I’ve been undergoing a huge lifestyle adjustment. If you follow me, you’ve noticed I’m posting a lot more recipes that are grain free, gluten free, dairy free – why have I cut many foods out of my diet?
A few people I know have been going through some changes as well and I’ve noticed they too have developed food sensitivities. I’m sharing this because it many help others who are wondering, why can’t I eat anything anymore?!
I remember as a teenager, my mom would make pizza every Saturday night. I’d eat a few slices of her homemade delight and head out with friends… but then I would have to leave early due to an upset stomach. Whether it was the dough, cheese or the pepperoni, something didn’t sit well with me.
I was a carb freak, not a big meat eater either. So my weight would tend to creep up, especially around my middle until I’d cut out the carbs, drop the weight, and then the cycle would start all over again.
Fast forward quite a few of years to soon after having my second child in 2007. The bloating and stomach pain seemed to worsen as time went on. When having an episode of bad bloating once a month became a daily occurrence, I knew I had to look into it. Why am I always bloated?
In 2009, I had a series of appointments and tests for my stomach issues. First tests checked my iron levels, thyroid, etc. and everything came back fine. I underwent an ultrasound which showed some inflammation but nothing else. My family doctor then sent me to see a gastroenterologist who ordered more tests including a colonoscopy – yes, how fun was that – and an endoscopy in 2010. I also did a food allergy test which showed I may be lactose intolerant and sensitive to wheat, but thankfully the Celiac test came back negative.
“So what can I do now?” I remember asking. “What is causing the bloating?”
The doctors couldn’t give me an explanation or solution to my constant discomfort. I was left to figure things out on my own.
I realized over time that whole wheat was the devil and oats and bran were also on my avoid-like-the-plague list of foods I had to cut out completely from my diet.
On I went, coming to realize on my own that eating too much of any carbohydrate would leave me feeling too full. It seems that EVERYTHING was bothering me. I’d eat breakfast and have an upset stomach, lunch, dinner – it didn’t seem to matter, I was bloated every day.
In 2012, I went on a on a low carb diet yet again. I tried to avoid bread and pasta, most dairy products and ate mostly vegetables, fruits and leaner cuts of meats. For snacks, I’d reach for yogurt and Wasa crackers, apples with peanut butter, cheese and crackers, hummus and pita, and for meals a lot of chicken, soups, veggies and fruits. But that couldn’t last long – you can’t deprive yourself completely! Triple fudge brownies? Penne a la vodka? How could I resist? I felt I had already cut out many foods out of my diet. Little did I know this was just the beginning.
The eczema on my hand diminished and I was feeling more energetic and less sluggish. Of course, taking vitamins and working out also helped my energy levels.
But of course such restrictions become difficult to follow day after day and I’m human! I craved pizza and pasta and I fell into the carb trap once again. I overdid it and once again, the bloating took over. But this time, it was pretty much happening every day to the point where my stomach felt tender to the touch. There were days I bloated so much, I looked six months pregnant.
Back to the doctor I went in 2014, asking for tests once again. In the meantime, I started keeping a log of what I would eat and then the reaction, if any. Was it the coffee? The acid in the coffee, or the cream or the type of sugar I used? I went from milk to lactose free milk, then tried organic milk and then avoided milk completely. I went from frozen yogurt to full-fat ice cream, wondering if the processing was the issue or the lactose or the process of removing the lactose! Gahhhh!
After weeks of trying and logging, I came to realize what foods were bothering me the most and which foods to cut out of my diet: wheat, oats, bran, soy, dairy, legumes (sometimes).
This past fall, I finally went to see a Naturopathic Doctor. If my medical doctor couldn’t help much, why wouldn’t I seek out natural alternatives? I did a food sensitivity test which revealed all that I already suspected… and more!
Peanuts? I had made the switch to organic peanut butter some time ago, which seemed to help. And I opted for almond butter as well.
Eggs? Noooooo! Had I eaten so much of these foods that I became sensitive to them?
My stomach had become so irritated and inflamed from these foods that I was forced to cut them out of my diet to help my stomach heal. So I have… In the past, I would CRAVE the foods I couldn’t eat, especially because they were forbidden! But now it doesn’t even faze me. It has become a complete lifestyle change.
It’s just not worth the pain and discomfort. Did you know that wheat can stay in your system for several months? I won’t even “cheat” a little, to have some pasta or a piece of fresh Italian bread – it’s just not worth the havoc it wreaks.
It’s been several months now that I’ve gone gluten and wheat free, and several weeks that I’ve been soy and dairy free. I definitely am feeling a HUGE difference – the bloating has improved tremendously. I don’t feel like I’m 100% yet but I’m on the road to healing my stomach.
Since I’ve had to cut out so many foods from my diet, what DO I actually eat?
What do I eat now that I’m gluten free – read here.