Whether you follow me on here, on Instagram, or if you know me in real life, you are probably aware that I deal with multiple food allergies as well as a lot of seemingly random digestive problems. At times this can be annoying, painful, scary, frustrating, etc., and I would definitely be lying to you if I said it was something that is easy to deal with, though it is manageable. I’ve shared bits and pieces of my “food journey” over Instagram, and it is occasionally mentioned here, but after receiving a couple of messages regarding how and what I eat, I thought that making a post about it would be helpful, if you or someone close to you is struggling with food sensitivities, IBS, celiac’s disease, etc.
First of all, let me identify the problem.
I was born with a very severe allergy to dairy (no, not a lactose intolerance), so that’s something I’ve dealt with and adapted to since I was small. As I got a little older, I developed more allergies, primarily to soy and to wheat. Even with the knowledge of those allergies, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and continued to regularly consume bread (my favorite thing in the world), and just ignored the symptoms. Those symptoms, for those that may have them, included severe stomach pain, bloating, and tiredness, not to mention, probably what exacerbated my breakouts when I was a teenager. Eventually, these things got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore because the stomach pain was starting to scare me. I went to the doctor finally, and she suggested the use of probiotics and starting a food journal. I did neither of those things religiously. It’s no surprise, therefore, that my symptoms stayed pretty much the same. In a moment, I’ll talk about what I did to “fix” this, but I just want to say, I STILL don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. I can assume that I have some form of IBS, anxiety induced stomach issues (because unfortunately, I do have my share of anxiety), but really, idk. All that to say, you may not know what it is either, and the doctor may not be able to diagnose it. If so, hang in there, it’s all about trial and error.
Trial and Error
Honestly, that’s the best piece of advice I can offer you if this is something you are dealing with. Everyone’s body is different, so there is no one right way to eat, no matter what the internet tells you. I admit that this method can be extremely frustrating at times, I mean, at one point I nearly stopped eating altogether because I was so afraid of food, so I get it. The other frustrating thing is, different foods can actually upset you at different times, so what hurt your stomach last month might be fine this month, and vice versa. Good news is, trial and error do work. Eventually, you will find foods that don’t hurt you and you will be able to build a specialized diet off of that. I went vegan for an entire year as a part of that process, and it actually helped me quite a bit because meat is so hard to digest, so I really recommend giving that a try, especially if you have IBS. I also had to eliminate a lot of different foods. I stopped eating tree nuts for a while because they seemed to bother me, and that helped. And then I tried a raw food diet because I thought that food in its purest form would be better for me, but I was wrong because raw veggies=fiber and fiber=stomach pain, 9 times out of 10. I am eating meat again, for the moment, because my diet was lacking in protein, but it still isn’t the easiest thing for me to digest, so again, if you can limit it, do so.
What else to avoid
Again this depends on the person, but as a general statement, please please avoid kale and apples. I KNOW they are healthy, but if your stomach is weak they will tear you apart, trust me, I know. Also, if you’re still eating dairy and gluten, just stop. I know it’s hard, but if you want to see results, dump them.
What you should eat
On my worst days, I go for an acai bowl (without whey or hemp protein), because it’s easy on my stomach. White rice may be a simple carb, but it’s easy on your digestive system and tastes delicious. Salad with leafy greens, minus kale, are usually good for me too. If coffee is something that’s hard for you, try brewing it with salt because that lowers the acidity. DRINK TONS AND TONS AND TONS OF WATER. I’ve been drinking sparkling water lately, and that actually feels GREAT going down, if you want to give it try. In terms of eating out, vegan restaurants are usually pretty accommodating, if you’re local to me, Cafe Gratitude, Vibe and Veggie Grill are a few personal favorites.
Brands (none of these are sponsored I just love them):
Daiya dairy free- try their pizza, it is literally AMAZING.
So Delicious- for ice cream and non-dairy milks, they have been my go to since I was like, 12.
Udi’s gluten free- Their bread and bagels are pretty good, though not as good as real bread :'(, sorry.
Go macro bars- They’re just protein bars, but they are gluten and dairy free and make a good breakfast substitute.
Enjoy Life- This company makes all kinds of different cookies and desserts, and they are all yum, and all dairy and gluten free. Give them a try.
And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions or want something a little more personal to you, please please please feel free to message or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I can work to help you figure out what your specialized diet should be.