Naturally Gutsy

Surviving SIBO, IBS-C, Celiac Disease, Motility Disorder, & Pelvic Floor Dysfunction …. with a smile.

Low Carb SCD with Fructose Intolerance

Ok, whew!  This month has been a whirlwind and it’s been “long time no write”!  So rather than apologize (I just remembered it’s my blog and I have no reason to apologize), let me catch up in summary.

Low-Carb SCD with Fructose Intolerance

One of my biggest fears since starting SCD was that I’d end up having to cut out honey and fruit and the carbs I so love.  I said so many times in my head, “I’ll lose my sanity if I have to give up _______ (list foods here).”  Well, I felt this way about dairy too and I gave up all dairy less than 1 month into SCD (December 2011).  Do I still miss dairy?  Oh you bet – especially my goat cheese!  But I feel so much better for it, so I’ve been a “good girl” and remain dairy free until my body has healed enough to digest casein.

I also felt this way about giving up tree nuts when I learned that my allergies to tree nuts included much more than just almonds.  No nut flour to bake SCD breads or treats which means, for the most part, no breads or treats.  I actually cried for two days about that…then again, I was also having PMS…………  *Shrug.*

There were several other foods and food categories I had to give up after I started SCD, but the fact is that I DID IT and I’m alive to tell you about it today!  :D  And so it is with fructose which is a sugar found in honey, fruits, some vegetables, and in processed “foods”.

Blessings and Curses of the Food Journal

I had fallen off the food journaling band wagon for a while despite its inclusion in my Healing Plan.  I was just tired of thinking about “food food food” and wanted to get on with “life life life”…but had to find out the hard way (again) that getting on with “life life life,” in my case, typically requires being 100% focused on “food food food” so that I’m healthy enough to then focus on “life life life”.  When I don’t stick to my daily food journaling, I lose track of trends and I’m not able to figure out what food or what food category is hurting my poor gut.  I also tend to eat more carbs (fruit and honey especially) because they tend to be faster to prepare or grab on-the-go than my fats and meats.  This, I’ve since learned, can lead me into a flare-up quickly.

Frustrated at being stuck on this current plateau, I went back to food journaling without excuses and saw that honey and fructose were potentially causing me problems (severe bloating still, pain, less-than-friendly Bristol scores).  I guess I just got frustrated enough that I was willing to do whatever it took to move up to the next level of health, even if it meant waving goodbye to honey and my favorite fruits.

Saccharin (Sweet-N-Low) on SCD

So two plus weeks ago I ditched the honey and decided to try saccharin (which is allowed by Elaine Gottschall on SCD) and to re-write the recipes I use most frequently.  I’m finding that there are a few things Sweet-N-Low is useful for, and many more it’s NOT useful for, as the omission of honey from recipes changes their texture.

Now, before someone spends 10 minutes lecturing me on the cancer and health risks of saccharin, please consider:

*  I have literally little to no appetite most days, so getting calories in is extremely difficult – and if it doesn’t taste at least edible, it’s going to be a fight to get it down the hatch.
*  Without enough calories, I feel awful and I get very weak within 3 days.
*  My diet is cleaner than 99.5% of Americans (REAL, non-processed foods!) and I also take very few medications (Rx or otherwise) and typically use all-natural (i.e. baking soda and vinegar) cleaning products in my home, thus reducing my cancer risks.
*  There is a time when benefits outweigh risks, and I believe that time for me is now.
*  Besides, the Sweet N Low ad above gives me hopes that by using Sweet N Low I will get a hunky husband!  ;D

Was THAT “Low Carb Flu”?

As my gut was starting to thank me for knocking out the honey and drastically lowering my fructose intake, I thought I’d feel better.  But I started feeling worse!  It wasn’t my gut that was killing me, however; it was EVERYTHING ELSE!

Exhaustion made me feel like there were 15 pound weights attached to each appendage, it required effort just to breathe, I couldn’t open my eyes more than half-way even though I was awake, and even speaking became more slurred and difficult.    I began sleeping 15 hours per day out of pure necessity.  Crazy carb cravings and three days of migraines were also par for the course.  On the worst days, I felt absolutely DRUNK even though not a drop of liquor was involved.  I took myself off the road on those days, not that I had any desire to go anywhere given how exhausted I was.  I could barely put a sentence together and I would do stupid stuff like stare at lettuce in my hand for 5 minutes, not sure what I was supposed to do with it!  It would have been funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and scary.

I don’t get scared easily about things going “wrong” in my body.  I mean, after all, I’ve lived with this body all my life and I know its ups and downs.  But I do get scared when feeling THIS EXHAUSTED and “DRUNK” goes on for more than a few days in a row.  It’s scary for two reasons – 1) I don’t think any of my doctors would understand how awful I feel just by looking at me and that they would press further to find answers and 2) I have no control of the situation and no idea of the cause.

So more than a week ago I began asking myself, “Is this perhaps an unbelievable case of die-off/herxheimer reaction?”  I went to my favorite SCD website – SCDLifestyle.com – and searched for “die-off”.  This is what I learned:

*  Die-off usually lasts 3-7 days.  Low Carb Flu (Low Carb Adaptation) can last 2-3 weeks.
*  Die-off-like symptoms that last longer than 7 days are more likely either Low Carb Flu or a reaction to a food/supplement.

The Low Carb Flu is basically your body adjusting to utilizing fat as your primary source of energy rather than glucose/carbohydrates.  The body needs time to build up the enzymes it needs to break down and use fat as energy in your body but this process doesn’t happen over-night; hence the flu-like exhaustion and other symptoms which persist and then wane as the body becomes adjusted.

What’s Next?

Well, I started feeling a *little* better yesterday and significantly better today, so I am hoping that this process is nearly finished and I can go on with my new lower low-carb lifestyle without frequent recurrence of this Flu-like beast.

Before going low-carb (especially on days I wasn’t being careful about my ratios of carbs to fat to protein) I could easily average 175 grams of Carbohydrates, 50 grams of Fat, and 60 grams of Protein each day.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well with a gut that likes to ferment carbs and a gut that needs lots of fats to keep Bristol scores nice and soft!

My new ratio goal per day is: 75 grams Carbs, 100 grams Fats, 75 grams Protein.  So far I’ve been able to keep my carbs down to 75 grams per day (some hard-core low carb folks go even lower!) with the use of Sweet-N-Low and still feel satisfied.  Increasing my fats is helpful for my gut and, as my body will be using fats for energy, it also will hopefully give me a boost of energy in the next few weeks.

I believe I’m doing the right thing for my body.  I’m always striving to improve my health and super-excited to see what kind of progress will come in the next year or two!  There will be bumps in the road, and adapting to a low-carb diet is definitely one of those bumps.  Knowing when to listen to my body and when to ignore its screaming and just keep pushing through is key.

GutsyGirl

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Is Welch’s 100% Grape Juice From Concentrate Still SCD Legal?

Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

Elaine Gottschall, in her book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” (BTVC for short) states that “We have requested and received written assurance that Welch’s 100% grape juice and Dole pineapple and pineapple-orange juices contain no added sugars” on Page 184 in the Appendix of the Thirteenth printing, May 2010.

Any product’s formulary and ingredients my change at any time, unannounced by the company producing the product. So it is wise to check and re-check the foods we eat to make sure they are still SCD legal. After some debate on an SCD website as to the Legal/Illegal status of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice which is from concentrate, I checked in with the company to see for myself. Here is what I found…

 

 

Q. I have diabetes and have noticed that Welch’s 100% Grape Juice contains more than 30 grams of sugar per 8-oz serving. Can I drink it?

A. The sugars in Welch’s 100% Grape Juice are natural fruit sugars, fructose and glucose. Like all 100% juices, Welch’s 100% Grape Juice contains no added sugar or sweeteners. If you have diabetes, always be sure to check with your doctor or dietitian for advice on food choices that are right for you and assistance with your individual meal planning.

Q. Do Welch’s 100% juices have added sugar?

A. No, there’s absolutely no sugar added to our 100% juice products. The grams of sugar you see on our labels actually refer to the naturally occurring fructose and glucose found in the fruit used to make our products. And, according to MyPlate (choosemyplate.gov), 100% fruit juice can help families achieve daily recommendations for fruit servings.

Q. What’s the difference among 100% Juice, Juice Cocktails, and Juice Drinks?

A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines these terms, and the definitions can be lengthy. However, as a general rule: “100% Juice” is either squeezed directly from the fruit or made from concentrated juice that is reconstituted with water. Welch’s 100% Juices never contain any added sweeteners. “Juice Cocktails” and “Juice Drinks” are formulated with less than 100% juice and, in most cases, contain added sweeteners as well. Note: You can find the juice content of all Welch’s Juice Beverages above the Nutrition Facts panel of the product label, shown as a percentage.

 

While this information may not answer all of your questions about Welch’s 100% Juice products, you can read this and much more at Welch’s Nutrition Resources page.

Gutsy Girl

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Three Month Setback

I know that most people who are strict on SCD will often experience a setback or symptom flare right at their third month, but I guess I was naively hoping that I would be the exception to that statistic if only for the fact that I don’t have Crohns or ulcerative colitis but instead an epic combination of celiac disease, IBS, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and a few others to compound my physical misery. I was hoping it was “just” the folks who had UC or Crohns who souls tend to get flares like this.

Evidently my hopes were in vain because my guts are sick and I feel ick. The dreaded three month SCD flare has arrived.

At least I was warned by Elaine’s book, Breaking The Vicious Cycle (BTVC), and I am confident as I can possibly be that I have not cheated by eating any illegals. I decided to prop myself up in bed this evening and revisit BTVC for some encouragement.

“Most cases begin to improve within 3 weeks after the dietary regimen has been started and improvement usually continues. At about the second or third month, there is sometimes a relapse even if the diet has been carefully followed. This can occur if the person develop a respitory infection or for no obvious reason. Do not allow this to discourage you! Once the individual get over this, improvement is usually steady with minor setbacks occurring occasionally during the first year.” BTVC, P.70

about 3 weeks ago, I had a bad cold which nearly became pneumonia. In his kindness, God healed me and the pneumonia was prevented. Being sick sapped away my appetite, and I had difficulty getting enough calories for a few weeks. I had actually just come back around and was getting some nice energy and strength back when my guts decided to become mean again. But, having experienced several days with increased strength and energy, I have more hope that such days will be in my future.

I have absolutely no intentions of giving up on the specific carbohydrate diet. I have worked too hard to get this far, and in the last 3 months I have seen incredible improvement! I realize this is just a bump in the road, and I am hoping that in a few weeks I will feel more like myself again.

I’ve gone back to a slightly modified introductory diet for a few days, including a little bit of avocado and oil for increased calories because I am becoming weak very quickly. Today I was trying to walk across the parking lot in the apartment complex where I live, and it took me 45 minutes to get back home because I had to stop twice along the way. I was rather surprised that I made it home it all. Until I get my strength back, I will have to make sure I don’t try to walk anywhere alone even with my walker or crutches. Thank God I have a wheelchair!

Please pray me through this flare when you think of me. I trust that God will take care of me – I am His daughter, a daughter of the Most High King.

Gutst Girl

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SCD Legal Colonoscopy/Endoscopy Prep, TriLyte without flavor packets

The title sums up this post pretty well, doesn’t it?  I had so many questions about how to get ready for my flexible sigmoidoscopy (like a colonoscopy but ends about where the transverse colon begins) and my upper endoscopy without blowing my Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or starting a flare of GI symptoms and at the same time managing my hypoglycemia.  I didn’t manage all of that perfectly, but I’m hoping others who are on the SCD will be able to glean from my clean out experience and improve upon it in their own experimentation.

First, like the good mid-20-something year old that I am, I googled.  Here’s what I found:

http://www.ihaveuc.com/colonoscopy-prep-while-on-scd/

Second, I picked up my prescription for TriLyte at the pharmacy and double checked to make sure it as well as the “flavor packs” were gluten free.  The TriLyte checked out okay, but nobody would assure me the flavor packs were gluten free so they didn’t give them to me.  I’m okay with that because I simply cannot risk being glutened.

What is TriLyte?

In short, it’s that gallon of powder you mix with water that you have to drink…and it gives you D until you’re bowel movements are clear like water.  I was quite surprised, about 2 liters into the game, to find out that the main active ingredient in TriLyte is the same as Miralax – Polyethylene Glycol or “Peg – 3350″.  TriLyte also has added electrolytes that straight store-bought Miralax does not have.

Here are some other brand names for the same or similar drug prep combination:

Colyte, Colyte with Flavor Packs, GoLYTELY, MoviPrep, NuLYTELY (Cherry, Lemon Lime, Orange, Flavor Packs), PEG-3350 with Electolytes, TriLyte with Flavor Packs

How do you drink TriLyte without flavor packs?

The electrolytes in the TriLyte explains why it tastes like super-strong Pedialyte (I’ve had to drink plenty of that in the last few years – the taste is fairly distinctive!).  Kind of a salty, ickyish flavor.  So, chugging a gallon of this stuff is a combination of mind over matter, determination, and creativity.

The first weapon of choice was a cup with a straw and lid (in my case, a cup with seran wrap over the top and a straw poked through).  This way, you don’t have to sniff the TriLyte and you can aim the straw fairly far back into your mouth so you don’t have to taste it as much.

My second, but equally important weapon, was having clear flavored liquids such as a pure fruit juice (remember – nothing red or purple, and only CLEAR liquids are allowed).  I filled the first cup, as described, with TriLyte, and then filled a second cup with white grape juice (not purple) and after a took a few really good swigs of the TriLyte I gave myself a break by swishing some grape juice, then go back to the TriLyte.

It worked.  I got the full gallon down 8 ounces at a time, and I held it down, and only gagged about 4 times.  :)  Success!  I handled the TriLyte quite well in terms of pain and discomfort as well, which surprised me because I had a lot of trouble with Miralax a few months ago and eventually gave up.  So I might try the Miralax again in a few weeks to see if it will help with my bowel slowness.  And yes, the TriLyte was entirely effective at cleaning me out!

Summarized Prep Procedure provided by UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders

My doctor gave me specific instructions about how to do the colonoscopy/endoscopy prep which were different from the directinos on the TriLyte bottle.  Here’s a summary.

**NOTE:  Never follow any treatment plan without the advice and supervision of your doctor!  I am not responsible for your use or misuse of this information.  Please consult your doctor for any symptoms you may be experiencing.**

5 days before test:
Stop taking all NSAID’s, blood thinners, vitamins and supplements. Continue with medications.

3 days before test:
Begin a low-fiber diet. NO veggies, fruits or grains.
You may eat meat, fish, chicken, eggs, plain yogurt, cottage cheese (DCCC may not actually be allowed), applesauce. (I am only listing the SCD legal foods that may be consumed, in green.)

2 days before test:
If you are prone to constipation or diabetes, drink two 8-ounce glasses of water, each with a caupful (17g) of Miralax powder.

ALL DAY on the day before your test: NO SOLID FOODS
Drink clear liquids such as water, Jello, clear broth, ice posicles, clear juices. Avoid red and purple fluids. Continue drinking to prevent dehydration.
You MAY NOT have any dairy or pudding.
In the morning, mix Nulytely (or TriLyte) and refrigerate.
In the evening, begin taking it at 5pm.
Drink 8 ounces of Nulytely / TriLyte every 15 minutes, until you have finished the solution.
You may take a short break and resume drinking when you feel better.
Drink an additional quart of clear liquids after the prep.

Day of the test: ONLY LIQUIDS
You may continue to drink clear liquids until 2 hours before the procedure.

I perfectly adhered to these restrictions, and the verdict from the doctor who performed the tests was that I had done a great job cleaning out.

Keeping it SCD Legal

Did you notice Day 3′s diet is so close to the SCD Intro Diet (which is meant to mimmic an elemental diet) that its uncanny?
You may eat meat, fish, chicken, eggs, plain yogurt, cottage cheese (DCCC may not actually be allowed), applesauce, water, Jello, clear broth, ice posicles, clear juices.

I was feeling so burned out on chicken broth that I pretty much just ate meat and applesauce for several days.  Be careful with the juices if you have fructose malabsorption!  You should still dilute them by 50% with water.

Hypoglycemia (Reactive)

Unfortunately, I also have reactive hypoglycemia and managing it was very difficult during this prep.  My blood sugars jumped all over the place – from the low 50′s to the 170′s.  Oy!  I think the hardest part of managing the blood sugar issues wasn’t as much trying to get it up (I would just take a few swigs of white grape juice), but dealing with the high blood sugars that resulted from me drinking (don’t fall out of your chair) 1.5 liters of white grape juice while trying to finish the gallon of TriLyte.  Oh buddy was my blood sugar higher than ever!

I actually faired rather well on the day of the test despite not drinking for hours because I pushed my blood sugar really high in the morning with white grape juice and I only became hypoglycemic in the afternoon, so it worked out.  As soon as I came out of anesthesia (which I handled well), I drank more juice and had half a cup of apple sauce which I’d brought.  Normally, eating lots of protein and adding healthy fats to my diet helps to balance the blood sugar roller coaster.

Stay tuned for the results of my testing and my reflection/reaction to the news!…

Gutsy Girl

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