At the beginning of this year, I chose a “one word,” which I did for the first time last year and it was amazing. My word, for several reasons, is “paths.”
You may have read my post from last month, “Why Food Is My Enemy.”
I explained my issues with food and my bowels. I had been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, had been eating gluten-free for three years, and had tried a low-FODMAP diet in an effort to control it. However, it wasn’t fully working.
I began doing further research at the end of December and was looking into avoiding MSG and all it’s hidden sources. I learned that a lot of the gluten-free food, like cornstarch, corn syrup, and xanthan gum can contain higher levels of MSG because of it’s processing. Those things and others can irritate some people.
I read a book about a no (or very low) MSG diet. However, it was not gluten-free because of the issues with much of the processing of gluten-free foods. Instead, it suggested using organic unbleached, un-enriched pure wheat flour. I got some and began cooking and baking with it.
For the first few weeks, all was going well. I would get some stomach churning every once in a while, but otherwise good.
That’s when I wrote the previous article stating that I didn’t think I had to be gluten-free anymore.
Then things changed again. They began going downhill as I added back into my diet more higher-FODMAP foods, which includes wheat.
The only goal that I really set for this year was to get to the bottom of my IBS and find out how to control it. So when this diet began failing, I knew it wasn’t right, and was frustrated. I gave myself a day of gluten-free again and I felt much better.
I have continued being gluten-free since that day, but avoiding the highly processed foods. In the meantime, I kept digging. I read a book by an allergist about MALS food chemical allergies. He proposed getting rid of MSG, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and citrus/acids (like vinegar).
So I continued a gluten-free diet and cut out those things. But again, he wasn’t focused on low-FODMAP foods, too. So when I tried some foods that were considered “safe” by his diet, I had a reaction. That happened more than once, and told me that I needed to turn back to low-FODMAP.
An Unexpected Twist
I have a sweet tooth, so cutting sugar is very hard. I wanted to make some things that would quench my sweet tooth, by going easy on the sugar. But I also needed it to be gluten-free and yet without using xanthan gum or guar gum. To the rescue came baking with coconut flour and almond flour.
I turned to several Paleo recipes using those two flours because they are gluten-free and yet do not need the gums and highly processed flours. The things I made were delicious, much to my surprise and delight!
Yet I seemed to react to them. I went back to my low-FODMAP resources and saw that there is debate about coconut and that almonds are high-FODMAP.
Discouraged yet again. But not giving up.
An Open Door
I turned to God as I have done many times on this journey to a healthy gut. It seems that each time I ask, He leads me to resources and answers that I need.
I found another book by a registered dietician who had also suffered from IBS. She had done the same research as I had done with low-FODMAP’s and eliminating MSG, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and acids. I bought it right away and dove in to find out how she did this diet and managed her symptoms.
She says, “Unfortunately, many people who try a gluten-free diet fall into the trap of consuming lots of commercial gluten-free foods, many of which are not REAL food but highly processed food products that could actually be preventing them from getting their digestion under control.”
She points out that the other grains, not just wheat, barley and rye, all contain some form of gluten. So eating any grain is going to have some and can irritate people.
I am now on a three-week elimination diet that is very strict. But it is resetting my digestive tract, nourishing it, and healing it. And it is Paleo.
I will begin re-introducing foods one at a time after my bowels have been happy for five days in a row. She claims that when the intestines are healed and gut flora is rebuilt, people should be able to then consume foods that used to bother them, including some higher-FODMAP foods. I can figure out what my tolerance level is with these foods.
So I am aiming to be able to cook and bake with coconut and almond when I’m healed. I think I will continue on a Paleo type of diet, however perhaps not as strict as the diehards.
Hopefully I can have a slice of cake or something when I go to a party and not sabotage myself.
My path to cracking my gut issues this year has already taken many twists and turns.
I leave you with this: “…but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.” (John 16:24b AMP)
Whatever your issues, where you are on your path, don’t give up. Keep asking God to help you, look for His hand on it, and follow where He directs.
© 2014, Kristen Hamilton. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.