As the title suggests, I’m roughly two months into treatment (a little more, actually). For these past two months, I’ve taken my supplements regularly and been pretty good about the diet. Overall, I’m feeling about 30 – 40% better, which I believe to be a great improvement. Many of you out there might think that for two months, that’s nothing, but I disagree. My perspective is this: it’s taken my body years and years to develop this condition. My body’s biome is now accustomed to working under these adverse conditions, and what we know about the body is that will try to keep the status quo. Making changes take time. So if this condition has been developing for the past 10 years or more, with an underlying genetic sensitivity, then I think it’s pretty safe to say that I shouldn’t expect to get 100% healed in only a matter of weeks.
And to be honest, I don’t really want to zap my body into a period of intense healing, like an antibiotic would do. Doing that would be like a crash diet on my sensitive system. Have you ever done a crash diet? You feel really crappy for the few weeks where you eat nothing but cabbage (or drink master cleanse, or eat 500 calories, or whatever) because your body is in a detox. You exercise like an energizer bunny without fuel in order to feel crappier and drop a few pounds. And you do, drop a few pounds….And then you gain it back. Short term gains for long term losses. What I’m going for is sustainability.
How can I support my sensitive system for the long-term by creating an environment of healing? How must this healing environment change as my body changes? These are the questions I’m using to guide this healing.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- The main keys for me are diet and detox. I’m in the phase where we’re killing the bad bacteria. This means that I can’t be feeding what I’m trying to get rid of, and that once I’ve killed what’s there, I have to give it clear channels for release (read: I need to facilitate as much natural pooping and sweating as possible, while avoiding damaging diarrhea and overdoing it).
- When I stick to the diet, I feel good – my bloating decreases and often stops all together.
- As the weeks progressed, I could have small amounts of foods on my “avoid” list without dire consequences. But I felt better when I abstained.
- After about week three, my energy levels increased and I started to feel a lot better. Lots of people mentioned how good I looked.
- The castor oil packs didn’t work for me. They brought on bloating when before I had none, so I stopped doing them.
At my two-month check up, my naturopath and I agreed that I wasn’t healed enough to go into the next phase of small intestine repair, so for the next month we decided to:
- Change the killing agents. Instead of Peppermint oil and Goldeseal, we switched to Oil of Oregano capsules (1, 3x daily away from food)
- Add two digestive formulas. The first is called Digest-Gen. I haven’t started this yet as it’s on order from my doctor. The second is called Iberogast, which helps to reduce gas/bloating and help with digestion.
- Focus more on clearing the channels to allow for detox. This means increasing my intake of my Liver Tea, taking activated charcoal just after one or two meals each day, drinking tons of water (I usually mix with coconut water or another electrolyte because regular water was running right through me and I still had signs of dryness). This also means making sure I’m getting as much exercise as I can without wearing myself out. I practice yoga several times per week, walk, do circuit workouts sometimes, and do big weekend hikes with my fiancee.
- Manage stress better. Besides yoga, meditation and breathing she had me choose a few flower essences and created a custom blend for me. I take a few drops 4-5 times a day. I chose a blend to help me with stress management, emotional stagnation, boundaries, and connecting to heart center (yarrow, dandelion, elm, fuchsia and pink monkey flower).
I’ve also had some unexpected set backs in this two months. I got engaged about a month ago, which brought on a series of celebrations and dinners out. I did my best to stick to my diet and kept taking my supplements as planned, but a few non-SIBO foods slipped in there. I’d been on the protocol long enough to notice that one or two of these instances was okay, but more than a day or two put together could set me back four or five days, at least in symptoms. So I’m doing the best that I can and still trying to live a life that makes me happy (which means a small cheat every now and then). I’ve done my best to find solutions for food cravings, and you can find some recipes here and here.
Stress management has also been challenging for me. I’m a new small business owner trying to make a living in a very expensive city, a spiritual counselor working with people with long-term illness and other stressors, recently engaged and planning a wedding, and burdened with some surprising and difficult interpersonal challenges. I have a great mix of both positive and negative stress, and it’s been, well, stressful! In the past two weeks I renewed my commitment to my daily yoga and meditation practice and spending time in nature, which is very calming and healing for me. These practices have helped tremendously, as well as clearing out my schedule and making sure I have enough room to breath. I have a tendency to fill my plate to full, so I’ve been scraping off some of the more energetically draining activities to create more space for myself. This has felt incredibly good and I’d definitely recommend it!
I’ve loved all the feedback and comments this these posts have received, and welcome more. Please feel free to tell me how you’re doing, what your protocol is, what you’ve found works and doesn’t work. Our bodies are all different and can manifest this