When I started on my health journey one of the first things I had done was a blood draw to be able to have a baseline of my overall health. From purely a health stand point I was considered okay but I still had symptoms that bothered me. To read more about my health journey go ahead and read my previous post about it here! From my baseline labs the biggest indicator was that I had inflammation throughout my body, along with increased insulin levels in my blood, high cortisol and SIBO.
Before we could start repairing my body systems and detoxing my liver. I had to get rid of the SIBO. However, I had three options to choose from to make this happen. First, I could drink an elemental drink 8-9 times a day for 2 weeks. Second, I could drink the drink 3-4 times a day and eat low FODMAP foods for a month. Last option was to eat low FODMAP for about 3 months.
Before making a decision I reviewed the food list of low FODMAP foods along with anti-inflammatory protocol of foods (AIP). Quickly I realized that what I used as my staples for making my meals with great flavor where off limits. I couldn’t have garlic or onions, I was also limited on the veggies and fruits I could have. I decided that I just wanted to get through it as fast as I could which was by taking the drink for 2 weeks and then slowly tapering off the drink for about a week, and then back to low FODMAP foods and AIP diet.
EFFECTS OF THE PROTOCOL
The drink was an elemental powder mixed into about 8-10 oz of water. (Really cold icy water is the best) It kind of had a vanilla flavor to it but it really wasn’t a great taste. I had to pace myself while drinking it as well by taking it about every hour to hour and half.
The biggest side effects were that it gave me horrible breath and if you drank the drink too fast it would go right through you and cause all sorts of GI unpleasantness. (Don’t get too far away from a toilet) That was not fun; so drinking it over 10-20 minutes helped lessen this problem. I counted every day as a triumph and was truly counting down the days to be done. Once I got to day 14 Day I added bone broth and started to wean off the elemental drink. Let me tell you, plain bone broth never tasted so good as it did once I could add this back into my diet.
WEANING OFF THE ELEMENTAL DRINK
Weaning off the elemental drink was a process. On Day 15 I could add in 2-3 servings of protein, but had to continue taking half servings of the elemental drink . On Day 16 I was able to add in veggies and continue to taper the elemental drink. Day 17 I added back in fruit; and continued to taper the elemental drink. It’s important to remember to stay within the boundaries of low FODMAP and AIP. On Day 18 I could stop the elemental drink.
The transition back to normal food was rough, rougher than I anticipated. I had a ton of GI unpleasantness symptoms. However, after about a week and a half my symptoms cleared and I was thankful to be feeling better overall. Now the testing to see if the SIBO is gone is super expensive; so my functional medicine team goes off symptoms and how I am feeling versus being tested again (I could have tested it if I wanted, but opted to go with the symptoms approach). I started feeling really well; my brain fog and energy was doing better and my bowels were doing betterish.
REPAIR AND CLEAR
Now that the SIBO was taken care of I was finally able to start the “repair and clear” part of my healing. The basic gist of what we are trying to do next is to remove foods from our diet that are triggering an immune response within or bodies. Our immune system attacks the foods by causing inflammation to try and protect our internal systems. In addition to reducing inflammatory foods that are triggering our immune response we also try to add back in supplements to support and promote healing.
Each week I had certain supplements to take that were geared to help my body heal. I would take these supplements along with not consuming gluten, dairy, soy, or sugar. It is believed that these foods are the largest cause of inflammation in the body. Although each week the supplements would change and the food restrictions would change. For example on week 2-5 (which is the intestinal support phase) I was unable to have nightshade foods. These are like eggplant, paprika, peppers, potatoes, hot sauce, tomatillos, tomatoes.
Once I got through to week 6; I was on to the liver support phase which is weeks 6-8. For me this was one of the hardest parts of the program. The supplements that I started taking were designed to detox the liver and remove any toxins that were in the liver. Toxins are excreted through the urine and also in the stool. It was important to take increased water during this phase to flush my body. Week 7 was probable the hardest week! Snice the dosage of the supplements increased I was unable to eat meat and fish. This was a real struggle.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF PALEO LIFESTYLE
After everything was said and done; I am pleased with the results that my functional medicine team and I have achieved. I have seen over 20 lbs of weight loss and my GI unpleasantness issues have resolved. My energy level throughout the day is steady, my brain fog is considerably less, I sleep better, and I awake more alert. I also feel that I am able to handle my stress considerably better. I’m curious to see what your experiences have been on your health journey. Be sure to leave a comment below!