I spent almost a year following a diet protocol so strictly, that I forgot to listen to the most important thing – my body
OK my ppl.. I know that it’s been FOREVER since I last gave a SIBO update (click here for the last one) and I really am sorry! BUT I’ve just been living my life and it really hasn’t been the first thing on my mind.
So last time we chatted SIBO (in March wow sorry) – I had found an NTP to work with and things were looking up. I was excited to work with her and really thought that I was going to get something out of it. I was still struggling hard with SIBO. I was fatigued, bloated, brain fog had returned, headaches all of the time, ZERO energy. All that jazz.
I had met with my new NTP once and we created a solid plan (read more about it here) Buuut that plan didn’t really stick. The second appointment that I had with her, things seemed totally different than the first. She seemed uninterested. I got a measly 25 minutes of her time, as opposed to the 60 that I had prior. She couldn’t seem to answer ANY of the questions that I had and really didn’t seem to care much either. I left that appointment feeling SO discouraged and so lost. And I decided not to work with her again.
From March until the end of May – things were pretty much stagnant.
I was still following SCD strictly and low FODMAPS too. I was more bloated than ever, more constipated than ever (omg sorry TMI but whatever), more fatigued than ever, brain fog had gotten worse. And it was frustrating as HELLL!
I was doing everything that I was “supposed” to – working out less regularly and with less intensity, following my diet protocol to a T, sleeping more, trying magnesium… ETC ETC ETC! But it clearly wasn’t working. And I was stressed AF all of the time – especially when it came to eating because everything was making me SO bloated and everything was making my stomach hurt.
So what the heck changed? And where am I at with SIBO today?
May 18th I went to Europe and I can honestly say it changed my life – in many ways – but SIBO wise, I’ve felt so much better since.
When I went to Europe, I wasn’t strict about sticking to SCD at all. I tried my best to stick with foods that wouldn’t upset my stomach but I wasn’t about to say “excuse me I’m dairy free, sugar free, grain free, intolerant to gluten, can’t have garlic or onions, oh and please remove *this* from the dish because I can’t eat that either.” to every waiter at every restaurant LOL – talk about high maintenance.
So I just went with the flow and I really didn’t stress about it or think about it at all. I mainly ate healthy foods because 1.) That’s how I feel best and 2.) In Greece, everything is so fresh and of such high quality, it was almost impossible NOT to eat healthy. But with that being said I did eat so many things that my stomach was not used to. Mushrooms, dairy, raw veggies, grains, a lil sugar, garlic, onions, and more. Safe to say that after following SCD for almost a year, there were a lot of things my stomach wasn’t used to.
And the weird thing was… I didn’t feel bloated AT ALL. I seriously felt the least bloated that I have in what feels like FOREVER. I was eating whatever felt right, going with the flow, and didn’t have a single stress about it at all. And damn I felt good.
After two weeks of traveling I figured I would feel absolutely awful. I figured I’d feel weighed down, inflamed, extremely bloated, stomach pain, fatigued, all the fun stuff. But I came home and felt none of that at all.
So, instead of coming home and jumping right back into following SCD so strictly – I incorporated the mindset that I had in Europe – eat what feels right. And thats’ what I did, and still do now.
Instead of just eating in a way that some list tells me to – a list that is NOT individualized to me at all – I’m basing things off of how my body feels, which is literally the MOST important thing, and something that I had lost touch with for so so long.
Like I said, before Europe I was following SCD so so strictly. I wouldn’t get coffee when I went to cafes with friends because the almond milk had guar gum. I wouldn’t eat at restaurants because most of them use garlic. I wouldn’t even let myself be “flexible” because I had to follow SCD to a T 100% of the time.
Now? I still do incorporate SCD and low FODMAPS – but not like I did before. I use them as a guideline and base my eating off of how I know I feel best.
There’s a lot of food that I still stay away from because I know they don’t work for my digestive system.
I still eat grain free, gluten free, and mostly diary/added sugar free. But, I’ve incorporated brown rice cakes even though they aren’t grain free or SCD legal because they make me feel good!
I don’t really consume added sugars because they don’t make me feel good but I’m not so strict with it. If something that I really want has coconut sugar in it – I’ll eat it. I don’t eat anything with processed sugar because I know it makes me feel awful (except when I get ice-cream every once in a blue moon because a girls gotta live!!)
I don’t often eat dairy. But sometimes I’ll try some goat cheese or whole milk yogurt (both are easier on digestion!) if I’m really feeling it.
I still try and stay away from raw veggies – but a good Greek salad has my heart!!
I do still avoid lots of high FODMAP veggies like brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms (basically all my favs LOL). But I hope to start incorporating them asap!
When I’m at home I use homemade almond milk, but I don’t let the “guar gum” stop me from coffee dates with friends anymore! I obviously try my best to stay away from that, because it’s not something I want in my body frequently, but I love coffee dates!!
When I’m traveling, I’m flexible. I make it work. I make substitutions to dishes but not in a crazy or high maintenance way. If it has garlic or onions, I don’t stress about it. I try and eat out at places that I know and trust but it’s not always my call -and i’m not going to miss out on memories with people just because of a diet protocol.
And really – I feel SO so so much better than I did when I was so strictly following SCD.
I still always keep in mind that I have a compromised digestive system – and avoid things that I know won’t do me any good.
Sometimes I still get brain fog and feel fatigued. Sometimes I get random stomach pain or nausea. Sometimes I still get reaaal bloated. But those things happen FAR less often, and I can honestly say that overall, I feel freaking great.
And I think I feel so good partly because I’m listening to my body – yes – but ALSO because I’m not stressing over it whatsoever. I’m not stressed about eating. I don’t worry when I go to grab something that’s not 100% SCD friendly. I’m more flexible with my diet. Stress plays a huge role in digestive issues – and because I’ve let that go, I’m not struggling with digestive issues as much!
I’ve learned to use SCD as a guideline, rather than a “rule” like I was before. The truth is – eliminating foods from a list or premade protocol is not going to heal you. Yea, you may feel better, and it may be a good starting point to help you figure things out, but there is no way that one diet can help every person struggling, because it’s not individualized whatsoever!
So this will be the last “SIBO series” update. Because who even knows if I even have SIBO anymore. I’m just going based off of how I feel!
For almost a year – I was listening to a list that told me what not to eat, and I lost touch with what made me feel good.
Now – I’m listening to my body. Doing what I think is right, and feeling better than I ever have on any protocol I’ve been on.
You know your body best. Listen to it. Tune into what it’s telling you. Eat what feels right and go from there.
If you’ve ever struggled with digestive issues – what have you found most helpful?