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Thread: Newbie :-) Primal diet for persistent digestive/GI issues?!?! page

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    kerrybear246's Avatar
    kerrybear246 is offline Junior Member
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    Newbie :-) Primal diet for persistent digestive/GI issues?!?!

    Hi everyone,

    So sorry my first post is a request for help but any advice whatsoever would be VERY VERY much appreciated...
    I am 23 years old (female) and literally at my wits end with my stomach/GI issues, I won't get graphic here but safe to say a f***ing nightmare...I have had some intolerance tests and twice (two different tests) gluten was flagged up as a major issue for me, as someone who has really struggled since becoming (mostly) vegetarian with getting a balance between being tired and hungry and feeling bloated and horrible, cutting out all gluten was difficult (and yes I have been known to "cheat" with horrendous punishment for it aferwards). I know I've relied overly on soy and though I didn't test positive for allergy/intolerance to soy, much as I don't like admitting it, I can just tell when I eat it that my body is NOT happy at all :-( (even more unprocessed soy).

    So trying to eliminate that as well (so we're at no gluten and no soy) in addition to no meat and, entirely out of personal taste preference, no potatoes (hate them, always have, think it's to do with repressed memories of school lunches of instant mash potatoes, iiiiccckkk!), I turned to pulses, beans, lentils, quinoa etc. I thought, great, no gluten, no soy, "whole grains", stuff you buy in a health food store, but o my good lord the way my stomach behaves with beans and lentils in particular can only be described as a total "rebellion".

    Add to all this the fact that I'm active, running, gym etc. (previous issues with serious overtraining as well) and am constantly bombarded with, you need however many hundred million grams of carbohydrate from your healthy grains etc. per day (or you will die?!?!)....

    OK enough of that essay, basically I read Mark's book and as a science graduate (Sport & Exercise Science) it made so much more sense to me than ANYTHING students are taught at university¬ I have dabbled in more primal eating and much as it feels strange to deviate from a vegetarian diet and people look at me like I'm crazy when I order scrambled eggs and salmon for breakfast with no toast, I can honestly say my digestive system feels ten thousand times better after a meal like that than after a bowl of whole grains...and actually, again, hard to admit after university education on "exericse nutrition", my body genuinely feels better when I seriously lower the carbs, less "puffy"....I'm amazed that I literally seemed to gain weight every week while eating practically vegan (and I don't do junk food!)

    For some reason I keep falling back into old habits, despite the fact I really think making a real go of this lifestyle would help with my GI problems (and hormone imbalances)...so really what this novel of a post is asking is how have you guys, especially anyone coming from vegetarian eating, got going at this consistently, anyone who has any meal plan ideas or resources in particular would be so so helpful...I am at the last resort with these problems, and am desperate to feel good again and to lose a little of the sudden unexplained "puffiness" I have despite my low calorie intake and regular exercise.. I apololgise again for the essay length of this, once I got going I just got on a roll I guess! ;-)

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    DashFire's Avatar
    DashFire is offline Senior Member
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    alright, so if I'm understanding the "question" it's how do you stick to primal, especially coming from vegetarianism?

    Well I stopped being vegetarian several years before going primal, so can't say much there, but I have had terrible GI issues since I was a teen (15+ yrs ago). Primal is already helping with those. The sticking to it part for me is 3-fold

    - resource - forum interaction (including a daily journal) and reading the MDA blog
    - provision - always having primal foods readily available
    - motivation - taking time daily to actually notice the little ways I'm already feeling, looking better and thinking about how much more badass I'll be after a year of primal (only 3 weeks in now)

    There's no magic trick or cliche to tell you that will help you decide that being primal is worth it for you and you should stick to it. There are tons of support resources, the MDA site, the PB book, the forum, tons of blogs, but the bottom line is you have already seen the benefits of Primal for yourself, so if those benefits outweigh your desire for SAD, then PB wins. If you can't push through the cravings or what may feel like some extra work on the front-end while you're adjusting to PB, then SAD wins and that's truly sad. Not that PB might not initially suck at times. I went through carb flu the first week and it almost derailed me, but I pushed through and my GI, and the rest of my body, thanks me for it.

    Good luck.
    My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

    I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

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    Crabbcakes is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Kerrybear!!

    I, myself, used to be an ovo-lacto vegetarian (8 years). And I have two daughters with serious food issues (one is a dairy-allergic celiac and the other had symptoms of UC / Crohn's). So I hear you.

    First thing - this will take time. As the proverbial saying goes: "Rome wasn't built in a day." As long as you don't ditch the Primal completely and forever, you will make it! But all of us cannot travel the road for you. We will be here for advice and gripes and bad days and ribald humor, but ultimately you will need to do the heavy lifting for yourself. Have you decided to give this PB thing a fair shot or not?? If you have - here are my suggestions:

    You are here because you have already felt better on the Primal. Keep that foremost in mind.

    You are here because your old food ways made you feel sick. Keep that second in mind.

    Make an agreement to keep Primal for a limited period of time, at first. I called it an "experiment that will be 7 weeks in duration". You see, I wanted to lose for a high school reunion that was 7 weeks away. But it got so good that now my "experiment" is officially (I told the family so) pushed forward to Labor Day. It is a head game, but I know my own limits, and hearing the word NEVER would have instantly derailed me.

    Clear out the food in the house that no longer serves to build your health. Then go shopping for food that truly feeds you. And then keep ahead of the shopping. You don't really want to be without good Primal food in the fridge until you are stronger in this Primal thing.

    Read every page of Mark's posts. And start searching the forum for threads close to your situation.

    Go see DashFire's journal. He has the most awesome journal e-v-e-r. The man even tells us how his sleep went (because sleep is important!). You don't need to do food photography, but tell us EXACTLY what you are doing or did or are in the planning stages of doing to bring yourself more Primally aligned. The Primal beasts on this forum who have been at it much longer than I will see that you are serious about trying and make helpful comments.

    Know that it will suck something fierce at times as your body heals / relearns metabolism / lets go of cravings. But you did your degree in Sport & Exercise science - I cannot believe you don't have at least something of a backbone.

    Write us again with some hard info, and I look forward to seeing your progress!

  4. #4
    kerrybear246's Avatar
    kerrybear246 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks so much for the responses, I really do appreciate it! The plan is committing to 30 days STRICT adherence as an "experiment" (even though I reckon I know precisely how it will turn out!) to assess honestly how I feel. And yes I do think one of the hardest things is my poor body trying to heal, really does make me sad and angry what I have done to it over the years, Mark's book and Robb Wolf's have been so eye-opening, and reading from a physiologist's point of view it really pisses me off what is drummed into our heads in "nutrition" courses. Dashfire I have started reading your journal, truly inspiring, (and makes an awesome read! ;-), I can't beleive the awesome, supportive community in the forums on this site, it's amazing! and so helpful when close family/friends are shall we say less than supportive of this lifestyle ;-O THANKYOU again for the advice and I'm excited to start documenting my progress :-)

  5. #5
    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerrybear246 View Post
    For some reason I keep falling back into old habits, despite the fact I really think making a real go of this lifestyle would help with my GI problems (and hormone imbalances)...so really what this novel of a post is asking is how have you guys, especially anyone coming from vegetarian eating, got going at this consistently
    I think if you've got GI problems you've just got to remind yourself that it's not worth the pain. You could also be derailing a recovery, which may take time -- like climbing up the ladder and then sliding all the way down the snake again in Snakes and Ladders. OTOH, if you do slip up, pick up where you left off rather than beating yourself up over it.

    ... anyone who has any meal plan ideas or resources in particular would be so so helpful...I am at the last resort with these problems, and am desperate to feel good again and to lose a little of the sudden unexplained "puffiness" I have despite my low calorie intake and regular exercise.. I apololgise again for the essay length of this, once I got going I just got on a roll I guess! ;-)
    I would take a look at the GAPs diet book. That is the book for people with GI problems. There's a lot of helpful advice in there. It's not identical to Paleo/Primal but it's pretty similar, and information and meal-planning ideas from it could be used as complementary to Primal:

    Amazon.com: Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia (9780954852023): Natasha Campbell-McBride: Books

    One of the ways in which GAPs is a little different to Primal is that it eliminates all starchy foods. Primal is pretty low in those, but would include the occasional sweet potato, squash, etc. However, it seems many people with GI problems really have trouble digesting starchy foods. You can experiment, and you may well find they have to go for a few months till you get some gut-healing.

    I also found out recently, which fascinated me, that IBS often goes together with inflammatory arthritic problems, and again starch can be the culprit. This interview on the topic makes fascinating listening:


    The LLVLC Show (Episode 586): Carol Sinclair Shares How ‘The IBS Low-Starch Diet’ Saved Her Life « Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb Blog

    So I think the issue of starchy foods is one thing to keep in mind. I should think you probably might find you're most comfortable with meat, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and a moderate amount of fruit and nuts. For added fats you've got animal fats, coconut oil, and olive oil. The milk solids in butter could be a problem -- you might be casein-sensitive as well as gluten-sensitive -- but you can use clarified butter (usually sold under the Indian name ghee). If you've got the time and the kitchen-space, gelatinous home-made broths are great gut-healers. The GAPs book is very keen on those, and fermented foods can help sort out your gut-flora, too.

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