In “My Journey with SIBO (part 1)” I mentioned that I would share more about how I’ve been feeling and what I’ve been eating…so here we go.
When I first began the SIBO specific diet and the herbal antibiotic regimen prescribed to me, I felt pretty HORRIBLE! Not in the same way that SIBO was making me feel horrible, but horrible in terms of energy and deprivation. Personally, I’ve never felt really “deprived” while eating paleo, but the limits here were, and still are, tough. The first week I felt very fuzzy headed, out-of-sorts, and overwhelmed by the routine of taking so many pills and liquid drops at very particular times around eating. I also had to space out my meals further apart than I was used to. I had to be VERY prepared with the right foods to eat. The good news, my stomach felt greatly improved almost immediately!
Exercise was also challenging to say the least. I didn’t have the energy to push through glycolytic type workouts during the first couple weeks. I was okay with very quick bursts, or slightly longer workouts, but high-intensity, interval type training was not working. I was also losing a little bit of weight while figuring out my new diet. While I consider myself more of a fat-burner than a carb-burner since following a paleo/primal framework, I think my body was further adjusting to an even lower carbohydrate intake. After a couple weeks I felt so much better while working out and it’s been cool to experience the shift.
Despite knowing that SIBO can be very hard to treat, I was hopeful that my retest after the first month would indicate that those bacteria I don’t want in my small intestines would be gone, and the focus would turn to keeping them away. Sadly, this was NOT the case. My retest showed that my methane levels had gone down to a normal range, but my hydrogen levels had increased. I was actually less optimistic as soon as my retest was over (and before the results came back) because the lactulose (sugar solution) that I had to drink to do the test brought back all the awful SIBO symptoms I’d been free of for the last month. Re-treating is what my doctor and I decided to do.
I’m about eight weeks into my quest to balance my gut bacteria and while I suspect my journey is NOT over, I feel so much better. I was just saying to my husband this weekend, “Remember how often I used to ask, ‘what is wrong with my stomach? Why do I feel this way?’ Have you heard me ask that over the last several weeks?” His reply, “NO”! Yay! A SIBO specific diet can really reduce or eliminate the symptoms, but unfortunately it doesn’t kill off the bacteria itself. I will be retesting again this weekend to see if any progress has been made with the re-treatment of the herbal antibiotics.
Here’s a look at some of the food I’ve been enjoying over the last couple months. The first week, I started out with lots of soups and then transitioned into some of the meals shown here. Many of these dishes are delicious with or without SIBO, so I encourage you to try some!!
“Stuffed Cabbage (cabbage dolmas)” from the Mediterranean Paleo Cooking cookbook, available for purchase here. The flavor in this dish was wonderful, especially the hint of cinnamon. However, I ended up eating the insides of the dolmas because I learned that cruciferous veggies are irritating to my stomach at this point.
Roasted butternut squash, fennel bulb and carrots – a staple (although I’ve been switching out the butternut squash for zucchini lately, as I’ve found out that I seem to tolerate that better).
Thai Chicken Meatballs (from sibodietrecipes.com). I love the unique thai flavor of these little morsels, and they are helpful to have on hand for easy to transport leftovers.
Asian Prawns and Peppers! These prawns were from Vital Choice and they were amazing!
Baked rhubarb and blueberries (tossed in coconut oil) over pastured pork chops, with olives and spiced zucchini.
Primal Peak’s Meatzza. Recipe to come soon!!
Crispy Drumsticks. Quality meats and natural fats are super helpful for my satiation and these drumsticks are great for the whole family and for leftovers.
Jalapeno, Spinach and Cheddar Biscuits (sibodietrecipes.com). These were AMAZING!! I felt like I was totally treating myself with these. The only downside – it’s hard to just eat one!
Rhubarb rosemary lamb shanks (in the crockpot).
Beef and liver meatloaf! My kids loved this – everything tastes good with bacon on top – and I was thrilled with the flavor and texture. I ever so slightly adjusted the recipe from the Heal Your Gut Cookbook. You can pick up a copy here.
Banana Carrot Coconut Loaf (sibodietrecipes.com). This was nice to have for an occasional treat, or to take out with me when we had a couple social engagements, as it transported easily.
Bulletproof green tea. The first month on my SIBO protocol I eliminated coffee and loved the switch to green tea blended with unsalted grass-fed butter and “brain octane” MCT oil.
Following the first month on my SIBO protocol, I received some food intolerance testing results, which showed red flags for EGGS!!! Say it ain’t so! The second area of red flags – dairy. Thus, I will share my recent elimination info in a post to come.