One reason why I started writing on this blog again is because there is so little information out there (or provided by doctors) regarding post-treatment recovery from CDI, especially regarding food and nutrition. So after going back and forth with folks in our online support group, I thought I’d just share here about my experience and what worked for me.
I think of my c-diff journey in phases:
- Active Infection
I am currently in the recovery/rebuilding phase. Thank goodness. I have made each of my milestones without recurrence, and I am declared “clinically cured.” Now my job is to help my gut rebuild the good bacteria that keeps me healthy and protects me against infection.
I think there were a number of things that aided my treatment and healing, and most fall under one of two categories: diet and lifestyle. I 100% believe that gratitude played a critical role in my recovery, especially as part of the Notice-Shift-Rewire technique. I’ve been actively practicing gratitude (3 things before bed every night) for years now, and I know it has positively impacted my life. But it was especially helpful during this really difficult time in my life. I also think movement was critical—even when it felt impossible. I tried to walk every day—at least 20 minutes. Yoga (there are a variety of poses to aid digestion or provide relief from GI pain) and meditation were also very helpful.
When I first started the healing process, one of the first complete meals I ate was kitchari. I think it was one of the best things I did. Kitchari has moong beans which are easily digestible and good for digestive health. They are a good source of fiber (and have many other benefits). They’re also in this modified moong dal khichdi recipe I make.
Looking back, I think adding fiber slowly early on really helped me return to normal more quickly. I didn’t purposely seek out fiber, but the foods I chose for being easily digestible actually were good sources of fiber. I ate sweet potatoes like they’re going out of style. I did lots of roasted root vegetables (all good fiber sources) or root veggies in stews with chicken and rice or beans. The key with vegetables is to ensure they’re well cooked, so they’re easier on the digestive system. Lentils are a good source of fiber and really versatile. You can do them bland or add flavor.
Oats are great for breakfast—I’ve been doing rolled oats, but I’m thinking of adding oat bran because I just read this article, which says “One of the biggest health benefits of incorporating oat bran into your diet is that it’s high in soluble fiber, which clings to water when digested and turns into a gel-like substance that can help regulate digestive health.” It goes on to explain, “Eating oat bran regularly has been linked to reducing constipation and providing relief from symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.”
When I was able, I slowly started adding probiotic foods and getting more creative. I am a big proponent of “slow and steady wins the race.” I add in only one new food in limited quantities at a time to see how my body responds.
My guiding word for the year (I choose one each year) is HEALING. And I am going to continue my healing/recovery journey with diet and lifestyle changes. I will continue to share those as I can in the hopes they will help someone else who ends up in the same situation—a potentially life-threatening diagnosis with little information, guidance, or support.