Be forewarned: I am going to discuss some intimate {bathroom} details from my life, so if you are queasy or bashful about this topic, this post may not be for you. However, I believe that all healing begins in the gut, so suck it up, buttercup and read it anyway.

My digestive healing journey begins when I was young, I mean, VERY young. It turns out that science has learned that our gut flora (those helpful little bugs that live in our intestines) are naturally populated while a baby is moving through the birth canal. Well, I didn’t go through the birth canal, I was born via c-section, so guess what? I didn’t get my healthy gut bugs as I took my first breath like some babies do. My next big set back in the digestive department came when I was about 6 months old and my mom started feeding me formula. It turns out, I kept throwing up the dairy formula and had to be switched to soy (it was the only alternative back then). But when I made it to a year old, I was given dairy milk and the dots weren’t connected that I may have a dairy allergy. Now, I’m not blaming my parents for anything; had my mom not had a c-section, I may not have survived; and no one knew back then that dairy allergies were so common or could cause so many problems. But we’ve learned a lot in the last 30+ years and soon I’ll talk a little bit about how I’ve used the new knowledge to fix my gut…and many other things.

During my childhood (until I was about 27 really), I hardly pooped. I know, here we go with the poop…it gets even better, just keep reading. I pooped about every five days in my younger years, and when I could finally manage, it was so hard and painful that I had to see a doctor several times for an inability to sit comfortably on my bum. I was treated with {awful tasting} castor oil, and I’m convinced that I had hemorrhoids by the age of 8. The hemorrhoids were never diagnosed, but I’ve had them as an adult and the pain is memorable. All during this time, I continued to eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) and consume plenty of MILK. My diet wasn’t horrible like some people today, or even some of my friends growing up, but we did always have sweets, candy and Doritos (mmm, Doritos).

Fast forward to 27 years of age. I had played around with being vegetarian for several years during and after college. Then, one day, I just decided to be vegan…quit meat, eggs, and dairy cold turkey (pun intended). Within two weeks, I was pooping every day! Sometimes multiple times per day, and it wasn’t hard and painful, it was…NORMAL! Or so I thought.

I stopped being vegan after three and a half years due to some chronic and long lasting orthostatic hypotension (fancy words for: I was dizzy when I stood or sat up). First, I added back dairy, because, um…cheese; need I say more? But I was starting to get constipated again. I then took away cheese/milk/yogurt and started eating eggs. Once I started eating eggs I felt better and was pooping more regularly, I added back fish: less dizziness, and finally all meats: no dizziness. I know it is sacrilegious for a vegan to stop being vegan, but I really did feel better. But my poop situation still wasn’t perfect. And to top it all off, I was so bloated at the end of each day, I looked about six months pregnant…not what any girl wants. EVER.

During these last few years, I’ve toyed around with many dietary changes, like giving up gluten 95% of the time. I had a colleague tell me once that you’re either gluten-free or you’re not…just like you’re either pregnant or you’re not. You can’t be 95% pregnant, you can’t be 95% gluten-free. It was the same story with dairy…sometimes I really wanted some frozen yogurt like everyone else, and not the sherbet crap, the real stuff. But still, my BMs were inconsistent and the bloating was there at the end of every day.

I’d heard many times about this thing called SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). I had the classic signs: constipation, increased bloating throughout the day, and bloating/distention after eating fibers, starches, and grains. SIBO is a condition where the good gut bugs that live in you Large Intestine (the lower one) travel up to your Small Intestine, usually due to too much fecal matter (poop) remaining in the GI tract. Those good gut bugs are only good if they stay where they belong…in the Large Intestine. E. coli is actually a good gut bug if it lives in the large intestine, but many of us think E. coli is bad since we hear about it wreaking havoc when it migrates elsewhere. I had tried {with little gusto} at taking some known supplements that help with SIBO, but I was never fully committed until I’d had my second miscarriage and it was determined that I have some kind of autoimmune disorder (still trying to figure that one out). After the news of the autoimmune issue, I finally knew I needed to start making some changes and decided to start with my gut.

I began a six-week SIBO Repair & Clear journey. It consisted of: A LOT of supplements, A LOT of foods on the “do-not-eat” list, and a few things on the “approved” food list. The list of acceptable and “no-go” foods comes from something called the FODMAP diet**. FODMAP is a bunch of fancy words that basically means, anything that easily ferments in the body should be avoided {for certain people}. Things like beans, cabbage, and brussel sprouts…any of the foods that hilariously give people gas (beans, beans, the musical fruit…you know the rest) are on the “no-go” list. The really sad part is: brussel sprouts are my second favorite food…no joke! I love brussel sprouts and used to eat them at least once per week.
http://www.fodmapliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Stanford-University-Low-FODMAP-Diet-Handout.pdf

First, let me explain how the six-week program went and then I’ll talk about what I’m doing post-six-week program. I’ve listed below the supplements I was taking daily and what they are/why I took them:

Week 1 – Baseline Support for the Immune System

Turmero Active – 10ml three times per day: this is a full body anti-inflammatory and I was taking a high dose. It is derived from turmeric

Resvero Active – 10ml three times per day: this is a GI anti-inflammatory, again, super high dose. This comes from resveratrol

OmegaCo3 – 2 capsules three times per day: this is a fish oil/Omega complex. Another high dose for me and very anti-inflammatory

Weeks 2 & 3 – Intestinal Support Phase

RepairVite – SE – 1 scoop per day: this helps to repair the gut lining and is special for SIBO because it does not have PRE-biotics, which actually feed the bad gut bugs

Sibiotica: 1 capsule per day: this is a probiotic, but only includes certain strains that are known to be beneficial for people with SIBO

EnzymixPro – 1 capsule before each meal: these are digestive enzymes, which everyone should be taking

EnteroVite – 1 capsule per day: this supplement is especially high in Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) similar to coconut oil

Turmero Active – 10ml three times per day

Resvero Active – 10ml three times per day

OmegaCo3 – 2 capsules three times per day

Weeks 4, 5, & 6 – Liver Support Phase

ClearVite – CLA/GL – 1 scoop per day: supports the intestines, liver detoxification, and sugar metabolism

Sibiotica: 1 capsule per day

EnzymixPro – 1 capsule before each meal

EnteroVite – 1 capsule per day

Turmero Active – 10ml three times per day

Resvero Active – 10ml three times per day

OmegaCo3 – 2 capsules three times per day

The foods that I was allowed to eat during this time was basically, meat and eggs, some veggies (mainly squash and zucchini), healthy fats (coconut and olive oils), and few fruits. I did lose about 4% of my body weight without trying…there’s always a silver lining, and I even tried a few of the “approved” foods that I didn’t realize I liked, such as turnips and bok choy. I also started to feel GREAT after about 3 days! I was pooping every morning, sometimes more than once; I stopped feeling and looking bloated at the end of the day; and my poops stopped floating. This last one was a key indicator that I was getting better: our poop should not float. If it does, that means that you are not absorbing fat. This may sound awesome (“yay, I’m pooping out my fat!”), but that’s not actually a good thing, if you aren’t absorbing fat, you are burning muscle and other tissue, plus you aren’t absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

In the mere week that I’ve been “off” the program, I’m basically sticking to the foods on the “approved” list, and I’ve tried to add back a couple of the foods. So far, I’ve tried bell peppers, which seem to be okay, and onions, which were not okay {sad face}. According to the FODMAP diet, people with issues like me should forever avoid onions and garlic. My taste buds may be sad, but at least my gut will continue to be happy.

The other thing that has happened since repairing my gut is emotional and mental. There’s a strong gut-brain connection, and since doing this six-week program, my anxiety has reduced to almost non-existent! I still feel stress, but the things that used to make me feel panicked and even cause panic attacks are no longer affecting me in the same ways.

Healing my gut will be a life-long process, but I’ve already benefited from the changes I’ve made. I hope you found this post useful and contact me anytime if you have questions or are interested in learning about how I can use the same tools to help you.

**I had a much more limited list and it differed quite a bit from the list here. If you plan to do the six-week program, please contact me so I can advise on the modifications.