Confusion regarding how to heal my gut.

Asked on March 28, 2016
Created March 25, 2016 at 11:36 AM

I was on multiple courses of antibiotics as a teenager for acne, and I used to practically live on junk food until a few years ago. My main health issue is chronic brain fog that never alleviates. I've tried food elimination and checking the environment for mold, lifestyle changes such as sleep, etc. and nothing has shifted the fog and the fatigue that goes with it. This leads to me to believe that I have a gut issue; in other words, eating paleo isn't enough unless I make an active effort to heal my gut.

This is where I'm starting to get confused. From many attempts at googling up gut tips, I've found that the majority of advice is nicely congregated into the "Gut Portal" on PaleoLeap (I can't create a link as I don't have 30 reputation points, sorry). I've had no issues avoiding grains and industrial oils, but I'm confused about probiotics in particular.

I've been drinking kefir made with traditional cows' milk; I live in the UK and use Cravendale milk, full-fat. It's both pasteurised and homogenised. I double-ferment the kefir, meaning I ferment it as normal for 24 hours and then leave the kefir itself out for another 24 hours to further minimise lactose content while increasing nutrition. I really enjoy drinking the kefir but I'm not sure if I'm sabotaging myself here for two reasons:

  1. I understand that dairy isn't recommended if you have gut issues, but what if it has been double-fermented before consumption? Is it still potentially problematic?
  2. I have absolutely no idea if I have a FODMAP intolerance or SIBO. If I have SIBO, probiotics are the last thing I should be adding. I have no idea if the dairy is still high in FODMAPs if fermented, either.

If you open the gut portal I linked to, the "Anything you're personally sensitive to" section under "1. Eliminate" also suggests coconut as a potential issue. I was thinking about switching the cows' milk with coconut milk instead, but it's another conflict that makes it tricky to make choices. Same goes for high-histamine foods, which again will eliminate probiotics (at least temporarily); if I have any of these issues, how do I actually go about rebuilding my gut flora?

My diet is very basic right now. I primarily eat rice with ground beef to save money (uni student), topped with sea salt. I usually add bell peppers, onions and garlic to the mix but I've eliminated nightshades and high-FODMAP foods in those cases just to figure out why I seem to be bloated as the day goes on. I also suffer from constipation (irregularity, mostly), often going every 2-3 days as opposed to daily on a consistent basis. I love bone broth, but I have no idea how to make it myself.


I 'm pretty stumped about how to move forward with all this conflicting information. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


on March 28, 2016
at 11:19 AM

I am in a somewhat similar situation. I have several ideas that need to be tested. Some involve supplements that are relatively expensive (probiotics, peppermint oil ...). Some involve some risk (water kefir). I'd recommend trying home made (fido jar) sauerkraut starting with a tiny dose.

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1 Answers



on March 28, 2016
at 10:16 AM

Maybe you lack electrolytes like potassium. Try eating potatoes/tubers with the meat instead of white rice, or mix in plenty of cooked vegetables with the rice. Cooked carrots are usualy well tolerated, and very cheap. A brain fogged, drained, exhausted feeling is commonly experienced on water fasts or in the morning after a junk food diet and/or too much coffee, alcohol, sugar etc, all depleting potassium. When these people drink some young coconut water, which is rich in potassium and other electrolytes, but low in sugar, they sometimes quickly get energy and well being back and the craving for coffee or other stimulants is greatly reduced. Personally I have fasted for many days on coconut water and chlorella (green juices would probably be equally effective) without any fatigue or problems whatsoever. An alterantive would be just vegetable broth or even baking soda, even fruits in the morning; you could try the Japanese banana diet approach of eating only bananas for breakfast and then nothing before lunch and no late meals in the evening.


on March 28, 2016
at 12:04 PM

I agree in that adding some variety and rotation while keeping track of symptoms with a diary may help.

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