After 12 weeks of going on a very strict diet, I’m finally moving on to the next level of re-introducing some food items and seeing if my gut is able to handle them. While SIBO in itself is a very complex condition to treat, treating SIBO in a patient who already has a pre-existing condition makes the process much harder than it is. Sometimes complete healing takes longer than “normal”.
In my case, my body went into a massive caloric deficit and I started experiencing drop in blood-sugar, increased brain-fog and exhaustion and a lot of unnecessary complications. It started happening more when my physical and mental demands increased over the last couple of weeks and I was left absolutely no energy for anything else. I would be dog tired all day (as if so wasn’t already fatigued out of my brain) and had the strangest of food cravings.
In my recent visit to the ND, we took a closer look at my diet and made a few changes to accommodate for more stuff happening in my life right now. Here’s the thing about SIBO – you have to do you very best and stick to the diet, especially the initial eradication phase, however, life happens and there are ups and downs and you might have to adapt the treatment to your specific needs at that point in time. I was very disclipined with the diet for the first 10-11 weeks and started finding it difficult to stick to in the last one to one and half weeks.
As my symptoms haven’t improved drastically, I am “supposed” to continue the current SIBO treatment phase for a while longer but the matter of fact is that my body isn’t able to handle the diet and I’m starting to experience all these other issues which I could honestly do without. I also had a few major SIBO symptoms flare-ups along the way and had to go back to my baseline diet of eggs and zucchini several times. There was a point where I was only having about six ingredients/food items including salt and pepper and nothing else. The eradication phase requires that you starve the bacteria and feed the human which is exactly why the diet (symptom based, customised, low FODMAP diet) is so strict. My ND thought that it was time to find a balance where we are trying to eradicate the bacteria and re-introducing certain higher calorie food at the same time – we don’t want to accidentally starve the human you see.
So the good thing is that I have a lot more items that I’m going to re-introduce in the next phase and that also means more room to experiment! YAY! That’s always exciting and fun, as long as I have enough energy left to actually be creative with it. I’ve mostly been pretty enthusiastic and managed to come up with so many delicious, SIBO-friendly recipe over the last 12 weeks. I guess that’s something to feel good about.
The not-so-good thing is that just because you have more options doesn’t mean they are okay for you and that your gut will very happily accept them and respond well. The other not-so-good thing is that with so many additions, it can get more complicated to find direct correlation between your intake and symptoms. That said, the ‘not-so-good’ part of the story doesn’t sound nearly as bad as living with the feeling of being overly restricted in terms of food. It makes you feel deprived and limits you further. I don’t think I would have ever said that a particular form of diet is difficult… but in all honesty… the SIBO diet is HARD. There were times when the combination of lack of food options (at home, eating out or calling in) + lack of ability to move (I was bedridden for good 65 days due to a flare up and I’m still barely recovering) + lack of dark chocolate made me feel like life was unfair :)
Of course, now that I’m no longer surviving on just six items, life is all rainbows and bunnies again. You get the point.