new diet

My new diet is keeping me out of the doctor’s office (and testing lab)!

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I’m extremely excited, thanks to my new diet! Because I don’t have to do an uncomfortable test next week! Or take more pills…or even go back to see my doctor anytime soon, thanks to the changes I’ve made in what I eat.

Why I started a new diet

Back in May before we left SF, I saw a gastroenterologist who specializes in neuro-gastroenterology and motility. He reviewed my medical history with me . The doctor explained the likeliest cause of my ongoing problems was an infection I probably had in my abdomen, triggered by contracting the H1-N1 virus way back in the day. He said unfortunately, the infection caused irreversible nerve damage and common foods that exacerbate the condition are fructose, dairy and gluten. I told him I already ate gluten-free and vegan and he said to keep doing that.

Then he told me another possibility was I currently have an infection in my gut. He wanted to order a hydrogen breath test to see if that was the case, and if so, give me a course of antibiotics.

I agreed, because I was feeling pretty bad at that point. But when nobody called me until after we left the area to schedule the test, I had to schedule it for months away, when we knew when we were coming back. Meanwhile, I puzzled over the whole fructose thing and landed on the low-FODMAP diet. This was something I tried before, but not as a vegan. Knowing now that I needed to avoid dairy completely, I decide to give it a try.

As I improved, I became less and less enthused with the idea of making my way to San Francisco from the east bay at 4:30 in the morning, after fasting (including water), only to spend three hours breathing into a machine and drinking glucose (which was likely to make me feel sick). So I emailed my doctor, gave him an update and asked him if he still felt I needed the test.

Luckily, he didn’t think it was necessary to take the test or the antibiotics. He advised me to continue on with the diet, and said to come back in if/when I felt like I needed to, or that he could prescribe the antibiotics empirically if necessary.

Low-FODMAP for the long term

I won’t say that the diet has been easy, or that it is a quick fix by any means. I’m now entering the challenge phase, just to see if I can broaden my horizons a little. I tried some almond milk (which is low-FODMAP, but I didn’t drink any during the elimination phase). It did not sit well with me. So now Ryan can drink it, or throw it out. Because I’m don’t want to torture myself.

I’ve been playing it safe (and boring) for awhile now. I have oatmeal for breakfast, and then some iteration of oven-baked fries and rice pasta for lunch and dinner. Sometimes I throw in some tacos with rice, homemade salsa and Chao cheese with some veggies. I’m really craving something different, which is what will be happening for breakfast tomorrow. If you’re connected to me on Instagram or Facebook then you’ll see…I’m trying to prevent myself from eating it right now. ; P

Anyway, just thought I’d share the good news. If you’re in the same boat as I’ve been, or anything even close, just remember that it is NOT NORMAL to have trouble digesting your food, and I encourage you to keep searching for a solution, because it may be out there waiting for you!

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