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Having Some Problems
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I self-diagnosed myself with Celiac. I saw several doctors in the past, was tested for Celiac and was negative, never received an endoscopy. I was diagnosed with anxiety/depression when I was 10, then IBS-D when I was 20, and finally PCOS at 21 (I'm now 22), although I realize I've experienced symptoms of all of these since I was at least 13. The IBS probably started when I was much younger. After doing my own research, I took it upon myself to begin an elimination diet.

 

When I was at my worst, I lost about 25-30 pounds from lack of appetite that was caused by the IBS symptoms. People have always told me I was thin, although at my heaviest, I was 135 lbs (I'm 5'5"), which is supposedly average weight. I appeared thin because I carried all my weight in my abdomen and wore baggy shirts to hide it. At my lowest weight, I was around 105, and now I'm 113. Now I'd love to gain the weight back that I lost, especially since it seems to be redistributing to my arms, legs, and hips, but I'm having trouble because of how limiting my diet has become.

 

I've been a vegetarian for about 8 years now. I've tried eating meat again, but it makes me feel bad, both physically and emotionally. Before I realized I was gluten intolerant, I knew I was lactose intolerant, but often ignored it. When I decided to go gluten-free, I realized I had to eliminate all dairy as well because I became even more sensitive.

 

I was doing well with my gluten-free vegan diet for about a month until I started to notice my symptoms resurfacing--the IBS came back and my period came about three weeks late, meaning the PCOS symptoms had returned. I assumed it was associated with rice, quinoa, and other grains since I was eating a lot of those, so I decided to eliminate all grains. I had reached 117 lbs, but as soon as I eliminated grains, my weight dropped to 113 and has stayed there for the past 2-3 weeks. At the same time, I eliminated legumes for about three weeks, and was basically living off of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I basically became raw vegan. I felt great for a while, but started getting anxious that I wasn't consuming enough calories. It was also causing my anxiety disorder to resurface in some ways, although it's possible that the anxiety was caused from having the flu about two weeks ago.

 

Last week, I tried to reintroduce legumes (beans only; no soy or peanuts). The first time I ate them, I had some gas and bloating, but nothing else. I figured it was fine since the irritation stopped after that and I didn't experience any diarrhea, so I've continued eating them this past week. However, I noticed that I now have dark circles under my eyes, I get tired more easily, and I get a small headache around the same time every day. I assume this means I'm sensitive to legumes as well, so I've come here to ask--how can I consume enough calories to gain weight on such a restrictive diet? I'm basically back to where I started three weeks ago--raw vegan, only this time it's not intentional. I'm not against eating cooked vegetables, but I'm a full-time student and also work 20 hours a week, so eating raw is basically a time saver for me. Cooking the vegetables wouldn't necessarily increase the caloric value anyway. I have a green smoothie every day for breakfast, a ton of nuts and seeds throughout the day, at least one avocado a day, lots of green leafy vegetables. I don't know what else to do, so any suggestions are welcome. Is it possible that I'll recover from some of my allergies? If so, how long would this take?

Edited by EricaM15
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First off, i believe your intolerances may go away.

 

I dropped about 40lbs in a little over a month when i was at my worst.

 

At my lowest of the low after starting the gluten-free diet, i was eating peanut butter and apples (or lettice), boiled chicken, rice, sweet potatos, cheese, and some steamed veggies.

 

This is not healthy. If i tried pretty much anything else my GERD would decide to act up.  I was quite sick during this time.

 

Eventually, i had to stop taking the medications for it before it settled down to a more reasonable pace (i have more days of no GERD than i do of GERD, drastic improvement).

 

The only thing out of that lot i listed that i can't tolerate at the moment is the sweet potato.

 

You probably know this already but you cannot keep that pace up, especially feeling like crud. I a a full time college student (21 credits) and i know how i feel if i catch a little cold nowadays. I cannot imagine going back to that state of belly issues.

 

What are you doing for protien? Are you getting enough? What about all the other vitamin levels?

 

Such a raw diet can be very harsh on an overacting system. It is also very possible that you have a leaky gut.

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What are you doing for protien? Are you getting enough? What about all the other vitamin levels?

 

Such a raw diet can be very harsh on an overacting system. It is also very possible that you have a leaky gut.

 

I have a lot of nuts and seeds for protein. I'm sure I'm getting enough protein. As for vitamin levels, I take a daily multivitamin along with a B-complex vitamin and a high dose of Biotin, which was recommended by my endocrinologist to help with the PCOS symptoms.

 

I actually find that my stomach feels best after eating a large salad of green leafy vegetables. I'm sure I have leaky gut, but I don't think raw is the issue. I'm simply struggling with the lack of variety and too few calories. Everything (aside from my weight) seems pretty stable when I limit myself to a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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Most of the beans that I have come across are processed on lines that also process wheat.  That can be the case with other foods too.  Have you considered gluten cross contamination as a source of your problems rather than food intolerances?  Keeping a food/symptom journal is very helpful in either case.  It can take a week to notice a reaction to a new food so you need to try to limit changes in your diet.  To consider cc issues, you need to keep track of sources of food and not just the food itself.  You can carefully source your foods by looking at labels for the "processed in a facility that also processes..." statement.  That statement is voluntary, so if you don't see it, that doesn't mean that the items are not "processed in a facility..."  At that point you can search here to see what people say, search the companies website, or make phone calls.

 

I hope you feel better soon.  It took me awhile at first to heal and figure out my diet.

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If it's lactose intolerance that's removed your dairy, maybe try goat milk products? I'd give yourself

a few weeks on your 'safe' diet and then see if you can tolerate a little goat cheese. Also, any

reason to be avoiding eggs?

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Most of the beans that I have come across are processed on lines that also process wheat.  That can be the case with other foods too.  Have you considered gluten cross contamination as a source of your problems rather than food intolerances?  Keeping a food/symptom journal is very helpful in either case.  It can take a week to notice a reaction to a new food so you need to try to limit changes in your diet.  To consider cc issues, you need to keep track of sources of food and not just the food itself.  You can carefully source your foods by looking at labels for the "processed in a facility that also processes..." statement.  That statement is voluntary, so if you don't see it, that doesn't mean that the items are not "processed in a facility..."  At that point you can search here to see what people say, search the companies website, or make phone calls.

 

I hope you feel better soon.  It took me awhile at first to heal and figure out my diet.

I've never really given cross contamination much consideration. I generally just assume any reaction is the result of an intolerance because of how strongly I experience the reactions. At this point, I think I need to give my body a rest again for a while before I try reintroducing foods again. I'll definitely keep cross-contamination in mind next time. I don't keep a food journal, but I'm very good at keeping track of the things I've eaten with just my memory. I just have an unusually good memory. It's also easy for me to remember what I've eaten throughout each day now that my diet has become so limited.

 

 

If it's lactose intolerance that's removed your dairy, maybe try goat milk products? I'd give yourself

a few weeks on your 'safe' diet and then see if you can tolerate a little goat cheese. Also, any

reason to be avoiding eggs?

 

I've tried lactose-free dairy products, and it seems to cause me the same problems as products with lactose, except I get a delayed reaction instead of one that's immediate. I don't eat eggs because they have bothered my stomach for as long as I can remember. I used to eat them occasionally when I was younger, even during the time I was only a vegetarian, and it never ended well. I've tried eggwhites as well and it's not any better. I'm not sure about fish, but I can't afford it either way.

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Given that you've tried lactose free products and still have issues, it's likely an intolerance of

the protein in cow's milk, called casein, that's affecting you. The advice to try a little goat's

milk still holds, although if you're worried about the cost of fish, then the cost of goat's milk

products will be fairly high for you as well. Perhaps a fairly inexpensive hemp protein powder

for the calories? You could throw a bit here and there into those smoothies.

 

Definitely start being more vigilant about cross-contamination. That's frequently the culprit

with people who feel better for a while and then feel worse again. You might also try getting

some coconut products into your diet, especially coconut oil. You could even make homemade

raw or cooked granola with your nuts and seeds. As with anything, give yourself a few weeks

on your safe diet before trying, and only try one new thing at a time.

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