Monday, May 26, 2014

Healing My Gut {Real Food for SIBO Healing}

SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

When I first heard about SIBO, I thought to myself, "hey, that could explain a lot..." But I kind of half forgot about it and continued on with my relatively problem-free life. Since going full paleo, I've seen nearly every bodily discomfort I've ever had disappear.


Each and every time I eat a piece of fruit, some sugar or really anything with any sort of notable carbohydrate level at all, I feel discomfort. It varies in both intensity and sort depending on what I eat, but the most common immediate reactions are:

  • Bloating, usually to the point of looking like I'm several months preggers {I've even gotten many "when are you due?" comments}.
  • Abdominal pain or a feeling of being "stuffed" {without overeating}.
  • Gas, and this could be in either direction, if you catch my drift.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, usually followed by brain fog and slight nausea.

And some of the mid- to long-term reactions aren't that pleasant either:

  • Intense sugar and carb cravings which nearly always lead me back to the road of BED {Binge Eating Disorder}.
  • Rapid weight gain and/or water retention {I'm not sure which it is, but I can go up several pants sizes in a very short period of time and it takes me at least double the time to get rid of it}.
  • Extreme bitchiness and lack of patience with anyone or anything that doesn't do exactly what I want when I want it done.
  • IBS {Irritable Bowel Syndrome}, and this can swing from one end of the spectrum to the other!

I have recently adopted a low carb, keto-esque lifestyle, in an effort to combat these discomforts and while I feel amazing when I stick to it 100%, every slight deviation brings all these symptoms back, full-force. This makes me believe there is an underlying cause and that experiencing these symptoms is akin to a psoriasis flare up.

That's when I received Diane Sanfilippo's Simplifying SIBO free eBook {available only to email subscribers, so if you're interested in reading it as well, go sign up for the Balanced Bites newsletter!}.

I found myself nodding my head, information after information that I read. I recognized myself in everything that was written and finished the entire eBook in one sitting.. Could this be my problem? "Simply" an overgrowth of what is normally considered to be friendly bacteria in my gut?

I then headed over to Dr Allison Siebecker's website, SIBOinfo, and read the entire site, clicked on every link, explored every bit of information I was presented with. I was sure I had found an explanation to my woes.

I spent the next couple of days on Google, reading every blog and forum I could find not only about SIBO but also about how people cured themselves from it using supplements, keto, low FODMAPs, SCD, GAPS and more. And now, after all my research, I have a game plan of my own:

  • I am going to continue my keto lifestyle, but eliminate sugars entirely for the next four weeks. This means no honey, no fruit, no starchy veggies, no flours. I will be using the 1-page Guide to Real Food for SIBO Healing Diane has so kindly included in her eBook to help, well, guide me.
  • I will make a real effort to leave 4-5 hours between meals, to give my body the time necessary to "empty" itself, thus reducing the amount of "backed-up" food I leave for my buggers.
  • I am going to supplement with garlic {6 weeks} and probiotics {30 days}.

And since I'm one of those annoying people that does something the second they say they will, I'm starting today. {Well, actually, tomorrow, as I bought the supplements this afternoon and will begin taking them tomorrow morning. But I have a laminated copy of the Guide to Real Food for SIBO Healing hanging in my kitchen already :p}

I will be writing up a separate, in-depth post for each of the topics above {diet, feeding schedule and supplements} as this one is quite lengthy as it is and will be doing my best to keep you all updated with my progress as well.

For now, wish me luck!

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