Candida, SIBO, FODMAPS – Oh, My!

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sibo bunnyAs Chris Kresser says, the Paleo diet is really just a template for using food as medicine, and as we all know eating within the Paleo philosophy lends to any number of things. I’m usually very surprised when I hear people poo-poo the Paleo approach to eating because they think it’s too hard to adhere to. Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t had any trouble even when eating out, traveling, at family events where my food intolerances and preferences may or may not be known or catered to.

Anyhow, if you’re like me, the Paleo approach to eating (I hate the word “diet”) isn’t something that falls under the category of “fad diet,” it’s not a temporary approach to eating; it’s proven to be a legitimate therapy in healing skin and digestive disorders. Having said all that, sometimes an initial commitment to Paleo eating will get you 80% of the way to feeling great, but there’s still that 20% that needs some deeper understanding and more focused nutrition to allow your body to completely heal.

My problem right now is that I’m not exactly sure what the underlying cause of my issues have been. I frequently get bloated, including a lovely distended stomach that’s moderately uncomfortable. I suffer frequent boughts of constipation (don’t be shy, this is health and food blog – we LOVE to talk poop!), though sometimes I have loose stools (much less frequently though). Occasionally I’ll get an errant hive on my abdomen, and sometimes I’ll start to break out, though fortunately going Paleo cured my horrible, cystic acne. Normally I don’t drink coffee (I gave this up awhile back), but when I start to feel off I get a caffeine jones, no, a coffee jones, like no one’s business. I become completely obsessed with it, plotting out my daily coffee rendezvous, and then when I realize I need to stop, I experience a tearful mourning. My most annoying and disconcerting symptoms are more neurological in nature. I frequently feel like I have the type of aura people describe as preluding to a migraine, but I rarely get a resulting headache. If I do get a headache I don’t know that I’d describe it as migraine like, mine are more like tension headaches, feeling more like I’m wearing a tight helmet. Oh yeah, and some times I get heart palpitations, occasionally I rock some ringing in my ears.

These symptoms are common between any number of things, and lately I’ve been wondering if I might have a mild case of SIBO, but I’m trying to approach my investigative work more systematically these days and less with wreckless abandon and hands raised in the air. I was seeing a naturopath about a year ago who helped me do a candida cleanse with diet and an oregano oil supplement, and it was this cleanse that finally, completely cleared up my skin for good. I was reflecting on this today, and wondering if I’m just prone to candida overgrowth and need to approach my diet in more of a long term anti-candida kind of a way.

So, the experimentation has begun. I’m reading Chris Kresser like it’s my job, seeing if there are any tools included in his Personal Paleo Code that might help me fix my imbalances. Of course there are any number of other fabulous blogs and writers to utilize as well, so don’t think I’m discounting anyone else. I also found an awesome app to help track foods eaten and symptoms that I’ll be blogging about later this week. It’s so hard to connect all the dots even when you know everything you’ve eaten, so I love that this app is allowing me to organize this data in a way that will help me analyze it thoroughly as I collect more of it. I have a feeling this is going to be a long process, but hopefully I will finally figure out the best culinary therapy for myself.

What about you? Have you used the Paleo template to address any of these conditions? How did you find the right diagnosis/approach?

*Photo credit: Olivier B

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