Food Intolerance and How to Heal
Do you think you have a food intolerance?
Warning this post is very open and talks about bodily functions. But if it can help someone, to me it’s worth sharing! Also, this is all from my own personal experience, I’m no doctor!
What does a food intolerance feel like? For me it all started as abnormal daily bloating and gas. Bloating that made me look pregnant and gas that was incredibly stinky. It progressed into stomach cramping as well. The cramping was very intense, it got to be excruciating. It felt like there was a giant brick in my stomach that would not move, nothing would pass, walking around wouldn’t help, it was awful. When the pain got really bad it would radiate all the way from my chest to my groin, I would think I was going to throw up but never did. I had daily diarrhea, heartburn, GERD, and so many more health problems.
My gluten intolerance was definitely the worst of all offenders. It made me nauseous, my heart would race which causes me to get anxious. My stomach hurt and rumbled, it causes acid reflex that made my mouth tastes like rotten oranges. I would feel like I’m was going to internally combust because nothing feels like it was moving. I would be in bed for a whole day.
One thing you need to know about food intolerance: symptoms can be very random . They don’t always show up RIGHT after you eat the food you’re intolerant to. It could show up DAYS after you eat it! Making it very hard to know what is causing the pain.
What’s going on?
For many different reasons, our gut can become imbalanced. It could be yeast overgrowth. It could be too much or too little bacteria. It could be SIBO (overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine). All of these things are very hard to diagnose by doctors.
What to do if you think you have a food intolerance?
Obviously, go to a doctor. Make sure it’s not a gallstone, ulcer or any other serious problem. If everything comes back negative like it did for me, do what I wish I did at the very beginning:
DO A FULL ELIMINATION DIET. And stick with it.
Please, please listen to me. Do the diet and you could save yourself YEARS of heartache and pain (let alone money and time).
An elimination diet is where you cut out everything other than vegetables, fruit and meat. (Whole 30 is a good diet to follow).
This is where I went wrong. I didn’t want to do the diet, I didn’t want to change what I ate, I didn’t want to learn to cook new things. I’m stubborn, very stubborn. I wanted to heal instantly and continue eating what I was used to.
Don’t do what I did.
If you stick with the elimination diet it gives your body time to heal. Just like a broken heart you have to give your gut time to heal, it won’t happen over night.
A lot of food, even healthy food, can be hard to digest. Things like oatmeal, rice, beans, quinoa, peanuts, and so many others. All of these foods are healthy but when you’re gut is already struggling to digest anything, all of these things can become an intolerance.
That is what was happening to me. Because my gut wasn’t healing, I kept on developing more intolerances.
Why I’m serious about sticking with the elimination diet.
I went about my healing process all wrong. I didn’t do a full elimination diet. Instead I started cutting out items one thing at a time. I would feel good for a little while, about a month and then I would get knocked on my butt again with the same ol’ symptoms. It’s devastating thinking you’re better only to be sick once again. I went through that for two full years. The problem was I needed to fully heal and in order to do that I needed to give my digestive system a break.
Why I would not reintroduce foods right away after an elimination diet
To be clear, stick with a whole 30 or paleo diet for as long as your body needs to heal. A gut imbalance is serious and is very sensitive to EVERYTHING. Healing will involve a lifestyle change, you will have to work hard to eat the right thing and relearn how to cook with new ingredients.
But it is possible to heal, and so worth it!
For me December 2017, only 3 months ago I decided it was time to FINALLY fix my health. I started the whole 30 diet. I’m not kidding you, I felt like a new person! Three months later it’s still a work in progress. 90% of the time I eat paleo/sugar free (which is very similar to whole 30). Within three months I am already able to eat some of the foods I was more intolerant to 3 months ago.
I’d like to also note that when you change your lifestyle and diet, and begin feeling the difference, you won’t want to eat the foods that encouraged negative gut health. It is important for people reading this to realize that this is a lifestyle change and not a temporary diet change.
You can still have all of your favorite foods
Great news! There’s a huge community out there with the same struggles as you. There are thousands of paleo and whole 30 recipes out there. You can eat EVERYTHING you love, you just have to try a little harder to make them. And that’s my goal, to share with you all of the recipes I’ve had success with. (Pinterest is another great place to find recipes)
Food is such a joy in life, it’s a way to gather with friends and family. Food is tradition and culture. It’s understandable to not want to change the way you eat, but it’s worth not living in pain.
I’ve been able to re-create all of my favorite traditions. Cinnamon rolls on Christmas, cake on birthdays, pie on thanksgiving. And I made everything, grain free, gluten free and vegan.
Comment below if you understand the struggle! And please if you have any recipe requests send them my way!