The Dreaded IBS

I've had a bad year, health-wise. After a whole slew of medical tests, I have nothing more than a couple of prescriptions and a diagnosis of IBS. Blech. And the uncertainty of even if I'm feeling ok today, when I will suddenly be stricken with insomnia-inducing pain, among other unpleasantries. Anyway, the pills they gave me make me dizzy, and I'm personally not satisfied with the medical approach to wellness. You know me, I'm a tinkerer. I had great results from acupuncture over the winter, and I got out of the habit of going because...well, it's freakin' expensive and insurance doesn't cover it. Anyway, after feeling much, much better over the past few months, I had another "attack" for lack of a better word, and I decided that in addition to stress, I could be eating something that my immune-challenged body doesn't agree with. Thus, the elimination diet. One to two months of eating non-inflammatory foods is supposed to give your system a chance to heal, and then you can add back the possible irritating foods one at a time. In case anybody is interested in trying this, there are great resources available here and recipes here. So far, I made it through one day of the green smoothie fast (you are supposed to do two, but I got a very bad headache and ate some brown rice). I am on day 7 of eating the Phase 1 foods. Yes, the list is restrictive, and it is a giant pain the butt, even for somebody who cooks from scratch a lot and is already mostly vegetarian. (No tamari?! No lemons?! No tree nuts?!). After another 7 days or so, I will begin reintroducing foods and keeping a journal of my physical and psychological symptoms. (Did you know gluten can make some people feel anxious?) My tips for doing this are as follows. If you don't cook from scratch, then practice some recipes in advance using just the phase 1 ingredients. Start eating these foods before you eliminate all the gluten, flour, beans, nuts, dairy, and soy. Don't try to eat out or by anything prepared. Most prepared foods contain soy. You will need to figure out new dressings and sauces...without lemon and tamari, I was kind of lost. However, I did make a nice pesto out of steamed broccoli, sunflower butter and pine nuts. I'm roasting a lot of sweet potatoes and beets, and making up big batches of brown rice and quinoa. I really don't feel deprived because I am happy to be doing something proactive for my health and well-being. It makes me feel good to take the frustration I felt at my last gastroenterologist appointment, and instead of resigning myself to having a crappy colon, doing something about it. I'll be 33 in a month, and I am planning to feel a lot better than I have as 32.

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