Battling Food Intolerances

1. Prevent Digestive System Cancers

Photo credit: TipsTimes

The last couple of months have been rough health wise, thank to my much hated but always around companion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The last time it was this bad, about 5 years ago, I was sent off to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, which was the worst medical procedure I’ve ever experienced and I have had electrodes inserted into my leg muscles. Anyway, after all his tests I was diagnosed with severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome and told to stay away from fructose and lactose. I ignored his medical advice after about 3 months.

Now it has come to the stage where I can’t ignore his advice any longer, thanks to the impact this disease is having on my life.  I want to go and see the world, not go and see its bathrooms. So, in the spirit of New Year’s and starting afresh, I am on a strict lactose, gluten and fructose free diet to see if I can kick IBS’s butt. The things I’m allowed to eat are minuscule when compared to the things I no longer can eat and I’m still working out what my body likes and what it most definitely doesn’t.  However, three days in and I’m starting to see small signs of improvement and I’m eating more vegetables (the ones I’m allowed to eat anyway) then I have in quite some time.

However, here is where I turn to you, my knowledgeable reader, for help. I know that there are a number of you out there with similar intolerances and I want to know your favourite recipes and meals. I’m struggling in particular with breakfast since my breakfast used to consist of a croissant or cereal, neither of which I’m allowed to eat. At the moment I’m eating some home-made lactose & gluten free corn muffins, but would like something lower in carbs. Also some low calorie snack suggestions would be great as well since most healthy snack ideas eg fruit and vegetables are now on my can’t eat list.

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18 thoughts on “Battling Food Intolerances

  1. IBS sufferers unite!

    I feel your pain. I truly do. It’s a constant balancing act for me but I tend to feel my best when I eat strict Paleo. I understand a lot of fruit and veg is off limits with your diet but maybe it’s worth a try?

    Best of luck in your gastrointestinal endeavours.

    • I have issues with Paleo as it is based on absolute rubbish. There is no scientific proof that modern man isn’t able to digest grains so removing every single one of them out of your diet is a little silly, in my opinion.
      I think for most people that feel better on this diet it is either a. they are eating healthy for the first time in their life or b. they might have issues digesting wheat/gluten, but have no issues with any other grains.

      Still some Paleo recipes would be suitable for my diet, so I may check out some of the sites to get some recipe ideas.

      • Just so you know, I agree with you on Paleo. :-) I’m fortunate in not having issues with food tolerance; I use Sisson’s site to choose recopies for some of my gluten intolerant friends.

  2. There are a lot of Alnatura products, you can find them at dm (the Drogerie Markt) try the Dinkel things – if you are not diagnosed celiac disease it works. They have cookies and cereals.

  3. You sure you want to try avoiding all three at the same time? How are you going to find out which one is really giving you trouble? I got tested once and the doc told me I shouldn’t eat any fructose any more. First I almost panicked, then I tried it for some time, then added fruit back bit by bit. Thus I found out that there aren’t as many things I cannot eat as I feared. One of my favourite breakfast dishes – muesli with yoghurt – unfortunately is off limits – even without died fruit (which by the way are a big no-no if you are fructose intolerant).
    So what does that tell us? Nothing much but that you’ve got to try and test and adjust again and again. Don’t panic! See which combinations work for you and which don’t. There’s a big hype around gluten-free products, but unless you are positively tested for celiac disease, they are just good business for somebody else. If it is lactose, you can buy enzymes that help if you happen to eat or drink some accidentally. Else it is rather easy to avoid.
    Hope the soup the other day didn’t give you a hard time, it was certainly high on fructose :(

    • At the moment I’m on a very strict diet to get back to some level of health. After I’m back to being healthy, I’m going to try adding foods back in, gradually, one at a time, to pinpoint what I can eat safely and what foods I must avoid. It’s much better and more reliable to start from a base position of health than to try testing foods when my digestive system is already upset.

  4. I struggle with this also- not IBS, but I do have a problematic digestive system and a sharp familiarity with public restrooms all over the city.

    My biggest drawbacks, foodwise, seem to be dairy, fat, and grease. And although it’s not a digestive problem, too much sodium seems to spark my headaches. Whenever I’m traveling, I tend to have lots of bakery stuff- pretzels, apfeltaschen, and so forth. Pasta is always safe for me. Vegetables are always safe for me.

    I mostly deal with it by only eating safe foods when I travel, and never straying far from a bathroom when I’m in town. I also have a variety of pharmaceuticals that are designed for digestive woes, but I use them only as last resorts.

    What exactly does fructose do to you?

    • Fructose causes IBS symptoms and my doctor told me to cut them out of my diet along with lactose to see if it improves my condition.

      Seems that there are quite a few of us with digestive systems that won’t behave.

  5. Oh my gosh, I just so happened to stumble upon your blog and I SO can relate to this! I also have IBS, but it only comes in spurts. One time last year, I had it for three months straight and actually ended up in the ER from it. Hope you feel better. Blueberries, red food coloring, loads of green tea and anything with too much spice flares it up.

  6. Bacon for breakfast! Or chilli. Sounds weird but it’s delicious and filling.

    An aside on Paleo – I personally am not a Paleo participant BUT have flipped through Paleo cook books and generally, that is how I eat anyway because it’s actually all my favourite kind of stuff. It’s also not about grains being bad for you but the fact that we now use flour in so much of our food that people are getting way too much of one thing and not enough of everything else. Gluten intolerance is on the rise – I’d never heard of it when I was a kid and now I know dozens of people with gluten issues.

    I was diagnosed as celiac six years ago, which wasn’t nearly so devastating as one would think because I don’t like pies, cakes, cookies, bread, cupcakes or generally all the baked and floury sweet things that most celiacs seem to miss and crave.

    I am big on protein, vegetables and fruit – always have been, always will be.

    I also don’t believe meals should have rules. Breakfast is about eating what you’re hungry for and it’s generally better to have protein first thing than it is to have a carb as the boost of energy is stronger and more efficient.

    But ultimately it’s up to you to experiment. Don’t be restricted by what you can’t have. There is so much you can still eat – you just need to learn to plan in a way you might not have done before.

  7. Hi, I have the same problem, and also often don´t know what to eat for breakfast.
    What my body likes best in the morning is soup. Sounds a bit weird, but everything else leaves this blgrh feeling. (In some countries, like vietnam, they actually do eat soup for breakfast.)
    I don’t have much variety yet, I like asian soups, but they are to complicated for me to cook that early.
    I usually just make some brouth and cook it with some thinly sliced vegetable on middle heat vor 3-4 minutes. Then I pour it in a bowl with already cooked rice oder ricenoodles.
    I make the rice the day before and keep it in the fridge. I mostly use carrots, zucchini and such, but I it works with wathever you like and can eat. Some things like broccoli or pea pods you probably have to cook a bit longer.

    I hope you have a better doctor than me, the ones I went to weren’t much help. The last one just said I had to live with it.

    • I found this website while looking for info on Drachenfest and then read this post. Well I have a huge problem too, basically can’t eat anything without it causing me even a mild discomfort.

      While following a diet high on protein I realized egg whites can make an excellent breakfast. There are many ways to cook them, they are low in calories and do not cause irritation. Personnaly I make an egg white pancake in the morning and add some honey and fruit or you can go for vegetables as a side dish.

      The only time I trully don’t feel bad is when I eat nothing but egg whites, rice, and very few fruits and veggies :/ anyway, there aren’t many things doctor can do about this. We really have to live with that. The only thing that is true is that it gets worse with stress.

  8. worked well. Fat and dairy are my triggers (so no Paleo diet for me), but so are stress and lack of sleep. Mint capsules and psyllium have prevented some bad situations. Knowing your triggers are a good start though.

    I’ve also purchased and am working my way through the IBS hypnotherapy program (sold on this site). Research is proving hypnotherapy very useful in improving this condition. Best of luck. I feel your pain.

    • Fat is a big one for me as well as alcohol. Also, lunch, regardless of what I eat or don’t eat seems to trigger an attack.
      I’ve just started on peppermint capsules so I’ll be interested to see how they go for me.

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