It can be challenging to pinpoint what's causing your bellyache, gas or bloating, but doing some diet sleuthing can make it easier to flush out the culprit!!
When digestion is your Achilles heel, it might just trigger your amateur detective skills!
Are those allegedly "gluten free" cupcakes from the local bake shop REALLY made with coconut flour? Why do you get stomach cramps every time you have take out from a certain restaurant, but not when you order similar meal from a different spot?
When you eat a bowl of granola, yogurt and fruit and then have bloating, which ingredient was the culprit?
And the biggest question of all....do you need to see a doctor??
Troubleshooting gut issues is challenging even for the professionals. There are so many possible causes, ranging from mild intolerances to serious conditions, that even a well trained "detective" may need time to suss out the true cause....AND how to feel better.
You can do your own investigating if you suspect certain types of foods are causing symptoms.The following diets are temporary and meant to help you identify potential food triggers. Working with a dietician can help you spot problems and maybe navigate these types of plans more easily so you can potentially go back to eating the foods you enjoy! Check out your local directory to find a dietician!
You start by cutting out one of eight foods that trigger the most reactions ( soy, cows milk, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish, shellfish and eggs) You can also experiment with cutting out meat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine to see what might be bothering your system, but these would be food sensitivities or just food that you have a hard time digesting vs allergies. (If you think you are truly allergic to a food, it's important to check in with your family doc before you start this process)
LOW FODMAP DIET
Many healthy foods (apples, milk, wheat, cherries and cauliflower) contain certain types of carbohydrates that ferment in the gut, feeding the bacteria, which causes gas, bloating and possibly diarrhea and abdominal pain. Sometimes, it may be as simple as lactose, the sugar in the cows milk, or fructose, the sugar in the fruit, that's the culprit! To follow a low FODMAP diet, you cut out foods that are high in FODMAPS easily find lists online!)
Many of the "offenders" are super healthy, so you don't want to be on this for a long time. Most people follow it for several weeks, then slowly adding back foods.
This is more a 30 day plan about cleaning up your diet. It cuts out alcohol as well as soy, carbs (including grains) sugar and legumes.Meat, vegetables, healthy fats and limited fruit are all on the okay list! Once the diet ends, you can add back the foods you enjoy and you'll be much more aware of how they made you feel. Most dieticians don't condone this type of diet, but is only for 30 days!
There are many different versions and this is a more restrictive version of the Paleo diet. Paelo diets typically emphasize lean meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts and oils from avocados, coconut and olive oils. They nix dairy, legumes and grains, alcohol and anything processed or high in sugar. I also cuts out nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers) You typically follow it for a month then start adding back in foods.
It's fairly normal to experience minor gut issues such as flatulence, belching or bloating, especially if you're trying new foods, but if it happens regularly and especially with pain, it might be time to check with your doc!
One helpful step for you to try out is to keep a food journal that includes other information about your stress level and sleep. Try tracking your symptoms too, like any gas or bloating, a change in bowel habits, reflux, cramping, even joint pain, fatigue or skin problems that might seem unrelated.
A log is an incredibly important tool for finding out what's going on, and can help you see patterns and better narrow down the source.
Also, remember to get enough sleep! I can't overstate the importance of getting quality sleep. Your gut needs rest as much as you do, no matter what's going on. As you're troubleshooting your issue, find ways to be more aware of your body and your symptoms, but also try to cultivate calm through the process.