a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Creating Health and Happiness: Same Goals, New Approach.

I’ve been trying for fourteen months to figure out what’s wrong my with abdomen. I’ve had a CT scan, ultrasound, x-rays, and several rounds of blood tests. More recently I’ve had a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy. They haven’t figured it out yet.

When I saw the gastroenterologist last Monday (12/27), he said that it’s probably irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) considering my family history, despite the fact that my sister was just diagnosed with an endoscopic biopsy and blood work to have Celiac disease and my symptoms match her’s and the symptom list for Celiac. He also said the the thirty-three pounds I’ve put on in the last year despite keeping my exercise level and eating habits steady, and trying to gain ground in my running, is simply a matter of “energy in and energy out.” It may be IBS, and it may be “energy in and energy out,” but what I’m feeling and what he’s saying don’t match up. I see my primary care physician (whom totally rocks!) on Tuesday and I’m hoping that he’s got some ideas and a different angle on things.

But between now and then, I really really want to get better! I’m ready to get rid of the mystery weight, to stop feeling nauseated every day and (sorry for the TMI…) vomiting three to four days out of the week, to get rid of the intense mystery pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen, *fluctuating between constipation and diarrhea (I know! TMI!), to get rid of the (again, sorry for the TMI…) gas and bloating, and I’m ready for my lifelong struggle with depression that has been much worse this past year to the point that it landed me in a partial hospitalization program for a month this fall to abate. I’m READY!

I’m still giving the doctors their chance, but I’m ready to take a new approach and to do some self-study and trials on my own. From what I’ve read about abdominal conditions, specifically Celiac disease and IBS (two different conditions that are contenders for The Diagnosis), these conditions are aggravated by high levels of caffeine (yes, I knew this already, but I love my coffee!), grains, and dairy. Furthermore, there is a substantial amount of research that links gluten/grains with depression. With all of this information, it makes sense to me to give the  Whole 30 Challenge a go. This is basically a 30-day crash course in the Paleo diet that focuses on eating lots of yummy veggies, meats, and fruits and eliminates dairy, legumes, and grains. It cuts out the stuff that’s possibly aggravating my tummy and depression and includes lots of good foods.

I’ve already had numerous rounds of testing, and everything is on file, so I figure that now is a good time to start. I wasn’t able to begin before Dec. 27 because a patient has to have the offending foods in the system for a full four weeks prior to testing to get accurate results. The testing is done, for now, and I’m READY! Yes, let’s say it again, I’m so very ready to be done with this dis-ease and to be healthy and happy!

From the Whole 30 kick start guide:


Certain food groups (like grains, dairy and legumes) are probably having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.  Are your energy levels inconsistent (or non-existent)?  Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury?  Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you train, or are pretty lean but still have a little extra puff on your midsection?  Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies) that medication hasn’t helped?  These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff.  So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?  Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the inflammatory, insulin-spiking, calorie-dense, nutritionally sparse food groups for a full 30 days and let your body heal, recover and reset from whatever effects those foods may be provoking. What, exactly, does that mean? Super strict, by-the-book, 100% Whole30 for the next 30 days.

Gabe and I have discussed dietary and lifestyle changes to improve our health, and ultimately our lives and relationship, since we started dating. We’ve done a lot of reading on this approach, know a lot of people who eat this way, including Maurabela over at Happy Beehive, and are ready to give it a 30-day trial run. After 30 days, we’ll reflect back on the changes and see where we want to go from there.

We’re beginning our 30-day challenge, well today, sort of, but it will truly begin tomorrow, January 3, our first full day home from house and pet sitting over the holidays. I’ll keep you all posted on what I prepare for foods and the results on my second blog created to log the daily efforts towards achieving better health:  Nothing is More Important than This Day. I’ll write the details over there (daily log of foods eaten, recipes, “play” (exercise) logs, etc.) and the reflections here. I’ll link back and forth between the two.

So that’s what I’m doing to make 2011 a happy and healthy year. What’s on your action plan?

*Edit:  I missed this major symptom earlier. How? I don’t know.


5 responses to “Creating Health and Happiness: Same Goals, New Approach.

  1. maurabela January 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Good luck Jen! This is going to be a great month and maybe we can swap some recipes 🙂

    • Jen January 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, this month is going to be awesome! I can’t wait to get started for real tomorrow! We already cleaned out the cupboards, not that there was that much to clean out to begin with, and have plans to get a bunch of yummy veggies and meats on the way back to Boston tonight.

      Speaking of recipes, have you discovered Everyday Paleo? Good stuff there.

  2. Michelle Glauser January 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Some things that have helped me sound crazy, but they really have:

    -go off of birth control. Wowee, this really eliminated all the throwing up, and lessened the nausea.
    -eat all day long (little portions, obviously)
    -eat what you’re craving–for me, my mini-meals all day long have me looking for carbohydrates when I used to be a person who ate fruit all the time
    -ice your stomach. It sounds weird, but try it.
    -get a prescription for Hyomax. I rarely use it, but when I do I get some pretty instant relief.
    -exercise despite pain. It gets out some of that gas and increases your energy level. 😉

    Obviously you don’t have to do what I say, but I thought maybe some of those things that have helped me would be good for you to try. Good luck!

    • Jen January 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      I love your suggestions, Michelle! I already do many of them and I’ll try the others. I’ve been off birth control for about 18 or 20 months now (I can’t quite remember when I went off, but a little over a year and a half ago). I nibble on veggies and fruit between my small meals of veggies and lean meat.

      I could improve the exercise. I’ve been giving myself the “out” whenever I have a bad day, but I know that it’s better to just go and run and lift heavy stuff. I have no excuse, really, since I have a gym in my building! I *will* be better about this. Starting today!

  3. Pingback: Whole 30: Day 1. « nothing is more important than this day

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