Transitioning to a SIBO diet
So it’s been a week on the SIBO diet, working with Paleo Dietitian Aglaee Jacob who is so very helpful, understanding and has great suggestions for me along the way. NOTE****If you have IBS, Crohns, Colitis or any digestive issues, I really recommend checking out Aglaee’s website. Following PALEO, maybe not SIBO, is the best way to cure your stomach and digestive problems. I haven’t had ANY IBS symptoms since going off gluten and grains and that was before even starting PALEO..
The first few days on SIBO DIET, I have to say were pure torture! I have gone through the withdrawal from sugar and carbs before but it has never been this difficult, at least I don’t remember it being this difficult.. though I have never lasted this long going so low carb before..
TYPICAL DETOX SYMPTOMS
You pretty much have the same symptoms doing SIBO diet as you would if you were transitioning from a Low fat High carb diet to a paleo diet. These include the following
- Cravings- INTENSE CRAVINGS – Oh boy, look out. Hide EVERYTHING! SUGAR, BREAD, CARBS.. better yet, get them out of the house or you will be sorry. If you don’t want to throw them out, just hide them at a friends for a few days or week. The cravings diminish after the first week but the first few days are the WORST!!
- Fatigue/Lack of energy – feeling like you want to sleep all the time! Can’t do anything.. this is a good time to take it easy and rest.. let your body heal.. then you’ll be amazed all of a sudden you’ll want to go run around.
- Headaches – on and off headaches or even headaches that go from migraine to dull ache
- Dizziness/Light Headed – Especially when you get up or when you move quickly
- Nausea – often your stomach will feel sick, especially with all those extra fats you are consuming
- Irritability/Mood Swings – Warn your friends and family you may be a grouch for a few weeks.. especially right at the beginning
- Diarrhea/Constipation – you might go back and forth from one to the other.. not fun but it gets better as your stomach heals and will happen FAR less often, then suddenly you’ll be normal again.. YAY NORMAL!!
- SINUS DRAINAGE – With me it wasn’t so much drainage as much as stuffed up. I felt like I had allergies(which I don’t usually have a problem with)
- RETURN of old symptoms or worsening of your usual symptoms – ACNE, skin problems, stomach problems, aches and pains might make a slight return or worsen to annoy you and taunt you.. Wanting you to give up but you are STRONG. They’ll go away pretty quick as long as you don’t give in. ;)
- COLD Sweats and even Flu-Like Symptoms – you might feel like you have the flu, you don’t, your body is just mad at you.. don’t worry it’ll get over it.
- Brain fog/Lack of concentration – It reminds me of how I felt after just having my baby, mommy brain. You have to read the same sentence a hundred times, you forgot stuff(more than usual),
- Increased urination – yeah the first few days you are pretty much getting rid of excess water.. so it’ll make you run to the washroom, A LOT!! Be prepared…
- Increased THIRST- you would think if your body was getting rid of so much water, why would it want more. Well it does and it needs it to help flush out toxins so drink up.. DRINK LOTS, you’ll be very thirsty for a few days, maybe longer.
- HUNGER – Your body is confused, it doesn’t know what it wants. It thinks it needs food it tells you over and over and over again to feed it. It wants the stuff you shouldn’t be eating but every time you feed it the stuff you should be eating, eventually it gets the message. You’ll go from wanting to eat every couple of hours, maybe even an hour after your last meal.. to only wanting to eat a meal 2 or 3 times a day.. I eat 2 bigger meals and a small snack and it seems to keep me satisfied all day, i’m not hungry at all. Everyone is different though so listen to your body, once it figures things out. If you aren’t sure if you are really hungry, drink some more water.. that usually helped me.
WHICH SYMPTOMS HAVE I HAD?
So far, pretty much all of them.. more on the first 2 days.. then gradually one would pop up, then another the next day. Kind of like your body is saying, well that didn’t work. Maybe THIS will get her attention.. Your body will do whatever it can to get things back to the way it use to be.. nobody likes change, especially your body! The first few days I had migraine, light-headed, racing heart, NO ENERGY(literally was winded walking up 8 steps) it was super hard to concentrate, thankfully I started this when I was already off work(HOLIDAYS) and had already cleaned 3/4 of my house. If I had done this at the beginning of my holidays, there’s NO WAY I would have gotten anything done all week.
Thursday I started and it wasn’t that bad but by Friday the symptoms started, they continued on into Saturday but faded after a bit, still present but not as bad. By Sunday I was feeling much better, mild headaches but I didn’t feel like I had to go eat sugar every 2 min.. progress, cravings were much better! Oddly I had a huge craving for lemons on the weekend… I think it was to help digest the fat since I wasn’t taking any ox bile(helps digest fat) Eating the fat was making me nauseous.. The lemons and ACV I found out actually helped with digestion and got rid of the nausea…(glad my body knows what to do) ACV and lemons are 2 things I normally can’t eat without diluting but apparently when starting SIBO I can eat lemons straight!
Monday I woke up with a headache and I went to work, I had all my meals ready for the day. The headache on Monday surprisingly never got worse(almost always do). My skin also broke out in psoriasis or eczema (not sure which one it is) but I hadn’t had it in years, since 2008 when I went gluten-free. I knew that old health problems, such as skin problems and what not might return for a bit, I guess I forgot about a few problems I had. Neck pain, headaches, acne, psoriasis along with all the rest of the stuff I mentioned. Can’t say it was a fun few days but now it’s a full week since I started and I’m feeling much better.
My body is getting use to the foods. This is the first time that I have been able to get past the sugar addiction/carb flu going this low carb(almost 0 carbs) and get through the onslaught of feeling like crap. But HEY I made it and I’m feeling better, my energy is coming back, the skin is clearing up(slowly).
What is the SIBO DIET?
The SIBO diet is basically a very HIGH FAT, MODERATE PROTEIN and VERY LOW CARB version of the Paleo diet. What it is meant to do is to starve all the bad bacteria in your small intestine, (SIBO= SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIA OVERGROWTH) give your body time to heal and help you restore the healthy bacteria.. this process could take a while depending on how damaged your gut is.. This isn’t something I will continue doing forever, it is temporary but what it is giving me the opportunity to do is HEAL.
Once I feel that my body has healed and my symptoms have been gone for a long enough time(a week or so) I will start introducing CAUTION foods back into my diet.. each one I will give 3 or 4 days to adjust to before deciding if it’s a problem food or something I can put back into my diet.
After years of using birth control being treated for yeast infections, bacterial infections and Tuberculosis which was 9 months of treatment that destroyed virtually all bacteria in my system. It’s no wonder my stomach is in such bad shape. It’s incredibly hard for your body to heal after all that stuff, if you don’t give it the opportunity. Even just one of those things can throw your system out of whack!
Literally when I started birth control at 18 is when I started having problems, infection after infection. So that’s over 15 years of damage from medications to treat everything since then. I actually had to completely go off birth control in 2009 because it was giving me so many health problems.
I was tested and was told I had not only developed an intolerance to gluten(already knew that) but all grains, sugar, chocolate, lactose, alcohol, MSG! My gosh.. the test is limited in the foods it checks, so I may have other intolerance’s, which is one of the reasons why it’s important to introduce foods back in slowly. Obviously I won’t be introducing any of the above foods back in any time soon but other foods like cheese, eggs, peppers, tomatoes foods that can cause problems, in some people, are foods I will slowly introduce back into my diet.
WHAT I EAT!
So what the heck can/do I eat? Well if you really want to know EVERYTHING you can CLICK HERE and download Aglaee’s Gut healing and Symptom Management Protocol for SIBO PDF but for the shorter version..
I stick to LOW FODMAP(you can click this list in the SIBO PDF) veggies such as zucchini, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, cucumbers, chives, ginger, kale, spring onion(green part) – there’s other ones but these are the ones that I like the most and can stomach – I am not a HUGE veggie person, which sucks! I don’t eat any fruit right now.. BOOO I love fruit!
HIGH FAT – so coconut oil, GHEE, Extra Virgin Olive Oil mostly (since this is what I have on hand at home) I eat this with every meal.
PROTEIN – Meats, organ meats, egg yolks(I’m avoiding for now but will try in a few weeks once my system is better) Fish/Seafood and poultry – my meat is almost all grass-fed that I eat.
I’m also making sure I’m having absolutely no dairy, seeing as lactose was an intolerance, I figured it would be a good idea.. I’m drinking Home Made broth every day, from grass-fed animal bones..
I have made chicken liver but haven’t had any yet. I’m going to try to stomach it(blah, hate the taste) as I should be eating it 1 or 2 times a week..(fun) it helps restore vitamin B12 and iron..
The only treat I am having is carrots (mashed) with cinnamon and coconut oil on them. Which is actually pretty tasty. I’ve also cooked the carrots in the oven, I cut them in slices and mix it in coconut oil and cinnamon, put it in the oven for 20-30 min at 375, same thing really just different way of cooking them. But this is harder on your body to digest, mashed is easier to digest so I won’t do this very often, for now.
The only seasonings I’m using are Salt, chives, basil, oregano, dill, cinnamon, lemon/lime juice and apple cider vinegar.
I’m drinking lots of water and I have cut out(temporarily) all fermented foods – I was trying out Kombucha and Kefir but for now I will leave them out for a few weeks and slowly introduce those back in along with probiotics.
I’m taking magnesium in the morning and one at night to help with muscle cramping(this usually goes away after a little while)Mine is already getting better but if you have cramping try Magnesium Glycinate. I’m also taking digestive enzymes with each meal to help me digest my food AND COD liver oil( I use Carlson Cod Liver Oil) everyday.
I am not a huge fan of fish but I’m trying to have it at least once a week. I have no idea where to get good quality fish, so I’m a little hesitant on eating it but I cooked COD the other day and it wasn’t that bad.
The bone broth is very simple to make but with SIBO diet I can’t add many vegetables while it’s cooking. I basically put the Grass Fed beef bones(though I’m going to try pig feet and chicken bones next time) in my crock pot.. I added water to just cover them, then cut up carrots, added salt, pepper and a few herbs/spices like basil or oregano and a couple of Bay Leaves. I set it to cook on low for 24-48 hours, the longer it cooks the better.
Next time I’m going to start it on high on the stove and once it starts to simmer apparently foam will start forming on top, you skim the foam off(since it’s got yucky stuff in it) and then I can put it in the crock pot or cook it slowly on the over(don’t like doing that).. I actually put a couple of jar lids in between the base of the crock pot and the actual pot the food is in, just so the broth wouldn’t boil as much. It should only bubble a tiny bit while it cooks. Super easy, super healthy, super cheap to make. You can use the broth to make soups, stews.. obviously the options now are limited for my soups and stews but it will get better in time. The pig feet are full of gelatin which helps with joint pain and is super good for you ;)
I almost forgot to mention my weight loss – really it isn’t my goal to lose weight, it’s more of a side benefit but so far this week I’m down almost 7 lbs! Another 5 or 6 lbs and I’ll be where I was when I first got pregnant.. once I start working out again and feeling fantastic, I’ll post an updated picture.
In conclusion, this way of eating sucks, it’s bland, it’s boring and you can only be so imaginative with so few ingredients.. hopefully you like more veggies than I actually do but I’m getting by, I know it is to help me heal and right now that is the most important part. Maybe it will take me a month to get back to adding new foods back in, maybe it will be a few months. All I know, there’s no turning back now. I see the progress, I feel the difference and I know it’s the right thing to do. ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!!
I’m going to post another update soon on what else is happening in my life.. I have a plan, really I do ;)
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CONNECT WITH ME – Tiana MacLeod