How to Survive Without Gluten, Corn or Coffee

I know what you’re thinking: “you don’t.” Or, “why would you want to?” “It’s not worth it,” even. All valid and appropriate responses (and all of which I had when I first read the results). Did I mention it said grapes, too? As in wine? Yeah, I nearly cried.

I made this for all of you

I made this for all of you

If you know me at all, you know that recently/over the past few months I’ve been battling “stomach issues,” as I referred to them. “Sorry guys, I can’t eat that, it upsets my stomach” was my response to pretty much everything anyone offered me. What do I mean by upset? It varied, but usually ended up in extremely painful gas and bloating, headaches and fatigue. Oh, and a halt on estrogen production (we’ll get to that at a later time).

When my traditional doctor recommended taking a pill to “see what would happen” when a blood test revealed I wasn’t producing estrogen, I almost lost my mind. “We don’t know why your body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do – you’re at a healthy weight and activity level [promise you all that’s what she said]. Why don’t you take this pill, we know it works. Once you get your period we’ll see what happens.”

First, that’s totally acceptable for some people. I’m not here to judge or criticize doctors or any medical profession, as I am simply a person with too much time and 24/7 internet access to health resources. Oh, I’m also fanatical about health and wellness. But, seeing as:

  1. I went to that doctor in the first place to STOP taking that pill (it made me a raging witch)
  2. Her initial response was to treat a symptom and not find a cause
  3. I avoid pharmaceuticals whenever possible, I’m not putting that in my body

So instead, I made an appointment with a naturopathic nutritionist and nutrition counselor. I opened up a Flexible Spending Account through work (did anyone else not know insurance doesn’t cover naturopaths? Seems like if money isn’t trading hands via prescription drugs, you’re not qualified to treat me) and went to see Sarah.

Sarah is great. She knows exactly what I’m going through because she went through it, too. And she treats other women (re: girls YOUNGER than me), so she knows what she’s doing. At our first meeting she went over my pre-counseling questionnaire. My “symptoms” led her to encourage I take a food allergy/intolerance test. From what I understand (remember that 24/7 internet access and desire to know everything?), food allergies/intolerances can mimic/cause malnutrition (x2 for someone like me who struggles with eating), which puts stress on the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland (not ironically) controls a person’s response to stress. If my adrenal thinks I’m not eating enough (malnutrition caused by body purging foods it hates sans-nutrient absorption) and is under stress (food allergies cause inflammation), it decides all unnecessary functions are shut down for the time being. Like babies.

And happiness.

The test was easy – four small vials of blood and wait. It was not cheap (it wouldn’t be) but I’m hoping it’s worth the investment. Turns out I’m “intolerant” to quite a few things at various levels. As follows:

Have I mentioned coffee enough yet?

Have I mentioned coffee enough yet?

Kale, spinach, chicken, turkey and banana. I'm not an endurance athlete or anything...

Kale, spinach, chicken, turkey and banana. I’m not an endurance athlete or anything…

The yellow are foods I’m supposed to avoid for three months. The orange is six months and the red is a year (potentially forever). There is a second section for gluten. I need to avoid wheat, barley, malt, and spelt.

Ok, so yeah, this all looks pretty scary to me, but I’m hopeful. I’ll have no excuses not to eat a very clean diet (cough chocolate isn’t on the do not eat list cough) and I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen. I love cooking and this will allow me time to experiment and hopefully gain a better appreciation for food.

Or it’ll turn me into an banshee.

Bring me coffee or else.

Bring me coffee or else.

So new goals (while not running, mmm Marathons): make things tasty, healthy AND without anything on those lists. I can eat lots of fish. And beans. And like, apples.

Keep checking back – I hope to have a Recipes page up soon (with nutritional content and everything). Photography will be horrible, but meh, you’ll get the idea.

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