Is this thing on?

As I start yet another experiment with my eating habits and stomach management, I thought it was a good opportunity to update where things are and also keep notes on how things are going in the moment.

Overall, I’m doing pretty well.  Still off all reflux medication – although my issues come and go, sometimes for as much as a week, usually due to bad eating.  When they are terrible, I take Pepcid AC for a day or two and that usually fixes it.  I also have not had to intervene much with IBS.  After years of taking Magnesium for severe constipation, since the Cipro incident last year (3 days of Cipro to treat a persistent bladder infaction), my IBS-C has become IBS-D which is pretty crazy.  That said, my digestion overall is better and I think I’ve found a balance where I can eat a fair amount of cooked vegetables without going into the D place as easily (when I am overzealous, I use pepto to resolve it).

I have to say my experience with Cipro left me in a better digestive place but much more frustrated with medicine overall.  It cleared the bladder infection but left me running for the bathroom hourly for over a month.  That said, once that sort of resolved itself, I could suddenly tolerate foods (beans in particular) I hadn’t been able to eat for years.  This is what makes all this so frustrating.  There is something ‘off’ with my digestion but medicine has not progressed to a degree where they can a) discern what exactly the problem is and (b) what the fix is.  But my doctor agrees: the Cipro cleaned something out that was not so great and for that, I’m belatedly (now that I feel better 🙂 grateful.

So, where am I now?

A bit overweight actually.  The ability to eat a more broad array of foods and to get back – perhaps, unfortunately – my ability to drink alcohol occasionally and far worse, tolerate all my old favorite junk foods – has created a bit of a chunky situation.  I actually feel my extra chunk is contributing to the increased GERD symptoms of late.  Inspired by my friend Grace, who is one month into the South Beach Diet, I thought I should likewise come up with a structured eating plan for at least a few weeks to try and drop 15 lbs, get back to my usual ‘fighting weight’ and hopefully eradicate the suspected ‘extra GERD symptoms’ I am having of late.

I have done South Beach before.  It was the kickoff for a long period of very healthy eating for me and I recall not being overly hungry (which for GERD is critical).  Back then, I did the two week ‘induction’ thing (no grains, no potatoes, etc. – low carb) and then sort of went off on my own, eating everything but better aware of amounts and with a focus on protein as the filling aspect of my diet.  What I loved about the diet is what I also liked about Atkins (although I found the level of fat on Atkins offputting) – protein and my brain are a great combination. I don’t know why but I feel really ‘normal’ and strong mentally when I eat a fair amount of protein.  I had hoped to have that result when I did Paleo but instead I just felt terrible but I think it was likely the fat aspect of Paleo.

Over the past year, I’ve been focused on eating a variety but leaning toward a more vegetarian diet when possible.  For the planet.  I was a vegetarian for years but it never made me feel really good.  Stomach-wise, I like the fact that I never felt loguey after a meal of beans, rice and veg, but mentally I am finding that I can’t do too many of these meals in a row.  The reasons I left vegetarianism in my 20s still pervade – I tend to get headaches and sometimes even feel shaky or lightheaded without the meat.  I wish I didn’t but I do.

Anyway – could I do South Beach again?  The only real negatives I recalled about South Beach is that the diet itself as presented is heavy on things I cannot eat at all (real garlic, onion and vinegar) or don’t necessary agree with me (wine, spicy stuff, tomatoes).  But a close look at the book led me to believe that basically tweaking most of the suggested meals to suit me, this diet was something that I could do and that wouldn’t be that much different than how I’m eating now (minus the junk food and rice/potato obsession 🙂 so hopefully a moderate ‘change’ won’t completely freak out my stomach as often ‘changes’ do.   I spent about an hour on Saturday making up a week of meals and snacks in Excel and I think it’ll mostly work.  In any event, I’ll post each day what I ate, any ways of cooking that made it tasty and the impact on my IBS and GERD symptoms.  These stomach things seem highly individual but on the off-chance you have these issues and are triggered/not triggered by the same things I am, I hope this info helps.  See you later  tonight/tomorrow with today’s recap…

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