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’.Β 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 πŸ™‚ 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 heartedΒ πŸ™‚

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