For those of you who regularly read my blog, you will know that since March I have been on a mission to try and sort out my tummy problems.
I have suffered with IBS for around 20 years, taking me a good 7 years to realise that wheat was a contributory factor to my bloating and pain.
Back in February, having tolerated probiotics for a while (which I never used to do), I decided to make some milk kefir to add good bacteria to my gut. Unfortunately it triggered a massive IBS flareup and I therefore decided on the drastic option of going on the SCD diet, followed by the GAPS diet (both of which are very similar with GAPS being more prescriptive about what foods to reintroduce when).
At the time I was pretty convinced that my problems stemmed from a lot of foreign travel and having collected ‘bad’ bacteria along the way. I also thought that it was likely that I had a leaky gut, causing food intolerances. The SCD/GAPS diet therefore made a lot of sense since its purpose is to kill off pathogenic bacteria, repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria and heal and seal a leaky gut.
Having visited a doctor of integrated health I decided to undergo some expensive tests to discover if I did indeed have an imbalance of gut bacteria or a leaky gut. Of course it would have been much better to have done this before going on the SCD/GAPS diet, but at the time I was unaware of these tests.
I had the results back a few days ago. They show that my gut is not leaky (athough there are some rather odd results with regards sugar absorption) and that my gut does not harbour any nasty bacteria, parasites or yeast. They also show that I have very minimal levels of certain beneficial bacteria and no secretory IGA (another odd result relating to my immune response, but which should not cause me any issues…atlhough I wonder if this contributed to my negative result when tested for coeliac disease).
So where do I go now in my search for a happy tummy since it is still reacting to all kinds of foods?
Well, my first step to help identify what foods could be triggering a response is the IBS diet programme test by YorkTest. I have always avoided such tests thinking them to be inaccurate and unhelpful, but desperate times call for desperate measures! It might just give me a clue on what things I need to be avoiding! I will let you know what the results are but the process of taking the test was very easy! The kit contains everything you need and is painless and quick. A small prick on your finger releases enough blood to fill the test vial and a pre-paid envelope is provided to return the test in. Within 10 working days I will expect the results along with a personalised diet plan, a 12 week food and drink diary and a 30 minute consultation with a BANT-registered nutritional therapist.
Secondly I will continue in earnest with my trial of Symprove, the only water-based probiotic that has scientific evidence to back its effectiveness up. I have been on a full dose for nearly 4 weeks now (having had to slowly increase the dose due to bloating) and am keeping my fingers firmly crossed that it will help me. I am also adding in a single strain lactobacillus acidophilus capsule because I know I am particularly deficient in that beneficial bacteria.
Thirdly I will keep up with certain elements of the SCD/GAPS diets…avoiding most grains, starches and processed sugar since I have read that they can destroy good bacteria in the gut. In addition I will be eating lots of fermented vegetables (to aid digestion and increase beneficial bacteria in the gut) such as sauerkraut. When I do eat grains I will be soaking them to remove the phytates which make digestion difficult.
Basically I am going to do everything I can to assist my gut in digesting food along with building up my good bacteria, but I am not going to be following a rigid regime like the SCD/GAPS diet because I haven’t seen enough benefits to continue with the strictness.
At the beginning of the diet I saw some great results…my hair thickened and stopped falling out all together, my skin cleared up and my PMS symptoms went. However, in the last couple of months my hair has started falling out dramatically and I am sick of always having to consider whether I can eat something…whether it is ‘allowed’ or not.
I have never been on a diet in my life and I find the constant questioning as to whether I can eat something or not very tiring and stressful…which probably doesn’t help my tummy! I was willing to give a very strict diet a chance if there was a possibility of my symptoms reducing or diminishing completely. Since my tummy is still unhappy I don’t feel it is the right diet for me.
I have given it four months but instinctively feel that I should have seen more benefits by now. I am considering trying the low FODMAP diet but for the time being I am going to enjoy just eating healthy, non-processed, home cooked food with lots of probiotics and will see what happens! Wish me luck!
I received a free YorkTest IBS diet programme test & a 12 week trial of Symprove. I am always honest with my opinions and this has not affected my post in any way.