This might honestly be the most exciting blog I’ve ever written. The reason I say that is because THE BLOAT IS GONE. And I’m about to share HOW. But before I do that, let’s start with some history. I’ve been battling stomach problems since I was born. My mom used to tell me that when I was a little girl I would ask her to rub my tummy to make it feel better. When I was in high school, after complaining about stomach aches chronically, my mom took me to my PCP in hopes of figuring out what was going on. She told me was that I was most likely lactose intolerant and then did an endoscopy where they found ulcers. I was put on an antacid medication and told to cut down on my dairy intake. Well, I lived on a farm, and our core foods consisted of meat and dairy. So while I did try to cut down on dairy products, I certainly did not cut them out completely because I simply didn’t know how. When I was 19 years old, after, again, battling stomach pain chronically, I was assigned a gastroenterologist in hopes that he could find some answers. I had many tests done, but the one I remember most was called the “Barium Burger” test. I was asked to eat a hamburger and wash it down with a chalky white liquid called barium as the gastro doc and his team watched it move through my system. Not only do I remember this test because the barium was by far the worst thing I’ve ever had to ingest (🤮), but also because I was asked to come in every single morning for two weeks straight - and after two weeks the hamburger had still not been digested. After those two weeks, the doctor, who was flabbergasted, told me to stop coming in because he really wasn’t sure how long it would take for my body to digest it completely. The gastroenterologist’s major conclusion in response to the results of the Barium test was that the peristalsis in my intestines is extremely slow. But he didn’t have much of a solution for me. In fact, he expected me to be constipated all the time, when in reality I was the opposite. So all he did was put me on Prevacid to help with my acid reflux, and that was the end of that. Fast forward to six years later. At this point in my life I had cut out all gluten and most dairy in an attempt to heal my gut myself. And yet, I was still experiencing daily discomfort and pain. I was at my wits’ end so I went in search of another gastroenterologist and started working with a team associated with the University of Rochester. There, I received an endoscopy, colonoscopy, and an ultrasound. I also got a blood test to check whether I was celiac or not. The celiac test came back negative, although I am certain I am intolerant, and the other procedures did not unearth anything earth-shattering. They were afraid that I had either Chrones or Colitis, so we were thankful that wasn’t the case. My new Gastro doc put me on a new antacid medication and gave me something to take before I went running that she said would help with the dry heaving I was experiencing post-run as well as the loose bowels(tmi, sorry! LOL). Before we could do much more, my boyfriend and I found out that we were moving to Colorado sooner than planned. So my gastro team put together a file for me, gave it to me and made me promise to find a new team once I got Colorado. To make a long story short, I have experienced terrible luck with healthcare since I’ve arrived in Colorado. I got Medicaid when I first moved here because I was jobless, and had a terrible time finding a good doctor through Medicaid. Needless to say, I have not yet seen a gastroenterologist here in Colorado. Last year, I had a bad gallbladder attack and I almost got my gallbladder out, but it ended up resolving on its own. I also had a gastric emptying test to determine whether my stomach was emptying normally, which apparently it was (YAY! Something works correctly!) I did finally see a PCP that I liked in August, who put me on two new medications: one for IBS, and the other a new antacid that did not leach calcium from my bones like the others had. I found that these meds did help more than the others of the past, but they by no means solved my problems. In fact, I was noticing increased amounts of bloating after I stopped eating dairy completely over the summer. I was so weirded out that I thought that perhaps my body was “ detoxing “ from the dairy. After dealing with this for about a month and a half, and after watching What The Health, I made the executive decision to stop eating meat. To be honest, I didn’t necessarily expect that cutting meat from my diet would solve my stomach issues. In fact, several people had told me to cut down on my refined carb intake instead. But I was so disgusted by that documentary and by the lack of concern for our environment that I decided to cut out meat completely & see if, as a bonus, it might have an effect on my digestion. I noticed a difference within days. My acid reflex dwindled almost immediately, my bloating lessened, and I wasn’t in nearly as much pain by the end of the day. It has definitely taken months for me to experience the full effects of being a #nomeatathlete, but my God, I’m never going back. Not only does it make me feel good to know that I’m doing good for the world, but I’m sure you can imagine that after being in chronic pain for 29 years, I welcome any solution to decrease let alone eliminate that pain. I continued to take the two medications that I had been prescribed in August until about a month ago. I’m proud and thrilled to share that I am now only using natural methods to assist in digestion, including probiotic supplements, probiotic (naturally fermented) foods and enzymes. You are welcome to take this blog anyway you like. I am truly sharing this primarily because I am simply ecstatic about how good I feel after 29 years of chronic stomach pain. If you’re upset with me because you think I’m trying to convince you to eat a meatless diet, I apologize. Do I think that more of the world should eat vegetarian and vegan? Absolutely. Not only is it better for the environment, but our bodies simply aren’t built to eat it (our intestines are much longer than the typical carnivore). However, I also recognize that it took me 29 years to come to that realization, and that if you do make that decision eventually, you need to get to that place in your own time. No one can force you, and shouldn’t force you. •
Disclaimer: I do still eat wild caught fish and eggs occasionally, with the intention to go completely vegan in time.