My first food challenges began when pregnant with our second child. I couldn’t pinpoint what foods or how, but soon after eating or drinking a meal I would often feel painful, uncomfortable bloating that would last hours on end. At first I attributed the pain to typical pregnancy heartburn, and stuck it out the 9 months, hoping things would change after birth. But much to my dismay, the bloating pains remained even after our daughter was born.
I had an endoscopy, breath tests (for sibo), and met with several gastroenterologists–none could really figure out why I was having reactions, and instead offered long term prescriptions to Zantac and Omeprezole. I was thankful they provided me daily relief, but it didn’t seem like something I wanted to depend on the rest of my life.
After 3 years of this I wanted an alternative. My friends recommended a relatively new blood test (called the Mediator Release Test), that identifies possible food sensitivities and triggers.
I really wasn’t expecting much. But it was worth a try. I googled several nutrition counselors in my area and finally found one that blogged regularly and resonated with how I felt. Danielle VanHuizen gave me instructions for the MRT test, and consulted with me on an elimination diet based on my test results. I limited all foods, oils, and spices to a list of 15. I only ate whole foods, nothing prepackaged or processed.
Danielle walked me through foods that were “safe” for me to eat, and which ones I could “test” later. Bottom line? It was absolutely impossible to eat out at a restaurant with that much restriction–everything had to made from complete scratch with “safe” ingredients, oils, and seasonings. I made marinara from scratch, almond milk from scratch, gluten-free bread from scratch, everything!
I ate exclusively from home, pushing myself into more and different recipes and slowly adding back foods that I had taken out. After 3 weeks, I noticed a changed. And every few weeks, ever so slowly, my stomach gut healed a little more.
After 3 months of being completely strict, I got off my medication completely. Each month I was able to tolerate and add back in more and more foods that would otherwise cause me a painful reaction before.
I was healing my gut by cooking at home.
And not just mine. Jason, too, had been diagnosed with IBS years ago, and when we made the change to eat at home the majority of the time, his gut healed too.
Now I have added most foods back to my diet, and we do enjoy eating out much more often, but I still make the majority of our meals at home–which makes me and my whole family feel great.
I’m a testament to how real, whole food can change your life!
And I hope I can share some of the great recipes that have given me freedom. My hope is to inspire and encourage one another to make healthy food the whole family looks forward to eating at home!
We live in Seattle, Washington and are surrounded by water, mountains, and (as my husband would say), a lot of rain!