How I’m Healing My Leaky Gut & How To Heal Yourself of Most Anything

How did a primal mama like me get a leaky gut? Well, I haven’t always been primal. The first 30 years of my life, my body saw plenty of processed food, medications, yeast, and inflammation. So even though the last 7 years I have lived quite primally, my body is now telling me that it has some healing to do if I want to stay healthy for years to come.

How I'm Healing My Leaky Gut and How You Can Heal Yourself of Most Anything

My health declined all of a sudden

I have never had very bad symptoms or reactions to foods, or connected my childhood illnesses to overall gut health. I just thought I had poor digestion of certain foods and when under stress. Even since I’ve ‘gone primal’, I’ve usually followed the 80/20 rule, which meant I still consumed some gluten, alcohol, processed dairy and a bit of junk food on the weekends or at parties. For 7 years, my weight never fluctuated and I was in the best health of my life.

Until a year and a half ago, when I got an ugly rosacea rash on my face and started to lose weight inexplicably (7 kgs in a year!). I also had chronic bloating, many new food intolerances, and nutrient deficiencies, despite an organic primal whole foods diet. My blood tested very high for gluten intolerance, and through researching that, I learned about leaky gut.

I explain what leaky gut is, common causes and symptoms, and what to do if you think you have it, in my article, “Do You Have Leaky Gut? “

Which leaky gut protocol or diet is best?

Everything I read about leaky gut made me think that this is what the real underlying problem is, but I kept getting distracted by the gluten/celiac situation (as I never thought that was an issue for me), food intolerance tests, and thoughts that my rash and weight loss must be from fungus or parasites.

I spent a year going to different types of holistic doctors and practitioners and experimenting with my diet and various herbs and supplements.

I read tons of articles about leaky gut and just got more and more confused about the best way to heal it, as there were so many different diets and supplements – which one was right for me?

I didn’t want to spend more than a year on the GAPS diet or SCD diet or Body Ecology Diet and not have results. I didn’t want to spend tons of money on glutamine and vitamins and enzymes and probiotics if they weren’t going to be the right ones to heal my body in particular.

I know that there is no one best way to eat or live. We are all different and even our own bodies are different at various points in our lives. We all exhibit illness and disease differently too, and so there is no one right way to heal.

How I got to the real root of the problem

Finally I decided it was time to find one good functional medicine health practitioner who specialised in functional diagnostics and healing the gut. Because whether I had food intolerance, parasites, gluten intolerance or all of the above, all those things begin in the gut. And the functional diagnostic tests would tell me what’s going on in MY gut.

So I took great care in searching for and choosing the right functional medicine doctor and getting the right functional diagnostic tests needed to get to the root of my problems. I tell all about how to do this in my article Do You Have a Leaky Gut?

First I worked with a functional medicine doctor. I found out I had a parasite called Dientamoeba Fragilis, took medication to eliminate that, tested positive for leaky gut, and negative for yeast overgrowth and thyroid dysfunction. Good, we were now getting really specific details about the causes of my symptoms!

I then sought out a naturopath and holistic nutritionist through the Mindd Foundation, to work exclusively with to heal my leaky gut. I wanted someone to be my guru through the whole journey, however long it took to heal my gut. Someone who would tell me which supplements and diet were best for MY specific situation.

My naturopath had me do a fecal microbial analysis test (poo test), which told us exactly which bacterias were overgrown or undergrown in my gut. I had very low levels of E. Coli bacteria (a type of E. Coli that our bodies need!), which was leaving plenty of room for the Streptococcus and Enterococcus bacterias to flourish wildly. I was also extremely low in Lactobacillus bacteria, despite years of eating yoghurt and taking probiotics! This imbalance of bacteria is called dybiosis, and it allows chaos in the gut to continue.

My personalised gut healing protocol

With all of this valuable information, plus several other tests showing specific vitamin deficiencies and other technical results, I put my trust in my chosen healer and was given a protocol to follow for at least 3 months.

It includes me taking every day: 2 enzyme pills, apple cider vinegar in water, 2 antimicrobial pills, slippery elm powder, 2 alkaline boosting pills, 1 E. Coli probiotic pill, 2 zinc pills, at least 1 cup of fermented veggies, and at least one mug of bone broth or powdered gelatin.

My personalised leaky gut healing protocol
My personalised leaky gut healing protocol

Getting my mindset right so I can stay the course

I put the protocol into this spreadsheet chart to make it easy for me to know what to do every day AND to make it my official healing instructions. The formality and organisation of it really put me in the right mindset to follow the protocol diligently and happily, knowing I am on the path to healing.

I called it My Gut’s Healing Holiday, and wrote the note: “Don’t mistake healing for disease” to remind myself of how wonderful it is that my body can tell me when it needs help and I can listen to it and do the right thing. To be happy that my body is NOT diseased, it is merely healing. To emphasise the care, love and nurturing I am giving to my body, rather than thinking about what’s been taken away.

I don’t have to let my leaky gut get worse until it leads to autoimmune disease. I can do something about it! I can heal my gut, start to better absorb my nutrients and that will slowly get me back to a healthy weight. As I heal, I will gradually have a wider variety of foods to eat that don’t irritate my body. Thanks to progressive medicine and our amazing knowledge of the body, I can heal myself.

To stop me from stressing about every little thing related to my health and healing, I did two main things:

1/I learned a bit about the reasons for each supplement or food inclusion in my protocol, but mainly I didn’t worry too much about the exact science and reasoning behind it. Instead, I trusted my chosen practitioners ability to help many people heal their guts. She is an expert in this field, and and my chosen guru for this healing journey of mine. If questions came up, I simply wrote them down to put out of my mind and ask her at a later time.

2/I finally stopped reading about it all. It’s tempting to read every article online about what you’re going through, what you’ve been diagnosed with, what intolerances you have. I could probably read about gluten and leaky gut every day for months and not run out of books or articles. But every new piece of information just made me doubt what I had already read or what I was doing, and instead of spending all my time focused on my health, I can now get on with my life and read a novel or inspirational book instead!

My leaky gut healing diet

A positive mindset is especially crucial to help me keep to the right diet for healing. Fortunately for me, I already know how to eat like a primal champion, but there are still many adjustments that have been made to my diet which took some time for me to accept happily.

What I’m NOT eating

I used to eat and love moderate amounts of nuts, soaked grains and raw dairy, but those things seem to aggravate my gut now that it’s damaged, so I have taken those things out of my diet for now.

I used to occasionally have dessert foods, an alcoholic drink, or processed snacks on weekends or at parties, but I know that my gut is too delicate to handle those things right now, so I am not eating 80/20 for now.

I am not having my delicious cacao for primal snacks and shakes, as it’s too stimulating for my overworked system, and I am not having any type of sugar, even raw honey, in order to allow my gut bacteria to balance easier.

Even some primal whole foods like certain raw vegetables, starchy vegetables like sweet potato, and raw apples and pears are difficult for me to digest at the moment, so I am avoiding those as much as possible, despite how much I love them.

My antibodies to gluten are so high that there’s no question my body sees gluten as a very foreign invader and any small amounts will continue to inflame my gut and immune system. So I am learning how to be 100% gluten free. The only gluten I thought I was eating before was the occassional beer, indian samosa, or a cracker at a party or something. But I’m now learning that gluten is everywhere and how to avoid it. This is a bit of a challenge when I’m not eating at home, especially because I don’t feel good eating any grains or grain flours (even rice or corn). But I’m learning so much and will share more with you on that soon. Like how to eat 100% gluten-free in restaurants!

I went through periods of anger and frustration of not being able to eat these certain foods and having to be so careful at restaurants and friend’s houses. But now I have got my positive mindset on, and am feeling good about what I’m doing for my body!

What I AM eating

Plus, I have so many delicious meats, fats, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to enjoy! And I am not only eliminating certain things from my diet, but I am also adding a few things in…

I am eating fermented food every day now, which is key to increasing the amount of good bacteria in my gut. I am having so much fun making my own sauerkraut and fermented vegetables and pickles of all kinds. I am also making my own kombucha and kefir fermented drinks in all different home-brew flavours.

I am drinking bone broth daily, which is just like having a cup of tea everyday, but when I drink it, I know it is providing awesome amounts of gelatin and collagen to heal up the lining for my inflamed gut. How cool! I make my own chicken broth, and it’s delicious, warming and healing. On days when I don’t drink broth, I simply put some powdered gelatin into my herbal tea or my shake.

Fermented veggies and bone broth are the cheapest superfoods and gut healing aids you can find. They are superior to any medication, and my naturopath tells me that if I am vigilant about including them in my diet daily, I will save tons of money on supplements in the long run. Nice!

I have also learned from my guru that onions, okra, and marshmallow root tea are beneficial to my gut’s recovery, and that xylitol is anti-strep and helps breaks down biofilm (something in the gut where bad bacteria can hide behind). So xylitol made from birch (not corn) is my new sweetener if I need a teaspoon of something for my shakes or homemade jelly (made with healing gelatin).

I just think of my gut like a delicate little newborn baby that needs me to be extra gentle and careful with it. And I really do want to care for my gut, as it’s the center of my immune system – the very thing that keeps me energetic, happy and healthy and enjoying my life.

Use this formula to heal yourself of most anything

Whatever it is that ails you, know that you can probably take similar steps to heal yourself.

– Write down all your symptoms.

– Pay attention to how you feel after eating different foods.

– Take stock of your Primal 6, and work on getting primal with your food, movement and lifestyle.

– If you are still suffering, enlist a progressive holistic health practitioner who you truly believe has expertise and can help you.

– Find a practitioner who uses thorough diet and lifestyle assessments and/or functional diagnostic testing to get to the cause, rather than just looking to diagnose you with a disease or syndrome based on your symptoms.

– Together with your chosen practitioner (guru), make a plan to heal your body.

– Write down and organise your plan in a way that works for you to remember it, embrace it and feel positive about it.

– Get yourself in the right mindset. Focus NOT on what ails you, but what you are doing to heal yourself. Focus NOT on how your plan may restrict your lifestyle, but how your healing will ensure continued health for a better life, free of those symptoms you first wrote down. Be proud of yourself that you are wise enough, proactive enough and patient enough to heal your own body.

– Stop incessantly gathering new information and get on with enjoying your life, happily following your healing protocol.

 

Are you ready to heal yourself of what ails you? Are you on a healing protocol already? Please share your experiences!

 

 

18 Replies to “How I’m Healing My Leaky Gut & How To Heal Yourself of Most Anything”

  1. Fantastic thank you. My daughter and I also have D.Fragilis…she has lost so much weight. I’m about to start the course of anti bionics…and will definitely follow on from this. Cheers

    1. Pretty good! Especially when I was following a very clean eating protocol with a naturopath and taking enzymes, specific probiotic supplements and some herbs. Since we’ve been traveling this year, I have became more relaxed with my diet and I can feel the effects in my gut! Fortunately for me, my symptoms are very minor, but that also means I have to follow my intuition about how well I am taking care of my body, since it doesn’t always give me immediate feedback. 🙂

      1. Wow Bex,
        Your table reflects what I am doing at the moment, except I take Metagenic Parex Plus / Costat (alternated). I have cheated a couple of times and suffered really badly. However, it has been difficult for me to figure out what I am reacting to. Since taking strong DF medication, I feel just awful and I am so sensitive to starches, sugar, fats from meat. I know what you mean about getting angry that you can’t eat certain foods. I have had a couple of breakdowns (from emotional exhaustion) because I will do really well then I just feel like I can’t go on with my limited diet that can get incovenient if I don’t take food with me when I leave the house, etc. Do you ever get nausea from eating certain problem foods? I also use the same oils as you, except hemp. I do the same as you with the bone broth and powdered gelatin in the herbal tea (great lakes gelatin green can in chamomile tea for me). I totally understand about getting obsessed with reading articles, thinking if I should be taking certain supplements, etc. It can be quite scary to read some of the things other people post online and then you wonder if that is going to happen to you, etc. Yes, it is important to listen to your body and note changes of how it feels after certain foods, etc. Also important to be honest with yourself that those foods aren’t making you feel the best, so you need to give them a rest for awhile. I feel I am pretty intuitive and my body lets me know in two to four hours if something I ate wasn’t good food me. However, I can’t always work out which ingrediet/s specifically. One day I subconsciously quit gluten and most grains, pulses, etc. These weren’t foods I ate much of, and it wasn’t something I planned to do. After a couple of weeks, I felt like I had seen the light as to why so many people stop eating gluten / grains / pulses. I just felt so much better. Continue with the healing. Great blog. Look forward to keeping up with your posts this year. 🙂

        1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback and for sharing your own experiences. We have just returned from traveling overseas for 7 months, and along the way, I well and truly left my leaky gut protocol behind for awhile. 🙁 However, if you have a read of my article on here: ‘Contradictions of the Mediterranean Diet’, you’ll see that my view of how diet and thoughts affect our health are changing a bit, as I see how stressing over food is much worse than eating unhealthy food, and how our lifestyle and daily happiness is just as important. I’m not sure what’s next for me with healing my body (and right now it’s telling me it’s very tired of this haphazard traveling way of eating!), but I’m going with the flow on it this time! Now that we’re back, I will be blogging about it a bit more and will look forward to your comments!

          1. Hi Bex

            Came across your website this evening. I’m in the uk. Been treated by Dr Myhill for nearly 2 years for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Had a CDSA last year and came back with DF parasite. My skin is bad on my back, constant small pimples all over for a long time now.

            I’ve realised tonight that i have to get rid of DF to continue my recovery. i seem to have gone backwards over the last few months.

            I was put on a months course of ciprofloxacin and metronidazole, however i had to stop after 2 weeks or so due to side effects.

            I’m sure i still have DF and it is contributing to my CFS.

            I want to get rid of it and am going to ask myhill if she can prescribe what you took.

            I can relate to so much of what you write.

            Hope you had a great time on your travels

            Best regards

            Frisby

          2. Hi Frisby, Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like you are on a healing path, so congratulations for taking control of your health! I’m discovering that parasites may come and go (and come again!), but our overall health is determined by so many factors, so just remember to give your body all the things it needs – love, good thoughts, deep breaths, water, movement, nutritious delicious food, sleep, rest and joy, and this will help balance your system overall. All the best! xo Bex

  2. Hi Bex,
    I have found your two articles relating to D. Fragilis and leaky gut so informative and helpful. Thank you for putting so much effort into putting this info out there. I am certain it helps so many people. I have just been diagnosed with D. Fragilis. My doctor doesnt seem very concerned at all and prescribed Flagyl. I went back a few days ago to organise testing for my 2 children after lots of reading and told him my concerns about Flagyl so he prescribed doxycycline – I feel a bit better about this but I am still not sure if this will eradicate them. I was wondering if you could please let me know who you went to see as I live in Sydney too and may be able to see the same practitioner. Thank you once again. Kind regards

    1. Hi Suzy, thank you so much for your comment. I am so happy if my experiences can help others! I saw Dr. Mark Richardson in Surry Hills. If you see him, he will also prescribe antibiotics, which I now don’t think was the only or best course of action I could have taken. You may have seen in all these comments that my parasite is likely back and I’m not fighting it with drugs or frantically trying to ‘eradicate’ it anymore. We met with a parasitologist in America recently and have written another article which should be on here this week. Make sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletter if you don’t want to miss it, or just check back here in a few days. All the best!

  3. Thank you so much for your reply Bex. Out of all the information on D.F yours has been the most helpful. I have just found out my children’s results are negative – I am so relieved. Do you think it would still be worth while seeing the same Doctor for myself – from a gut healing perspective? After everything I have read, I have almost decided against the antibiotics. I will be eagerly awaiting the next article. Many many thanks. Suzy

    1. From a gut healing perspective, I feel it would be much better for you to see a very good naturopath. I saw Helen Padarin for my gut healing help. Thanks again for all your comments, Suzy! Xo

  4. Hi, I was reading your other post and I was wondering if you know your parasite is completely gotten rid of? I was found to have Diaentamoeba fragils like six months, but my doctor gave me a small length of flagyl to treat it, my symptoms went away but came back a few weeks later and the same thing happened again with another round of the treatment. I can’t convince my doctors that I have it because the stool tests keep missing it (I’ve researched a lot on this parasite and sometimes it takes like 10 stool samples to catch and even then sometimes you have to wait several months from the antiobiotic treatment to be well. I did a lot of research on badbugs.com and I’m just going to order the antibiotics because I’ve been to different doctors and no ones willing to give me enough antibiotics to take care of it. I have had really bad chronic fatigue for the last couple years and haven’t been able to work. I also have damaged nerves in my gut and can’t eliminate fully so I’m on a drug to take care of it. I was really wanting to know like how healthy are you now? I know this sounds trange but it has such a high rate or reoccurance and I’m afraid of just taking a lot f antibiotics without even getting rid of it. COuld you tell me the mg of antibiotics and duration and what ones you took? Really want to get rid of this. I was following a leaky gut diet for a long time and it was helping a little but I’ve never been able to heal it or get over my chronic fatigue. Thank you so much. Any advice for making sure this is completely gone would be so appreciated.

    1. Hi Tanya, unfortunately I am not a doctor or certified practitioner who can help you get to the nitty gritty of your parasite problem. From my own experience and research, I don’t recommend taking any more antibiotics as they are a huge part of the problem. I do highly recommend you work on your Primal 6 – Thoughts, Air, Water, Food, Movement and Sleep and maybe look for a CHEK Practitioner in your area to help you with this. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of work already in healing yourself, and in addition to a healthy diet, maybe there are some lifestyle/mindset changes/stress management/life choices that could be addressed too. I have found that the stress of ‘battling’ the parasites is worse than the parasites themselves, and positive thinking about your health and your body are crucial.

      For me personally, my rash came back after traveling for many months and eating many foods I know are inflammatory for my gut. I decided to stop stressing so much about food, intolerances and parasites and just take good care of my body and myself and most importantly follow my bliss (meaning always do what makes me happy, have fun, lighten up and be my true self too). I suffer from minor symptoms when I have certain foods (gluten, alcohol, corn…), but am working on having a more positive, relaxed attitude toward food and my body. I have also been taking the PCI formula which I mention in my latest article on here called Parasites 101. My rash is slowly going away and I feel generally good. As I’ve been writing about in my articles like ‘Luxury or Community’ and ‘Contradictions of the Mediterranean Diet’, I am finding that THOUGHTS really are #1 of our Primal 6 (our body’s needs).

      All the best and hope we can support you in your journey to feeling good and reclaiming your energy again!

      1. Would I be able to know what and how much antibiotics you took though? I’ve only been on flagy and not for very long. It has a much lower chance of eliminating the parasite

        1. Hi Tanya, It was called Sendizole or something like that, combined with another one for 10 days. I wouldn’t make that same decision twice though, as in hindsight, my symptoms disappeared from the antibiotics, but only temporarily and just creates further gut damage…for a vicious cycle. Have a look at my latest comment on the end of the comments string on the Dientamoeba Fragilis article to see what I’m doing now.

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