Gut Instincts

My digestive system is so mad at me.

Like, seriously pissed.

I think it may have even gone on strike.

How do I know?

Beacause it’s refusing to work.

Lately, whenever I eat anything, my stomach immediatately bloats out and distends to the point that I look pregnant. That’s a hot look to rock when you’re 27 and very, very NOT pregnant.

The more I talk about my digestive issues, the more I realize everyone seems to have difficulty with their GI health in some way or another. What is happening to all of us?

I’ll admit it. I got desperate. After being cleared for celiac sprue, my GI doc casually added that I might be gluten sensitive, though there is no way to test for this. So I may have a kind-of sort-of illness that may or may not be an accurate diagnosis?

In my heart (and my gut), I do believe that whatever is happening is somehow diet related. I mean, how could it not be? After trying a medication in which one of the side effects is abortion (yes, the label actually said that. How can a medicine that causes death be good for me in any way, shape, or form?) but at this point he could have suggested shooting rat poison in my veins if I thought it would help relieve my symptoms. But even the death pill couldn’t cajole my colon into doing its job. This was going to require some drastic measures.

I carefully researched an elimination or food challenge diet, which is the most effective means of testing for food allergies and sensitivities. I know I don’t have an allergy because I don’t break out in hives or choke on air or anything of the nature. Sensitivities are much more sneaky and can be dormant for days without producing symptoms.

How fun.

There are different kinds of elimination diets and the more intense ones basically have you eliminate all foods save a select few fruits and veggies. Another approach is to eliminate only suspected foods, reintroduce them one by one, and monitor your body for symptoms. As much as it would suck, I decided to go that route.

I started by eliminating soy, because I eat so much of it, and gluten because the GI guy recommended it. I was kind of on the fence about the whole gluten thing because it seemed like it was another trendy, cure-all piece of diet advice that had no real scientific standing.

Eliminating soy and gluten eliminated half of my diet. That meant no soy lattes, no soy burgers or dogs, no tofu on my salads, and no crunchy, delicious soy crisps. No gluten meant no more PB & J on Wasa crackers and no cereal for my nightime snack.

I kind of wanted to have a small funeral to say goodbye to my most favorite foods. I was that sad.

The first couple of days were ok, and I was definitely less bloated, but my digestive system was still not happy with the terms of the agreement. It launched an assault on hard-boiled eggs. Ok, intestines, I won’t make you eat stinky eggs anymore either. This pacified the union for a short period of time before it waged a full on blitzkrieg against vegetables of any kind.

This meant war.

During peace talks with my GI tract (let’s just call her GiGi. We’ve established enough of a rapport), so during peace talks with GiGi, I agreed to a cease-fire with the vegetables in hopes that it might consider backing off on all the backing up.

I agreed to a (mostly) bland diet that goes against everything I believe in.

Gigi seems to have some sort of alliance with low fat dairy, fresh fruit, rice chex and Pb2 so I agreed to eat only these foods long enough for Gigi to get over her little huge tantrum.

You know how there is always cottage cheese on the menu at restaurants that old people frequent? Now I know why.

Packing lunch got a whole lot easier.

I think we’ve moved closer to a pact, people.

. Maybe my body really isn’t ready for all fruit and veg all the time, even though my head and all the books that I read would argue the exact opposite. I also came across this interesting article about a super scientific sounding illness called leaky gut syndrome.

Ultimately, I’d like to give GiGi some time to recover and then try to incorporate a balance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains.

On that note, I’ve seem some serious improvements with the whole gluten-free thing (as reluctant as I am to admit it) and there is a mountain of evidence (do your own research on that one) supporting its efficacy.

In a desperate attempt to find anything to eat that's not dairy, I discovered a bag of corn grits hanging out all lonely in the cupboard. I topped it with jalepeno tangerine jam and it turned out surprisingly awesome!

But the pasta I made for hubby was looking pretty tantalizing too. I don't even like pasta. I think I just want it because I'm not supposed to have it!

I’ll keep you posted on any Operation (Colon) Freedom developments.

Thanks for listening to me talk about this shit.

(insert juvenile giggling sounds here)

6 thoughts on “Gut Instincts

  1. I hope you start feeling better, and soon! I definitely have the same issues and although I’m hesitant to start removing food groups, I may have to soon. It just seems so weird because it doesn’t seem like it’s anything specific to my diet (and I definitely get enough fiber/exercise/drink enough water, aka the things that doctors recommend). I’m ready to trade my GI tract in for a new one. You with me?

    • I am so with you! I am having the hardest time finding the culprit because it seems like anything and everything seems to be causing it. I just keep telling myself the elimination diet is temporary and I don’t have to eat like this forever. On the upside, its forcing me to eat food I don’t normally eat so that’s kind of fun! Hope everything works out for you too! This is no fun!

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