In the meantime, I was still reading a lot of zero-carb material on the internet, trying to sort things out. One man, Jeff, started his own forum dedicated to proving that human beings thrive when there are no sugars and starches in the diet. He also made it a point to exhibit that, no matter how many calories he ate on a zero-carb diet, he would not gain or lose weight. At one point he was as high as 4,500 calories a day, literally drinking more than a quart of heavy cream each day. He also was out to show that exercise is completely different while avoiding carbs and eating an extremely high-fat diet, and his daily and weekly logs displayed how many miles he'd ran and how he felt for days afterwards. One thing that struck me was that he claimed to not feel sore at all after running over 20 miles in a day -- this coming from a guy that was not, by any means, a runner before the experiment. I was certainly impressed by all of this and similar reports from others, so I kept on with zero-carb hoping that I would adjust as other folks had.
I never adjusted, and I was starting to get frustrated. Spending time on forums, I couldn't find anyone that shared a similar predicament aside from a handful of folks. I had a few "gut buddies" who related to much of what I had going on, and we would all communicate what seemed to be working and what wasn't. We each individually tried manipulating our eating patterns and supplementing digestive aids like enzymes, herbs, probiotics, and all of those things that are typically recommended to people with the catch-all health problem known as "irritable bowel syndrome." While some approaches appeared to have benefit, by and large nothing did the trick. In the end, we still had the same symptoms. Seeking to deepen my understanding of what was going on, I returned to studying the human digestive tract. I payed careful attention to where I was feeling what and how the symptoms could be related to certain organs and functions within my GI tract. Much of the information I came across was pretty dry and lacked experience. I needed to find someone who had resolved his or her digestive problems experientially and could help me along. The problem was that every digestion expert out there seemed to recommend fiber as the Holy Grail of gut reparation. I was already skeptical of this method of improving intestinal problems because 1) it hadn't worked for me and 2) fiber appeared to be completely unnecessary in digestive functions anyway -- lots of folks I was in contact with weren't having any problem with a zero-fiber diet. But why the heck was I having problems? Enter Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of a book called Fiber Menace.
I caught wind of Mr. Monastyrsky's gut manifesto on a forum I frequented. Reading excerpts from his book, I knew this was the guy to learn from. His story was very similar to mine -- a vegetarian who developed digestive problems and then realized that things needed to change. Fiber only seemed to make his problems worse, and so Monastyrsky looked at other means of getting well again, delving into medical texts and other research to find out more about human physiology. Like me, he was a health detective, and he labeled this approach to wellness "Forensic Nutrition." In Fiber Menace, Monastyrsky laid out the fundamentals of what got him better and built a strong case against many of the mainstream health mantras of our time, such as the supposed "dangers" of a low-carb diet and the necessity of drinking eight glasses of water a day. I found his viewpoints fascinating and quickly devoured his book. Shortly thereafter, I tried out some of his supplement recommendations, which included a non-habit-forming laxative (a form of vitmain C) and probiotic bacteria with small amounts of soluble fibers to feed them. These were things I'd tried before, but for some reason I always ran into problems with. But when I tried Monastyrsky's supplement regimen, I was free of hard stools for the first time in several months. Astoundingly, the heaviness in my body went away, and I felt lighter and tension free like I hadn't in a very long time -- probably since I had been eating very little food as a vegetarian.
|Dr. Jan Kwasniewski|
Part 6 of "My Intestinal Saga" coming soon ...