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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please visit my new website to learn more about the Paleo diet with Aglaee, the Paleo RD

Although I will keep updating this blog on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, I will be most active on the website I recently developed: paleo-dietitian.com

Please head over there to learn more about how eating real food and following the Paleo diet can help you manage:

  • GI problems (including IBS, SIBO, fructose malabsorption, celiac disase, gluten intolerance and other food sensitivities);
  • Blood sugar issues (including PCOS, diabetes, prediabetes and hypoglycemia);
  • Weight problems;
  • Autoimmune disorders (including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, rhreumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, lupus, etc)

Please visit me at paleo-dietitian.com. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss any of the free new information presented by Aglaee, the Paleo dietitian.

1 birthday and 2 moves!

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of my blog! Youppi! Thanks to all of you! It really means a lot that someone is actually reading my blog and I always appreciate hearing from you.

I have now moved to München (Munich), Germany with my husband, where I will spend a little less than a year.

I am amazed by the quality of the food in Europe, which I believe  is so much better than in Canada. I am very excited to have the opportunity to live here! If any of you Paleo folks live here, contact me! I need new friends and I definitely need help improving my German. Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, aber noch nicht sehr gut… =)

My 2nd move is a virtual one! I have been working very hard in the last months to develop my own website to offer free information about the Paleo diet and intend to specialize in GI health (IBS, SIBO, fructose malabsorption, gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other food intolerances) as well as blood sugar issues (PCOS, diabetes) and weight loss (for now, but I also want to add sections about autoimmune diseases at some time).

I will also offer ebooks and nutrition counselling services in the very near future, so stay tuned and head over to paleo-dietitian.com.

Please sign up for my newsletter and suscribe to the RSS feed to stay up-to-date! You can also like my new facebook page here and follow me on twitter!

      

I will definitely keep updating this blog once in a while to share my personal experiences with the Paleo diet so come back here too.

Thank you once again for reading my blog!

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:

SIBO – or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

In the last weeks, I have managed to somewhat controlled my symptoms following a very restrictive diet avoiding most FODMAPs and food with high food chemicals (salicylates, amines and glutamates).

I was inspired by a post from Melissa McEwen at Hunt.Gather.Love to try white rice, which is both low in FODMAP and in food chemicals. I did and suffered…! Within an hour or two, I looked pregnant and had abdominal pain… and it lasted for a couple of days. But the good thing about it is that it got me thinking! If white rice, which should be one of the safe food I should be able to eat, causes me problem, it means that maybe I haven’t completely figured out what my problem really is yet.

I had heard of SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, before and started researching it more. Bacteria thrives on carbs and it seems that any types of carbs have triggered my symptoms in the past. One of the best resources on the subject is Dr. Siebecker at siboinfo.com. I then decided to go for a hydrogen/methane breath test and just received my results: I have a SIBO infection.

I am happy to know what is contributing to my post-infectious IBS because knowing what the problem is will help me adapt my diet accordingly. Antibiotics and elemental diet formulas can be used to kill the excess of bacteria that should not be in my small intestines, although it seems that recurrence rates can be relatively high.

Another treatment option for SIBO is following either the SCD diet (specific carbohydrate diet) or GAPS diet. Both of these diets are grain-free, sugar-free and very low-carb diets that can easily be made paleo. Following one of these diets for one to two year can work at eliminating my SIBO and allow me to heal and seal my gut (SIBO causes leaky gut), diversify my diet, get rid of my newly developed food intolerances and hopefully, some day, tolerate small amounts of carbs from fruits or tubers.

I have ordered Dr. Mark Pimentel‘s book “The New IBS Solution” which discuss the role of SIBO in IBS as well as the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” from Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride.

More info on my new dietary approach to come soon… 🙂



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finally piecing it together…

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post! I have been keeping myself busy and my partner and I took a couple of weeks to explore this beautiful country we have the opportunity to live in this year. We visited Tasmania, the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians National Park and went to the penguin parade on Phillip Island.

I was a bit scared of leaving home, but we always had access to a kitchen and was able to cook my own meals following my very limited and restrictive diet.

Although I had a great time and saw wonderful things, I was not improving. I had a couple of good days when I wrote my last post, but soon after the bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and other symptoms reappeared. It is only when we got home, after a 24 hr-fast, that I finally started getting better.

This got me believe that there must be something that I was eating that was contributing to my symptoms… between chicken, beef, light olive oil and eggs, I decided eggs were most likely to be the culprit, so I eliminated them at the beginning of July.

breakfast [hard-boiled eggs] at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania [I probably had about 6 eggs a day at that time and I feel so much better now without them]

Then I started feeling so good that I thought I had become invisible and cured(or part of me was wondering if my symptoms were all my head and I wanted to more proofs) and started eating a bit of chocolate, some vegetables, butternut squash, butter, creme fraiche and even a bit of cheese.  It didn’t take long before I became really sick again… bloating, cramps, migraines, lethargy, depression, brain fog and other GI issues… I spent a few days lying in bed or on the couch thinking that life was so worthless and feeling very miserable… 😦 I also ended up gaining 8-10 lbs. in 2 weeks… yeah! 😦

I didn’t want to go back to my rigid way of eating, but wanted to feel good again. I started re-reading all the resources I had accumulated to try to come up with a slightly broader list of very safe foods. I chose foods that were low in natural food chemicals (salicylates, amines, glutamates) and FODMAP (fructose, fructans, polyols, lactose, galactans). Because I couldn’t imagine life without butter, I decided to keep it in my diet, but to cut my intake in 1/2 by making my own ghee to reduce my exposure to the potentially problematic casein.

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Here’s the list I came up with:

Vegetables:

  • bean sprouts (up to 2 cups a day)
  • green beans (up to 1 cup a day)
  • peeled carrot, zucchini and cucumber (no more than 1 serve a day of either one of these)
Fats:
  • Ghee
  • Butter
Light olive oil is ok with regards to food chemicals (it is low in salicylate, but still slightly higher compared to butter and ghee) but it doesn’t taste anything… so I’d rather have ghee and butter!
Protein:
  • free-range chicken, grass-fed beef or lamb
  • NO EGGS
Seasonings:
  • salt
  • chives
Treat:
  • maple syrup
not that I have sugar every day, but since my carb intake was very low, I sometimes had a tiny teaspoon of the delicious can of maple syrup we brought directly from Canada here down under. Maple syrup does not contain food chemicals and is low in fructose. Honey, raw sugar and other sweeteners would NOT be good alternative because they contain salicylate and/or a high fructose to glucose ratio.
Beverages:
  • water
  • decaf coffee (coffee and tea are high in salicylate but the decaffeination process remove them from the coffee, but not from tea)
what I eat now

yeah! something else than water to drink!

I also attended a one-day conference given by the Dietitians Associations of Australia on the topic of food intolerances, which is an area that Australians seem to understand a lot better compared to North Americans (Canada & US). It was great and it gave me a lot of insight and ideas on how to do my elimination diet without being paranoid (for example, because symptoms do not necessarily appear right after eating, it is important to know that it could be due to something you ate 3 days before). Although all dietitians were fueling on cakes, sugary muffins and sandwiches, I fasted that day and my head was clear as I saw other RDs have blood sugar crash in the pm…!
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I understood that my problem was most likely post-infectious IBS associated with multiple food intolerances. Post-infectious IBS is a new topic du jour in gastroenterology and studies show that it is associated with low-grade inflammation and intestinal permeability, which confirmed that I should stay away from casein (although I still have a bit of butter on most days), eggs, and nightshades (in addition to soy, legumes and grains of course).
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I also decided that after removing all supplements (because I wanted to take as little as possible to establish what caused problems), it was time to add omega-3 supplements back as well as L-glutamine to heal the inflammation in my intestines. I also try to eat only once or twice a day (doing a 21 to 24-hr fast a few times a week) to minimize inflammation and promote gut healing. Of course, I couldn’t find any literature supporting what I am doing, but I feel like it makes sense to me.
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I also understand better how this nasty low-grade inflammation was probably contributing not only to my many unpleasant symptoms, but also to my weight issues.
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The goal is to follow my newly improved diet (which feel so varied to me now!!!) for at least 2 weeks until I am symptom-free for at least 5 days before making any challenges. Before, I tried to re-introduce foods to soon, with bad results probably because of delayed reactions or buildup of these substances in my system, which lead me to false results and a fear of eating… especially that it takes at least 4-5 days of strict eating to eliminate my symptoms and go back to my normal baseline level.
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This time, I want to do it right.
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For the first time since March, I am at my 6th day in a row symptom-free. I have never felt so good. I have also lost 3 lbs. already! Not only is my body feeling normal like it used, but my head is clear and my mood is great! My partner is also thrilled to see my so alive again. 🙂 I still have to wait until this Thursday, so it makes a total of 2 weeks of following my elimination diet before doing any trial/challenge. Hopefully I remain symptom-free until then.
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I still can’t decide what I want to challenge first, but I am thinking a small amount of dark chocolate would be great!…  I know it caused me to be very sick last time I ate it, but I clearly went overboard and probably had a buildup of many things in my system, so I want to see if I could include a few squares once in a while now that my system is clearing these irritants out of my body… I am so excited and I’ll keep you posted!


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