SIBO, FMT, Elemental Diet and more

It’s a new year and to be honest I’m feeling happy to put 2017 behind me, I was on a mission last year – I was determined to ‘fix myself’. I did everything I could to heal my body and gut, trying everything from FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) to the elemental diet.

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First up, I had all my amalgam fillings removed. I tested positive for mercury poisoning which has been linked to all kinds of nasty side-effects, including poor gut health.

I started taking prescriptive doses of vitamins to heal from pyrrole disorder and under-methylation.

I went through another round of treatment for SIBO including rifaximin and neomycin for methane and hydrogen SIBO and another round of herbal antimicrobials, where I took Bactrex along with Allicin and Thorne SF722 undecylenic acid, I’ve also been taking Motilpro for motility. Diet-wise I was following a SIBO specific diet.

I went through FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) to get a healthy person’s gut microbiome followed by a high fibre diet.

I did two weeks of the elemental diet (Physicians Elemental Diet formula) which didn’t help, in fact my results for SIBO came back worse than I’d ever seen.

I even went away to a health retreat where I detoxed from electronic devices, caffeine and ate low FODMAP organic food.

Well did it all work? Not quite. I recently had a stool sample tested and FMT did nothing for me and the elemental diet really didn’t offer any benefits, except I learnt that I have incredibly strong willpower not to eat for two weeks.

This is all incredibly frustrating, there have been times where I felt completely defeated. The thing I learnt from last year though, was that I was putting myself under too much pressure to get better. When I was away at the health retreat, majority of my symptoms disappeared, this is a huge lesson. I think the stress I was putting myself under, just desperate to get better, may actually be contributing to the condition. As a nutritionist to-be, I’m in my second year of university and am learning how much poor health can be linked to our ‘fight or flight’ response (our sympathetic nervous system) and our mental health.

So now I’m taking the pressure off and trying not to obsess about my health. It definitely seems to help, but despite this I know that I still have a healing journey ahead of me. The good news is my endometriosis hasn’t caused any trouble for a few years now, which I’m definitely happy about.

My next step is to try the Fast Tract diet approach. If anyone else has had success with it I’d love to know, drop me a note.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

Creamy buckwheat porridge

Fresh from my time off at Gwinganna health retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland, I discovered that buckwheat in small amounts doesn’t upset my tummy. This is great because it’s another food I can add into my diet for some variety, while I’ll remain mostly grain-free, I tend to include foods if they don’t create symptoms.

My retreat away at Gwinganna reinforced to me that reducing stress, taking time to eat and chewing properly are as important as nutrition; I had roughly a 50% reduction in gut symptoms while I was away!

This low-FODMAP recipe makes around three cups of porridge, I only consumed about one cup of cooked porridge and placed the remaining in the fridge. If you don’t have SIBO though, feel free to increase your portion size.

Buckwheat porridge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 of a ripe banana mashed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 6 walnuts chopped
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp almond butter

Method:

Place the water and salt in a saucepan, once it’s boiling pour in the buckwheat and stir, turn down the heat and cover for 10 minutes.

Then turn off the stove, give the buckwheat a stir, cover again and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Add one cup of cooked buckwheat to a bowl (I placed the rest in the fridge for the next day). Add the coconut milk and stir until combined, then stir in the mashed banana, vanilla, cinnamon and sunflower seeds. Place the almond butter and walnuts on top and it’s ready to eat.

Would love to know how you go with this one, especially if you have SIBO.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Elemental diet for SIBO done and dusted!

Well I’ve reached the finish line! Two weeks of nothing but liquid nutrients and I am so proud of myself for finishing!

Overall was it challenging? Yes. I am I glad I did it? YES! The hardest part was the first few days, after that I felt pretty well, except for some gastrointestinal symptoms here and there and feeling pretty lethargic at times it was ok. Apart from these side effects and feeling like ripping food out of other people’s hands when they were eating in front of me 🙂 I feel good; none of the sluggish bloated feeling paired with brain fog, I feel lighter and clearer. I didn’t lose any weight at all, I already border on being underweight so this was a happy outcome for me.

Today I introduced my first meal of scrambled egg with ghee and some herbs, it was delicious but went straight through me, however after two weeks of no solid food this was to be expected as my body gets used to real food again. I’ve also prepared some slow cooked grass-fed beef with some pumpkin puree for dinner, but I intend to only have very small serves and build my way up. I’ll also continue to drink the elemental formula to ensure I get enough nutrients during this introductory phase.

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I’m so happy I did the elemental diet, it’s given my gut a much needed rest and hopefully accelerated the repair process to heal my leaky gut. My diet now will be inspired by the Fast Tract Diet, but I will tailor it to my own needs by listening to my body; previously fructose has been an issue for me so I will be cautious with that. I will slowly reintroduce different foods over the next few months and will stick to homemade, softly cooked food.

Check out my Instagram page healingyogi for more on my healing journey post elemental diet.

Happy healing x

Meredith

Elemental diet for SIBO

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, I was disappointed I didn’t see the results I wanted from FMT and felt disheartened, but the thing I had to remember is to never to give up; SIBO and gut issues can be complex to treat but they are treatable.

So I decided to try the elemental diet and here I am on day 4. For those who don’t know; an elemental diet is a powdered medical formula that you mix with water and it completely replaces food for a period of 2-4 weeks. The reason people take it for SIBO is it starves the bacteria, it has a similar effect to taking antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials but based on studies it’s been proven more effective at treating SIBO. It is also used for other medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease, as it gives the gastrointestinal system a break as all the nutrients are absorbed at the top of the small intestine.

Elemental diet The Healing Yogi

My thoughts about the elemental diet? It’s not that bad. Yes going without food is challenging but it’s doable. The formula I’m taking is the Physician’s Elemental Diet by Integrative Therapeutics, it’s expensive but tastes good. The first two days were a struggle but I feel better now. I run out of energy quickly so there’s no yoga classes, but gentle exercise like walking is ok.

The symptoms I’ve experienced so far are diarrhea (mostly on the second day), I experienced headaches initially but now they have subsided, brain fog, fatigue and some joint pain. When I go too long between drinking the formula I get very hungry and feel hypoglycemic, so for me I’ve found it’s best to take sips throughout the day.

My tip for anyone thinking of doing the elemental diet is to try antibiotics or antimicrobials first along with a SIBO diet. If you’ve been through rounds of treatment and nothing is working then it might be worth considering.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

FMT for SIBO and gut health

I recently completed FMT (fecal microbiota transplant) after treatment for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

FMT is not a treatment usually considered for SIBO, essentially SIBO is a problem where bacteria is overgrown in a place where is shouldn’t be (the small intestine), FMT is used to colonise and balance the gut with healthy gut flora using a healthy person’s faeces (yep their poo!), it sounds bizarre and disgusting but FMT is proving to be an effective treatment for a range of gut issues.

Following many rounds of SIBO treatment, restrictive low FODMAP diets and taking strong antibiotics after surgery for endometriosis, my gut flora had taken a beating, so I decided to give FMT a try.

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I met with a gastroenterologist who prescribed me antibiotics and anti-fungal medication, following which I had my first FMT treatment which involved a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy (including taking biopsies), he then completed the FMT into the small intestine and the large intestine (injecting twice as much into the large intestine). For four days following, each day I had to administer the FMT via an enema; this process is not for the faint hearted 🙂

So, how did I feel after the process? I felt amazing up until day 4, then I crashed and felt exhausted which took a couple of days to recover from. Unfortunately my gastrointestinal symptoms returned about a week later, but not to the same extent and it’s important to note that I’m consuming a high fibre diet to feed my new microbiome (as instructed by my doctor), which is a diet I’ve not consumed for years due to SIBO. A week and a half later I generally feel quite well other than some bloating after meals.

My follow up appointment with the doctor takes place 4 weeks after treatment, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about the effectiveness of the treatment until this time, as the new bacteria will need time to make a difference.

FMT has been shown as effective in helping people with specific gut conditions such as clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease, but with regards to SIBO, my view is to only consider this treatment once you’re SIBO free. FMT can benefit some people a lot, whereas with others it doesn’t make a huge impact, so if you’re considering it, discuss with your health professional to see if it’s the right approach to take for you.

Yours in health,

Meredith

Spiced warm smoothie

Well hi! It’s been a while between posts as I’ve been focused on my studies, now it’s semester break I’m hoping to share a few recipes I’ve been enjoying.

This is such a warming, comforting and filling drink for cooler days, I love it in the morning when you don’t feel like solid food but need something in your belly.

WarmSpicedSmoothieTheHealingYogi.JPGFeel free to adapt the recipe by using different types of milk, I’m sharing what I’ve been using. Be cautious when buying nut or coconut milk from the store, they can have additives that aren’t great if you have health problems, for example guar gum or sugar, home made is always best but if you don’t have it then check the label.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooked (still warm) butternut pumpkin (I usually bake mine)
  • 1 tbsp macadamia butter (find at your health food store or just soak 10 macadamias for 30 minutes before using)
  • 1 and a quarter cups of warm almond / coconut milk blend
  • 2 tbsp inca inchi protein powder (I like this type of protein powder for its nutty taste and it’s easy to digest)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 drop of pure stevia extract

Method:

Place ingredients in a blender or vitamix and blend until smooth and all ingredients are well combined.

Enjoy,

Meredith x

Blueberry pikelets

These are perfect if you’re feeling like a sweet treat. I like to use blueberries that are frozen, they just seem to work better in this recipe. Try to buy organic as berries tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, if you’re suffering from health issues your body will benefit from removing any excess toxins.

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Serves 1

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1 free range egg whisked
  • 1/2 ripe banana mashed
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour

Method:

Combine banana, egg and flour until smooth, add a few blueberries in and stir through. Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil to a large frypan and heat to med-high, once hot, dollop 6 portions of the mixture into the frypan. Heat another small frypan or saucepan to low, add the remaining coconut oil and add the remaining blueberries, allow them to soften and mix through the coconut oil. Meanwhile, when the pikelets look ready to turn, gently flip them over to finish cooking. Serve covered with warm blueberries.

Enjoy!

Meredith x

 

Green vegetable & chicken stir-fry with fragrant herbs

This is one of my favourite meals; it’s easy, gut and endo diet friendly and has fragrant South East Asian flavours that I love.

Most SE Asian dishes contain onion, garlic and soy but you can still enjoy this type of cuisine while on a SIBO or low FODMAP diet. I swap soy sauce with coconut aminos, they are delicious! I just add some sea salt to give the saltiness soy sauce provides. Instead of onion I add lots of spring onions, also known as green onions or scallions, they are low FODMAP so shouldn’t cause bloating. You can find coconut aminos at most health food shops.

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I have used kelp noodles in this recipe but you could always omit these if you’re wary of seaweed, it can cause symptoms in some people. If you can tolerate rice that would be a perfect accompaniment. You can find kelp noodles at your local health food store.

You’ll need:

  • 500g free range (preferably organic) chicken mince
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric grated (or dried powder)
  • 4 tbsp of coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 cup of bamboo shoots (or water chestnuts)
  • 20 green beans chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3 pak choy roughly chopped (at the grocer they usually come in bundles of 3)
  • 150g kelp noodles, washed and chopped in half
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • A large handful of coriander leaves, washed
  • 1/4 cup of vietnamese mint leaves, washed
  • 1 lime

Method:

Add the coconut oil to a wok and heat to high. Once hot, add the chicken mince, break up the mince and brown it all over. Add the ginger and turmeric, coat the mince and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the coconut aminos, salt, sesame oil, pepper and chilli flakes, coat the mince in these ingredients, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the green beans, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, add the kelp noodles and stir-fry for about 1 minute to allow the noodles to soften. Add the bamboo shoots, then the pak choy, stir-fry for about 30 seconds until it softens. Turn the heat off and add the spring onions, upon serving garnish with coriander, vietnamese mint and a wedge of lime which can be squeezed over just before eating.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks

This is one of my go-to recipes that’s great for the restricted phase of the SIBO diet. To make this dish I recommend using a slow cooker, you’ll need to make the bone broth first as it’s used in the beef cheeks recipe.
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SLOW COOKED BEEF CHEEKS – serves 4
• 600g beef cheeks
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 3 cups of beef bone broth (see recipe)
• 5 carrots chopped
• 1 stick of celery sliced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tsp thyme leaves
• 1/3 cup of flat leaf parsley chopped (to garnish upon serving)
• 1 ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp pepper
• 1 tbsp coconut oil (for searing the beef cheeks)

Method:
If you have a removable slow cooker pan that can go on the stovetop or oven, remove it from the slow cooker add the coconut oil and place it on a med-high heat on the stove top (if you don’t have this type of slow cooker pan then use a large saucepan with a lid). Place the beef cheeks in the pan and the tomato paste, try and coat them in the tomato paste and sear them until lightly brown (it should only take a few minutes).

Then add the remaining ingredients (except the parsley) and cover with a lid, once the liquid starts to bubble, place it in the slow cooker and turn on low (if you’re using a saucepan instead of a slow cooker leave on the stovetop and turn the heat to as low as possible, it should cook very gently) leave for 8-12 hours. Once it’s ready pull the beef cheeks apart with a fork. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and with some green beans sautéed in ghee or with some roast veggies.

BROTH – yields approximately 2 litres

• 1.4kg beef bones cut into pieces (just ask your butcher to do this for you)
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 20 peppercorns
• 3 star anise
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 6 carrots roughly chopped
• 1 celery stick roughly chopped
• 6 sprigs of thyme
• 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp coconut oil for frying
• Filtered water to cover the ingredients (approx. 2 ¼ litres)

Method:
If you have a removable slow cooker pan that can go on the stovetop or oven, remove it from the slow cooker add the coconut oil and place it on a med-high heat on the stove top (if you don’t have this type of slow cooker pan then use a large saucepan or stockpot with a lid). Place the bones in the pan and the tomato paste, try and coat them in the tomato paste and sear them until lightly brown (it should only take a few minutes).

Add the other ingredients and cover with filtered water, cover with a lid, bring to the boil then place in the slow cooker on low for 12 hours (you can use the stove top for slow cooking but ensure the heat is as low as possible).

After a few hours skim any scum sitting on top of the liquid.

Once the broth is finished, remove the bones and pour through a sieve so you’re left with the broth only. It can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days but otherwise store it in the freezer. When you remove it from the fridge there may be a layer of fat on top, just remove this before using.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Banana turmeric passion pops

A delicious sweet treat, perfect for the summer months. Simple to make and so good for you.

Living in Queensland Australia, I’m blessed to have easy access to passionfruit, it’s such a delicious tropical fruit.

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You’ll need:

  • 1.5 bananas cut into chunks (or 2 small bananas)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla powder
  • 2 passionfruit cut in half
  • 3 drops of stevia

Method:

Place all ingredients in a blender except for the passionfruit and combine until smooth.

Scoop out the passionfruit pulp and place it into 6 icy pole moulds. Then pour the remaining banana mixture from your blender on top of the passionfruit, into the moulds. Don’t over fill the moulds as liquid expands when it freezes!

Freeze for at least 2.5 hours then enjoy.

Yours in health,

Meredith x