I Think I Broke My Gut

I get tired of hearing me whine, so I can completely understand if you don’t want to hear it either.  I feel I must write this post though, because I’ve so often sung the praises of raw garlic over the past 2-3 months, and I need to balance it with a big fat dose of truth.  So if you’re tired of hearing me whine, I understand.  Go over to Free The Animal.  He makes me look like Pollyanna.

Anyway….so where was I?

Oh yeah, garlic.

The garlic felt like a godsend at first, and erased all traces of diet-related depression.  Prior to my Great Garlic Experiment I was depressed whenever I ate something containing starch – potatoes, potato starch, rice, even cocoa powder (which contains a gram of starch per tablespoon).  I figured it had to be a gut problem – maybe a gut microbe problem – and was impressed by hearing stories of raw garlic having antibiotic properties.  Maybe it was just what I needed!  I paired it with probiotics and prebiotics in order to replace the bad bugs with good ones.  And indeed the results were great.  Depression gone for 2 months.

So I added starches back into my diet, having become tired of the restrictiveness of getting all carbs from various forms of sugar.  Well the gut bugs (I guess) grew back, and while I didn’t become depressed I wasn’t feeling happy anymore and I was gaining weight.  So I turned back to the garlic to kill them off again.  At first I’d have a clove of garlic a day or every two days.  Didn’t seem to make a difference. Heartburn started creeping in, no matter what I ate. I quit the probiotics and prebiotics – maybe they were causing Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

Then I made things really bad by eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables – I was trying to lose weight and manage my blood sugar in a conventional manner.  Well all intestinal hell broke lose then, probably due to the fiber irritating my digestive tract and causing an increase in endotoxin and serotonin.  I became depressed again for the first time in over 2 months.  I quit eating fibrous foods and cranked up the garlic, you know – to kill the evil bugs and reduce endotoxin.  That’s when hearburn became really bad – like, 12 hours a day or more, and stopped responding to baking soda and antacids.  I guess the garlic was making it worse.  So a few days ago I quit the garlic.

Yesterday I thought, “Ok, so if something about the garlic was causing the heartburn, then the probiotics might be ok to take!”  So I took some probiotics and a half teaspoon of inulin powder (prebiotic).  Gas pains all day.  No heartburn though!  But pain all day and all night. I didn’t used to have problems digesting inulin, but I do now.

So I think I’m done with all of this nonsense.  Garlic was a decent short term fix, but there’s something about it that causes problems (heartburn) with longer-term use.  I’m not sure exactly what causes the heartburn – I’ve heard that it can be related to inflammation of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, so it doesn’t close fully – thus, when stomach acid is secreted in response to food, some can back up into the esophagus causing heartburn.  I do know that it’s gone now without the garlic. I think that garlic does have powerful antibiotic properties though – in fact, I think it killed off the gut bacteria that fed on the gas produced by inulin.

In all I’m back to recovering from this mess, but it appears the only things I digest well anymore are the foods that Ray Peat recommends.  Dairy, juice, meat, fat, eggs, sugar, and maybe some low-fiber fruit like watermelon, and some well-cooked vegetables.  It’s no longer a choice. I have to eat this stuff and nothing else or I’m in emotional and physical pain.

That’s ok, though.  I’m willing to do that.

Upswing

Ok, I’m feeling better again.  No more!  No more crazy anything!  I’m just going to accept that I’m fat and get about the business of feeling better.  Forever.  No more deviations from the plan. I’ve been eating a lot of garlic, trying to make the endotoxin die down.  I think I’ve managed to poke enough holes in my intestine now from various experiments (let alone my unhealthy pre-Peat life), and now I accept that I don’t EVER get to eat starches and I don’t EVER get to eat fibrous fruits and veggies.  For at least…oh, a year or so.  Then MAYBE once a week or once every 2 weeks I can have an apple or a serving of potatoes.  But now, NO.

I recovered my energy and my mood by eating non-fibrous whole fruit, juice, meat, and lots of dairy (all forms).  Not gonna fuck it up again.  NOT GONNA.  YOU HEAR ME ENDOTOXINS?  YOU SUCK.

On another note…

One of my favorite bloggers in the entire world, Ray Medina, has moved his website to here.  I was poking around his site and came across this excellent article called Ulcerative Colitis and Dietary PUFAs.  I don’t have UC so I would normally have skipped right by it, but for some reason I decided to read it.  He discusses a mouse experiment that really makes a great case for avoiding omega 3 fatty acids.  In fact, I’ve never really understand the Peatarian assertion that Omega 3s only APPEAR to be good for you by “suppressing the immune system.”  This article explains it really well.  In essence, if you eat a diet high in PUFA, adding some Omega 3s (or fish oil) will make your labs look better.  BUT YOU’RE ALSO MORE LIKELY TO DIE SOONER.  hahahaha.  Good stuff.

Go read it.  And then stop eating salmon.

The end.

Setback

Things were starting to improve.  For a few days there my mood was back to “fine” – a definite step up from depression but not quite at “happy”.  I have an idea….let’s use pictures to demonstrate.  None of these are me, by the way (thanks, Google images):

Depressed:

depressed

That’s where I was for about a week after eating tons of fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Then, for the last 3 days I was “Fine”, which to me feels like this:

ennui

Fine = Life is manageable…I’m up and out of the house, I’m able to work, but still life feels a little overwhelming and not much fun.

Then, last night I ate some raw carrots – probably 4 ounces of them.  More than usual, but I’m trying to kill this heartburn that has returned again.  And now I’m back to feeling depressed.  Even carrots are making me depressed now.  Too much fiber.  Yes, I know, eat them with fat, blah blah blah.  I’ve always eaten carrots plain and they never had a negative effect on my mood before this.

I hope one day to get back to happy:

serene

Again, this lovely person is not me.

My moods are costing me relationships.  People have lost patience with me.  I feel I must eat only the most easily digestible of the Peat-inspired foods for the rest of my life and maybe…MAYBE…I’ll be able to avoid pissing everyone off.

I wish I could escape me.

Recovery Mode

Yesterday I did the following, trying to recover from my foray into the world of high fiber:

  • Probiotics – If Candida is the problem, better bacteria might help.
  • Raw Garlic – If endotoxin is the problem, garlic will kill the bad bacteria causing it.
  • Peat-tastic diet – juice, cheese, eggs, meat, sugar, greens – pro-metabolic, easily digestible.
  • Red light – 2-3 hours, while working at my desk – To reduce stress
  • Niacinamide and aspirin – to reduce stress and intestinal inflammation
  • Vitamin E – to reduce effects of estrogen
  • Progesterone – to reduce effects of estrogen, decrease inflammation, and promote cellular repair

This morning things don’t seem quite so dark.

And now I’m reviewing this post from July, when things were going swimmingly, to consider things I might be missing.  Looks like it’s time for some pregnenolone, shellfish, and liver.  Other than that it looks like things are back on track.

I guess I’ll just stay here.  On track.

Nutritarian Fail

For 3 days I tried eating a ton of fruits and vegetables.  Some raw, some cooked, some lean meat added when I felt hungry.  No dairy.  No starches, except bananas. No juice. No added fats.

The good news: My heartburn went away and my digestion felt great – no bloating, no gas.  Makes me wonder if it was milk causing the bloating.

The bad news:  I’m back to being depressed, for the first time in about 2 months. Heart racing from lack of sugar, despite eating a quarter of a large watermelon, 6 ripe bananas, and 2 pounds of grapes in the last few days.  My heart rate has been dropping since I ate ice cream tonight.  A reminder that sugar (fruit) with no fat = bad blood sugar control…for me, at least. I feel angry and hate everyone again. High serotonin from all the fiber, I guess.  Also, I noticed my weird neurological tic came back again yesterday, just like it did last time I tried eating a primarily plant-based diet.  Maybe that’s how long it took for some nutrient to run out.  Who knows.

Goddamn it.  Ray Peat…right again.

Edited to add:  More bad stuff – I was hungry for all 3 days despite eating POUNDS of vegetables and fruit every day, and I none of it – except for the watermelon – was palatable for me.  These are not deal breakers.  At this point I’ll be hungry and hate eating if I can be healthy.  But not if I have to feel like this.  I’m really hurting today.