I remember going on a run at 4:30 am in the morning, it was cool outside and very dark. I had to use the flashlight on my phone to see the road in front of me. I didn’t really want to go on a run, didn’t feel like it, but with my wedding two weeks away, I thought I needed to get some exercise. Also, I’m a morning runner, if I don’t run in the morning it’s just not going to happen for me. So here I was running, in the dark, struggling to breathe, wondering why I did this to myself. I had been sick the past couple of weeks but wow, was this hard. I didn’t think of myself as being THAT out of shape, but …
The weeks leading up to my wedding I had been really sick. For a while I thought it was just a cough. And I’ve always heard that coughs can linger after a cold and take a few weeks to go away, right? Well, I kept getting worse and then I realized one day that I had let this go on for about 6+ weeks (since September). I had been sick multiple times before this (with shingles, cold sores, etc.) but this was something different. I had been trying to do things the natural way: I drank my celery juice, took my vitamins (& even upped them), tried to sleep more, eased up on workouts (the last thing a bride wanting to lose weight does), drank and ate a ton of hot liquids and soups, ingested ALL the elderberry things, made my “sick tea” constantly, and yet I was still very ILL. What the heck was going on? Did my natural ways fail me? I decided about a week and a half before my wedding that I was OVER feeling like this and there was no way I would feel this way for my wedding and honeymoon. So… I finally decided to go to the doctor!
Now some of you might judge me and say I should’ve gone to the doctor sooner, and you would be correct, I really should have. But you have to understand though that since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (and even before being labeled with the official term) I was used to feeling icky and sick. This feeling of not being 100% kind of is my usual existence. Not every day is that bad, but some days I wake up and just feel ill. So, I’m kind of used to this. Some days are a struggle but I just push through, most of the time. Having an immune disorder is a ton of fun! (ß sarcasm, of course!)
So, I really didn’t think much of it at first, I thought I just had a bad cold and a cough that wouldn’t go away, I felt just a little ickier than usual. Well, it turns out I had walking pneumonia and didn’t know it!! Riddle me that! And the natural remedies I was using, that I thought had failed me, well, they were actually keeping me JUST well enough that I didn’t have to go to the doctor sooner. (*Insert monkey emoji covering his eyes*)
When I finally went to our family doctor she said my lungs sounded pretty bad and told me that I did indeed have pneumonia. She gave me a lecture about not letting a cough go on that long ever again (which is fair, Doc!), then she gave me a round of antibiotics and two different types of cough meds (one for AM & one for PM). She wanted me to do two shots, as well, a strong antibiotic and a steroid. But I opted out (I hate needles!) and said I just wanted to do the “lighter version”, even though she advised against it, and I assured her I would come back if I needed more. I was sure I could knock this out with just a little help.
So, I faithfully took my meds, did the protocol she prescribed, continued my natural remedies in conjunction, and STILL couldn’t get over the hurdle. Yet again, this was another humbling experience for me, as I had to go back.
This time, however, I was much more compliant and willingly took the full boat, all the drugs, the stronger version, shots and all, exactly what she wanted to give me the first time, with no hesitation or resistance. I got the shots, the meds, the inhaler, the cough syrup and the more antibiotics. Yep, I went all in. I was determined to get well before my wedding, so I took whatever she would prescribe.
My original thinking was that I wanted to go light on the meds because I know how antibiotics can wreak havoc on your very sensitive gut flora and can even lead to a yeast infection and a whole other host of problems. When your gut flora and all your good bacteria in your stomach are wiped out or even diminished a lot of things can happen, like the list below:
Skin rashes (yeast & others)
Depression & Anxiety
They call the gut the second brain and when your gut is off, your brain balance and how you feel is off, which can cause these feelings to increase.
And many, many other issues
So, even though I didn’t want to, I took another round of even stronger antibiotics, which finally wiped out my pneumonia. Thank you, Jesus! And I thought to myself, “well, this is exactly what antibiotics are designed to do, help us when we are acutely sick!” (Don’t get me started on the over prescribing thing). While I hate to admit it, my doctor was right, I needed some radical, serious help and now I was feeling much better.
However, there was just one problem – while the antibiotics had wiped out my pneumonia, they had also wiped out my good bacteria, too! Even though I felt a lot better, I was left with a very unbalanced gut flora. So, I began first-handedly testing ways to get my tummy back into good shape and here is what I came up with. I wanted to, of course, share this information with you so you can learn from my mistakes, failures, and successes and feel better sooner!
So, this is what I learned:
You need to eat/ ingest your prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that probiotics use as a food source, so you want these in conjunction to probiotics, as the two work together! Probiotics are full of live bacteria and yeasts that are GOOD for you & your tummy (not the bad types you want the antibiotics to wipe out) and are beneficial for your gut health.
Now that we have those definitions out of the way, how do you get prebiotics and probiotics?
Here is my list of foods for each below:
· Jerusalem Artichoke
· Chicory root
· Dandelion greens & root
· Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
· Konjac root/elephant yam
· Burdock root
· Legumes – beans
· Yacon root
· Jicama root
· Gum Arabic
· Seaweed and other algae’s
o Some articles say wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, rye, & barley can help but I completely DISAGREE on this! Gluten causes more issues in your gut and leads to leaky gut and tons of other issues.
o Rice & Oats – considered “gluten free” but have other proteins in them that are so similar to gluten and can be difficult, for those who are sensitive to gluten, to digest.
· Coconut Kefir
· Water Kefir
· Brine-cured olives
· Traditional buttermilk
Probiotics listed in books & on the “internet”, but I’m not a fan of are:
o Made from grains & cow or goat’s milk – not a huge fan as dairy can be a big issue for a lot of people
o Fermented soybeans – not a huge fan – soy is one of the big groups to always stay away from, especially for folks suffering with thyroid issues.
o Made with soybeans & sometimes barley & rye (aka a no-go). Not a huge fan. Soy, same reasons as above.
o Fermented soybean product – soy is hard for thyroid sufferers. Not a huge fan. Same as above.
· Yogurt – NO SUGAR ADDED
o Make sure it has active & live cultures as most of the good stuff is killed during the processing and then it just becomes a dairy, sugar-filled product. So be very careful of this.
· Cheese – ALWAYS ORGANIC
o Make sure it says live & active cultures on the label
§ Cottage cheese
o Some articles suggest that sour cream, cheese, and dairy products are good sources of probiotics but others say they aren’t and can even feed bad bacteria. Dairy is a very controversial subject and normally in the top contested food groups. Be wary.
Now in my opinion, the best way to get your prebiotics are to EAT them but probiotics are very tricky and from the list above it is hard to find truly good probiotics. What I do personally is buy TWO different probiotics, both in powder form from my favorite doctor and I take 1 scoop of one (ultra-immune IGG) and 1 packet (ultra-biotic defense) of the other every night. I do this while I’m trying to build up my good tummy culture. I do these because, like I said above, getting super good probiotics can be very, very tricky especially if you have food allergies, sensitivities, or autoimmune diseases. I like these powders best because I know there are no hidden sugars or ANYTHING in them that is bad for me and to be honest, they are simple and easy to take. I don’t have to worry about having a bad reaction to them. I take them once a day, mixed in a glass of water and you’re done!
In case you are interested in the TWO probiotics I use, I’ve listed them here:
Also, please know I do not receive ANY kickbacks, sponsorship, commissions or ANYTHING for promoting these products. Seriously, if I start getting paid for advertisements and things, I will be the first tell you. This guy (Dr. Peter Osborne) truly helped my family and I get healthy and his book is a serious life game-changer. Again, I’m not getting paid to say ANY of this. I just truly believe in promoting good people! And this doctor is truly amazing! He has taught us so much! If you would like to read his book (and I highly encourage everyone to do so), here is the link:
(And right now his BOOK is on sale for only $10.68 at Amazon!!)
Take a good multivitamin, take your elderberry supplements, drink your celery juice, and get your sleep!!!!
Another tip when rebuilding your good “bugs” in your tummy is to AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR LIKE THE PLAGUE, which feeds the growth of the bad bacteria and yeast. Now you may be thinking, “Kimberly, which foods are high in sugar?” Well, let me list some you’ll want to avoid (while building your tummy flora).
Note: there are exceptions to the foods below, like for instance, if there is zero added or only naturally occurring sugars, but for the most part I would try to avoid the below:
Food to avoid:
o Check your labels!!!!!! Fat is fine, it’s the added/processed sugar you want to stay away from
o Bar-b-q sauce, ketchup, etc.
· Fruit juices
· Most (99%) spaghetti sauces
· Sports drinks
· Flavored Coffees and creamers
· Chocolate milk
· Ice tea
· Protein bars
· Gum – I KNOW!!!!
· Pre-made soups
· Cereal bars
· Canned & dried fruit
· Frozen pizza
· Salad dressing
· Canned baked beans
· Bottled smoothies
· All Sodas
· Breakfast cereal
· Anything containing high fructose corn sugar/syrup
· Also, just because it’s “sugar free” doesn’t mean it is safe. Check for sugar chemicals that are being added.
MY LAST TIP:
DRINK YOUR WATER! There is literally so much literature out there on what the proper amount of water to consume each day is. Is it 8 cups of water a day? Is it half your body weight? Is it just to drink whenever you are thirsty? My thought on this is to do what feels right to you, and NO, skipping your water altogether is never right!!!! I’m talking to you MOM! (Yes, shots fired, hee-hee, but I love you). I personally drink half my body weight and I like how I feel, so that’s what works for me. But I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you. The important thing is that you drink enough to stay hydrated. Just DO NOT SKIP IT!!!! If you’re sick, exercising hard or under a lot of stress, you may need extra water to stay fully hydrated. Your body simply cannot heal or function properly without enough water. This is why your doctor always says drink plenty of fluids when you are sick. So, drink up!
Well folks, that is it for today. I hope you found this article informative or interesting and I hope to bring you more articles on how to better your health soon. If there’s anything you would specifically like me to blog about please let me know! I love taking requests.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this information will help you feel armed with the right tools to create a very happy tummy!
Xx Kimberly Ann
(in the Christmas spirit cause we are only 13 days away!!!)