My guest today writing for the health column is D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies. Debby has suffered from chronic intestinal disease for many years and has researched and devised a way to keep herself healthy without medication. It is all about the diet….
Dietary Restrictions, Consequences and the Eye-Rollers by D.G. Kaye
Thanks for inviting me here today Sally to share my own experience with dietary restrictions and the symptoms I experience when not paying heed to my body’s warnings.
There are so many of us who suffer with digestive issues. Some of us take preventative measures to avoid having to endure unpleasant symptoms, some don’t pay any mind, while others may have no idea, thinking that many symptoms they live with on a daily basis are just part of the aging process. But listening to our bodies is essential to better health and avoiding worse complications down the road.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease twenty years ago. I can certainly speak from experience about what straying from my gluten-free, and dairy-free diet entails. It took me a few years to find healthy and tasty substitutions for my diet while in the process of eliminating the foods I knew were aggravating my symptoms, despite my then doctor telling me that there was no special diet for Crohn’s, Colitis, and other forms of IBS.
Many people who are blessed enough not to have to suffer from these diseases, often don’t understand the connection with foods and intolerances that so many others deal with on a daily basis. Whether these are intolerances or allergies, eating culprit foods can exasperate symptoms from feeling discomfort to possible life- threatening situations if one ingests what doesn’t agree with their systems.
When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s, it took several months and a few ambulance trips to the hospital and several experimental drugs and tests before they figured out what was wrong with me. A few decades ago there weren’t as many drugs available for my disease, and the ones I was on had left me with terrible side-effects – some worse than the initial ones I was taking the medication for. One of the prescriptions I was on began eating away at my muscles in a short time and had me taking a few tumbles down the staircase. That was when I knew I had to seek my own information on the disease and search for something better to help me live better with the disease.
It was the late 90’s, just before computers were becoming household necessities, so I had my brother’s secretary at the time do some computer research for me and I visited my local bookstore to read up on it. I learned about other people who had suffered the disease and what worked and didn’t work for them. I learned a lot from Dr. Jordan Rubin’s book – Patient Heal Thyself, how the disease worked and how the body attacks itself when it no longer recognizes enzymes and natural functions within and how the body sees them as foreign invaders wreaking havoc on the intestines. And I learned how wrong my doctor was – diet absolutely was a factor in controlling my disease. Even though there is still no cure for Crohn’s and Colitis, there are quite a few things I found helpful in bringing myself back to better health.
I went through a lot of trial and error with new supplements and buying and tossing new foods that were recommended as substitutes. I learned that dairy products from the cow were no longer my friend, but goat milk products were fine because the proteins in goats are most similar to those in human breast milk. I couldn’t tolerate the taste of goat milk but finally found a soy milk I loved which I found tasted most like real milk. And years later with the new hype of every coconut product I found coconut products were not only healthy but also made great substitutes for dairy, including delicious ice-cream.
Within six months of changing my dietary lifestyle and getting on Dr. Rubin’s program of supplementation, I got off all drugs and I remain drug-free twenty years later.
I wanted to share a little backstory here, but the point of this article I want to make is that many people aren’t aware that when they have digestive ailments, ignoring the symptoms and continuing to eat whatever they want despite the repercussions, only exacerbates and aggravates the intestines further.
I have a friend who suffers from colitis and any time we’ve gone out to eat together she’d always order a salad. Raw salads are on both of our ‘do not eat’ list, and they affect us both differently. For me, if I were to eat a raw salad, my insides have a problem digesting most raw vegetables, I’d be rolling on the floor, doubled up in pain feeling as though a burning inferno was going through my intestines as my stomach expands like a balloon. For my friend, she’d spend the better part of our lunch date and the rest of the day in the bathroom. The difference is that I choose not to suffer intently. When I razz her for her relentlessness to keep eating salads she makes it clear that she couldn’t care less about diet and has no intention of giving up her beloved salads.
Besides salads, I have discovered several foods that cause problems for me if ingested, symptoms ranging from severe heartburn to great stomach pain, and one commonality that always happens within moments of my eating the wrong things – my stomach blows up to the point where I look and feel 7 months pregnant. It’s like a freak show where magically I’m a size 8, and a few moments later, my pants feel like they’ve been taken over by the Incredible Hulk, busting out at the seams.
The intestines are a huge part of the digestive system. When we ingest allergens, the intestines will surely retaliate. Did you know that the human intestines can be as long as anywhere from 17 to 25 feet long? Imagine each body, large or small with that length of intestines coiled up tightly within us and suddenly expanding due to inflammation. It’s no wonder when I eat wrong I blow up like a baby whale! It’s just not worth it for me to stray, especially with all I’ve learned about my disease. I have zero interest in straying from my healthy lifestyle of eating in exchange for cheating on myself for a few meager bites and paying for it for days feeling like a beached whale and running to bathrooms. We all must decide how worth it is to suffer for our cheats and I’d just rather not ride that hamster wheel if I can avoid it.
In my earlier years of getting acquainted with my disease there wasn’t a wide variety of food substitutes for gluten-free or dairy-free options in stores or restaurants. Even with my own extended family it took a few years to drill in the fact that I couldn’t eat certain things. When I went to a party gathering and couldn’t find one thing I could eat without problem, I just made a conscious decision not to eat at all. Eventually, family gatherings became a lot more food friendly for me. Both mine and my husband’s family took awhile until they could understand, accept and stop questioning me about my diet and some to stop teasing me about what a fussy eater I was.
Note: Nobody appreciates being chided about their special diet or being told life without pharmaceuticals is hocus pocus. And it took quite a few years to earn respect in my circles for the fact that foods could actually attack us.
Going out to eat was more of a challenge during my earlier days living with Crohn’s, but I usually had an old standby I could find on most menus when choices were limited – chicken and rice. Fast food outlets offered no options in the beginning of my elimination journey, but so many now also include dairy and gluten-free options. I don’t have to visually see the food culprits that do me harm, my stomach is a great detective, never failing to alert me that there was something unagreeable in something I just ingested.
Many restaurants nowadays are quite conscious about not wanting to make their patrons sick and besides offering alternative food options on the menu, they will often send out a manager or the chef after informing your server of any dietary issues.
Although I have my lifestyle down pat and although my friends and family are aware of my issues, it sometimes doesn’t prevent some from commenting or displaying a few eye-rolls when it comes my turn to place my order when dining out with others. I make it a point to ask questions about dishes I’m interested in and how they are prepared. I’ve locked horns with a few at the occasional dinner table. Apparently, the questions I ask usually take up approximately 5 minutes of the server’s time, causing some impatience, making me feel as though I’m being petty and wasting precious moments before others can place their orders. And I can tell you, those incidents light a flame under me every time and usually ruin the mood for a get together as I feel insulted by their lack of compassion or understanding.
Being sick is not fun. And if people are lucky enough to be able to eat whatever they want without consequences they should count their blessings. I would also advise people to learn a little about dietary issues when inviting friends or family to your home. Digestive issues are a big concern for many. A little education on a guest’s dietary requirements is greatly appreciated by those of us who no longer have the luxury to eat anything our heart desires. Thankfully, after so many years passed, my family understand my illness, but there are still others who could use some training.
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Do you suffer from food allergies or intolerances?
If so, I highly recommend doing some research on your ailments and begin a food elimination test to search for the culprits that don’t agree with your body. To do this, keep a food diary for a few weeks and keep track of symptoms and what you have eaten prior to stomach upsets. Then begin systematically eliminating the suspect foods one at a time for a week and keep check on how you are feeling without those foods.
Don’t be afraid to let people know that there are foods you cannot eat when being invited to their homes. Don’t wait until you arrive and have to tell them you can’t eat anything they’ve prepared. That will leave both yourself and your host feeling uncomfortable.
Any time I invite guests for dinner, I always asks if there’s anything in their diets they’re allergic or intolerant to then I prepare food accordingly.
Pay attention to warning signs from your body. If you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with you and you exhibit symptoms of pain and discomfort, make note of what you ate and become suspicious of that food if it happens again. Then stay away from that food and begin to experiment with substitutes to fill the vacancy for that food in your diet.
Lastly, don’t always take your doctor’s word for the gospel. Do your homework when prescribed new medications. Google medical journals and websites pertaining to the prescribed drug. Visit platforms on the web about the drug where people share their experiences on effects and side-effects. Get educated on your disease and read books on the topic. Inform your friends and family about what you can’t ingest in your diet so you won’t be left out at the dinner table when you’re invited to their homes.
My thanks to Debby for sharing her experience gained from all her years of researching this disease, and how she has implemented a dietary plan that works. I am sure she would be delighted to receive both your comments and questions.
About D.G. Kaye
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Books by D.G. Kaye
About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.
In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Twenty Years: After “I Do”. It was a heartfelt journey through the author’s life with her devoted and loving husband who is much older than she. I laughed along with her and shed tears of sorrow when she did.
D.G. Kaye expressed herself in endearing terms when she spoke of her husband and their wonderful life together. She wrote with deep expressions of angst over serious health issues they both experienced and then joy over happy times with much shared laughter.
Marriage is a difficult union as anyone who has been married knows. This book takes the reader down this path to discover the true meaning of soul mates and undying love from one another. D.G. shares the beauty of each day that she and her husband, Gordon, have had together and continue to have even in adversity. She displays a remarkable wit in tough times and a brilliant resilience to go on no matter what she must face.
This book is a must read for all who have been married whether for a short time or a longer time. All couples face similar situations and must make tough decisions in their lives together. The author has shown how she has had to deal with serious health issues and come out stronger and more persistent to make the best of every day she and her husband have left together. For isn’t that part of our marriage vows – to love each other in sickness and health till death do us part?
Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL
Other books by D.G. Kaye
Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
Connect to Debby Gies
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Thank you for dropping in today and as always your comments and questions are very welcome.. Thanks Sally