For as long as I can remember, I never felt well after I ate. I remember being in elementary school, and after eating, my stomach would always hurt, and I would feel bloated. I didn’t really eat anything different than the other kids, and, if anything, I actually had less “junk food” in my lunch than they did, so I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. I started cutting foods out at a young age, probably when I was 11 or 12. I stopped drinking soda and decided I was no longer going to eat red meat, meaning beef and pork. I started cooking my own meals when I was about 12 years old because I only wanted to eat chicken. I also remember that after 3rd grade, my grades started to slip. They were never bad, but they weren’t the straight A’s that I was getting prior to that, and I was no longer in the gifted and talented program. Partly because I didn’t want a challenge, but I also couldn’t focus in class.
I also remember always feeling like I was heavier than the other girls, maybe because I had curves. I usually followed a pretty healthy diet, and there wasn’t usually a lot of junk food in my house. Any time there were any cookies or desserts, I would eat a lot of them though because i craved sweets. I remember eating a very unhealthy lunch in middle school because it was the first time we had the a la cart option, so I would eat iced tea, a partially cooked chocolate chip cookie, and pretzels with cream cheese. This was my lunch everyday. I often would have to go to the nurse to get medicine for headaches, and, at one point, was even prescribed some type of pill for my complaints of being “dizzy.” At that time, I didn’t realize that my diet was probably the reason I didn’t feel well, and I was most likely suffering from “brain fog.”
At some point in high school, I did end up losing weight. I was working out regularly, and was very meticulous about what I would eat. I started portioning my foods, and brought the same boring lunch to school every day – turkey in a pita, canned peaches or mango, carrots, and something else, but I can’t remember what it was. I would also bring a huge baggy of Goldfish, which I would eat later during class. I think I felt better, but was still often tired and unable to pay attention in class. I did also go through a period of nausea, which, now I think may have been from milk as I would gag every time I drank it.
I maintained my weight, which was the ideal weight for my height, through high school and college, but was also smoking kind of heavily at the time. I remember when I was in college, having to skip class or leave class at times because my stomach was hurting so bad. My grades weren’t that great when I was working on my Accounting degree because I couldn’t pay attention in class, but also couldn’t focus when I would take exams. I was given Lexapro and Xanax for this, which actually did seem to help my last semester.
At some point that year, I was diagnosed with a kidney infection. I was given Cipro. I was also working at a job that I hated because I had a terrible boss. This is when I started to gain weight. I remember by the end of that summer, I was wearing skirts all of the time because none of my jeans fit me. My weight fluctuated, but I never was as thin as I was in high school and college. In about 2006, I became a vegetarian because I really started to get into animal rights and was grossed out by meat. I didn’t like tofu or beans, so I relied mostly on dairy, nuts and seeds for my protein. I was in school for Dietetics at the time, so I always made sure that I was getting enough protein. I still didn’t feel well, and tried eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet, and at one point, tried eating ONLY rice, which just left me exhausted. So, I went back to eating the same as before.
My weight continued to creep up until, when I was at my heaviest, I had gained 50 pounds! I worked out daily for the most part, and always ate healthy, well balanced meals. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I moved to San Diego in May of 2011, which is when I was at my heaviest. At my first job, I remember having a lot of stomach pain, so I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. I started eating a lot of quinoa, and by August, I had lost 8 pounds! I would still have gluten though when I would go out to eat. It was hard to resist these fried mushrooms at South Beach, which is a restaurant down the street. I continued to lose weight gradually, but I still didn’t feel well. My stomach still hurt often, I was tired, and I had a lot of difficulty concentrating. I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition from 2012-2013, which certified me as a Health Coach and Holistic Nutritionist. I learned a lot, but the most important thing was the concept of bio-individuality, which means that each person is different, and a food that is good for one person may not be good for someone else. I had a feeling that there were a lot of foods that I probably shouldn’t be eating, and, at the same time, started having cravings for meat. I decided to try eating meat again. I can remember when I first started eating it, my mental clarity significantly improved. Obviously my body was craving meat!
At some point in 2013, my mom had started going to a chiropractic doctor, and found out that she was intolerant to a lot of foods. I still wasn’t feeling that well, so I started to have consultations with my mom’s doctor over the phone, and ended up getting the same bloodwork done that my mom did. I found out that, not only was I intolerant to gluten, but also dairy (casein, which is the protein in milk, so its different than being lactose intolerant) and oats. Oatmeal had been my main breakfast for years! I also found out that my body reacted to a number of foods the same as it did to gluten including corn, amaranth, tapioca, millet, hemp, and many more.
I was also diagnosed with Leaky Gut, which means that there were actually holes in my intestines that allowed food particles to get into my bloodstream. This is what was most likely causing all of my symptoms. I’m not sure what caused it. I probably had always been intolerant to something since I didn’t feel well starting at a very young age. When you continuously eat something that you are intolerant to, it can lead to Leaky Gut, and if you continue to consume it, it can lead to an Autoimmune disorder. I’m sure that it was the food that I was consuming, but certain medications can cause problems, such as birth control and antibiotics. When I was diagnosed, I had been on birth control for 12 years (because of my terrible cramps, most likely caused from the inflammation in my body), and, as a teenager, I took Tetracycline, an antibiotic, for my skin, along with a topical antibiotic. Not to mention the strong antibiotic, Cipro, that I took right before my weight gain started!
I eliminated all of the foods from my diet that showed up on my blood test, and started taking some supplements (digestive enzyme, Hydrochloric Acid, Vitamin D, and some others), and finally felt better! I continued to lose weight, and am now 50 pounds lighter than when I moved here! I also feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life! I am not as strict with it as I should be (at times, but I never touch gluten), and can tell when I’m not. I get bloated, feel weighed down, and will often gain a few pounds from the inflammation that the food causes in my body. It really isn’t worth it to me.
So, that is my story of how I gained and lost 50 pounds. If you or someone else you know is struggling to lose weight, it’s very possible that they may be suffering from a food intolerance and the inflammation that it causes. Other symptoms could be “brain fog”, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, low energy, skin problems, food cravings, etc. Please contact me if you are interested in a free consultation. I would love to help, and I know what it is like to suffer for years when it seems like nothing will help and you are never going to feel “normal”. Also, I am offering a fall cleanse that is designed like an elimination diet, so you can discover if you have any food intolerances. I will be hosting a free webinar about the cleanse on Wednesday, September 23rd at 6pm to explain inflammation and the cleanse. Even if you aren’t available at that time, the webinar will be emailed to you if you sign up. If you suffer with any of the symptoms mentioned, or even if you just don’t feel well, the webinar may have some very valuable information. To sign up, click on the link below:
If you are in the San Diego area, I will be doing a live workshop on September 24h at 6pm in Poway. Click the link above to sign up.