today i got my results back from my GI test.
as if part one wasn’t long enough, i have even more pieces to the puzzle worth mentioning.

i think my face looks less puffy since i've taken this picture

i think my face looks less puffy since i’ve taken this picture

i owe a super big thanks to chris kresser because of podcasts and articles1,2,&3 that connected enough dots for me to wrap my head around what’s been going on and what to do about it. a second thank you is due to sweet ass bert who reminded me that resolving lifelong issues is a big deal, very encouraging.

so i figured out that FODMAPs and histamine foods are major triggers of my lifelong bloating and my on/off lip inflamation. i whittled my diet to only include these foods: local meat (only fresh or frozen! no smoked, cured, etc), pastured bone broth, carrots, greens (no kale), cucumber. also i’ve been taking clearvite protein powder (as recommend) and pastured gelatin power  added to the clearvite smoothies. i made some awesome lemon/raspberry jello last week. i’m addicted to it but it hasn’t been sitting well so i’m either going to try a lemon juice (histmaine food) free recipe or avoid yummy jello for a while. also only salt & fat (tallow mostly) with my meals. adding powdered thyme to bone broth is the best. so you’re seeing my food journal for the last 2 months. meat, carrots and chard.

though my diet is not well rounded with the full spectrum of nurtients it’s a lame trade off. i can reduce inflamation and even cut down on some of the SIBO but i don’t (can’t) eat all the foods that a healthy person can. healthy foods inflame my gut. yep, probiotics, immune boosting mushrooms, all the things that are gut healthy for a healthy person end up creating gut war for me. my indigenous bacteria are out-numbered so genocide is what has been happening in my gut. so when i add some more of the good guys in where they belong i’m just putting them in the line of fire. they don’t win. so i removed the “healthy” foods and let the war die down, hopefully with less war means less enemy occupation.

while listening to chris kressers talk about FODMAPs and histamine intolerence he mentioned that the ROOT CAUSE is often some sort of parasite or gut infection. he talked about strong herbs vs. antibiotics and why sometimes the latter is more of value. taking strong herbs for a prolonged period of time can wreck a person worse than a quick antibiotic can. it just depends. so he talks about the value of a GAPS type diet and getting your shits DNA tested through metametrix to know what’s really going on.

so i ordered the GAPS diet book (anyone want to borrow it?) and it really hit home. my mom use to take all sorts of meds for stomach problems she’s had most of her life. when she had me she couldn’t breast feed because she was on meds then. i was given soy formula (i have tested super allergic to soy) and grew up with all sorts of digestive issues (diarrhea and killer little kid stomach aches). so my mom coated me in bad bacteria at birth because she didn’t have the goods to share. one of the things the book talks about is often a kid (like me) will have learning disorders (yes) and emotional turmoil (yes again) and a sibling with autism (my older sister bonnie) who has a small list of foods she will eat (digestive issues) and lifelong constipation issues. in short the book says a mothers gut dysbiosis gets passed down which completely reflects my real life family.

*side note: justin brought up a very good point that the author of the GAPS book does make some pretty bold statements about what “cures” gut issues, autism, etc. after reading gary taubes and denise minger i have a better understanding of the no-no’s to confusing correlation with causation.

so i’ve squared away a least-harmful diet for myself but still needed the GI test. i found mary vance (nurtionist) and became her client. she is a former vegetarian, she was an animal rights activist, she totally gets what FODMAPs/histamine foods are, she coaches folks into primal lifestyle and she can order tests. while listening to her podcast, she even mentioned the issue of superfood importation creating a lack of food for tradional people. clearly she’s awesome and looks super healthy too, no elephant in the room.

while filling out my paperwork for her i remembered that there was a time in my life when i lived off mcdonalds. somehow i’ve blocked that out. growing up, my dad was an engineer at IBM and after 15+ years he got laid off. in between fancy jobs he worked at mcdonalds and would bring home bags full of the stuff that would have been trashed. for those handful of months i felt like i was finally getting some calories. he never touched the stuff. soon he got a job at texas instruments and the free for all ended.

“HISTORY-Please describe your eating habits growing up:
Started with soy formula. super underfed, lived on mustard & bread sandwiches til I was 10. then lived on noodles with tomato paste (no fat!) until 11. 6th month period when I lived off of the end-of-the-night leftover mcdonalds food. At 12, ate poor mans food; processed cheese and canned shit. Got a job at 14 and LIVED off fried msg chicken til I went vegan at 17. I did junk food vegan, macrobiotic vegan & raw vegan for a total of 9 years. Come out the other side with weston a price and finally a paleo type thing. Drank soda instead of water. But now we harvest spring water. I weighted 180lbs in 5th grade.”

when i started talking to this awesome lady, mary, i already had a plan. because i didn’t just hand her my problems and say “fix me” we decided that buying her small short term plan for $350 would be a good start. so i bought a chunk of her time then she ordered me the GI test, $250. she strongly suggested i buy clearvite protien powder due to it’s supportive detox herbs. plus the added carbs (not sugar) helps me feel better. $60 for 21 servings.


i opened up the box, filled out all of the stuff, put on gloves, felt a slight panic feeling (“retreat! retreat!” -my brain), shit on a plastic bag, scooped the right amount into each of the 3 vials, shook the formaldehyde solution up with my shit, mailed it to the lab.

3 weeks later while driving through southern california, i recieve an email from the awesome lady saying that my results were in. i tell her that we’re in her hood and can talk about this in person. we drive up to san fran, ran wicked late to our appointment and heard the bad news.

i have a super gnarly strain of bacteria, a parasite and damn-near none of the good bacteria. plus mark needs his shit tested now too. (another $250)

antibiotics (cause it’s that bad), then 6-8weeks of strong herbs (with detox support) then REBUILD.

the antibiotics require a dr to perscribe them to me $$$. the journey doesn’t end. rebuilding looks a lot like what i’m already doing, GAPs kind of thing. after we atomic bomb my gut i will introduce probiotics in VERY SMALL DOSES. none of that “look how much fermented veggies i can add to my entree.” none of that “lets see how much kombucha i can drink in one sitting.” no. another thing the awesome lady said was that wild fermentation can be a no-no for someone in my condition, that i need to use specific strains of bacterica (from body ecology).

many unknown factors seem a wee bit scary:
1. how (bad) will the meds and strong herbs feel?
2. will my gut feel like childhood death?
3. will they cause me to run to the bathroom while in the thick of it at work? (fucking nightmare)
4. could taking the meds & herbs make me feel worse on a daily basis?

number 4 is by far my biggest fear. while mary was talking about how bad i’ve got it she repeated the phrase “you must feel pretty bad”. luckily i don’t feel bad, just bloated, but i’m scared that once i start stirring things up i will feel bad. when i thought of fear number 3 i heard eli in my head giving me a speech about my life coming before my job. thanks eli.

factors to look forward to:
1. no matter how bad i feel at first, i will only get healthier
2. i will be able to reintroduce healthy foods
3. with a clean slate and a vision of health i can build my body right, the way it should have been
4. the deeper insight on digestion really trashes a lot of dogma that i’ve taken on over the years about what builds health

number 4 is by far my biggest wake up call. though junky snacks aren’t healthy i totally think that a healthy person can enjoy them and it just wouldn’t phase them. (everyone has a different threshold for over-indulging though) AND that a sick person can only exacerbate their sickness even with the healthiest foods. i know it firsthand. advice about junk food and health food can’t be so conclusive.

now that i know what’s going on down there i’m super proud that i took the energy to figure this out. i could have put this off for another 10 years, how would i be feeling then? my parents are super health-minded and are talking about getting their shit tested. i hope they do. i can’t really wrap my brain around what it will feel like to be really healthy. i would like to die with good amounts of muscle just to throw that out there.

in 4 months i will be at the beginning of rebuilding. wish me luck. once most of my gut stuff has evened out i will get a monthly hormone panel done. mary suggested that my hormone issues (infertility & random facial man hairs) could be partially due to the stress my body has been through in dealing with a long term gut infection. resolving that and having a hormone panel will paint a better picture of what’s really going on down there-THERE.

i realized that the number one reason why i felt ready to address my health challenges is because we own a tiny house. not having rent over my head somehow created the space to trust that it would be okay to spend the extra money to get all of this done. while living in the city i felt like i needed to have savings, god forbid something happen and we can’t make our rent…etc, etc. rent was never a big deal but in the back of my mind i needed that security. living in the woods i just feel secure so i’m free to pursue my health.