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I will post on this page  some of the reviews we received on our books in the form of a blog or article  †



Systematic intervention to overcome abdominal complaints

Normally I would never write a review for a book for which I wrote a foreword. It gives a feeling of "butcher inspects his own meat", but I can indicate why I would like to bring the book "Systematic intervention to overcome abdominal complaints" to attention. It is a book by two passionate dietitians that deserves more attention.

SIBO has a double meaning
The title of the book is an acronym that can be interpreted in two ways. The first, of course, is the title of the book. The second meaning stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Translated into Dutch, this means an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Interest in the micro-organisms that live in our gut has increased in recent years. It is gradually becoming clear that the gut microbiome may have more influence on our health than previously thought. This not only concerns physical, but also psychological health.

This book is a guide to SIBO
However, the full title of the book rightly indicates that the authors have looked further than just overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Abdominal complaints can indicate several diseases. The authors therefore discuss all kinds of syndromes of the gastrointestinal tract that can lead to abdominal complaints. They also describe how the digestive tract is supposed to work. In addition, the most common syndromes are discussed and for each syndrome it is indicated what the treatment can consist of. This is mainly based on dietetic treatment.

Recognizing red flags
Of course, abdominal complaints can also be caused by gastrointestinal diseases that are associated with inflammation. This includes Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The authors give clear advice on why and when someone with abdominal complaints should first be examined by a (gastrointestinal) doctor. With this they want to prevent the reader from messing around with food and any nutritional supplements to tackle his/her (abdominal) health. It is important that the person with abdominal complaints has received the correct diagnosis before treatment can be started.

Need help finding the right treatment
The patient with abdominal complaints often struggles with several health problems. This makes it difficult to make the correct diagnosis. Determining a good treatment is a quest. The authors make it clear that it is definitely not a “one size fits all”. For example, they describe that there are several diet options. Determining the right diet is tailor-made. The diet that is followed should be seen as a research diet even more than a diet that leads to an immediate result. Various options are discussed for treatment. The most important advice for the patient is that he / she seeks expert help in the search for the right treatment.

Authors build knowledge about SIBO
Jacqueline Gerrits and Joyce Bijl are the authors of the SIBO book. They have written several books about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which has also been revised in a second edition, and a book about IBS and Stress. These books are also referred to in the SIBO book. It is noticeable that the authors have continued to build on their knowledge of abdominal complaints and which remedies can be used for this. An important starting point in this regard is evidence-based action, i.e. action based on the strongest possible scientific evidence. In the absence of strong scientific support, the authors choose to work according to the principle of best practice. This is clearly stated when discussing the treatment methods.

SIBO book as a guideline
The SIBO book is definitely recommended for dieticians, family doctors, stomach liver and intestinal doctors. The book is not suitable as a self-help book for people with unexplained stomach complaints. With the help of this book, patients can gain knowledge about the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the book can be used for patients to better understand (certain parts of) the treatment. The book also offers many practical tips to properly apply the different diet options.

Anneke Palsma May 2020






FODMaP diet effective for stomach complaints?

For a few years now, the FODMaP diet has been written more often. This diet could in some cases be a good remedy for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Although the FODMaP diet is not really intended for athletes, there are certainly athletes who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome who may benefit from these nutritional advice.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS ) , also referred to as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is a condition characterized by abdominal pain and bowel problems.  IBS patients may suffer from diarrhea and/or constipation. Some patients have continuous complaints while others only have periodic complaints. It is often not clear what triggers the complaints. The cause of IBS is also unknown. Yet it appears that IBS often develops after a food infection has been experienced. However, research shows no other intestinal diseases. An important characteristic of this condition is the hypersensitivity of the intestines that leads to the pain. The symptoms can vary from very mild to very severe. IBS occurs in approximately 5-20% of the Dutch population.

What is the FODMaP diet?

It  FODMaP diet  is a relatively new diet that is not intended for weight loss, but can be used for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other misunderstood abdominal complaints. The abbreviation FODMaP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides (lactose) Monosaccharides (fructose) and Polyols. In plain layman's terms: short carbohydrate chains, milk sugar and fruit sugar and alcohol-like substances that are normally broken down well in the gastrointestinal tract and/or can then be absorbed into the body. Also  information about FODMaPs can be found here . FODMaPs can cause gas and can cause pain and a change in stool consistency in IBS patients. The FODMaP diet was first introduced by scientists on the  Monasch University in Australia  used in IBS patients. Treatment with the FODMaP diet showed that approximately ¾ of the IBS patients coped better with the complaints and/or had fewer complaints. The diet is based on practice-based evidence, in other words it has proven itself in practice.

Should this diet be followed permanently?

The FODMaP diet is actually a kind of research diet that the patient can follow in order to achieve possible recovery of the complaints and/or to find out which nutrients are less well tolerated. That sounds quite complicated. Those who are going to follow this diet start with a food that is FODMaP-free to first calm the intestines and reduce the complaints. Then the foods containing FODMaPs are reintroduced one by one to find out which foods are well tolerated and which foods are not. In order to map this out properly, good instruction for – and good discipline from the patient is necessary in order to achieve the best possible result.

Insightful FODMaP guide now available

To make the diet more transparent and accessible, the Dutch dietitians have  Joyce Bijl  and  Jacqueline Gerrits  a book written that can be used by both IBS patients and dietitians (who guide IBS patients) to achieve reduction of the IBS complaints and/or recovery of these complaints. The book starts with a user manual. After that, information is given about the functioning of the digestive tract and what FODMaPs are. Then the principle of the FODMap diet is explained and examples are given of daily and weekly menus for the elimination period and the  reintroduction period of the FODMaPs. It also provides guidance on what steps can be taken if the FODMaP diet does not lead to the desired result. In the last chapter of the book, recipes from the daily and weekly menus are explained. In the appendices frequently asked questions are discussed and working with the food diary for complaint registration during the reintroduction period is discussed.  of the FODMaPs. There is also an overview of sources, functions and complaints for deficiencies of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

FODMaP-Everything about IBS is recommended

Although a lot of information about the FODMaP diet is already available, this book is definitely recommended for patients and professionals who work with IBS patients. The book provides clear and practical explanations about IBS, in which even the connection between sensitive intestines and brain function is explained in understandable Dutch. The term “FODMaPs” is also clearly expressed with clear examples.
Sufficient space is included in the book to make personal notes and to use it as a diary for registering complaints for and by patients. The method of preparation of the recipes in the weekly and daily menus is clearly explained. The dishes are easy to prepare.

Positive and Negative Notes

It is advised on page 30 to use supplements, as crops today would contain less nutrients due to soil depletion, but that is a  rumor with a smell . Nevertheless, it is certainly advisable to supplement any nutrient deficiencies in a sensible way.
The authors rightly indicate that the basis of this diet is mainly based on practical research and that a sound scientific basis is not (yet) available, but that this diet is the best that can be offered. The fact that the two authors honestly indicate how strong the scientific basis of this diet is and that the Apps with extra information that are not free mainly come from the Australian research institute that introduced this diet is a good example of their transparent method. With this they show that they have an honest goal in mind with this book, namely the well-being of the IBS patient. They also show that by looking at their  Facebook page  always supplement the information about this diet. In short, this book is a must!

Posted by Anneke Palsma on September 7, 2017

IBS & Stress

reduce stress

Athletes and others who are sensitive to stress can gain a better quality of life by reducing their stress. But how do you do that? Various approaches have been developed for this. But what is the added value of a self-help book, written for people with irritable bowel syndrome, for people with other diet-related complaints and for athletes?

Stress and health

The term “ stress ” usually evokes negative associations, such as heart palpitations, sweating attacks, headaches, muscle pain, abdominal pain, (too) heavy loads, etc. However, especially short-term stress can sometimes be life-saving. Think of the fight or flight response in the event of an acute threat or threat. However, long-term and some short (threatening) stress situations can lead to health damage, such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome . This is a serious condition that can lead to permanent health damage.
Mild forms of stress can be tackled with various treatments. Stress as a result of a physical disorder can lead to a loss of quality of life and also to an increase in the complaints caused by the disorder.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stress

An example of a disease that can be accompanied by stress and in which the complaints can also be influenced by stress is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) . In principle, as a general dietary guideline for IBS, it is recommended to use a diet that complies with the Guidelines for a Good Diet and Guidelines for the Wheel of Five . Stress can lead to a worsening of abdominal pain and stomach and intestinal complaints in IBS. In that case, the nutritional approach is to adjust the diet according to the complaints, but to continue to comply with the Guidelines for a Good Nutrition as much as possible. This can be quite a task for the IBS patient and his/her environment, because of the IBS complaints

From FODMAP to stress reduction

An approach that is also being used more and more is the FODMAP diet, about which dieticians Joyce Bijl and Jacqueline Gerrits have published a book . However, the same dieticians noticed in their practice that, in addition to the FODMAPs in the diet, stress also continued to influence the IBS complaints and the well-being of their patients. That was the reason for them to develop a method together with health coach and trainer Koen Lucas in which their patients are given tools to reduce stress, which they have recorded in the self-help book PDS & Stress.


📷 This acronym stands for the 7 steps with which the stress in IBS can be reduced. RELAX stands for: Avoid Stress, New Behaviors, Developing Talents, Leaving Points of View, Personal Development, Having a Share and Now all at once.
The book starts in the preface with an explanation of what stress is, what the relationship is between stress and IBS and what the influence of stress is and the influence of food on stress and a short explanation of the 7 steps that are followed during the treatment. This is followed by 7 chapters explaining the seven steps of the RELAX method. Each chapter starts with a quote to immediately trigger the reader to think. This is followed by an introduction in which the practical explanation is given based on the situation of patient Evelien. This is followed by questions that help the reader to gain insight into his/her situation. Then in each chapter there are commands to perform the described step. Once a chapter has been completed, the next step can be started.

Self-help book to use with and without support

The book can be used as a self-help book. The book is designed to be used as a workbook during treatment. This shows great similarities with the FODMAP book. Support is available via a website that offers online training so that the user can complete the steps at their own preferred time and pace. Without purchasing the book, this online training costs €97, but those who already have the book can purchase the online training for a much lower price of €47. Those who prefer a personal way of stress reduction can make use of the services of the authors of this book. It is of course also possible that you use a coach in your environment, but then it is useful that he is also familiar with the RELAX methods


In developing this method, the authors were inspired by techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) , mindfulness and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) . The former therapies have a scientific basis and their efficacy in the treatment of IBS is substantiated in this article . The scientific basis for NLP is still shaky, but this way of treatment is applied in various situations. This is often done in combination with or as part of other approaches.
This makes a scientific basis for this approach reasonably solid.
The nice thing is that the book mainly focuses on stress reduction in general, but is related to IBS. However, the RELAX method could also be quite effective in addressing stress in situations other than just that of the IBS patient. This includes athletes with competitive stress.
In short, recommended for people with IBS & stress, athletes who want to master stress and for others who want to reduce their stress and improve their quality of life.

Posted by Anneke Palsma on October 20, 2017

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