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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PCO/PCOS

When I started on the Paleo diet in 2010, I decided to stop taking the birth control pill at the beginning of December 2010. My periods didn’t start for a few cycles, but I didn’t worry as I am aware that post-pill amenorrhea is fairly common…. but after 6 months, I decided to consult. My doctor ran a few blood work to find out that my testosterone levels (total testosterone, DHEA, free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, free androgen index) and other hormones (including LH, FSH and thyroid) were fine. My doctor suggested I wait another 3 months because she considered the stress of moving to another country and my parasite infection possible causes for my amenorrhea… but nothing happened.

My doctor referred me for an ultrasound at the beginning of October after being amenorrhic for 10 months. As the ultrasound was being done, I could see the image on the screen looking like polycystic ovaries… I was told that I had 35 underdeveloped follicules of about 8 mm in length on my left ovary and 25 on my right. The OBGYN doctor told me right away that I had PCOS because of my amenorrhea and polycystic ovaries, even though my androgen hormone levels appear normal and I don’t suffer from hirsutism (abnormal hair growth) or acne.

polycystic ovary

To diagnose PCOS, which stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome, at least 2 of the following criteria need to be met according to the Rotterdam 2003 definition:

  • abnormal or absence of periods
  • polycystic ovaries diagnosed with ultrasound
  • excess androgen levels or clinical signs of excess androgen (hirsutism, male-pattern baldness, acne)
However, I only have PCO (polycystic ovaries) and not PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) according to the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society criteria, which makes it very confusing to understand what is going on. This interesting article discuss the different phenotypes of PCOS created by the Rotterdam definition.
Basically, both PCO and PCOS are the leading cause of infertility and can lead to numerous other health problems. I consider myself very fortunate not having to deal with symptoms of high testosterone levels, but I am quite worried about my ability to conceive, naturally or at all, which is something my partner and I are considering within the next couple of years….
PCOS or PCO are thought to be cause by either high androgens (male hormones), high insulin levels or both (see diagram below). Considering that my androgen levels are normal, I presume that I may be hyperinsulinemic or insulin resistant, although I haven’t been tested for this parameter yet. This would explain why, although I am not terribly overweight, I have always been struggling to stay at my current weight, which is still about 15 to 20 lbs higher than where I would like it to be and where I was before starting on the pill. I was never able to keep my weight stable and at 5’8”, my weight have mostly ranged between 155 and 170 lbs… although I was able to reach my dream weight of 145 lbs on a couple of occasions in the past… but for no more than a week or two though…

Evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndromeEvidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome, The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health on behalf of the PCOS Australian Alliance 2011

I believe that the Paleo diet is best for correcting the hormonal imbalances associated with PCO/PCOS. I know many women who were able to get their health and fertility back decreasing their carb intake and eliminating grains/gluten, such as Danfredo Rivera and The Primal Parent.

However, I am worried that it is not going to be enough for me. I haven been eating Paleo for a year now, strictly eliminating all grains, legumes and sugar. I have had some dairy, but only good quality grass-fed butter and maybe 3-4 serving of cheese in the last year… I have eliminated plastic and BPA from my life (women with PCOS have higher BPA levels in their blood), my diet is low in carbs and is based on high quality, free-range sources of protein, plenty of vegetables and healthy fats… but I still haven’t had a cycle for 12 months now… 😦

2011 was definitely not a good year health-wise for me. Just as I thought I had it figured out with my parasite infection, newly developed food intolerances, post-infectious IBS, SIBO, I got diagnosed with PCOS… 😦

I am not ready to give up yet but I believe I need the help of a healthcare provider as I honestly believe my diet is close to being perfect! I am also walking on a regular basis and was getting an average of 8-9 hours of sleep (before going on vacations last week, but I intend on going back to my good sleeping habits tonight now that I am back home!).

Maybe my liver needs some help? I probably need some more testing to assess my different hormone levels, determine whether I have hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance? Maybe some herbs or natural supplements to promote fertility naturally could help? I will be meeting with a naturopathic doctor mid-December when I am back in Ottawa, Canada for the holidays…

…to be continued…






Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code


day 23

today was Brussels sprouts & bacon day! =)

45 min walk

*** I had my breakfast quite early because I had an f/u appointment with my gastro-enterologist… was prescribed another type of antiobiotics (Flagyl) to take for the next 7 days to try to eradicate this parasite that is still causing symptoms… we’ll see how it goes, I don’t like antibiotics but I don’t have other option at this point. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to eat my daily dose of raw organic sauerkraut & take my yeast probiotics Floractive (known as Florastor in the USA).

:: 8am: sauerkraut + 2 free-range hard-boiled eggs + free-range bacon

:: 12h30pm: grass-fed beef  + onions + Brussels sprouts + turnips

:: 3h30pm: soaked almonds

::5h30pm: free-range chicken + free-range bacon + avocado + Brussels sprouts + leeks

day 5

:: 9am:  1/2 cup homemade sauerkraut

:: 10am: 2 free-range eggs + 1 slice free-range bacon + zucchini with olive oil (I felt like a kid when plating my breakfast!)

:: 1pm: free-range & gluten-free chicken sausages + mesclun + balsamic vinegar + last few drops of my extra-virgin olive oil I brought back directly from Spain… 😦

:: 6h45pm: grass-fed beef + Brussels sprouts + turnip + broccoli + onions in red wine sauce

:: 7pm: 25 g dark chocolate + organic raw cocoa nibs (melted a few secs in the micro-wave!)

*** I am going out of Melbourne CBD (for the 1st time!!) for Easter weekend and will be going to the Yarra Valley (leaving tomorrow Friday). Our weekend include a tour of 4 to 5 wineries = wine and artisanal cheese tasting. I will drink wine, which I really enjoy but drink only occasionally, and I will have cheese in small amounts. However, I will stay gluten-free. Our B&B hosts is happy to prepare gluten-free breakfast for us and we have found restaurants offering gluten-free options in the area. I really don’t care whether it is considered cheating, I just consider it living! I’ll do my best to stay on track but won’t miss any special opportunity! This weekend, my boyfriend and I will actually be celebrating our 11th anniversary (which actually was on March 23rd, but I was sick at that time). My high school sweetheart and I will definitely enjoy our weekend and I’ll keep you posted about my weekend when I come back on Sunday. =) Happy Easter!

day 2

:: 9h30am: silverbeet frittata (or about 2 free-range eggs) + 1/4 avocado + 1/2 cup homemade sauerkraut

:: 1pm: big free-range chicken and avocado salad + organic sun-dried tomatoes + homemade mayo (made with 1/2 macadamia oil + 1/2 avocado oil)

:: 5h15pm: a 2nd serving of sauerkraut cupcake + spaghetti on zucchini pasta! [grass-fed ground beef + mushrooms + tomatoes + onions + zucchini + olive oil + coconut butter + red wine vinegar + oregano + basil + pepper + salt]

:: 5h30pm: 20 g dark chocolate sprinkled with organic raw cocoa nibs

a fresh start

Hey! It’s amazing how things have changed in the last 3 weeks and I am happy I have taken some time to seek medical attention and recover. Since last time, I had:

  • a diagnosis of blastocystis hominis infection
  • 2 courses of anti-parasitic Tinidazole (2 g each time taken a week apart)
  • probiotics
    • yeast: Saccharomyces Boulardii
    • lactic acid bacteria: homemade sauerkraut
  • ADP oil of oregano from Biotics Reserch
  • digestive enzymes with hydrochloride betaine
  • L-glutamine
  • wild fish oil
  • vitamin D
  • magnesium
You can learn more about my symptoms and the doses I am using in my own personally-designed healing protocol: getting rid of blastocystis hominis.
Since I first started my Paleo challenge, I have remained gluten-free, grain-free, legume-free and dairy-free (with the exception of butter and cream), which probably helped. I want to take the next 30 days to continue healing my gut, regain my energy and lose the few pounds I put on + the ones I wanted to get rid in the first place.
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Starting tomorrow and for the next 30 days, I will be posting my daily meals on this blog!