Hey guys! Time for another (overdue) SIBO update.
As many of you probably already know, I am currently following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for SIBO as well as mixing in a little of low fodmaps – I’m not completely cutting out high fodmap foods, just the ones that I know I have a reaction to. The goal is to eliminate as little as possible in order to keep a diverse gut micro biome! You can learn more about my protocol here if you’ve missed my previous posts!
So, my last post was all bout the physical effects that I had been experiencing, now let’s get into the mental.
Warm drinks after meals have been helping to settle my stomach! This is a fall inspired latte.
Recipe can be found on my Instagram
The first few weeks of following my SIBO protocol were beyond tough. I was exhausted, frustrated, sad, etc. Everything had only seemed to get worse – nausea (more intense, and more frequent), extreme fatigue, headaches, brain fog. Those physical effects took a toll on me mentally.
I was so nauseous after eating, that I stopped looking forward to meals. Instead of finding joy in food, I was starting to dread the thought of it. Many days ended in tears because of how awful I felt physically. The nausea led to frustration and anger. I was so angry that I couldn’t ever eat a meal without my body feeling like it was attacking itself. I was so sad that food had turned into such an exhausting thing for me. I just wanted to feel okay.
I was exhausted all of the time, no matter how much I slept the night before.. which also led to much frustration. Between the exhaustion and the brain fog, it seemed almost impossible to get ANYTHING done. I’m someone who likes to keep myself busy, but with the way my body was feeling made that extremely difficult. I would plan to get X Y, and Z done, but I’d either end up too tired to do it, or my brain fog would be too bad to focus on it. Not to mention the headaches – I don’t usually get many headaches, so they were a new challenge for me.
Since I can’t have sweet potatoes, delicata squash (the yellow rings)
has been saving me! SO GOOD
Like I said – everything was getting worse. It made me extremely moody too. I was just so angry and so sad about the way my body was feeling. I was treating my body well, I was doing everything right.. so why was I feeling so AWFUL?
Again, most days ended up in tears – from exhaustion, from pain, from frustration, sadness, etc. I kept complaining to my doctor and holistic nutritionist and over and over I was told that it would get worse before it got better, and just to stick it out.
What I was experiencing the first few weeks was die off (called a Herxeimer Reaction) – basically, by eliminating certain foods and starting the saccharomyces boulardii (probiotic given to my by my nutritionist), I was no longer feeding the overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine. SO because of that, the bacteria was dying off and releasing pathogens/toxins into my body, which in turn made me feel worse. It commonly lasts only a few days, but I had a severe case, and mine lasted weeks.
*It’s important to note that although I began killing off the bacteria, does not mean I am cleared of SIBO. I still have a long way to go in treating it, and still have the overgrowth of bacteria*
My fall balls have been one of my go to SCD friendly snacks
I didn’t believe that things would ever get better. But I did what the doctors said and stuck it out. And now here I am, just a few weeks later feeling 10X better. I won’t say I feel 100% but I’ll take even the smallest improvement.
I still experience nausea, but not nearly as frequently as I was during the first few weeks. Headaches come here and there, but thats normal, and they’re bearable. Fatigue isn’t an issue like it had been before, although there are days when I really am exhausted, I’ve found that I have a lot more energy now. Brain fog happens every now and then, but again, not as frequently.
Of course, all of these are amazing things. The daily tears have stopped *thank god!! (I mean, they still happen when symptoms are really bad and I let myself get frustrated, but not often). But obviously, there are still days where I feel frustrated, and angry, and sad. For the most part I’m fine being restricted of certain foods, but there are days when I really miss certain foods that I love (yogurt, apples, CHOCOLATE etc) and it gets to me. I know that sounds silly but it does upset me. I get sad because I just want to be able to eat these things and feel okay. I just want to have a normally functioning digestive system! There are days when I’m just totally fed up with SCD and want to call it quits, but I know that won’t help. I’ll read a list of ingredients on a new product that I find and everything will look great until I see that ONE little thing I can’t have.. it just gets exhausting sometimes to always have to be thinking and preparing ahead of time when it comes to food. I feel good for the most part – but I just really don’t know what it’s like to feel normal after eating. I still feel sick after meals, I still get nauseas and experience my other weird symptoms – really full during a meal then starving minutes later, 1/2 hungry 1/2 full after eating, eating a small amount and being full for hours etc etc…food just still doesn’t seem to sit right no matter what. But these symptoms have definitely become less intense and they don’t (usually) effect my day to day life. One thing that has gotten much better is my bloat – it’s not nearly as bad or as often as it was before SCD. I am feeling more hopeful, and I feel like SCD has really been helping me overall.
One thing I miss is being able to go out and get an almond milk latte!! Most almond milks have added gums/thickeners
which I can’t have. Luckily when I was in baltimore, we found a coffee shop with bulletproof lattes!
No added milks required!
So what have I been doing? And what’s the plan going forward?
For the past 2(ish) month, I have been following SCD and eliminating certain high FODMAP foods. This is still the plan in terms of “diet”.
I have altered the way I exercise. Many people don’t realize it, but exercise can cause many disturbances in your digestive system. Before, I was doing high intensity stuff – movements with lots of jumps, things that kept my heart rate up for extended amounts of time, fast paced circuits, cardio, etc. Which was jut ADDING to my fatigue. Now? I still exercise 6 days a week, but I’ve completely changed how I do it. I am now focusing solely on building STRENGTH. I’m going to the gym and lifting, which I did before, but I would always add a lot of highly intense movements into it as well. My workouts are now more slow paced, and I really am just trying to grow my tiny muscles!! The majority of my workout is centered around lifting weights. I do add in a few movements that are more cardio based – jump squats, burpees, ropes, etc. But I keep that to a minimum. I’ve noticed that I am WAAAY less exhausted after the gym, and my body has been responding so much better to these type of workouts! I’ll have a post coming on that soon 🙂
I stopped taking the saccharomyces boulardii – I have noticed a direct correlation between taking it, and nausea. On the days that I was taking it, my nausea was unbearable. After talking with my holistic nutritionist, she has advised that I stop for now. She says that this is usually the one probiotic that helps people with SIBO, but that for me, it might be causing a negative reaction due to yeast.
Begin herbal supplements – I still need to do more research on which ones, but I decided not to take the antibiotics, and go the natural route.
So for right now, that’s where I’m at! I’m hopeful that this will help and that as time goes on, I’ll start feeling better and better. And I’ll be sure to keep you all updated 😉
Many of you have already reached out with questions in regard to this topic, so as always – feel free to do so, I’m happy to answer anything! 🙂
Thanks for reading!!