There may be some of you that don’t know who i am, have possibly never heard of me or anything about me for that matter, so to write a full blog about my journey without first giving some insight to who i am could be confusing.
With out giving every detail of my life away i want to concentrate on one area of importance that relates to this blog. My name is simon herbert and I started up pro-fitness sheffield and run the business as a personal trainer and sports nutritionist, i have competed in many sports from body building, sprinting as a younger teen and now currently compete in the ever-growing combat sports.
I will be writing this blog not just for my own purposes but also for many out there that suffers the same medical problems i have over the past few years.
4 years ago at x-mas time, i was waking bloated first thing in the morning, it was like this daily for me, bloated when eating, bloated when fasted, urgency to empty my bowel within seconds then struggling to open my bowel.
I knew something wasn’t right with my stomach and at that time i wasnt too sure what was causing it, i had good knowledge of nutrition at that time and my diet was pretty good all round 80/20. So to me at the time it was somewhat baffling.
It wasn’t until i was running to the toilet 10+ times per day loosing blood from my back passage, that i realised something was very wrong. I attended A&E and was checked over, to cut a long story short, after a few days in hospital they diagnosed me with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) or ulcerative colitis as its also known. This is where the colon (intestine) gets inflamed and ulcers, causing bleeding of the intestinal walls and the matter of urgency to empty the bowels at no warning.
It was hard at first been told this by the specialists, as you can imagine all the questions went through my head. They dosed me up on high amounts of steroids and antibiotics and eventually i returned home.
Totally un aware what to do know, if i would keep my colon, will i live less years, all these questions went through my head after been told by the specialists that the lower part of my colon is past repair and eventually i would loose it and have to be operated on for a colostomy bag, i decided to do what i do best and deal with this my self.
Nurses and doctors are super at what they do, but i know that the best way to deal with most health issues is by diet and lifestyle and in this case thats what i researched. I hadn’t studied nutrition at that point, but my knowledge was still good. I have been training my self and others for around 12 years and i was fully aware Taking medications has other major impacts on health.
1 year before i had the bowel problems start, (5years ago) i cut my arm while working, it got infected and tracked up the veins in my arm. I was sent for surgery where they cut an access out and put me on 4 different types of antibiotics for 3 weeks,
I will come back to this later, but i am convinced this is what started my bowel problem due to an imbalance in gut bacteria from the antibiotic use.
So after my stay in hospital with the diagnosis of UC (ulcerative colitis) I went deep into the effects, causes and how to deal with my UC, i was told by specialists to take anti inflammatory medicines to combat the inflammation and reduce any irritation in the gut. I was advised to take antibiotics, edemas, oral mezalazine, prednisolone, this cortico-steroid is evil, strips bone mass, muscle mass, causes rapid weight gain.
I couldn’t bear the thought of loosing my physique and the way these meds made me feel, so i discontinued use of them
8 months later i was rushed back into hospital with bleeding again, they drove some intravenous medication in me and pumped me full of meds again, i logged 27 toilet visits in 24 hours and loosing lots of essential fluids from my body, i knew this was BAD but didn’t know how bad. The next day i was told they needed to operate to remove the damaged part of my colon before the disease spread. “what does that mean ” i asked, ” we need to remove the diseased part of your intestine and surgically make a colostomy pouch on the out side of your stomach as a temporary measure, with the possibility of total removal of my colon.
My answer was no FUCKING way, i refused surgery, signed a disclaimer and discharged my self from hospital 3 days later. i continued to take my medication and with in 6 months i was back in hospital with massive pains in my abdomen, nothing i have ever experienced so bad. They run some tests and told me i had pancreatitis which is inflammation of the pancreas, life threatening in some cases and i was extremely ill for weeks in hospital.
My research was still going on from my hospital bed and i found out the medication for my ibd was pointing towards my pancreatic problem. the side effects of mesalazine which i had continued to take.
Although the surgeons had told me it wasn’t the meds, i was convinced it was. It was time to get serious with my nutrition and figure this out in depth.
I took some time off training and all the evidence i found out about my illness was linked to the bacteria imbalances in the gut. Earlier i stated i had been on 4 different types of antibiotics, this would have messed up my gut flora like you have never nown. In our gut we have bacteria called gut flora, gut flora is a balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria, both need to be present in our guts. But if an imbalance occurs and we have too much bad bacteria, then digestive issues can occur. Antibiotics and most medications remove the mucosal lining of the colon and increase bad bacteria. When the mucosal lining is thinning, the colon can perforate, these explantations are over simplified but you get the gist right? once the colon perforates (leaky gut/dysbiosis) Food particles can pass through the colon and into the blood stream. When these food particles pass through they are recognised as a problem in the blood and are attacked. This is the bodies natural defence mechanism, over time un digested food passing through the gut lining is attacked and causes an auto immune response, IBD and UC are auto immune diseases.
Over time i reduced gluten, dairy, alcohol, stimulants like caffeine and fat strippers, i was also using anabolic steroids so discontinued the use of these too. I also removed all sweet and processed foods but carried on taking my mesalazine, i knew the other meds were evil but i didn’t have the knowledge or the guts ( no punn intended) to remove the last part of my medication. I was worried if i discontinued my mesalazine i would be hospitalised again.
I slowly added exercise back in, and kept my diet clean without alcohol for months and months, I slowly got better and better. Compared to how i felt when hospitalised i felt awesome, i knew i wasnt 100% but i was just glad to be back feeling good and back in the ring fighting again.
Its now 2 years since i have had any serious problems with my gut, my diet is good 90% of the time and i reintroduced alcohol, gluten and dairy and some sweet stuff back into my diet over time, i had no major problems. I did however have bloating sometimes and stuffy nose, tiredness and lethargy etc, but i can deal with that shit after previous implications.
So i build the courage up to start weening off my last medication i was using (mesalazine) and hope for the best, 7-8 months have now been off all meds with no major implications, surgeons are surprised, IBD nurse is amazed (thinks I’m risking it in time but hey ho ).
The problems i have been encountering recently are increased tiredness and fatigue, brain fog, lethargy, bloatedness, and i noticed this more than ever in my last fight. I was signed up to fight for the northern area kickboxing title in july, i knew my opponent was tough and i trained harder than ever and dieted stricter than ever, but i lacked the mental drive and energy like never before. Before entering the ring i was tired, dry eyed and just didn’t want to be there. I knew i didn’t feel my self, i lost to a good opponent in the first round by taking a knee to the ribs. This was a school boy error on my side and should have been avoided but my brain felt tired and foggy, i couldn’t think.
After a few days i knew i was having some underlying problems still, it just isn’t normal to feel how i felt leading up to that fight. I knew i needed to take my nutrition to another level.
This is when i decided to get in contact with a guy called calum gore who i have followed and spoke briefly with for over 2 years, i first came across calum from Zach khan who i knew, (thats one L calum) :-), Calum owns gore bio science and there the top of there game for all types of biochemical diagnostic testing. After a brief chat with calum we discussed what i needed to do.
Knowing that calum has had some similar issues i knew i was in good hands, calum suggested taking an MRT test, this test basically tests 150 foods with droplets of my blood, there are checked with each food under a microscope to check for reactions. The test is around 96% accurate and i received a full breakdown of the foods i am intolerant to and the foods i am safe to eat.
The idea of this test is to remove all foods that i am intolerant to, reduce gut inflammation and rebuild my gut health and immune strength. It is a long strict process but when it is completed i will be back to normal. I am 2 weeks into my immune calm diet and already feeling better. I can’t wait to feel 100% again, its been long awaited.
Here is a recent photo, although i look in good shape my insides don’t feel it, i feel shit everyday and could not get rid of the last bit of abdominal fat. some people will be heavily bloated and struggle to loose weight. This is a prime example that looking in shape does not mean your healthy.
Stay tuned into my blog, part 2 will be a breakdown of my mrt test results and my gut fixing protocol and the road to recovery.