Thursday, February 7, 2013

Something's wrong with me

My mother would probably say a lot of things are wrong with me. But without going into too much detail, let's talk about my stomach and my digestion. Big picture: they're not ok. Since I have been an adult, I've had a touchy stomach. If I'm stressed out, it goes haywire, if I eat something unusual, it get weird, if I travel, it ceases to behave. Basically any deviation from "normal" eating and drink and everything goes to hell. But lately, it's been even worse. For the last month or 6 weeks or so, even with super normal food, everything predictable, working out 5 times a week, drinking lots of water, etc., I have been having terrible stomach pains and extra bad heartburn. I played Internet Doctor on myself and decided I probably have a sensitivity to something.

So what could it be? I ordered Bob's Red Mill Texturized Vegetable Protein (way yummier than it sounds/looks) a couple weeks ago and we've been eating it frequently. This means a huge increase in the amount of soy I eat- from once a week to 4 or 5 times a week (I've also been buying tofu more lately). The thing is, I cannot isolate the effects of this. A normal day, for example, includes:

Banana, eggs or yogurt, Cheerios for breakfast / Allergens/irritants: Wheat, eggs, dairy
Coffe / Irritants: caffeine
Veggies and some sort of soup or sandwich for lunch / Allergens/irritants: wheat
Tofu or TVP, noodles, sauce and possibly cheese for dinner / Allergens/irritants: soy, wheat, dairy
Ice cream for dessert / Allergens: dairy

I already knew dairy was a problem, and I can minimize it just fine. However, soy and eggs are both major protein sources for me, and cutting them out would be a challenge. It is also a challenge to deal with stomach pains and churning for most of my waking hours, so... elimination diet it is! The Internet, MD, has suggested a diet free of all allergenic foods for a few days, followed by one day of a "challenge food", then 4 days of no allergens, 1 day of challenge, etc. The list of hypoallergenic foods is pretty limited, but it's workable. The only things I'll miss majorly are eggs and wheat, but I hear rice noodles aren't terrible. My other protein will be from beans and lentils. For some reason peanuts are limited? And of course, no caffeine or alcohol. Blast.

The proper way to do this is to dive right in, start on a certain day and just do it. It'll shock your system and the first few days will be rough, but you'll eliminate everything in one fell swoop. That is how a normal, not super cheap person would go about it. I am not one of those people. I have 31 eggs in my fridge, a block of tofu, and 5 oranges. I also have around 6 dinners made with tomatoes, a couple packages of soy fake chicken, 3 frozen pizzas, and 12 or so lentil burgers with eggs. That frozen stuff will keep for a while, but I'm pretty worried that I won't be able to eat it in the future (because it turns out to aggravate my stomach issues) and it'll just sit forever until Nick eats his way through it. So instead of diving right in, I'm going to do a slow reduction in allergenic ingredients and wait to start for another week or so. I'll eat the perishable stuff between now and then (and drink all my beloved V8), while I cut out reduce caffeine (this is day 2 of just 1 cup a day instead of my normal 2 a day... afternoon sleepies are no fun). It's not like the weird diet will last forever and I need to get everything out of the house, pronto, but I do not want food going bad just because I'm limiting my food options for a month or so.

My baby steps: eat all the eggs in my house, eat the tofu, finish off the oranges while lessening caffeine. I figure that'll at least get the coffee detox pain out of the way before I have to abandon added sugar and the joy it brings to my life. This will be interesting.

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