This Is What Happened When I Eliminated Dairy And Gluten For A Month

Yes, no pizza for a MONTH!

Back in August, I did what I was putting off for so long. I finally went to go see a naturopath to figure out why I was so bloated, tired, and had acid reflux pretty much daily. I had a pretty good diet, occasionally indulging in dairy (or so I thought. I was eating it way more than I realized) and was eating the right amount. So why did I always feel like shit?

I have always had issues when it comes to dairy. Ever since I was a kid I got the worst stomach aches pretty much daily, and my mom classified it as 'nerves' only to realize now that it was 100% related to dairy. I never noticed a huge problem when it came to gluten until a few years ago, when I would get uncomfortably full and have brain fog whenever I would eat gluten. And the bloating, well, that speaks for itself. I would get bloated pretty much after everything I ate. Not realizing that everything I ate somehow had gluten or dairy hidden in it. 

I was finally sick of feeling sick all the time, and bit the bullet and just made the appointment. That appointment really did change my life. After basically writing down my entire life story in the form of a information sheet, which asks you anything from what your future goals are with your health to any major accidents you've ever had, a lot of stuff happened. That shit is detailed. 

My first appointment was basically my naturopath just asking a bunch of questions, taking down everything I said, and then making me do a food chart for the next two weeks to show what I eat in a day. When I went back to him, it turns out so much of what I was eating was bloating me. I was eating things with whey protein, chips that had dairy in them, and a bunch of shit I don't even remember that had gluten in them. How I didn't figure this out sooner, I'm not sure. But he put me on a strict elimination diet that I dreaded. I knew at the beginning I would have to do it, but in all honestly, the hardest part was having to switch out regular chocolate for dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate, but it's just not the same as an KitKat. It's just not. 

The first week of the elimination diet was brutal. I felt hungry all the time, felt miserable that I had to look at the label of every food I was purchasing (dairy and gluten are hidden in so many foods) and I was going through what they call a carb-flu. Body aches, headaches, bad mood, irritable, etc. I dropped a significant amount of carbs in my diet because I didn't know what to eat, and my body hated it. 

After the first week, I found ways to get around it. I started eating more potatoes, I found a gluten-free cereal that I love and was realizing I wasn't uncomfortable or bloated after any meal. And my acid reflux? Sorry, don't know her. I didn't experience any when before I had it almost daily. 

During all of this, I was required to do a food chart still. If you saw my food chart from the first week when I had to write down what I ate before eliminating everything, it was filled with symptoms. The second week into it, there was not one mark with the word 'bloated' beside it. I was actually shocked. You know how people eliminate gluten and/or dairy and think it will work but they just go back to it after a week? I'm usually that person. But I was paying money to figure out what was wrong with me, and I was sticking to it, and actually seeing the results I haven't seen in years. Which was not being bloated after every meal and waking up at night with my throat burning. 

After going back to him and basically wanting to hug him for getting rid of my symptoms, he wanted to also eliminate eggs, almond milk and rice from my diet. Oh, sweet. Now I literally can't eat anything. We ruled out at the beginning that I was definitely allergic to quinoa, after getting a stomach ache after eating it for 3 days in a row. When you eliminate gluten, rice, and quinoa from your diet, you're not left with much. All my favourite foods were ruled out. Sushi, hamburgers, pizza, any type of chocolate. I thought I was going to go crazy. 

However, the month or so that I've been on this elimination diet, I have gotten bloated maybe twice, had not had brain fog once and I used to suffer from it daily, and felt so much lighter all the time. It was a blessing in disguise. Until I had to reintroduce certain foods back in. 

I told my naturopath and he agreed that I wasn't going to reintroduce dairy back in. I can't deal with the acid reflux, and the thought of it actually gives me anxiety. So as much as I love chocolate, I'm willing to look on the labels of every food item and be that person for the rest of my life then to have acid reflux again. So I started with gluten. Man, the first bite of gluten was not as good as I remember. I think the first thing I ate was French bread, and I had the worst stomach pains afterwards and was so bloated. A few hours later, I got acid reflux. Great. I had to do this for a week, and I was so tired, bloated, and uncomfortable that entire week. My brain fog came back on the last day, and I thought "Well. F*ck this!" My digestion was also so off, and I felt so heavy. I'm reintroducing rice back in this week, and it's making me bloated again. 

While I'm still in the middle of reintroducing things back, I have to say, I will probably be that person that will always have to look at the labels of things to see if gluten and dairy are in them, and steer clear if there is. I can't handle how shitty I still feel even though I stopped eating gluten this past Sunday. It stays in your body for a few days, and that's why you need to stop after a week of eating it while introducing something else. 

Of course I miss pizza and hamburgers with the bun instead of a lettuce wrap, but I do not miss how uncomfortable and sick I always felt. I'd rather know these things now and be able to stay away from them, because after not eating them for a month and a bit, I definitely have the willpower to not eat them again. If you feel crappy after eating any type of food, I highly recommend seeing a naturopath. The food charts help me so much to see what I ate and when I bloat, and seeing that I didn't bloat or have any symptoms the month I didn't eat dairy or gluten is enough for me to call it quits. 

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Courtney Lundy