Joe Bernard

IBS, weight trouble, and milk

30 posts in this topic

I was diagnosed with IBS 2.5 months ago but have been suffering for four years. Short background: my IBS is constipation and it causes me to lose weight unintentionally. I get backed up easily, stomach feels like crap, I get abdominal pain sometimes....all this kills my appetite, which causes me to not eat. The past week alone I only ate for four days, and it was definitely not enough to make up for three days of not eating. I have no sense of satiety, I either feel starving or stuffed. This also has affected my sleep greatly, which has been terrible the past six months, and I'm a zombie most days. This weight loss has occured three times in the past and is occuring now again. I am 5'10 and was 144lbs in the beginning of January but now weigh 128lbs. In the past I counted calories and force-fed myself to gain the weight and worked out in tandem, but this time I have to gain some weight first in order to work out and this time has been the hardest force-feeding-wise. I had a colonoscopy last month and everything is fine. My GI doc said to take Miralax (a natural laxative) 2x/day, a good probiotic, eat yogurt, take at least a tablespoon of a fiber supplement everyday, and increase fiber intake through food as well.

Now: I need to gain weight (even if it's just pure fat) because I look like a Holocaust survivor. I've been paleo since the end of 2007, and have recently tried more of a FODMAPs approach that includes some concessions to strict paleo in an attempt to maintain/gain weight. I added white potatoes, greek yogurt (which has been awesome for digestion), chicken sausages (has 1g sugar per sausage), and lactose-free 2% milk. I am getting a food allergy test July 3rd, so that will definitely help in identifying problem foods. My normal day goes something like this:

Breakfast: greek yogurt with frozen blueberries, some combo of eggs/chicken sausage/bacon, banana, almond butter

Lunch: 5oz meat/fish, 5.5oz sweet potato, 4oz veggies, fat source if needed (cashew butter or coconut oil)

Dinner: 7-8oz meat/fish, 7-8oz white potato, 4oz veggies, ~12oz lactose-free 2% milk (or almond milk sometimes), fat source if needed.

I can only tolerate milk if it's lactose free and I take a lactaid pill, or else I get bloated and sometimes cramps (not abdominal pain that I get from IBS); but it seems worth it because it helps keep the weight on. I still get bloated from it, but I need a good source of liquid calories. Should I keep it or nix it? any other suggestions? I do not like coconut milk, unfortunately.

All of this rambling and info is basically to ask: What do you guys recommend I do? I'm at my wits end, I'm tired as heck all the time from not sleeping, rarely feel good because I'm either force-feeding myself or not eating, and am stressing out about it (which I know doesn't help, trying to adress this). I searched for this and found this thread: http://forum.whole9l...__fromsearch__1 but it didn't give me any new info. Any advice is greatly appreciated, I'm extremely frustrated and am just trying to get a handle on this. As you can imagine, it makes life unbearable, especially since I can't workout or play golf, two things I love to do.

Edit: Forgot to mention, I picked up ISWF yesterday and checked out the protocol for IBS, some of which is at odds with FODMAPs, which is part of the reason why I am asking this question.

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I would say, if you have a terrible time tolerating milk and you can only do it with lactaid and it still makes you bloated, just give it up. Milk, yogurt, cheese -- get rid of them all. Get your probiotics some other way. I have had chronic low-grade digestive problems (like the mini version of your problem with some other symptoms thrown in and without the weight loss) for years. During this Whole30, those symptoms have mostly disappeared. And my nose is mostly clear for the first time in decades.

When you say you don't like coconut milk, do you mean the real thing (the thick creamy fatty stuff) or the nasty coconut-based refrigerated "milks" that have become popular lately? If it's the latter, try the real thing. If you don't like any of it, what about avocados and olives for added calories and fatty goodness.

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If I were you, I'd look into personal consultations with the Whole9 group. That's how they started and they can deal with complex things that are a bit beyond the forum. I do have some thoughts, but I don't have experience with IBS.

Given that milk causes bloating for you, I would avoid it as much as possible. You might try eating coconut butter or even coconut oil by the tablespoon to add calories to your diet.

I experimented with fasting last year. I ate a tablespoon of coconut oil every once in a while during the fast to take the edge off and to give my body some calories. Eating good Nutiva coconut oil is nothing I would recommend for taste, but it wasn't bad and might help you increase calories.

I wonder if you might benefit from taking a digestive aid like Now Foods Super Enzymes. Since your gut is so troubled, you may need the help to fully digest the food you are eating.

Another good thing for gut healing is bone broth. I don't think you can buy bone broth, but you can make it. I use a pressure cooker, but you could make it in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and just cook it a lot longer. Here's my recipe... http://www.wholelifeeating.com/2012/02/pressure-cooker-bone-broth/

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Hey Joe! Nice to see you in here!

You've been playing around this stuff long enough on your own, that i'm going to echo Tom's recommendation for a consult. I'm not sure what M&D's schedules look like, but their hour calls would definitely be a solid choice for you, since I think you just need some basic boat steering.

Like Tom, I'd also recommend ditching the dairy. It can definitely contribute to digestive issues, so I would stay away from it until your stuff has resolved for a while. What about sauerkraut to get those probiotics in instead of yogurt?

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I would say, if you have a terrible time tolerating milk and you can only do it with lactaid and it still makes you bloated, just give it up. Milk, yogurt, cheese -- get rid of them all. Get your probiotics some other way. I have had chronic low-grade digestive problems (like the mini version of your problem with some other symptoms thrown in and without the weight loss) for years. During this Whole30, those symptoms have mostly disappeared. And my nose is mostly clear for the first time in decades.

When you say you don't like coconut milk, do you mean the real thing (the thick creamy fatty stuff) or the nasty coconut-based refrigerated "milks" that have become popular lately? If it's the latter, try the real thing. If you don't like any of it, what about avocados and olives for added calories and fatty goodness.

Milk is hit or miss depending on the day, but at worst it's some stomach rumblings, not cramps (should have clarified that). I actually tolerate yogurt just fine, and don't even take a lactaid pill, but I'll try ditching it.

By coconut milk I mean the real thing, unfortunately, no water added. It's way too rich and makes me nauseous if I drink more than a couple ounces. I am indifferent to avocados but still eat them, I had some today with lunch. Olives do not taste good to me.

If I were you, I'd look into personal consultations with the Whole9 group. That's how they started and they can deal with complex things that are a bit beyond the forum. I do have some thoughts, but I don't have experience with IBS.

Given that milk causes bloating for you, I would avoid it as much as possible. You might try eating coconut butter or even coconut oil by the tablespoon to add calories to your diet.

I experimented with fasting last year. I ate a tablespoon of coconut oil every once in a while during the fast to take the edge off and to give my body some calories. Eating good Nutiva coconut oil is nothing I would recommend for taste, but it wasn't bad and might help you increase calories.

I wonder if you might benefit from taking a digestive aid like Now Foods Super Enzymes. Since your gut is so troubled, you may need the help to fully digest the food you are eating.

Another good thing for gut healing is bone broth. I don't think you can buy bone broth, but you can make it. I use a pressure cooker, but you could make it in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and just cook it a lot longer. Here's my recipe... http://www.wholelife...ker-bone-broth/

I've been thinking of doing a consultation for some time now, just kind of gun-shy about it due to the money involved. But at this point, I'm probably going to do it, I'm at a really low point and need to get healthy again. Concerning coconut oil, I love it! It's weird, I cannot stand coconut milk but can eat a bunch of coconut oil. It makes me a furnace though if I eat too much of it, so I'll add some to meals and see how it goes.

I've tried Digestive Enzymes and didn't really notice a difference. I know you are supposed to titrate up until you feel a "burning" in your stomach, but at three I felt nothing and still experienced periods of being backed up, so I didn't reorder it when my bottle ran out. The local butcher had broths in the freezer last time I was there but I didn't check what kind; I'll go this weekend and see if they have any. If not, that recipe you posted looks really good, thanks.

Hey Joe! Nice to see you in here!

You've been playing around this stuff long enough on your own, that i'm going to echo Tom's recommendation for a consult. I'm not sure what M&D's schedules look like, but their hour calls would definitely be a solid choice for you, since I think you just need some basic boat steering.

Like Tom, I'd also recommend ditching the dairy. It can definitely contribute to digestive issues, so I would stay away from it until your stuff has resolved for a while. What about sauerkraut to get those probiotics in instead of yogurt?

Hey Renee! you too! and a moderator, nice!

I agree, experimenting with which foods work and don't work has not been doing it for me, professional help would be very welcomed. Who would you recommend, Melissa or Dallas?

The thing that bothers me is that I have stayed away from dairy for a long time (four years) and during this time, my IBS developed and is still giving me big problems. I only added dairy back last fall to help gain back the weight from the third weight loss episode.Yogurt has been helping me be more regular and I've felt better due to it, but I'll nix it for the short term (at least until I get the consultation).

I tried store-bought sauerkraut and it tasted bad, I don't know if it was just that bag or what. This was from an Acme though and it didn't say that it had probiotics, I'll try Whole Paycheck and see if they have good ones. I got kimchee tonight and had some with dinner and it was good. I also take a probiotic pill, but at this point I'm trying anything to see if it will help.

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My reading/research indicates that those who have IBS and other digestive issues and autoimmune diseases should eliminate casein from their diet completely.

There are other things you can take/eat to add probiotics and enzymes to your diet, like water kefir and kombucha. Or take a good probiotic. There are probiotics specifically made for people with IBS. Check amazon.

It is easy to make your own saurkraut, or you can buy Bubbie's at Whole Foods. If you are into making your own stuff, then check out this site/forum. It's not Paleo, but they know how to make fermented foods and will gladly answer your questions: http://www.cookingtf.com/

I know that Whole30 may recommend a different brand of enzymes. I am both gluten and casein intolerant and have my share of colitis and other nasty digestive issues. I like these: http://www.houston-enzymes.com/

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I had coconut milk today. It seemed to destroy my stomach. I will drink a smaller amount at next meal. Guess I'll have to try some other fats. Avocados are good.

Yep, it destroys my stomach too, which is too bad. I need to drink something to get a surplus of calories in and have been resorting to Ensure nutrition drinks. They are filled with crap but I tolerate them much better than milk. Still, I'd like to find something else (maybe a specific shake) to be my go-to instead of that sugary drink,

My reading/research indicates that those who have IBS and other digestive issues and autoimmune diseases should eliminate casein from their diet completely.

There are other things you can take/eat to add probiotics and enzymes to your diet, like water kefir and kombucha. Or take a good probiotic. There are probiotics specifically made for people with IBS. Check amazon.

It is easy to make your own saurkraut, or you can buy Bubbie's at Whole Foods. If you are into making your own stuff, then check out this site/forum. It's not Paleo, but they know how to make fermented foods and will gladly answer your questions: http://www.cookingtf.com/

I know that Whole30 may recommend a different brand of enzymes. I am both gluten and casein intolerant and have my share of colitis and other nasty digestive issues. I like these: http://www.houston-enzymes.com/

I did notice that whenever I tried drinking a protein shake I would get backed up like no tomorrow, so that makes sense. I never knew they made probiotics just for people with IBS, I'll check amazon, thanks for the suggestion.

I've been eating kim chee every other day but I'll check out Whole Foods for that brand of saurkraut. I've been taking PB8 probiotic for some time now, but might give the one you linked a shot, I have not really noticed a difference with my current one.

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I bought some unsweetened coconut milk from trader joes, problem is, is that it has carageenan in it. I also realized I can handle it a lot better and tastes a lot better cold. Try putting the cans of coconut milk in the fridge and putting ice on it.

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I bought some unsweetened coconut milk from trader joes, problem is, is that it has carageenan in it. I also realized I can handle it a lot better and tastes a lot better cold. Try putting the cans of coconut milk in the fridge and putting ice on it.

I'll go there this weekend and check it out, thanks. Anything that I can drink and tolerate well is a plus for me.

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Joe - I recently had a consult with Dallas and could not be more pleased with the process. He is professional, über smart and truly passionate about helping folks achieve optimal health. It is well worth the consultation fee. Go for it!

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Joe - I recently had a consult with Dallas and could not be more pleased with the process. He is professional, über smart and truly passionate about helping folks achieve optimal health. It is well worth the consultation fee. Go for it!

Thanks for the feedback about a consultation. I have an upper endoscopy scheduled for next Monday so pending the results of that I'll see about getting a consultation. I've been paleo for so long and was really strict for awhile to the point that I'm betting a good deal of my digestive troubles are due to stress and constant worrying. But it's just a guess until the procedure, which will also check my small intenstines to see if celiacs might be present.

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Hi Joe,

I hope everything goes okay for you! As an IBS sufferer myself, I can relate to the pain.

A solution to my problem came when I stopped eating fruit. It seemed to trigger inflammation which caused my severe constipation.

Hope you get well soon! Take luck!

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Hey Joe,

Were you a member of MDA under the name of JoeB (fellow Lymie) ?

I recognize a lot of your symptoms and can't find my way out either. I'm wondering if I need to do a FODMAP thing and supplement at each meal with L-Glutamine powder to try to heal my gutlining since I really don't like broth.

(Tried making it 2times and both times it tasted&looked like crap so I threw it out and when I ate some bone marrow I woke up terribly nauseated the next morning.)

Anyway,good luck with it all.

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Sorry for being MIA, but I finally got an upper endoscopy and gastric emptying test done. It turns out that I do not have IBS, but rather an H. pylori infection, an inflammed small intestines, and slow gastric emptying. I took a 14 day course antibiotic treatment for the infection and it should be dead, but I still have inflammation in my small intestines and slow stomach emptying. I know that a diet that is anti-inflammatory (aka paleo) will help heal the small intestines, but at this point I don't think I can do it strict. The reason why is because with delayed gastric emptying, my stomach processes food slower than normal, so I feel full/stuffed longer and cannot get myself to eat enough following just hunger signals, so I have to eat when I'm not hungry. Due to this, I have to avoid high fat and high fiber food because both slow digestion and are not good for me in my current situation; also have to stay away from nuts, seeds, certain raw fruits, and all dried fruits. I need to follow a low-moderate fat, low fiber, high carb, high protein (not too much due to the high satiety factor) diet in order to feel best and gain some weight. I've found that I can only tolerate added fat in the form of almond butter, coconut oil, and butter, but not a whole lot.

Right off the bat a high fat paleo diet to gain weight is out, so I need to load up on carbs. Even though I like sweet potatoes, I eat them everyday for lunch and cannot eat them with more than one meal a day, so I need other dense carb sources. Only problem is there are very few dense carb sources on paleo; squashes are so-so, but not great. I'm eating bananas, but those get boring after awhile. The non-paleo food I've been eating are peeled white potatoes, greek yogurt (I handle this well and makes digestion better), some rice, and some gluten-free oats (although I don't handle these 100% easily). I've been having them because I need other sources of carbs (and probiotics + calories concerning yogurt) and need to stimulate my appetite as much as possible to gain weight. I'm down another 4-5lbs to the 123-124lb range and am so frustrated. I even had to go to the hospital to get re-hydrated due to eating only around 1,000 calories a day for five days and barely drinking any water. While I know that strict paleo would help my intestines, I don't think I can do it because I'd lose more weight due to the satiety factor of eating paleo food that are compliant with my guidelines, plus the repetitiveness of eating the same few foods over and over. Anyone have any advice short of a consultation?

Note: I am working with my GP and GI doc, but they told me that my gastroparesis is not bad enough to warrant motility drugs...WTF? I LOST 22lbs in 5-6 months, no clue how it's not serious enough. I did try one drug and it made me have anxiety attacks so I stopped taking it. They recommended that I eat a wide and varied diet (including grains and dairy), with food that I tolerate...go figure. I don't know who to go to, especially since at this weight I can/might do irreversible damage to my organs.

Hi Joe,

I hope everything goes okay for you! As an IBS sufferer myself, I can relate to the pain.

A solution to my problem came when I stopped eating fruit. It seemed to trigger inflammation which caused my severe constipation.

Hope you get well soon! Take luck!

No fruit huh? I might give that a try, although I need bananas for carbs; see above. Thanks for the support! good to know you found your solution. Are you 100% cured now?

Hey Joe,

Were you a member of MDA under the name of JoeB (fellow Lymie) ?

I recognize a lot of your symptoms and can't find my way out either. I'm wondering if I need to do a FODMAP thing and supplement at each meal with L-Glutamine powder to try to heal my gutlining since I really don't like broth.

(Tried making it 2times and both times it tasted&looked like crap so I threw it out and when I ate some bone marrow I woke up terribly nauseated the next morning.)

Anyway,good luck with it all.

I am the same person, what a coincidence, how are you doing? I've tried a low FODMAP approach and it has helped, but at this point I'm eating anything I tolerate well, regardless of it being a FODMAP or not (although I always limit veggies now). I have noticed that when I include more starches (sweet/white potato, rice, bananas) and limit vegetables (specifically high FODMAP ones), my digestion is better. So maybe give that a shot and see how it goes.

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Joe, have you tried tapioca? I like that for you over the oats

good luck!

I have not, I'll check it out, thanks! What about quinoa? I heard it was a seed but that it's also a grain, so I'm not sure.

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Dairy is your poison Joe. Try not having it for a week. I don't know if Swiss Kriss is Paleo but it will help keep you regular if you take it once a day.

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Dairy is your poison Joe. Try not having it for a week. I don't know if Swiss Kriss is Paleo but it will help keep you regular if you take it once a day.

I'll try it, but this has been like four years in the making and I've only just recently added dairy back in. I'll try swiss kriss, thanks for the suggestion.

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Quinoa's a seed, but it has some grain like properties, so it could go either way. I would avoid it for now and then try to reintroduce later.

Are you supplementing with betaine HCl for the hypochloridia?

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Quinoa's a seed, but it has some grain like properties, so it could go either way. I would avoid it for now and then try to reintroduce later.

Are you supplementing with betaine HCl for the hypochloridia?

Ok will do. I am not, my GI doc actually wanted me to take a med to reduce stomach acid >.< I do have a container of Now Foods Digestive Enzymes at my mom's, is it worth it to use it? I've read so many conflicting things about gastroparesis that I'm not sure, the only things that are uncontested are to avoid high fiber and high fat food.

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Chris Kresser has a good blog series on GERD and how MORE stomach acid is usually the magic bullet. He goes into the mechanisms, but I THINK it has to do with acid content (hydrogen ions) signalling release of PYY, Cholecystokinin and other hormones that have roles in digestion speed. I don't completely absorb info that doesn't apply to me or my close family, so the mechanism might be slightly off, but it's a similar idea...so check that series out, or just listen to me, either one :D

I don't know how I feel about using the Now Foods Super Enzymes in your situation, actually. It has betaine HCl in it, and a bunch of other good stuff in it, but I don't if the lower concentration to make room for the other stuff would diminish its effectiveness at all. I don't really THINK so, and it definitely wouldn't _hurt_, but Betaine HCl by itself may be more effective, faster.

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Chris Kresser has a good blog series on GERD and how MORE stomach acid is usually the magic bullet. He goes into the mechanisms, but I THINK it has to do with acid content (hydrogen ions) signalling release of PYY, Cholecystokinin and other hormones that have roles in digestion speed. I don't completely absorb info that doesn't apply to me or my close family, so the mechanism might be slightly off, but it's a similar idea...so check that series out, or just listen to me, either one :D

I don't know how I feel about using the Now Foods Super Enzymes in your situation, actually. It has betaine HCl in it, and a bunch of other good stuff in it, but I don't if the lower concentration to make room for the other stuff would diminish its effectiveness at all. I don't really THINK so, and it definitely wouldn't _hurt_, but Betaine HCl by itself may be more effective, faster.

I'll check out his blog, thanks for the suggestion.

I was under the impression that Now Foods Super Enzymes is the best for digestion due to Robb Wolf and people on the CF forum promoting it. I'll see if iHerb has it, hopefully it will help cure my problem. Thanks for the advice!

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