I am finishing out Week 9 on the elimination diet I started shortly before Thanksgiving. This was to attempt to get my post-infectious IBS-D under control. I have been fighting IBS-D since the beginning of 2014 when I was unlucky enough to get a pretty bad case of food poisoning at a local restaurant. Things are going well overall and I am happy to report at least one new successful food reintroduction – EGGS!
I haven’t posted for a while. A combination of having the flu for a week and the holidays sidetracked me. I recently completed Week 7 of the Elimination Diet and I wanted to post an update on how things were going.
Having the flu really set me back I think. I started taking Sambucol, which is an elderberry syrup concoction that is supposed to boost immune function. To help with my throat and respiratory symptoms, I was also using Ricola cough drops. Both have a fair amount of sugar, which I am supposed to be avoiding. I also was unfortunate enough to have my period during the week I was sick, and my IBS-D is always much worse during my period. I also got a bright idea that I needed more Vitamin C so I started eating cooked strawberries. This was not a good idea. So basically most of weeks 5 and 6 were a lost cause for me, and my symptoms were not great.
So while this is the end of Week 7, I don’t think I should count most of weeks 5 and 6 because of everything that was going on.
Having been recovered from the flu since just before Christmas, I can say that I am starting to stabilize again with my diarrhea symptoms. Things are not “normal” but overall most days are better than before I started the diet. I have the occasional “bad” day where I go more than I’d like (I count 3 or more as qualifying) or when I go it’s particularly watery. But generally I am more stable and things are more predictable than they were.
I started to introduce two new vegetables over the last couple of weeks. This is based on the recommendation in the book I am following, Digestive Health with Real Food. I did this because I have lost more weight than I should and I am officially too thin. So I’m trying to get more carbs in my diet to hopefully gain a couple of pounds.
First I tried butternut squash, but I had two strange reactions – itchiness and insomnia. I can’t be sure it was the squash so I will try it again in the future. I know butternut squash can absorb a lot of chemicals from the soil if you don’t buy organic and mine was not organic. It’s possible I was reacting to pesticides. I had no gut problems with the squash, which is good.
Next I tried sweet potatoes. These have worked great. No gut issues and no other problems. If it continues to go well (I do a 4 day trial and today is day 4) then I will include these in my diet going forward. This is so exciting I can’t even tell you.
More updates later. Thanks for checking in.
I’ve written before that I am taking Betaine HCL with Pepsin as a digestive support supplement to address low stomach acid. This was recommended to me by my functional medicine doctor, as well as suggested in Aglaee Jacob’s book Digestive Health with Real Food. I believe this supplement is making a real difference in my IBS-D symptoms. I started taking it shortly after starting the elimination diet, and have noticed real improvement over the last couple of weeks.
I want to talk more about the problem that this supplement is meant to address — low stomach acid — and refer you to some good resources to help you decide if trying this supplement is right for you.
I just finished Week 4 of the Elimination Diet based on the Aglaee Jacob book Digestive Health with REAL Food. As I discussed in an earlier post, Week 4 gave me substantial improvement in my IBS-D symptoms for two whole days, until an unexpected visit to the Emergency Room caused me to abandon my diet for a day. After that, I did lose the progress I made, but I feel confident I will get back to that place soon.
All in all, I am very pleased with my progress to date. I have lost ten pounds since beginning the diet a month ago. I feel much better than I did. My energy has improved substantially. My bloating is gone, and even though I am still suffering from diarrhea, it’s not nearly as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. My seborrheic dermatitis, which started in 2012, improved dramatically, and in the last week or so has basically disappeared.
Today is the first day of Week 4 of my elimination diet, attempting to heal from Post-Infectious IBS.
If you are not familiar with the elimination diet I’m on, the book I am following recommends you do at least 3 weeks and as many as 6 weeks before you begin to reintroduce other foods. The goal is to have 5 consecutive days of “substantially improved bowel movements” before you end the elimination phase of the diet. I discuss the source of this diet in yesterday’s post.
Here are my observations so far, having completed the first 3 weeks:
Here I am, writing a blog for the first time. Why? A complete health meltdown in my mid-forties. While I have been struggling with my health for a while, my most recent and very significant health challenge is post-infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I want to chronicle my story for anyone else who may be struggling with this or similar GI challenges. I have found it so helpful to read the experiences of others, I hope telling my story can be helpful to someone else. Right now, I have not found the solution, but I am learning why severe gut dysfunction happens and am not going to give up until I heal it.
Since early this year, I have suffered continuous diarrhea, fatigue, and brain fog. I’ve had nearly every GI test known to man – some more than once – and the GI doctor concluded that my food-poisoning earlier this year has resulted in post-infectious IBS. Here’s how it all started: