Hey y’all, happy Thursday! We’ve got a wind advisory in Columbus today, which gave me the perfect excuse to stay home and tackle projects on my growing to-do list. Grab a cup of coffee or fix yourself one of my new favorite drinks, a semi-homemade mocha, and let’s chat about food and digestion. Also, be sure to check to see if you were the lucky winner of a box of Fit Body Bakery’s mixes!
Last Monday I received the results from blood work I had done at Nava Health & Vitality Center. Unsurprisingly, my results showed that I have a moderate sensitivity to gluten and casein.
I’ve had a sensitive stomach, ever since I was little. Especially when it comes to heavy, rich dishes. I’ll never forget one night when my best friend and I were out at dinner with our families and we both ordered pasta with alfredo sauce. I’ll forever be envious of her stomach of steel, the girl could eat anything. After dinner I went over to her house for a sleepover but not even 30 minutes after we got there I was hugging the toilet. As you probably guessed, we didn’t have a sleepover that night.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I started to really experience digestive issues. My doctors thought I might have celiac disease, so I eliminated gluten from my diet. But after a whole slew of tests, including an endoscopy and multiple colonoscopies, the results came back inconclusive so they told me they didn’t see any concerning reasons why I could reintroduce gluten back into my diet.
Currently I take a probiotic every morning and eat dairy and gluten on a daily basis, but I’ve made a conscious effort to cut back on my consumption of both. I’ve also learned what foods I can tolerate and what foods will upset my stomach. If I eat too much dairy or gluten I feel the consequences the following day. How can I tell? Because my guts are angry, my belly is bloated, my body aches, I feel lethargic, and my stomach can’t stop gurgling.
I’ve learned that if I eat a bagel for breakfast, I need to watch what I eat the rest of the day. Instead of fixing a sandwich for lunch I might make a salad with crackers and for dinner I’ll swap rice for pasta.
Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. There are tons of great dairy free and gluten free options, not to mention the taste of these alternatives have come a long way. A few years ago the only dairy free milk option was soy milk, gluten free breads were tough and tasted like cardboard, and gluten free flours tasted like sawdust. They weren’t appetizing. Nowadays there are an abundance of alternatives.
It’s a common misconception that a food sensitivity is the same as a food intolerance or a food allergy. When in reality, they’re three different things.
Food Sensitivity: The least understood of the three, a food sensitivity generally occurs when a person experiences a negative reaction to a certain food, although the reaction may not occur the same way every time. Someone with a food sensitivity might be able to eat a certain food occasionally without feeling any symptoms, but sporadically will develop symptoms such as acid reflex, nausea, abdominal cramps.
Food Intolerance: Food intolerance occurs when an ingredient or compound in food irritates the digestive system and the person’s body lacks a particular enzyme to properly digest the food. A food intolerance usually comes on gradually, may only happen when you eat a lot of the food, and is not life threatening. Common symptoms are primarily gastrointestinal: gas, cramping, bloating, heartburn, vomiting, and irritability.
Food Allergy: An allergic reaction is a very specific immune system response when your body mistakenly detects an ingredient in the food as harmful and creates antibodies to attack it. A food allergy usually comes on suddenly, occurs every time you’re exposed to the food, whether by smell, touch, or ingestion, and can be life threatening. Common symptoms include: a rash or hives, shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden drop in blood pressure, and trouble swallowing, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and anaphylaxis.
So what does this mean for my relationship with dairy and gluten? I’m not eliminating either entirely. I can’t predict what will happen in the future, but I can make a conscious effort to reduce my dairy and gluten intake. Like anyone with a food sensitivity, there’s a chance that I could develop an intolerance or allergy, but only time will tell.
Question: What’s your favorite dairy free milk? Almond, cashew, coconut, soy…?
Question: If you have a food sensitivity/intolerance/allergy, how have you learned to cope with it?