“I was feeling so good, I never looked back. Diet change is hard, but the more you do it the easier it gets. Your palette is as trainable as a puppy.”
– Angela Privin
When Angela Privin’s IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) began affecting her quality of life, she approached healing like a job – literally. She took a break from work and spent a year focused exclusively on getting better.
In fact, addressing her stress proved just as essential to healing as the diet and supplements she chose.
“It was a really good year for me,” she says. “I took time off from working, focused on learning how to cook and took care of myself.”
Lyme Treatment Leads to IBS Symptoms
The roots of Angela’s digestive troubles began a few years earlier. Around age 23, she contracted Lyme disease, and hit it hard with oral and intravenous antibiotics. At the time, she didn’t follow her treatment with probiotics to repair her gut microbiome – a missed step she strongly feels led to IBS later.
As a 20-something, she played hard and worked hard as a journalist in New York City, which soon caught up to her. That’s when IBS symptoms set in.
“I could only eat one meal a day,” she says. “When I would eat, that meal would literally churn around in my solar plexus the rest of the day with bloating and slow motility.”
Per her doctors’ advice, she increased her intake of fiber and water, and tried to decrease her stress – but her symptoms remained unchanged. Further, when she tried doctor-recommended medications, like birth control pill and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn, her gut got worse.
The inability for doctors to truly help her, and their unwillingness to look for a root cause, disheartened her. She tried researching on her own, but at the time, the Internet wasn’t what it is today, and library books were insufficient.
“I was shocked that no one wanted to dig into why this was happening,” she says. “It wasn’t always like this, so I was sure I could fix this and go back to the way things were before.”
In combination with IBS – or because of it – she grew depressed and was put on an anti-depressant, which exacerbated her condition further.
Gut-Healing Through Diet, Lifestyle
Then Angela turned to diet. First, she tried a raw foods approach – popular at the time – to help heal her gut.
“A raw diet sounded like the right thing, but I now know it’s the worst thing anyone with compromised digestion can do,” she says. “So I gave up, thought it was all in my head, and signed up for a meditation workshop.”
At the workshop, she met a holistic nutritionist who would prove instrumental in her healing. In talking with her, Angela believed diet could be the answer, just not the diet she had tried.
The nutritionist put Angela on a paleo-style diet to heal her gut. She eliminated gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, sugar and a number of other foods that might feed bad bacteria.
To address a lack of stomach acid, she took hydrochloric acid (HCL) to help digest her food. By her estimates, she also took about 60 supplements to detox and rebalance her system and hormones, such as chlorella, chaste tree berry, and seaweed supplements.
At first, it was tough adhering to the diet. But over time, Angela began to embrace it and even love the new way of eating. She learned to cook and found favorite recipes.
“I was feeling so good, I never looked back,” she says. “Diet change is hard, but the more you do it the easier it gets. Your palette is as trainable as a puppy.”
Angela also spent that year keeping her stress as low as possible. In addition to diet, she embraced meditation practices such as Qigong and yoga nidra.
No More IBS Symptoms
Within a month of starting the diet, Angela no longer experienced IBS symptoms – after six years of them. She digested her food well. And by strengthening her immune system, she rarely got sick anymore.
Her body also started making enough stomach acid so she could stop HCL supplements.
Six months after starting the diet, she added back raw milk, cheese and spelt bread, and tolerated all of them well. Gradually, she worked her way back to eating everything with no negative effects.
Eliminating SIBO in Six Weeks – Herbally
Last year, Angela hit a brief setback when she developed hydrogen-dominant small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). While she was shocked to test positive for SIBO, she also saw it as an opportunity to apply all the digestive knowledge she’d gained in the past few years.
To treat SIBO, Angela returned to a whole-food approach, this time following a low FODMAP diet. She also chose an herbal protocol over prescription antibiotics.
To promote detox and motility, she took a prokinetic, walked, did breathing exercises, massage, acupuncture, sauna and qigong.
After six weeks, her breath retest confirmed she’d eliminated SIBO.
Defying the Prognosis
Angela’s journey to rebuild her gut and health proved life-changing. If she could heal her digestion, so could others, so why not help them?
Now 46, Angela earned a Holistic Health Coaching degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. As the owner of Do It Yourself Health, she coaches clients to improve digestion and eliminate IBS symptoms. She works with clients all over the world by phone and Skype.
“People are confused and alone, without anyone to help them. They’re terrified this will be for the rest of their lives,” she says. “Don’t let your prognosis be your reality. It’s all about your attitude and approach.”
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like: Colorado Woman Chooses Chinese Medicine to Treat SIBO Successfully.
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