If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know that 2019 so far has been slow going. At the beginning of January I started treatment for SIBO, which includes tablets and one hell of a sad diet. A lot of you on Instagram Stories wanted to hear updates of how things were going, and I figured a blog post would be easier than rambly stories!
SIBO is a condition affecting the small intestine. It seems that my tumour and countless surgeries caused the good bacteria in my large intestine to go wild, grow into my small intestine where it’s causing damage, preventing mineral and nutrient absorption and presenting with IBS style symptoms. OH THE GLAMOUR. To treat it, you go on a restricted diet, the bacteria feeds on starches and sugars, and then take tablets to kill off the bacteria. Once the bacteria is all dead, you take a small amount of pro-biotics to replenish your good bacteria again. It’s a 12 week process to essentially reset the intestinal tract.
Now, I’m not being dramatic when I say this diet is brutal. Essentially all I can have is meat, eggs, and SOME vegetables. Basically tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumber, kale, carrots, zucchini, broccoli and peas. THRILLING. I can also have homemade bone broths, a little bit of coconut milk, a small selection of nuts, and herbs. That’s it. So yeah, I’m pretty hungry.
The food isn’t bad per se, but it is really repetitive. I’ve eaten chilli with carrots, homemade chicken veg soup and curry with kale more times than I’d care to admit. I’ve eaten over 100 eggs since starting my diet, and I now consider cherry tomatoes a ‘treat’.
If this had been a case of just meat, veg and fruit, it would have been a lot easier, but mostly I’m missing things like avocado, mushrooms, garlic, onion and sweet potatoes. With those inclusions it would have been much easier.
Frustratingly, there’s no ‘quick meals’ on this diet, we’re having to cook everything from scratch. It’s amazing how much food includes gluten, sugar, and even onion and garlic powders. We’re getting fed up with cooking and I think eating out will be a real novelty after this!
The first couple of weeks I had an absolutely banging headache, a sign of caffeine and sugar withdrawal, and I honestly didn’t think it would shift. I’m only drinking water and I’m having to drink so much as the tablets I’m on are dehydrating that I basically need a wee 1948503 times a day. Ish. Other than that it’s not so bad, just boring. And I’m hungry all the time. Vegetables don’t fill you up man.
The tablets are the real devil in this situation. I’ve felt super nauseous since I started taking them, my stomach is sore, and when I move the nausea gets so strong that for the first two weeks I kept being sick. I’m not sick so much anymore but I do feel overwhelmingly queasy whenever I try to do anything.
I’ve only got another week left on the full tablet dose thank god, so I’m hoping the symptoms wear off. The combination of the tablets, my body not absorbing anything and the restricted diet means my brain is really foggy, and essentially useless. Thank god I pre scheduled a load of content because I’ve had to proof read this post 6 times and I’m still finding errors!
The Unexpected Side Effects.
Weight – I guess I should have expected this one but I didn’t! I’ve lost 5kg, and most of that has come off my waist. My cheekbones are a little more defined, and I think I’ve lost a little off my upper arms, but my waist is noticeably narrower. Not an unwelcome side effect.
Money – I’m saving SO much money by not being able to eat or drink out and about. Unfortunately, I’m spending loads of it on ASOS, Cult Beauty and Waterstones because I’m bored and fed up. What’s a gal to do hey.
Boredom – Oh my god I’m so bored. My body isn’t strong enough for much and my brain is about as useful as an overbaked potato. I’m going stir crazy in the flat, I’ve not worked in three weeks, and I just want to DO something other than get confused watching Netflix.
All in, the diet itself hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be, but I wasn’t expecting to feel so ill on the tablets. I’m looking forward to getting through this last week and hopefully starting to reintroduce some more foods. I’d kill for a pizza right now.