Swedish Egg

Swedish Egg

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Cheating Fart

Food is Love - Exhibit A

As anyone who’s ever followed a restricted diet knows, maintaining your resolve can be very, very challenging. Even if you are restricting for health reasons, even if you know what the consequences of diverging from your program will be, temptation is always out there. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or an experienced practitioner of SIBO-safe eating. Nobody’s perfect. We all fall down. Which is why the ability to pick oneself up is such a gift.

I haven’t posted much in the past few months. Without going into full-on confession mode, the truth is I’ve been struggling with the holding of firm dietary boundaries, and it set my progress back. I flared. I started feeling sorry for myself. My stomach hurt a lot (like every day). Constipation increased. I was gaining weight and feeling sluggish. Poor me!

It isn’t fair that fresh fruit in season is so delicious. Not to mention Kettle Potato Chips, New York Cheddar (see Exhibit A, above). It isn’t fair that others can eat those foods without consequence, but I can’t—not without paying the price in pain and bloating.

But that’s my situation. I have SIBO. And I don’t believe it is ever, forever going away. I’ve had IBS-C since I was in my teens. My gut was damaged long ago by emotional and behavioral trauma, and my motiity and microbiome is permanently altered. There is no cure. In fact, the main takeaway message (for me) from the 2017 Integrative SIBO Conference I attended in March, was this:

SIBO is a chronic, relapsing condition for the majority. Two thirds of all cases will never be cured. Ongoing management is expected.

If you are in the lucky one third of people with SIBO for whom the condition is not chronic, I am so happy for you! There’s a light at the end of your tunnel.

For most of us, though, 100% symptom resolution is not expected. Why? Because in the majority of cases, elimination of the underlying cause is not possible.

Yes, with proper treatment, 80-90% symptom resolution is expected, which is great, but relapse is expected, too. According to SIBO expert Allison Siebecker, the common timeframe for relapse is 2.5 months. But it can happen in 2 weeks, or even 2 days if there is an underlying structural cause, or if the condition was not completely eradicated by one round of antibiotics, in which case multiple rounds are called for. And even then.

SIBO is a chronic, relapsing condition for the majority.

Just as taking insulin doesn’t cure diabetes, antibiotics will not fix our problem forever. People will feel better, but not 100%. There is usually not a cure for SIBO that makes it so you never have to think about it again. Ongoing management is expected.

This is sobering, indeed. But it’s not a death sentence, no more than birth itself. Ongoing management required just means that we have to accept, grow up, keep learning and, if we chance to tumble, we get back on the horse.

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be in Maine and meet up with Amanda Crutcher, a nutritionist friend of mine from way back, who shined some light on my resolve. She told me how she’s eating these days, and it’s exactly how I need to be eating, too (not that I didn’t know how, but knowing and doing are two different things.)

Amanda inspired me to firm up my boundaries (no more nuts and fruit for dinner like I’d had the night before, “because I was travelling”—hel-lo!). She reminded me to focus my diet on a) vegetables that are both low-FODMAP and low starch, and b) clean animal foods.

Food is Love - Exhibit B
Clean animal food means: grass fed meats, wild-caught fish, pastured eggs and full fat/lactose-free dairy products, such as raw milk aged cheese and organic heavy cream. Amanda pointed out that chicken, upon which I’d been relying (so easy! so tasty!) often can cause problems due to being grain fed, and hence high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. And she motivated me to resume the beneficial practice of Intermittent Fasting (aka Meal Spacing, a critical strategy for SIBO) with more diligence and attention.

Amanda also introduced me to a podcast called The Health Edge, which I began listening to immediately on the drive home, and am now recommending to you. Check it out!

On that note, I will leave you with a promise to always be honest here, never hold myself up on any kind of pedestal, and hopefully be back soon with more recipes, tips, resources and inspiration. May you be true to yourself and successful in your efforts. Management is not so bad. We just have to be strong, and never stop trying.

xo Diana