The Thing I Did to Help My Gut.

As you know, my gut was in bad shape. I think the combination of taking maca powder for too long (you can read about that here) and then the food poisoning that happened a year or two later didn’t help. My eagerness to take antibiotics for every ailment stripped my gut lining and the food poisoning that lasted 7-9 days ravaged it. Through the process of elimination and doctor’s tests, I found out that, since the food poisoning, I had become severely gluten intolerant. With that came lactose intolerance (since the proteins in gluten and lactose are similar) and a sensitivity to a number of foods. I cut out gluten and lactose right away but I was still feeling symptoms. Over time, I also became sensitive to sweet potatoes, bananas, soy, and certain meat. It became a crapshoot over how a meal would make me feel! Would I be bloated, tired and suffer joint pain afterward? Maybe my meal would trigger a migraine. I never knew. Sometimes I had cramps and became severely grumpy as well. Because of my moods and pain, my family was suffering with me or for me after every meal, too.

Beyond the bloating, cramping, and gas were other symptoms. Waking up in the morning was a struggle. I continued to feel sluggish throughout the day. Often I suffered from all day stomach or gut cramps. I began to think I was pre-diabetic and pre-arthritic. My mom is diabetic and my grandmother was severely arthritic which made the possibility more real and kept me up at night. Joint pain was not uncommon after a meal. I was also suffering from more frequent migraines than before my gluten intolerance…and my PMS was becoming more severe with every passing year. If I ate a food my body decided I was now sensitive to, I would get flu-like symptoms after the meal-and there seemed to be more and more of those foods over time. It was awful. Josh was starting to joke I would soon have to live off of water and air.

There were also cosmetic reasons to fix my gut. My acne was worse than when I was a teen with my pizza-face acne (my mom even took teen me to the doctor to see if we could get rid of it!), which made me very self-conscious. I was also working out as hard and as much as I could fit into my schedule; but I was always tired during the workout, exhausted after the workout, felt lightheaded, and couldn’t drop the last ten pounds no matter what I did. I couldn’t seem to break past the wall and see gains or feel energized. I assumed I had hit a plateau, until my gut became slowly worse. At that point, I was thinking, yah, maybe this is more than just the effort I am putting in.

Always being in some sort of discomfort or pain made it hard for me to be there for my kids as a mom- both mentally and physically. I became very snappy and crabby with my family on a daily basis. I asked my doctor what to do and she suggested, for the tenth time I might add (I’m a bad listener), to try an elimination diet while keeping detailed notes and take that back to a nutritionist. She gave me recommends for nutritionists and naturopaths she trusted, which I promptly lost. Then, I decided I would try a book instead and do it on my own- a little prelim research to take to a professional. Through this MindBodyGreen article, I stumbled upon the book The Gut Makeover by Jeanette Hyde. I bought my copy on my Kobo, but I am sure you can find it on Amazon or at your local bookstore. I used this book to make my gut happier because of my severe symptoms, but I think everyone could benefit from it!

 

I am not usually one for self-help books, especially when it comes to nutrition because I would rather see a real person that I can get references for and get a real feel of from their body language and all of that. But, I was desperate and my bank account agreed more with a book than a nutritionist’s bill. (Although now that Josh’s benefits kicked in, I could do that as well). So, I bought the book and read it. By the time I was finished, I was sold on the idea!

The difference in this book is that she makes the diet affordable, easy, and able to fit into an active and social lifestyle. You don’t need to work from home and be a hermit. The author tells you how to plan day to day meals, meals for special outings or occasions, packed lunches and how to eat at parties. She provides recipes that are yummy and have normal ingredients (no suggestions to find a specialized health food store with yak milk or anything crazy). The best part? Jeanette Hyde tells you how to add in foods you love at the end of the Gut Makeover ¬†and effectively gauge your body’s reaction BUT, beyond that, she doesn’t claim to have all the answers and encourages you to get a doctor’s or nutritionist’s help if you are still having gut problems. I loved the fact that she admits a book can only solve so much.

As soon as I started, I felt rapidly better. I had more energy during workouts, my joints stopped aching, and I no longer had all-day cramps. My constant bloating went away and I was in a better mood (for the most part- I’m still human). Most of my acne has cleared and I lost 11 pounds. I became more productive during the day as my “brain fog” went away.

A before and after photo. Four weeks gone and 11 pounds down.

During the makeover, I dreamt about adding coffee, red wine, and dark chocolate back into my diet. I daydreamed about eating desserts and processed food again- especially rice crackers. But, now that I am done the makeover, and I can add those foods back in, I haven’t. I don’t want them most of the time and when I do, I remind myself how crappy I feel after I eat them. I am still eating the same as I did during the Gut Makeover and I feel great. I think I am going to continue eating like this for the foreseeable future- at least a year, anyway- to keep on healing my gut. For me, at least, 4 weeks didn’t seem like long enough. Plus, it’s dead easy. I have gone on day trips, on vacation and to events and it was still easy to follow.

Eleven pounds down and finally okay with a side photo. These photos are exactly four weeks apart. (Excuse the dirty and scratched mirror-haha).

If you are thinking of doing this, I recommend this book. It helped me and it is a good jumping off point to discover what foods your body agrees with or disagrees with. Oh, and I’m not being paid to say this, I’m just really excited that it helped my health improve!

Other Posts You May Like:

Maca Powder Side Effects

A Quick & Super-Yummy Pork Chop Recipe for Busy Days.

The Gut Makeover

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