It’s Tuesday and that means a Health Story from a Ditch The Wheat reader. A reader shares their story in hopes that it will inspire you! Today Erin is sharing how she overcame her IBS (something I have dealt with too). If you have a health story and would like to share it with the Ditch The Wheat community please contact me at ditchthewheat @ gmail.com. Thank you for reading!
Hi Ditch The Wheat Readers! I am honored to be writing this post for Carol’s blog.
My name is Erin Carter and I am a 28 year old internal medicine resident from Calgary, Canada. I run my own blog called Pure and Simple Nourishment that I started after suffering with my own health issues and solving them through the use of nutrition.
I wanted to share my story with you in the hopes that it helps at least one person out there!
Years ago I started having troubles with my bowels (I will be frank- I started having diarrhea). Initially my troubles were episodic. I would get what I would call my “stomach sickness” every few weeks to months. I would come down with severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Each episode would last a few days and then resolve. No one around me ever got sick, so I knew that it wasn’t infectious. I tried keeping a food diary to see if I could find a pattern; I couldn’t. My symptoms lasted for about 2 years before I sought any medical help. I had a number of tests including both a colonoscopy and endoscopy. I was told everything was normal and that I “probably just had irritable bowel syndrome.” I was instructed to take Immodium for my symptoms. I was both devastated and extremely frustrated. Here was a medical expert telling me that all I could do was try to mask my symptoms with a pill? I knew that was not my solution. I didn’t just want to treat my symptoms, I wanted to prevent them in the first place. After that my symptoms progressed. I started suffering from daily diarrhea. At its worst I was having 8-10 episodes per day. Wherever I went I was always on the lookout for the closest bathroom, as I never knew when my symptoms would hit. I stopped going for the outdoor runs that I loved so much since I could never predict when my diarrhea would start. Life was getting miserable.
I started doing my own research into what I could do to help my symptoms. I tried a gluten and casein free diet and saw very minimal changes. It was then that I sought the help of an integrative medical doctor in our city to try to find answers. We tried a lot of things, and I was treated for a parasite in my bowels, bacterial overgrowth as well as yeast. I went gluten, soy and dairy free, and took a variety of supplements including probiotics and digestive enzymes. I did see some improvements, but I was still having 4-5 loose stools per day, at unpredictable times. My doctor finally recommended the book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” which is the bible for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). I was reluctant at first because the diet is very different from the average North American diet, and I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything. I finally broke down and tried it at the same time that I was starting my medical residency (could I have picked a more stressful time? I mean really…). Anyways, long story short the diet has changed my life.
After two and a half years on the SCD diet I expanded my food repertoire and now follow more of a “paleo or whole foods diet” with the addition of a few things that weren’t allowed on the SCD diet. Through trial and error I have come up with a diet that works well for me. I only rarely have symptoms now (usually during times of extreme stress) and life is so much better! I will never go back to my old ways of eating or the current North American diet. I really can’t say that I miss anything that I used to eat anymore (initially oh yes!) but it definitely helps that my boyfriend, friends and family are extremely supportive. This way of eating definitely requires more work and planning, but if you ask me it is totally worth it! Being an MD I realize how little emphasis we place on nutrition when treating patients, and I am hoping to educate both my patients and colleagues about the value of whole foods nutrition. Hence why I started my blog!
I would be honored if you visited my blog, Pure & Simple Nourishment, where I share recipes and health information related to nutrition! Thanks for reading everyone! Please feel free to contact me anytime, as I love hearing from readers!