Wellness Journey – Part 1


Wellness is generally means a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. Like many people, I long for feeling well, especially digestively and mentally.

Wellness: the state of being in good health

I define wellness in more tangible terms — feeling my very best and having energy to do everything I want in life. No sick days. I definitely don’t want to be restricted to lying on the couch because I feel awful. Instead, I define wellness as choosing to make health meals from the best possible ingredients that nourish my body, moving my body everyday and being thankful that I can, and being grateful for all that I have and all that I have to look forward to in my life. After all, I plan on living a vibrant and full life, and reaching the milestone of 100 years of age! That’s right, I plan on living to be 100 in an amazingly healthy body because of making wellness choice today and everyday.
Okay, I’ve been on this journey to wellness for almost a decade. And just when I think I’ve climbed the mountain to feeling well, I seem to come tumbling down that mountain and wondering if I want to put the energy into attempting to summiting again. Since I don’t like feeling “yucky,” I pick myself up, search for solutions and put actions into play to regain my feeling of wellness and health.

Tweetable: When ‘i’ is replaced by ‘we,’ even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness.’ – UnknownTweet!

Well, I’m on this journey to summiting again. Over the last decade, I’ve wound through a maze of food-related asthma, food intolerances, candidiasis and adrenal dysfunction. Each time, I thought I had found my way to wellness only to discover this feeling was short lived.

I’ve been reading a lot about SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) on various sites. After much research, I decided to visit my family doctor to see if the lactose breath test could be covered on my Alberta Healthcare. The short answer was yes. The long answer not really unless I was willing to wait 18-24 months to see a gastroenterologist, see a dietician (funny considering I’m a nutritionist), follow a variety to diets (already done to feel better) and only after a gastroenterologist agreed I needed it. Hummm…but I could pay for the test out of pocket.

You guessed it. I choose to pay for the lactose breath test out of my own pocket and find out if I, in fact, have SIBO. No surprise, it came back positive for methane SIBO or SIBO-C (C for constipation). My methane numbers were very high and hydrogen-methane combined numbers were high.

So about three weeks ago, I delved into a much harder part of my health journey — that of eradicating SIBO. After researching and consulting with my naturopath, I decided to use herbal antibiotics instead of pharmaceutical antibiotics. I’ve felt like crap for the last couple of weeks! I’ve been bloated and visibly distended in the abdominal region to the point that elastic waist pants and shorts have become my wardrobe of choice. I’ve certainly wondered if I might never feel better. The problem with doing herbal antibiotics is that it is much longer, but its success rate is slightly better than conventional drugs. [1]  A multi-center study, including John’s Hopkins, found “herbal therapies are at least as effective as Rifaximin” with “similar response rates and safety profiles.”[2]  

I’ll admit I’m having to remind myself that there is no quick fix and I must stay the course chosen. Feeling nauseous, bloated, and generally unwell is not for me. This part of the journey can take six or more weeks — meaning I’m maybe halfway through this part.

You might be wondering how did I come to the conclusion that I might have SIBO. The bloating and distension were my symptoms I couldn’t get rid by diet, supplements or other lifestyle changes and persisted.

**SIBO symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • abdominal bloating (physical distension and “feeling” of being bloated)
  • abdominal pain and/or discomfort
  • abdominal cramps
  • gas – flatulence and burping
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • heartburn/GERD
  • nausea

**If you experience these symptoms intermittently (now and then), it is unlikely to be SIBO. However, if you experience them on an ongoing basis (three or more months), then SIBO is possibly at play. In fact, there is ongoing research by Dr Mark Pimental that SIBO and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) may be linked. For a more extensive list of possible symptoms, check out Dr Siebecker’s website here.

My next instalment of this “Wellness Journey” will be when I’ve completed my herbal antibiotics and ready to move into phase two of this SIBO journey.

If you think you might have SIBO, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at hello@wattworksnutrition.ca. I can offer my experience, how to get tested and where and provide nutritional and dietary support through the process of healing. You don’t have to suffer alone. SIBO


[1] Siebecker, Allison. “Herbal Antibiotics.” SIBO Info. http://www.siboinfo.com/herbal-antibiotics.html

[2] Chedid V, et al. “Herbal therapy is equivalent to rifaximin for the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.” Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 May;3(3):16-24. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.019. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24891990

About Brenda

As a nutrition consultant and educator, I aim to support you in achieving health and vitality through natural wholesome foods and lifestyle transformation. Ready to change yourself from the inside out? Then contact Brenda today.