Hi readers! Happy Sunday! For today’s post, I wanted to take you with me on this never-ending quest to figure out what is wrong with my stomach. Fun, right??? I’ve been so up and down with my diet up until recently when it really took me downhill. If you’ve got food sensitivities (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll be able to relate to this one, although hopefully not entirely.
I have always had a sensitive stomach. I knew when certain foods weren’t good for me but I would typically ignore it because, honestly, I wanted those foods anyways. It started with dairy, of course. All that yummy cheese in my foods or milkshakes from In-N-Out would leave me feeling, well you could imagine. The discomfort in my stomach actually manifested itself onto my face; I was breaking out all the time. You could tell I had dairy the night before just by looking at me. That’s truly what made me want to stop, not feeling sick but the pimples that appeared on a daily basis. Sad, I know. But while no one could feel my stomachaches, they could see my acne and it was embarrassing to me at a younger age. So that was that. I went dairy-free.
At the time, it actually wasn’t too hard. Almond milk was already a thing and I just stopped having cheese. I would try to avoid eating out because oh my god there’s dairy in everything out there. Nowadays, it’s so much easier because a lot of people are dairy-free. There’s a Whole Foods in any ten-mile radius from me, a Sprouts almost half that, and there’s so many options! You can find your favorite dairy alternatives in just about any form: sprinkle cheese, cheese slices, cream cheese, ice cream, butter…none of it from cows and all of it vegan! Honestly, dairy alternatives are having a moment right now.
A few months ago, I was experiencing terrible indigestion and acid reflux. Absolutely terrible. Most foods were making me sick and it actually culminated to Austin taking me to urgent care at midnight when earlier that day, I had half of a grande latte. I’m serious. The acid reflux had gotten so painful and I was writhing in bed, trying to ignore it so I could sleep. Well that obviously didn’t work. But the trip to urgent care (and the bills that followed) told me that I needed to pay attention to what my body was telling me. Something wasn’t right.
To help me get to the bottom of it, I ordered the food sensitivity kit from EverlyWell. It arrived a few days later with specific instructions on how to prick your finger and let it bleed perfectly into these round circles on their collection card. Well that wasn’t so easy for me, as you can see. I’m fine with seeing blood, but I think the pressure of trying to bleed right into these circles made my hands shake. I hoped my kit would still be allowed even though I bled just about everywhere but the circles. I sealed it up, mailed it out, and hoped for the best.
The website said it would take about a week for them to receive and process my results, so in the interim I decided to worry about what it might say. I didn’t necessarily want it to say ‘you can’t have this’ and ‘you can’t have that’. But I also didn’t want it to say that everything was fine with me, because I knew everything was not. I still wasn’t consuming dairy, unless my food at a restaurant was made with it or I just really needed a cheeseburger, so I didn’t really suspect it as the culprit. I had no clue what to expect. When I got the email saying my results were ready, I anxiously opened it up.
The results are ranked from a scale of high reactivity to low reactivity. I was shocked to see that I only had foods listed under “mild reactivity” and “low reactivity”, nothing had ranked as high or moderate although a few foods were close to the moderate mark. My highest ranked food was oats, which actually made a lot of sense to me because I have bread pretty often. Oats can fall under the gluten umbrella, although some with gluten sensitivities can tolerate oats so I didn’t necessarily think I needed to give up all glutens thankfully…but I could start with bread. Mushrooms, potatoes, chicken, and oregano were also ranked decently high and again I wasn’t too shocked as I have these foods pretty often. Included in my low sensitivity group were almonds, cinnamon, wheat and rye (bye bread), both baker’s and brewer’s yeast, coffee (no surprise there), and a handful of veggies.
So those were my results. I was impressed with the information EverlyWell provided on each sensitivity and what this could mean for my diet, but again it didn’t feel like an “aha!” moment. I couldn’t just point my finger to one thing and cut it out of my diet, instead there was a few adjustments I needed to make. It also made me realize how every single component of food and spices we digest have an effect on us, whether it be positive or negative. Even if you’re eating relatively clean and healthy, you could still be eating foods that aren’t good for your specific body. I’ve since cut out coffee, which has been so hard, but I know that it wasn’t having a positive effect on my stomach. I’m working on the oats and chicken because they were a pretty consistent factor in my diet, but I know in time I’ll find my replacements.
Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely still enjoy some McDonald’s here and there. It’s my number one weakness. But I try to keep these foods out of my apartment so that there’s zero temptation when I need to cook dinner or want to snack. Although it isn’t fun to have certain sensitivities, the amount of options we have nowadays makes it a whole lot easier to eat organic and clean. Whole Foods and Thrive Market make this super easy for me; if you don’t have a Whole Foods nearby then trust me and shop online at Thrive, where you can find pretty much everything you need for a healthy, organic pantry. Let me know in the comments down below if you’re dealing with food sensitivities and what alternatives are working for you!