Case Study: Montse Is Customizing Her Way to Healing a Leaky Gut

by Jordan Reasoner

Montse-SLG-Success-Story-Pic

Jumping from diet to diet in hopes of finding the magic one is probably something each of us has experienced at one time or another.

Truth is, there isn’t one magic diet out there, as much as I wanted that to be true myself.

As a lifetime sufferer of digestive issues, our friend, and Solving Leaky Gut Community Member, Montse, tried everything from vegan to a raw diet.

In her search for something better, she found the Solving Leaky Gut Program and hoped it would lead her on a path she could trust in.

And it did.

In just 9 days, the gas, cramps, and bloating disappeared and she was finally able to begin stabilizing her weight.

Montse’s story is such an inspiration and is a great example of what’s possible when we’re willing to adapt and find just what it is our bodies need.

[Enter Montse]

Entering the Solving Leaky Gut Program is the last chapter of a long story. It all began in my childhood. I was never a good eater since I was a baby, but I managed to grow up quite healthy and energetic, even a bit plump. As many of you have, I drank a lot of milk and whenever I had flu or a cold, the doctor prescribed me some antibiotics. I guess those were the first assaults to my intestines!

Bloating, Cramps, and Pain Became My Normal

When I was 15, I had my first stomachaches. They became something usual. Nausea, heartburn, indigestion… I had problems with food and I began to lose weight. Two years later, the “war” extended to my gut and I began to have what I call my “gas-attacks” – awful bloating, with pain and cramps. They left me totally exhausted. For hours, sometimes all night long, I huddled on the couch, breathing and waiting until the pain was gone. I went to the emergency room two or three times, all the doctors told me was that I had bad constipation. They would give me an enema, I had a bowel movement and the pain ceased some time later. I resigned myself to the pain.

This has lasted for decades.

Meanwhile, I put on weight, becoming addicted to bread, dairy and sugar. Then I moved to another city and changed jobs. I lost weight again, I began training hard in the gym and jogging in the mornings. For years, I was the most energetic and active woman you can imagine. My only health issues were heartburn and the “gas attacks,” every now and then. They were a warning, surely! My diet was very poor, but I did not have the will to change. I was too busy to cook for myself and I lived on salads, bread, cheese and yogurt (plus sweet treats) for years. And I wasn’t aware of it, but I had become addicted to work and I lived under heavy stress (later on I would remember!)

My Doctor Told Me I Was Fine

I am now 46 years old. Three years ago, my digestive problems worsened. I went to the doctor and he ordered me some tests (colonoscopy, gastroscopy, abdominal echography). The result: all was completely normal. He said all must be a nervous problem or a consequence of a stressful life. Since I looked healthy enough and I had no other problems, he did not pay much attention to my complaints.

Physically weak and mentally dejected, finally I went to a holistic doctor. She ordered me some more tests and they found I had Helicobacter pylori. I followed the triple therapy (antibiotics + antacids) to kill the bacteria. Dietary advice was not given.

I Began Experimenting with Different Diet Programs

After that, my stomach and my intestine were devastated. I tried a vegan, raw food diet that only made things worse. I lost more than 20 pounds and everybody around me was really worried. What could I do?

I went to other integrative doctors and practitioners. Everyone had some recipes for me: I completely left the raw diet, which in my case was beneficial. I began taking probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins and a lot of different supplements. I delegated at work, I changed my schedules, I really tried to live in a more peaceful, stressless mood. I have tried so many things! But I could not get totally well.

Finally, after reading the China Study and knowing about the goodness of a plant based diet, with no added oils and sugars, I tried the McDougall program (a vegan, starch-based diet). I must admit that this program was wonderful for me. For the first time in years, I got rid of my heartburn. Quitting the oils was a discovery. I felt great, I gradually put on some weight and my skin and hair were glowing. I finally got it!

I Tried to Eat Out and Ended Up Hospitalized

Then, a day before New Year’s Eve, I went out with some friends. We ate in a restaurant (my first meal out in months). I had some raw salad, with oil, and some pasta, and white bread… Ufff! That night, my belly was swollen like a balloon. I spent two days writhing in pain at home. Finally, I went to the hospital. A scanner showed the doctors I had an intestinal bridle blocking my ileum. I went into emergency surgery.

This was on January 2, 2016. Seven months have passed. I’ve had an excellent recovery, but I have never achieved my goal, which is reducing my digestive issues to less than once a week and put on some pounds, to reach my ideal weight. Although the starch-based diet gave me a lot of digestive comfort and good looks, there must be something in my regime that was harming me. I kept on having pains and bloating more than once in a week. Maybe I was still suffering the consequences of the heavy medication I took in the hospital. Maybe I ate something that harmed me. Could it be gluten? Rice? Sugar? Legumes?

One Email From SCD Lifestyle Changed Everything…

I got a message in my inbox from Jordan and Steve, inviting me to join the Solving Leaky Gut Program. As many of you have, I’ve been searching a lot about digestive issues, and I had subscribed to their newsletter. I have also watched the lectures of the Gut Summit, and I have read a stack of books and articles. I feel I am becoming an expert on digestive issues! Well, not quite, but I am more informed than before.

I had nothing to lose. I decided myself and here I am! After a week reading about the program and preparing my menus (adapted to the Mediterranean cuisine) and shopping lists, I began last Monday.

I Didn’t Know I Could Feel This Good

What can I say? Today is my 9th day. I have followed the SLG program to the letter. I summarize this way: “Eat plants and animals. Whatever grows, whatever runs”:

  • Best quality, organic in most cases
  • Some avocado and coconut milk, some olive oil
  • Plus supplements
  • And plenty of rich, colourful fruits and veggies

I have zero indigestion, zero hunger, and zero discomfort! I feel great, energetic and people tell me I look nice. The only thing is a bit of constipation (I will have to check the constipation protocol), but nothing serious, I have just a bowel movement every two days, with no pain.

I Had My Doubts, But the Community Was There to Support Me

I spent a week studying the program, listening to some of the master classes and preparing everything: menus, shopping lists… My main obstacle was mental reluctance. For some time, I was convinced a vegan diet was perfect (a balanced, rich and varied diet, whole plant based). In fact, this kind of diet was going really well for me! But not 100%.

I wondered: how can I have energy without carbs, if I cannot properly digest fats and I remove them from the diet? And how can I have frequent bowel movements with so many animal products (which have no fiber)?

The hardest thing was accepting that I had to eat meat and fish on a daily basis, and definitely quit bread and potatoes. 

But Mariel and Lori Jo answered my questions, quickly and nicely. So I added plenty of fruits and vegetables to my diet (the carbs I need). As for the fats, I have found that I can digest avocado and coconut milk quite well (not oil, but milk is quite fatty, anyway), as well as some drops of olive oil. So, these are the fats I eat, apart from the animal fats naturally present in meat and fish.

One of my motivations to change was… despair! More than fear, I was tired of never, never feeling totally well. For 3 years, I was underweight and my doctors were warning me about the disastrous effects of not being in my healthy weight, not balancing my hormones, not having enough nutrients…

But my real motivation is love. I want to live a long, plentiful life with my beloved ones. It is for them that I am ready to try anything that brings me health.

I had my doubts about the SLG program. But once I was decided, it was like diving into a swimming pool: you jump or you don’t. There are no half measures. So I am resolved to follow the program strictly until the end. 

My “Bad Days” Have Disappeared

Every “bad day” (this means, a digestive issue, which means skipping the following meal) is a kind of vacuum cleaner that drains my energy and good humor. I used to have between 2 and 4 “bad days” every week. Now, it is my first week in years with “zero” bad days. This is great!

You told us that your program does work. You were truthful. It works, as long as you follow it without exceptions.

Regarding supplements: I have found supplements similar to those you recommend here in Barcelona. Some of them, I was already taking. I am under the supervision of a functional doctor who believes in integrative medicine. She agrees much with your program, by the way, and she helped me to adapt some recipes and menus to the mediterranean cuisine.

Here in Spain, there are good doctors and practitioners who believe in functional and integrative medicine. They rely on quality supplements and alternative therapies. But not all of them put enough stress on diet. Sometimes a radical change is required… and I’m confident that 90% of the success in this program is due to diet.

Customizing the Diet to Fit My Needs…

As you state in your messages and webinars, each person is different and that is why it is important to customize the program, according to everyone’s needs. After ten days following the program, I found I had lost more than 3 pounds. This is fantastic for people who are overweight. Surely this program helps to lose weight! But for people like me, who are underweight for years, it may be necessary to make some adjustments. My doctor asked me to check my diet and add something more to avoid losing weight, so I modified my regime, trying to follow the program the most thoroughly possible.

When there is a need to put on weight, your counsel is to increase the fat intake. I tried to, but it was a mistake. I really have problems digesting fats, as I already knew. After a day of terrible pains, gas and indigestion, followed by diarrhea, I made a resolution. I would follow the program, with a minimum intake of fats, but introducing a starchy vegetable (no grains, no legumes): potato.

Potato is a nightshade, which are allowed in the second 30 days of the program. Potato (never fried, but boiled or baked in the oven) has proved medicinal for me. I simply eat my greens with sufficient potato to make the dish consistent enough. And then I keep having fish or meat as a second dish. No dairy, no sugars, no eggs, no grains, no soy, etc.

After a week eating in this way, I am feeling great again, I have recovered the 3 lost pounds and I look even better than before. Not so skinny, stronger, with smooth skin, energy and more body mass (no fat but muscular).

So, if you are underweight and have no trouble digesting nightshades, my advice is: try to add potatoes to your diet. They are yummy, nourishing and helpful to regain your healthy shape.

I See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

To summarize: I come from a life of suffering and pain, due to digestive problems and intestinal issues. Now I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know the way is long and I will surely have some setbacks. But I have hope, I have learned so much and I want to keep on advancing to a new life of joy and vibrant health.

Thank you very much to the SCD Lifestyle team for sharing your knowledge, for offering solutions to many people like me, like you, and for your friendly support. Being connected helps to bridge the distance and keeps my motivation high.

Montse de Paz

[Enter Jordan]

This story makes me smile, because it’s exactly why we do what we do.

We’re so grateful for Monte and the fact that she finally knows what it’s like to wake up and feel great.

If you want to make a change and are looking for a program you can trust in, we invite you to join us for a FREE webinar on how to heal a leaky gut here:

http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/live-qva/

-Jordan

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About the author

Jordan Reasoner Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

janetm September 22, 2016 at 4:36 am

Thanks for posting your story. It is a real help to folk like me to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s incredible to go around for decades, trying every diet known to man, going to a variety of doctors and naturopaths, and still feel like you never left square one.
I am doing mainly bananas, cauliflower and meat these days. I cook liver and make a paste from it, rich in B vitamins. Today and yesterday were not so bad. It is also nice to get an injection of hope from opening the articles from the SCD website. Just that little bit makes a difference psychologically.
I don’t have a lot of support around me, in fact it is about zero. It is very difficult to explain to those who never experienced this daily wearing away of your spirit. It simply poisons any quality of life.
I cannot do any supplements as they are too irritating. I tried a bit of Maalox over the past week but the peppermint taste still remains, which to me is still a mystery. If anyone could come out with a plausible explanation for this, it would add to my peace of mind. The pressure at the base of the esophagus has to be gas. When that problem is solved, then the reflux should also go away.
I always believed my body could heal if given the right conditions. This is the little bird in the soul that continues to chirp its song of hope.

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Mariel Heiss September 22, 2016 at 2:32 pm

We’re so glad this story could support you Janet.

Have you considered working with a practitioner? They can give you the support and guidance you need to heal. More info here: http://scdlifestyle.com/practitioners/

Reply

janetm September 23, 2016 at 8:31 am

Well, I don’t live anywhere near one. I went to a naturopath about 2 years ago. He started with blood tests but I really doubt he would have stumbled on the specific carbohydrate diet. Around that time, I did order Gottschall’s book but really didn’t take it seriously enough. In time I allowed grains, milk and eggs to creep back in my diet. It was only reaching yet another dead end about two months ago, I took up the book again and was resolved to stick to it.
I think I understand the mechanism by which carbohydrates sort of keep us going with the false impression that we are A-OK. I wanted to address the issue of hyperactive that fairly stood out for me from the article. Just because I had loads of (nervous) energy, didn’t mean I was well. In fact, the contrary. The rich fuel of carbohydrate quickens the metabolism but at a price. To process them we need high quality food. If we are just getting processed flour and sugar, we don’t get the nourishing and repair elements. Instead, these ferment (as described by Gottschall) eventually causing a heck of a lot of damage.
My extended family has diabetes and heart disease after a certain age. I was telling my son (who also had to restrict his diet for inflammation reasons) that the same non-foods responsible for my family’s ill health are the same ones we need to avoid. I think it really boils down to this.
Thanks.

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