Monthly Archives: February 2014

Taking the Plunge!

Gut Issues?  Auto Immune Issues?  You need this book.  Seriously.

Gut Issues? Auto Immune Issues? You need this book. Seriously.

So, for roughly 3 years this spring, something has been upsetting my digestive tract on a daily basis.  It went beyond the celiac bouts and the “IBS” diagnosis (which means, “we don’t really know what’s wrong with you”).

It sounds like most people WITH IBS, actually struggle with SIBO.  From what I’ve learned slow/too fast digestion from undiagnosed celiac often correlates with SIBO.  It’s amazing the things they’re discovering… I’m grateful to be in this movement towards health with REAL foods.

Things have helped tremendously over the past years as I’ve made my way to a gut healing foodie, and helped to transform our family to healing their bodies inside out.  God has been leading me each step of the way.

I’ve made so much progress.  I can’t deny that..  But I also can’t deny that I still have one major issue to address.

I mentioned last time that I was ready to attack that SIBO monster… I’ve been reading and trying to figure this out…
“what is the best plan for me.”  Talking with my doctor… praying.  Most of all, praying.

One of the supplements I was taking – Lauricidin was safe on all account for me – free of fillers, free of allergens.  Except one small problem.  It was derived from coconut.

I can no longer handle coconut, and I was so focused on choosing the supplements that wouldn’t flare my auto immune issues … I sort of missed that fine print.  I know, I’m still human, and thank you for your grace for not reminding me how I should read labels.

Believe me.  I know.

It just wasn’t one I was looking for.

So when my hypothyroid issues started to worsen… hair falling out, nails breaking off… no energy…   I knew it had to be something new I had added…

Which brings me to a grumble session I had last night while my husband and I were shopping.

“Is it bad when you can’t eat 98% of the food in the store?  Because that’s where I am…. and it makes me so sad.”

I’m not talking about the obvious processed junk in the middle of the store.  I’m talking about getting rid of many of the good things you can’t eat, because your gut is so messed up.

“What does that entail?”

Well, one of the major things that I think has been making me NOT heal is starch (sweet potatoes, plantains, or rice), FODMAPSs, and probiotics.  Starch is great for my total digestion, but just really feeds the SIBO.  Normally fermented foods and drinks are great for helping gut dysbiosis, but in the case of SIBO – it only worsens things … Vegetables – how can you go wrong there?  Then starches…  and sugars (glucose for that matter), are one of the ways I feel “good” physically  – helping to keep my blood pressure more stable, and my feelings from POTS lower.

The idea of removing all of that and “getting down to business”…. has left me in quite a funk lately.

All of the things I’m reading and learning are swirling in my mind.

I know the answer.  I KNOW the right answer…

I have to try this.

What’s the hold up?

Yeah Sara.  What is the hold up?

ARGH.

Me.  I’m the problem.

This isn’t that far of a jump from where I am. Right?

I want healing RIGHT?

Right.

So here’s the deal.  Here is what it’s going to take – it’s going to take me committing to several weeks of the following diet (it’s a little more broad, but within my own restrictions, here is what I can eat):

* Carrots, Spinach or  Zucchini if I can tolerate it – only those 3, and they must be well cooked.

* Cinnamon, Salt

* Apple Cider Vinegar

* 4-8 oz of meat at a meal (I have all of the things to make liver pills also – very important)

* Olive Oil

* Bone Broth

and…  that’s it.

I know what you're thinking.  "That looks pretty good."  And it was.  But honestly, how many ways can I fix carrots?  Carrots in broth, mashed carrots with cinnamon, fried carrots, carrot soup...  yep - I'm going to hate carrots soon.

I know what you’re thinking. “That looks pretty good.” And it was. But honestly, how many ways can I fix carrots? Carrots in broth, mashed carrots with cinnamon, fried carrots, carrot soup… yep – I’m going to hate carrots soon.

It could just be a few weeks, it could be a few months.  I need to have 5 days in a row with no bloating/symptoms – and then I can add more foods in – testing each food, one at a time.

Please pray for me.  I’ve been spending more time in prayer about this, and specifically praying over my body and the healing that needs to occur.  Deep breathing, meditation.  I’ve read story after story of people going through rounds and rounds of antibiotics that fail horribly, and living with SIBO for life.  I know this is pretty severe, but it is also instrumental to me quieting my auto immune diseases.

I know God can do BIG things.

He already has.

I’m looking to Him to heal me from this – once and for all.

Pray for my body to handle the ketosis changes, as that is probably one of my biggest concerns.  “Low carbs” and no starch usually doesn’t do well with my POTS symptoms/blood pressure.

I always used to feel like I was getting a low blood sugar, but my blood sugar would be fine…  Feeling like you’re going to pass out every time you stand isn’t ideal.  My goal is no fruit.  That’s pretty drastic, I know – but the point is to stop feeding the monster.  I may baby step into that and cut it back to a banana a day, or something like that, vs. going cold turkey.  I already cut my kombucha back to one a day.

With God, I CAN do this.

Deep breath.

Here I go!

  “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:17

 

Attack That SIBO Monster

SIBO
I’m still alive, just plugging along and waiting for spring, who isn’t?  Temperatures we had yesterday made me realize how ready I am for vacation – just a few short months away!

Recently my focus as been on SIBO (Small Intestine l Bacterial Infection)
Several theories abound that auto immune disease, and cancers and those genes are triggered by inflammation or chronic infection.  It clearly makes sense…

Chronic inflammation and chronic infection seemed to go hand in hand in my sinus cavity for years….  and now, the same thing in my gut.

But what does that mean exactly, and what can I do about it?

Well, it means that if you have foods that don’t process well in your system (be it grains, large pieces of meat or the wrong combinations of foods, or food sensitivities), your body is slower to process those things.  They often sit in your stomach longer, and then “feed” that bad bacteria – either in your gut, or in your small intestine.

For me specifically, I had all of the standard tests for functional medicine.  I didn’t have candida, and I didn’t have a parasite, I had loads of food sensitivities.  We knew that I had slow emptying / slow digestion (gastroparesis), which was also leading to constipation with foods that your body can’t process, but SIBO wasn’t on my radar until more recently. (*Both SIBO and gastroparesis are very common in those with celiac disease)

Can I just say, I love that internet and what it has done for connecting people who are choosing this lifestyle to heal themselves, vs. drugs?

Because I seriously do.

One of the things my auto immune and paleo boards have been great for is more discussion and sharing.  It’s helped me identify and relate to so many others with similar struggles or symptoms.  I am grateful.

For instance, another girl with symptoms like mine, and adrenal fatigue, celiac and ms started talking about her POTS.  I had no idea what that was… so upon looking it up, I realized I had a name for me almost blacking out when I stood up, and struggling to get going when I go from squatting to standing.  Not only are my legs asleep – but apparently my blood return is too!

While I do run normally low with my blood pressure, it wasn’t just “low blood pressure”, but a specific reason why I see stars and it takes a while to get moving.  While not life threatening, I see now how it also hormonally connects with my cycle and why it’s worse some times, vs. others.  Working on all aspects of my health has improved this, but it’s still a daily occurence.

If you want to be enlightened as well.  Read about it here.

Back to the SIBO, learning about how others have battled SIBO, as well as getting some new resources on the matter has been very helpful. While SIBO also requires some dietary changes (low FODMAPS), it doesn’t seem as scary with everything else I’ve managed to give up.  Not to mention, the progress alone makes it worth it!

What is a FODMAP?  Well, there are some conflicting things written about this, but over all they have foods you’re to avoid, and some that you can have in moderation.  Unfortunately, I was eating a MAJORITY of FODMAPS… mainly asparagus, cauliflower, and apples.  There are tons more, but again – I must have something to eat, so I’ve chosen LESS of many of things and just being aware of my load, as well as the above protocol before each meal.  (do you know how much I miss apples)???

The following books have been instrumental in helping me figure out what is going to work for me – (treating SIBO with auto immune disease):

Digestive Health with Real Food, Aglaee Jacob  *(this has a cookbook available too, which is SUPER helpful)

The Paleo Approach, Sarah Ballantyne

Fast Track Digestion IBS: Science-Based Diet to Treat and Prevent IBS and SIBO without Drugs, Norm Robillard

What I take before each meal:

* Prescript Assist (pro/prebiotic with microbes – 2x day)

* Oregano Oil (great for killing off SIBO 2x a day)

* Cat’s Claw (2, 3x a day)

* Betaine HCl (Hydrochloric Acid to help my body break down things like meat and fat specifically) I did the challenge, and currently take 5 at each meal.

* Lauricidin – these taste like soap bubbles. 🙂 – 1 scoop at each meal
* Essential Enzymes (this is to help break down any of the major proteins and sugars that I consume)

* L-Glutamine (to help heal and seal my gut)

* NAC (not pictured above) – But has helped tremendously.

* Olive Leaf Extract – (again, not pictured) I tried this for a few days, but my blood pressure is already so low, I didn’t feel like it was safe for me to take, which is a bummer!
I’ve tried adding in some “safe” AIP starches this past month before realizing that was a SIBO no-no.  It could possibly be why starches don’t agree with me.  I’ve also been monitoring my blood sugars throughout the day to just make sure I’m not too high or too low.

Overall, I’m hanging in there.  I’ve had some struggles – we all do.  God has served me some great reminders about why He has allowed me to walk through this in the past few months… and in addition, He has put some excellent people in my life to walk with me.  I can’t thank Him enough!

“Joyful are those who obey His laws and

search for Him with all of their hearts.”

Psalm 119:2

MTHFR – Yep. That Bad.

A question from my new book, "The Paleo Approach" by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.  (Highly recommended!)

A question from my new book, “The Paleo Approach” by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. (Highly recommended!)

When I first saw that abbreviation, I thought – whoa.  Someone is upset!

But alas, it’s just an acronym for the Methylenetetrahydofolate reductase – which is a gene mutation some have, that has to do with the liver.

My liver specifically….

and our children.

After my appointment last week, we finally opted for this gene testing (It’s a swab test, super easy).  My children’s testing so far has also pointed to this, and we’ve talked about it now for a year.  Seems it was time to get to digging a little bit further.

People with the MTHRF gene mutation have trouble detoxing.  They hold onto things like extra hormones, or metals, or substances like alcohol…  lots of different things.  They struggle with neurotransmitters, such as epinephrine and serotonin – which are both controlled by the methylation of your liver.  When it doesn’t function – there is a build up of homocysteine – which can then lead to a whole host of diseases, including cancer.  (Read/learn more about it here)  If you have more question, the video is really informative – I listened to it while walking on the treadmill one night.

“Elevated homocysteine has been associated with increased risk for many auto immune diseases, including diabetes, Hasimoto’s, Graves, RA (rheumatoid arthritis), vitiligo, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia (suspected auto immune disease)”The Paleo Approachand so many more! 

MS, yes – that too, and you’ll see why.

When you can’t detox from metals or hormones or toxins, and your body can’t turn one thing into another – the result is … the body in a diseased state.

Why would I need to know this information?  What could I do with it??

Well, specific genes can be established  to help us in supplementation – to help myself, and the kids.  For instance, there is a certain type of gene expression that needs a specific type of Vit.B6 and B12 to help support that methylation cycle.

For me, my biggest problem noticed recently besides the SIBO,  is my estrogen levels – when I don’t take my supplement on time – I can just feel myself getting anxious, and unable to control frustration.  Extra estrogen is a big reason for breast cancer and other issues!  Part of it is my adrenals – and that is all tied in.  My body can’t make adrenaline – so then I just end up feeling malise, or flu-like.

See how it’s all tied together and important to understand?

Personally I’m pretty excited to get the information back.  While I feel like I already know – it’s just one of those pieces to the puzzle and the specific information of gene expression will be helpful.  It explains substance abuse, another pathway to cancer/disease and so much more within my family, reactions to vaccinations, etc – and it can help us to help our kids.

So right now – my personal focus has been on natural treatments to get aggressive on my SIBO.  It’s a major problem that might never go away, but can be managed better.  With my limited diet – it’s just tough.  I need starches, but so many I can’t eat – and then my body can’t process them.  it’s a constant balancing act between foods I can’t process, and foods that trigger inflammation.

I may have had a bad morning the other day.  I was thinking about my friend who died of cancer – and how when she was sick, I really didn’t get it.  

For my birthday, she took me out to lunch and tried to explain it to me.  In my immaturity, and absence of life experiences – I just didn’t get it, but she knew.  She knew she was dying.

Now I consider – that lunch – and how precious her time was, and yet she spent it with me.  What a friend.

I know, we’re all dying… but I can’t help but realize the reality of my morality, and what a GIFT life is.

It’s helped me to prioritize my time, and my health – to let go of things I used to get upset about, and really just focus on gratefulness, and things of eternal value.  THAT is probably the biggest gift in all of this.

Recently, on my auto immune board, we were discussing just how toxic we were.  The comment was made about HOW toxic so many young women are in the western culture (the United States), and I nodded to myself.  Genetics are one thing – but they’ve also been altered by our environment and choices we’ve made and continue to make.  We have the power to change things for our children’s children – and help our children NOT pass on the vicious cycle, by living and eating the way God intended.  (Because you know most people don’t have time to be healthy – it’s all about convenience to keep us busy, busy, busy!) 

If I can help one more person understand that – it’s worth continuing to speak up.  “Diet, environment, lifestyle.” – The Paleo Mom.

Healthy for Him.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?

And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?

And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

(Romans 10:14, 17)

 

 

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