SIBO Battle - Elemental Diet Day-by-Day Recap

Update: This was 100% worth it. Two months later, I am still symptom-free and FINALLY healing my leaky gut!

Day 1.

I started the elemental diet for SIBO this morning in an effort to clear out the suspected SIBO I acquired from food poisoning in the Philippines over a year ago. I have been ridiculously excited for this for a few reasons:

1. No liver breakfasts for two weeks
2. No food prep or cooking or grocery shopping for two weeks
3. Hardly any dishes to do for two weeks
4. The chance that maybe this could get me into a place where the AIP can actually start healing my gut. Dear God I cannot lose any more foods.

I heard it would be bad...but I just shrugged it off, like whatever man I eat freaking BEEF LIVER for breakfast. But I didn't imagine it would be THIS bad. I gagged on the smoothie at lunch and by dinner I was throwing up the multivitamin I had isolated in a glass of water. Lovely. I am overnighting some gelatin capsules and plan to stuff as much vitamin and amino acid powder in them as I can. I don't know if this is technically okay on the protocol, but I suspect it's far better than the cellulose capsules the vitamins came in and a million times better than throwing everything up or quitting.

On the bright side, my energy is great today and the brain fog is no worse than usual :)

Day 2.

Day two was better because I wasn't trying to do the smoothie. I divided up the ingredients - sipped on olive oil and salt, put half the honey in a cup of ginger tea and licked the other half off the measuring spoon, and chugged the amino acids + vitamins AFTER the oils to avoid throwing up again.

I had great energy, IMPROVED mental clarity and the past two nights I've actually been feeling EXHAUSTED around 8pm and had no trouble at all falling asleep and waking up early with lots of energy. I'm also doing neurofeedback therapy, so I'm not sure if that's a contributing factor to the mental clarity (better be for $200/session!)

Yesterday I also got that "teeth headache" everyone talks about, but just for about an hour. I went to the park and worked on balancing my energy and it went away. The toughest part has been the nausea at bedtime.

Day 3.

Still fairly unremarkable - I still had normal energy throughout the day, but crashed early - felt exhausted by 7pm and was asleep by 9pm.

Day 4.

Started feeling a little bit nauseous before the dinner time meal this day - really struggle bused to get it down.

Day 5.

Mornings are so much easier! I get out of bed feeling all optimistic and don't think too much about getting the drink down. Lunch is a bit tougher. I walked to a festival in my neighborhood to be social, but after a couple hours the first round of more intense nausea and fatigue began. I posted up on the couch and my boyfriend nursed me with peppermint tea and movies. The nausea passed within a couple hours and I took a baking soda detox bath while reading my Fast Tract diet book in preparation for the much anticipated post-elemental days.

Day 6.

The same pattern - felt great this morning, went shopping with a friend, came home and around 4pm the nausea and fatigue hit HARD. Much harder than yesterday. I hadn't felt that bad since the food poisoning that started all this shit a year ago. And the burping, ughhhhhhh. Burping is not one of my typical SIBO symptoms, but I've been burping like crazy on this diet. Luckily, the nausea only lasted until it all came out in a unique fashion in the bathroom about an hour later.

I'm actually perusing paleo recipe blogs to keep motivated, as contradictory as that sounds. At this point, I can't eat the majority of the foods I'm craving on this diet even when I'm NOT on elemental because my body reacts to them, and I'm hoping clearing the SIBO will help move me back toward my beloved eggs and countless other delicious paleo foods.


Okay, I never finished this...but here's basically what happened:
I experienced two die-offs - one at the end of the first week and during the second week. I lasted 13 days and quit because I was developing candida overgrowth and figured that two die-offs was probably sufficient (fortunately, I was correct!)

After I finished the elemental diet, I made a big batch of chicken soup and ground beef and tried to take it slow...but it was so hard not to just eat and eat and eat. It took me about two weeks to feel normal again - I had weird burning in my upper abdomen as my digestion cranked back on.

I stayed on the Fast Tract diet combined with AIP for several weeks, but it was really difficult. The Fast Tract diet is a system for tracking your daily fermentation potential to try and keep it below certain thresholds, but unfortunately almost all sources of AIP carbohydrates are too high. I was left with turnips, spaghetti squash, and half a sweet potato at a time. I have also been taking Siebecker's recommended 20 drops of Iberogast, an adaptogenic herb formula for the migrating motor complex, every night since getting off the Elemental.

A few weeks after the Elemental, I had an appointment with the famous Dr. Rudert. She is a celiac specialist who also happens to know more about pancreatic insufficiency than most doctors in the world, and she suspected that was my issue. Pancreatic insufficiency is extremely difficult to diagnose without very invasive testing. The best way to diagnose is to see an expert who will listen to your symptoms and play detective. She put me on Creon, a pancreatic enzyme made of pig pancreas. She also prescribed Enteragam, which is a medical food comprised of bovine immunoglobulins which is supposed to essentially lasso bad bacteria and move it out. She ordered the lactulose breath test for me, which came back NEGATIVE! :)

Here are my results from eliminating SIBO:

- I can now digest cassava without any issue, which used to give me explosive diarrhea.
- I can now digest grains without any issue, though I am trying to avoid them as I am still healing my gut.
- My skin is SO much better. I had started getting painful MASSIVE zits all over my forehead, especially around my period. I had a weird patch of acne near my hairline for a long time that has completely cleared up as well. I am still getting a couple cystic pimples, but much less and in far less conspicuous places.
- My leaky gut is actually HEALING! After four months on AIP with zero gut progress, I can't believe I'm finally seeing results five months in. My food reactions have become noticeably less intense and I've even gotten plantains back completely.

Looking back, I cannot believe that I didn't eat for 13 days. I'm so thrilled with my progress and with finding a doctor who was able to diagnose the root cause so I can prevent recurrence.