Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alas grain-- it isn't you, it really is me...

It is no secret. I struggle with my GI system... I have struggled with it for years. Many days it really is true, my body does hate me. My body has the communication skills of a toddler. My body can be peaceful and cooperative or it can basically throw a fit of a violent nature (vomiting at the drop of a hat, something akin to a raging river of diarrhea, hives that cover me from head to toe and look like the worst sunburn ever-- you get the idea) and sometimes, my body sulks for days on end... you know, fatigue, bloating, nausea.

Since E's arrival, I have actively been trying to learn the language of my body. Forget the Baby Whisperer, I have become the Body Whisperer. I have struggled and strained to hear my body and then act.

As with temperamental toddlers, this is very much more about Art than Science. It also is very connected to what I shared recently. Fear. I am afraid and rightly so, that you will think all of this is in my head. Why do I think this, all of you wonder? Because more than one person during this 7 year odyssey has said so. Even H has thought it is was in my head a time or two.

I have heard it all, from scientific to just plain rude.

"There is no scientific basis to think that corn..."

"Your lab results simply do not show us..."

"She is doing it for attention..."

"Why must you be so picky..."

"Surly a little bit won't kill you..."

"Well we would have invited you but your diet is just too complicated..."

In the last two years, I have made great strides and from a very low point. My B12 level was so low it was scary, I was hungry, I was sick, really sick with raging river diarrhea almost daily and I looked it.

In the last 18 months, even with the stress of my mother's illness and death, I have made wonderful strides in terms of my gut. I finally found a medical doctor, who was not interested in selling me supplements (which paid a huge cut to the doctor) and found a doctor who would listen to me, do a well rounded amount of blood work and validate my condition, even if that condition does not exactly have a name or a national support group.

I was so excited when she said it wasn't in my head and NO I wasn't fine.

All of that said, I have had a few set backs. Late winter and early spring, my clothes stopped fitting and I was a bloated mess. Nothing in my diet had changed. I greet these moments with such dread. At a certain point I cannot eat much less and I felt I had been doing such a great job.

As it stood this winter my menu choices excluded: gluten (wheat, rye, oats, spelt), corn, tree nuts (including coconut), and dairy.

I was able to add back in eggs, which has been awesome.

So you can imagine my dismay this winter when I began to consider just what more could I omit. I simply don't eat processed foods, certainly not the run of the mill ones.

Then while I was having lunch with my doctor, who is also a friend, we were discussing teff, an ancient grain used in much of Ethiopian and Somali cuisine. It breaks down differently in the gut, thus not causing a reaction in people with a gluten intolerance.

Light Bulb moment.

What if I simply cannot break down ANY grain efficiently. Could this be why things with sorghum flour or too much rice flour bother me from time to time...

I also know that unless I am eating brown rice, the nutritional value of rice is small.

About 6 weeks ago, I took a long hard look at my diet and decided to think about grains the way the food pyramid says to look at fats. I can have some rice or some gluten free baked goods, but in extreme moderation. I have totally revamped my breakfast.

Now I am focused on fruits and veggies. I am making my own juice blends using my juicer and that is the base for most of my Vita Mix creations. So if it isn't eggs for breakfast, it is a homemade smoothie.

I can totally tell a difference. I am not crashing in the morning after breakfast. My overall puffy factor has decreased remarkably. I suspect that all those jeans I got rid of in a fit a few weeks ago, they would most likely fit now.

My hope is this summer I can really pack my diet with fresh veggies and fruit from the farmers market and make this transition complete.

I think even the gluten free processed items, the bagels or crackers or what have you were weighing me down, literally. I don't know if it is science or art, all I care about is feeling my best and looking my best and being able to keep up with my busy, busy kiddos and to stop the bone crushing fatigue in its tracks. If that means no gluten free pasta or a sandwich, then so be it. I now reserve my grain consumption to one meal a day and then just a little bit. I can eat sushi or Indian with basmati, but that is the grain allotment for the day.

So the B12, the new probiotic, the fiber supplement, and now the drastic reduction of gluten free grains, I feel like I am really on the road to feeling my best. So really, it has been me all along.

No comments: