“I’m sorry for being annoying but can I please change…” “Let me know if this is too hard to do otherwise I’ll find somewhere else..” “Sorry for being so frustrating.”
I feel embarrassed when employers just look at me with frustration. With all the kindness I can give, I am still that shitty person who tries to take things off the menu. I work in two hospitality jobs myself and I am always patient and understanding with customers with food intolerances and dietary requirements, but if only that was ever rebounded back to me.
After a very stressful end of 2016, my digestive system literally just switched off. As my stress and anxiety was affecting my autonomic nervous system so severely, it was prioritising managing this over managing the smooth muscle that controlled the digestion and absorption of my food. Last year I could eat everything and anything under the sun. However, from December onwards my digestive system just completely fell apart. Just about anything I eat gives me stomach cramps, nausea and instant bloating within 5-10 minutes of eating. I underwent so many different types of body tests and it came back that I wasn’t allergic or intolerant to anything. My doctor merely stated that I am just undergoing too much stress and its effecting the ability for my body to digest. My stomach and intestines are simply weak and cannot take on the challenge of digesting a meal, not without help anyway.
It’s mainly come down to dairy, gluten and processed foods (especially meat). Sometimes I can’t even eat a salad with raw vegetables and fruits because it is so high in nutrients that its too difficult for my stomach to digest. Where does that even leave me with food? Boiled vegetables every night? No thanks.
So after a few months of learning this is what it has come down to…
- Strictly no dairy
- Very low gluten
- Little to no processed foods
- Not too much raw food (nuts, fruit and veg) in one meal OR must be cooked
- No water 30 mins before and after food as it dilutes the acidity in the stomach that assists in food breakdown
- Eat food really slow and ensure that it is chewed well in the mouth before swallowing
- Digestive enzyme tablets with every meal
- Iberogast shots with every meal (This is literally ghastly… It tastes like straight alcohol!)
- Digestive discomfort oils to rub on my stomach if I feel bloated
- Relaxation techniques: meditation, yoga, breathing focus, long nature walks, exercise and lavender oil (…and trying NOT to stressing about what I am going to eat in a restaurant!!)
Although, it is often that I find myself tossing and turning all night because my stomach and intestines are yelling at me. If I have a stressful day, my digestive system practically just conks itself, but when I am relaxed, I find it a lot more comfortable to eat food. I definitely don’t stick to these points above strictly as it is nearly impossible to tick every box for every meal.
I am posing this to anyone who reads this blog post to comment below…
Has anyone had the same problem?
Have you found any better ways to cope?
Meals that don’t result in the symptoms of digestive discomfort?