Sunday, March 11, 2012

Food Intolerances (Fitness Blog World post)



Above is a picture of my vegetables I would prepare for a few days worth of meals. Quite a bit huh? 

I think that depending on your regular diet, you may or may not notice the effects that individual foods have on your system. For instance, someone who eats a diet comprised of fast food, packaged goods or highly process foods probably would not notice if one or two items actually caused issues with their system or physique as quickly as someone who eats a fairly regimented diet. I say that because I believe anyone who eats a great deal of packaged foods probably doesn't feel very good most of the time anyway. 

I don't eat many packaged foods and whenever I do, I swell slightly as I am fairly sensitive to large amounts of sodium. Typically when we go to a restaurant, before the meal has ended I need to remove my wedding ring because my fingers are starting to swell. Let's hope I never lose it!

In the past year or so I had been having difficulty with my stomach. Something was causing it to bloat and become hard, so hard you could touch it and it felt like it might pop, I looked pregnant at times. I didn't have gas, but was quite uncomfortable and this might last a few days then subside.

I visited the doctor, I thought I might be allergic to something. I explained my situation, but he wasn't really helpful Although I do like my doctor quite a bit, he believes that I am a bit of a "special individual" in that my diet and exercise are very extreme compared to the general population, especially for someone my age. 

We talked about it, he prodded my stomach, yes indeed it was hard and swollen. He thought perhaps I should see a gastroenterologist, I wanted to see an allergist for a food sensitivity test. We couldn't agree. He suggested I was eating too many vegetables. I suggested he was nuts. We never agreed.

I decided to do my own 'elimination diet" of sorts. I know that a few basic items never cause me any problems so I stuck to those for a while. Brown rice, egg whites, oatmeal, asparagus, chicken breast. That was basically it for a while. I eliminated my supplements and meal replacement drinks, even whey protein. Anything that might be causing an issue went.

I slowly added back in some foods. Mushrooms were the first to come back, I love them and I had no problems. I slowly added foods back in. I kept track of every single thing I ingested, along with the time of day to see when I would react. This is really important, if you don't write it down you may never really know what caused it. Then I added back in bell peppers.

Bingo!

My stomach got hard, it swelled, it felt uncomfortable, I looked bloated. It passed and I waited a while longer. I ate bell peppers again. The same thing happened.

I used to eat 1 to 2 cups of sautéed bell peppers almost every day, that's a lot of peppers. I would mix all colors and add some poblanos too, I love, love, love peppers.

I have come to realize that I can eat a very small amount of peppers, but not a cup at a time, I have had to virtually eliminate them from my daily diet.

I am not allergic, when you are allergic you have an acute reaction. There is a difference between an allergy and an intolerance.

I have known for over 20 years that I am lactose intolerant, pity my poor family when I finally break down and decide I want to have an ice cream- I won't go into details of what happens, but last time I had an entire ice cream cone (actually I have it in a cup), which I think was about four years ago, I walked down to the ice cream store (they went too, they take every opportunity to have an ice cream) and halfway home I was doubled over in pain, David had to go get the car to bring me home. I don't eat ice cream much now. Maybe a bite or two with a lactaid tablet and I am fine.

So far these are the only things I have discovered, but your body changes. Things that never affected me might affect me soon. If you are having any issues, I first suggest that you start a detailed food diary, either online or in a book. Keep track of condiments- many foods have soy products and so many people cannot tolerate large amounts of soy, you would be amazed what it's in! Here is a list of other names or products that may contain soy. It is also possible that you are allergic to MSG. Take a look at this list of other products that also contain processed free glutamic acid, the ingredient that causes MSG reactions, frightening! Then eliminate packaged foods and sick to foods that you believe you tolerate well. Slowly add foods back in. 

Learn to eat more whole unprocessed foods and it may be easier for you.

Please visit the 26 other talented writers at Fitness Blog World who are all writing about this same topic today. Official post time is 8:00 p.m. EST.