IBS-CARE program review
In the last months of 2020, I joined the IBS-CARE program by dietician Manon te Linde from Positive Gut. Manon has IBS herself and has specialised herself as a dietician in helping people with gut issues. Last year, she launched her own online program, IBS-CARE, where she helps people with IBS to take control of their gut issues.
I was gifted my participation to this program by Manon. This doesn’t change anything about my opinion of this program. The review that you can read below are my personal experiences with the program.
What is IBS-CARE?
IBS-CARE is an online program that focuses on women with IBS. You get access to an online area where you can follow the lessons. The program takes 10 weeks and every week, you follow new lesson. The lessons are different video’s where Manon explains several topics around IBS.
Every other week, you have an online group call with the other participants of the program. In this call, Manon gives a live lesson and you have the option to ask questions. Next to that, everybody shares how they are doing and what they are working on during the program. You are with a small group of 7 people. This is very nice, because it gives you the chance to learn from each others experiences and there is attention for every individual.
It doesn’t matter if you miss a week of lessons or if you need a little more than 10 weeks to finish all the lessons. The course is available to you for 3 more months after the end of the program. You can also download all the classes in PDF-format, so you can read them back at a later time.
The content of the program
The IBS-CARE program is in English. Manon is a Dutch dietician, but the program and all the live sessions are in English. The content of the program is as follows:
- IBS-CARE: food triggers, eating habits and eating pattern
- IBS and reactions in the gut: what is a healthy gut, food sensitivities and allergies, gut reactions and reasons, what is IBS and what are red flags?
- The basics for a healthy gut: the microbiome, fiber education, fluids & the use of alcohol, phytochemicals
- Dietary solutions: eliminating sensitivities, rebuilding the microbiome, SIBO education
- Hormones: IBS, hormones and your cycle
- Body work: physical activity, stress reduction, sleep and breathing
- Social and free time: eating out, parties and holidays
What I really liked about this program is that it contains information about gut health, that is not easy to find in other places. I have visited several dieticians since I got the diagnosis IBS and there the main focus always was food. How can you adapt the things you eat, so that you have a calmer gut.
I know that this is an important part of IBS complaints and the low FODMAP diet has helped to decrease my complaints tremendously. But I also knew that there was more. There are many things that can influence your IBS complaints and I didn’t know how to get started with those things.
Food triggers and eating habits
Manon’s program has helped me a lot with this. The program starts with an explanation of food triggers and eating habits. Which kinds of foods can cause issues for people with IBS and how do you deal with that? But also eating habits. Not about what you eat, but about how you eat. What is the influence of eating habits on IBS? One of the most important things that I have learned for example is that I should take my time for meals and eat slowly. Eating quick without chewing well can cause IBS-complaints.
How does your gut work?
One of the lessons focusses on how your gut works. How does digestion of food works? When do things go wrong and what can be the cause of that? Manon gives a very clear explanation of which kinds of complaints you can get and what causes them. This knowledge can help you find out why you have IBS-complaints and what causes them.
What do you need for a healthy gut?
In your gut, there are millions of bacterias, viruses and fungi. The totality of all the microorganisms that live in the gut is called your microbiome. A healthy microbiome causes fewer gut issues and fewer intolerances. In this part of the course, you get an explanation about what the microbiome is and what you need to make your microbiome more healthy.
This part was a real eye-opener for me. You probably know that the low FODMAP diet is not meant for the long term. You follow the elimination phase and then you reintroduce the different FODMAPs group by group. Removing food groups from your diet for too long is not good for your gut. This can cause your gut to be not used of different food groups anymore and make it start reacting more to those foods. And it also makes your microbiome less diverse and diversity is very important for your gut health.
I never managed to reintroduce entirely. I reacted to almost everything and that caused my diet to still be quite limited. Thanks to Manon’s lessons I have learned what I can do to make my microbiome stronger. If my gut gets stronger over time, there is a chance that I will be able to bring more food groups back into my diet. So that is something that I have started working on. For example by eating more varied and adding a lot more fiber to my diet.
Hormones, stress, sleep, exercise and breathing
The program also focusses on other factors that can influence your IBS. For example the impact of hormones during your period. Many people notice that their IBS flares up when they have their period. In the course, Manon explains how your hormones work and why you often have more IBS-complaints during your period. Next to that, the program focusses on the influence of stress, sleep, exercise and breathing
The program ends with tips on how to deal with social gatherings, such as parties, eating out in restaurants and holidays. What can you do to enjoy these moments without too many IBS-complaints?
What is not included in this program?
This program is a general program about IBS. It doesn’t focus on the low FODMAP diet. If you want to learn more about how to follow the low FODMAP diet successfully, this program is not for you. The low FODMAP diet is shortly mentioned in the program, but it is not the focus of this program.
For me, this program has been very valuable. I always felt that there must be more that I could do to further improve my IBS-symptoms. I have often asked my doctor and dieticians about this, but I never got much further than eating healthy, following the low FODMAP diet, trying peppermint oil or hypnotherapy.
In Manon’s program, I got the information I wanted. There are many things you can try and do, next to the FODMAP diet, to get your IBS under control. I feel like I understand IBS a lot better now and also know better how my gut works. I learned a lot about things that can trigger symptoms and I feel like I know better how to deal with my symptoms.
If you’d ask me, I would say that this program contains essential information that every person with IBS should know. Therefore, I really find this program worth the price. In the group sessions that we had, every single person could show some successes with improvement of their symptoms. Some participants even said that they had never had such a calm stomach and that was really great to see. I can definitely recommend following this program.
You can find more information about IBS-CARE on Manon’s website. Next to that, I can also recommend following her Instagram because she shares handy tips there. On the 13th of January 2021 the next IBS-CARE group is starting and there are still some open spots. If you are interested, you can still join this group!
Together we go for a calm belly!
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