#037 Dietitian Stephanie Clairmont Helps You To Manage Your IBS Beyond FODMAPs

Get feeling well and normal again with the Beyond FODMAPs Membership Club created by Canadian dietitian Stephanie Clairmont.

In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • Stephanie’s IBS story and journey into the low FODMAP diet.
  • Why it is so useful to see a dietitian who has personally experienced IBS and followed a low FODMAP diet themselves?
  • Why the low FODMAP diet is not for life and why it’s important to reintroduce FODMAPs into your diet to identify triggers?
  • Answers to real questions sent in from listeners of this podcast.
  • Is a sugar-free diet recommended in addition to the low FODMAP diet, when suffering from IBS?
  • Should natural sugars be completely avoided on the low FODMAP diet?
  • Tips for following the low FODMAP diet and the GERD diet when you’re eating out .
  • How is the GERD diet different from the low FODMAP diet?
  • Why it’s so important to identify your trigger food as quickly as possible?
  • How long should you follow a low FODMAP diet and what comes next?
  • What should you do if you’ve been following the low FODMAP diet for too long and you are scared about challenging high FODMAP food?
  • How can the Beyond FODMAPs Insider’s Club membership community help those suffering from digestive issues?
  • Which resources does Stephanie’s offers on her website to help those starting a low FODMAP diet?
LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD THE LOW FODMAP DIET & IBS PODCAST EPISODE 37 HERE

 

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My guest today is Stephanie Clairmont. I’ve had Stephanie on the podcast before; she was sharing beautiful low FODMAP recipes for the Special Holidays and Christmas Recipes podcast. And for those who haven’t listened to those episodes and don’t know about Stephanie, you should know that she’s a registered dietitian who lives with her family in Toronto, Canada. She’s a mum, wife, yoga lover, dog owner and passionate about helping people suffering with digestive health issues. After suffering for years with IBS herself, Stephanie now shares all her insights from personal and professional experience to help others better manage IBS, Crohn’s, colitis and other digestive health issues. So, here she is…Stephanie.

LARAH:  Hi Stephanie.

STEPHANIE: Hi. Thanks for having me.

LARAH: Thank you very much for coming again to my podcast. I’m very honoured. I know you’re very busy; you have lots going on in your life at the moment.

STEPHANIE: I was happy to make time.

LARAH: Thank you so much. So, for those who missed your previous introduction in the podcast back last year, would you be able to tell us a little bit more about yourself?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, absolutely. So, as you mentioned, I was diagnosed with IBS myself and that was back in 2007. And so, at that time, this is really funny, but I had gone to Australia for four months, and just for me being from Canada, just out of place in a new place, a lovely place, but that was kind of my story where I was out of my own home; maybe a bit of stress and anxiety; maybe a change in diet, I’m not sure, but I came home and was diagnosed with IBS.

I then went to school to become a dietitian, and after a few years of suffering and dealing with school, became a dietitian and I realised that I was seeing more and more people with IBS in my practice. And even myself, when I was diagnosed, I was just handed a pamphlet that was on IBS and had a couple of things like drink more water, eat more fibre… and that was that. I was made to think that this was my new normal. I was tired of suffering. It was about four years of dealing with symptoms personally that I started to realise I needed to come up with a plan for my own clients and for my own health. That’s when I started playing around with traditional advice for IBS along with the recommendations for the low FODMAP diet which, back then, was literally like two research studies, and maybe Sue Shepherd had a book at that time that I ordered from Australia.

That was my journey… and then kind of putting together my own plan that combined a low FODMAP diet, along with some other strategies that really improved digestive health, I was able to help myself and then start helping my clients. And since then, it’s been over six years that I’ve specialised and focused my career, really, on helping people with digestive health issues to follow a step-by-step, week-by-week plan to actually have a system to follow and improve their symptoms and get back to feeling well and healthy and normal again.

LARAH: Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your experience and your story. Things have changed so much since you were first diagnosed with IBS. As you said, there wasn’t that much research yet. Nowadays, there is so much more information and guidance, and the fact that you are a dietitian and have experienced IBS yourself, you can really relate to your patients, which is great.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, I know, absolutely. When it happened to me it was so awful and uncomfortable and really affected my life. And then, when I’m here now, ten years later, and my symptoms are pretty much…I always say like 99% because there’s always those days and moments when IBS comes back. But day-to-day, I don’t worry about what I’m eating. I’m mindful of what I am eating. I know what to eat and what to avoid, but I don’t have to worry about those daily symptoms like I did so many years ago. It’s actually a blessing now when I look back and say, “Wow! I suffered through that for four years?”  But I was becoming a dietitian and I was learning everything about nutrition and learned how to help people. So I feel very blessed that I can share in my dietetic career what I went through and really know what people are going through to kind of help them with a plan that appeals to them.

That’s one of the things, is that we have these amazing people that have gone through struggles themselves like this and they’re doing incredible work. I feel very happy that I can provide this work because some people don’t know what it’s like to go through this. Then, if I see this online, in different websites and blogs and TV shows and whatever, they don’t really know what it’s like to go through this, so I feel blessed that I actually did go through it and I can help my clients in a way that I think it is a bit more gentler and a bit more custom to what they’re going through, because I know what they’re going through. I never make them do anything that seems counter-intuitive and I’m never pushy with that kind of stuff because some of those recommendations out there are just not good for real life like. There’s lots of recommendations out there that just don’t make sense for real life —  for real people suffering with this. I feel like going through all of that was maybe worth it, so that I could help other people.

LARAH: Would you say that now you still adopt mainly a low FODMAP diet? What’s your balance like? For me, I would say, it’s between 80-85% of low FODMAP food still,  and that keeps me under my threshold and keeps me mainly IBS symptom free. Do you think for you it’s something like that?

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I love that threshold comment that you just said, because we all have this unique threshold. I think, for me, it’s changed over the years. So, because I did this six years ago, I would say that every year I’ve improved more and my threshold, or my ability to eat food, has increased. I have a two-year old, so when I was pregnant, and then when I was breastfeeding, so for like two years, I pretty much could eat anything. I was eating donuts and bacon sandwiches, and it was like the best time ever — eating ice cream — like, oh, it was great. I was not low FODMAP at all and I did not have any symptoms. But when I stopped breastfeeding, I realised I needed to kind of find that new normal again.  I don’t know what percentage it would be for me, but I can tell you that every day I eat non-low FODMAP foods. I have high FODMAP foods every day. So what I practice and what I recommend is similar to kind of what you’re saying —  it’s getting to that point where you feel better and then expanding your diet. I eat really well for digestion, so I think I can handle more FODMAPs. I include other strategies into my life, and this is what I recommend to clients just to manage good digestion. That allows me, I think, to include more FODMAPs in my day. But, generally, I still am very mindful of high FODMAP foods — how many I eat at a meal, in a day, and just what my overall day for good digestive health looks like — and it keeps me well.

LARAH: Yes, it’s important just to see your own individual situation. You can’t use someone else’s because we’re all very different.

I wanted to ask you a few questions that my readers or podcast listeners sent in to me. Since I’m not a health professional, I would rather get you to answer them. So, one is from my reader, Lauren, and she wrote: I had the sugar-free diet recommended to me and I wonder whether it can help with FODMAP reduction. It’s the only healthy diet I’ve seen which reduces fruit and is even aware of FODMAPs, so I’m hopeful. I wonder what the expert thinks about quitting sugar as an effort to help with IBS.

STEPHANIE: Hmm, it’s a good question. And I think we’re seeing more and more the quitting sugar types of strategies for people. Firstly, I would say that, depending on where you’re learning from someone to quit sugar, what that diet looks like, I feel like it could look like different things because we have sugar, like added sugar, and then we have naturally existing sugar. I would say that avoiding naturally existing sugars probably isn’t a very healthy diet, because there are lots of foods that have naturally existing sugars that are  really, really good  for you — like fruit. I mean, we, as people with IBS, do know that we need to be mindful of the quantity of fruit we have. Even if it’s low in FODMAP, we still shouldn’t be sitting down and eating like two cups of low FODMAP fruits. I think being mindful of sugar, and I think being mindful of fruit, for example, is a good idea. If the diet is quitting sugar, and it’s all added sugar like white sugar in your coffee, in your teas, sweets, cookies, crackers, like that kind of stuff… When it’s related to processed food. I personally have seen that really improve people’s health, when they’re limiting the amount of processed food. Processed food contains sugars, so quitting sugar is just a different label for not eating as many delicious donuts or as many sweets and treats and processed foods. In my clinical practice, I’ve seen that as a strategy — reducing the amount of processed food in your diet being really helpful. But, like I said, the naturally existing sugars are in so many different foods that can be really good for you, so I would be really mindful about what the definition of quitting sugar is and what that looks like for you and if it’s a feasible diet.

When we follow a diet or an eating plan, I feel like it should be maintainable for life. When we do these things that are maybe only for short time, or maybe you fall off the bandwagon, that can kind of set us off. So I would make sure that whatever plan you want to follow, you do have a kind of long-term strategy for that. In regards to sugar, I mean, if they asked me to quit sugar for the rest of my life I would cry about it, because I enjoy a birthday cake with my toddler on his two-year old birthday, and I like a donut from time to time. So I’m looking for, and I recommend this, kind of a well-balanced diet that’s really good for your gut health — that you’re eating well for digestion, you’re mindful of FODMAPs and other potential triggers, but that you can still enjoy the things in life when food is a part of celebration. I’m Italian — like someone else here is  — so food is love and celebration is part of our culture. I would hate to kind of be on a diet that made me emotionally stressed and anxious, where I couldn’t enjoy things from time to time. I don’t know, Larah, what do you think about that?

LARAH: I think exactly the same. For me, I would say fruit is probably the only sugar I consume except a little bit of chocolate here and there which is mainly 85% or 80% dark chocolate. I don’t really put sugar in anything. If I make cakes, I’m tending now to put things like a bit of pumpkin in it, or banana, to make it sweeter. If I need a little bit extra, I may add a little bit of maple syrup. I do not really put sugar in anything, but, yes, I do love my fruit. So, I do have fruits that I can have — especially berries and banana every day. I put them in my smoothie or I put them in with some low FODMAP yogurt. Yeah, I am happy. It’s a good balance for me, and, as you said, here and there is a celebration; there is a birthday; and from time to time, I may attempt to have a little. If it’s a cake that I really love, or anything with chocolate — let’s say chocolate mud cake —  and it is not  low FODMAP at all, if I feel brave enough and if I know that during the day I’ve eaten mainly low FODMAP food, I might attempt a little slice. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and I can’t tell you exactly why. It might have been how I’ve been feeling during that day. If I’ve been more stressed for some reason, or less stressed — it’s a lot of different things. So sometimes I say stuff it. I really feel like having this little bit of cake. But more often than not, I would say that I just eat healthy, almost sugar- free, apart from the natural sugar in a fruit, diet.

STEPHANIE:  And I think when we get really strict with how you look at life, it’s a bit of a balance and it is like generally you eat well, and that’s the whole point, right? Sometimes we have to stick to a diet and go, “No. I have to quit sugar,” and “ No. I have to do Paleo” or “No, I have to do this.”  It’s that strictness and that restrictive nature that kind of makes things a little worse and a little more stressful when we have these really strong rules. I always tell people and my clients that the low FODMAP diet is a guideline. We use it for a short period of time and become really mindful of FODMAPs. I have some clients that don’t have to cut out every single FODMAP. They’re mindful of it — and other people need to cut them all out. Everyone’s different. It’s the same with sugar or fruits or vegetables or processed foods, all of it, to eat really well for digestion, and we need to be mindful of what we put in our bodies.

LARAH: Great. Thank you so much for that, Stephanie. Now I have a question from another reader; her name is Rebecca.

Rebecca asked: ” It’s difficult to maintain both a GERD and low FODMAP diet when out and about, but just to let you know, the website helped me out. I wish there was an index of some easy safe food choices when out and about.”

And thank you, Rebecca, for your compliments. I’m glad that my website is helping you out. But here is Stephanie, and she may be able to give you some insights about GERD and what to do — what food to eat.

STEPHANIE:  Yeah, I think in Canada here, the recommendations for GERD — there aren’t too many good research-based recommendations. To be honest, I’ve had clients that have tried to follow certain restrictions, and then, they work and they don’t work. and I really do feel like it’s identifying your personal triggers. So, I mean, out-and-about is a good question. It’s the biggest one that we get in my membership community where I coach members and I provide them with classes and recipes and support as they work through digestive health issues. Eating out is the biggest one that our members really deal with. It’s really tough. When you’re out in the world you are not in charge of food, and that’s just that. You don’t make it. Your life is in someone else’s hands.

The biggest things that I recommend when you’re eating out — there’s a couple. So, the first one is, depending on what your day looks like, packing foods. Pack snacks if you’re travelling in the car or if you are travelling in a plane or just out for the day. Make sure that you have low FODMAP foods, whether those are homemade balls or bars or something like that. We have a lot of low FODMAP bar choices these days, so have something like that or some trail mix or a nut blend that you’ve made, or just the kind of snacks that can kind of keep us full and happy. I think those are a big deal because for so many of us, we go out and we don’t think about the food and then the craving hits and you’re starving. Then you get forced to eat something you don’t want to, right? Definitely, eating before you leave your house or having those snacks in your bag to keep you full, that’s one of the biggest most helpful things.

Now, if you have to eat out of your home, what you want to look for is a place that will make you food that it is made to order. That means you are not going somewhere that’s like a fast food take out place or a restaurant where all the sauces are made and all the sandwiches are made, and you can’t tell them, “I don’t want onions or garlic.” It’s a  place where you might place your order and then they go and they make your sauce or your risotto or your pizza, or whatever they’re making kind of fresh in the back. You can ask them to do no onions, no garlic, wheat-free, dairy-free or lactose-free, or whatever your particular issues are. One of the biggest things is your ability to identify those  potential triggers.

I think, for a lot of people, we really get stuck on the low FODMAP diet and the GERD diet and all the diets, and then we never really identify our triggers. This is something that I would really encourage people to do. Larah and I already talked about how we both have FODMAP foods in our day and in our lives, and that’s because you have to get to that place where you’re symptom-free and then you start to bring foods back and identify your triggers. And when you’re able to do that, you’re going to find out, “Well, hey, I can’t have onions, but I can have a little bit of garlic,” or, “Hey, I can’t have any dairy, but I can have a little bit of wheat.”  If I’m out and about, that means maybe I don’t put cheese on my sandwich, but I can have a sandwich on regular bread. Maybe I ask for  no cheese or no onions, but I can have this and this. So, really going through the process of identifying your potential triggers and making sure that you aren’t just following the diet straight up the way they are, but you’re going through that process. I think this is really important and that it will help you in your day to day eating out and figuring out what choices you can have because it is really tricky. So these would be  my biggest tips to do when you’re travelling and when you’re out and away from your home.

LARAH: Yes, thank you for those tips, Stephanie. And in terms of GERD, how does the GERD differentiate from the low FODMAP diet?

STEPHANIE: I think there’s different bodies around the world that are providing different recommendations, but when we look at their research right here in Canada, the GERD diet traditionally is going to be kind of identifying some potential triggers that might be related to reflux. Commonly it’s things like citrus and spicy seafoods for some people — and this is just for all digestive people — but like high-fat foods. Those are just   a few of those kinds of things. Some of it overlaps with FODMAPs and some of it is kind of it’s own, but even for my clients, I just feel like the ones I’ve seen with GERD, some of those things work and some of them don’t. We don’t have a lot of really solid research. We don’t have a diet for GERD like we do with the low FODMAP diet for IBS with lots of research to support that. That’s my understanding from what we have right here in Canada, but again, I think it depends on the local country’s guidelines, and I think different people say different things. A lot of it comes from personal experience as well. Just with my experience with my clients. GERD is not very strong in the recommendations, and, like I said, it’s just a couple of things that you need to avoid. But I think it makes it more complicated. Whenever you follow the low FODMAP diet with something else — whether it’s for GERD or for diabetes or for weight loss, or whatever — even just vegetarian — whenever you have additional restrictions to the low FODMAP diet, it makes it really, really hard. A lot harder than it needs to be, and that’s why you really need to bring foods back into your diet. You really need to guess on how you feel good and experiment with, as we have already talked about, that threshold.

LARAH: Okay, thank you. And would you say that that GERD is a form of acid reflux, or what are the differences between the two?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, it’s reflux. It’s a reflux disease so everyone kind of has a different level of reflux. I, myself, have been diagnosed with Hiatus Hernia which is a type of reflux. I think, just like IBS is so different, I think it’s all about potential triggers and really being unique. I don’t really think that following one particular diet for the rest of our life is going to work for everybody. Yeah.

LARAH: Yeah, and that’s why we always say, again, get the help of a dietitian or a health expert because you may be able to reintroduce more food than what you think at the beginning you’ll be able to eat.

Okay, another question I have for you, Stephanie, because there have been some recent headlines on some internet articles and also so-called healthy publications that the low FODMAP diet is harmful to our health. As an IBS sufferer, I can testify that my life and my health have improved incredibly from following this diet.  And now, after three and a half years, I still mainly eat low FODMAP food, in order to manage my symptoms. Could you please explain what the controversy is about and what these people are talking about?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think as we move forward with the literature and science, we’re going to learn more about FODMAPs and about diet, and I think it’s important that we all really make sure that we’re hearing, looking at the research, or talking to our doctor or dietitian about translating that research for us because the low FODMAP diet is fairly young in the science. We’re just starting to get more and more research on it now, and all the research over the last few years has said, “Hey! This diet shows that over 75% of people that follow with IBS get significant improvement over a few months.” And that’s fantastic.

But what we’re starting to see in the last couple of years is some research showing that FODMAPs, which are actually prebiotic fibre, this is fibres and foods that are good for our gut health, meaning it’s food that our good bacteria need to thrive. And our good bacteria which lives in the microbiome and which is in our intestinal tract, keeps our digestion working properly. We need that healthy bacteria in our gut, right?  We need food for that healthy bacteria to thrive. Now, FODMAPs, particularly the GOS and the fructan group, they are food for this bacteria. But what the researchers are finding is that with some of these studies, even just 21 days —  that’s 3 weeks, right? — on the low FODMAP diet, they’ve tested people’s digestive systems and found that there is a change in bacteria…and that is in the amount of bacteria and the proportion of bacteria in the gut — so like the balance of it — and it’s not in a positive way. It’s in a way that the bacteria that we need for good digestion is actually depleting. I’m not sure exactly what the headlines are we’re talking about, but I would assume that it’s just about that kind of idea that there is some research to start to show that FODMAPs, as a whole, can change the gut bacteria, which isn’t a good thing. So what that means is just what Monash University and researchers and experts like myself and other dietitians that have been experts in the low FODMAP diet for several years are saying, is that this diet is temporary. It is NOT to be followed for the rest of your life. Low FODMAP life doesn’t exist. It is not a good idea.

Now, living moderately low FODMAP and living a balanced FODMAP diet, or like we’ve talked about, Larah, that threshold of how much FODMAPs you can handle and how much you can’t is all an important part of the journey of FODMAPs. So, I think that this research is really important and I think some of these headlines, although they’re a bit shocking and overly dramatic, are really important to bring attention to a lot of us that have been strictly low FODMAP for too long.

I meet members in my club all the time, and clients of mine that are joining my membership and saying, “I’ve been doing this for two years, three years, and I didn’t know I had to add them back in. Can you help me add them back in? I’m scared.”

It’s okay to feel anxious or nervous or fearful, and it’s okay that you maybe have been strictly low FODMAP for more time than you knew you should have been. But at this point, I think it is just really important that we all understand and appreciate that FODMAPs are needed in our diet, even if it’s just in a really small amount; even if you’re getting like two tablespoons of black beans or like a little bit of wheat or a little bit of barley or rye or like a pinch of garlic or whatever it is — whatever you can tolerate. And some foods are higher in FODMAPs. For example, Monash says this: onions and garlic are both high in fructans, right? But garlic actually has less fructans than onion, so when you reintroduce that fructan group, you might start with garlic instead of onion. You might find that onion really bothers you but you can handle a little bit of garlic. This is why working with someone that knows what they’re doing and can give you a step-by-step plan to reintroduce foods is really important because it can help you minimize symptoms as you bring foods back in. And we all don’t want our symptoms to come back, right? So you want to just make sure that you’re doing it really mindfully with someone that can guide you. You definitely need to bring back some FODMAPs.  Larah and I still eat well for digestion and eat moderately low FODMAP, but you need to get the FODMAPs in every day, and you can probably handle them just fine with other digestive strategies to help balance out your gut.  I think that’s answers your question in regards to the kind of the long-term ness of the low FODMAP diet and how it might be unhealthy. Was there something else there in those headlines that maybe I’m missing?

LARAH: That’s exactly that. So, I think the headlines, they’re twisting a little bit the story because there is nowhere what Monash says and what other experts says that you should have a long-term low FODMAP diet. They’ve always said that it is limited to whatever it takes for you to feel better. Is it two weeks? is it three, four, or five or six?  Whatever it takes, but they do not recommend usually more than eight weeks anyway. So I think that the headlines that say, “Oh, do you know how bad it is to do that for life?” Nobody is saying that you should do it for life.

STEPHANIE: I think some people are saying that. I think some non-experts are out there kind of saying like low FODMAP is for life. I think it exists, and I think that’s where it’s important that people like you are sharing the correct message with the world. I think Monash says about four to six weeks. But, definitely, I say that if you need a couple of extra weeks and you need to do that for eight weeks, that would be okay. But the literature is showing twenty-one days, right? So that’s where it’s kind of like, “Okay, guys. We’ve got to get there as soon as we can. We have to eat well  for our digestion and bring in other strategies, do low FODMAPs, and get well as soon as possible so that we can bring this back in, even if they’re in really small amounts.”

So, I think you’re right. The media has a role to kind of make it dramatic, but I do think that it’s hard out there in the world wide web online and that there are lots of people who aren’t giving the correct information. We’re so lucky that you do your podcasts and that you’re sharing this good and correct information in the world and we have other people who are doing so as well to try to keep people well and healthy. But, you know,  any restrictive diet for a period of time isn’t good. Like I said, it’s a guideline to kind of get us to feeling well.

LARAH: Yes, that’s perfect. Thank you, Stephanie.

I saw on your website that you offer access to a webinar that you have created. To all those who subscribe to your website — and it does sounds really useful — if you could just briefly explain what three mistakes people need to avoid in order not to cause IBS symptoms?

Stephanie Clairmont - Getting Started with the Low FODMAP DietSTEPHANIE: Yeah, stephanieclairmont.com which is the website I’ve been running for about four years now. We offer articles and recipes that are free on our website that kind of help people eat well for digestive health and IBS and following the low FODMAP diet, as well as additional strategies. We offer some free resources. We have a Getting Started Guide with the low FODMAP diet and food list, and then we also have the webinar: The 3 Big Mistakes That You Might Be Making With IBS. I think that webinar is really helpful for people that maybe have IBS and have been trying different strategies. If you’re new to IBS and you just got diagnosed with it then I think working with an expert — either working with me and my membership community or working with a local expert to help you kind of get on the right path in the beginning — is really important. We created this webinar, The 3 Big Mistakes that are keeping you stuck with symptoms of IBS. For those of us like me, who after four years was tired of hearing things like drinking more water and eating more fibre and having small meals throughout the day and taking a digestive enzyme — these kinds of strategies that you keep using and you keep trying, and it’s not getting you to that place where you are symptom free. That’s who that webinar is for. So, if you really feel like you’re kind of tired of hearing all those different things and just playing with different recommendations and strategies and you do want to plan; you want to stop making those mistakes; you want to know what they are, leave them out and just get to a clearance and  get symptom free, then you can go to stephanieclairmont.com and click on webinar and sign up and kind of go through the program. It’ll just take you about an hour. It’s an hour long webinar where I share with you 3 Big Mistakes and I also give you a plan moving forward that you need to follow.

LARAH: Yeah, perfect. Thank you, and I will put the link to that webinar on my website so people can just click click on that.and get to your site.

Since we spoke last, back in November last year, there are a lot of things that have happened in your business. You have created The Beyond FODMAP Insider’s Club. You also have a free online workshop to help those starting on a low FODMAP diet. Could you tell us a little bit more about those things?

STEPHANIE: Yes. On the website, like I mentioned, we have free articles and recipes, we have the webinar, and then I have a Getting Started Guide, too, with the low FODMAP diet as well as a list for those that have IBS of which FODMAP foods to include or avoid. On stephanieclairmont.com, there’s a couple of free resources to get you started with, what the Membership Community is, what The Beyond FODMAPs Club is, and you can learn more about that at stephanieclairmont.com. That is really me working in this area for over six years, one-to-one with my clients in my office spending hours of time with them providing email support — doing that for years. I’m going through it myself realizing that, for me, there was a real gap in the support that people needed. I had a lot of people that maybe they couldn’t drive to my office; or they didn’t have the time to sit on the phone with me for an hour; or maybe they didn’t want one-to-one coaching, but they still wanted a plan to get better. I created and launched the club in November, and we have over two hundred members right now who join me in the club.  What it is, is an online community and resource where you get a week-by-week plan to actually follow and implement some of the steps and strategies that we’ve been talking about today. So, for me, it really goes beyond the low FODMAP diet.

I think the low FODMAP diet, like you said, changed my life. I really learned about FODMAPs and how to keep them in my diet really was a turning point for me.  For me personally, and for all of my clients, I really needed to up it a little bit more and include additional dietary strategies, teach about different areas — like we have a week where we talk about probiotics; a week where we talked about inflammatory foods and eating for good digestion; and then we have a whole second phase where I walk you through the reintroduction and challenge period to bring back those FODMAPs back into your diet. So, we have classes in there, like I said, recipes as well as coaching hours with me, so I do office hours where I answer people’s questions. It’s kind of a really accessible way to get some attention from a dietitian; get your food journal looked at, I’ll get some questions answered and get the support you need without having to pay $150 an hour. The membership community is just $29 a month and you get access to all of that stuff.

LARAH: Yes, that’s so good. And plus you have to think that in a lot of places, they don’t have that access to specialised dietitians, so it’s an opportunity for people to get the help they need at a really good price… and convenient as well. It is convenient to do it when you can.

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I’ve built it to be really accessible and convenient with members from around the world. Some of our members actually are working with a dietitian and they want the resources and the ongoing support. Some people, like you said, they don’t have access to that expert dietitian like me who has been doing this in my own life and working with my clients exclusively with IBS and the low FODMAP diet for six years. So kind of bringing that expertise to people conveniently around the world — that was the goal, and that’s what we’re doing. And I’m so happy to go in there every day and say hi to people and answer their questions and give them the support they need because it can be so isolating trying to deal with this on your own. So we have a really cool community.

LARAH: Those are very good things that you offer.

STEPHANIE: I just feel really grateful for the opportunity to have dealt with something and actually overcome it. I know what it’s like to feel so alone in all of this, and that’s my goal is to really create a club which we provide now is this program that really gives you everything you need. It takes all the guess work out of it and just gives you really  credible information and a step-by-step system that’s been used over and over again with clients that really makes them feel a lot better. So I just feel really happy that I’m able to provide this work as my career and as my job and I feel grateful for you to have this podcast and for us to have a small handful of people around the world that are providing really good credible expert opinion, trying to get that correct information out in people’s hands because, as we’re seeing, the low FODMAP diet is getting more popular and more common in media. We’re going to have to keep busting those myths and telling the truth and getting the correct information in people’s hands so they can follow this diet well and improve the digestive health issues without making it worse like some of the misinformation that can take them off to the wrong sides. I’m grateful for you having me on today and for doing the work that you do and for the people out there that are really doing good work to help people.

LARAH: Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you so much to you for the time that you have dedicated to come onto this podcast and all the best with your business. It sounds like a great offer that you’re giving to people for $29 to be able to come and join your community and get the expert advice that they need. So I will put in all the links on the website on the show notes for this episode. So, thank you again.

STEPHANIE: Thank you so much for having me and for all the work that you do. I really appreciate it.

LARAH: Thank you so much, Stephanie.  Goodbye!

STEPHANIE: Bye everyone.

I hope you have enjoyed this episode with Canadian dietitian, Stephanie Clairmont. Don’t forget to check Stephanie’s free webinar on our website as well as her membership club.  The links are just here below.

Thank you to those of you who have submitted some questions for me to ask to my health professional guests. Please keep them coming. I love asking your questions. Also, if you enjoy this show, can you please spare a couple of minutes and leave a review on iTunes. It would be absolutely fantastic if you could do that for me. Until next time, I wish you all the best with your health and your life. Take good care and goodbye.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

 

About Larah Brook

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.