After dealing with some uncomfortable gut issues this fall, I discovered that it was going to be a long road to determine what exactly was ailing my tummy. I had been using my Young Living DiGize and TummyGize, as well as peppermint, fennel, and lemon essential oils to support my digestive system. However, my goal is wellness, not just making my symptoms go away. After doing some reading and research and having learned so much from Dr. Jim Bob Haggerton’s Periscopes on the body systems and how they work and interact, I decided to try one more thing before scheduling an endoscopy. I gave up wheat and gluten. What could it hurt to try? Just two days after stopping gluten and wheat, my pain had disappeared. I knew on was on the right track to better gut health.
What I Eat
My focus is lots of vegetables, leafy greens, some fruit, and protein. The protein comes in various forms, including nuts and seeds, eggs, tuna, chicken, or other meat we have in déjà-vu form in the fridge. I also like whole-milk yogurt. Peanut butter is my go-to when I’m feeling terribly hungry and need a protein refill. I have been eating grains that are wheat and gluten-free, but I try to keep them to a minimum. I find that when I do, my energy is much higher than it was at that afternoon slump point before I had eliminated wheat and gluten.
A Typical Day
I start my morning with water, drinking three plain glasses and a fourth with lemon essential oil in it. Then 1-2 hours later I have an omelet with veggies and some cheese or pesto. And more water. And my coffee with a splash of raw milk. I might have a serving of oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter, another splash of raw milk, and either a little fruit-only preserves or coconut sugar.
Lunch time comes around and I make a big salad with lots of greens, Romaine, spring mix, and maybe extra spinach. Green pepper, maybe carrots or whatever veggies were on special that week, an orange or apple, sunflower seeds or almonds, chia or ground flax, some of the baked chicken I made or perhaps a half a can of tuna. Then I add a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I also like to eat the soup that is left from the weekend.
Dinner is what I’ve put on the meal plan for my family. (I only plan out evening meals that we all eat together. Lunch and breakfast only vary slightly. On Pizza Night (which is every Friday with a movie), I either have another big salad similar to my lunch or I make a GF crust, either with a mix (So far the Namaste brand is my favorite, but to be fair I’ve only tried two brands.) or I experiment with from-scratch recipes. When we have calzones instead of pizza I just bake the fillings in a little casserole and that is my entrée. Anytime I’ve put something on the menu that is wheat-based (pasta, breakfast for dinner, and so forth) I do the big salad, a GF version, or the sauce/filling over veggies. I have also altered our meal plan so these things do not show up nearly as frequently.
How I Feel
I intentionally cut all gluten and wheat on a Friday. I had some gut pain that surfaced the following day, but by Sunday, I was pain-free. The part I wasn’t expecting came about 5-7 days after starting. I was so hungry! Think when you were pregnant or nursing-type ravenous. So that’s when I picked up my protein intake and made sure to have mini-snacks of protein–a handful of almonds, a spoonful of peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, even a few bites of that smoky pork from dinner last night–between meals.
I also noticed, especially on days when I focus on the proteins, vegetables, and fruits, that my 2 p.m. slump disappears regardless of my coffee intake for the day. (I do limit myself to 2 cups a day, but most days it’s usually one.) I’m also intentionally moving (some people call this exercise, and it is, but there is less pressure when I skip that name) nearly each morning, so that might also have some bearing on the lack of being sleepy in the afternoon.
What Are The Hard Parts
Perhaps the hardest part is preparing dinner on the nights that pasta is part of the menu. Not because I love pasta (although it did use to rank high), but because I have to cook two pots of pasta–one semolina and one rice. (My favorite brand thus far is the Tinkyada Rice Pasta if anyone is taking notes.) Depending on my mood and my to-do list that evening, I might opt out of the main meal and make another big salad for myself. It just seems so close to cooking two meals for five people, which means extra dishes. And extra dishes are a thing here, as we don’t have a dishwasher that is not human.
I still make homemade soaked wheat bread, from The Elliot Homestead blog for my family. Our 12 year old put together the soaker and the sponge last night and then I mixed it up and baked it, making it a team effort. Eventually we’ll transition to him doing it all. The part where you begin to smell it and then take it out of the oven has been somewhat difficult in that I want to eat a slice. Just a slice with melted butter. Because I remember this treat from my childhood–coming home from school and Mom had splurged and made homemade bread that afternoon. Thankfully I can almost taste it without it going into my mouth. I will admit that I cheated on Christmas morning and ate a slice of the cinnamon-raisin version of this bread. I took an enzyme with it and used a little Tummygize topically later that morning and stuck to my diet the remainder of the day. Not smart, I realize. But I will say it was worth it.
Most days my hubby is more bummed than I am about me not eating bread (or other wheat products). One day perhaps my family will join me on this new way of eating, but for now it’s easiest to pack or make sandwiches for lunch for all but me. I’ve shared the rice pasta with my crew just to avoid washing an extra pot and they ate it without complaint.
What Is The Next Step
I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t yet added in a probiotic to my family’s supplements. Young Living makes a great one called Life 5 that is on my to-try list. I would like to try kombucha, although I’m hesitant. I don’t like sweet tea. Kombucha drinkers, do you think that will matter? And kefir. I would totally add it to my green smoothies. My friend, Dani of Living Wholly, wrote a great blog post just yesterday that mentioned these three things that I need to add to my “next step list.” Go check it out!
Eventually I would like to investigate a bit deeper to be sure that there is nothing more serious. My medical provider had an suggestion of what my pain was specifically, but until I am willing to go forward with more tests, she cannot verify it, nor do I know for certain. At this point, I merely have used my symptoms as a guide. They told me something wasn’t right. My job is to us those symptoms to help my body heal and that is what I’ve begun to do.
Ultimately, I know that the cause of all disease is stress. So in my choices, I do all I can to reduce that stress. That means increasing my movement, making healthier food choices as often as I can, avoiding environmental toxins, and dealing with my emotions in healthy ways.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by the companies linked or mentioned in this article. Opinions and research are all mine.