By Naturopath, Leisa Armstrong
I have to start this journey by saying that as a naturopath, I know that good gut health is a foundation issue for overall health. I know it, I preach it, but honestly, I haven’t been living it. For years now, I have been living life knowing every day that I have a wide range of signs and symptoms that my gut health is extremely subpar.
I know that I should, but I haven’t been giving these signs the respect they deserve. I think I must have been subconsciously hoping they would go away on their own but its time to change this, time to take control of my situation. This is the story of my honest, real, and likely oversharing journey to start the process of change and make my way back to good gut health. By the way, when I say overshare, I do mean it. Expect awkward, uncomfortable and gross. I will be comparing my poo to the stool chart at the end if you really want a visual of where I’m at as well.
First of all, I think it’s important to explain my gut concerns, so you can see why I believe I need to take control of them. I am someone who suffers from random nausea, alternating bowel habits (where I go between constipated and diarrhoea like soft, urgent stools), bloating, tummy pain and discomfort, and a fair bit of wind in the evening. These symptoms are almost daily for me, just changing themselves up depending on the day so it has essentially become my normal. But that’s the problem, this isn’t normal.
My typical day would start with me waking up, needing coffee (not wanting, needing!), then the urgency hits, where I have to dash to the toilet even sometimes before finishing said coffee, where 9 out of 10 times I will have a loose and forceful toilet experience, that doesn’t leave me feeling better or empty afterwards. I often sit there after my initial eviction waiting for the rest, but it just doesn’t come, so I feel unsatisfied with my experience. Sometimes, especially when I am running late for work and stressed, I can hold off that urgency and skip my coffee-induced trip to the porcelain throne, but then I end up spending the whole day in this perpetual state of discomfort, but with no ability to actually go number 2. I call these my constipation days. In the time before coffee, I would often go days between poos, and they were normally quite solid, hard to pass and painful. This has left me using coffee as not only an energy crutch but a bowel moving crutch as well. Without it, I wouldn’t stand much of a chance of having a good day.
So, to that I say no more! Here I go (and hopefully I will be going), wish me luck!
7am - Today was one of my running late days, I knew if I stopped to go to the loo I was going to be particularly late to work, so even though I was feeling uncomfortable, I held it in when that coffee urge hit and made my way to work. I was hoping that when I got there I might have some luck with coffee number 2, but unfortunately no luck for me. Mind you, by the time I finished my 2nd coffee, I’m randomly feeling pretty nauseous.
12pm - I am starting to feel bloated as well as still having that uncomfortable painful feeling, so I have now taken my first serve of Complete Gut Restore.
2:30pm – My stomach is making some super loud noises, but I can’t be sure if it’s because of the product or the fact I haven’t stopped to have lunch until now… actually now I think about it, other than coffee and the Complete Gut Restore, I haven’t eaten at all today… oops.
6pm – I just got home and not a moment too soon, because I am cramping up and need to finally go. What a relief! I’ll be honest with this part too, on a consistency note, my actual movement changed mid-motion too, so I went from rabbit droppings to start to a nice number 4 at the end. That to me is really indicative of that constipation earlier in the day, where it has been in my intestines for too long and the water has absorbed out of it, leaving it as those broken pellets, whereas the end bit was what it should have been all along if it was moving at the right speed. My tummy still felt a little weird afterwards, like maybe there was still more to come but a no-go there. On the brightside, I’m not cramping anymore so at least I know that was just the urgency to go from holding on until I got home rather than something else.
7am – I woke up today feeling ok, I had a little grumbling in the tummy but that settled down once I let one rip… It might be in my head, but I feel like I am less bloated this morning. I mean, I didn’t have to actively choose a pair of pants that would hide my bloating and not leave me with a muffin top so it must be real. I actually ate breakfast too this morning which was a win and I have postponed my normal morning coffee until I get to work, but that meant my morning trip to the loo was unsuccessful. I feel like I could go, but I didn’t have any urgency to get me started so no luck. Mind you, I went last night so maybe that’s also another reason why. I still tried though because I do recognize that it’s important to give my body the time to try (although obviously I don’t always do that either, like yesterday, and then horribly regret it later).
11am – Ok so I have now got 2 coffees under my belt and I’m starting to feel that urgency. I know it’s not ideal to rely on my coffee, but it’s the crutch I have fallen into and honestly, I would rather be going by some means, than not at all. Yep, that urgency kicked in hard, so I ended up with an explosive type 6 that was fast and furious. Afterwards, I’m feeling a little crampy and unfinished but again, that’s pretty standard for me. It should settle down soon. I should also really look at swapping the milk in my coffee since I have issues with dairy, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, so I opt for lactose-free milk instead although that probably isn’t enough of a change to be honest. If I was my own client I would be strongly highlighting the fact that yes coffee can make you go like that, but so can the wrong milk…
12pm – Complete Gut Restore time.
6pm - I feel pretty good this afternoon, nothing to really say except that I don’t have the crazy grumbling like I did yesterday.
9pm – Actually I’ve just realised that I’m not farting as often this evening compared to a normal evening… But then the couple I did do were really good and very satisfying haha.
9am - Aren't weekend lay-ins are the best! I've woken up feeling pretty flat stomached again so that's a win. I've got some grumbling but I'm pretty sure I'm just hungry.
10am - I actually went to the toilet this morning because I felt like it rather than because I didn't have a choice. Normally that urgency kicks in and it’s a must-do right now, whereas this morning, it felt like a more natural urge, like an ‘oh, I wouldn’t mind taking a load off right now’ type of urge. I changed types mid-motion again so I went from say a type 3 to a type 5 by the end.
5.30pm – Oops I forgot to take my Complete Gut Restore today so I just took it now. Good old Saturdays changing up your routine. I like to think it’s pretty common for people to take their supplements when they get out of the habit like a Saturday not following the process they normally follow during the week. But that’s the good thing, this product doesn’t need to be taken at a specific time so I just took it when I remembered.
6pm – Um, I’m sorry, hold the phone, what is this? Two poos in one day! That's different in its self but this one was a pretty good texture for me too, type 4, smooth sausage-like and without that usual cramping urgency I need to get going.
10am – This morning I’ve just gone and I’m happy to say that whilst it was probably only a type 5, it didn’t have that intense painful urgency I normally get. So, I am really happy with that because ultimately, a nicer experience makes for a happier association where you don’t dread your trip to the loo.
3:30pm – I remembered again lol better late than never so I just took my Complete Gut Restore.
8am – My stomach isn’t feeling as flat looking this morning but I just went to the toilet without having any coffee (yet) which is a huge win! It changed from a type 3 to type 4 so yay! Fingers crossed this is the start of my new normal.
8:30pm - So it seems as though having it in the afternoon/evening is the go for me. I only just realised that I hadn’t taken my product, so I’ve just taken it now.
8am – I have an audit at work today so I’m feeling exceptionally stressed and anxious. I have chosen to skip trying to go to the toilet before I leave the house, even though I feel like I could go if I tried because I’m paranoid I’m going to be late if I stop to go.
9:30 - It is crazy how much stress affects you. My body was feeling heavy and ready to go, but because of my stress, it was so hard for me to calm down enough to let it do its thing. So not my guts’ fault but my stress’ fault that this time it took me a while to get things moving. When I did though my consistency was great this time, a nice type 4 with no changes mid-way, with no nasty pain like normal.
12pm – Ok success, audit done and I can relax again. Funny enough, I actually had one of my colleagues just tell me how much better I am looking today, she said I look more vibrant and healthy. Wonder if it’s something to do with this journey or just a coincidence? I guess ultimately it doesn’t matter, I’m doing something right! Also, on that note, I really am happy with how this journey is going, I may not be at the perfect point right now, but just the decrease in pain and urgency is a really good start because it’s taking the dread out of toilet time and I can already see the consistency changing and heading in the right direction. I used to truly rely on coffee for both that caffeine hit and to get movements happening but it would leave me at a painful type 6 which is far from pleasant. Now I am still having my coffee for the caffeine, but it’s not giving me that nasty cramping experience and I’m just going when I feel like it, not when my body isn’t giving me a choice.
5:30pm – Complete Gut Restore time
7:30am - So this morning when I got up for my morning wee, I realised that I could totally poo too. So I did! It was roughly a type 3 and it felt like it took ages to be done, but I think that’s just because I’m used to fast and furious diarrhea-like movements so anything would feel like an eternity after experiencing that for so long. My tummy is feeling less bloated today as well so it’s looking a lot flatter than it sometimes is in the mornings. I also noticed that I was hungry this morning which is another big difference, normally I have absolutely no interest in food until about 11am, whereas this morning I was hungry enough to actually have breakfast, sure it was something small, but it's still far more than I would normally have. I’ve also decided I am definitely going to keep taking the product in the evening to see if I can keep waking up this way and make this a new habit.
6:00pm – Complete Gut Restore.
I really feel like I am on the right path with my journey now. It's only been a week and yes, I am not at the perfect point yet, but I feel like all the changes I have noticed doing this diary are really showing me how this is the right way to go for me. It shouldn’t be painful or forceful like it was, it should have some nice shape and consistency to it rather than fluffy porridge, I shouldn’t be constipated if I don’t drink coffee and I shouldn’t feel bloated and tender in the tummy pretty much all the time. I expect I am going to have some good days and bad days, and some days that are a bit of both, but every time I have one less symptom, that is already a better day. I know I’m not going to get an overnight miracle, I’m working with years and years’ worth of subpar performance so I know I need to give my body time to adjust and change.
Honestly, I am surprised I had so many noticeable changes already in just one week. I suppose my advice to anyone following my journey in this diary is to give it a go, you might be surprised at the differences you notice yourself, and to be aware that adding more fibre to your diet (in any way) can mean you need to allow your body to have an adjustment period to get used to it. Your microbiome is feeding off that fibre using fermentation which can mean you notice more gas or bloating when you first increase your fibre, but it should settle down once they adjust to your new diet.
You can always do my latest trick which is having the product in the evening so I sleep through any of that part and wake up ready for the day.
If you want to try Complete Gut Restore for yourself, enjoy 30% OFF EOFY Sale ends midnight Monday, 22nd June 2020 11:59pm. Get in quick!
Stool chart examples
(Hard to pass pebbles)
(Hard lumpy sausage)
CORN ON THE COB
(Cracked bumpy sausage)
(Smooth and soft sausage)
(Soft easy to pass blobs)
(Fluffy or frothy soft pieces)
(Liquid diarrhoea pain or no pain)