cover image Mind Your Gut: The Science-Based, Whole-Body Guide to Living Well with IBS

Mind Your Gut: The Science-Based, Whole-Body Guide to Living Well with IBS

Kate Scarlata and Megan Riehl. Hachette Go, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-306-83233-8

This helpful resource from dietitian Scarlata (coauthor of The Low-FODMAP Diet) and health psychologist Riehl outlines strategies for managing irritable bowel syndrome. Explaining that stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms via the gut-brain axis, the authors describe how to change how one feels by changing how one thinks. For instance, they suggest that reframing negative thoughts (from “If I didn’t have IBS, I’d be way more productive” to “IBS is a bummer, but I can manage it”) can reduce anxiety. Scarlata and Riehl extol the benefits of such relaxation techniques as “gut-directed guided imagery,” which involves envisioning oneself in a tranquil environment and then “allow[ing] the same comfort that your senses are experiencing to bring comfort and peace to your stomach.” The dietary guidance revolves around cutting out foods high in sugars collectively known as FODMAPs, which create gas and cause cramping by stretching the intestinal wall. Other recommendations include keeping a consistent meal schedule, staying hydrated, minimizing alcohol intake, and incorporating oatmeal, canned chickpeas, and other fiber-rich foods into one’s diet. The breadth of strategies ensures that if readers don’t respond to one, they’ll have plenty of others to try, and the inclusion of a sample menu plan and extensive lists of low-FODMAP foods makes implementing the dietary advice easy. This gets the job done. Agent: Marilyn Allen, Allen O’Shea Literary. (Mar.)