How I Manage a Life with Dietary Restrictions

Instagram: @delightfuldaysblog

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Food and diet is a topic I’ve been wanting to cover for a while now, so I’m super excited to finally be sharing this! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I have a lot of stories and posts that focus on food. That’s because 1) I’m obsessed with food and 2) I have dietary restrictions that make me eat a very certain way. I know that’s quite vague, so let me give you a little of the background.

Almost two years ago, I started having stomach pain every single time I ate. Even during the day when I wasn’t eating, I would have symptoms. It became enough of a problem that at twenty years old, I got my first colonoscopy (FYI getting a tube up your butt is just as fun as it sounds). Nothing was found, so I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is basically the fall back diagnostic if nothing else is concluded. I was told to stay away from dairy, processed foods, and grains. Yes, grains includes pasta and bread and yes, it does suck. I went to study in Ireland for a few months and as time went on, I found the symptoms changing and becoming worse. That summer I went in for more tests to see my reaction to glucose, fructose, and lactose. There was a large reaction to glucose, so I was then diagnosed with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). I was prescribed antibiotics, however it’s very common for the bacteria to never fully go away. I’ve been prescribed antibiotics three times now and haven’t seen much of a change and am still not sure what causes my body to react in certain ways. This is definitely discouraging, but leads me to the point of this post.

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Like I said, I’ve been wanting to share this for a while now, but I felt like I had to wait until I had all the answers and a perfect diet set up. The truth is that I’ve found this whole process to be a journey and I gain a little more insight each day.  I have found quite a few people in the same boat as myself, which is sad to know that so many others are experiencing this, but also comforting to know I’m not the only one.

For a while, I really let this issue get to me. It’s extremely difficult not being able to understand your body, and dealing with the repercussions everyday. However, I have now accepted that this is a part of my everyday life and is something I have learned to manage. I continuously try different diets like gluten free, low fodmap, and paleo. I don’t believe any of these are perfect for me, but through these, I have gained a better understanding of what I can and cannot eat. After graduation I will see more doctors and hopefully get a more clear diagnosis, but for now I am eating as many whole foods as possible and staying aware of my symptoms.

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Stress and the gut are heavily connected so I have been implementing stress-reducing tactics like making more time for relaxation and working out. I’ve found the days I’m more active, whether that’s going to the gym for an hour or doing yoga for ten minutes, I have less symptoms. I do my best to stay away from processed foods, grains, dairy, and certain fruits and vegetables. I know that sounds like basically every food, but I’ve done a good job of finding really good recipes to implement into my diet.

The most important way I manage my dietary issues is to not be hard on myself. When I first started this whole process, I went strictly grain and dairy free. I would binge eat from being so hungry during the day and then be extremely upset with myself for it. I recognized this wasn’t helping my progress, so I now am more lenient and allow myself to “cheat” if I feel like it and if it’s in moderation. I’m a college student and a major foodie, so it’s pretty unrealistic to expect myself not to have a donut or a bowl of ice cream every once in a while (those are two of my favorite foods by the way!). Recognizing that this situation is a process and a part of my everyday life has been the best way for me to manage this crazy, weird stomach stuff.

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If you have any dietary issues or if any of these symptoms sound familiar, feel free to contact me on any of  my platforms! I love chatting with others in the same situation and always walk away learning much more about the weird language of dietary issues.

Thank you for stopping by today and I’ll see yah soon!

Have a Delightful Day,

Kaitlin

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