I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. Years. And for whatever reason, I’ve never sat down to do it. But here I am, finally FINALLY sitting down to do it. Did you guys know I smelled TERRIBLE the first year after c. diff. No lie, I smelled like a garbage can. Or maybe it was more of a toxic waste smell. I don’t know. All I know is that I smelled BAD. Really, really bad. I went to countless doctors after c. diff. (Well, technically I started going to doctors a few weeks before… but anyway…) and at each doctor visit, I listed my smell as a symptom. I asked each individual doctor (again, countless ones) about my smell. I had never smelled bad before. I mean, maybe not never, I’ sure I smelled of B.O. at some points in my life. But I had never smelled toxic before. And each doctor gave me a shrug or a shrug-off. Nothing more.
The thing is, now I get it. Doctors don’t really understand how the body works altogether. I mean, most doctors don’t anyway. You see a stomach doctor, or an ear doctor, or a joint doctor and not any of them is going to tell you that what you put in your stomach affects your ears and joints. Not one. And so when I went into each appointment and asked each and every doctor about my smell, not one could tell me that my smell was directly related to what was happening inside my body. Not one.
But the thing is– that’s exactly how body odor works. It’s directly related to what’s happening inside your body. For a very, very long time after c. diff. I smelled bad. My c. diff was gone (as far as I know– it might still be lurking, but my microbiome had and has it under control), but I continued to smell bad. My body was detoxing. My body was doing me the favor of purging out all the bacteria, and toxins and die off, and all the general garbage that was making a home inside my body. My body was like, “no you don’t belong here, later for you” and kicking out all the garbage. And I smelled bad because of it.
It didn’t help that I was overloading my body with fat and protein either. I was so concerned about the massive amount of weight I lost that I was overloading my body with foods that the body just couldn’t digest well. Even a healthy gut does better on a lower protein diet (research it if you don’t believe me). Our bodies do better and thrive when we feed it the foods we were designed for. But no, I was loading up on copious amounts of oils and proteins. And for what? Of course, I never gained the weight back like that. How do you gain weight when you cant digest nutrients? And so… my body was purging all the things in any way it could. And you could smell it.
Eventually, the smell went away. I can’t tell you exactly how long it took. (Not that it matters now anyway.) And I was free from smell– at least most of the time and for a good while anyway. Because the thing is— now? Thanks to detoxing efforts, I do often smell bad again. Or I often smell like what I eat. Like, I really really smell like what I eat. Like, if I drink a juice with celery in it, you will smell celery the next day– or at least crazy salty with a touch of celery in it. If I eat turmeric, cumin, and garlic, I smell like turmeric and garlic the next day. You truly are what you eat– and what you eat will surely find a way to excrete out of you.
So now, in the times when I’m focused on detoxing once again— this time actively and consciously detoxing, well, I find myself saying to the people around me, “I’m sorry I smell bad, I’m just detoxing.” I’m sure most scratch their heads a bit and leave with questions buzzing in their heads. But some do get it. Every day what you put in your body directly affects your body. And every day our bodies are doing their damn best to protect us. And so they purge out what we don’t need.
Do you smell bad? Your body is talking to you. It’s signaling that there are things being processed in your body that need to go. Meat, dairy, heavy fats, processed junk, even cooked foods, all those things will make you smell bad. Want to smell different? Try changing what you put in and on your body and your odor will change too.
I don’t wear deodorant anymore. I stopped a long time ago. I don’t need to mask anything. I don’t want to mask anything. I want to know if my body is thriving or fighting something off. And I have no shame. I’ll apologize for the moments I smell bad, but don’t confuse that with embarrassment. I don’t feel it. My body is doing a natural thing. And I know it won’t be long until the smells that are lingering are out for good.
I couldn’t work out after I first got sick. It would detox my body too quickly. Even two years after my initial diagnosis, I would struggle after workouts. Even a light yoga class would leave me feeling feverish and toxic. Now I work out regularly, and unless it’s a very new exercise to a usually unmoved muscle in my body, I’m fine and recover rather quickly after workouts. I don’t feel especially toxic or feverish and detox-y. And it’s wonderful.
But the smell? Well, it’s coming up again now that I’m actively attempting to detox. Well, it’s a different smell before, but certainly a toxic one. Regular workouts, sauna, detox friendly foods (fruits mostly), and whatever other attempts to detox my body of all these heavy metals and toxic die-offs have me smelling not so wonderful again. If we’re being super open here, I’d describe it almost like a burning plastic smell. (Ew). And in those times, I might explain (externally or internally) to the people around me, “Sorry I smell bad, I’m just detoxing.” (And so are you).
Ps. If you really want to get over-sharing and personal… my poop doesn’t stink. Truly. I mean, unless I eat papaya, and then it smells like papaya. Otherwise, *poof* nothing.
Pps. I thought it would be smart to mention hormones — since it was brought up in comments. Hormones absolutely will change your smell too. I’ve talked about this on instagram, but our bodies need to detox some of our hormones just like anything else that is within our bodies. This is why people who eat clean, dairy-free and gluten-free diets have easier periods too. If you pay close attention to your body you’ll notice how different stages of your cycle will affect your smell. 🙂 Cheers!