I get it, when you’re faced with a gut related diagnosis - whether SIBO or IBS, leaky gut or candida - the “what to do” is seriously overwhelming.
And unless you’ve already been on a healthy food, clean living diet, most kitchen pantries are stuffed with items that are full of unhealthy fats, canned soups full of preservatives and MSG, foods filled with sugar and other junk that triggers tons of inflammation, gas, and bloating.
To reboot your diet and improve your health, it is best to use the healthiest food ingredients. So ditch these common kitchen staples when preparing or cooking your food and replace them with much healthier, SIBO-Safe, gut-friendly substitutes.
What to Throw Away and to Replace
Throw away table salt and replace with Himalayan pink salt or Real Salt.
Table salt is different from the naturally occurring salt as its minerals, including potassium, are stripped off during the refining process. This can cause damage to your health as it influences the body’s natural potassium and sodium balance. Potassium and sodium work together in a particular ratio to regulate your blood pressure. When the sodium level is much higher to potassium, it can result to hypertension or high blood pressure.
Another drawback to table salt is that it is highly processed and bleached. It may also contain chemicals such as aluminum and ammonia which are toxic to the body, and some even contain sugar, which is a no-no for SIBO.
On the other hand, Himalayan salt is said to possess 84 trace minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and iodine. Himalayan salt has been shown to contain triple the amount of potassium per serving of Celtic sea salt. It is believed to be the purest salt on Earth. Himalayan pink salt promotes electrolyte balance, adrenal health and relieves headaches and migraines due to its magnesium content.
Another option is Celtic sea salt. It contains less sodium than Himalayan salt and is found to be slightly higher in magnesium, iron and calcium.
Throw away refined sugars and replace with a natural sweetener like Stevia
Sugar is the trigger for a breeding ground of inflammation and yeast, among other things. Unfortunately for us, it also tastes great and is highly addictive. Diets high in sugar have been associated with diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The American Heart Association recommends ingesting no more than 150 calories from added sugar for men and 100 calories for women. However, a typical American diet contains about 350 calories of sugar per day. Using the sugar substitute Stevia (which is a leaf extract), can reduce this calorie load, and because it is natural, is a great way to sweeten everything without sending your gut into a frenzy.
Stevia is derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, a wild herb native in Brazil and Paraguay. The plant’s leaves contain a unique glycoside that provides its sweet flavor. Stevia is 300 times sweeter when refined. Compared to refined sugar that contains 15 calories per teaspoon, Stevia doesn’t contain any calories and is reportedly having beneficial health effects. The use of Stevia has been associated to fewer dental cavities, better glucose levels, lower blood pressure and potent antioxidant activity. If you incorporate stevia into your diet, ensure that you are using the liquid, and not the powder.
The Brands I Love: My favorite brand of stevia is sweet leaf. It isn’t bitter like a lot of the other brands, and it is a natural, SIBO-safe sweetener. I love that the sweet leaf brand comes in a variety of flavors like vanilla cream, chocolate, peppermint, berry, grape, etc. This brand also has a few sweetener staples for SIBO sufferers, like their Sweet Drops and Water Drops products. Both of those product lines can sweeten water or seltzer into a fun, refreshing drink in a variety of flavors.
Throw away flour and replace with almond flour
Wheat is it’s own dangerous being. As a huge trigger for gut problems, we want to cut this out as much as we can - but that’s another post. For the purpose of your pantry, we’re talking just flour here. Go ahead and throw it away!
Wheat flour is made by finely milling wheat grains while almond flour comes from grinding blanched almonds. It shouldn’t be confused with almond meal, which is made from crushing almonds that still have the skin. Almond flour can be an ideal flour substitute for all of your SIBO-safe recipes. It has a distinctive nutty taste that goes well with most pastries and baked products.
As a bonus, almond flour has lower carbs than wheat flour. Wheat flour is typically high in carbohydrates because of its gluten and starch content. Almond flour is rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium and Vitamin E, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats.
The Brands I Love: My favorite brand of Almond Flour is Bob’s Red Mill. It's finely grounded and a great replacement for sugar-free baked goods or even when making gravy. It’s important to avoid wheat and gluten at all costs, so if you tolerate almonds, almond flour will be the way to go for you!
Throw away all kinds of vinegar and replace with apple cider vinegar.
Most kinds of vinegar contain a lot of sugars and fermented fruits or alcohols, which can be really unhealthy for SIBO and will certainly feed the bacteria residing in your gut. While Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, or even distilled clear vinegar may be your go-to’s, you’ll want to ditch all of them for some good old ACV.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is an unfiltered product. It contains ‘mother of vinegar’ which is responsible for its various medicinal properties and is amazing for getting your gut flowing and healthy. I use this for salad dressings, mixed in with certain dishes like quinoa bowls, and even sometimes just as a shot or in a cup of warm water to get things moving.
My favorite brand is Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. I’ve tried a variety of brands, and while other options may be cheaper, they won’t taste as good or be as healthy for you. Bragg ACV is truly the way to go!
Throw away vegetable oil and replace with coconut or olive oil.
Processed seed oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil and others aren’t really made from vegetables, but these oils are commonly called ‘vegetable oils’. These oils have great amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats that are very harmful in excess. Overall, just please don’t do it.
Vegetable oils promote inflammation in the body because Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. This type of oil is loaded with trans fats – fats that are highly toxic and outside of triggering your gut, are linked to an increase in the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Coconut and Olive Oils
Coconut oil and olive oil are great substitutes. Coconut oil is a heart healthy fat that is really stable and beneficial to health. It’s anti-fungal and a pulling agent, so it can help with everything from drawing toxins out of your gut to lathering on a cut.
Olive oil stimulates the absorption of various nutrients in your intestine. (calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.) which also means that it’s a fat that is digested and absorbed well.
The Brands I Love: Olive Oil - there’s nothing wrong with Costco right? I love the price tag AND flavor of the Kirkland Brand of organic olive oil. It’s a win-win when making improvements in the cupboard.
As for Coconut Oil, Viva Naturals is my go-to for a solid organic and delicious coconut oil. And since oil isn’t cheap, you’ll note that this price tag goes easy on the wallet like the Kirkland Olive Oil.