A couple weeks ago, I cut out gluten, dairy, certain fruits and vegetable, and all meat excluding chicken, turkey, and fish.

What led to this insanity? Well I didn’t get here of my own accord. My body’s an asshole.

My body would never go for this

Let me be clear, however. I don’t have any life threatening diseases – I can still live my life normally. I’ve just living the past 5 years or more not knowing if the next thing I eat will end in debilitating pain. It’s more than a little annoying.

About two years ago, I started to focus on figuring out why I was having this problem. I went to a couple different doctors, did all the online research I could stand, and spoke with my mom – who had a similar issue that were solved by having her gall bladder removed. After much deliberation, as well as failed fiber and pain medication regimens, I decided to get my gall bladder checked. 6 months and a (confirmed) useless ball of gall bladder later, I went into surgery to have it removed.

They might as well have removed my pinky toe for all the good it did.

A few different doctors and a lot of pain later, I decided to take on the Elimination Diet, which I’d been putting off for a while (mainly due to my insatiable love of bagels).

The basic idea of an elimination diet is to severely cut down on the types of food that you consume, then reintroduce them to test for reactions and sensitivities. The strictest diet I found would have been far too difficult to stick to, and I already know that I do not, in fact, react to some of the foods that are listed, so I came up with a personalized version. The foods I’m testing are:

Gluten

Dairy

Fats

Dark Meat

Several types of fruit (Apples, watermelon, grapes)

Several types of vegetable (carrots, broccoli)

I’m also going to test out beans, but I want to do that after I’ve added in a food or two, because they’re a great way for me to get protein without becoming bored of having chicken all day, e’ery day.

Currently, my diet consists of a lot of eggs, beans, chicken, hot sauce, bananas, smoothies, and oatmeal. The smoothies are great because they are so versatile, and it’s definitely a fun challenge coming up with different recipes with the foods I can eat and all the different spices and sauces available (guaranteed gluten-free, of course).

The most challenging aspect, however, is eating out. It’s amazing the number of restaurants that have gluten or dairy in nearly every meal. Our culture is kind of obsessed with bread and cheese. Unless I find a place that has a specifically Gluten-Free section or options, I’m stuck with a basic salad with (hopefully) grilled chicken. Yay.

ANYWAY. I’d like to use my experience to help others in similar situations. While there are a lot of helpful sites dealing with digestion/intestinal/anything-in-the-stomach-region pains, there can always be more. It’s a very individual problem, and the more experiences shared, the better.

Also, disclaimer: I’m not a professional. I’m not even working with a professional (been there, done that). All I know is how my body feels and reacts to what I put into it.

Signs you may have food sensitivities and/or IBS (you may not experience all symptoms all the time, but if a few occur regularly, it’s highly likely):

Stomach pain

Bloating

Constipation

Diarrhea

Nausea

There are also allergies to food, but those reactions tend to manifest like other types of allergies (rashes, difficulty breathing, etc.)

If you are experiencing any of these problems, first, go see a doctor. There may be something more serious than simple food sensitivities and it’s better to know sooner than later. Already did that? Well, then let me show you path that I took to finding what I can and cannot eat:

1. Keep A Food Diary

It’s a pain in the ass…but it really helps with understanding and seeing connections between symptoms and certain foods. For me, oil was the first to go as every time I ate a fried food or one full of oil, I would feel absolutely awful the next day. I would be in pain and still feel like I just ate that meal, even though I was hungry.

Excel is a great tool for this, as are numerous apps and websites created for this very purpose.

2. Up Your Water Intake

If you don’t already get enough water (I drink at LEAST the recommended amount for my body weight), CHANGE THAT RIGHT NOW (insert bitchslap here). If you do, awesome, I know what it’s like to feel like you pee way more than should be normal too.

Water can help with digestion and keeping everything working properly, so it’s pretty important.

3. Up Your Fiber Intake

This goes hand in hand with the water thing. IF you are not getting sufficient fiber (20-25 grams a day for women, 25-30 for men), and you decide to increase that amount WITHOUT sufficient hydration, you will pay. Severely. Also, up your intake slowly so your intestines can figure out exactly what’s going on.

4. Cut Out Sketchy Foods

Here’s where that food diary comes in handy. If you notice a pattern occurring, over the course of at least two weeks, with certain food items, try cutting them out for 2-3 weeks and see what happens. If that helps and you decide to add one or more of them back in, it should be even more obvious which ones are the culprits. Hopefully only a few foods will need to be removed and you can carry on without a care. If not…well it’s time to get real serious up in here.

5. The Last Ditch (Seriously, You Gotta Be Desperate To Do This)*

Here’s the hurdle that I just recently jumped. Cutting out HUGE food groups that make up large portions of the average diet. It took me quite a while to get here…I thought I could live with and manage the pain, but I was wrong. After my most recent break at home (which included the holiday eating fests), I just constantly wanted to curl up and ignore the world. I figured this called for a drastic measure.

And, after two weeks gluten and dairy (and a few others things) free, I’d say I was right. I no longer dread going to class after I eat for fear of having to stay in an upright position while my tummy attacks me, and I feel energized and noticeably not bloated at the beginning of each day. It’s a wonderful thing.

*If you want to do an Elimination Diet, here are some great links to get started. And please make sure you’re getting enough calories to remain a functioning member of society!

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergies-elimination-diet – Describes the process of this diet

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2010/01/elimination-and-detoxification-diet-its.html – Lists foods you CAN eat and has a number of great recipes

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-dietThis has the chart I based my diet off of (although I included a couple foods it excludes)

Now go get better and tell me how you did it!

Advertisements
Comments
  1. A Table in the Sun says:

    Are you using certified gluten free oats? If not, there is sure to be a boatload of cross contamination.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s