Eliminating Elimination Diets?: Observations on Food Deprivation and Food Intolerance–Part II

Mediterranean diet (close up)

Image by grobery via Flickr

Some of my food issues were confirmed. Fat, especially hot fat (a touch of melted butter on a piece of toast, the dollop of olive oil used for sautéing veggies) doesn’t agree with my system. It could be lard or canola oil. Lean red meat or dash of olive oil on mixed greens. Lamb (one of the 2 “safe” foods from my total elimination diet) or non nonfat sour cream. As far as my digestive system is concerned, fat is fat, and that’s that. Kinda cans the Mediterranean diet for me.

Acidic foods like tart apples, tomatoes, vinegars, and oranges, even eaten in small quantities (a bit of salsa as a condiment, a small relatively sweet clementine orange) make my already unbalanced tummy much more acidic. Even with prescription and non-prescription acid blockers, my insides can feel bathed in battery-acid.

I get the “hungry hollows” even when I’m not hungry. These extremely sharp pains are a probably a result of stomach acid “sloshing” around without food to cut it. Certainly, when a scope was done several years ago, there were scars on my esophagus and stomach lining from “acid burns.”

Three of the stranger symptoms of my over-acidic digestive system and the resulting acid reflux issues are wheeziness, tightness in my chest, and a lump at the back of my throat. I thought these were being caused by various things such as my allergies, or the return of childhood asthma-like symptoms. I was on meds for my acid reflux, so my doctor and I never made the connection. Until I switched acid reflux meds, and these symptoms “miraculously” disappeared! I now judge the acidity of my tummy by these markers as much as by acid reflux itself.

My system may have an issue with carbs or starch beyond the simple eat too much of these = gain weight.  For example, the weight gain when switching out yeast-based bread for potatoes or the lack of improvement in my overall health when removing gluten, or yeast and sugar.

Anecdotally, gluten and starch have been cited as contributing to pain. I’ve read many accounts of a lessening of pain by reducing/eliminating consumption of gluten, carbs, and starch.

Eliminating Elimination Diets?: Observations on Food Deprivation and Food Intolerance–Part III

Sugar cubes.

Image via Wikipedia

And, now for the big “reveal,” as if you hadn’t already figured it out ;)

And, the biggest culprit is probably, gasp, sugar, in ALL it’s forms. The biggest worsening of symptoms was when I went off the “little or no sucrose sugar and very little milk sugar diet”. Issues such as bloating/distention were much more “obvious” for the days following than before (although abdominal bloating/distention remained an issue no matter what food was eliminated). I need to note that I’m not lactose intolerant. In the past, using lactose-free products or lactose-intolerance diet aids made no difference.

Probably some of the reasons other eliminations didn’t “work” was because sugar was still present in some form or another. For example, when I’ve gone totally gluten-free, my consumption of sugar probably went up as a lot of gluten-free products rely on sugar for taste. And, I did embrace gluten-free brownies!

I crave sugar like an addict. Food addiction can be a sign of intolerance. While I can crave other foods such as bread, salty snacks or red meat, it’s not with the same intensity or need. I can easily descend into a sugar binge. Although I only like dark chocolate, I think it’s the still the sugar effect as I don’t like it too bittersweet.

Next, I need to wean myself off the fruit I’ve been substituting for sucrose. When I’ve eaten very little fruit in the past, along with a reduction in carbs and sugar, there was a more noticeable improvement in certain digestive issues.

Starch rather than carbs per se might be an issue – hence gaining weight when eliminated bread, but increased potato consumption.

I will be trying elimination diets again; I’ve found some new ones to follow. The biggie that I have yet to give up entirely is my morning cuppa joe with cream. Caffeine is one of the “must be eliminated food groups.” Right now, dealing with the massive headache and other withdrawal symptoms (have tried to give it up before!) seems too much to deal with.

If reducing all the “oses” in terms of sugar, and removing other common offenders still doesn’t help with how I feel, then I might be FORCED to give it up. I will warn everyone who will come in contact with me in the virtual and real world when I do that. I know I will be cranky!


my morning cuppa joe sans the 1/2 and 1/2 (blend; coffee cream) I usually add

Note: I’ve pretty much been eating at will the last 2 weeks, and paying the consequences. Now, everything I eat causes extreme bloating/distention and cramps. My “hungery hollows” make me nauseous with abdominal distention if I ignore them for too long; but eating makes other aspects hurt worse, and does nothing to lessen the weight I’ve gained from meds and elimination diets!

 It’s time “pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again”




Eliminating Elimination Diets?: Observations on Food Deprivation and Food Intolerance–Part I

diagram of a human digestive system

Image via Wikipedia

This started as a one part mulling over of the results of my various elimination diets. However, it was getting rather long, and not feeling much like judicious self-editing right now, I decided to break the post in three chunks. Part I is how my body just doesn’t respond as expected to elimination diets. Part II will deal with findings in general, and since Part III will be the big “reveal” of the main culprit in my diet, why it probably affected the results of other eliminations, and what I need to do next. Feel no need to read Part I, II, or III! Part III will probably involve a good deal of whining.


I’ve tried, with varying success, to eliminate different foods from my diet to test theories on the correlation of food intolerances and digestive problems such as IBS symptoms. These elimination diets, themselves, had varying degrees of impact on my digestive issues. Guess I’m to the point where I feel I can “pontificate” (read: fancy word for ramble and rant) on the subject.

Before eliminating specific foods from my diet, I did both “scientific” (i.e. read articles from reliable sources) and anecdotal research (i.e. folks comments after the articles, blogs, discussion threads and product websites). Based on my symptoms/reactions and the lists of suspect foods, I picked those most likely to be the culprits.

Both my “scientific” and anecdotal research suggested certain things should happen when these foods (individually or in combos) are removed from your diet: weight loss, increase in energy/stamina, reduction in the severity of pain (digestive and elsewhere), fewer headaches/migraines, less nasal congestion/sinus issues, and an improvement in IBS-related symptoms.

While I have a better understanding of why some of this didn’t happen (based on the order I eliminated foods), I still find it mind-boggling that, even taking food shifting/switching into consideration, eliminating yeast AND sugar from my diet resulted in weight gain. I gained more from eating a baked potato with a tiny bit of butter than from eating a toasted bagel smeared with pesto! Put on more pounds from from eating sweet potatoes than from bakery muffins! (This is the one of the rant segments in case you hadn’t guessed.)

Also boggling was how some of my digestive symptoms WORSENED during the process. If food X is considered to be a common cause of food intolerances and IBS-related symptoms, removing it shouldn’t make things worse! Food switching/shifting explains some of this. But, who knew that bananas would turn out to be a “trouble” food? Or that corn-based products such as baked tortilla chips would produce symptoms similar to those attributed to gluten?

And, to make the picture stranger, eliminating a food didn’t necessarily make a difference in my symptoms (i.e a noticeable improvement), but ADDING it back in gave me an increase in symptoms. I won’t add any “gory details:” let’s just say certain digestive issues didn’t seem to improve when the food was eliminated, but sure were worse when the food was first added back in.