Last August I began a change in diet that was meant to heal me of various problems. I cut dairy, gluten, soy, and corn for several weeks, not knowing how I would feel by the end. Many people with a gluten intolerance feel instant relief. I did not. In fact, after my elimination diet was over, I continued eating it, though not as frequently. It was not until a few months into my “re-introduction” that I started feeling the effects of my gluten response, and hindsight became much more clear. Like never before, I was experiencing stomach cramps akin to eating two Thanksgiving dinners when I ate a significant serving of gluten. But more noteworthy was the fact that when I reduced my gluten intake, the severity of my seasonal allergies declined accordingly (a problem that affected my ability to work and function in society. A problem I’d dealt with my entire life). Likewise, when I ate a little bit of gluten repeatedly over a short period of time, or a binged in one setting, my allergies would flare within days and I would be stuck with a severe respiratory infection to nurse for about a week.
So this is how I’ve lived since last fall—avoiding gluten where I can, but not stressing over cross-contamination. Cheating a little, but knowing I will pay for it if I don’t keep it under control. I’ve been eating dairy, living with the occasional, but not severe, physical distress I sometimes experience with it, and avoiding soy more and more. I had no other problems with any other food.
Until a few weeks ago.
Within 30 minutes of eating this breakfast, I became sick to my stomach. I wanted to curl up on my couch and not move, but I was at work. It was the constant feeling of definite nausea that remained for a good two hours. I never felt so sick as to need to vomit, but the wrench in my stomach was undeniable.
A few days later, I discovered what about this meal ailed me when I ate it again in another meal, and then another as a “test” a few days after.
I have become allergic to avocados!
I have had a great love for avocados since I first started eating them in 2008. I put them on sandwiches, burgers, tacos, almost anything. It’s my favorite condiment. I can find substitutes for wheat, but AVOCADO?!
I was eating gluten free (especially over the last several months), but clearly that didn’t prevent me from developing some sort of allergy to avocados. I have read that it is possibly related to something called, “latex-fruit syndrome” which is a type of latex allergy that responds negatively to certain fruit like avocado, mango, and pineapple. I also had the same problems with pineapple lately and had to stop eating it. At the time I assumed it was the sugar.
Something needed to change. What I was doing was not enough. So I did some research into traditional diets and the GI-healing diets, GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) and SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). I can’t say that I’m committing totally to any of these just yet, but I am choosing to incorporate major aspects of them more and see how (if) it helps:
- Bone Broths
The vitamins and minerals that are found in bone broths are important anyway, but the collagen in these broths helps heal the lining of the intestines. Bones are cheap and I happened to have to meaty lamb bones in my deep freezer. After stewing away for a day in a combination of vegetables, herbs, and kombu, I have lamb stock in my freezer, ready for soups. Edgar loves eating soup for lunch, so I’m making it a point to consume my broth in the form of easy-to-prepare crockpot soups for lunch. (Mark Sisson has compiled a great amount of information on the subject HERE. And the Weston A. Price Foundation writes about it HERE)
I have experienced in the past when I drank kombucha on an upset stomach, it would relieve my distress very quickly. It’s a great non-dairy source of probiotics, which should help balance my internal flora. Plus, I just flat out love the stuff. It’s a healthy bubbly beverage! Right now I only have one quart mason jar in my pantry fermenting away, but I know that I’ll need to have a lot more going at once to keep up with my habit!
Interesting story here. See that small bit of “mother” (ie. Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) floating on the top? Well, soon after I took these photos, it fell to the bottom of the jar, but in the few days since I took this picture, a new mother has started to form at the top of the jar again! Fermentation is a neat trick.
I made my own! The process was very simple, and per SCD instructions I let it ferment for 24 hours to help reduce as much lactose as possible. I then strained the yogurt, making a thick, Greek-style yogurt and an ample amount of whey for other fermented foods along the line.
- Soaking/Sprouting/Souring Legumes and Grains
I’ve gone back to soaking my grains and beans thoroughly in an acid medium to help reduce phytase. Phytase is an anti-nutrient. It blocks the proper absorption of nutrients in the body. Plus, it makes food more difficult to digest. I don’t make beans or grains a significant part of my diet, so I’m not that concerned about malnutrition by phytase, but I know I don’t want to aggravate a sensitive stomach with things I know are hard to digest when I can do something about it. So soak them well in vinegar or whey before cooking, I do. I also toss some kombu in with my beans to further help make them more digestible. Along the line I do plan to try to limit my legumes to SCD-legal varieties, like lentils and navy beans. (Read more about it HERE.)
In addition to the beans, I’ve started sprouting my own grains and seeds so I can make a variation on this Sprouted Grain Gluten Free Bread recipe. I’m completely intimidated! But the fact that I just started the sprouting process at 9pm last night and already my quinoa was sprouting when I woke up this morning makes me feel a little more capable!
- Lacto-Fermented Condiments
I don’t like pickles. I don’t like saurkraut. I don’t like vinegary things. But certain things I eat often contain a little vinegar, and it’s those things I am planning to lacto-ferment: salsa, mainly (I eat salsa with my eggs almost every day), and possibly barbecue sauce (which I generally don’t care for. I’m a Texas barbecue gal. We don’t need no barbecue sauce!) and ketchup (which I only eat with fried potatoes). I might experiment with lacto-fermented pickles, but for Ed’s sake, not mine. Also, in skimming through the Nourishing Traditions cookbook at Barnes & Noble a few days ago, I found that there are apparently plenty of different things I can ferment at home that seems tasty enough to me. Going to have to add that book to my wish list!
So with all these changes, I’m hoping to feel some improvements. Only time will tell!
Here are some valuable blogs I have been reading that relate to traditional+GI-healing diets. Check ‘em out!:
Have you had any experience with traditional foods/preparations? Do you recommend any other blogs that relate to this topic?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietician, or any official health expert. I am just a free woman making up her own mind, willing to risk being wrong.