“It's not your fault if your kids mess up, but you are responsible for caring for them. It's not your fault if your marriage didn't work, but it is your responsibility to understand why. It's not your fault that food manufacturers make addictive foods, but ..
it is your responsibility to avoid them
It's not your fault that you've gained weight due to a metabolic issue, but it is your responsibility to heal it. It's not your fault that someone brought cake into the office, but is your responsibility not to eat it, if you're on a detox/special diet
My most successful clients take personal responsibility for their actions. My least successful clients disown their responsibility. Fault induces guilt and shame. Responsibility empowers you. If you conflate the two you'll fall victim to external circumstances and will be stuck in inertia. Responsibility makes you feel in control. Because ..
you are more than you believe” ~ Dana James
Something I've thought a lot about these past few months. We all have (or have had) something health-wise to deal with. With all of the conflicting information out there, it can be hard to figure out what's wrong, and at times a bummer to go through the process of fixing it
But through it all, I'm forever in awe of how beautifully and wonderfully we've been made. How every piece of our body has an important role to play. How it's always working to weeble wobble itself back into balance.
All it needs from us is a helping hand
Today, a continuation of a short series about SIBO
Part I covered what SIBO is and highlighted the amazing set of janitors that work overtime to keep our small intestines neat and tidy. They have a big job!
Part II discussed the primary and secondary symptoms of SIBO, along with its ties to other conditions
Underlying Causes of SIBO
What in the world could be causing SIBO? Turns out, there could be many underlying reasons and these are four of the biggest
Problems with the Ileocecal Valve – Between the colon (large intestine) and the small intestine is a really important valve whose job is to keep the contents of the colon, in the colon. If it's having trouble, then the bacteria we talked about in Part I can easily make their way into the small intestines
But what, you may wonder, causes it to become weak? In most cases .. constipation
An aside about constipation – Our colons were designed to be a transport unit. But when we have one (or fewer) bowel movements a day, it's acting like more of a storage unit instead. In fact, someone who has just one bowel movement a day is storing the residual of six meals in their colon at all times. People with less than one a day? They could be holding 10-12 (or more) meals
This is unfortunate for a whole host of reasons
Toxicity – Our bodies are always clearing toxins. A big part of what ends up in our colon is the toxicity that's been pulled out of the liver, traveled through the small intestines, and is waiting to be released. Because the walls of the colon are permeable, if the waste isn't being cleared, it will be re-absorbed and end up right back in our bloodstream
Pressure on the Ileocecal Valve – When we're using the colon as a storage unit, there's constant pressure on the ileocecal valve. Which can eventually lead to failure. Thus the migration of the bacteria. Thus the SIBO
All SIBO isn't tied to constipation. A couple of other triggers ..
Chronic Inflammation – The result of pathogens, food sensitivities, or diseases such as Celiac or Scleroderma. Because of the inflammation they cause, the Ileocecal Valve can't close properly. It's too swollen
Heavy to moderate alcohol use – As mentioned in Part II, 90% of alcoholics suffer from SIBO
(A quick note: For all of the people in my life who have their glass of wine (or homemade brew) every night, know I love you .. but here goes)
Even if we have just one drink, it takes our body about three days to fully recover and restore balance. Therefore, someone falls into the category of “moderate drinker” if they drink every third day (or more). Certainly, there's the amount to consider, as well as the frequency. There's a big difference between having a glass of wine or a beer every third day .. a six-pack every other day .. or a pint of Jack Daniel's every night
We also know there's a difference between someone having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer because so many people have problems with gluten (and beer typically contains gluten). Not to mention, the combination of gluten and alcohol increases challenges with gluten by ten-fold. This alone can be an issue
One must also consider the amounts. The person who's drinking a glass of wine, compared to someone who's drinking the entire bottle. Or the six-pack every-other-day that turns into a nightly occurrence
From the perspective of SIBO, these are the factors that are considered a significant amount and will put someone in the 90%. The 90% of people, whether they want to consider themselves an alcoholic or just a heavy drinker, that will be challenged with SIBO
Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors – If you're someone who's struggled with symptoms of heartburn (aka acid reflux or GERD), you may also want to be tested for SIBO. Especially if you regularly take antacids or have been prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
One school of thought says “You have heartburn because there's too much stomach acid churning around down there. We're going to give you a PPI to help you feel better”
With every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction, and it's not always what was intended. Certainly, PPIs do minimize stomach acid, but at a significant cost to the small intestines. Stomach acid serves as a preventative for keeping bacteria out of the small intestine. Once it's been reduced, opportunistic bacteria that would typically be eliminated, go on to survive an flourish in their new home
The other school of thought? “The reason you have heartburn isn't that your stomach acid is too high, instead, it's too low”
Huh? Once stomach acid is low, it's almost a perfect storm. Our bodies will have a hard time breaking down proteins specifically, but also minerals and B vitamins. Undigested proteins lead to allergies and inflammation. These, coupled with slower motility of our digestive system – remember the waves of electrical activity that move through our intestines – from Part I?
They all create a very unfortunate environment. One where gas produced by the bacteria in the small intestine will put enough pressure on the small intestine and stomach to push the acid from the stomach and into the esophagus
It's an awfully uncomfortable feeling
What testing options are available and what are they looking for? What wellness protocol should someone consider if their SIBO test was positive?
During this series, I've been featuring recipes that follow the low FODMAP diet, which is often recommended to someone recovering from SIBO
My breakfast arsenal includes the meals we've eaten enough times that they're committed to memory. A few? Bacon (always cooked in the oven), some sort of fruit salad (berries and yogurt, with granola for topping), greek yogurt pancakes, or eggs
In the egg category, they're mostly a simple scramble, or if I'm feeling fancy this spinach and cheese strata is a favorite. Lately, however, if I have an extra fifteen or twenty minutes at my disposal, I've taken a liking to baked eggs. The first time I tried them I was charmed by how wonderful something so simple could taste. These days, I'd add to the list: vegetarian, gluten/grain-free, as good for a weeknight dinner as it is a weekend brunch.
Oh, and did I mention they sure are pretty?
This idea is: make a filling, crack a couple of eggs, beat the whites, and bake. You could do your veggie (or other) filling the night before and have them in the oven the next morning in under five minutes. (Bake while blow drying?)
While I used simple veggies here, might I suggest
A spicy bean base with avocado and salsa on top
A goat cheese and herb base with creme fraiche on top
Any seasonal veggie with spices and cheese
Or even a maple-kissed version with something savory to complement the sweetness?
References used for this series can be found here
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- steamed broccoli (or any veggie blend you'd like - see above for some ideas)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Spread the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they start to wrinkle.
- In the meantime, prep the other veggies
- Separate egg whites from yolks.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt with the egg whites
- Lower the oven temp to 350
- Take a small baking dish and add one tablespoon of butter to it. Place it inside of an oven for a minute, or until the butter has melted
- Pour the egg white mixture, along with the veggies into the dish, before adding the yolks on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 10-15 minutes
- Serve with tomatoes on the side