coli, Klebsiella campylobacter, different bugs that now we can name to say: these will cause Diarrhea. These will cause an almost ‘autoimmune like’ response. After these bacteria have come into the gut and interacted with the bugs in the gut and left their mark.

So we can say, okay, let’s test you to see if you do have post infectious gastroenteritis. Cause now there’s a blood test where we can see – did this come from food poisoning or travelers ‘gut bugs,’ some type of gastroenteritis… Now we can also look deeper. About 14 to up to 70 percent of irritable bowel syndrome is another condition called SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth- and this is just where even normal. Microbes and normal parts of our gut and our gut bugs or our gut flora, they’re just not in the right place, or they are in the right place, but they’re overabundant.

So there are three major dysbiosis- SIBO types, if you will – and then there’s fungal overgrowth outside of that.

But hopefully if you’re given an IBS diagnosis, you can ask your provider: “can you breath test me for SIBO? Can you help me rule that out?” There’s such a high prevalence and such a high propensity that somebody does have SIBO when they do have IBS because SIBO is treatable. IBS isn’t as treatable, They’re really just going to focus mainly on the symptoms. You might be given a stool softener, a laxative, something to dull your nerves so you don’t feel the discomfort, but that’s just masking symptoms. We have just such a wide gamut of resources and tools at our dispense, whether that is diet and nutrition, whether that is medications, motility agents, physical therapy… there’s so much we can do to really help people, calm the gut, and help people alleviate those symptoms.

Christine: I think some people just get that diagnosis, right? Maybe they (hypothetical) have IBS and you know, “here’s some drugs and that’s about it.” I wonder what – with your experience with having it (IBS)… is that basically what happened to you from your doctor? Just: “here’s your diagnosis. Good luck.”

Dahlia: Yeah. Absolutely. That was what happened. And I was diagnosed again by an endocrinologist. I mean, it’s great that they can diagnose you with something, but I feel like if I had more guidance in the beginning, you know – instead of chasing taking birth control and taking just medication only for my thyroid, I really wish I had been pointed towards a gastroenterologist, and pointed towards a dietitian.

Somebody who could help me dig a little bit deeper, because yes, I did have hormonal imbalance, and I did need medication to help me regulate my hormones, but I and wasn’t told at the time that can root in your gut, Many autoimmune diseases begin in the gut rather than diving deeper and telling me, “Hey, if you have this, you should also look into this.”

It was kind of like: ‘You have this take these meds. Come back in six months. We’ll check your blood work, make sure that these are the right meds for you.’ And then who cares what you’re doing in between that? No mention of diet, no mention of exercise, no mention of mental health support, nothing like that.

So, I am a huge advocate for patients just so they know- having that informed consent is so important. And whether they choose to move forward with some of these things or not is their choice, but at least they feel empowered with the knowledge that they can make choices for themselves.

Christine: Let’s say that our hypothetical vegan, gets a diagnosis of IBS and then they go to social media, and they see some influencer saying,: ‘You should totally cut out the fiber. and that’s going to help with your IBS (hypothetical).’ And then, you know, the vegan is like, ‘no, I don’t want to do that! That’s, that’s a lot of what I eat, right?’

Of course, there’s many different variations of a vegan diet, but plant foods are fibrous (naturally). But unfortunately we see lots of this, just cookie cutter advice, right? Saying like ‘cut out gassy foods if you have IBS.’ So I guess the first kind of question to clarify is: can you actually stay vegan with IBS?

Dahlia: That’s such a good question. And, you know, I have to just point out, it’s not just influencers who are saying that! You could also have well meaning medical professionals – ‘What you eat probably doesn’t have anything to do with your microbiome.’ And, we know there’s so much data coming out that that is, so far from the truth! Because these bugs -we have over 38 trillion microbes just in the colon, , just in the colon alone.

We have over a thousand species just in the small intestine, thousands and thousands of species in the large intestine. Um, we’re more microbial DNA than we are human DNA. So, just like we need nourishment, they’re living, breathing, you know, gas producing, um, by-product producing organisms, just like we are a little bit more intricate than they are, but what you eat and what they interact with matters.

We know even our emotions will change the plane in your gut, the food that you eat, the exercise you do. It’s so important to assess those different areas. And so, you know, when somebody comes in to see a practitioner for their IBS, it’s super important to ask those questions: “What do you think is causing some of these different things for me?

what can we do about it right now so I can get symptom relief? And then moving forward? so it remains in symptom remission?” And I’m not just again, chasing these different symptoms. So for those who are plant based, I always say there are no gassy foods. We are gassy people because a healthy, robust, well functioning gut that has all of its components working together in synchronicity.

Is not going to struggle with even the most complex food. You’re supposed to have the right balance of bugs. So you’re supposed to be in you biosis balance, not in dysbiosis imbalance. So if you have a good balance, if you have a good flow and good motility and rate at which food and other substances move through your gut, and you have a strong barrier.

So if somebody is telling you, “Oh, just cut out the plant foods and then you’ll be better…” The analogy that James and I have come up with is it’s kind of like gut debt, right? It’s almost like. You were out there, YOLOing. You were just living it up, maxing out credit card after credit card, and then you got in really deep debt. And you have all these bills coming in, you have debt collectors calling and emailing you, and instead of being like, “I should probably stop living this way, and address how I got here and work with an accountant or someone to really come up with a budget and a spending plan moving forward and a payment plan for that debt that I racked up.”

It’s kind of like telling that person: no, no, no, no, no. Don’t do that! Just rip up the bills, change your email and phone number and. You’re not in debt anymore (not true!). So when you’re telling someone, especially someone plant based, ‘just cut out the plants. You’ll be good.’ It’s it’s false, right? Lack of symptoms does not equal healing.

So it’s so important to really let people know: If you can’t tolerate the plants. that tells you what work your microbiome needs. And, if you’re working with someone who’s well qualified and knowledgeable, they should be able to help you pinpoint what part of your microbiome needs optimization and needs improvement.

Not just tell you, “Oh, Hey, you’re not allergic to that food? You’re not highly intolerant to that food? But just cut it out anyways.” And then pigeonhole yourself into a corner where you’re just eating a handful of different foods. Um, that’s not going to lead to vitality. And that then can cause that person to spiral into other disease states, because so many other organs. communicate with and support the gut. So if the gut is off, it will then kind of web its way out into other organs. So it’s not something to just ignore and try to move on from and cut more and more out of. It’s, let’s address this. Let’s come up with a payment plan to get you out of ‘gut debt,’ right?

Let’s, really understand how you got here. Let’s understand what to do now and then understand what to do in the future.

Christine: Not to mention that just the plant based diet in ‘general’ is great (based on multiple research studies). So why are we saying move away from that, when we have so much research, even more so in the past five years, I feel like about the benefits of going plant based.

But, you know, speaking of Restriction. – you know, a popular diets, in the IBS space is the low FODMAP diet, and I just see it everywhere, and the way it is sometimes marketed – it almost seems like if you have IBS, you need to stay on this diet. Is that true? And if you do need it, do you have to stay on it forever?

Dahlia: That’s such a good point that you bring up. The goal of low FODMAP is not to be no FODMAP and it’s not to be on it forever. And the diet itself – FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates. So it stands for low fermentable, basically different sizes of carbohydrates, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, polyols and disaccharides.

So basically, you’re cutting out different sizes of carbohydrates that are fermentable because when bugs basically ferment these foods, then they create gases from them and that gas is what can create discomfort. They’re either creating gas or they’re drawing in water into the inside of the gut and that can create diarrhea.

So with the low FODMAP, it has pretty strong data behind it. And, you know, studies do show 50 to 80 percent of those on a low FODMAP diet will experience relief and symptoms. A lot of people don’t extrapolate on that and say, It’s only meant to be followed strictly for four weeks until you start the reintroduction phase and start testing out group by group, which FODMAPs are most bothersome for you, and then seek to gain support for those groups.

So the goal is not again, to live ‘Low or no FODMAP’ forever. It’s to say: okay, let me wash them out of my system, give my gut a break, and then group by group, we’re saying, okay, how do I do with fructose? How do I do with sorbitol? How do I do with mannitol? How do I do with, you know, other polyols?

How do I do with fructans or galactolegosaccharides, fructolegosaccharides? So group by group you’re adding foods back in and you’re saying, okay, I’m fine, and you know, we give guidance on which ones to add first, but if you’re going down the list and you’re like, fine, fine, oh, nope, diarrhea is back or, oh, constipated again, then we’re narrowing in on those. And we’re saying one, why, what, which bugs are thriving off of those foods? How can we address those bugs? Not just the symptoms. And then two, Are there supports that can help you? Because now we have really cool things like FODMAP specific enzymes that will help degrade and break down a large subset of those different FODMAP groups.

If that’s the case, add back in the FODMAPs because studies actually do show for prolonged periods of time. If you’re on low FODMAP for longer than six to eight weeks, it actually significantly decreases one of the healthy bugs that should dominate the colon,- a subtype called bifidobacteria that help with creating short chain fatty acids, postbiotics with helping with motility on the right side of the colon.

And so. You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into this restrictive diet because restriction is restriction is restriction, even if there’s evidence behind it, it’s not a way to live. Again, unless you’re allergic to something, you have debilitating symptoms from it, a strong intolerance, you want to use it as information and not live on it.

And I can’t say that (the Low FODMAP diet) isn’t for everybody because everyone has their own unique IBS story. We do know for some people it’s more of a chronic condition. Maybe it’s more, it was rooted in neurodegenerative disease or a spinal injury someone has or a vagus nerve injury, the nerve that connects the gut to the brain.

That’s not something that’s going to just go away, right? You need chronic support for that. So maybe we need to pull back from some highly fermentable foods, but the goal is to not just focus on the irritators. It’s kind of like focusing on the misbehaving kids in a class. It’s saying, okay, yes. How can we address them?

Cause they’re disruptive, but also we still need to tend to the kids who are being respectful and are being helpful. Because. It’s not fair and it’s not helpful and it’s not going to help us all grow if we do that. So it has its place. It can be helpful. I always, you know, want to question people and say, okay, what about the 20 to 50 percent of people it doesn’t help? Um, so that’s where, you know, as dietitians, we get creative. We use the data, we use what patients are telling us and testing. So that way we can say, okay, maybe you tried low FODMAP and it didn’t work for you. Not all is not lost. Maybe you need to be low sulfur or low histamine or are salicylates bothering you? Are there other components that are in our complex food that we need to help you work through? Um, instead of just ignoring, ripping up those bills and just, you know, moving on and taking really the joy out of what we’re eating.

Christine: Right, exactly. It sounds so boring to stay on FODMAP for that long. And I love that you mentioned how it could be all these different things and why that’s especially important to get, you know, help because it can be very confusing to try to figure out.

So I have one more thing to ask and that is besides diet, is there anything else that IBS sufferers might want to consider when managing these symptoms.

Dahlia: A hundred percent. Yes. Diet is so important, but as a dietitian, I can say it’s not the end all be all for IBS. So it’s really – again, understanding who the bugs are. Managing the bugs. So that could be with antibiotics, antimicrobials. You want to usually follow treatment up with some type of motility support. So that way they don’t just come right back up again, right? Your gut should be kind of a uni-directional, almost like a river, where it’s on unless it’s not because something is causing stagnation.

So you want to identify what that is. Did a log, you know, a tree fall over in the river is something polluting it, you know, what’s causing this over growth of bugs. Um, so you want to identify that you want to get the river flowing again. Um, and then you want to involve anyone who’s necessary. And that is your gut river, not flowing because you have a lot of tension and your nervous system is overwhelmed and over tense.

If that’s the case, let’s bring someone on board to help support your gut brain connection. That could be, you know, anything from cognitive behavioral talk therapy. It could be working through trauma with a more, Somatic modality. So many things that even just help with that one aspect, that gut brain connection.

Is it something physical? Do we have just after years and years of you clenching and holding in gas and loose stool, have your muscles become kind of out of whack? Do you have what’s called? Pelvic floor dyssynergia, where those muscles aren’t working together in a proper way. And you know, it’s not always just kegels because sometimes they’re too strong.

So do you need a pelvic floor physical therapist or a physical therapist in general for that? An injury in your neck. That’s also influencing your pelvic floor. So oftentimes I’m recommending seeking out a physical therapist. And there’s some amazing ones that we like to refer to, of course, bring on a great gastroenterologist to your team because we do need to address the bugs.

So how can we do that together as a team? What does physical mobility and physical motility look like for you? Are you moving your body enough to the best of your ability? Can we enhance that a little bit? What’s your circadian rhythm looking like? Because that influences that.

So are you sleeping well? Do you work night shift? Do we need to kind of work with some of these different things? So many different things outside of body, nutrition. And I’m such an advocate for nutrition, but such an advocate to really not let people fall for the fact that diet’s going to fix it all because I see that lead to disordered eating.

There’s a very bi directional relationship between IBS and eating disorders. It’s over 300 percent correlation between the two populations and they can lead to one another. Those who have eating disorders and disordered eating are more likely to have gut microbiome issues because you’re starving at the bugs or you’re not eating enough to have good motility. The barrier can be affected. So it could start with the disordered eating or eating disorder, or it could start with the IBS. Again, if you’re basically eating in a disordered way to accommodate the IBS. So that is so, so, so important because I feel like that’s the one thing people can feel like they can control themselves is their food.

And so when you put such an emphasis on food only, it creates this over zealous nature and they ignore some of the other things. And again, then it damages their relationship with food and their relationship with their bodies ultimately.

Christine: Wow. And I personally feel like I experienced some of what you’re talking about with like, you know, your mind or the brain gut connection.

Like for example, like if I’m really, really nervous, I might feel like I need to poop more. So is that like kind of what you’re talking about? Even if somebody doesn’t have IBS that can be going on.

Dahlia: 100%. Absolutely. I always call them our gut babies, right? You know, you and I are both moms (Christine and Dahlia). We don’t need to tell our kids sometimes when we’re in a mood for them to pick up on it, right?

They’re so intuitive. They know us so well that sometimes, you know, my daughter will just come up to me and she’ll say, mom, are you sad? You just don’t seem like yourself. Or like, are you upset today? Or are you hangry? And I haven’t told her these things! And so our gut bugs are the same.

They can tell when something is off. So, you know, if they sense Christine’s nervous – Alright, let me give her some of the energy to her. Making some of those hormones and neurotransmitters that help with these nerves, or help put her bein in ‘a more aware state.’ Maybe her nervous system needs to be more hypervigilant and she needs to be very sympathetic. So, where can I pull from? Cause we can’t just synthesize that energy from air. We have to pull it from somewhere. So usually our body’s going to pull first and foremost from hormones and then from digestion. So maybe then your gut was like- That food you just ate an hour ago. I can’t even deal with that right now. Just get it out. And that’s where maybe we have that urgent loose stool.

So absolutely, such a strong connection between our gut and our brain. And, you know, I mentioned that nerve, the vagus nerve, and I call it the elevator between the two, because it’s just sending communication signals back and forth. Not a lot of people realize you actually have a lot more signals going from gut to brain than from brain to gut. So our gut is so powerful and what it can do to kind of digest what’s happening and then send signals of, okay, she needs more. You know, I need to help her influence her adrenaline levels or, I want to create more serotonin or dopamine or GABA to really help her feel happy or chill or calm. So our gut is so, so, so powerful in that. And it’s so important to really assess, okay, along the way. Who’s upset? Is it the gut bugs themselves?

Is the elevator broken and out of service? How’s that influencing our mood? And then that influences our choices from there at large.

Christine: Mind blown about all this stuff! I really hope that people take away from this, that, you know, number one, Don’t be afraid to talk about poop, especially if you have concerns, because we really need to normalize this and, you know, as dietitians, I know it’s kind of normal for us to talk about it.

But if you are having, any concerns at all, I really think this is your cue to get help from somebody who is knowledgeable in this area. If you are a vegan, make sure that you’re getting information from someone who has experience with a plant based diet.

And can you please tell us more about your program Dahlia?

Dahlia: Yeah. Thank you for asking. So, you know, I’m not a one-man show. Like I mentioned, we have other dietitians on our team. There’s two of us who are SIBO, IBS focused, and that is probably, you know, one of the foundational pieces we have in Married to Health – our practice. So we are a 100 percent virtual, telehealth practice. And we’re licensed in many, many of the states are able to see patients in a majority of the states and internationally. So if somebody wants to make a one on one visit with myself or other dietitians who specializes in IBS, then go to our website, go to the, meet the team and see who they wanted to link up with.

And then our The SIBO IBS program as well is, you know, going to be available very soon. People can join our waitlist right now and get into it, but this is something we’ve had going for years. We actually first launched this along with a gastroenterologist, a plant based gastroenterologist back in 2019 and had such great success.

You know, over 67 percent of the people who completed the program had amazing results. That was all the way up to 80 plus percent of people in the program. . A quarter or less of what we have in the program now. So we said, you know what? That was good, but we can do better. So, you know, we took the program down, we’re revamping it.

We have tons of amazing practitioners participating in the program, whether that’s some of your favorite plant based SIBO IBS gastroenterologist who you’ll see in the program. We have pelvic floor therpatist. We have those talking about mental health. So really anyone who could be involved in your IBS care team, we have video modules, worksheets, really helping you understand what’s going on with your SIBO IBS, your IBS type, and then seven plus weeks of nutrition and meal plans if you do need one of those for your IBS.

So our good gut SIBO IBS program, like we said, almost launched, our waitlist is now open. If you are somebody who wants to get into the program, and then we have just more resources on our website. If you go to, we have eBooks that are available, both for purchase and complimentary. We have blogs, we’re all out there on social media and, you know, we’re really just trying to serve people at all different levels. Cause we just feel so passionate about this message that we can’t keep it to ourselves. We really need people to know, Hey, pretty much anyone can digest animal products, no problem, but it’s so important to be able to digest, eat and tolerate more plants.

So those are the things that you can do, you know, we help you accomplish at <arried to Health. I would say one of our most important jobs is being patient advocates and helping people empower themselves and those they love who are living with these symptoms that they do not need to live with long term.

Christine: Oh my goodness. That sounds amazing. Thank you so much for your service to the plant based community. And I will put the links for the things in the show notes. So check her out everywhere. And thank you so much

Dahlia: Thank you, Christine. Yeah. I look forward to connecting with everyone at Married to Health. And we’re across all platforms with that.

And thank you so much for taking the time to have me. And hopefully IBS awareness month is something that continues to just empower people. It’s great to bring people with IBS together to kind of commiserate with one another, but hopefully it’s something that is just empowering people. So thank you for all that you do and helping to spread this message.

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