Well, the title explains it all.
Since July’14 I have been having rice and Kefir. They are not part of SCD. However I can tolerate them now. It has been almost 3 months and I have had no problems so far. I started having rice in small quantities and had it with yogurt first. I have been increasing the quantity ever since and now I have it twice a day.
The story of Kefir is more or less the same. I let it ferment the milk for 36 hours at least. The taste is a little stronger than yogurt’s but its good for gut-microbiome and health in general.
To a normal reader, it may seem like a small step. But to a person on the SCD diet, this is a giant leap.
Following is my diet these days:
- 8am: Chicken/Fish(250gms) with 4 eggs
- 11am: 2 Bananas
- 1pm: Rice with lentils and some yogurt/Kefir(250gms)
- 3pm: More Yogurt(500gms) with 2 Bananas and a fruit(usually Apple or Guava)
- 5pm: 2 Eggs (Hard boiled)
- 7pm: Groudnuts
- 9pm: Fried rice with vegetables
This post is also intended to bring closure to a chapter of recovery in my struggle for better health. I caught SIBO on June 24, 2012, found SCD in April’13 and was able to tolerate something beyond SCD after June’14. It has been a painful ‘prayerful’ learning experience for me. Though I still cannot tolerate a lot of non-SCD foods and I may not be able to tolerate some of them ever, I thank God and everyone who helped me reach so far.
A post has been long due. In the last post I mentioned some trouble with my stomach. Well, it turned out to be just excess yogurt. I have been eating about 3 quarter kilos of yogurt and that is a lot of probiotic. To rectify it, I heat 2 quarters to sterilize it. So things are good now.
In the month of February, I decided to visit a doctor again. It was mainly due to pressure from my family. But the whole diagnosis did cost me half of my month’s salary.
This doctor’s attitude was the same as others. SIBO was just an internet fancy term for her. According to her I was perfectly fine except my weight loss. I could have mentioned that it was due to the change in diet and happened only in the beginning. However I restrained myself as I wanted her to run the tests. It began with several basic tests like CBC, Gluten-sensitivity, LFT(Liver Function Test) etc. A CAT scan was also done.
I was called after 2 weeks. All the results were normal except CAT scan showed mild inflammation and distension in small and large colon. The doctor conveniently ignored it and told me everything was normal. I brought to her attention the inflammation mentioned in the report and then she asked me to get a Colonoscopy and Endoscopy with tissue samples examination done. The results of Colonoscopy and Endoscopy showed chronic inflammation at microscopic level but there was no auto-immune factor involved.
In the end the doctor ruled out my case as “Post-infectious IBS with non-specific inflammation”. I was given Rifaximin for 10 days for the inflammation. So to conclude, nothing new happened. It was the same as previous visits to the doctors. On the brighter side, the doctor told my family that if what I am eating is keeping me away from trouble I should continue my diet. According to her, complex-carbohydrate is my trigger. And with this the case came to an end.
How am I doing after 1 year? I am doing great!
Following is my diet:
– Breakfast: Chicken soup/Fried fish with scrambled eggs, 2 Bananas
– Lunch: Applesauce/Pearsauce with butter,Yogurt
– Snacks: 2 Bananas and a raw apple, roasted salted groundnuts without skin
– Dinner: Pulses, eggs with salad
I can tolerate most advanced-level foods from pecanbread chart. Very mild cheats here and there don’t affect me. I have ordered Kefir and expecting it soon. And I hope in a few days I will be able to tolerate rice. I am going to try it very soon. Praise the Lord.
UPDATE (Feb 10, 2014): I haven’t actually hit the wall. More about it in the coming post.
It seems I have hit the wall. Or may be it is something else. Back in October I was doing good. I had successfully added banana, yogurt, butter, ghee, lentils, peanuts and almonds. Peanuts and almonds were the last to be added. It seemed as if completing one year is just a formality now.
But then my symptoms took a tumble. I started getting more and more gas. Eventually I started feeling the urge to go to the bathroom immediately after breakfast. It was still nothing like what I had before SCD. But it was bad. This was around mid-October. Due to the possibility of Hypervitaminosis-A I had recently removed pumpkin from my diet and had added nuts/seeds and lentils. Once symptoms started surfacing I started the process of elimination. It took about a month and intro diet for the symptoms to go again. Since then I haven’t enjoyed the progress like I used to before.
I have tried adding things back every now and then but it hasn’t worked. At one point I thought this could be due to excess (1/2 Kg) yogurt that I’m taking. I thought its probably due to overgrowth of lacto. bacteria. So I boiled yogurt for a few days and tried peanuts/almonds. I still ended up with excess gas in sigmoid colon. In the end, I had to reintroduce yogurt in its original form.
What bothers me is that the simple things which suited me before like Banana and butter, create problems now. I am still trying to comprehend the reason behind it. There are a few possibilities ranging from best to worst. The best is that the intestinal villi is healing and has reached a temporary state where its absorbing less nutrients. A not so optimistic theory is, the harmful bacteria have grown so strong that the diet isn’t as effective as it was a few months ago. The worst case theory is, my intestine has stopped healing and I have actually hit the wall.
Thinking of all this, I have decided to visit a Gastro again. Though my experience with Gastros haven’t been very good, but it seems its the need of the hour. I need to find out if my small intestine’s villi is actually damaged and if there are any other structural abnormalities.
The problem with finding a new doctor is, you have to start from the beginning. The last Gastro I went to, asked me to stop SCD. Moreover he said – “Leave the diet and let the symptoms go bad..whatever problems you face should be treated with medicines.”.
Leaving the diet is absolutely out of question. I just hope I find an understanding and cooperative Gastro.
Praying constantly for God’s strength and grace.
Being on SCD means being disciplined in many ways. I am a software engineer on a day job. Following is my schedule on a regular day:
Monday to Friday
06.00 am: Wake up and pray
06.10 am: Drink a liter of water
06.20 am: Very important. Shit…and find out if I’m on track.
06.30 am: Take bath and wash some clothes
07.00 am: Go into the kitchen and start preparing stuff. Following is what take:
- 2 Apples
- 2 Pears
- 1 Carrot
- 2 Tomatoes
- 250 gm Bottle-gourd
- Split-red lentils
- Butter, salt, lemon (To be put while puréeing)
I boil and purée all of these things. Cutting them takes about 15 minutes. Boiling takes another 20.
07:40 am: Prepare egg-omelette/scrambled eggs (2 eggs)
07.50 am: Heat-up chicken soup/Fish fry
08.00 am: Have chicken soup/Fish fry. Have 2 bananas
08.15 am: The boiled veggies and fruits are cold enough by now to be puréed. Purée them. Soak Split-red lentils for next day.
08:30 am: Pack half the purée for lunch and keep the other half for dinner. Take out yogurt from the fridge and put some clarified butter on it. I used to have 1/2 Kg of yogurt everyday but since yesterday I have started having a quarter Kg.
08:45 am: Everything is packed and in place. Leave for work.
01:00 pm: Have puréed stuff with quarter kg of yogurt and 2 bananas.
05:00 pm: Have egg omelette/scrambled eggs
06:00 pm: Leave for home. I buy stuff while coming back. I buy vegetables enough for 4 days at least. I buy 1/2 Liter milk and eggs enough for 3 days. Once a week I buy fish.
06:30 pm: I’m back. I put milk to boil while I change and get fresh. This milk will cool down by 9 pm.
07:00 pm: This is the time for myself. You can call it recreational-activities time. If I have bought fish, I fry it.
09:00 pm: It’s time to have dinner. I heat-up the puréed stuff I prepared in the morning. Sometimes I prepare scrambled eggs too. After having dinner I put the prepared yogurt batch from previous day in the fridge and keep today’s milk into yogurt-maker.
09:30 pm: More recreational activities time.
11:00 pm-12.00 pm: Go to bed
Saturday & Sunday
Sunday is a special day. The things I prepare for the week are prepared on this day. Whole Saturday and first half of Sunday is pretty much predictable. Following is my schedule for 2nd half of Sunday:
04:00 pm: Buy a Kg of chicken. I eat a quarter Kg everyday. So I buy for four days. The other days of the week are for Fish fry.
04:30 pm: Start cleaning chicken pieces. Put water, salt, turmeric, coriander leaves, grated ginger-garlic.
04:50 pm: Put it to boil in a pressure-cooker. Prepare scrambled eggs for 5 pm snacks.
05:00 pm: The pressure has built-up now. Lower the flame and let it be for an hour. Have scrambled eggs
05:20 pm: Go out and buy Apples/Pears for the whole week. Also buy any other stuff needed.
06:00 pm: The chicken-soup is ready now. Let it cool.
09:00 pm: Have dinner and process the prepared chicken-soup. To process it, throw away the coriander leaves and take out the fat floating on the top. Separate the bones and throw them away. Put the stock and pieces together and put it in fridge.
So a day on SCD involves lot of kitchen work. But it has made me more organized and disciplined. Surprisingly I have more time for ‘recreational activities’ than I had before I had SIBO. Also since I leave for home at 6 pm every day, I’m more efficient at work. I am not sure how long is it going to take. But having a schedule like this leaves me with very less time to worry about it. All thanks to Jesus.
It has been good 7-8 weeks since I stopped taking excess Vitamin-A. Three weeks ago, I went for Liver Function Test, Kidney Function Test, Complete Blood Count and Vitamin-A test. Other than calcium and hemoglobin, everything else is pretty much normal. The lymphocyte count is 41% (normal is under 40%). Nevertheless, its a relief because I was worried about the repercussions of taking excess Vitamin-A. Either everything came back to normal since I’ve been away from Vitamin-A for quite some time or the problem was/is something else. In either case, I had to rectify my diet. The symptom which prompted me to look into my diet was joint pain. It is still not completely gone. It is much better than it was back then but it is still there. I’m taking calcium supplements. There is one more change I have to make to bring things in proportion. My protein intake is way more than recommended. Excess protein is known to cause calcium depletion. I believe lack of sleep and the hair-loss is due to low-calcium levels.
Also, it is the 6th month on SCD and I’ve been experiencing some symptoms since the last 2-3 weeks. For about a month-and-half I did well with newly introduced foods like split-red lentils, butter, ghee, peanuts-almonds, guava. But some 2-3 weeks ago, I started getting more gas in the sigmoid region. The bowel consistency started getting bad. I’m not sure if it is due to one of the advanced-level foods I was taking or related to excess protein/vitamin-A or if it is the flare mentioned in the book (BTVC). It could also be overgrown lactobacillus-acidophilus bacteria since I’ve been taking 1/2 Kg of yogurt everyday for a long time now. I tried eliminating foods one-by-one. The symptoms got better only I was back to the basics. I have removed butter, ghee, lentil, peanuts-almonds. I’m taking guava in de-seeded, boiled and pureed form. Even now the symptoms haven’t completely vanished.
I’m praying that this phase passes for good.
About 5 weeks ago, my joints started aching. I couldn’t figure out why. I was taking enough calcium through diet. The joints I’d use the most started aching. After a few days my liver started aching as well. I quickly checked my diet and found that I was taking excess Vitamin A. I was taking about a kilogram of pumpkin everyday. The daily upper limit of Vitamin A intake for a male adult is 10,000 IU. This is way above the recommended limit which is 3000 IU. 100g of pumpkin contains about 8000 IU of Vitamin A. I was taking 10x of that.
Thankfully I realized what was the cause. I immediately removed pumpkin from my diet.
I quickly searched about Hypervitaminosis-A. I found that most people fully recover. Complications include kidney and liver failure. Both the organs are stressed since Vitamin A is stored in the liver and it has to detoxify itself. Kidneys are under stress for same reason.
It has been around 4 weeks since I stopped eating pumpkin. The joint pain has drastically reduced. The pain in liver is almost gone. I have developed anemia because eliminating Vit. A has eliminated iron as well. I have started eating spinach from this week onward and the condition is improving. I’m still a little worried about how much damage have I done to my organs. I’ll go for medical tests to find out.
Mentally it has been a period of turmoil. Along with suffering from joint pain I also was mentally stressed after finding out about the mistake and its possible consequences. My symptoms are better and I know I’m recovering. However, I don’t know how much I have damaged my liver and kidneys and I’m still concerned about it.
I hope Jesus spares me.
It has been a long time since I’ve posted something. I’ve been busy lately. Even now I’m in a hurry to finish this post. Yesterday marked the end month 3 on SCD. The last three months have been like a roller-coaster ride. After facing a few glitches in the beginning, I’ve finally started to settle with the diet. Following is what I eat:
- Chicken-soup/Fish-fry (alternate days) with 2 boiled egg-whites
- Pumpkin/Tomato/Carrot/Bottle-gourd boiled and pureed
- 1 Banana
- Pumpkin/Tomato/Carrot/Bottle-gourd boiled and pureed
- 2 boiled eggs (whole)
- 250g whole cow-milk Yogurt
- 1 banana
- Chicken-soup/Fish-fry (alternate days)
- Pumpkin/Tomato/Carrot/Bottle-gourd boiled and pureed
Most of these are still beginner’s level food. Although I’ve tried other things like lentils, raw carrots etc., I plan to stick with beginner’s food as much as I can because they are easy on intestine.
The final diagnosis
I have realized that now I’m less worried about my recovery and less depressed about my condition. It could be because I’ve accepted things. I’ve speculated a lot about why I could have got it. I’m not 100% sure even now. But I can say that I may have been suffering from it subtly since Jan’12. I was given antibiotics for viral-fever. Since then my digestive system wasn’t very good. The symptoms were very trivial and so I kept ignoring. Being on high-carb processed food diet for a month aggravated it.
I’ve also speculated a lot about how I got this problem. I came up with several reasons like low stomach acid, low digestive enzymes etc. I took Betaine-HCL+digestive-enzymes for low stomach acid. My digestion improved but taking any dosage above the minimum gave me heartburn. I concluded that its not my stomach-acid but digestive enzyme that’s low. For a few days I researched on how and why can digestive enzymes be low. I also visited a doctor. In the end, I had to conclude that since there is no problem with my pancreas, the pancreatic digestive enzymes can’t be low. I stopped taking Betaince-HCL+digestive-enzymes because I read at a few places that pancreatin present in it can make one dependent on them forever. One day while reading the book BTVC again, I came across intestinal-villi atrophy. Its the condition of the outer-lining of small intestine getting damaged. This lining secretes digestive enzymes which break-down the food. This lining gets damaged when overgrown bacteria produce toxic substance while breaking-down food.
Finally there was something I was sure about. I had all the symptoms of SIBO. SCD and Rifaximin had worked for me confirming SIBO even further. It is a proven fact that SIBO causes intestinal-villi atrophy which looks similar to the one caused in Coeliac disease.
Is there a cure?
In favourable conditions, the lining heals itself. How long does it take and how much one recovers from it is subjective. I came across a few research papers saying that in some cases complete recovery may happen within 2 years whereas in other cases only partial recovery may happen even after 5 years. In short, it totally depends on Jesus how much will a person heal. I had SIBO for about a year. I know my small-intestine is definitely damaged.
To speed-up the recover process, I tried L-Glutamine. I started with 750 mg dosage per day and quickly increased it 3 grams per day. My body didn’t like it and I got severe constipation. For the time being, I’ve stopped taking L-Glutamine. It has tremendous benefits and I intend to take it in future.
Saving money on SCD
This is a little tricky. SCD is definitely costlier than normal diet. Normal diet consists of rice, wheat, potatoes which are cheap sources of calories. Maintaining the standard 2000 calories-diet is very easy when one can eat these things. On SCD, one has to rely on meat, fruits, vegetables for daily caloric requirements. These are either costly or are low-calorie foods or both. To save money one has to choose the right combination of high-calorie cheap foods and moderate calorie costly foods. The prices may also depend on region. I found that cow-milk, bananas, pumpkin and eggs are comparatively cheaper whereas chicken/fish and other fruits and vegetables are costly. Some examples of low-cost high-calorie foods are banana (90-100 calories) and yogurt(150 calories per 250g). I intend to set a balance between these foods so I can save money while following the diet.
So far so good. But I’ve a long way to go. It has only been 3 months. I still have 9 months to go before I can even think of trying non-SCD food.