I get tired of hearing me whine, so I can completely understand if you don’t want to hear it either. I feel I must write this post though, because I’ve so often sung the praises of raw garlic over the past 2-3 months, and I need to balance it with a big fat dose of truth. So if you’re tired of hearing me whine, I understand. Go over to Free The Animal. He makes me look like Pollyanna.
Anyway….so where was I?
Oh yeah, garlic.
The garlic felt like a godsend at first, and erased all traces of diet-related depression. Prior to my Great Garlic Experiment I was depressed whenever I ate something containing starch – potatoes, potato starch, rice, even cocoa powder (which contains a gram of starch per tablespoon). I figured it had to be a gut problem – maybe a gut microbe problem – and was impressed by hearing stories of raw garlic having antibiotic properties. Maybe it was just what I needed! I paired it with probiotics and prebiotics in order to replace the bad bugs with good ones. And indeed the results were great. Depression gone for 2 months.
So I added starches back into my diet, having become tired of the restrictiveness of getting all carbs from various forms of sugar. Well the gut bugs (I guess) grew back, and while I didn’t become depressed I wasn’t feeling happy anymore and I was gaining weight. So I turned back to the garlic to kill them off again. At first I’d have a clove of garlic a day or every two days. Didn’t seem to make a difference. Heartburn started creeping in, no matter what I ate. I quit the probiotics and prebiotics – maybe they were causing Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
Then I made things really bad by eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables – I was trying to lose weight and manage my blood sugar in a conventional manner. Well all intestinal hell broke lose then, probably due to the fiber irritating my digestive tract and causing an increase in endotoxin and serotonin. I became depressed again for the first time in over 2 months. I quit eating fibrous foods and cranked up the garlic, you know – to kill the evil bugs and reduce endotoxin. That’s when hearburn became really bad – like, 12 hours a day or more, and stopped responding to baking soda and antacids. I guess the garlic was making it worse. So a few days ago I quit the garlic.
Yesterday I thought, “Ok, so if something about the garlic was causing the heartburn, then the probiotics might be ok to take!” So I took some probiotics and a half teaspoon of inulin powder (prebiotic). Gas pains all day. No heartburn though! But pain all day and all night. I didn’t used to have problems digesting inulin, but I do now.
So I think I’m done with all of this nonsense. Garlic was a decent short term fix, but there’s something about it that causes problems (heartburn) with longer-term use. I’m not sure exactly what causes the heartburn – I’ve heard that it can be related to inflammation of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, so it doesn’t close fully – thus, when stomach acid is secreted in response to food, some can back up into the esophagus causing heartburn. I do know that it’s gone now without the garlic. I think that garlic does have powerful antibiotic properties though – in fact, I think it killed off the gut bacteria that fed on the gas produced by inulin.
In all I’m back to recovering from this mess, but it appears the only things I digest well anymore are the foods that Ray Peat recommends. Dairy, juice, meat, fat, eggs, sugar, and maybe some low-fiber fruit like watermelon, and some well-cooked vegetables. It’s no longer a choice. I have to eat this stuff and nothing else or I’m in emotional and physical pain.
That’s ok, though. I’m willing to do that.