Nutrition & Dieting/problems with digestive system
I became sick 10 years ago after taking a strong but short, 2 week, course of antibiotics.
I tried to help myself through various herbal remedies, change in diet and seeing numerous doctors. I still have a problem with digestion and have numerous allergies/sensitivities. I currently have to maintain a low sugar/starch, low fat and low protein diet to be able to function daily and to maintain a job.
I have always maintained an active lifestyleand have recently started a weightlifting program to supplement my cardio exercise.
Initially I had trouble finding food that I could eat without pain so I ended up losing half of my weight - I was hospitalized for anorexia at 69 lbs. I am up to 135 lbs right now but while I was underweight and sick I lost my period for 8 years, developing osteoprosis in my spine. My menstrual cycle returned 2 years ago and I have been doing better with my weight, diet and energy levels and would like to get some advice on improving my health through nutrition and herbal or natural remedies - for a heathy long term existence.
my current diet consists of 2-3 pound of zuchinni, 1 head of cabbage and 1 head of celery, 1L sugar-free yogurt, 1 litre of almond milk, handful of mushrooms, handful of tomatoes, 1 package of onion soup, several tablespoons of dressing, 1 slice smoked salmon
I occasionally use very small amounts of herbs to help with digestion, pain relief, etc. But nothing is taken on a regular daily basis.
I have recenlty started drinking dandelion tea regularly which help with my energy level, stimulate digestion and bowel movements.
I have started taking a multivitamin daily as I read that certain vitamins help stimulate some of the digestive processes.
I started taking small amounts of herbs to control the yeast, bacterial infection in my intestines and bladder infection.
Resolution of some problems
I have resolved several chronic problems such as:
- diarrhea - likely lactose intolerance related
- urinary incontinence caused by consumption of sugar in fruit,
- very painful swelling in legs caused by sensitivity to sugar and lactose intolerance,
- severe abdominal bloating, distention and flatulence,
- low energy levels- falling asleep every couple of hours,
- maintenance of lactose intolerance and related symptoms - bloating, swelling, diarrhea,
- unbearable itchiness of very sensitive areas of the body caused by sensitivity to sugar and acidic foods such as tomatoes,
- chronic vaginal yeast infections for 2 years, caused by a very mild and short 2-3 day course of antibiotics for bladder infection - I tried to avoid antibiotics but it was unavoidable at that time but the symptoms of the bladder infection were unbearable.
Are my digestion problems related to lack of digestive enzymes or gastric juices? i have seen doctors, gastroentologists, dieticians, naturopaths, please provide some advice - anything is appreciated.
Hi Irina, pardon the tardy reply but I was doing some research to formulate a decent answer for you.
I'm sorry to hear of your health issues but commend you for staying strong and coming back from the hospitalization.
To start with you say you state that pretty much you need to control your intake of all 3 macronutrients, protein fat and carbohydrates. Though it looks like you do ok with vegetables.
The body reacts in all kinds of different ways with allergies and what not. The thing is (and please don't take this as medical advice) a large number of ailments and Algerians can be remedied by changing your eating habits. I've known or heard of people who suffered with a problem for years and it turns out to be because of how they ate.
When it comes to your diet I'm concerned you're not getting enough calories, especially from protein. What are your reactions to different proteins? Issues with dairy could be a lactose digestion issue. But how do you fare with beef? Poultry? eggs?
The best thing to do may be to make a list. Draw 3 sections and label them protein, fat, carbohydrate. In each list all the foods for those macronutrients you can safely eat. Then try to formulate your meals to include one of each at every meal.
Keep up with the herbs and spices you use and also try using ginger as it is great for digestive issues.
Are your issues with starch from wheat or starch in general? Can you eat potatoes, rice, non wheat breads, etc? Perhaps gluten free breads.
with your past issues keep weight on and you now lifting weights it would be in your best interest to get in some starch, at least at your first two meals.
As for protein you say you can eat salmon which is great, thats also a good fat source.
Have you looked into non lactose protein powders? You can get egg or beef protein powders. You could make a shake with saw a scoop of egg protein #flavor of your choice) and a TBL of flax seed oil for some good fats.
To your base question I agree that you could benefit from taking a digestive enzyme product. It is possible your body does not use or have the 3 necessary enzymes to breakdown protein, carbs and fat. Another good option could be a probiotic supplement. These contain live and active bacteria that aide in digestion. Don't be worried though, this is actually healthy bacteria necessary for digestion.
These are both great choices to taking prescription meds and both can be found for $5-10 at a local supplement store, grocery store or online.
Of course to be responsible I have to say that these are just ideas and not meant to "cure" anything.
Now that I think of it though you might want to look into aleo vera juice. It is supposed to be good for people with digestive problems, even for ulcers and IBS. Years back I worked at a health/supplement store and this lady bought 2 gallons a week claiming it is the only thing to keep her digestives issues under control.
Finally you are wise to take a multivitamin. Since your diet is restricted you might also consider a fish oil supplement and vitamin D if your multi is short on it which most sadly lack, and a calcium supplement.
Hopefully I was able to give you some ideas. write back anytime as I'm always open to help.