I will feel my best if I eat healthy foods!
This is something that most every American can agree with. But when you've got digestive woes – like acid reflux, IBS or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn's or ulcerative colitis, or even ‘non direct digestive' symptoms such as skin break outs and fatigue – sometimes it's the healthiest food that can make you feel the most miserable.
You know how everyone has their ‘STORY' on what makes them passionate about their career, their message? This one is mine. Not too long ago, after years of trying EVERYTHING ‘healthy' from bodybuilding diets to vegan, I never all the way achieved the CORE that I desired. I was hiding something from everyone, something I thought that was NORMAL for everyone to have…not soon after did I find out that it was COMMON, but definitely not normal:
I looked 3 months pregnant most times of the day, esp after eating, and nothing helped!
Everywhere I went, I sucked in my belly and flexed my abs to showcase a false illusion of a strong core, which I later learned was a huge contributor to many of the symptoms I spent tens of thousands of $ on and years of suffering, including back pain, fatigue and major distention. And I hear this same testimonial daily from others who suffer from the same. Read on to learn more about how I've begun to finally heal myself and others with the most complicated of digestive struggles and disease.
As a health detective and FDN, more and more I unfortunately find myself discouraging clients from eating certain healthy foods like salad, fruit or whole grains for reasons of digestive tolerance.
To which 10 out of 10 of them respond: “But all this time I thought I was being so healthy!”
My disheartened respond is the same: healthfulness and digestive tolerance are two completely separate issues. Just because a food is ‘HEALTHY' doesn't mean everyone can eat it comfortably.
When you have a digestive disease or disorder, the FOREMOST initial goal should be to consume the healthiest diet that agrees with YOU. This is where you start seeing ‘diet fads' in a whole new light. It makes total sense that:
The diet that worked for her, might make that other girl feel worse, and may not do anything to help you at all.
Enter SIBO, a growing condition that is spreading across America, sadly being fed by certain HEALTHY foods, and is one of THE MOST COMMON conditions I see in my clients that contribute to the ‘pooch' effect around our midsection. Truth fairy, Di is here to tell you:
NO AMOUNT OF PLANKS OR SIT UPS WILL MAKE THAT POOCH ANY SMALLER AND GIVE YOU THE SEXY ABS YOU DESIRE!
Read on to find out what will!
WHAT IS SIBO?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO, effects between 30% – 40% of people nationwide.
Most often the build-up of bacteria started years before and has been an ever-present annoyance, bombarding the body with a host of uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain and swelling. Dr. Mark Pimentel, a pioneer in the field of IBS and SIBO research has a hypothesis that SIBO could actually be the root cause of IBS.
It is projected that 84% of people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) have SIBO.
SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. The large intestine, not the small, is designed to be the housing unit for all the bacteria in the intestinal track, both good and bad. In a healthy system the percentage of bad bacteria should be lower than 20% while the good bacteria should be somewhere around 80% and ALL of those bacteria should be contained within the large intestinal walls.
The path of food begins in the mouth, travels to the stomach where it gets absorbed, then moves into the small intestine where the nutrients are absorbed and finally travels into the large intestine where it is converted into waste. The lining of the small intestine is covered with tiny hairs called villi that act as a nutritional catcher’s mitt. These treasure-seeking fingers are responsible for grabbing and absorbing nutrients that are taken into the body through the foods we eat. If these hairs are depleted as a result of the bacterial overgrowth tearing away at the lining holes can begin to develop in the small intestine. A popular term for this condition is “leaky gut.” SIBO and leaky gut go hand in hand, if you have one you have the other.
With leaky gut, even if you are eating the healthiest foods nutrients will not be properly utilized because instead of being absorbed, food particles seep through the holes in the intestinal wall and go directly into the bloodstream. The intestinal walls are like mesh, you can think of a healthy intestinal wall like a window screen, allowing the good air to pass through while keeping dust and insects trapped outside. Leaky gut is like that same window screen with tears in it. Now, instead of just allowing the air to pass through, insects and other critters sneak inside through the tears in the screen. The ‘critters’ in the case of the small intestine are undigested food particles, toxins and the same bacteria that created the holes in the first place. When these enter the bloodstream they cause food sensitivities to develop and create a myriad of problems such as headaches, joint pain, mood disorders, skin disorders, fatigue, auto-immune disease and neurological disorders.
When the bacteria go through the holes in the small intestine into the bloodstream the bacteria overgrowth is not only happening locally in the small intestine but also in the bloodstream, going so far as to cross the blood brain barrier and getting into the brain. This can result in brain disease, which is predeceased with brain fog and mood impairments such as anxiety, depression and irritability. This is called leaky brain, and goes part and parcel with leaky gut.
What caused these bacteria to develop?
SIBO develops primarily because there is so much built up bacteria in the large intestine that it spills over into the small intestine. Usually the bacteria in the small intestine are in the last 2 feet of the total 23 feet. These bacteria thrive on carbohydrates such as gluten, sugar, flour, lactose and dairy, which are SAD-ly plentiful in the standard American diet (SAD). Even eating healthy complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or certain vegetables may feed the bacteria and encourage the proliferation of growth. Once the bacteria process the carbohydrates they release a gas that ferments and releases methane. This methane comes out as gas and is what triggers the primary symptoms of SIBO, such as these classic 10:
- Abdominal Pain / Cramping
- Constipation – The small intestine has an enzyme called a brush border that comes through once digestion is complete to ferry the remaining particles out of the small intestine. Think of it as a street sweeper that cleans up the streets late at night when no one is on the road. The street sweeper can't do its job with traffic clogging the roads. Similarly, the brush border is unable to clean the surface of our internal streets when we're constantly eating, so intermittent fasting on occasion is recommended for 15 hours or so – 8 am until next day noon.A common misconception, especially in the body building industry, is that the body needs to constantly eat to keep the metabolic rate up. With all those big meals every day and a bunch of snacking in between when do our street sweepers get a chance to do their job? The answer is never, and food and byproducts continue to pile up while the brush border is sitting on the side of the road smoking cigarettes and listening to talk radio. A big part of the brush border’s job is peristalsis, or the muscular contractions that sweep the food into the colon for removal. When this is not properly working blockage occurs, aka constipation.
- IBS Diagnosis
- FOOD SENSITIVITIES or Intolerances (common ones are glut
en and dairy products). It is also very common for me to hear “I stopped eating gluten and feel no different, I still have problems”, which is also a sign.
- Chronic Illness (auto-immune disorders, chronic fatigue)
- B12 Deficiency which we most commonly can’t NOT notice as FATIGUE – The bacteria eat our food and the nutrients in them, their favorite being B12 & iron. If you’re B12 deficient you can end up anemic. 1 out of 10 women are anemic as a result of the iron deficiencies caused, in part, by this overgrowth of bacteria pilfering our iron supplies. It’s becoming more common for people to come to me with:“I started eating Paleo (aka REAL food without labels) and when all of my friends felt the benefits, I felt no different”.
Be conscious of what you eat and pay attention to how you feel after you consume them. If even the HEALTHIEST of foods don’t fuel you well, you have to ask:Who am I feeding when I eat? Am I feeding the host (YOU) or am I feeding these marauding bandits that have taken residence in my gut?When anemia is detected a common reflex is to prescribe iron, however, SIBO feast on iron and B12 vitamins, which it uses to grow and multiply. It is said that about 15% of the population is anemic, yet they’re simply given iron supplements. Instead of nourishing you, the iron supplements are now feeding the wrong thing. That’s why the question should always be “WHO am I feeding?” If it’s not you, you’re feeding an internal barnacle of sorts that’s growing to unhealthy proportions and releasing by products of its food, which surface as symptoms (the most bothersome and obvious being #1-5 listed above).
- Fat Malabsorption – The bacteria also destroy bile that is produced by the gall bladder. Bile is responsible for breaking down fat. We need fat and good cholesterol to make hormones so if we are unable to breakdown fat because we do not have sufficient bile then our bodies are unable to make hormones. When our hormones are imbalanced we can’t think straight, we suffer brain fog, adrenal fatigue, sex hormone deficiencies and can’t sleep, all as a result of fat malabsorption.
If you notice any of these symptoms after eating carbohydrates it is a high indication that you have SIBO.
Even taking a probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods can feed the bacteria and further exacerbate the problem because some probiotics contain harmful strains to someone with SIBO, such as Lactobacilus Acidophilus, this strain actually feeds the SIBO and encourages it to thrive. This is actually the main strain of probiotic you will find in most multi strain brands. Ones that don't contain it are called D Lactate Free. Another strain, Saccharomyces boulardii is also good at fending off yeast which is prevalent in SIBO cases. Worth noting most, many health experts say that probiotics in general are useless unless they are soil based. 1 probiotic I recommend in my arsenal that my clients have responded to more than any other I’ve used is called, MEGASPORE, which is a highly popular sprore-based probiotic strain that has done wonders for many of my clients I've worked with struggling with SIBO, including myself. It's only available through practitioners, and you're in LUCK! I am an authorized distributor. 🙂
How do I Get Rid of SIBO?
Thankfully there are proven treatments methods to remove the SIBO and bring the body back into its optimal state of health. Below are the 4 most widely used and successful remedies for removing the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, from simplest and less damaging to the body to last resort.
- Eating a Specific Carb Diet or SCD is the most accessible way to begin removing the bacteria from the small intestine. This will starve the bacteria and slowly remove them from the small intestine.*
- Natural antibiotics such as allicin, garlic, oregano or the right kind of anti-fungal have been effective in treating and removing SIBO. Be advised, an anti-fungal will create die off, when the die off occurs it can make the symptoms even worse while you are purging the bacteria, similar to a detox. This treatment method can be uncomfortable for some and may lower the likelihood of following through on the program.
- Eating an Elemental Diet. This means eating foods that have been predigested, which due to this fact, don’t require food particle break down and hence, won’t feed the bacteria. You will also experience die off with this treatment method as well and could experience a lot of pain during the treatment process. You will also only be drinking bland liquids for approximately 2 weeks.
- Using a gentle antibiotic. This is recommended for more severe cases when the other natural methods have been attempted but have not been effective in treating the SIBO. There has been a 80% – 90% success rate using the antibiotic Rifaximin. This is also recommended because it is a local antibiotic that will only work in the small intestine and not affect other parts of the body.
*If you suspect certain healthy foods may be making you feel worse, read on to see some of the more common healthy food intolerances I encounter and some nutritious workarounds.
What Foods Worsen SIBO?
1. Raw salads and acid reflux:
The hype and health industry push to consume more raw veggies is misleading. It can really do a number on those with Acid Reflux or GERD (which in 95% of cases, is actually NOT ENOUGH acid in the stomach)
Are salads or fresh pressed juices a source of digestive upset? Try to avoid them for a week. For weight loss, instead of salads, try cooked veggies, lean proteins and small portions of cooked grains or beans instead, depending on your METABOLIC TYPE. If symptoms disappear with the salads, Houston we found part of the problem.
2. High-fructose fruits and IBS: About 30 percent of Caucasians have dietary fructose intolerance, aka impaired capacity to absorb free fructose sugar molecules in the small intestine. Studies have suggested the prevalence is even higher among people with IBS.
3. Whole grains and IBD: Clients I coach who have inflammatory conditions like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis often request an “anti-inflammatory” diet to help control their disease and prevent future flares. Specifically, avoiding refined grains and animal proteins, instead eating more whole grains, veggies and nuts.
Unfortunately, foods that aggravate SIBO are those high in fiber – or, whole grains, veggies and nuts. And the ones least likely to do so are refined grains and low-fat animal proteins, since they are quickly and easily assimilated in the early segments of the small intestine. So, temporarily, our goal is to starve the source of the problem (SIBO) until it's resolved, then regroup and test these 3 food groups again, fingers crossed that we're feeding YOU again, and not the displaced bad bacteria. This is KEY, because a healthy human NEEDS fiber, but only when it feeds it to YOU!
SIBO is a huge concern because it affects such a great number of people. However, if you are resolved and consistent you will be able to not just to get rid of the bacteria but develop the proper lifestyle habits to keep it away for good. It does require a bit of detective work through comprehensive testing to determine an individualized treatment method for each person’s unique situation. And our goal is to provide you with accurate tests, effective protocols and support based on whichever decision YOU make. Everyone is different, so we don't advise going about this one on your own. It requires enlisting the support of an expert, like Diane.
These tests can be administered anywhere around the world. And the results will look something like this (these are Diane's)! We work with the majority of our clients remotely, if you’d like to discuss how we can turn your life around and bring you back to life or for a free 30 minute phone consultation, follow the link below to get on Diane's schedule. But HURRY! She only takes on a limited amount of clients in any given period, so don't wait until it's too late and she fills up! We respect that when you want help, you're motivated and ready to go, and we want to be the ones to guide you to the ‘light' of feeling better than ever!
End your digestive pains and belly bloat today!
COULD SIBO BE MY KEY ISSUE? To find out more: