The Overwhelm of Having to Completely Change My Diet (Again.)

I’ve been going through a bit of an identity crisis with this website throughout the summer because I’ve had some ongoing health issues. From ongoing GI issues to vertigo to the ER to surgery. And I didn’t really tell anyone outside of family because it made everything feel too real. If I didn’t admit it, then it wasn’t actually happening, right? The words “colon cancer” and “esophageal cancer” had been said to me as legitimate possibilities at 24 years old. The spoiler alert here is that I thankfully have neither of those, but there was a time of uncertainty that left me very anxious. This time also was filled with stress eating. And most of the time, if I stress eat, it isn’t Paleo or Whole30. It’s chocolate, or tortilla chips, or queso, or something else my body seriously can’t tolerate. Because when I was that stressed, the taste outweighed the consequences afterwards. Because if I had cancer, who actually cared if I wasn’t losing the baby weight? The problem though was that these foods left me feeling awful all the time. I was pretty much eating them out of spite because deep down, I knew something was going on that would call for elimination. And I was right.

I’m full of mixed feelings. First and foremost, I am so grateful to not have cancer. I feel like I can’t do the words justice without acknowledging cancer warriors out there. The other side of me is bummed. My condition is Barrett’s esophagus caused from chronic GERD. And basically what I gathered from the GI was that my stomach aches were typically caused from my stomach producing way too much acid. I was given a very long list of foods to eliminate and I still could cry looking at this list. (Then I remind myself it’s not cancer so just get over it). The crazy thing is…I actually was first diagnosed with GERD in highschool when I had a severe asthma attack. But other symptoms didn’t present and I never took it seriously. I would’ve never guessed it was still GERD a decade later.

The Diet Change

The crazy thing is, my doctor noted several non-paleo things were noted as okay,  but several normally healthy foods (things like tomatoes!) are no longer allowed. The final result is basically AIP, but allowing grains (for now). It was interesting to hear the words “trigger foods” mentioned by my doctor.

Things I Was Told to Eliminate

  • coffee (yep. Anyone who knows me is probably gasping)
  • alcohol
  • chocolate
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay!)
  • spicy foods
  • red meat
  • paprika
  • peppermint
  • onions
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • ALL citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, pineapples and things like lemonade or fruit juice)
  • soda (the one thing on the list I didn’t care about haha)
  • sparkling waters

Some potential no gos that will require additional exploration down the road are….

  • eggs
  • nuts
  • grains

Soooo yea. And the thing is, I already know that eating Paleo/Whole30 didn’t make things better since I still show all signs of the chronic GERD even though I adopted paleo eating years ago. Even despite the last few months of bad snacking, 80% of my food has been healthy whole foods. So it feels like another massive shift in food. We eat tomatoes all the time. Potatoes? The only reason this is okay is that I have been okayed for rice and quinoa. O

Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd,  Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)



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