About two years ago, I struggled with gut issues. Mainly inflammation due to food intolerances. I had no idea why I was facing these problems, it was new to me and sort of came out of nowhere.
My Gut Problems
Well, for over a year, I kept losing weight no matter how much I ate. I had terrible gut inflammation, had stool problems, would vomit after eating random foods, felt tired, had low energy all the time, felt weak, had acid reflux, and experienced really bad leg cramps at night (since all the nutrients from the foods I was consuming were not being retained).
Pretty bad, right?
It was scary to say the least. I lost my period for over a year, kept getting skinnier and skinnier, and my inflammation was so bad that my belly looked like it was carrying a six month old baby in it.
How Doctors Couldn’t Help
I went to various doctors and they each ran multiple tests on me to try to find out what was going on. I spent 4 long months talking to them, testing and eliminating causes…4 months later and they were yet to find the cause of my problems. The doctors could see I had nutrient deficiencies from the exams they ran, they could see I was way skinny, could obviously see the bloat in my belly, but they could not could tell me what was going on.
Overall, I think they ran about 10 different blood exams and I was so desperate I was *this* close to doing a colonoscopy (had actually scheduled one, but backed out because there were risks and I felt I was too young for that – 27 at the time). I was so desperate, because there was something really wrong with me and no one knew how to get me to better health. I felt very alone.
How a Nutritionist Helped
Since doctors were not giving me an answer, I decided to take a more “natural” approach to the situation and visit a nutritionist.
To not make this story too long, I scheduled my first appointment with my nutritionist, and I shared with her my history. I told her (with a ton of detail) all of my issues and symptoms. After listening closely, she told me she wanted to run a food sensitivities exam on me. One that would check over 150 different ingredients’ reaction to my body. She had a feeling she would discover something interesting.
She sent me to a lab, they drew blood, that lab sent my blood to another lab in Florida, and then, two weeks later, I had my full blood report back.
It was a shocker.
The results were showcased in three different categories:
- Red = highly inflammatory (stay away)
- Yellow = inflammatory (try to stay away)
- Green = non-inflammatory (consume)
I had three ingredients in the red category: almonds, dairy and wheat.
Dairy and wheat I knew I did not do well with. But, almonds? Seriously? They are one of the most common nuts and considered one of the healthiest ingredients. How could I be so intolerant to them?
As it turns out, almonds were definitely not my friend.
My nutritionist put me on a strict two week anti-inflammatory diet, where I could only eat my top 20 least-inflammatory ingredients, which of course were from the green category (my green category was long, but it was the least-inflammatory ones that she needed me to stick to).
The diet was really hard; two weeks of eating only 20 ingredients. Super tough. I mean, 1 of my 20 ingredients was salt…so that right there tells you how limited I was.
As hard as the diet plan was, it turned out to be the best thing I ever did. By day 14 (and I am not kidding) I got my period back and the inflammation in my body was going way down. A HUGE deal. A miracle!
My nutritionist saved my life, doing what no doctor could do. And guess what? Her focus was treating food as medicine. It’s amazing what food can do for us.
If you’re interested, the test my nutritionist put me through is called:
And the diet program she used to get me back to better health is called:
If you’re in the Boise area and you’re interested in learning more about the test and diet program my nutritionist put me through, you can call Erin Rae (my nutritionist); you can book an appointment with her, and learn whether or not this is right for you. If you don’t live in the Boise area, perhaps you can ask your naturopathic doctor or nutritionist about the test and diet program mentioned above, to see if they are familiar with them or can recommend someone who is.
How My Gut Stays Healthy Now
Since recovering, I’ve tried to stay as far away as possible from the ingredients on my red and yellow categories. Especially while in the United States, since I have a feeling they do something to our food here.
Why do I think that? You may ask. Well, because whenever I travel abroad I can eat anything I want (including almonds, wheat and dairy) without any of the bad side effects. I just went to Italy and I was able to eat pizza, pasta, cheese and gelato without feeling any inflammation. But then when I returned home after the trip, and was feeling brave and invincible, I ate a piece of bread…and boom, the inflammation in my body went insane. Not cool.
So while in the US, I try to stick to the ingredients in my green category. Foods that cause little-to-no inflammation to my system, foods that I know won’t get me back to that gut-suffering phase I once was in. I love my health way too much to go back there. So, smart eating it is for me.
It’s crazy how much I have learned about my body over the last few years. I know bodies evolve and change with time, so I know that I am not done learning yet.
What You Can Do
If you’re facing gut-related issues, I hope my story gives you some insight and sheds some light, so that you too can direct yourself to a similar plan that gets you into better health.
Perhaps what helped me can help you too. There is always hope, and with the right tools and with a strong and determined commitment, you can (and will) get your health back.
I know I did. Currently, my time-of-month comes on a regular basis, I retain all of the nutrients I eat, I am at a healthy weight for my height, I no longer have bloating issues and no longer have to worry about stool problems.
I am so incredibly grateful for all the help I received during my struggles (thank you Erin and thank you hubby!), and I am incredibly thankful to God for guiding me on the path back to health. All glory goes to Him!