Once upon a time, not too long ago, I wrote a post called, “Can You Heal Your Gut on a Vegetarian Diet?” The Kind Diet with SIBO is a follow up to that post. 

lot has happened from then (early May, 2018) to now (mid-November, 2018), so I wanted to share all the things upon receiving the question (via the comments on that originally post recently), “Thank you for your article. How have things been going? Have you been able to heal on a mostly plant-based diet?”

the kind diet with sibo agutygirl.com #sibo ibs #ibs #vegetarian #guthealth #healthyliving

My Battle with Healing and Desire

I stayed in gut h$%^ until late May, 2018. I ended up making far too many correlations between carbohydrates and how I was feeling, so even though my desires pointed 100% to a plant-based diet, it simply was not working from a symptoms standpoint.

I’ve wrestled in ways like never before with the idea of meat. On my healing journey, I have always looked the other way, avoiding anything related to the meat and dairy industries because I felt cornered. 

You might know where I’m coming from, too.

You’re desperate for feeling well. You don’t want to live in gut hell any longer, but every single time you eat more beans, stalks of green broccoli, and vegetable stir fry with freshly diced garlic, you are in a pain and misery that almost forces you to simply look the other way.

Eating meat, fish, and fats are the way you survive and feel fewer and fewer symptoms. (Not true for everyone, but most in my experiences.)

This has been an internal battle I’ve had to deal with for quite some time now. 

While my symptoms plagued me, I focused my efforts on healing mostly with lifestyle and secondary with diet, more along the lines of GAPS/SCD/Paleo. 

I didn’t want to; I had to. 

During this time – these past few months, I made the commitment to purchasing our meat from one, trusted source. It was my way of justifying while symptoms persisted.

And then I got better, 1,000% better.

I felt free from the chains that limited me to a diet that no longer matched my gut instincts.

The Kind Diet with SIBO www.sarahkayhoffman.com #guthealth #healthyliving #vegetarian #sibo healthy living quote

Symptoms vs. Healing

My original post asked the question, “Can you HEAL your gut on a Vegetarian diet?

The definition of healing is:

the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.

The definition of symptoms is:

a sign of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation.

In other words, they are not the same thing. 

The way I have distinguished between the two is that healing is an entire process – a journey – sometimes taking months, years, or even decades whereas a symptom is just a bump along the road. 

What I have concluded is that…..YES, yes you can heal your gut on a Vegetarian diet, but for me personally, it’s not realistic 24/7. When I’m symptomatic, Vegetarian simply does not work. 

Depending on my current state, I’ll likely always toggle between everything I have taught and preached via The Gutsy Girl’s Bible and a Flirting Vegetarian (<- though my true desires have me arriving at Superhero status; see below).

The Kind Diet with SIBO

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The Kind Diet with SIBO www.sarahkayhoffman.com #guthealth #healthyliving #vegetarian #sibo

In late November I heard Alicia Silverstone speak on her book, “The Kind Diet.” You remember Alicia from Clueless, and even though I will always remember her in that role, the way she presented calm, classy, and honest made me view her in a whole new light. 

She told her story; from growing up eating all the meat to the day she became a “junk food Vegan” to today – how and why she lives the way she does. 

It was beautiful and inspiring, so I grabbed the book because my gut has been telling me, “Learn more.” (Although, truth be told, I really wanted a copy at the event so I could have her sign it. Didn’t happen.)

The greatest part of the book for many of you, like me out here on the fence, is that there is no judgement. In fact, she helps people break down their own place into three categories: Flirting, Going Vegan, and Becoming a Superhero. 

The Kind Diet with SIBO www.sarahkayhoffman.com #guthealth #healthyliving #vegetarian #sibo Alicia Silverstone Wellspring Wanderlust

I am in the Flirting category, and perhaps always will be. 

I have been unbelievably incredible (from a health standpoint) while Flirting on The Kind Diet. It’s not just that I have zero SIBO signs and symptoms. On top of it, I’m enjoying all the foods, including many nutrient-dense foods that I haven’t in years. (Partly because I was so focused on meat and partly because I physically couldn’t tolerate them).

And along my journey, I’m educating myself more on all foods; what they are and how they affect not only us but the planet. 

I will never, not even for a second, tell anyone that the only way to heal the gut is by doing XYZ. 

There is no only way to heal the gut.

And I firmly believe that this it what makes me one of the best gut health coaches out there.

Healing the gut is a process, a long journey.

If you are staunch Vegan and miserable, be honest with yourself and consider alternatives ways for feeling better.

By the same token, if you are staunch Keto or Paleo and miserable, you too need to be honest with yourself and consider the alternatives. 

There is so much that goes into gut healing, and you must know that peaks and valley can and will require different things. Without being open to that, you might stay sick forever.

The light at the end of the tunnel are all those peaks, where I find myself today. During these times, I believe we are able to get two, three, and ten steps ahead on our health and life journey because it’s now when we get to live the way we believe is optimal; for ourselves, our families, and the planet……whatever and however that might look to you.

So what am I currently eating on a daily basis? Check it out via Flirting Vegetarian

In the meantime, I started a new Pinterest board for anyone who wants to join. Follow all of my Pinterest boards HERE, and follow Recipes | Vegetarian HERE.

Recipes | Vegetarian | www.agutsygirl.com #guthealth #healthylifestyle #plantbased #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes


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  1. How are you doing now that it’s been awhile? I’m a vegan with SIBO. The gut symptoms go back about 8 years, but they have not improved in 2 years of being vegan. I love The Kind Diet book! The Flirting route really helped you? I’ve been a mess of super restriction followed by ****-its and have shelves of supplements that I’m not sure do anything. Thanks for any input and for this blog!

  2. I came across your site last week and have spent around 10 hours reading by now. Truly, thank you! I see so much of my journey reflected in what you share. The thing that has kept me reading is your stance that there is not ONE way for everyone to heal, that it’s a very individual journey, and a very personal (and even spiritual) one at that. I’ve been turned off by and hit so many dead ends with blogs and resources that prescribe one blanket protocol for healing. THANK YOU for sharing what you’ve learned and for keeping it real.

  3. So I am a little confused and would like further explanation, you talk about healing your gut and ridding yourself of SIBO but dont ever explain HOW you actually healed your gut. Diet and foods will not rid you of SIBO alone, figuring out the underlying issue is what will allow your stomach to function properly, which will then in turn allow you to eat foods that you enjoy and heal your stomach. Gut motility, antibiotics, leaky gut, etc are the supposed cause of sibo but you don’t mention anything along those lines and what we can do.
    You mention leaky gut is induced by eating grains (amongst other things) in other articles but then to proceed to say you eat all grains. Do you soak, ferment, or sprout all your grains? Do you still get symptoms?

    I am just tired and sick all the time and the journey has been rough so would like any help or guidance.

      1. Do you have any articles that you can tell me to search for that covers those topics?

        Thank you so much for getting back to me, sorry for sounding grouchy, I had a flare up after eating.

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