Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, I loved answering all 36 of them. For your connivence, I’ve separated them into five sections as sub pages under the FAQ tab: Fixing Your relationship with Food, Building Positive Body Image, Recovery Resources, Celiacs & Tummy Troubles, and Just fun stuff. Feel free to skip ahead. Take what you need and if you don’t see your question, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add it!
If listening & seeing is more your style than reading, check out the video below for my five minute explanation about dealing with tummy troubles and Celiac disease. Looking for more? Keep reading for the full length answers to your top questions.
1) Have you ever dealt with painful stomach issues / bloating?
Ohhhh yes. Fun times…not so much. In 2015 I actually landed myself in the emergency room twice after suffering sharp, stabbing pains in my lower abdomen and a distended (severely bloated) stomach. Doctors had me on everything from gluten free (this is before we found out I was Celiac) to dairy free to low FOODMAP – you name it. Eventually the severe pain subsided but I was still miserably bloated, self conscious and stuck with horrific gas. While I’m not a doctor and can’t speak to your personal treatment I can 200% guarantee that you will be so much less unhappy and uncomfortable if you can work to move past the body image aspect of the bloating. Once I realized I was not disgusting nor repulsive because my belly got big sometimes, it’s amazing how many of my symptoms subsided and how much happier I felt.
2) How did you figure out you can’t eat gluten? What was the whole process of being diagnosed Celiac like?
It all started when I began experiencing attacks of severe, debilitating lower abdomen pain (like near my ovaries). I had three episodes where the pain was so bad that I had to be rushed to the ER. But each time the doctors couldn’t find any real cause for the pain. At the same time I was also experiencing really horrible constipation and foul, embarrassing gas. So doctors wanted to give me all kinds of diagnosis’ to treat it. I was mis-diagnosed with IBS, Gastroparesis, Lactose Intolerance, etc. I was put on so many elimination diets that eating anything became scary. Finally I had a doctor who wanted to do a colonoscopy / endoscopy and that’s when we found out I was Celiac AKA very gluten intolerant. I was so confused because my symptoms were so uncharacteristic to Celiacs and yet there it was. At this time I had a doctor who told me that even as a Celiac, I could eat gluten once in awhile if it didn’t make me feel sick and there wouldn’t be any health risks. Excuse me for this, but he’s a dumbass who endangered my life. Months later I got a second opinion from a doctor who informed that is entirely incorrect and then told me the real risks. I’ve been gluten free ever since. I keep a GF home and I try my best at restaurants. I don’t inspect kitchens or bring different pots and pans everywhere I go. Right now I’m just transitioning. Learning this lifestyle. And forgiving myself when I mess up.
3) How long did it take you to reintroduce foods that doctors told you to avoid back into your diet?
This is a tricky one, because it’s an ongoing process. The best thing to do is to take a look at the common irritants – sugar free gum, 0 calorie sweeteners, diet products, dairy, wheat, etc. – and pay attention to how your body reacts 20 – 60 minutes after consuming. I’ve found that I can tolerate some ice cream but not greek yogurt. I’ve found I get FOUL gas if any 0 calorie pack of sweetener gets anywhere near my coffee. It’s frustrating to guess and test, but just remember that you’re not on any deadlines. You have all the time in the world to figure out what makes YOU feel good.
4) Do certain foods make you bloat or make your stomach hurt? Ex) Coffee
My tummy trouble foods are artificial sweeteners AKA almost everything labeled “diet” or “0 calorie”, broccoli, cauliflower, certain yogurts, lots of dairy, and any protein powders / bars that are not plant based. In terms of coffee, a cup first thing in the morning actually really helps me be “regular” in the little girl’s room department. Especially when followed with an even bigger glass of water. But if I have more coffee later in the afternoon I’ll definitely notice some gurgling and bloating going on. Everyone’s body is different, so to find what works for you play around with your timing and add ins.
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