Going with my gut…

14 Nov

Before! (Yes, it's bread)

Howdy!  My name is Julia; I’m 27, I work in a cubicle and I live in Maryland.  I’ve been doing the paleo thang for a little over a year. I’d struggled with my weight for several years after getting out of high school; I tried Atkins, South Beach, vegetarianism & veganism, tracking calories, you name it. I finally lost weight doing Weight Watchers! I lost about 15 pounds by obsessively tracking calories, fat grams, fiber grams, and minutes in the gym, but became burned out and was practically living off processed foods.  I finally realized that losing weight doesn’t equate to getting healthy.

While all that was going on, I became aware of the fact that I was physically suffering. A few years ago, I began to notice that almost every afternoon, I would come down with abdominal pain, and my belly would become distended. Usually, I looked like I was sporting a baby bump by the time I got home! I let this go on for about year until I decided it wasn’t normal and I ought to figure out what was going on. I did some research and went to a gastroenterologist’s office certain I’d be diagnosed with Celiac disease (I had just learned what that was, and my symptoms were pretty consistent with it). After bloodwork, a sonogram, and an endoscopy, the doctor ruled out Crohn’s, gallbladder problems, and Celiac. A lot of people seemed to think I should be happy about this, but I was getting pretty down about not knowing what was wrong with me.

After!

Eventually I got interested in nutrition; I thought about doing the vegan thing again (thinking it was the healthiest way to go) and did a detox called the Clean Program.  A few days into it, my symptoms were gone, and I was elated!  I finally felt normal again; I had forgotten what that was like.  I had eliminated numerous foods, and upon adding things back in, I learned that gluten was indeed causing my symptoms, even though I don’t have Celiac. I struggled with the gluten-free thing for a few months, and felt mostly better.  During this time I started learning about paleo, and knew I needed to do more if I wanted to really get better. Eventually, I phased out the other grains & legumes, and most sugar & dairy. I’ve dropped ten more pounds, and on most days I feel fantastic.  Sometimes I feel disappointed in myself for taking so long to figure it all out, and in my doctor for his inability to help me, but I really am grateful I figured it out at all.

Soon after I had gone mostly paleo, the GI office contacted me to see if I was interested in participating in a study for a new IBS drug (I wasn’t even aware I had been diagnosed with anything), and I went in to see what it was all about.  The doctor I spoke with was very nice- we discussed my history of gut issues, and I told him how much better I’d been feeling since cutting out gluten and most other grains.  He replied flatly that since I had tested negative for Celiac, there was “no need to eliminate gluten” from my diet.  I was floored.  I still believe that doctors are generally in their profession because they genuinely want to help people, but it was a bit disheartening to tell this doctor that I had figured out what was wrong with me and was fixing it myself, and pretty much be told I’m full of crap and should take some pills instead.  There are many stories just like mine out there; unfortunately a lot of folks are listening to their doctors over their own bodies.

Danielle and I hobnobbing with the celebs at AHS!

This way of eating has led to so many positive changes- I’ve become more interested in sustainable farming, eating real food, fitness & being an ethical omnivore, and I’ve found a lovely community of like-minded people! Over the past few months, I’ve attended the Ancestral Health Symposium in L.A., a MovNat workshop in Washington, DC, and a Whole9 Nutrition workshop in Bowie, MD. I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like to, but I also write a blog called Queen of the Stoneage and I contribute to Chowstalker.

DC MovNat workshop- October 2011

10 Responses to “Going with my gut…”

  1. Meredith November 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    What a great writer you are! I cannot WAIT to hear about that MovNat workshop. So cool!

    • Jules November 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      THANKS 🙂 I’m getting back to work on that one!

      • Pat Kohli November 15, 2011 at 1:26 am #

        I enjoyed your story. You live with the facts and no longer let yourself be bullied by experts with beliefs.
        Are you related to the Kohli’s from the South Shore of LI?

  2. luckybastard77 November 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    awesome, julia. didn’t know you were in the area. i’m in dc, also.

    • Jules November 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I think I saw you in the DC Meat Up group on facebook- if I ever make it up to one of their events I’ll let ya know! I’m down in St. Mary’s but I try to go up the road once a month or so.

  3. Melissa Wilson Sheldon November 15, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Awesome post! I have had IBS for years. I also had debilitating migraines. I started switching to Paleo in October and have not had a headache at all. The IBS issues are still there a little, but even they are greatly improved.

    • Jules November 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Awesome Melissa! I do still have some lingering stuff that I’m trying to work on with fermented foods & bone broth. I’m probably about 90% better, which is pretty good. Keep it up! 🙂

  4. Jules November 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    @Pat pretty slick Dad; I didn’t even put my last name on the post!

  5. Dosi February 8, 2015 at 4:10 am #

    There are several causes of abdominal pain and it is actually important that your medical doctor determines what is the main cause. It can range from Ulcers,Crohn’s disease and other conditions. In most cases, pain killers can ease the pain

    • Jules February 8, 2015 at 7:15 am #

      Hi Dosi- like I’d mentioned, my GI doctors did a series of tests and failed to determine the cause of my discomfort, but dietary changes turned out to be really helpful! 🙂 I don’t really see how just taking pain killers to mask a problem would be such a great idea, and I doubt it would be effective for the gas pain I was experiencing. Im definitely not one to not go to the doctor if something is wrong, but I think it’s also important that we take an active role in our health also. Fortunately, I’ve since found another gastroenterologist that understands the value that dietary intervention can have.

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