Sunday, May 25, 2014

Methane, Hydrogen, My Gut & Yours?

Every once in a while I get on a research thread and just can't stop myself! This affliction was made worse by the fact that I am currently incapacitated by another episode of diverticulitis.

Guess what? Methane production is not just for cattle anymore! It all started with this innocuous Fooducate post on higher levels of methane gas present in obese humans. The post was a little too terse so I started researching. I found a number of studies on a disorder called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Sydrome. (Links to several of these studies appear at the bottom of the post).

Interestingly, several of the causative factors for SIBO-- or at least "appearing alongside" actors -- apply to me. Issues of note were diverticulitis, intestinal adhesions, Fibromyalgia, (three things in my medical portfolio) and several things I don't suffer from like Chrone's Disease, Pancreatitis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Let me state at the get-go that I have not been diagnosed with SIBO nor am I a medical professional of any sort. Nonetheless, I learned some interesting things that may help me in my dual quest to lose weight and reduce the frequency of my diverticulitis attacks.

The treatment for SIBO is two fold: Treat with a particular antibiotic, Rifaxin, and  make dietary changes until the issue is resolved. The next step in treatment is to slowly add back in the foods that had been held off to tolerance. Most of the literature agreed in the temporary restriction of these foods:

Lactose, sugars, and starches, such as:

High-fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, honey, apples, pears (Foods high in Fructose)
Milk and yogurt (hard cheeses will be okay)
Wheat, barley, rye, onions, garlic
Legumes (ironically I've been eating a lot of freeze-dried peas)
Sugar alcohols (common in gum and other "sugar free" foods)
Mushrooms, cauliflower, avocados, and stone fruits

In addition, a couple of studies (including the one sited in Fooducate) saw some correlation between obesity and SIBO. More studies need to be done on this possible link.

Finally, the small intestine has a "cleansing wave" every 90 to 120 minutes. Optimally, one needs to be not digesting food when this wave occurs. Therefore, people suffering from SIBO are instructed to space their meals 3 to 5 hours apart.  I have developed a habit of healthy snacking to prevent eating too much because by the time I eat, I'm starving. So I am going to go for 4 to 5 hours between meals and see if it helps.

Here's my thinking: there is no reason for me not to eliminate or severely restrict these foods right now to see if it helps. I can easily meet all my food needs through other sources and it seems like a good opportunity to get some relief.

Don't worry; I am going to run it all by my internist when I see him or her (I have two!) early in the week. I will ask about the possibility of SIBO and if Rifaxin could be an effective treatment for diverticulitis so we can get two for one!

It's food for thought. I'm putting it out here in case it rings a bell for someone else. Happy Memorial Day.

Links to studies:

Monday, May 19, 2014

At the Intersection of Love, Loss and Weight

Last week a dark cloud slowly pulled over my world. It started subtly, just a bit of gray at the edges, slowly gathering up until, by Friday, a full blown storm blew through with gale force winds, lightening, rain, and booming thunder. There are some years I stand in the storm and dance. This was not that year.

Friday was the 8th anniversary of the fatal heart event that eventually took the life of someone close to me. It snuck up on me this year and it wasn't until I was into my fried chicken (! Yes, I said it!) after a hamburger and ice cream earlier on Saturday that I realized what was up. From a practical point of view it makes no sense to eat for comfort but I am fighting primal, biological urges and when I'm unaware, I lose!

I never forget the loss of one so dear. I have constant mindtalk that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. Instead, I can trust in the fact that earlier that day, I had spoken with her, I had said, "I love you," I had ended the call with goodbye. While neither of us knew it was "that" goodbye or "that I love you," it was there, present, nonetheless.

Here is what I know for sure. That one, that dear one, would never ever want me to give up my principals of healthy eating "in her name." Instead, she would definitely want me to conquer this beast. She is pulling for me from somewhere, I can feel it.

We have had a lot of life-giving events in our family since then, and Saturday, her beautiful daughter graduated from college. My own amazing, lovely daughter graduates from high school on the anniversary of the day that we had to finally let her go. That day was one of the sweetest, saddest and holiest days of my life and though her hearing was long since gone, I did, in fact, get to say goodbye and witness her passage to the world of saints and angels. As a wise one told me back then, she reached the natural end of her life and did it as painlessly, quickly and quietly as one could ever ask.

So much beauty and sweetness and light is in our world and in it all, I sense her presence. So I am here to say to you, dear hearts, that from now on I am honoring that sweet sister's memory by not caving into the storm but instead, dancing in it.  "My head's underwater, but I'm breathing fine." (John Legend)

For the next two weeks, I will cry my tears when they come. It's a "Yes" to the tears. I will also sing my songs and dance my dances and trust myself the height and breadth and depth of my ability to embrace all that is beautiful, holy and wholly right in my world. All is well on God's green earth.

Take heart friends. Whatever your storm this week, say "Yes" to your true emotions, your anger, your joys, your sorrow, your triumphs and defeats. Use it for fuel to meet your goals and trust in all that is beautiful and holy and right in you.  Here's a song to guide you on.