8 years is a long time to be in pain.
It’s been almost four years since my last trip to my Naturopathic Physician’s office, when I took a Biofeedback test to see which foods might be causing my stomach pains (symptoms include bloating, heartburn, and acid reflux) and vomiting. The morning of Sunday, March 4, I woke up at precisely 2 a.m. with the usual pain and did my routine of microwaving my heat pack and sipping on a mug of hot water, before attempting to go back to sleep upright. One hour (and some Googling of probiotic and anti-inflammatory foods) later, I was gifting a few ounces of my dinner to the toilet. Usually the pain subsides immediately after a trip to the bathroom, but on this one occasion the pain still persisted. Until 9 a.m. I never remembered the pain lasting for seven hours before.
The next morning I dug through my food journal, which I started since late 2012, two years after experiencing these symptoms. I counted up all the instances of pain and all the instances of vomiting each year since 2013. And I was hoping it would show a downward trend following the years of taking that Biofeedback test in 2014, and adopting Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution diet in 2015.
The results showed an increase, not a decrease in pain. Ugh.
Thanks to my husband’s employer offering extended Medical/Dental coverage (THANK YOU Dageraad Brewing), I booked the earliest trip to my Naturopath’s office. I would highly recommend seeing one for health conditions your typical GP can’t diagnose — it’s worth paying for, even if you don’t have coverage.
I’ve never been so excited to pay for an appointment. Also, there were so many options I was thinking about that could alleviate my condition, including additional supplements she’d originally offered me to taking a food sensitivity test, doing energy healing, and changing my birth control method. Within 10 minutes, here is what she suggested:
- Getting a blood test to make sure I don’t have something serious like gallstones or appendicitis. Apparently 9 hours of pain is cause for going to the emergency room, but I’ve been experiencing this for so long that I didn’t even think about is as an option. My parents are pretty good at tolerating pain, so I think I get it from them.
- Taking a REAL food sensitivity test, since the one I had taken wasn’t based on a blood sample. So we were just guessing at the foods that were triggering. (I have to say, it was still successful in revealing that data.) Thankfully, our coverage plan covers most of naturopathic testing. This is a MUST for every adult!
- Taking 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar before meals, working up to 3 tsp. My husband loves ACV for its healing benefits, so I know he’d be glad to hear this. Since I don’t eat a lot at breakfast, this is going to be my norm at lunch and dinner and 1 tsp. is doable right now, so I’m sure I can work my system up to tolerating more. Also, this SAVED me when I had a cold 3 days before my wedding. It freakin’ works.
- 1/4 tsp. of Slippery Elm powder in water each morning.
- Vata-pacifying diet: Vata is an ayurvedic term for air, which must be pacified in my body. This makes SOOO much sense since a lot of my symptoms feel air-related. And when I left my naturopath’s office, I laughed in my head again, remembering a hand analysis reading I got 5 years ago that revealed that I am very unlike my fire sign tendencies because of the strong air element — thoughtfulness, analytical, hesitancy in expressing emotion. I’ve been trying to work on being more expressive this past year. And now that might even mean how I cook!
Diet changes abound
In a nutshell, the vata-pacifying diet favours warm, grounding, smooth, moist, and oily foods instead of cold, light, rough, bitter, and dry. So in comparing the list of foods I should be avoiding, I was sad to see some of my favs on that list, especially the salad ingredients I have been consuming pretty much TWICE DAILY since 2015: leaves, kale, tomatoes. And broccoli, raw carrots, celery, cauliflower, chocolate (yes I am crying a bit inside), bell peppers, and (way to see you again) sugar. Sidenote: If you read an earlier post on me abandoning sugar and are wondering how it made its way back into my diet, the answer is: Twin Peaks. My hubby and I had a ritual of eating pie & donuts years ago when he introduced the series to me. When TP returned for a third season last year, it was only going to be a temporary indulgence, but I figured my system was okay with sugar after it didn’t seem to be the cause of my pain.
I am an always cold person — I know I am not alone here!! And so it makes a lot of sense that the vata-pacifying diet favours WARM food and drinks instead of cold – it even discourages keeping leftover food in the fridge for warming up later. I love kombucha, but I’ve felt that it wasn’t really doing anything, and all that carbonation probably hasn’t been great for me.
It’s going to feel REALLY weird not eating salads before my meals as I’ve made such a great habit out of this, but I am good at forming new routines. So I’ve made a note to start my swapping as of next week:
- Replace salad with avocado, cilantro, & olive oil on sprouted wheat toast (lunch only)
- Replace veggies & hummus/Baba Ganoush with berries/grapes or mix of nuts + coconut chips
- Replace chili & cayenne pepper with black pepper, cumin, or ginger powder
Tomatoes are also on the avoid list, and it will be really weird not putting tomato sauce on pasta. But thankfully there’s pumpkin, squash, and (vegan) pesto sauces I can explore. On my current diet, I was also following the rule of starches at lunch and protein at dinner, which I will probably continue to do just because my recipes are already set up that way.
This afternoon is my food sensitivity test, so if I find out more info as a result of that I’ll let y’all know!
Wishing you health & happiness in your food journey.