So I’m sure you all know there are numerous ways to find out about your own intolerances, but sometimes I like a personal challenge. Yes it makes it harder, but everyone is different, there is not one answer to your own intolerance, so if you do it YOUR way, your will better understand your own body and how to feed it. Or what not to feed it as the case may be. What I eat hugely affects me. It affects my mood, my skin, but most importantly my energy levels.
I was tired of going to the doctor complaining about being lethargic. I was tired of complaining about how tired I was all the time. I was tired of going to be bed before 10 just to get a good few hours sleep to find out I would STILL be tired the next day. Above all I was tired of being constipated being able to go for up to 3 weeks at a time – (I think my partner thought I was like the Queen, because we all know the Queen couldn’t possibly do a number 2, right?). Whilst you might think not being able to go is convenient and saves a lot of time, I can tell you that it is terribly uncomfortable and far from normal, Something wasn’t right, but doctors did not seem concerned and did not want to get to the bottom of the issue (pun intended).
I did get a few blood tests from the doctor to ensure I was allergic to anything, but these just confirmed I was not coeliac, and in fact I was deficient in B12. Hence the low energy levels. I did get some B12 booster shots but did not feel any better so I took things into my own hands. I cut out major food groups 1 at a time for extended periods - 4 months. If I was still tired, and my bowels still weren’t moving, I would re-introduce the food group slowly.
Firstly, I cut out sugar. I started with artificial sugars, sweets, anything with sweetener in it, many processed foods and alcohol; I didn’t drink for 4 months. I didn’t feel any different, yes I got better sleep on Friday and Saturday nights, but I was still heavy, lacked energy and I also felt a little secluded from friends. So that got re-introduced with a somewhat boozy night out.
2. I cut out dairy. No more Lattes. And Yes, I felt marginally better throughout the mornings but still got that ‘food coma’ feeling in the afternoon irrespective of what I had eaten for lunch. I knew this still wasn’t the root of the problem, but I did limit my dairy intake and made some easy switches. Cow's milk to almond milk for example and had no excess cheese binging.
3. I cut out wheat and gluten. My all time favourite foods – bread and pasta. Just to explain how much I love bread, once in a blue moon my Mum would give me pocket money to go to the local village shop and buy some penny sweets (I know this shows my age as they aren’t a penny any more) anyway, instead of 100 x 1p sweets I would buy myself 2 crusty white bread rolls (and a minimilk) So cutting out bread was really difficult for me, It meant a lot more food prep and taking lunch into the office, otherwise I would cave to a Pret A Manger sandwich or a Boots meal deal, but low and behold this has certainly helped! I now have more energy and I never felt too full, my bowels started moving again – by no means was this daily, but I settled for once a week. I slept better and just generally felt better overall. Going out for meals got a little more difficult and limited my choices but its still doable, and the food is so flavoursome and enjoyable, it’s made me try heaps of new recipes, and of course naturally was eating a lot less carbs.
My biggest learning in all of this is that an intolerance is REAL, and is actually more annoying than an allergy. If you are allergic, you know you can't it eat. If you are intolerant, you know you can but you shouldn't and you know you feel crap afterwards. Here is a pic of my tummy after trying to re-introduce bread into my diet. No I am not pushing out, and No I was not pregnant.
If you are tired of feeling tired, try cutting out these major groups for 4 months at a time. And let me know if it helps. I know it’s hard, but you will feel so much better for it in the long run. Having more knowledge of what affects your body doesn’t necessarily mean you must cut out all the things you love, but it will help you acknowledge and educate yourself about how you feel after consuming certain food groups and you will in time just eat them in moderation or learn to cut them out altogether.
Best of luck and feel free to let me know how you get on in the comments below, or email me if your still struggling to find the problem and I can offer some nutritional advice.
Other common intolerances and food groups you might want to try cutting out could include;
Nightshades – (also known as Solanaceae) these include many very popular fruits and vegetables that you probably eat daily. Some of the most popular nightshades are potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and chilli peppers. Toxins within these have been linked to arthritis, chronic joint pain and immune system dis-functions.
Uncooked garlic/onion – these contain fructans that can be malabsorbed in the small intestine. This causes bloating, IBS and acid reflux.