The ups, downs, and runarounds of Celiac Disease and food sensitivities

Archive for the tag “elimination diet”

Health Update

I’m only posting TMI health updates because I promised myself I would, particularly in response to the numerous blogs that have given me the strength to keep needling my way through the messy, slow, impersonal healthcare system. No worries if this does not interest you. I try not to make it the epicenter of my life, but it more or less forces its way into this focal position.

After 2 weeks of the elimination diet (woohoo! I stuck with it!) I had a follow-up appointment with my nutritionist. She was none too happy to read my food and symptom diary, and essentially bade me get myself quick back to a gastroenterologist for continued and new symptoms (severe heartburn, most notably). I was reluctant, because my experience with GI doctors ranges from laying hands on me and hailing the almighty JC after injecting me with sedative for an upper endoscopy, to turning me away with my complaints of persistent discomfort/pain, to laughing at my suggestion of bacterial overgrowth or other intestinal malady in addition to Celiac Disease. But I went ahead and made an appointment (or tried to… the earliest the GI doc highly recommended by my nutritionist could see me is JANUARY!) with a nurse practitioner, the very same who on a whim had me tested for Celiac Disease 7 months ago. The receptionist told me that this NP actually has Celiac herself (TMI for over-the-phone confidentiality?) and that it’s one of her specialties… if only I’d known and gone back to her after my diagnosis instead of those rude GI doctors! Anyhow, the nutritionist said that my problems are beyond her scope of practice because a bland, soft diet did not make me better, and she thinks medication may be necessary. She was also concerned that I’ve lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks (if only I could revel in this instead of having it described as a “symptom”). She recommended a full thyroid panel and diabetes re-test.

So, yes, it is incredibly frustrating that the elimination diet didn’t cure my ills, BUT I am allowed to start adding back foods, 1 every 24 hours, with the exception of nuts, alcohol, caffeine, seeds, and raw salads. I can try rice cakes and nut butters, and even olive oil! The trick will be distinguishing symptoms from newly added foods and my continual heartburn, rib pain, fatigue, and yucky “evacuations” (as they say in healthcare). She also recommends eating no less than 1500 calories, but tell you what it is a struggle to even reach 1200 on a bland diet with no fats. I’ve already eaten my 3 meals for the day and I’m at 1000, so the rice cooker is activated to get me up to 1200.

I really feel that I have been unfairly bandied about the healthcare system (a different nutritionist at a research hospital told me to report my progress by email and we would meet again, but she never responded to me… and I know I had the correct contact information; many doctors and healthcare professionals just tell me “it takes time”). I hope 7 months is long enough to get someone’s attention that yes, I am following a strict gluten-free diet, and cutting dairy, legumes, sugar, corn, soy, but each day is digestively (and mentally) taxing.


Narrowing the elimination pool, and CROCKPOTS ROCKPOTS!!!

Well, I have become more “regular” and less bloated on this elimination diet (1 week, 2 days), though I developed new symptoms of severe heartburn and rib pain. I was also noticing bits of carrot (though overcooked to prescribed mushiness) on the other end, so I’m 2 days carrot-free and feeling MUCH better. Food intolerance #2 (I guess it goes without saying that gluten is #1): identified. It is pretty hard to get up to 1200 calories on this diet, despite consuming a few cups of rice every day (so weird after being paleo!). The vegetables are getting ridiculously repetitive, so I think I’ll talk with my nutritionist about adding more of those in first cuz I love ’em! Overcooked, not so much…

I put both of my crock pots (one large, one small, makes/models pictured below) to work today, with pear sauce and butternut squash soup.

Pear sauce:

4 pears

small crock pot

Peel and core pears. Add 1 cup H2O, and set on low for 5-6 hours. Drain and throw in food processor once cooled. Measure out 1/2 a cup (a normal serving) to keep from eating all the goodness in one go!

Butternut squash soup (elimination version):

1 butternut squash

2 apples

3 cloves garlic

fresh tarragon & mint



2 cups homemade rice milk (1 cup cooked rice with 3-4 cups water in food processor yields 4 cups)

1 cup water

1 cup pumpkin

Peel, core, and slice as appropriate. Throw in crock pot for 6 hours. Cool and pulse in food processor.

Whole Foods of Charlottesville will hosting a gluten-free day (well, 4 hours, really) on Saturday, October 6. I would really like to go, even if I can’t eat the samples! Here’s a description from a Whole Foods nutrition specialist via the Charlottesvilli support group:

“I wanted to make you aware of our Gluten-free Day that we’ll be holding on Saturday, October 6th from 10am-2pm.  We will have a local vendor as well as demonstrations throughout the day sampling various foods that are gluten-free.  We will also have a speaker giving a presentation at 10am and 11am.  If you are interested in making a presentation, or having a table, we would love to have you or someone here representing your group. Regardless, I just wanted to extend the invitation to you and members of the group to come experience this event. ”

Still haven’t been to a support group meeting (they’ve just gotten back together after a hiatus), but the next one is October 20 and I plan to attend!

Elimination Games

So… it’s been a while, because I don’t have any exciting recipes to share. I went back to a nutritionist with my continuing problems, and she put me on the dreaded elimination diet.

White/jasmine rice
very lean/low fat chicken, white fish
overcooked mashed vegetables: carrots, green beans, greens, pumpkin, squash with no seeds e.g butternut
canned or very ripe mashed peeled fruit: peach, pear, melon
basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, aromatic herbs
onion, garlic
milk substitute

Yeah, this is gonna get old in 2 weeks when I go back to see her (and, if I’m finally “balanced”, begin to add 1 food/consistency at a time per 48 hour period). She wanted me to eat some sort of gluten-free bread product as well, but I don’t see the point- most contain a food that she told me to avoid (egg, sugar, fat, grains other than rice). If I’m going to do this elimination diet, then I might as well do it right. I definitely feel funky after eating rice and canned fruit, but it could be because I haven’t eaten either of these in a long, long time. Trying to somehow dismiss the latest on arsenic in rice…  I think I’ll want to add back more variety in terms of veggies first. I am a bit paranoid that I won’t feel better after 2 weeks on this diet (what if one of the foods on the allowed list is not sitting well???), but trying to push through regardless. I’ve been making a sort of spin-off of pathiri for breakfast, but I make mine thicker to get a gooey inside. I read on several sites that it’s pretty darn easy to make rice milk from 1 cup cooked rice and 4 (or however many you prefer) cups of water in a food processor. I think fruit sauce in the crockpot is in order- fruit from a can is just nasty (even the kind in fruit juice/no added sugar, which is what I’m eating). I’m guessing spaghetti squash would be ok (easy to scoop out seeds and cook to a soft consistency), so that might jazz up my meal. If I get desperate, I may try out an apple “pie” sans lemon juice, plum, and cinnamon (maybe sub ginger).

If I don’t feel better on this plan, then it’s back to a gastroenterologist. If my weight doesn’t normalize (135 guh- my “norm” is 115-120, and I exercise 5-6 days a week and eat 1200-1500 calories per day) then it’s to an edocrinologist. I’m hoping that the reduction of fat (nuts, coconut products) will help. Even more than weight loss, I’d love to not feel uncomfortable while exercising. Of course I’m still tracking calories/protein/fat/carbs online, and supplementing with a potty journal (my bowels, let me tell you about them). The nutritionist strongly recommended counseling for a “socially unacceptable, chronic digestive health issue.” I was hesitant, because my problem is not general malaise or social inadquacy (though let me tell you, potty issues/restrictive diet/no alcohol/digestive exhaustion take a toll on overall mindset and social life), but the nutritionist assured me that she could refer me to someone who had some experience with this sort of thing. It would be a good outlet for ranting (in addition to this yer blarg) with minimal emotional involvement required from the listener. Celiac Disease is a weird thing to “get”, and I know I can’t expect friends/family to abosorb all of the information. Yeah, it’s not deadly, but it causes me grief on a daily basis. I just hope I can get to the point that all of the books end with, of being gluten-free and feeling great.

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