This is how I overcame IBS-D, Gastritis and LPR
Hi, I am Michele.
My journey with the Fast Tract Diet came about after more than thirty years of gut issues
During that time I had experienced three major episodes of food poisoning (one requiring a week in hospital), three ulcers, frequent gastritis and goodness knows how many bouts of gut infections. The most debilitating symptom had been IBS-D. It controlled every aspect of my life.
I don’t know what the catalyst was to cause me to look for a new diet. FODMAPs had provided some relief but in 2016, my IBS-D got more frequent. I was eating something that wasn’t agreeing with me and reached the stage where anything could set me off – even water!
Family started to worry
I began to fear eating. I took Imodium to get me through important meetings and then upper GI issues kicked in. This time around my Doc was reluctant to prescribe antibiotics as my H Pylori breath test was negative. She’s a pretty tuned in Doc compared to some and thought I could try a stricter version of FODMAPs and take probiotics.
The latter made my IBS-D worse, and my gastritis was getting more painful despite me cutting back on more FODMAPs. She prescribed PPIs for a short period (up to a month) but after 3 weeks I stopped as my googling had encouraged me to ditch all meds and start the Fast Tract Diet. It was the only one that made any sense, and I liked that it was written by a microbiologist and was based on science, not supposition.
My IBS-D went within a week
I started the Fast Tract Diet in September 2016. IBS-D went within a week. Upper GI issues (like heartburn) went some weeks later but LPR was the toughest. I began to feel much better after two months although I still had some ups and downs. I had a setback after four months (following an injury and many prescribed meds) but got back on track after a month or so.
Beyond the six month mark things got much easier. Having kept points to well under 20 at first (eating predominantly proteins, fats and above ground veggies) I became able to relax my points. This meant adding nuts, a little dark chocolate, wine and a greater variety of sauces.
More than a year on and my symptoms are under control. Friends say ‘but aren’t you completely cured? Well, we all have a unique gut microbiome and mine doesn’t like large volumes of veggies, fruit juice or sugary/starchy foods. So if I went back to eating them, I’d get sick again. But if I eat what works for me and stick to the behavioral protocols of the diet, I enjoy a life that’s free of gut issues.
I cannot express how wonderful it is to no longer plan my outings around toilets or fear that supper will cause me to wake up choking
I love cooking and eating! I eat ample protein, lots of healthy fat and restrict fermentable carbs. I enjoy small portions of a wide variety of veggies and many rich sauces. I enjoy nuts and seeds and ample treats (like dark chocolate, cream and wine) and don’t feel at all deprived. I’ve been able to adapt so many recipes and enjoy swapping tips and recipes with others on the Fast Tract Diet Facebook Group.
I used to think I was lactose intolerant but like many fermentable starches, lactose was just another one that needed restricting, not eliminating. So now I enjoy many hard cheeses, mascarpone, yoghurt and cream.
Unlike some advice I had, to restrict acidic food, this has not been an issue for me. I enjoy coffee with cream, spicy foods and vinegar/citrus dressings.
I no longer take supplements or medication for gastric issues
I know there are other diets out there that have helpful elements but the Fast Tract Diet has what I believe are key elements: the points system (so you can take account of the cumulative effect of what you eat, the restriction (but not elimination) of all fermentable carbs and the behavioral protocols.
Addressing SIBO without Antibiotics
Hi I am Judy,
At age 66 I am no stranger to gut problems. The first memory I have is constipation, sometimes painful and always on my mind. My next distressing memory were several urgent bathroom episodes in middle school—one in which my teacher refused permission to use the restroom, and due to urgency I bolted from the room anyway.
Humiliating episodes like this occurred randomly, and at teen level of maturity had no idea what was causing it. Days and weeks might go by with no problems, then suddenly, another cramping urgent episode—not necessarily diarrhea, but always uncontrollable.
Memories flood back of the early days in nursing school, breakfasts in the cafeteria of at least 2 glasses of orange juice, 2 pieces of toast, followed in an hour by several episodes of diarrhea, all while trying to get started on my morning patient rounds. I succumbed to all the dietary recommendations of the 80’s and 90’s—plenty of whole grains, veggies, fruits, pastas, and attempts at lower fat diets.
Following marriage and my first 2 children, I continued these random attacks of urgent bowel episodes. I now tried to associate these with foods. Articles I read always implicated fat, but certainly NEVER mentioned carbs.
At age 50 I tried low carb dieting which helped and gave me a more quiet gut
However, I noticed that there would still be occasional episodes. I was getting more savvy and now started wondering about raw vegetables. I ate huge salads with a lot of dressing. Inevitably, I would have more urgent IBS episodes. Still though – I was simply guessing and missed the mark as there were so many other times when this happened that did not seem related to raw vegetables.
Then at age 59, I had a routine colonoscopy as there were many with bowel cancer in my family. Sure enough, a pre-cancerous polyp on my ileo cecal valve necessitated surgery. Following surgery and an intense course of antibiotics, I enjoyed the best gut health of my life.
I thought I was done with gut issues. Now of course we know that antibiotics can indeed make a case of SIBO and also IBS quiet down for some time. Then six months after surgery, symptoms began to return, as did my discouragement. This time, I decided to visit a naturopath. After hearing my history she immediately did a test for SIBO and of course it was quite positive. I was treated with herbal antibacterial agents for six weeks, a motility drug, and put on a SIBO specific diet.
Improvement did happen on this SIBO specific diet but…
I went for probably 6 months without any real problems, but again, symptoms began to return even ON the diet. By now I was researching a lot of diets, convinced that this was definitely mostly food related. I tried at least four of the diets recommended for SIBO. Partial improvement but no real FULL success. I then was due for a follow up colonoscopy – this is now 3 years from the surgery.
At that time my gastroenterologist suggested Rifaximin. I gave in – and as you might guess sure enough I got results – this time though, for only 4 months. Symptoms were again back. 3 more years of frustrating dietary experiments gave no better results. And an attempt to do a weight loss program that used 3 days of low fat with starches and 5 days of keto shot me into a full blown SIBO flare.
I was just about to accept that I would need these courses of antibiotics every few months, when, out of the blue, FAST TRACT DIET came across my facebook feed!
I almost passed it up – I was pretty fed up with trying diets, and I knew I was in a major flare again. BUT I bought the Fast Tract Digestion IBS book, read it in 2 hours, bought the Fast Tract Diet Mobile App, and for the first time in many months I was REALLY excited. I knew, the minute I read Dr. Norm’s theory about the fermentation potential of the specific carb groups, he was DEFINITELY on to something.
This explained why I would have success when eliminating a lot of carbs but still not 100% success as I was using sugar alcohols, too MANY veggies, what I thought were healthy veggies like sweet potato, and many other highly fermentable veggies and fruits. I started the diet immediately.
My symptoms improved from day one being on the Fast Tract Diet
To my surprise, the book also revealed that reflux and LPR were related to SIBO. So I was delighted when those symptoms left first! Within a few days my reflux (characterized by symptoms of acidic burping and mid sternal pain) disappeared. It took a few more weeks for things like gravelly voice, sore throat, dry cough to completely disappear. The terrible bloat and pain in my upper bowel took a bit longer but I knew it was definitely better and improving daily.
I tracked everything that went into my mouth and it was profound to see the spikes on the dashboard of the app. I quickly eliminated starches, most fruits, and had previously eliminated sugar alcohols and legumes anyway as I was on a mostly lo carb diet.
There were some setbacks – but I knew exactly what caused it – the first was jasmine rice. Although it’s low FP, and you may be fine with it, it did not agree with me personally during recovery.
Second, a roll with cassava flour, eaten in a restaurant was also problematic. The rice brought back reflux with such a vengeance I was sick several days. The roll brought back bloating and pain.
These were CLEAR examples of how well the app worked for me. The BIGGEST takeaway was learning how all the so called “healthy” foods full of resistant starches are my worst enemy!!!
I chose to consult with Dr. Norm, as without an ileo cecal valve I feared I would be facing future issues with excess bacterial growth. He was a tremendous help in helping me dig deep into all potential underlying causes and ruling out all other detrimental considerations. I felt armed with knowledge and a full list of approaches I had never considered and even though I am a nurse I received information I had never thought about and which later came in handy when I had a couple setbacks.
I was SO glad I decided to be a part of his consultation program. I highly recommend it for those struggling with difficult issues.
Lastly, I continue to revel in the power that this has given me, and the new freedom. I have had ZERO IBS attacks since this diet. I no longer fear sudden urgent bowel episodes.
I know what to choose, how much to choose and how close together I should have them. I can experiment but with a much greater degree of confidence and I now can be absolutely certain whether it will work or not.
And the beauty of this all is I still eat a HUGE variety of food, feel better than ever and know with certainty I will NEVER be consuming antibiotics for SIBO again. My blood work is excellent, and my PCP and acupuncturist both were very impressed at my progress and definitely would recommend this diet to others.
No More RX Meds – How to Fix LPR and Beyond
Hi – I’m Jaeme!
Starting as a young child, I had chronic constipation
My mother had me believe that Fletcher’s Castoria and prune juice were “treats”. I had been given high doses of antibiotics as a young child also, for what was later shown to be a moldy house and not bacterial infections as misdiagnosed.
This may have given me an out-of-whack gut microbiome right from the start. By the time I was a teenager, the chronic constipation had progressed to very painful IBS-C that at times would drop me to the floor curled up in a ball and not have a bowel movement for up to 10 days.
At age 23, a colonoscopy showed a severely redundant colon (all wrapped up on my left side instead of placed across the abdomen like an upside down “U”). So doctors said I would never get any better, but anyway eat a Mediterranean-type high fiber whole grain and bean diet with lots of extra fiber supplements (like we are “supposed to”) because they didn’t know what else to do. This was 20 years before it became mainstream.
A high fiber whole grain and bean diet triggered other issues
I followed the protocol, but nothing improved and along the way other health issues started popping up or getting worse:
- Life-long anxiety
- Life-long acne
- Life-long sinus
- Thyroid cysts
- Ocular rosacea
- Frequent UTIs
- Keratosis pilaris
- Overall itching
- Energy slumps
- Stomach pain
- Belching, and more.
Doctors just kept saying it was “part of getting older”, and prescribed more meds including PPIs, thyroid meds, nasal sprays, and the “fix-all” antidepressants since of course, women are often seen as having it “all in their minds”. Stomach pains and digestive issues led to endoscopies, gall bladder tests, kidney scans, and a liver biopsy, all which were normal. I now know this was caused by SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or out-of-whack gut microbiome).
About 7 years ago, I contracted bronchitis and was given a heavy dose of Cipro
Soon afterwards I started getting heavy post-nasal drip and mucus in my throat. This then progressed to constant swallowing, throat-clearing and coughing. Then progressed to a constant “golf ball stuck in throat” sensation. Eventually this turned to throat swelling and trouble swallowing, then throat pain and hoarseness.
I thought I would lose my public speaking job, as I could barely get through 5 minutes without clutching my throat and losing my voice. Even sleeping was very difficult from all of the gagging and pain. An ENT doctor did a sinus CT scan and laryngoscopy, and diagnosed LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux,”Silent Reflux”). I was prescribed the standard PPIs, nasal steroid sprays and a low acid diet for LPR, and this made my LPR even worse!
Desperate, I searched and found the Fast Tract Diet through Dr. Norm‘s Digestive Health Institute website
This was before the Fast Tract Diet Facebook page or the Fast Tract Diet Mobile App even existed. Reading the info, it made sense that the low acid diet made my LPR worse – it is high in fermentable carbs (high FP points). It also made sense why 30+ years of a Mediterranean-type high fiber whole grain and bean diet never worked for me and contributed to my issues (again, high FP!).
So I bought the Fast Tract Digestion Heartburn book, which is an invaluable resource for understanding the science behind the diet and for figuring out your individual issues. Although I love the Fast Tract Diet Mobile App and the Facebook group, I would never have found such good success without the book principles to guide me. I followed the two-week intro diet in the book, and started seeing relief after the first week – like flipping a switch.
After the two-week diet reduced my symptoms, I followed the book advice to try adding back one carbohydrate group at a time, one week at a time, to monitor for changes. I started with lactose, since I suspected I was okay with that and no problems. Then I tried fructose, then non-starch fiber and again, no problems.
But when I tried starches, my LPR flared big time
Eliminate starches, symptoms reduced again. This made sense with my previous years of high starches.
So once I figured that out, I was able to adjust my diet to eliminate starches and still stay moderate FP points with the other fermentable carbs. I found a Low Carb High Fat version of the Fast Tract Diet with no starches or sugars works best for me. By 2.5 months I was 85% improved, and at 4 months 99% improved. But something even more amazing happened – I noticed my IBS-C had improved, as had my rosacea, acne, thyroid cysts, frequent UTIs, etc.
By 6 months all of my health issues had eliminated with no more meds!
I have now gone daily and comfortably for the first time in my life at age 50, for 4 years so far. My bloodwork is stellar, my blood pressure and weight ideal, best mental and physical shape and energy of my life, with no more Rx meds – again for 4 years so far. I went to a Nutritionist (RN/MS) to double check this. She monitors my bloodwork and agrees I am getting very dense complete nutrients and am optimizing my health.
My inflammation markers are zilch, no more energy slumps, I have terrific fingernails and skin, etc. My GP doctor commented recently that my skin looks terrific and I almost cried – I never in my life expected to hear that! A recent DNA test showed I descend from a part of the world that would have traditionally eaten my current way, so again this makes sense.
The key to success is finding out what works best for you and make it an “eating lifestyle” change. The Fast Tract Diet showed me that we are all unique products of genetics and a lifetime of exposures. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for all humans like we keep trying to force. The Fast Tract Diet can help you figure out your best foods.
I now see my LPR as a blessing in disguise, since it led me to find the Fast Tract Diet and my best health
I “walked through that door” and never looked back. I have found new favorite foods that do work for me, my taste buds have detoxed from the sugars and old favorites do not even sound appealing anymore – I just see those as the horrible symptoms they cause.
My diet is still quite varied and includes: organic grass-fed meat and dairy, seafood, nuts, lots of leafy greens and non-starch veggies, lots of good fats like olive and coconut oil, dark chocolate, and occasional low carb fruit like berries.
I am able to eat out at almost any restaurant or potluck gathering, etc.
My “go-to” backup plan is a salad with meat, veggies and cheese. I drink lots of coffee with heavy cream, citrus, vinegar, spices, acid foods, etc. with no problem and was able to do so after the two-week intro diet. I had a huge sweet tooth, but no longer – so I hope my story will help support those of you at the beginning of this life-changing journey.
I literally owe my life to Dr. Norm, the Fast Tract Diet and helpful supportive people in the Digestive Health Institute forum and the Fast Tract Diet Facebook group and that’s why I’m still here 4 years later trying to lend support as an Admin. Wishing you all the gift of health – the best present I ever received! My eternal gratitude to Dr. Norm!
How I Stopped My Reflux after a Failed Surgery
Hi, I am Amy Shouse LAc. This is my story.
Starting in the summer of 2014 I began to experience what I now know to be “silent reflux” or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). I began to feel some irritation in my throat and a mild cough. Within a few months, my throat irritation and globus sensation started happening constantly. I went to my local ENT and I was diagnosed with silent reflux and prescribed a 3-month trial of PPIs which I did not take.
I had already been trained in natural medicine and as a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner, I had a feeling there may be a better answer. I had heard from a colleague that a low-carb diet could help reflux.
My colleague pointed me to Dr. Norm Robillard’s book on heartburn and the Fast Tract Diet
The book made sense to me, so I began to implement some of the principles of the Fast Tract Diet in the Spring of 2015. I immediately had a mild reduction in symptoms, but admittedly, I was impatient and I would later understand that I actually wasn’t following a lot of the principles in the book even though I thought I was. I learned that I had to be patient and that sometimes for LPR sufferers particularly, it can take up to 3 months of following the diet to finally get a resolution to symptoms. But in the meantime, I had seen a surgeon who claimed to be a heartburn specialist. He diagnosed me with a hiatal hernia, slow motility due to damage to the nerves in my esophagus and cellular changes that were started to occur as a result of my reflux.
This diagnosis scared me…
The surgeon offered me a surgical solution called a Nissen Fundoplication. After about 3 months of contemplation and admittedly, a less than stellar commitment to the Fast Tract Diet, I underwent surgery to correct my hiatal hernia and had the Nissen Fundoplication done in January of 2016.
I felt great!!! I had zero reflux!! However, I did have pretty debilitating gas and bloating for about 6 weeks after surgery. At the 6 week mark, when I was almost all healed up from surgery, I began to burp again. When the burping started again, my reflux came back and it was just as bad as ever.
I was devastated. I thought maybe the surgery had failed. So I went and had barium imaging and impedance tests done. Nope, the fundoplication was perfectly in place. My surgeon released me and suggested I see a GI doc for further answers. UGH! At that point, I was done with going to doctors and I knew what the problem was.
The answers were in the Fast Tract Diet Heartburn book that I had read so many months before!
I did a ton more research and started REALLY implementing the Fast Tract Diet principles. I went hardcore and my symptoms really started to dramatically abate.
Here is the deal. The Fast Tract Diet works. In my case, I knew that The Fast Tract Diet made sense and I did initially have some symptom relief before I went for surgery. However, I had a hard time being patient and I had a hard time accepting that I would have to abide to a certain way of eating forever. I also don’t think I really understood the diet until I went through a failed surgery and realized that changing my diet was really the solution to the root cause of my reflux. This is embarrassing to admit as a natural medicine practitioner, but it was a good learning experience for me and it also is an example of how we all have our own journey!
Today, I routinely prescribe the Fast Tract Diet to my patients who have IBS, SIBO and reflux
I have seen dramatic results with those who adhere to the Fast Tract Diet principles, understand the diet and have the patience and discipline to change how they eat. My own journey with reflux and my return to the Fast Tract Diet has also made me very empathetic to those who start this journey. I understand it well because I lived it. Lifestyle change can be hard and it is always a bit of a process. But if you believe in yourself and you stick to your guns, you can do it!
That said, as I understand the diet more, I also have realized that the Fast Tract Diet is not only healthy for me but it is a delicious and wonderful way to eat! Once you adapt to this new normal you will never feel deprived. You will feel healthy and energized, you will be symptom-free and yes, you will be able to go out to eat again at your favorite restaurant!
Addressing LPR and IBS-D with the Fast Tract Diet
Hi I am Jan,
My story began in the spring of 2016 with a sore throat that wouldn’t go away. I had the whole 9 yards. Bad sore throat, mucus, trouble swallowing & some days even had burning eyes & ears & sinuses. Saw an ENT & he did the in-office scope & said it was very inflamed but it wasn’t coming from my sinuses. He said it was reflux & I needed to see a Gastroenterologist.
I was already on 40 mg. Pantoprazole for a hiatal hernia & Schatzki ring
He added another 300 mg of Ranitidine & handed me a low acid diet. I followed the diet till I got in to see my Gastroenterologist & didn’t help a bit. I was starting to freak out about the mucus being so thick & had a couple of panic attacks while driving feeling like I couldn’t swallow my own saliva! Terrifying.
The ENT suggested that mine was probably structural & that it might be time to fix it surgically. The Gastro. Dr. didn’t agree. He tested me for H-pylori (negative) and sent me for the stomach emptying test. I have Gastroparesis. First of all I was well aware of what Gastroparesis was because both my mother-in-law & my mother had it & I didn’t have the nausea or extreme bloating they did so I couldn’t comprehend that I had this too….but again no help for the LPR.
He added Flonase & Claritin to the mix because he thought some of it could be allergies
I told him I’d been tested for allergies a decade ago & had none. Also added another 40 mg of Pantoprazole but told me that was the maximum I could take of those & could not take that much long term. Sure enough within about a week, I got depressed. That is SO not me. I am always a glass half full kind of person. This just hit me with profound sadness for no reason.
We’d just moved into a new house & normally I would be all about the decorating. I was in a horrible funk. I woke up one day with horrible mouth ulcers & a tongue so swollen I could barely talk for 2 days. The ENT said it was from the high dose of PPIs & took me off one of the Pantoprazole. I weaned myself off the Ranitidine within a week.
I was getting so frustrated going back & forth between them
They didn’t agree with each other really & I was not getting better. I started to have a different pain in my throat that was deeper down & deeper in the muscles & the ENT did another scope & couldn’t find a thing except a small patch of redness. He told me to try Gaviscon Advance from the UK & explained that it was different from the US version & I’d have to order it online.
I will be forever grateful to him for that because when I went on Amazon to order it, The Fast Tract Digestion books popped up & I started reading the reviews. These were folks with exactly my symptoms that were getting real relief. I ordered both books, Fast Tract Digestion Heartburn and IBS that day & bought the Fast Tract Diet Mobile App & started eating that way before my books arrived.
Within 4 days, my IBS-D disappeared!
I was shocked. I had been dealing with that since my early 30s & it was getting worse & worse & I just assumed it was age & something I would have to deal with. All my life, they had told me to “eat more fiber”. I knew this was somewhat genetic for me also but had no idea that the “healthy” smoothies I was having every morning were not so healthy for my gut.
As I devoured the book, I had all these Aha moments…I had no idea my IBS-D that was becoming quite chronic was related to everything else that I was dealing with. The last couple of years it had begun to be enough of a problem that I cancelled going places if I wasn’t sure of bathrooms etc. It would come & go. Definitely be worse if I was stressed but I still had no idea all these so-called healthy foods were causing it.
Within a couple of weeks, my LPR symptoms started to ease up
still had extreme food sensitivities so it was going to be a long journey with that but I was starting to put the pieces of the bigger puzzle together. I even sat down one day & did a time-line of things I’d dealt with & taken drugs for, in the past several years. Astonishing really!
Few years back, my family Dr. was treating me for what he thought to be Diverticulitis. I had one spot of pain daily & he gave me two rounds of Cipro. After many tests & finally a colonoscopy showed I didn’t have any diverticulitis….I have gut spasms.
Then, I would always test positive for UTIs on routine urine tests. They’d give me antibiotics & I’d finish them then they’d call & say the culture was negative…every time! That happened 3-4 times in a couple of years. I remember having reflux a couple of times after being on low dose progesterone. I never mentioned it. After my GYNO. learned of my LPR said to get off of it as it can cause reflux issues.
I had asked both ENT & Gastro. Drs. if any of my meds could cause LPR, they said “no”. Gastroenterologist has stretched my esophageal sphincter twice because of scarring. Could it have stretched too much now???
About 6 mths before I started having the throat issues, I had Shingles & took 2 weeks of meds for that & one was Gabapentin. Also had a neck problem I had to take an ant-inflammatory for at the same time. A month before the LPR reared it’s ugly head, I had Sacroiliitis and took another 2 weeks of anti-inflammatory meds. Right after that, my guts were really acting up.
It was Oct. when I got on the Fast Tract Diet so I’d been dealing with LPR for over 6 months already & was about at my wit’s end.
I was so happy to finally have answers
This was working & I knew I was going to beat it. I have been on Fast Tract Diet for over a year now & my life will never be the same. I had to be extreme with eliminating things out at the start but I needed to know exactly which of these foods were triggers for me & as we all know, we are all so different. Sugar & starches are the biggies for me. I can eat most potatoes now in small amounts. I still cannot do rice of any kind.
At my last checkup, I told the Gastroenterologist I would like to get off that last PPI
I have not been successful yet. I get bad rebound reflux, but I have been on it many years so I suspect it will take time. He believes my LPR is caused by the Gastroparesis. So, what caused the motility issue?
Was that from the leaky gut problems or the long-term PPI use. I’ll probably never know all these answers but as some of the others have said the Fast Tract Diet is a tool to fix these problems & I feel better than ever if I eat how I’m supposed to eat. My latest blood work was great & my cholesterol came down 10 points even tho I eat all the cheese & fat I want.
I know that things will come up that I may have to take drugs for, but I will be very diligent about what & for how long & will protect my gut before & after. I hope this helps some of you & hope that you will sit down & think about the last few years before you ended up here. It can be very eye opening. I am SO very grateful for Norm‘s research & time to figure this all out. We obviously have a huge epidemic of these problems in all age groups. I felt like they thought it was all in my head & I knew this was real.