Goodbye Beer

I’ll miss you! And all products containing diary, soy, gluten, eggs, soda, coffee, peanuts and various other things
 
…at least for a little while. I’m doing an Elimination Diet!
 
What?
 
An elimination diet is a method of identifying foods that an individual cannot consume without adverse effects (from Wikipedia).
 
For two weeks, I’ll eliminate the most common digestive irritants. If I see improvement, I will add ONE eliminated food back into my diet for one day. For the following two days, I will take it back out and see if I have any problems. If not, the food is safe and is allowed back into my diet! If I have problems, I’ll eliminate it again and move on to the next food. I’ll probably cycle through the problem foods again at the end of my three-day tests to determine if it was a fluke or not. This could take a while…
 
Why?
 
I’ve had stomach issues for a LONG time. They started on August 8, 2002. This was the day that I had 6cm of intestines removed, right at the junction of the large intestine and small intestine. I went to the doctor with a high fever on Aug 7 – and they sent me to the ER. They did some scans, blood work and tests, and decided to do surgery first thing in the morning. My intestines were clearly inflamed, but the cause couldn’t be determined. I hear that this was a scary time for my family, but I was so delirious with fever and I blindly trusted my surgeon. Without the fever, I think I still would have been calm, but who knows? So, on my 17th birthday, I had some intestines and my appendix removed! In the days following the surgery, they came up with different possibilities for the problem. All of the standard tests on the biopsied section revealed nothing. They talked with me and my parents about lymphoma, Crohn’s  disease, and an array of other possibilities. Lucky for me, my surgeon didn’t want to believe that a perfectly healthy 17-year-old had any of those chronic and life-threatening problems. Broadening the search for the cause, they FINALLY found it – Pseudomonas Stutzeri. It’s a bacteria found in water (I got it from the Thames River in Connecticut). It RARELY affects people, which is why it wasn’t found in the initial pathology reports. I was given antibiotics, and eventually, the stitches and staples came out, and I was healthy… almost!
I’ve had digestive issues ever since then. I’ve logged food a few times and never seemed to find a cause. I’m finally educated enough about nutrition, motivated enough to follow the diet, and I actually have to resources to still eat while cutting out TONS of potential irritants.
 
How?
 
There is plenty of food that I can still eat! Last night, I had steak, mashed potatoes (no butter!) and salad. I’ve made a few batches of rice and beans for quick meals/snacks. I made some chili in the crock pot. I’m making this awesome stew with sweet potatoes and quinoa tonight! I bought gluten-free oatmeal. There are a variety of nuts, fruits and veggies that I have available. I also picked up some plain popcorn and plantain chips! Chicken, turkey, lean meats and fish are all good to go, too.
 
My BIG concern is eating out during this time… I don’t do it often anyway, but I’m definitely going to have to be “that girl” at a restaurant. I will try my best to order off the menu and minimize modifications, but I know I’ll have to do it. I promise, to any future wait staff and kitchen staff, I’ll be friendly, patient, and clear. And if you’re cool, you’ll get a killer tip!
 
Eating on the go is also a concern. Luckily, I found Lara Bars that are made of ONLY dates and cashews. Perfect! They won’t melt or go bad if left in my car in the heat all day. If anyone has other ideas, I’m open to them!
 
Will it work?
 
Well, I’m on day 3 of 14 of the initial part of the diet. I don’t like the word diet – I feel like it implies that I’m trying to lose weight – maybe we should call it a change in eating habits??
Anyway, I have yet to have any issues! This isn’t entirely groundbreaking, but so far, I haven’t triggered any symptoms. If I have problems in these two weeks, I guess I have to go back to the drawing board. So, I’m hoping this trend continues for the next 11 days!

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2 responses to “Goodbye Beer

  1. Hi E – Been following your blog and see your posts on BT. I have a suggestion for you since you are almost there anyway…what about trying Paleo? Even though you are eliminating a lot of potential irritants, you’ve still got beans, rice, oatmeal, etc. in the mix. You may do extremely well to eliminate grains and legumes too. Try it for 30 days and see what you find out. I can almost guarantee that you will feel better, sleep better and have zero GI issues. Plus it will easily support your training and racing.

    A couple of books I recommend – The Paleo Solution (Robb Wolf – check out his website too); Paleo for Athletes (Friel, Cordain); Nell Stephenson’s website (ironman Paleo athlete); And The Whole 9 website. Really good sources for the how-tos. The cool thing…eat meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, nuts and seeds (although I’d watch the nuts and a few others items that can cause autoimmune issues at first). There are tons of websites, some great new cook books (Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo are two of the most current and are great!). Also, try the BT website and hit the Paleo threads in the Nutrition and Weight Loss categories.

    Some tips on eating out…try to pick the restaurant in advance and see if their menu is online…you’ll have more frustration if there are zero items that you can eat without making 100’s of special requests. You can usually order a salad with a grilled protein, or steamed veg – but you’ve got to ask – do they marinate any of these things? baste? and watch out when you order a salad because now a lot of them come with cheese even if it doesn’t say it on the menu (lived it and learned). Support your local restaurants that make it easy for you to order and make changes.

    I’ve been Paleo since March and it’s now a lifestyle for me. That’s not to say that I don’t slip now and then, but the slips are getting less and less.

    Good luck and I hope you are successful no matter which avenue you take!

  2. i have been thinking I woudl like to do this, to figure out if certain things are in fact bothering my stomach

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