Digestive Health with REAL Food – the book!

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Guess what? My book “Digestive Health with REAL Food: a practical guide to an anti-inflammatory, low-irritant, nutrient-dense diet for IBS & other digestive issues” is about to be released.

With almost 400 pages, dozens of practical charts and tables, chapters about problematic foods, gut-healing foods, practical steps to implement a successful elimination diet, supplements, stress management, troubleshooting and over 40 tasty real food-based recipes, this book is EXACTLY what I wish was available a few years ago when I started experiencing my own digestive issues.

DHWRF-book

I wrote this book to combine all the most relevant and up-to-date information about digestive health and I hope this will help the hundreds of people suffering from IBS and other digestive issues. You can find links to find the book on amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble (USA) and Chapter Indigo (Canada) at this page: http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/digestive-health-with-REAL-food-the-book.html


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eating out and other dietary mistakes setting me back in my gut healing

I have been sticking with my GAPS diet for almost 6 months now, but things seem to have been getting worse in the last couple of months. I have been getting some of my symptoms back, including fatigue, brain fog, lack of concentration, depression, bad mood and lots of bloating, abdominal distension, abdominal discomfort and pain…

…Not as bad as they used to be before starting on the GAPS diet, but definitely annoying and interfering with my quality of life.

Fortunately, I use a detailed food journal where I keep track of everything I eat, my sleep habits, exercise and any symptoms I have. I have records for everyday starting last May! This is SO helpful to do some detective work to find the cause of your food-related symptoms. Here is what (I think) I have learned:

  • During the Holidays, I have had a few coconut flour, nuthoney and fruit-based treats. Although it was not to bad in very small amounts, even what would be considered a moderate serving caused bloating.

I only ate out three times since the Holidays, but each time, I got sick for a couple of days… I always make sure the items I order are gluten-free and free of the most offending ingredients, but it seems like there is either always something hiding in my food or cross-contamination in the kitchen.

  • The first time, we went to a sushi place and I ordered sashimis, specifying that I needed my meal to be gluten-free. They seemed to know what I was talking about… and I had brought my raw coconut aminos (a soy-free, grain-free, wheat-free, gluten-free alternative to soy/tamari sauce). Strangely, the sashimis were served on a bed of rice, but I didn’t eat any of it… that night and for at least 2 days, I experienced bloating, pain, severe fatigue, fuzzy thinking and changes in my bowel movements.
  • The second time, we went to a regular restaurant with not that many gluten-free options, but they at least had a gluten-free menu available. I got the tartare duo (beef & salmon), which was served with French fries and a salad. I asked for the French fries to be replaced by veggies or more salad, and apparently they couldn’t do it…. How can restaurants be so lame at respecting their clients’ requests??? I didn’t eat any of the French fries. Again, I was sick for at least 2 days.
  • The 3rd time, I was meeting with a high-school friend I hadn’t seen in a year and chose a restaurant in my neighborhood featuring a gluten-free menu (which is quite rare in the rural part of Canada I was in!)… well they actually had 3 items: 1) gluten-free spaghetti (out of the question, I don’t eat grains AT ALL!!!); 2) a steak (which was a bit expensive, especially that it was definitely grain-fed); and 3) a chicken salad (very depressing chicken breast served on iceberg lettuce and a couple of spinach leaves). I got option #3. Although I asked for the dressing to be served on the side (a balsamic and maple syrup-based “homemade” vinaigrette, I had a bit of it. That evening, I started to get sick again.
And then, as I was starting to get better, I ate bacon…
  • After not having had bacon for sooo long, my husband found a new product offered here in Canada: “natural” nitrate-free bacon. I knew it contained some sugar and came from non-pastured pigs.. but just wanted to enjoy a few slices. Well, it turns out it was a bad idea… Although that bacon doesn’t contain “artificial” nitrites/nitrates, it contains cultured celery extract, a “natural” source of nitrites/nitrates… (see the CBC Marketplace reports here). Chemically, it is the same stuff! I had a couple of slices here and there and didn’t really notice anything. But then I had a few slices at dinner and a few more at breakfast the following day, which was probably too much within the course of 16 hours. Was it the nitrites/nitrates? Was it the small amount of sugar? Or the high omega-6 fat content of non-pastured pork? I don’t know, but IT WASN”T WORTH IT… No more bacon for me.

Photo credit: the Globe and Mail
Finally, last week I met with my naturopathic doctor again and she recommended I take some liquid vitamin B12. My last vitamin B12 test showed it was adequate but my MCH (the size of my red blood cells) was slightly high, which may indicate a suboptimal B12 level, which is quite common in people with SIBO.  Unfortunately, she was out of her B12 drops, so asked me to buy some at my local health food stores.
  • I had never bought liquid B12 and it turned out to be very difficult to find in my area. The only one I found was not in the form of drops and contained the following ingredients: purified water, vegetable glycerin, citric acid, pomegranate natural flavor, potassium sorbate, ascorbic acid. The label mentioned it was free of dairy, wheat, gluten, yeast and corn. I was a bit skeptical of this strange ingredient list but thought it would do more good than harm… it proved to be the opposite. After a bit of research, I found that vegetable glycerin = glycerol = polyol = FODMAP! Although I managed to wake up with a flat stomach on most days, every afternoon, the bloating and discomfort started, increased in the evening and even caused insomnia  a few nights. After 5 days, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong in my diet and pinpointed it down to my B12 supplement.

I know I probably shouldn’t have had some of these foods, but sometimes, the circumstances are not ideal. You may not feel like making a big fuss at the restaurants, especially if eating with people that are not aware of your condition. You may just feel like a little won’t hurt too much….

Make the best choice of the options offered to you, but don’t take chances.

 

TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.

BE EXTRA CAREFUL

WITH EVERY BITE YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH. 

Stick to your regimen… it can take a lot of time to heal . I probably set myself back in my gut healing….

 

No more eating out for me for at least a few months. No more “natural bacon” either and no more coconut flour, nuts and honey. No more supplements with doubtful ingredients. Back to the GAPS diet I was following before the Holidays that helped me control my symptoms! I want to go back to not having any bloating and pain again! I will also double my dose of homemade bone broth to try to speed the process… I just hope I can go back to having a flat stomach for more than just a few hours in a row again…

 

Have you ever taken a step forward and two steps backwards while following the GAPS diet?

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Learn more about how to get started with the Paleo diet and how to optimize the Paleo diet for your own body with The Personal Paleo Code:

Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code

Learn more about Paleo eating to enhance fertility, have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a super healthy Paleo baby with the Healthy Baby Code:

Paleo + FODMAP + FAILSAFE diet – day 1 without butter

After almost 2 more weeks doing this elimination diet to try to eat safe foods only and get rid of all my symptoms, I still haven’t managed to have more than 1.5 good day in a row…

I have learned a few things though. In addition to foods containing short-chain fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) like fructose, fructans, lactose and polyols, I believe I am also sensitive to some natural food chemicals present in foods (salicylates, amines and glutamates), which is also called FAILSAFE diet.

I don’t tolerate:

  • coconut oil (eliminated a week ago;  rich in salicylates and amines)
  • butter (eliminated yesterday; contains traces of lactose and casein)
  • any nuts (eliminated 1.5 week ago; rich in salicylates and amines)
  • macadamia oil (eliminated a week ago; rich in salicylates and amines)
  • pork (eliminated a week ago; rich in amines)
  • bacon (tried once 1.5 week ago; rich in amines)
  • maple syrup (even 1 tsp. made me feel bad, or maybe it was the butter I had with it? will have to test in the future)
  • fruit tea, green tea (eliminated over a week ago; high in salicylates)
  • balsamic vinegar or any vinegar (eliminated over a week ago; high in salicylates and amines)
The last 7 days I ate only chicken, beef, eggs and butter. But since I eliminated butter yesterday, I am eating 4 foods: chicken, beef, eggs and light (tasteless) olive oil. Up to yesterday, butter was my main fat, but I think it prevented me from getting better… I was so sad and although I suspected butter was causing problems, I still continued eating it for one more week before finally ditching it yesterday… That was part of the grieving process I guess!
Because I cannot only eat protein, I had to find another fat and the best option I found is light olive oil. Extra virgin and regular olive oils are high in salicylates, and light olive oil, additive-free, is lower, so it will be my choice for now. THe other low-chemical oils are canola, sunflower, rice bran oil and soybean oils, which I really DON”T WANT to have in my diet AT ALL because of their high polyunsaturated fat content.
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My only seasoning is salt, because pepper, herbs and spices are high in salicylates, amines and glutamates. With the exception of parsley, which can be used in small amounts. I need to get some.
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My only beverage is water. I used to enjoy green tea, but it is also rich in salicylates.
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Still had some pain today… probably because I just eliminated butter last night… might take a few days to eliminate it completely out of my system.
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Here’s what my food looked today:
 
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My plan is to continue this plan, without the butter, for a week and see if I improve. If I can have 3-5 days in a row without symptoms, I’ll try a low-FODMAP, low-chemical vegetable… If things doesn’t improve before the end of June, I’ll make another appointment with my gastroenterologist… 😦




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elimination diet – day 6

symptoms: great start of the day, but I think that the turnip didn’t agree with me… I kept the amount very small, at 1/4 cup , but according to the data, they do contain small amounts of sorbitol and I guess my GI tract doesn’t like polyols at all… unless it is my little bit of lettuce from yesterday?

Well, I think I’ll keep the veggies out for now… It is hard and I feel so limited in my food choices and am cravings veggies so bad! lol

No dinner tonight, not hungry, had heartburn, nausea, extreme fatigue, brain fog, abdominal pain and discomfort and bloating…

I may have a spoonful of coconut oil a bit later this evening.

elimination diet – day 4 [update]

 

Just a quick update to yesterday’s post. A bit later in the evening, I was very hungry and decided to try about 10 blanched and soaked almonds. What the heck, it was Friday night after all! lol It was good and calmed my hunger.

However, this morning I woke up bloated (slight to medium) and with abdominal discomfort. Mental clarity still there luckily! 😉 Since I added 3 different foods to my diet yesterday [2 nori sheets, 5 green beans and 10 almonds], it’s hard to know what to blame…

I know, it was a bit stupid of me to add more than one food at once, but we learn.

I want to believe it is the almonds so I won’t try them again anytime soon… Will feed them to my boyfriend! lol