Week 2 on the Elemental Diet
Week 2 on the Elemental Diet got a little easier as I got used to not eating and my body adapted slightly to this protocol. But I wouldn't call it easy.
I am using the Integrative Therapeutics Physicians Elemental Diet formula (standard or dextrose-free versions. I have mainly used the dextrose-free version as it has been slightly better at controlling my blood sugar.
In Week 2, I still lacked a lot of energy and started reacting to the formula. I introduced some water-fasting to ease the symptoms, which might have backfired on me.
At the end of the week, my doctor and I skyped with each other to check in and see how I was doing. We also made a decision as to whether I would continue with the Elemental Diet considering the reactions I was having to it.
If you haven't yet checked out what Week 1 was like for me, you can read about it here. And read more about why I'm doing the Elemental Diet here.
If you'd like to watch how I'm going each day, don't forget to tune in to my daily vlogs on my YouTube channel.
I was so excited to wake up to a new week on the Elemental Diet, because it meant I was one week closer to finishing it. I did wake up full of head cold, which I suspect is part of clearing the toxins out of my body.
I was feeling really strong and positive about the experience. After having some strong cramps and diarrhoea from adding fat into the shakes to help improve my blood sugar regulation, I tried reintroducing MCT oil again. I started with 1/4 teaspoon today which didn't give me any symptoms.
I was even able to sit in the same room as Sam as he ate his dinner, which was the first time that I'd been able to do this since starting the Elemental Diet.
My head cold worsened overnight so I felt quite ordinary today. However, my energy was pretty good today despite the head cold.
Spring has sprung in Melbourne, so I took the opportunity to sit in the sun and enjoy the weather while drinking my morning shake. To trick myself into believing the shake tasted like something different, I pretended I was drinking a pina colada.
A surprising realisation this week was that I wasn't missing chewing or eating. It was nice saving time not planning meals, shopping for food, cooking or washing dishes. The Elemental Diet definitely saves time and money.
I had really bad Restless Leg Syndrome when I went to bed and found it really hard to get to sleep. Everything felt really jangly and on edge. I had to sleep in the spare room so I couldn't hear Sam snoring. I put a meditation session on from 1Giant Mind to help get me to sleep.
Hitting double digits into my Elemental Diet journey was super exciting. I was feeling so good today that I was able to get dressed, do my hair and make up! I was able to open my bowels today, the first time in a few days.
I did have a lunch meeting in a cafe with a client. I was quite apprehensive about it, as I wasn't sure how I would go being surrounded by all that delicious food. He ate lunch as we spoke, and it smelt incredible. I nearly licked his plate! I decided beforehand that I would water fast until after the meeting as I felt it would help keep my blood sugar more stable and thus my resolve stronger.
Bloating and cramping started appearing today. I noticed that they get bad after drinking a shake, despite drinking them really slowly (I take 2-3 hours to drink them). By the end of the day I felt really frustrated and angry and really questioning why I want to do 21 days. The sugar highs and lows have been quite extreme, despite using the dextrose-free Elemental Diet and adding fat to the shakes.
After experiencing some bloating and cramping after drinking the Elemental Diet, I decided to do a water fast on Day 11. I wasn't sure how long I would water fast for, but ended up doing it for the entire day and night.
I was surprised at how good I felt doing it. I had a lot more energy, my blood sugar was stable and I was able to do some work.
After craving something savoury, I decided to lick some sea salt. Check out the vlog above to see just how much I love it! It tasted like the best salt in the world.
I didn't even think about needing an Elemental Diet until dinnertime when Sam made his dinner. I ran an Epsom salt bath for myself to avoid the smell of the food. I realised that I hadn't needed a bath this week, which showed the progress I had made since Week 1.
"Week 2 gets easier but still remains challenging. Being clear on why you're doing it helps keep you motivated on the challenging days.
I woke up feeling completely wiped out on Day 12. My body felt like it was really struggling to do the basic functions, like standing, so I had to spend a lot of the morning in bed. I ended up water fasting for 38 hours, which put me into ketosis.
My gut had felt amazing yesterday after not having any Elemental Diet, but today I felt like I needed the nutrients so made myself one for breakfast after drinking several glasses of water.
I have also noticed pimples appearing on my skin, making me feel like the teenage version of myself. It feels like more toxins are coming out through my skin.
I sipped my Elemental Diet shakes as slowly as humanly possible today, but by the end of the day, was extremely bloated and in a lot of pain. It felt like an alien was trying to escape from my gut.
I had been looking forward to today as it was the day I spoke with my doctor. It was great to check in with him and go through all of the symptoms I have experienced on the Elemental Diet. Interestingly, most of the things I have experienced are totally normal for the average SIBO person doing it.
We spoke about my water fast and subsequent extreme bloating and cramping. He explained how my gut was 80% switched off during the Elemental Diet, and that I'd turned it off completely by going into a 38-hour water fast. Reintroducing the shake the following day asked it to switch on again, which might have been why I experienced those symptoms. He reminded me that the gut prefers stability and consistency when doing the Elemental Diet.
Given I have been experiencing the symptoms prior to water fasting, we decided my body was coming to the end of its tolerance for the Elemental Diet and that I'd finish up after Day 14.
I was beyond excited to have a reason to go to my local market, the Prahran Market, to buy some beautiful produce to make my chicken broth, which I will drink when I break my fast.
Knowing the Elemental Diet was ending today was like knowing Christmas is tomorrow. I was as excited as a five year old waiting for Santa to come.
I hit the kitchen for the first time in 2 weeks, whipping up the most delicious tasting chicken broth. I had purchased the best ingredients I could afford to make this broth. Knowing it would be the first real food my gut was getting after the Elemental Diet, I wanted it to be as pure as possible.
I purchased a sensational Milking Yard Chicken. I love their chickens because not only are they 100% free range and hormone free, but they also allow their birds to age longer, so the meat is incredibly tasty and flavoursome. I used organic vegetables to make a broth with the chicken. I cooked it over 3 hours and produced the most incredible broth.
Basil, my dog, was going crazy at the smell wafting through the apartment. I couldn't wait another day to taste some of the broth, so had a small bowl of it with some finely shredded chicken. I wasn't sure how my gut would react to having food go through it again, and luckily I didn't have a single symptom occur.
Key Lessons from Week 2 on the Elemental Diet
The second week is way easier than the first week
Give yourself permission to rest when you need to
Keep yourself busy to get through the week
Incorporate relaxing activities into your day, such as baths and meditation
Drink LOTS of water in addition to your Elemental Diet
Maintain consistency. Your gut prefers consistency over massive change.
Drink your shakes slowly to keep your blood sugar and energy levels consistent
Ask for support. You don't have to do this on your own
Get a calendar and cross off each day. It's incredibly satisfying to know you are one step closer to the end
Preliminary Results from 14 Days on the Elemental Diet
Symptoms: SIBO symptoms improved although the Elemental Diet caused cramping, diarrhoea, bloating and nausea.
Weight: Lost 1.4kg/3lbs in Week 2. Total weight loss: 5.1kg/11.2lbs.
Bowel Movements: 2 out of 7 days.
Food Cravings: Minimal. Desire to chew disappeared in the second week.
Mindset: Easier than Week 1 but still challenging on days due to lack of energy.
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