All my life my family has tried to eat healthy. My mother’s favorite word is “protein”. Our family talks about nutrition and food a lot. We grew up in our younger years eating fresh dairy milk, veggies from our garden, and homemade breads or treats. For the most part we knew where all our food came from. I can even recall finding out what real chocolate tasted like, since up until about 8 years old I had only had carob chips. I also remember my first candy, a strawberry starburst. A parent at my fathers softball gave it to me, and I pondered what it was? I gave into temptation and I was shocked at how sweet it was. But still to this day is one of my favorite treats.
Once my parents divorced when I was about 8, it was harder for my mother to make everything from scratch so our diets changed a lot. My father took us to MacDonald’s often and pizza places which had been a luxury before. Several years of just getting my definitely took a toll on my digestions. In 5th grade I was diagnosed with gastritis and the beginnings of an ulcer. This was one of the beginning signs that stress had a huge factor on my digestive system.
Fast forward to my late teens and twenties. I was a healthy organic vegetarian for over ten years but still had chronic bloating, irregular bowel movements and what felt like constant heartburn. I was active and young so I never really thought about it too much. I so remember having a few thoughts about how my father also had digestion issues while I grew up. He always complained after eating ice cream and sat on the toilet for many hours in my lifetime.
While in my twenties my sister started having kids, five to be exact. She was young with her first and didn’t connect the dots until years later, but her first showed signs of what we now was CSID, otherwise known as a version of Sucrose Intolerance. Her last child, had a ton of medical challenges, failure to thrive, seizures and a whole array of dietary problems. Finally about age 3 he was officially diagnosed with CSID. He was one of the most severe cases anyone had ever seen, and this rare disorder was unknown by the majority of doctors in America.
Now a mother myself, I had more challenges with food while pregnant. I had trouble gaining weight, had horrible constipation and gall bladder attacks. I was lactose intolerant, so I drank Lactaid for most of my pregnancy to ensure my calcium intake would be high enough. I also was told that DHA and omega 3 supplements were great to add to my diet, so I did. When my son was born he was very scaly, his skin was so dry, he literally felt like a lizzard. He was also born with a tongue tie, (MTHFR gene) which caused challenges with breastfeeding and gas for my son. He was chronically distended and gassy and I relied on gripe water to help my son cope everyday for his first two years. He was chronically constipated and still is today. I even waited until age 2 to give him milk and started with fresh goat milks, like we did as kids, which helped a lot.
I had given up being vegetarian and bought less organic foods, about 4 years prior to having my first child. I noticed the less pasta I ate the better I felt. I relied on more meats and greens to get full. This just happened naturally. Many years later I had some good health insurance and started to get tested for some of my chronic digestive problems. Kaiser diagnosed me as having IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome in 2009, a year after my son was born. I made a few adjustment to my diet and kept trudging as mother. In between pregnancies I really tried to figure out my gall bladder issues and went on a juice cleanse. In my research for my body I had always done poorly when I increased my insoluble fiber. I would bloat more and have extremely painful gas pains. When I tried to change my diet in between my pregnancies my gall bladder freaked out. I was trying to go from more fats and proteins to more veggies and fibers since I was chronically constipated with my first pregnancy. BAD CHOICE for me. My mother could not believe that her famous green smoothies would cause me more pain. “How can so many veggies and vitamins not be good for you?” she asked. She thinks I just made it up. Well they did. So I bought a juicer and started juicing cabbage and other non-inflammatory veggies and started to a feel better.
While pregnancy with my daughter it was still hard to gain weight and my gall bladder attacks started daily at about 5 months pregnant. These are one of the most painful things I have ever had to go through in life. Way worse that natural childbirth, which is a blessing not a pain. It turns out that going into my healthy ways actually increased my problems because now my gall bladder couldn’t change back from it’s previous job of helping digest all my fatty foods from before. I developed a polyp and the direct pressure from the pregnancy decreased the ability for my gallbladder to secrete its acids efficiently. I even debated on surgery while pregnant they were do bad, but luckily once she was born they subsided.
As for me today, I am still trying to find out which foods irritate me. I have done well on the LCHF (low carbohydrate high fat) diet and I don’t think that is a coincidence. My body does well when it is effectively cleaned out each and every day. My water intake and vegetable intake can increase substantially without causing a problem while I am on this diet. I have a theory and that is that our family has a inherited gene that does not do well on highly refined carbs, and high sugars. Increased fibers if not done appropriately can actually cause more of a problem. This theory is playing out now, while I get tested for what seems to be a mutated gene, which is linked to the known CSID, and Sucrose intolerance.
The other part of this very complicated journey is that our food industry has changed and our bodies may have adapted with it, and some may not be able to. I strongly believe that there is a correlation between my families struggles and our food industry along with our genetic abilities to adapt. But that is in another post…..