The past several weeks, I’ve been eating pretty terribly. I think it might go with the territory when you’re an at-home mom. Let’s face it; fun fare like grilled cheese sandwiches are easy and fast, not to mention toddler-friendly and pretty yummy for mama too! I’ve also been indulging in cookies, cupcakes, french fries and burgers, fried foods, processed food, and a lot of not-even-technically-food food. As a result, I’m fatigued, bloated, had a breakout on my face, and I’m all around kind of crabby. Every once in a while, I have to force myself to detox so to speak, and cleanse my body from the inside out.
What Did Cookies Ever Do To You?
In the past, I’ve seen how making food your medicine can benefit the body. Years ago, coming home from a fun-filled trip to Italy, I was sicker than I’d probably ever been. This was what you might call no fun at all, considering the flight from Milan to Chicago is roughly 9 hours, and the flight home is another hour. Unfortunately for everyone on the plane, I was so sick that I had to switch seats with someone so I could sit in the aisle and have better access to the lavatory. Fighting a stomach bug in the comfort of your own home is dreadful; wrestling with it while on a plane full of strangers who have to share a bathroom with you is an absolute nightmare. By the time I got to Chicago, I could barely sit up. I was so exhausted, I slept in that dirty airport. Imagine being so sick that you don’t even care about how gross the leather seats at one of the busiest airports in the world are, but rather how nice the cool, smooth seat feels on your face. Seriously disgusting, I know.
After getting home, I wasn’t any better. I kept thinking that this “bug” would go away, but it stayed. I kept thinking that the next day I’d feel better, but I didn’t. I lost 15 pounds without trying. I went to doctor after doctor, spent more time in the bathroom than anywhere else. I was miserable and still had no answers. Finally, I went to a gastroenterologist who, seeing how sick I was, gave me the full work-up of tests. It turns out I had something called SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Such fancy words for something that basically means your gut is out of balance. I also had leaky gut syndrome (not so fancy sounding), eosinophilic esophagitis, and lactose intolerance as a result of the SIBO. She gave me a very expensive prescription to jump-start my healing, and an inhaler.
Since I’ve had activity-induced asthma since I was a kid, I knew how to use one, but was confused as to why she, not my allergist or asthma specialist, was prescribing it. It turns out that the steroid in the inhaler, if swallowed instead of inhaled, can actually repair the damaged cells in your esophagus. Esophagitis just means swelling of the esophagus, and eosinophils are the white blood cells that rush to the scene, like tiny first responders, when there’s an infection present. Damage to my esophagus could have been caused by the vomiting; however, that and the other diagnoses were likely all caused from a simple bug, a traveler’s infection.
Detox Dieting — It Ain’t For Sissies
For months after the initial diagnosis, I had to be careful with what I ate and had a long list of ‘experiment with care’ foods. Some people with SIBO are able to restore their guts back to normal and continue to consume dairy just as they always had. I wasn’t that lucky. I tried everything, all to no avail. Instead of feeling bummed that I can’t eat dairy, I have learned to mostly make do with substitutes. I actually think it upsets the people who are offering me the food more than myself that I can’t have “just a bite” of whatever it is they’ve made. To me, it’s just not worth it. It’s not me that doesn’t want to eat your delicious creations, friends; it’s my picky belly!
Now, years later, I find myself trying to remember how lucky I was that it was just lactose intolerance and bacterial imbalance, etc. I’m a believer that a healthy diet is very important. I need to quit being lazy and just eating what’s convenient, and start thinking of my diet as more than just what fills your belly up. Stay tuned to see how I’m doing and what I’m allowing myself to eat! Sorry to say, but popcorn and cookies are not on my list!