2014 has been a year of hope, excitement, frustration, and most importantly, learning. I have learned so much about myself, nutrition, the medical field, the food industry, cooking, toxins, and how these all impact our overall health. As I reflect back upon where I was one year ago, I am hopeful that I will continue to heal from SIBO and that new discoveries will be made that contribute to helping restore a more vibrant and less restrictive lifestyle for SIBO sufferers.
Often times for people with SIBO it is difficult to recognize our progress until we reflect upon how we felt quite a long time ago. One year ago, having bowel movements every 3 or 4 days was normal for me (sorry if that’s TMI). Also, waking up nightly from extreme itching was not uncommon. I had painful acne on my shoulders and I would have a few zits on my face every now and then.
My typical foods for the day (one year ago) were as follows:
- Breakfast: gluten-free oats, flaxseed, walnuts, rice milk
- Lunch: mixed green salad with raw shredded yam, cashew cream, chopped walnuts, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, cucumber, with a homemade chili vinaigrette
- Dinner: gluten-free flatbread with tomato paste, sliced bell pepper, and chicken
- Snack: handful roasted almonds
- Treat: gluten-free vegan pastry- I had to have my treats…every day
Things have changed (to say the least). First, I have bowel movements usually every day. Sometimes, if I am lucky, even two or three times in one day. Itching is sporadic and I often go a week or two without any. Waking up with extreme itching only happens when I really overindulge (such as xmas eve when I ate 1.5 cups of mashed yams). And acne? What’s that?
These improvements in my symptoms, however, have not been without extreme deprivation, self-control, and a whole lot of money. Sometimes I wonder whether I have actually healed or whether I have just restricted my diet enough and implemented the right supplements (low dose erythromycin & ginger for MMC motility, magnesium citrate for loose stools, herbal anti-microbials off and on as needed for complete emptying) to control my symptoms. I do not feel that my diet nor my supplements (especially the anti-microbials) are sustainable for the long term.
Here is an example of my typical diet now:
- Breakfast: salmon patty and acorn squash with coconut oil and cinnamon
- Lunch: turkey breast dipped in olive oil served with roasted beet and fennel
- Dinner: ground beef, bison, goat or elk patty with roasted celery root and carrot
I eat very little fruit (1 serving per week of blueberries, raspberries, or banana), minimal nuts (10 per day max), no gluten, no soy, no dairy, no legumes, extremely minimal grains (1/2 cup cooked white jasmine rice/month), no raw veggies, low FODMAP veggies, limited nightshades, and minimal high free thiol foods.
Here are some treatments and testing that I would like to explore in 2015:
- Nutrigenomics- specifically CBS upregulation
- Analyzing my gut microbiome via Ubiome.com
- Four day stool test- need to research about the different companies
- Heavy metal testing
- Lyme testing
- Taurine for gallbladder health (UPDATE: this supplement made me feel awful because it is a sulfur amino acid)
- Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)- currently only legal in the US for C. difficile, but individuals report trying it on their own at home (I do not know if I could mentally handle this treatment)
- Probiotic enemas- same reluctance as previous treatment
My goal for 2015 will be to continue to search for the root cause of my digestive issues and not give up. There are definitely times when I feel like giving up and just eating a giant cookie, but somehow I seem to always find the inspiration to continue to be hopeful that this is not a ‘forever’ diagnosis. Perhaps it is my loving and supportive family, my loyal blog followers, and/or my fellow sufferers. Thank you all for following my journey and helping me remain hopeful! Here is to a wonderful and healthy 2015!