I need some help troubleshooting some digestive issues I've had the past year or so. I've been suffering from random bouts of loose stool and diarrhoea for a while now, and they seem to follow neither rhyme or reason. I need some input from others because all of my self-experimentation has yielded bupkis.
I've been Paleo coming up to two years now and although I feel better in myself than during my vegetarian days, I've never lost weight. I started getting into VLC dieting to shift my considerable bulk, but quit when it made me feel tired and irritable and it seemed to give me the squits. I now follow a whole foods, grain-free philosophy, ie mostly paleo, with the odd full fat milk treat or potato thrown in the stew. I eat neolithic foods perhaps once every three weeks and it tends to be sugary yoghurts, chips, chocolate and ice cream that I eat. I am just as likely to have a dicky tummy after a paleo meal as I am after a neolithic one.
I've read that coconut oil can cause loose stool in some, but after some experimentation, that does not appear to be it. I think.
It can also aparantly be caused by a lack of good bacteria in the gut. I've been taking probiotics now for around two weeks, with no effect. Should I keep going with them?
I thought perhaps it was my one decaf coffee a day that was doing it (I do not drink soda, coffee or other caffienated drinks), but giving up decaf coffee AND regular tea did not help.
The past few months I've increased my vegetable consumption because that's the way my body was pushing me, but that's the only significant dietary change I've made.
I go to the gym twice a week and walk for about 45 mins twice a week too.
I do use stevia to sweeten my drinks which mostly consist of tea and herbal teas.
I can't think of anything else that might affect my digestion so I can tweak it, which is why I need your help!! Please - can you think of anything or do you have some good suggestions on how to stop the random and infuriating trots?
Two things spring to my mind:
Your question by the way was very useful in that it included lots of information. Good luck. Definitely a good idea to keep up the probiotics.
Probiotics must be refrigerated and sometimes it can take several brands before you find the right one. Another thing I would recommend is betaine HCL and papaya enzymes. It's possible your stomach acid cells aren't producing enough. If you think HCL is too strong you can try vinegar tonic (ACV diluted in water) or kombucha.
This spring I was having the most frustrating stomach problems ever because they were while I was paleo. I blamed everything from kombucha to pork, until finally I realized it was brassica vegetables. No brassica (kale, broccoli, cauliflower), no problem. It took me forever to figure it out. I don't eat as much vegetables now because of it, mostly gentle stool firming ones like pumpkin. Squashes are probably the best vegetable for you.
As Robb Wolf put it "stevia is for people who don't have problems." It can possible mess with your insulin. Try some more savory teas that don't need it like Lapsang.
paul jaminet has an excellent multi-part post on his http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=215 blog about healing the gut.
in my experience, the most likely causes are either gut disbyosis (bacterial or fungal), a gut infection, intolerance to some food you eat, fructose malabsorbtion, or chronic stress.
quite often, all these factors can go together, or cause each other, unfortunately. so your approach should be multi-faceted to cover all needed areas simultaneously.
for me (i recently had similar problems), a food elimination diet was needed to recognize that i was intolerant to pretty much all i ate up to recently lol. most problematic was all dairy, all grains, eggs, most raw fruits, most raw vegetables, and most nuts.. (bc of cross-reactions to my pollen and grass allergies).
wrt to gut disbyosis i recommend to try several different products, as it seems to be different from person to person what works and what doesn't. "primal defense ultra" from garden of life seems to be quite effective, and all probiotics containing saccharomyces boulardii and/or bacillus coagulans (those can also be bought separately). the higher the potency of the product, the better.
an approach that i had success with just recently was do a fasting day (with only some macadamias during the day), while pouring 1-3 capsules of primal defense ultra into each glass of water i drank. this of course is much more than the recommended dosage, but wrt to "resetting the colon" such extreme measures can be helpful from time to time. my chronic bloating and diarrhea was cured the next day!
also very helpful is the #102 digestive formula from kyolic (odorless garlic + ginger). helps fight bacterial and fungal overgrowth in the small intestine. as above, take as much as you can tolerate.
i hope this helps. keep us updated how it goes..
Paleo is very broad, food allergies are very broad.
We need a list of all foods you eat
Common Food Allergens while still paleo include:
Personally I recommend an Elimination Diet, strike all potential allergens for 30 days, then slowly reintroduce to determine which it might be
Have you done a food log? SOmetimes you dont think there is a pattern but there is if you really track your food intake. ANd SOmetimes it's more than one thing doing it so that also complicates it.
Lots of good suggestions here. You should mention what kind of probiotics you are using. And I would suggest you try giving up the tea completely and see how you do. You could also try not drinking at all when you eat.
It could be that something you're eating is still causing problems. Elimination or rotation diets can help identify it. Sugar and grains are the worst, but some people have problems with eggs (usually the whites), nuts, dried fruit etc. Also check the labels of any supplements you are taking, or try going without them for a couple weeks and re-intro them one by one.
Try adding in foods that will help heal your gut. Bone broths are essential. High vitamin A foods like liver, butter, and egg yolks. Good saturated fats from pastured lard, tallow, butter, ghee, and coconut oil.
If the probiotics you are taking aren't working, try upping the dose or trying a different brand. I've tried so many probiotics that did nothing. When you find one that works, you will notice a difference. If you're eating dairy, consider making some raw milk kefir or yogurt.
Consider testing for parasites or doing a parasite cleanse. Some people might be skeptical of this but I have done it and it helped a lot.
Stomach acid supplements can be very helpful. Look for Betaine HCL with pepsin and play around with dosage. http://www.modernherbalist.com/betaine.html
Lots of things to try. Keep tweaking your diet and trying new things until you find what works!
There is one more thing to consider and that is if you are taking any supplements, specifically magnesium. Magnesium is commonly recommended in paleo spheres but some forms (magnesium citrate) don't absorb well and can have this kind of effect. FYI.
Second unrelated point is that I think I've heard Robb Wolf recommend natural foods like sauerkraut or kimchee over probiotics for helping gut bacteria.