Elimination Diet


The elimination diet was the first successful diet protocol to really control my symptoms.  It is highly restrictive and is an attempt to starve the bacteria causing SIBO, without starving the person (although that second part was a challenge for me- I dropped 10 pounds unintentionally).

The good news- my digestive symptoms improved substantially!

The bad news- it is not healthy long-term: I am concerned that it requires too much protein (as indicated by my high Urea Nitrogen level and BUN/Creatinine ratio after following it for two weeks) to get a high enough caloric intake without feeding the bacteria.  The elimination diet also has very limited diversity which can contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies (which are likely already a factor if you have SIBO).  It is also very time-consuming, expensive, and mentally challenging (but hey, that’s a good thing, too!).

Basically, I ate the following (adapted from Aglaée Jacobs’ elimination diet):

  • Vegetables: zucchini, carrots, and green beans (all have to be thoroughly cooked & preferably puréed- YUCK!)
  • Oils/Fats: olive oil, garlic-infused olive oil (as long as it does not contain garlic pieces or chunks), ghee, coconut oil
  • Protein: most unprocessed meats and fish including, but not limited to, beef, bison, lamb, yak, salmon, steelhead, cod, sardines (I eliminated pork- at the recommendation of my doctor- but Jacobs’ protocol allows it); Homemade meat broth (without garlic or onions)
  • Spices: ginger, turmeric, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, sage, salt, 100% pure  lemon or lime juice, green onions, cilantro
  • Beverages: herbal tea (lemongrass, rooibos, mint, holy basil, marshmallow root, and ginger) and water (total fluid intake 1/2 body weight)

If you plan to follow the elimination diet, I would highly recommend purchasing Aglaée Jacobs’ book and working closely with a naturopathic physician (ND).  The book will help you understand why certain foods make you react while others do not.  The naturopath will make sure that it is appropriate for your specific situation and can address any problems that arise.


I did not learn about nightshades until I read Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.  She does a great job explaining why they are problematic.  Essentially, for individuals with SIBO, nightshades such as bell peppers and tomatoes cause inflammation.  In order to heal your gut, inflammation needs to be reduced.  Learn more about nightshades and get a complete list of foods that fall into this category here.  The elimination diet avoids nightshades.

2 thoughts on “Elimination Diet

  1. Did you find after following this elimination diet that you were able to start adding in foods that you were not able to tolerate prior? Did you have constipation on this diet? Also, were you taking herbal antibiotics while following this diet? I bought Aglaee Jacob’s book and was thinking about starting this diet. Thanks for your input.


    • Hi Tammy,

      Here are my answers to your questions:
      1) No, I was not able to start adding foods as a result of the elimination diet. I had to clear more of my SIBO to increase my food tolerance. However, it simplified my diet enough to know what my reaction was to certain foods as I introduced them. Although the goal is to introduce foods one at a time, I found that to be extremely impractical.
      2) Constipation is one of my main symptoms, but it actually improved by following the elimination protocol. It certainly did not go away completely.
      3) I cannot remember whether I was taking herbal antibiotics while following this protocol. Based on what I know now, I think it could be important to eat something that feeds the bacteria so that they do not go into hiding and render the antimicrobial ineffective.


What are your thoughts on this topic?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s