Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Experiment Update: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When I started this blog, my intention was to experiment with a new, healthier way of eating to see if it would cure me of a number of ailments. (Click here for the entry that started it all and a complete list of the illnesses I decided to declare war on.) The biggest change I have yet to see has to do with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I've had serious intestinal problems since I was fourteen years old, so for about fifteen years now, and went to doctor after doctor. Finally when I was twenty-two they labeled me with IBS, since they didn't know what else to call it. But as many of you know, that doesn't solve the problem. They just tell you to eat a lot of fiber and to get on antidepressants because you have a nervous stomach. Nope. Not buying it.

So on March 8th I paid my last visit to my gastroenterologist up at Huntsman Cancer Institute and stopped eating dairy—what I thought was "the impossible"—and I can say 100 percent that that was the best decision I could've ever made for my body. No more visits to the gastroenterologist, no more pain, and no more thought about my colon—he's a happy little guy now.

Over the past 7 years I've had 5 colonoscopies to remove precancerous polyps (adenoma) and regular-old polyps (hyperplastic). My next colonoscopy is scheduled for a year from now, so the next part of my experiment is to see if my colon will stop producing polyps because of my healthy eating. That's my plan. It'd be a miracle, but I believe in miracles, and I've already seen miracles happen since I've been reaching for green.

Here are the main changes I've made to my eating habits during the past 6 months:

-No dairy. (I now drink almond milk, eat coconut oil instead of butter, and use hummus instead of mayo.)
-No table sugar. (I've replaced this with raw honey, stevia, and agave.)
-No white flour. (In July this evolved into using gluten-free flour, which as of last week evolved into no flour at all. More to come on this.)
-No processed foods or preservatives.
-No meat, except fish and eggs. (I now load up on beans and lentils. Until last week I ate a lot of quinoa and soy, but not anymore. More to come on this.)
-Leafy greens.
-Plant-based protein.
-Fresh fruits and veggies.
-Whole grains.

To be completely honest, making these food changes has been the hardest thing I've ever done. It's not for the weak at heart. But I want to move without pain and regain my life back more than I want a plate of Oreos and a glass of milk. It all comes down to what we really want out of life and what we're willing to do to get it. (I can see my cute mom doing a cheer right now, literally. Cheerleaders never die.) If you're on the fence, maybe start by making one small change in your eating habits and then making another. I promise that if you're consistent, you will see a difference and it will be worth it. My experiment is working!

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