My SIBO Journey

Hello to all my fellow friends, family, & beautiful strangers! Now that you all have had an introduction to who I am and what I do at Dignity Integrative, I wanted to share with you a bit of what’s been going on the past few weeks with my own health.


Whether you are a health guru or not, you may have noticed the recent popularity of the topic of gut health. It’s in the news, it’s the subject of lots of new studies, and it’s all over social media. Yet despite all this sudden, new popularity, I’ll be the first to tell you that this new focus on gut health is not just a phase or a fad—it deserves all the attention, exploration, and more.


In this blog, I’ll be diving into my own personal discoveries on gut health and how I plan to heal and grow moving forward.


What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, better known as SIBO, occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the overall bacterial population in the small intestine — particularly types of bacteria not commonly found in that part of the digestive tract. Many doctors conclude that SIBO is often left untreated or misdiagnosed as many of its symptoms can be confused for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


Below are some typical signs and symptoms. (I have marked my symptoms in bold below)


Typical Signs & Symptoms

Loss of appetite

Abdominal pain

Nausea

Bloating

An uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating

Diarrhea

Unintentional weight loss

Malnutrition


My Diagnosis

To make a long story short, I have been experiencing signs of SIBO for about a year now, but it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I discovered what it actually was, that it can be treated, and more importantly, healed!


I spoke to Dr. Falcone about my recurring issues of bloating and uncomfortableness after eating certain foods and he advised me to do a GI test. Not to my surprise, there were some unusual results that led us to believe there was something more to be discovered in my gut. I then took a SIBO breath test to discover if maybe my gut has some bacterial imbalances.


If you are unfamiliar, the Mayo Clinic defines a SIBO breath test as a type of noninvasive test that measures the amount of hydrogen or methane that you breathe out after drinking a mixture of glucose and water. A rapid rise in exhaled hydrogen or methane may indicate bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine.


Sure enough, my results showed high levels of both hydrogen and methane which clearly depicted I was positive for SIBO. While saddened to hear this news, I was eager to begin the gut-healing process as soon as I had the chance.


My Treatment & Journey

Typically when you are diagnosed with SIBO, you begin a low FodMAP food protocol like this one designed by Nirala Jacobi The Bi-Phasic Diet. There are many such protocols and as the science progresses more is learned on what to eat and not to eat.


The Bi-Phasic Diet includes specific gut healing and antimicrobial phases that essentially go through the process of reducing, repairing, removing, and restoring the good and bad bacteria in the gut.


I can happily say that I have made it past Phase 1 and have just begun Phase 2 of this process (check out the link above for a full explanation of the different phases).


Things are going very well—I have experienced fewer uncomfortable bloating episodes that usually occur after eating gluten/dairy and I am exploring alternative foods that I am growing to like, such as tofu, alfalfa sprouts, and homemade mayo.


I’ve found that while I am learning new foods, I’m very much a creature of habit which results in similar daily meals: scrambled eggs w/ veggies for breakfast, salad with protein, and veggies for lunch, macadamias and almonds for a snack, and protein with veggies for dinner. It may be routine, but it gets the job done!


I’ll let you in on a secret— Phase 1 is no joke! It will be hard, but I promise you it will be worth every second to feel the immense relief especially if you are symptomatic like I am.


While I strive to be a good example, I am not here to tell you that I followed this protocol perfectly because I would be lying. I, too, am human and have had my moments of weakness, although I paid for the discomfort later on. If I could go back and do it over again, I would have placed more emphasis on my mental toughness!


Finally, do not purposefully cheat yourself through this process because you will only make it more difficult for yourself. And, don’t push this off for the “right time.” There will never be a perfect time to begin a multiple-week elimination diet—so what are you waiting for?! Get started and kick ass! I am looking forward to updating you guys once Phase 2 is complete!

 

Recipes and Things I enjoyed on Phase 1 Restricted Bi-Phasic SIBO Diet

(Phase 1 & 2 friendly)


Maisie Jane's- Organic Almond Butter Smooth

Malk- Vanilla Almond Milk (Phase 1 allowed)



Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds 2 1⁄2 cups water Nut bag or piece of muslin


DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight.

  2. Drain from the soaking water and place in the blender with the fresh water and blitz for a few minutes.

  3. Pour the almond mixture into the nut bag over a bowl to catch the milk. Squeeze the bag to get as much liquid out as you can.


Homemade Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon finely ground real salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 ½ cups avocado oil cold-pressed, naturally refined


DIRECTIONS

  1. Drop the egg yolks into the basin of your food processor, then sprinkle them with salt. Spoon in the lemon juice and water.

  2. Close the food processor and pulse it once or twice to combine, and then turn it on so that the blade continues moving smoothly. Working a half cup at a time, pour the avocado oil into the feeder tube of the food processor, allowing it to drip into the egg yolks in a very thin, smooth stream until the mayonnaise thickens and all the oil is incorporated into the egg yolks, about two or three minutes.

  3. Scrape the mayonnaise into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the refrigerator no longer than a week.


Homemade Salad Dressing

½ Lemon

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Dijon Mustard (no garlic & sugarless)

Pinch of salt

Dash of pepper

Drop of local & organic honey (Phase 2 only!)


DIRECTIONS

Whisk it all together & enjoy!


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