Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Where the Sun Don’t Shine…

Hello again my friends. As promised I said I would come back and share my updated GI health story with you all…

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 1.54.04 PMIf you followed way back, you know for the longest time I had been dealing with GI issues. It wasn’t until a random conversation at the gym, that the idea of a parasite was brought up and I asked to be tested.

I came back positive…very positive

Blasto was his..their..name. And making my tummy miserable was their game.

I was treated. Twice.

Medical interventions for them buggers, well they suck.

As I had told you all afterwards, basically the treatment for parasites is a full on ‘death by meds’ to your gut flora. It doesn’t matter if they are useful or not, they will all be killed off. That was not pleasant, as they are integral for digestion and so I was left being unable to tolerate a lot of foods because I just couldn’t break them down like a normal person.

No veggies. No high fibre foods. No red meat. Careful with too much fat in one sitting…it goes on. And the award for the most “unhealthy” dietitian goes to…

The biggest sadness that came from that was the loss of some of my favourite foods…

My beloved oats were kicked to the curb after my stomach spazzed so hard that I almost passed out.

I still needed carbs. I’m an athlete and I’m also a notorious carb-burner. Everything became rice.

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Cream of rice replaced my precious oats.

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yesss to peanut butter not leaving my life…and yes I save that blob for last. Judge me.

I went through 5-6 bags of Lunderberg brown rice cakes a week because I used them as “easy on the tummy” carbs.

I learned to accept it and was content.

…Minus the lack of being able to go out. But hey, life sucks sometimes so I had to move on. 

I was under the impression that now my gut just had to heal, but I was very wrong.

Fast forward two years, I’m entering my Master’s program and probably the most school pressure and stress I will ever face, and here I was the sickest I have been since my eating disorder.

I knew there was something wrong. I have known the entire time but it was frustrating because the medical system would just yell at me for being underweight and say either…

~”gaining weight is hard, it may be uncomfortable.”

~You know we don’t normally treat parasites…” <- Really something is stealing my nutrients from my body and you don’t think thats an issue?

~”Maybe this is just “Chelsea”..Maybe this is just the way you are”

~Oh and just for shits and giggles…. “you’re so small. You have no blood” <- Bravo GI doc… 

Here I was trying my best to just eat my maintenance and I felt like every medical professional was against me. I told them I was bloated 24/7, felt full randomly all the time and just didn’t feel normal anymore and they didn’t listen.

“It’s just the past ED…”

It wasn’t until a few months ago where things got really bad.

Dumping syndrome (I will spare you the lovely details, go look it up if you would like to know..) began happening multiple times a week..

My iron levels and overall blood levels were falling through the floor

My electrolytes all fell

My last blood pressure check was 90/55 (today)

My kidney and liver function were compromised

And I just looked grey all the time. I still do because it hasn’t stopped yet. 

I had pretty much given up at this point but the doctors finally looked concerned and I began seeing them more than my friends, or it felt like it, but they did nothing except tell me I was a concern. As a last resort I sent out a message to my friend, Andrew, an NP and he ordered me the GI map test (basic sense, its a map of your entire gut biome, good and bad, plus other markers of gut health and stress).

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If you’re interested in the GI map, its $$$ but I wish everyone could get it, heres the link.

On top of some other critters, Blasto made his appearance once again along with a lovely sheet full of red markers stating I had SIBO (bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut (high zonulin levels), parastic pathogens AND the calprotectin signals that I should be checked for Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD) and/or infection.

So I have the problem diagnosed right?!? They will believe me know right?!?

Wrong. Well at least from the MD side. My family doc didn’t even know how to read the fricken report.

fail

ND had a much more active approach. Andrew listened and gave me his parasite purging/ gut healing protocol.

I take a lot of supplements (especially right now, low absorption..) but I have never taken so many pills in my life.

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this x like 5 …

It is a liver support + parasite purge + gut healing protocol and I would be at it for about 6-8 months. So that was where I sat. MD continued to be useless until they scheduled me into a new Gastro doctor in Burlington.

So to a new GI I went, that was this past Saturday. Much nicer doctor and more open. He doesn’t think the parasite is my biggest concern but has put me in for a gastric emptying test and a colonoscopy for two weeks.

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*** Any friends reading this who sees me in two weeks..please do not be alarmed. Colonoscopies make me look like death after… ***

So, after a pretty emotionally draining weekend (thank god for my bf..honestly), I now get to wait. Wait for that horrible test and continue to feel the same way for two weeks.

complainin

I’m frustrated that my emotions have been up and down, so I tell myself this on the daily

I’m not trying to sound whiny and complain but I have to admit that I’m a bit scared to say the least. I know I have to know but the test itself and the results scare me. Most say that they don’t think I have Crohns but the possibility is there.

Pun intended, that scares the shit out of me.

But we wait and until then, I will continue to keep doing me and staying busy because you know what? I need to do what I need to do. It will be good so I need to just move past it.

This is my journey of gut healing and I want to share this not for sympathy..

PLEASE PLEASE don’t think I’m sharing this to get an “I’m sorry you have to go through this.” Other people have things way worse to go through. I’m doing this, being vulnerable, because more people than ever have been having stomach issues and I hope this can reach them and if they have questions they can ask me or it can give them some idea on what things to ask their medical team. 

My goal is always to educate and relate. If I can help one person stand up for themselves and seek help and GET some relief, this post has served its purpose.

I will keep you updated my friends. Thank you for always having my back.

best

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Happy Gut, Happy Training

Happy Fitness Friday Friends!

I thought I would keep trekkin along on the gut topic as more recently gut health has really been getting some hot attention. It would have been nice if the importance of gut health and taking proper care of your flora and and such was noticed earlier but that’s science and they are only really starting to crack the surface on this whole intricate system (which did you know actually has something very similar to an entire CNS for itself??!).

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So why am I talking about this for Fitness Friday you ask?

Well, as you’re probably aware, your gut is important for a number of things. Some of those things are extremely vital to your training…

~Digestion and absorption of the nutrients you get from your food

~Making short chain fatty acids that can also be used as a form of fuel

In taking a deeper look at the first one, obviously an efficient and EFFECTIVE digestion system not only helps you get the nutrients you need but that ultimately affects your mood to train and how intense you think you can go, your energy levels, your strength levels, recovery ability and overall just makes you feel good enough to have a beneficial and enjoyable lift. After all, who enjoys anything when their stomach is is just not right?

So with keeping this post low key and not too wordy, I thought I would share some tips for optimizing your digestive health and also some things that can help when your stomach decides to attack you.

These are going to be coming from my experiences and my coaches suggestions mostly. Some other things I may include are those that I have heard about but may not have much experience with SO they may or may not be effective. I still want to share them, however, because gut health and what makes people feel their best is so variable that some random things may work for some readers.  

So lets start with somethings that help optimize gut health and prevent issues.

Probiotics

Adding healthy, live cultures to your gut is a good thing. Many things inner environment today kill our flora. With less bacteria, you have less lil guys to break down your food and can cause poor digestion. Invite some new people into your lil biome to help yourself out. Ensure they are refrigerated! Ones on the shelf are no good. 

Glutamine.

I talked about this one in a previous post, so check it out here. I also talked about making your own gelatin gummies there too which are loads with glutamine naturally and are very cheap to make.

Bone Broth.

Going along with glutamine and probiotics, making your own broth is great for your gut and very satisfying during the winter months here in the great white north. Ensure to use free range and organic chicken or beef with the bones to get the live bacteria and the most omegas and glutamine.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Another thing I already talked about here, but I will say that this is helpful for adding more acid to the gut to help with breakdown. It is especially helpful for those who have low stomach acid and often complain of indigestion. Lemon juice also has similar effects.

Fermented Food.

Kombucha, Sauerkraut, raw yogurts with the active cultures, etc are all great sources of probiotics and thus have the same benefits as taking a supplement, just in a much smaller amount. Take caution though, these may be a problem for some. For example, I love love love kombucha, but the carbonation that naturally occurs with the fermentation doesn’t go over well with my tummy unfortunately. Trial and error with these guys friends.

Watch your water consumption with meals.

Sounds weird, but makes sense when you put it all together. If you drink water during a meal, the liquid will dilute you enzymes and simply slow digestion. Consider holding off on the drinks until a lil bit after you have digested a bit. Some say 30 minutes, but I always say to go with your gut…I’m so punny…

Avoid gum or things that add excess gas in the stomach.

Gum. Beer. Carbonated drinks. Straws. ETC. All of these are going to put lots of gas and excess air into the gut and if you’re very sensitive, well you’re gunna get an upset tummy plus bloating. Also, chew slowly and don’t gulp in tons of air.

Say no to artificial sweeteners.

These tend to be HUGE gut irritants. Whether they give you diarrhea if consumed in large amounts or just straight up gas and distention, they do not make for a happy gut.

Sleep!

Sleep is super important for many things, but one clear cut trigger for my stomach is go hay-wire is if I don’t sleep enough. Poor sleeping, whether it’s chronic or even just a couple days, can really cause your digestion to slow right down and cause you discomfort so make sure you are getting your beauty rest.

…and a last and seemingly obvious one…

Avoid things that your tummy doesn’t agree with.

As mentioned, this seems obvious. If you get an upset stomach after eating something, don’t eat it. Surprisingly, I have heard of so many cases where people say they choose to suffer the consequences and just eat it. To each their own I guess but if you have a serious sensitivity like celiac, where further consumption continues to damage your intestinal track, you need to give you head a smack and just quit cold turkey.

What about when your tummy gets mad…

Low FODMAPs.

I would have said BRAT diet foods BUT I’m much more confident in this approach for a few reasons. One, apple sauce is out for me because I have experienced issues with apples, which are high FODMAP. Also, the bread is another issue. What if your issue is wheat? Overall, yes the FODMAP diet is more restricted but most often chronic digestive issues are from sensitivities that you are going to have to figure out and those often require elimination and then trial and error. By going full low FODMAP you are giving your system a break from all inflammatory and problematic foods and then can re-try them when it’s a bit happier.

Slippery Elm.

I personally have taken this, but not sure whether it made a difference at the time because I was trying so many things at that point, but I have heard good things from others about this one. You can get it in a supplement form, but they also have it as a tea.

Digestive Enzymes.

If you know you have issues with digestion OR for those who are thinking about starting a bulk, digestive enzymes can help support the breakdown of your food simply by adding more enzymes to the playing field. You can chose ones that contain one or more types of enzymes depending on your needs. Have an issue with dairy? Try lactase. Don’t know what your issue is? Try a multi-enzyme.

Pineapple.

Speaking of enzymes, pineapple actually naturally contains an enzyme of it’s own, Bromelain, which can also help digestion. Plus pineapple is awesome. Just be careful not to over do it or you will find yourself peeling the top layer of your mouth off…

Mint Tea.

I always do well with peppermint. Whether you have nausea or you need something warm and comforting when your stomach is being annoying, mint (specifically peppermint…yes there is a difference!) is always my go-to.

Take it easy on harder to digest foods.

Red meats, fats, raw vegetables, high fiber foods, etc are all much more difficult for your system to take care of. When it’s already upset, go for things that are absorbed more quickly and easily. Think low fiber carbohydrates (cream of rice, oats sit well for some, pumpkin, squash, white rice and potatoes), some fruits like bananas, lean meats and fish and easier digesting fats (but still keep these a bit lower) like coconut oil, which bypasses the liver and goes right into use as energy.

And finally be patient. When your stomach is upset, the best you can do is be nice to it and let it settle. Try not to stress about it and let it run its course. Ensure that if it’s a new problem that you take a look at your recent eats and activities and try to figure out the trigger so you can try to avoid it in the future. If it is due to chronic illness, I can relate and I’m sorry you have to put up with that crap but I can only hope that these can serve as a means of coping with it when it looses its mind.

Hope your tummy’s are happy tonight and enjoy the rest of your Friday friends!

-Chelsea