I had a follow up meeting this week with my gastroenterologist to discuss strategies to fix my gut issues. Two things jumped out at me from the discussion. The first was weight loss. The doc is a very fit guy who’s into brazilin jiu-jitsu. We’d been talking about diet, and he laughed and said, “these days I have to be careful about who I say this to, but losing just ten pounds would make a huge difference in how your gut feels”.
What struck me is not that I could lose some weight (I already know that), but that in today’s day and age he has to be careful about telling someone that. It’s sad that we no longer want to hear the truth. We want to be told to take this one pill and it will fix everything. In reality, we’d all be better off if doctors felt like they could freely tell their patients that they’re a disgusting fat-body and it’s time to do something about it. Unfortunately, that would offend our delicate sensibilities and someone would probably sue for damaging their self-esteem.
The second thing he said is that people don’t understand how long it takes to repair the gut microbiome when things go haywire. He felt it was going to take six months to a year to get back to normal. He said he laughs when people say they can remove a particular food or try a diet for a week or two and think it will do anything. Several months is the minimum to see real change. He said the gut is incredibly complex and we still don’t understand much about why it gets out of whack.
My official diagnosis is post-disease IBS. I contracted something at some point, and it threw my gut into a downward spiral. When we originally talked, I’d said Covid was the last time I’d been sick. He didn’t initially think that was the cause. When we met this time, he said he followed up with some research and studies are starting to show that Covid is having an impact on gut health. Interesting.
Anyway, as a part of repairing things we talked about foods and supplements I should be taking. Big amounts of protein, wheat dextrin fiber, yogurt with live cultures, and fermented foods like Kefir. I had to Google kefir. I’d seen it in the store but didn’t know what it actually was. It’s fermented milk. Uhhhh… I don’t know if I can do that.
When I was in my early twenties I worked at a restaurant. During my break I was in the habit of chugging one of those mini cartons of milk. One fateful evening, I grabbed a carton and started drinking it down like I was shot gunning a beer. The carton as almost empty before I realized the milk was… chunky. I ran to a garbage can and vomited up all that spoiled and curdled milk. I haven’t drunk milk since.
So you can see why I’d be a little hesitant to drink fermented milk on purpose. I think I’ll put that on the back burner for now. Besides, it turns out sauerkraut has the same benefits. I like sauerkraut. I like hot dogs. I could do a sauerkraut dog a day. What could go wrong with that?