Kathie Swift’s 4-Week Plan to Banish Bloat and Bad Bacteria

Lose the weight and stop bad bacteria from causing bloat with these simple steps.

Posted on | By Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN

Week 1: Transition

This week, we launch our journey to digestive health and banishing the bloat by eliminating the Terrible Trio from the diet: sugar, gluten and dairy.

What to Eliminate

Sugar drives inflammation and adds the “empty calories” that make healthy weight almost impossible. By emphasizing whole foods, especially vegetables and fruits, we’re saying good-bye to processed foods with all their added sugar and potentially toxic chemical ingredients. That includes sugary sodas, sweetened drinks, teas, artificial sweeteners and fruit juice.

Gluten, a protein compound, is found in wheat and other common grains and virtually everywhere in the processed food supply. Lose it! For many people, especially women, gluten triggers an immune-system response that can result in digestive upset, bloating and symptoms that pop up anywhere in the body, including fatigue and depression.

Dairy is probably the most common food sensitivity, causing bloat, gas and IBS-type symptoms. We’ll find out if dairy is causing you problems by eliminating it for the first and second weeks.

What to Limit

Give your gut a vacation from potential irritants by limiting:

  • Grains: Only a couple servings of gluten-free grains a week. On the good-to-eat list are: brown rice, certified gluten-free oats, and so-called “pseudo-grains” like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth.
  • Caffeinated beverages: No more than one 8-ounce cup of coffee or two cups of tea (green, white or black) a day, without milk or cream.
  • Alcohol: No more than two drinks a week.

What to Embrace

FFP: Fiber, fat and protein. That’s how I sum up how you should be eating this first week, and for all four weeks of the plan. Whenever you can, load up on vegetables with a full range of colors. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and the fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helping to protect and maintain digestive health. Also great for fiber, in moderation, are fresh fruit and some whole grains like steel-cut, gluten-free oats; quinoa; and buckwheat. Healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocados can help make you feel fuller in between meals and give your digestive system time to cleanse itself. Wild fish is a great source of healthy fat and the protein you need for a balanced diet. Lean chicken, turkey and beef, in moderation, are also good sources of protein, B vitamins and minerals like zinc.

How Will I Feel?

Everyone is different, but during this first week many of my clients feel their sugar cravings lessen and their belly calm down, resulting in less bloat and gas.

Article written by Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN
Kathie Madonna Swift is a leading integrative dietitian, author and educator.