Check out part 1 of “Addressing My Stomach Pains” here.
I left off explaining that after months of working with a conventional GI I decided to take a holistic/experimental approach to solving my stomach pain, flatulence and ulcer. I will say right up front that I have not yet had an appointment with a holistic practitioner. I do plan to schedule one in the next month or so if I don’t have any progress. Also, I hate blatantly stating health guidelines or information (hello, no credentials here!), so please take all of this with a grain of salt and remember that only you know your body best.
The first thing I did was reduce my dosage of omeprazole. My high dosage (more than 4+ pills a day) wasn’t helping and I felt like it was just masking the problem. But I didn’t cut it out cold turkey, I weaned off. At the same time (with the confirmation from my doctor that the pills wouldn’t interfere or cause internal damage), I started taking a digestive enzyme. I did some research, listened to podcasts and finally tried it when a friend of a friend said it changed her life. Since Thanksgiving I’ve taken one pill before meals (two before larger meals) and have seen my symptoms decrease tremendously. My pain, which was unbearable around the time of the ulcer, is infrequent and less intense. I’ve even noticed that the meals when I forget to take the enzyme do cause some discomfort. I carry the pills in my purse everywhere now so I don’t have an excuse to forget.
Other, very basic, holistic measures I’ve implemented:
-Hot water with lemon
-Continuing a low FODMAP diet, but not as strict as before. I’ve narrowed it down to a few foods that always give me problems but the main culprits are onions and garlic. I really suggest this for people with stomach problems! Some of the healthy foods you/I/we eat every day may be causing extra pain.
-I haven’t done this yet, but my cousin suggested Natural Calm Magnesium (sold at Whole Foods). I’ll be looking into that soon!
I’m still not where I’d like to be though. Or, my digestion is still not where I’d like it to be. That’s where the Whole30 comes in.
What is The Whole30?
The Whole30 is a 30 day challenge that eliminates potential food allergens from your diet. The diet is very similar to that of Paleo, although a bit more strict as it’s designed for only 30 days, not for life. It eliminates all dairy, grains, legumes, refined sugar and alcohol. I generally eat very paleo-esque already but I went “full” paleo for one week last year. While I saw some changes in energy that week, I didn’t notice much of a difference with my digestive system. Many of you commented that I should try the Whole30 because one week wasn’t long enough to see results. I agree. So I’m giving this a go.
“Wow, everyone and their mother is jumping on the Whole30 “bandwagon” at the start of the new year. How #basic of her to join.”
Yes, I’m doing this…and ironically so is my mother. Some of you may think it’s trendy and unnecessary but I want you to know that this has been months (of pain) in the making. It just so happened that January was a good time to start and, judge all you want, but I’m doing what’s best for me right now. You do you, I’ll do me. Deal?
The program rules: Eat real food.
“Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.” (Source)
Real (good) food should:
- Promote a healthy psychological response.
- Promote a healthy hormonal response.
- Support a healthy gut.
- Support immune function and minimize inflammation.
I understand the argument for what people consider “real” food and I personally don’t think grains or dairy are bad. For the purpose of this post I’m saying what the creators of the program state in their book “It Starts With Food.” I bought that book, along with their Whole30 Cookbook, and read both cover to cover before starting. I recommend “It Starts With Food” for anyone interested in the program.
I will say the two “rules” I don’t plan on following exactly are the “no snacking” and “no smoothies” rule. Both are permitted but not recommended. However, I know from previous experience that both snacking and smoothies work for me. All snacks will be compliant and I won’t overload the smoothies with fruit. If this “screws up the program results” then I’ll take that consequence.
Why am I doing it?
Honestly, for an experiment. I’m not naive and I’m not going into this blindly. This not for weight loss, it’s for health (mainly, digestive health). Plus, who am I to judge this program if a) it has helped many people feel better and b) it might possibly help me? It’s only 30 days, not an eternity. What do I have to lose?
Like all things, diets aren’t universal and we each thrive off different ways of eating and living. There’s no right answer. Look out for a post on that soon. I completely understand if you think I’m crazy (my sister is right there with you) but I’ve been in so much pain and discomfort for months that I’m at the point of desperation. I don’t want to live with always worrying about my stomach and what I can/can’t eat so I’m taking the steps to try to solve it.
Also, I’m really only eliminating GF grains (quinoa, oatmeal, rice) and added sugars (honey, maple syrup, etc.). Not a huge deal. Plus it will hopefully introduce me to new foods…I’m a new egg-eater and loving it.
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I joined a Whole30 support group a while ago but I waited until after our vacation to start. My official kick-off day was Monday. Thanks to my friends Margaret and Gretchen I have a weeks worth of meal ideas.
I plan to:
-Post a recap every week (not sure what day yet) with some meal highlights as well as an update on how I’m feeling (digestively and otherwise)
-Cook a lot more and make new-to-me recipes
-Pay extra attention to how I’m fueling workouts. As I’m slowly working my way back to regular exercise I don’t want to foil any progress on both ends.
After the 30 days I will do the prescribed reintroduction process to see how I handle certain foods. Who knows what I’ll discover at that point, but I’m open to any changes that will make me feel my best.
Thanks for sticking with me through this lengthy post and I hope you’ll continue to stick around during this 30 day journey.