Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oops, I did it again.

            So, I have this tendency. To eat the same things. Over and over again. And it turns out, it’s making me sick. Ugh.
            I just got some lab results back from a naturopathic doctor, who I scrimped and saved to see, considering I have no health insurance at the moment and had to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. And basically, the verdict is that the lack of variety in my diet is actually creating some of my food sensitivities. I don’t fully understand how this works, yet, from a medical perspective. But my most basic grasp of it is this: Your body freaks the f*** out when you keep feeding it the same stuff (over and over again).
            And apparently, which I suppose I already suspected, food sensitivities are subject to change depending on eating habits, stress levels, seasonal changes, and hormones. Hmm, maybe that’s why when I’m PMSing, it seems like everything I put in my body triggers a reaction.
            The main way I’ve seen this manifesting in my body over the years is that, like I said, I have a tendency to eat the same things day after variety-lacking day. I know it's not ideal; I’m just a creature of habit, I guess. And sooner or later, the food items I consume on a daily basis begin to—very noticeably and until now, inexplicably—bother me: searing headaches, upset stomach, bloating, and even swelling will occur, seemingly out of nowhere, when I eat the item in question. Oh yeah, and I break out, too.
            For example, when I was working full-time as a production editor, I got in the habit of eating oatmeal every day for breakfast. It tasted good; it satisfied me; it made me feel healthy. Then, all of a sudden, I started reacting to it. I tried a handful more times to continue eating it in the mornings, and every time, the reaction got worse. So, I had to stop. This has happened to me countless times with various foods over the years—bananas, eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, almond butter, maple syrup, waffles (gluten-free), corn, risotto, and even, I must admit, Pamela’s dark chocolate cookies on a few select (and ultimately insignificant) occasions.
            So what’s the answer here? I need to change it up! I guess there’s a reason why they say variety is the spice of life.
I haven’t had my official follow-up appointment with this doctor to discuss the best plan of action here. But he did send me some literature along with my results, and from what I’ve been reading, the healing process begins by eliminating each and every food that your body is in any way sensitive to (based on the test results, which I'll detail in a later post because it turns out my body is freaking out over a lot of foods these days!) for a period of three weeks to six months, depending on the degree of sensitivity. And then, as long as you don’t have an allergy to the food (sorry, dairy), you can reintroduce certain items to your diet, slowly and carefully. If you still react, you stay away. If you don’t, then you’re free to enjoy—just not every single day (duh!).
This makes sense to me, because in each of the aforementioned cases, I'd refrain from eating the reaction-triggering food for a period of time, and then, one day—like magic—I could eat it again, no problem.
I am highly intrigued by this notion of welcoming banned foods back into my dietary rotation, especially considering that I do not have a known allergy to wheat. I have yet to be tested for celiac disease, due once again to my lack of health insurance. Gluten absolutely bothers my body, though, and this recent set of blood tests has officially confirmed that I am wheat intolerant. And yet, could this whole lack-of-variety-triggering-food-sensitivities theory possibly mean that there is a chance I could one day eat wheat again? I don’t know. Better get that whole celiac thing checked out before I let myself dare to dream.
Then again, going gluten-free has dramatically improved my day-to-day life in a number of ways. I eat more healthfully, and I choose foods more consciously, which in turn, has helped me maintain my 40-pound weight loss. And my digestive difficulties have all but disappeared (eliminating dairy had a huge hand in that one, though). But man, life was just plain simpler when I didn’t have to worry about whether or not what was being put in front of me at a restaurant or in a friend’s kitchen contained wheat or gluten. Sorry to be going there, but it’s true.


  1. Ah yes...I know this story only too well. My problem is that when I take out the foods I'm having sensitivities too, I end up eating what's left too often and risk becoming sensitive to those things instead. I know I'm supposed to rotate my foods, but who has the time to do that?

    Also, have you looked into Enterolab for getting the gluten testing? It's affordable (relatively speaking)...

  2. If you are looking for some support, I would love to help you with finding foods that will help heal some of your ailments. It doesn't happen overnight, and it isn't always predictable, but believe it or not, I once was where you had described, and I know it all too well. Eating healthy should not be a battle. I personally don't believe 100% in rotation diets, although I understand the concept...anyways, I am not trying to give you "advice" just encouragement that you can get to a place that you don't have to have some of your fav foods "hit the dietary dust" as you said.... I hope the best for you on your journey...would love to chat more if you were interested. Much love-Stephanie

  3. Thanks so much to both of you. Iris, I didn't know that test existed; I'm looking into it, because that would be an enormous help to me right now. Part of the reason I've put off getting tested is also because I thought I would have to re-expose myself to gluten to do it, but I'm relieved because their website says that's not necessary!

    Stephanie, I absolutely appreciate your input! I've come a long way from where I was back in 2001/2002 when these problems first surfacing (although they were obviously years in the making)... But I know I have much further to go! Any advice you have on foods that could help would be wonderful ;-) And I am curious to hear your thoughts on the rotation diet, as I'm pretty sure that's what this doctor is going to advise me to do...

  4. Stephanie, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the rotation diet too. Somehow the idea of adding that on top of everything else just seems like a huge challenge to me.

  5. I agree... the idea is nice in theory but more than a little overwhelming in a practical, everyday sort of way.

  6. Oh kick ass! I'm so happy to have found your blog! It sounds like we have A LOT in common, huh? So nice to meet you.

    I second what Iris says... I feel like I keep cutting things out of my diet, but then I eat too much of the new stuff, and I can't digest it.

    The rotation diet sounds very interesting, although also difficult. You'd have to buy mostly dry goods - dry beans and grains - and a small amount of fresh veggies each day. Then you'd have to cook incredibly small portions of food every single day. Leftovers would be the death!

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  7. Yes, we do! I was hooked on your blog as soon as I read the "simply a girl on a crusade to stop farting" description. Love it.

    I will definitely keep you posted... Nice to meet you, too ;-)

  8. Hi Saxifrage, I discovered your blog through Farty Girl when I was catching up on blogs while on holiday and have now had a little time to read yours. Like Farty Girl, I seem to have quite a bit in common with you- lactose intolerance, and now pretty sure I have a gluten problem too. FG mentioned your blog again to me and this idea of the rotation diet. It seems to make sense to me, and I guess it's not too hard if you don't think about it. I suppose even making some kind of effort to not eat the same dish at each meal would be a good start for me. Any more thought into it might be a bit too much to cope with right now!
    Aaanyway, it's great finding your blog, I love the ethical/environmental angle too:) Eating is by no means a self-contained activity.
    See you around! :)

  9. Hey, thanks! I'm glad you stopped by. I'm just starting out, so every bit of support means so much!

    I'm wary of the rotation diet, too. Not in principle, but in practice. So we'll see. I'll be reporting back soon on what the doc says...



Related Posts with Thumbnails