The bloating will go away. Just keep eating. Go for low volume high calorie things. It usually dissipates after a few months. Those are the things they tell you when you are gaining weight and recovering from a restrictive eating disorder. But what about when it doesn’t?
I started recovering from anorexia almost two years ago now. I am at a healthy weight and my weight has leveled out here. I eat a lot of carbs and a lot more fats now too. I’ve tried taking things out of my diet: gluten, soy, nuts, even oats (that was hard, I only lasted about a week). I’ve waited it out, I’ve tried to be patient, but the bloating and digestive problems are not just going away.
So I finally went to a doctor
A functional medicine doctor who ran many many tests. I’d already researched things like SIBO and IBS and low stomach acid and that long list of things that could cause bloating, but tests are much better than guesses. If you Google search your symptoms for too long the only thing you will have for sure is hypochondria.
It turns out there is a lot going on here. Basically I have major gut bacteria imbalances and some candida overgrowth along with adrenal fatigue and probably low stomach acid. Oh and a food sensitivity chart that says I am sensitive to corn, most nuts, oats, citrus, gluten, legumes, and many other things including vanilla (kinda weird they even test that one, isn’t it?) Oh boy!
Part of the reason I have put off going to the doctor for so long is because I knew we wouldn’t agree on the whole vegan part of the equation. I was right. The conversation with the doctor went something like this:
Her: “So Natalie, what do you usually eat for breakfast?”
Me: “A smoothie with spinach and protein powder and hemp seeds and bananas.”
Her: “How many bananas?”
Me: “About 5.”
And then the expected, you are a crazy banana monster reaction. She suggested I use about half a banana. HALF! Or maybe a quarter even. Yeah that’s going to be real filling.
And when I asked her what I was supposed instead to eat to get sufficient calories she had no answer just told me to talk to a nutritionist.
We are living in a world of carb haters. Sugar is always the culprit. A doctor would never tell you to cut your protein intake to basically nothing. Or fat. But carbs, eh who needs em.
EVERYONE! That’s who!
I do realize that IgG food testing has its limitations and inaccuracies, so I’m not taking that one as seriously right now. The bacteria dysbiosis and candida is where I’m focusing most of my attention.
I’m already taking probiotics, Hcl, and L-glutamine. I’m going to add herbal antimicrobials and antifungals, an adrenal support supplement, and I can’t even remember what else. Ahhh I hate being on so many pills!
What to eat?
I could listen to the doctors, go the conventional route, cut out all the sugars. But the thought of that makes me want to kick and scream–no fruit?!? Oh wait, I can have that quarter of a banana. Or maybe get crazy and have half of one from time to time.
Or I could go the unconventional route based on anecdotes of the healing powers of raw food and a lot of faith. Try to be 100% raw for a while, since the some raw and some cooked thing I’ve been doing clearly isn’t working. There are many many stories of people healing their candida and gut dysbiosis on a high fruit raw diet. Maybe I should go all in.
Or I could try low FODMAPS, at least then I could still have some carbs and fruits. It feels so weird to not eat fruity though. What else do people eat? I love my sweet foods, savory just doesn’t appeal!
Or I could just hope that the anti-microbial and anti-fungal herbs are powerful enough to work their magic even if I’m still eating fruity…but that’s probably just wishful thinking.
I truly believe that food has the power to heal. And I believe that most of that power lies in fresh fruits and vegetables and foods from the earth. Giving those things up just doesn’t feel or sound right, even if that’s what they are telling me to do. Plus I’ve heard that giving up the carbohydrates just masks the problem, and doesn’t fix it in the long run.
I’m also very tired of being pushed to give up my vegan diet because of all this. Being pushed to compromise my ethics by both doctors and other people in my life. People telling me that all this is because I don’t eat “normally”. Although being challenged in this way has just made me more resolute. That’s my stubbornness coming through.
Doctors can’t heal you. They can run tests that can help pinpoint the problem better than I can myself, but in the end you are on your own. On your own to rifle through all the information out there and choose what you want to believe and pursue. It’s lonely and freeing all at the same time.
I’m really not writing this asking for sympathy. I just felt like sharing because I like transparency. I don’t like pretending that I’m feeling awesome all the time when I’m not. But if you’ve had any experience with similar things or any thoughts you would like to share I would love to hear them.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
“Doctors can’t heal you. They can run tests that can help pinpoint the problem better than I can myself, but in the end you are on your own.”. Yes. Know that you are NOT alone in this journey of navigating digestive and whole body issues. I do want to just wake up one day and everything would be right in the world. I wouldn’t have to worry about randomly feeling sick and horrible a few hours later. Not knowing what the triggers are. Sometimes I can eat a boat load of cashews and feel 100%, then another day I would feel 100% NOT okay. There’s only so many colonoscopies, endoscopies, tests, advice, you can take before you start to lose hope and just resign yourself to “hey, this is my body, my life, and this is how it;s just going to be”. We can keep trying new things, or go on feeling rather shitty. I feel like it goes through seasons too. Sometimes months. It can be super fine and I feel great! Then BAM out of nowhere, no rhyme or reason, my body is not a happy camper. It’s autoimmune disease, STRESS, what we eat, how much sleep we get. And sadly it is up to the individual. NO ONE but YOU knows exactly how you feel, what it feels like in your body. No one. Everyone is different. EVERYONE. There is no one solution or pill. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
[email protected] says
The world of gastro intestinal problems is a very very tricky place. It seems like the doctors barely have a grasp on a lot of this stuff, and I completely agree that only you really know how you feel. These chronic conditions that are often tied into autoimmune stuff seem to be particularly difficult to treat and definitely difficult to live with. The unpredictability of it is annoying too, I feel ya there. It’s really hard not to have anxiety and weirdness with food when you never know how it might make you feel after you eat it. I do feel like I have a much better grasp on what’s going on then ever before, but that’s only a small piece of the battle to feeling awesome again. It can just get so complicated, that’s why I always come back to diet, raw food, simple meals, take out as many variables as possible. Thanks for reading this long one my dear <3 xoxo
Sarah | Well and Full says
Oh Natalie! I wish so much that you were feeling better. And I know you’ll get there too, you just have to try to find what works for you. Have you tried taking a probiotic supplement? I’ve had recurring stomach issues and that’s what I’m trying right now, and it’s going well so far. And I’m really surprised that your doctor would have recommended to you to eat LESS bananas when you’re recovering from an ED. That doesn’t sound like good medical advice AT ALL. Have you ever considered seeing a naturopathic doctor? That might be a better source of treatment for you. I know there are some great supplements out there for adrenal fatigue, they have them at Whole Foods…. mostly adaptogenic herbs and and plants as a natural remedy. But regardless keep us updated on how you’re doing, I hope you get better soon <3
[email protected] says
Thank you for your sweet comment Sarah. I have been taking probiotics for a year plus now, and they do help but not immensely. And yeah they had some weird advice haha. I’m pretty well weight restored at this point so they weren’t really keeping the whole eating disorder thing in mind I don’t think, but still as a vegan it’s really really hard to cut out carbs. In general they aren’t really supportive of veganism, so that alone makes things hard. And this was a naturopathic doctor actually :/ I will definitely look into the herbs and such for adrenal support, good to know there are some plant-based ones out there! Thanks for reading and for your support <3
Oh dear, you ready for my response to this?! Go grab some bananas, and a big jug of protein smoothie… and maybe a few oat muffins… it’s going to be a looooooong one… (you asked for it! 😉 )
Girl, I’m with you in the same camp — about 7 years and things are still clear as mud. I’ve gone the rounds of testing of all kinds — traditional, conventional, eastern, western, naturopathic, intuitive healers and so on… I’ve done the rounds of allergy testing — traditional (every panel imaginable), IgG, blood, hair, saliva, and basically every test imaginable… I’ve tried EVERY diet imaginable (except for this high fat thing. That’s just weird. Sorry to any high-fatters… though I imagine there aren’t that many of them on your blog…). Where am I now? More or less same place I started…
I’ve been diagnosed and misdiagnosed, rushed into emergency tests of all kinds when things were bad, only to be dismissed as “oh you’re ok, just don’t eat onions” because the doctor didn’t know what else it could be… o.O
Anyways, my experience has thoroughly convinced me that the medical system here in Canada is broken and handicapped, and nobody knows what the heck is going on or cares too deeply really. It’s all about meeting quotas, staying within the budget. If it fits the bill of standard conditions they are comfortable working with, they’ll squeeze you into that (is there anyone who isn’t diagnosed with IBS?). If it doesn’t quite fit in, you’re ok, it’s just IBS & co.… just don’t eat those onions, ok? 😉
My experience with the naturopathic realm has been mixed as well. There are many people who are in that line (just as there are in traditional medicine and any other occupation), but who don’t have what it takes to be a good healer. And unfortunately, even if inadvertently, it can then often lead to many expenses and not a lot of results… Or mild improvements in some areas, only to discover other problems emerge.
Here are the conclusions I’ve come to / where I’m at these days: I think the range of symptoms many people are experiencing, all these autoimmune conditions, bloating, and so on, are a relatively new problem the world is facing, that neither field (traditional or holistic) have caught onto properly yet. I think the problem is much larger than just certain foods, but for lack of sounding like a crazy conspiracy theorist, I’m going to stop there. The main thing is that in my experience so far the external help you get is very limited and it’s difficult to see results. Sometimes a proper diet for your body heals, but that’s not going to be the solution for every person. Sometimes finding allergens is great, but other times it’s not an exact science. My “allergens” change regularly…
The best thing for me was to find a naturopath who genuinely has the desire to FIX people. It’s like a problem solving game for a problem solving nerd. It’s not a job for her, but a strong point of interest, and it comes across in her practice. She’s helped me regulate things by leaps and bounds, and I’m super grateful for that. So I think finding a person who is genuinely passionate about healing others (not someone who says they are, but someone who actually has that inmate intuitive and natural inkling to heal others) can be of great value for relieving many symptoms. But they are a rare find…
With regards to IgG testing by the way — I found that if you test when you’re experiencing a lot of issues, then the foods that will come back as “inflammatory” or “allergens” will be the very foods you’re eating at that time. I was surprised the first few times that happened, but there’s a logic to it. Your body is reacting to FOOD, and not necessarily a specific food. In my case for example, everything I eat my body interprets as an allergen and begins to attack itself. So if I happen to be eating lots of bananas and I test for things in that time period, bananas will show up as an allergen on the list. But it’s not a true allergen, more a symptom of a problem the body has with food and the digestive system. I hope this makes sense. Just thought I’d put it out there…
I can say lots more, but just know that I’m right there with you. Broken, and without a fix in sight. Just a good naturopath that helps me cope with the basics. And a better understanding of how my body responds to foods, and how I can help to support it with the right foods for ME. I don’t know at this stage that there is any solution out there. To be honest I stopped worrying about it. I think I tipped over at a certain point — it’s easier for me to just accept that this is how I am at the moment. I’m still open to trying and experimenting with new things, but at the same time I’m not stressing about it. Nobody ever promised you’ll be born with a perfectly healthy body, that everyone in the world has to be a beacon of health, have zero bloating, and so on… I can only look at the facts. I’ve tried everything in my means. Time to move on and LIVE. Even if that means some days I’m living in what my husband calls pregnancy shirts… :). Letting go of the stress that something is wrong with me has helped me get better better than anything else I’ve tried. That said, if you find anything that works, lemme know 😉 I’m all ears. Always. And I’m always here if you wanted to bounce anything off or just want someone to vent to.
[email protected] says
And the award for longest comment ever posted on the internet goes to AUDREY!!! haha 😀 Okay now I have my smoothie lets dive in…
Oh man, and I was complaining about my 2 years! You have definitely been in this maze for much longer than me, I didn’t realize you were still just as lost. Really why do they even do food sensitivity testing anymore, everything I read says it’s not accurate and it just confuses people. I know that elimination diets are probably better and more helpful for pinpointing the problem, but it’s hard to even know what to eliminate when everything seems to cause an issue. Except fat, fat does’t make anyone bloat. But I agree high fat diet just sounds weird and kinda gross and not healthy long term. Unless we can just eat dark chocolate all day, then I might consider 😀
I read as well that IgG tests show things that you eat a lot as sensitive. Although luckily bananas were not on my sensitive list yay! I would’ve probably just died right there ? But your explanation makes perfect sense as to why that is. No wonder none of the meats or eggs came back as sensitive, my body barely even knows what those things are anymore so of course they aren’t the problem. Pin pointing certain things and avoiding them only works if you have a specific allergy like peanuts or dairy, but in general I agree it’s not the solution. Your ever changing list of sensitivities has proven that.
Although I’m honestly not sure if my issue is autoimmune or not. I think just having leaky gut could be causing the adrenal issues, and actually all my thyroid tests came back normal. I do already have vitiligo (have since i was 7) which is probably autoimmune, so autoimmune is definitely possible. As much as I’m not the biggest fan of this naturopath at least I have a few more solid facts now like the bacterial overgrowth and the candida. So that’s a starting place. But all digestion things are just tricky to treat because it’s not like we can quit eating and let it take a break (well you could do that liquid diet thing, but that sounds awful). For the past few days I’ve been doing banana island actually. I’m trying to find solid footing–somewhere that feels okay to work from. All bananas works better for me than anything else I’ve tried, it just doesn’t last of course.
I applaud you for getting anything done in the Canada health care system, that’s a crazy beast. My aunt lives up there so I’ve heard stories. Finding a good naturopath is hard, I can see why you’ve hopped around so much. I’m already driving 5 hours to this one and I still don’t like them, there just isn’t much to choose from. I’m happy for you that you have finally found one who actually cares, what a lovely feeling that must be. Makes you never want to move! But yes, most don’t really care and are still just doing what’s easy and lucrative. IBS and Co hahahaha 😀 The only other place around here is some dude who is a iridologist, so he looks into your eyes and can tell what’s wrong with you and how to treat it?? Sounds very woo woo, but I’ve heard really good things from friends actually. I’m open to woo woo 🙂
My mom always asks why so many vegans seem to have these never-ending GI issues, but I think it’s something about the times and world changes and toxins and other such conspiracy theory things you hinted at. I agree, it didn’t used to be this way. Cancer and autoimmune rates are going up fast, there’s something to it. Perhaps we vegans are just more in tune with our bodies, idk?
That last paragraph is perfect. Probably the most important part of it all, letting go and living despite it. And boy do I suck at that, ha! I’m so caught in the ‘well once i feel better I will….” mindset, that’s really something I am trying to work on. Accepting. No one ever promised health, that is true, but I can’t help being an optimist and believing there has to be a way it can’t just be this way for forever. I know I know I need to stop fighting it. Loose shirts are a must haha 😀 I’m with you there!
Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to write and share all this at some crazy hour in the morning (seriously do you ever sleep??). Thank you for relating. You are the best you know that <3
I’m so bad with the sleep thing. Night time is when I’m always most productive. I don’t know where my whole day always disappears to, but night time is when my brain finally kicks into functional mode 😀 Though I am well aware it’s not the healthiest…
In response to your mom, I found her statement to be partially true and not just for vegans (many of whom eat from the SAD diet and I’d say are quite on par with the rest of the SAD world <<< what a terrible acronym btw! :D). I found here statement to apply more to people who go on cleaner diets in general. You start to become a lot more in tune with with your body and what’s going on in there. I equated it to having a white board filled with thousands of marker dots. Add another dot, and who will notice it? But if you have a clean white board and suddenly a few dots appear, you’ll sure notice them and wonder what they’re doing there… So that’s what I feel happens when you transition into healthier / more mindful eating — vegan or not. That said, I think on some level you also become a little too hyper-sensitive perhaps…
About iridology — funny you mentioned it because my naturopath does it 🙂 It’s a small part of her practice. She’s a certified nutritionist, naturopath, and iridologist. I was skeptical at first, but her initial assessment of my trouble areas was shockingly spot on. So I have some faith in the accuracy of the method (though don’t know that every practitioner would apply it correctly… that’s another matter). But it’s just a small diagnostic tool, not a healing system. And she uses many others to assess what’s going wrong in the system.
The nice thing is that though she doesn’t agree with my diet choices from the perspective of being a nutritionist, but she is open to working with me within my own confines. Her philosophy is that things will only work when they are in alignment with people’s feelings / way of being… otherwise, you can force things to happen, but they will eventually crumble.. I liked that approach personally and found that she’s been quite good with respecting things.
Sorry, not sharing because she’s like the ultimate doc or anything 🙂 — definitely has her limitations, as anyone would. Just that there are people out there who will work with you in the right way for you. It’s just not always easy to find them.
That said, she mentioned a book today I’m curious to check out — can’t vouch for it at all since I haven’t read it, and from browsing this lady’s blog I can’t say I’m in agreement with *many* things, but the book sounds like it has some interesting food for thought: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. It’s an oldie, but the naturopath said way back it gave her a lot of fuel to overcome her own debilitating condition. I just got a kindle copy today — will let you know if it’s any good or a bunch of woo woo 🙂 Unless you read it before me 😉
[email protected] says
I’m not much better about sleep. My mind kicks into productive mode around 8-9 pm and I have to make myself go to bed, not usually till around 1 am though. Since we are on a woo woo kick, they say 2 am is when the human/spiritual world veil is thinnest right, so maybe you are on the right track haha 😀
SAD, it is a pretty ironic acronym. And yes i agree, any one health conscious seems to be more in tune. I think many normal SAD people don’t know how good you could feel maybe, so perhaps that just means we have high standards 🙂 And hyper sensitivity is definitely part of it too–if you think about your pain/discomfort it definitely gets worse. And now we’re back around to the whole letting go and acceptance thing.
So you’ve heard of iridology too. But yeah it’s more just a tool than a whole thing, so it still depends on how they treat you from there. Your naturopath’s approach sounds wonderful, much more cognisant of the energetic and emotional side of things. Given that my parents are doctors (and they are paying for things) they wanted to go somewhere that has MDs and naturopath’s but the place I’m going now is a little too traditional. They push the organic but still high protein, paleo-esque almost thing. I’m still dreaming of the day when all the doctors come to the plant-based side of things. It will happen.
And my mom has that book actually! I haven’t read it, haven’t even thought about it in forever. Interesting that you brought it up, it definitely is a classic in the new age/healing world. Might have to explore it myself a bit!
Wow ladies, are we writing up new posts in the comment section now? 😀 Just kidding, I love to hear about your experiences. I’m in the same boat to some degree though my bloat isn’t probably as bad (I very rarely need to opt for a loose shirt :D, typically after snacking on some freshly baked goodies with yeast in them) but I can see where you’re coming form. It’s so frustrating to try to pinpoint the problem areas. The only thing that works for me 100% is not eating 😀 which is hardly optimal.
I agree that probiotics help a bit but they’re hardly a cure-all. And doctors hardly ever help, yep. Though the medical system is pretty good here in Germany and they even fund some naturopaths from your insurance, it’s far from perfect. It all ends in endoscopies and antibiotics….
I’ve come to a similar point that Audrey mentioned – I try not to stress about it too much. Though that can be hard if I’m supposed to go to yoga class and feel like a beach ball…anyways 😀 The most frustrating thing is that crappy food such as white flour or even meat in my old non-vegan days never gets me bloated, it’s just the healthy stuff. I guess a bit of bloat is worth not having to eat that crap.
Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. Sorry to hear you guys are struggling, I sort of hoped I was an anomaly. Hope we’ll be able to finally calm our bodies with all the amazing and healthy food. I still believe it does have the power to heal, it might just take longer than we thought it would. Definitely better than some crazy magic pills our doctors try to push on us…
Hahahahaha I love the first sentence 😀 Yes, yes we are. In fact i think the comments section is much longer than the post at this point lol! But I’m a little sad that you are in this bloating boat with us 🙁 I was hoping it was just me as well, not a community thing unfortunately.
I haven’t had yeasted anything in forever, but that does sound like a bad idea for me right now. Yes no food works, that’s all I’ve found too. In the morning I feel okay but one meal in and the balloon is back! Balloon yoga, yep been there. I always hope that I feel like more of a balloon than i actually look ha!
It does get a little tiring to just hear everyone recommend probiotics…yeah been there done that not better. That’s pretty amazing that you have access to naturopaths through insurance over there though, here they do get pricey. Although it doesn’t seem even the naturopaths can fix us. I’ve been avoiding an endoscopy, but yes it does seem to be what they want to do. There are some doctors who still believe we are all crazy and its just in our heads and stress related and that just drives me crazy! I’m over here like no it’s for real, I really do look 6 months pregnant!
It is strange that the crappy food doesn’t seem to cause this problem. Although people who have been vegan since birth don’t seem to experience it either, so I think (hope) you are right it will just take time. A lot of time. You definitely get the award for comment that made me laugh the most on this rather bummer of a post 😀 I think that is the key, stay light and don’t stress. Thank you for reading Lucie <3 <3
Ah, I study Biomedical Science, and I know about the sort of error margins even regular tests have, not to mention how incredibly complex and different every body can be! I know how you feel, ever since I did three months of stuffing down the calories according to the rawtill4 guidelines, I felt miserable after every meal, and even after going back to eating more normally, digestive issues still come and go, where some days I just don’t feel like eating at all. What helps me is just only eating if I genuinely feel hungry, going for a walk to ease off the bloat and drinking various flavours of green tea. The last probably works just because it calms me and gives me a good reason to curl up with a book. I do notice that mindless snacking can often set off some horrid bloating, so I am working on that.
Anyhow, I thought I’d share my thoughts and experiences since you have candidly done so 🙂
[email protected] says
Thank you for taking the time to read and relate! I have definitely found that snacking does not work for me either, too many variables and weird combinations. Sticking to separated larger meals works better, but I’m still working on it too. And yes testing inaccuracies are definitely a real thing, that’s why I’m not taking the sensitivity tests too seriously. As much as i wish they would give me easy answers, experimentation is much more solid evidence to go on. The large volume of food on raw till 4 does make my symptoms worse too, but at the same time with adrenal and thyroid issues I know I need to make sure I’m getting lots of calories. I just found the whole raw/cooked things does not work so well either, my digestion does better with one of the other. And going for a walk and relaxing, that is such a good tip! The mindfulness aspect is something I need to work on for sure. I’m glad you have gotten to a point where the digestive issues aren’t chronic, that gives me hope! Thank you for sharing your thoughts <3
Bianca @ ElephantasticVegan says
Ohhh… Natalie.. I can so relate in a way.
I’m so sorry to read about your sensitivities. Legumes, corn, oats.. ughhh.. you could have chosen other ones 😉
I felt the same way about fruits & veggies, when I was tested positive for fructose intolerance – I mean it’s fruits and veggies – how can these be bad for you?! I didn’t understand it. You can’t take away fruits and veggies from a vegan – then it’s no fun anymore. Thankfully it’s only light fructose intolerance – and after a month of a fructose-free diet, I went back to eating fruits and veggies – I just try to not eat too much and also gave up on apples – these are probably the worst for me. Although when I know I don’t have to go outside, I still indulge in a piece of homemade apple strudel every now and then.
Stomach troubles & digestion troubles are the worst – I feel like no doctor takes one seriously – even worse when you’re a vegan. They always try to blame veganism for it.
I really hope you’re feeling better soon. Sometimes it seems like the solution is only one step away 🙂
[email protected] says
Thank you Bianca for reading and relating, you are the sweetest <3 I have researched fructose intolerance as well since I have similar reactions to fruit (apples are especially bad for me too, most high sorbitol fruits), and always been just hoping really really hard that isn't what I have. I feel for you there, but I'm glad it is somewhat better now. I really question the accuracy of those tests though, because it actually told me I didn't react to apples haha 😀 Oh jeez. Traditional doctors do just blow off digestion issues which is really frustrating, so I was hoping a more naturopathic doctor would be better, but then we still have the vegan battle so it's still difficult. Where are the vegan doctors!?! And I know what you mean about the solution always feeling just out of reach, another difficult thing with GI issues is that they often take months to see a change. But you make me a little more optimistic knowing that you have had success cutting things out and then adding them back in and actually seeing improvement. It's just that adjusting and missing the old things that's hard.
Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and support, it means a lot to me!
Bianca @ ElephantasticVegan says
So sorry, I’m getting back to you so late. I feel like my comment turned out way more positive than it actually is 😀 I’m still having problems every other day – especially on days when I have meetings or when I’m nervous because of something. So I have the feeling, that it is linked with an psychological issue.. I’ve been writing a food diary for 3 months and didn’t notice any obvious problem ingredients.
Also when I was diagnosed with fructose intolerance it was diagnosed through a breath test. But theeen..only 2-3 months ago I was doing an intolerance test diagnosed through a blood sample where they tested around 70 ingredients. And on this test, apples did great! Although I had sliiight intolerances against oats, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, avocado (I’m ignoring that one, obviously, that can’t be right :D), grapes, mushrooms, fennel, onions and celery & green beans. And a medium intolerance to yeast. Okay.. that list is rather long.. I’ve been ignoring the mild things but gone without yeast for a month or so and still couldn’t find any improvements. Now I’m eating yeast again.. but I simply pay more attention to it. With that I just wanted to say that there’s even a difference if tolerances are tested through breath test and blood sample – I don’t even know who to believe anymore too.
And yes, I totally agree. It’s so frustrating that you have to follow a diet or change in diet for a month or two to see possible improvements. Why can’t I just test it out for a day – that would be so much easier 😀 I’ve been researching a low-fodmap-diet for a while now.. but my boyfriend LOVES cooking with onions & garlic and I do too. I would hate for us to cook two separate meals.. because I’m so glad he’s vegan too and I really want to embrace that we can cook together and eat together. That’s probably the main reason why I didn’t give low-fodmap a try yet.
Mhhh. it feels like there should be enough vegan naturopathic doctors around.. There are so many approaches of “healing through food” and especially plant-based food! I wish you the best that you find a doctor, that embraces a vegan diet and wants to help 🙂 We are going to get through this! 🙂
[email protected] says
Haha that’s okay, positivity is always good. Fake it till you make it right, better to be too positive than too negative 🙂 The psychological link is definitely real, the stress factor. De-stressing is so hard though, life is stressful! I’ve tried tracking what I eat as well to find a pattern but had no luck either. Wouldn’t it be nice to find just one food that was the culprit. And Audrey and I were talking about the sensitivity testing and how often the foods you eat a lot will show up positive as a sensitivity because your body is reacting to almost everything so the foods you eat are the most recent ones it has reacted to. Apples didn’t come back as a sensitivity for me either funny enough 😀 Plus we still have to eat SOMETHING!
It’s such a hard decision between trying all the dietary changes and dealing with the mental stress that that can cause vs. just eating what you want to dealing with the consequences. Plus just like with the testing, there is conflicting info out there about whether FODMAPS works or not and how to do it and whether it actually fixes the issue or just masks it. It’s the things like cooking with your boyfriend and eating out that I really think are the important mental happiness things, and not things I’m sure are worth giving up either.
And yes all the healing through food and go vegan and solve all your health problems stories make it seem like we are on the right track, but its just not quite working yet. More vegan doctors would be great wouldn’t it! I find myself avoiding doctors because I don’t want to have to have the disagreement with them and feel tested on my values. Lots of luck and love to you as well, and thank you for sharing and relating here <3
Melissa @ vegan does it says
Oh Natalie, I’m so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well and that your doctor was basically no help. It really sucks that more doctors aren’t supported of being vegan. I hid that from my doctor for a long time just because I didn’t want to hear it. Fortunately our pediatrician is totally on board with raising the kids this way! And my midwife is completely supportive too! I don’t have much experience with food sensitivities so no advice, but I’m sure you’ll find what works for your body in time. You’ll be in my thoughts xoxo
[email protected] says
I can totally see why you just don’t even want to mention the vegan thing to them. Just keep your mouth shut and hope they don’t ask, because then they just blame everything on that. It’s annoying. I’m so glad that you have finally found a doctor and midwife that are supportive though, that is invaluable I’m sure especially when raising kids! And thank you for reading and for your sweet thoughts and words <3
The Vegan 8 says
Natalie, I somehow missed this post and I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry to hear about all the difficulties you’ve been going through. I wish I had some answers for you. The truth is all of my digestion issues and tummy issues were healed once I went vegan. I’ve never felt better or been healthier, so when I hear of doctors blaming a vegan diet or fruit or whatever, it makes me so mad. As if cholesterol-laden meats and eggs and dairy are better?! I do know one thing that I used to get bubbly stomach feelings and acid feelings and just plain crappy feelings, was when I used to drink smoothies every morning. I used to load them up with fruit and greens and although they tasted amazing, all of that fiber being destroyed and turning straight to sugar juice, essentially, always made my stomach upset. I dealt with it for a long time because I thought I was doing the healthy thing, but we are all different. For me, personally, I don’t feel really good after eating fruit…..I know, total opposite of your diet, LOL. I love apples but even an apple gets those bubbles going again. It only seems to be ok after I’ve eaten something beforehand to fill up my stomach.
Once I switched to just eating all whole food and no more smoothies, it all went away. I know many people have no issues though, so that was just me. My mom can’t handle too much fruitiness either.
Anyways, I really hope you find answers and feel better. I totally agree with you that the doctors are pretty much useless…I find it so strange how they tell people that they are allergic or “sensitive” to basically EVERYTHING under the sun. It’s ridiculous.
[email protected] says
Again, no worries 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read now <3 I know, vegan seems to be the answer for so many. I often say I wish I could go vegan again haha, my body needs that healthy shock it's been too long! Yes I've considered the smoothies and all the fruit to be the culprit too sadly. It's hard because I really and truly don't crave savory foods. 90% of the time something savory doesn't appeal to me, so when I try to give up the fruit and the smoothies I'm just not satisfied. But all that could be due to the bacteria I do know. Plus I still truly believe fruit is a very healthy, perfect food for us, I hate to give it up. But it is definitely something to try, even though adjusting will be hard. And yeah doctors, ugh. But darn it if they aren't the one with the antibiotics I possibly need! I appreciate you sharing your own experience, it's so helpful to hear different perspectives and experiences. You've definitely given me something to think about and experiment with. Lots of love <3
Cel T says
All raw cured my allergies and imbalances! look up the hashtags #themealplan #TMP and look up @denisselashley ….she has helped many people heal on raw! and you can eat lots of bananas 🙂
let me know if you have any Q’s! xx
[email protected] says
Really!?! That’s great to hear, I would love to find a raw fruit-based way to solve my issues! Thank you so much for the tip, I will check it out!
Gah! I typed out this super long comment and my crazy cat decided to come curl up on the computer and exited out of the internet! Anyways, I’ll try and remember everything I wrote 🙂 I am SO sorry about all of this, sweet friend. I know we’ve talked about this a bit already, but i wanted you to know that you’ve been in my thoughts so much – I apologize for being late to read this post. From my experience, I agree with you wholeheartedly that doctors can’t heal. They’re quick to prescribe medications and rather than seeing each person as a unique individual, they refer to standard charts and what they learned in school – ignoring that everyone’s system is different, along with personal stances. Nothing drives crazier when doctors push their advice that goes against the vegan diet. I had one doc several years ago that told me I should add some dairy to my diet, such as cottage cheese (insert icky face). The evidence is out there…food DOES heal, especially through a plant-based diet. Half a banana?! She’s the crazy one! Ha! I will say this, and remember this is my experience, so it might be very different for you – when I was in the worst of it with painful digestion issues and severe bloating (and chronic fatigue) i researched candida. Ended up following a strict diet and while I wanted to cry sometimes with the restrictions, a few weeks later I felt so much better and the bloating disappeared. The good news is that we already avoid dairy and gluten, so you’re part way there 😉 But your body also changes and new sensitivities could arise…for me it’s oats again. Sorry for the ramble. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and I hope you find relief soon! Please keep us posted, ok?! Sending lots of love and healing energy your way <3 xoxoxo
[email protected] says
Noooooo! Bad timing kitty, bad timing. I have to wonder with doctors if they really think that what they are saying is healthy or if they are just like all other non-vegans in that they don’t want to open their eyes and have to make a change. There is more and more evidence coming out about how dangerous meat is, but it takes so long for it to catch on. But I agree, once they start telling me to eat meat and dairy I just shut off. It drives me crazy and they make me feel like I’m being the biggest pain for not taking their advice, ugh! Interesting though that the candida diet did work for you? Do you remember what diet it was, there are so many out there now? If not that’s cool, just wondering so I can look into it and see if it’s something I could manage to do for any length of time. I definitely have the fatigue too, I sleep so much its crazy! And yes I do already avoid so many things, and have actually done multiple days of banana island too to really eliminate almost everything and see if I can find one culprit but nope. The bacteria aren’t picky, they like it all haha 😀 Thank you for reading and for all your support both here and in our previous chats. It means SO incredibly much to me that you are always so willing to talk and offer advice! Lots of love <3 <3 <3
I almost think it’s a combo of both…they’ve been programmed to think that way and are too stubborn to step beyond what they learned in school. When you finally do find an actual respectful/health conscious doctor, it’s like a huge ray of sunshine! So it was a LONG time ago, but I remember I spent some time on http://www.thecandidadiet.com – the site looks way different now, but the info is the same. I also recently stumbled upon http://draxe.com/candida-symptoms/ and found it to be super helpful. I’m considering doing another round of following the candida diet because when I did it last time, my oat sensitivity went away. Oh, the fatigue is awful! I remember sleeping 12 hours and still feeling tired and would nap all the time! Funny you should mention banana island because there’s a mom I follow on IG who did that for a few days and it helped her so much! I’ve never done that before, but I’m super intrigued. Hey, on a totally different note, I made your body butters today and holy smokes, the Lemon Cacao one is crazy good! I almost ate it 😉 but seriously, I made a little extra for Willow and she’s obsessed – I can’t wait for you to try it! I’m always here for you, friend! I just want you to feel BETTER!!! Lots of love to YOU! <3 <3 <3
[email protected] says
Wow that diet, wow! Props to you for surviving a few weeks. For a non-vegan it wouldn’t be too hard, but as a vegan that’s pretty tough! I would eat a lot of zoodles and quinoa and probably finally find out what a rutabaga is because it sounds like the closest thing to a potato allowed haha! Thank you for both the links, I will explore them. The banana island definitely makes me feel the best I have in a while, but still not amazing. I got the idea from Ellen Fisher, in one of her videos she talked about it. It’s a good way to simplify. So Lemon Cacao is a good combo huh!? I am really REALLY excited to get it now! I always almost eat them 😀 Can’t wait! And thank you <3 <3 <3 Happy Sunday to you! xo
Leah M @ love me, feed me says
How did I miss this post?! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this, Natalie ;( unfortunately I have no advice on healing, but I’m thinking of you and sending you all the healing powers and positive vibes I can! Here for you if you ever need to chat or rant or anything of the sort. Love you, girly <3
[email protected] says
You are so sweet Leah, thank you thank you thank you <3 I appreciate your reading even if you have no advice, it means a lot to me! Lots of love <3
Anjali @ Vegetarian Gastronomy says
I just got around to reading this post of yours…it was long over-due. First off…thank you for sharing. And wow…I can’t even imagine what you are going through! I’m so sorry! But it seems like you are on the right path and your mind is int he correct place which is the most important thing. Diagnosis when it comes to GI stuff can be SO tricky. Always doctor dependent and there are SO many factors all the time it’s difficult to narrow it down when there’s no clear cut solution. I fortunately have not had any GI issues, although I do have some now after going vegan, but that’s mainly because I’m not great about my probiotics, my fault. So I do not have tons of advice, but mainly support. You know your body the best, and from reading your post, knowing you so far, you seem bright, intellegent, and in a great place right now to assess what you think is best for yourself. Don’t let ‘opinions’ of others influence you if you know they’re not the right ones. But just from reading your post I can see how it’s so confusing and frustrating not knowing what is causing it when it seems like people are pointing in all different directions. So sorry you’re going through this Natalie! If you need to ever chat or vent, I’m here =) and wow…no fruit or bananas…I have no idea how people do that…love ya! Sorry it took me so long to read this!
[email protected] says
No worries, I appreciate you reading <3 GI stuff is tricky. And slow to diagnose and treat. And also becoming more and more common it seems lately. It's definitely doctor dependent, I've thought about switching and trying a different doctor too but then that means even more waiting and testing all over again because they rarely just believe you or your previous doctors. So I'm sticking with this one for now, trying to give it the time they say it takes to see if the herbal stuff is working, and then see what they tell me from there when I tell them I'm still not better. Interesting that you have noticed more issues after going vegan, but at least probiotics do help. I wish those were enough for me too! Confused is a very good assessment of where I'm at, not sure if I should stick to what my body craves or try low FODMAPS or something like that. I know fruit is so good I don't know how I could live without! And yes not been swayed by others' opinions is a good reminder. I know me best. Thank you for your support, it means a lot to me <3
Wow…this is just like from my life! I have had very sensitive stomach for so many years. I even tried to eat animal products some time, but I was not able to continue like that…It felt so bad and I don’t even like anymore that texture, smell and taste what’s in meat, dairy and eggs. So, I’m vegan again, but bloating and gas is awful…and sometimes pains too. Doctors can’t help, I have experienced it many times. Latest just said that eat more fiber…*sigh* I’ve tried to follow that FODMAP diet and tried to be gluten free, all grain free, soy free etc…but argh, it’s so hard. Now I’m trying some good probiotics and drinkable clay and a lot of herbal tea too. But yeah, I really feel you ;( I love fruits too, life’s nothing without them! I love especially dates, I know my stomach doesn’t like them, but I still eat them sometimes, knowing the results, because I just love them too much…
I really hope we can find some solution, hugs from Finland 🙂
Thank you for reading and relating! But I’m so sorry you are in this boat too. Some doctors say less fiber, some say more, some say FODMAPS, some say no fruit at all, ahhhhh its just so confusing! Yep same here–no gluten, soy, I’m just experimenting with no grains at all, it’s so tricky and limiting though. It gets really frustrating and the discomfort is never-ending it seems. I wish I could just find at least some foods that really make me feel good and then go from there. Dates are terrible on my stomach too, but so hard to resist! Drinkable clay? I’ve never heard of that, what is it supposed to do? Anyways, I am right there with you girl, and I will certainly do an update post if/when I find something that helps. Lots of love <3
I am so sorry to learn that you’re struggling with these issues. However, I applaud you for having such confidence in your morals and in your knowledge of your own body. I wish I had some advice to offer, but I don’t have much experience in this area. I do feel that plant based foods definitely have the power to heal you. Do you like to drink kombucha? I know that it contains gut-healthy bacteria. And ginger is so good for the tum! I hope you feel better soon!
Thank you for taking the time to read this one Alix, I appreciate it a lot 🙂 Kombucha is a good idea, I used to drink it a lot, but I haven’t in a while. Right now I’m just doing the probiotic capsules, but other forms are always a good idea too. Ginger is great too…all the gingerbread for me haha! I do think that long term vegan whole foods works for almost everyone, so I’m hoping that just time will help too! Thank you for your kind words <3
Caroline cumming says
Sorry to hear if your difficulties. My nutritionist has told me the only thing that works for candida is Nystatin antifungal drug but I am loathe to take it and my research doesnt show its as successful as he says. Did you try it?
just sumbled over your blogpost and was wondering:
what helped / healed you in the end ?
I’m clearly at the end of hope right now because nothing is working for me…
would be nice to hear some recommendations / tips etc.
Wow so much has changed since this post. I am actually no longer vegan, eat a much more high fat/protein diet that is pretty low in raw fruit and veggies, and have worked with a nutritional therapist to help with the mental/emotional components of food and diet too so I eat much more intuitively now. I know that’s a lot, but it’s been quite a journey although I do feel really good now. I highly suggest finding someone to work with if you can!
Clay Butler says
Congratulations! I just read your post and it was frustrating how you rejected objective truth based on science and instead went with what you “believed” – when it was clear that it was your belief in your vegan diet was the source of your problems. This so common among vegans. To everyone else, it’s clear the diet is the root of the problem, but to the vegan it’s not possible because they’ve been told veganism is the perfect diet. And to fail on the perfect diet, must mean something is wrong with you. Glad you gave that up and choose health over ideology. You are an animal too. Your health and life is at least as important as a chicken’s or a cow’s life.
G M says
Wanted to add a bit of vegan perspective. Indeed “her health and life is at least as important as a chicken’s or a cow’s life”. But the real question is: are the 100-1,000 animals that will be die in the next 10 years worth the sake of her better health? – I’m not saying there is an objective answer here!
Anywho, I resonated with your post. Been dealing with bloating for a year after an eating disorder. Trying a full fruitarian/raw vegan diet with some fasting and detox now. Hopeful. We’ll see.
I can imagine how difficult it would be to eat animal products again on the psyche and moral spirit. Wishing you wellness and peace in the process and in your life. And hope that at some point you can make the tradition back IF it works for you.
Coming in a little late to the game, but…have you heard of proper food combining? It is also known as personal hygiene (internal not external). The premise is that fruit should never be combined with other food groups (vegetables, protein powder etc), but rather eaten on its own. That when you eat it with other foods it basically ferments in your stomach (causing bloating, non-absorbsion of nutrients and other issues). Read Fit For Life by Lou and Marilyn Diamond it’s pretty old like from the late 80’s/early 90’s but you can find it on Amazon.
I have heard and researched this, yes! I do think there is something to it for sure, but honestly just less raw food/fruit in general has worked best for me. Appreciate you reading and sharing though 🙂
I’m so glad to know I’m not the only plant based person trying to recover from sibo! But very sorry you are going through it.
Functional medicine sounded like a good idea to me too but I feel like I just ended up spending $600 for someone to tell me to eat fish and take omega 3 fish oils. So a little disheartening…,
The only thing that has really helped me and I have methane sibo, is taking a triple soil based probiotic, Atrantil, and doing an Elemental diet for two weeks (I was desperate).
Also the Fast Tract low fermentation diet – fodmap dies nothing for me but low fermentation diet is the bomb, it unfortunately pushes meat but can still be done or modified as a vegan . Dr. Eades.
I have no idea why the two supplements are helping me, but nothing else helps it it makes me feel worse. And the elemental diet was so hard and I honestly would be very concerned about it triggering Ed behaviors. But luckily the semi elemental is supposed to work as well … elemental shake for one of your meals, some people even put it in a smoothie.
I have read some things online suggesting that sufferers of anorexia were tested and shown to have much higher amounts of the methane sibo bacteria (the type that makes you gain weight )..,
I don’t know if I had an Ed but I was in modeling and acting briefly and we were encouraged to be underweight (ugh I hate these industries!!!) so I had to restrict a lot for years and I wonder if I messed my gut up that way…hmmmm ironic since the methane sibo made me gain lots of weight! Restriction is not worth it and has also never helped my sibo at all.
I think everyone’s body is so different but the four things I mentioned helped reduce my symptoms by almost 50%, and I was quite severe.
Natalie, you are so spot on. Doctors are limited in what they know and can do to help. It usually is better to listen to your doctors, research and ultimately stick with what your body tells you. I know I was at my best when I ate mostly raw fruits and veggies. When I started recently incorporating meat and healthy fats, I got SIBO. One of my doctors has told me years ago, that the best way to treat SIBO is to make sure your bowels are moving at least once a day and fully evacuating. I’ve struggled with constipations for years (almost as long as I can remember) and only found out what “normal” meant when I did a 100% raw diet. I had no GI issues when I was eating that way and it was mostly fruit and a big salad for dinner (somethimes with some avocado in it). Good luck! Hope you’re finding what works for you.