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"What CAN you eat?" The 'diet' that cured my multiple food intolerances.

It all started back in 2009. I was living on campus at Flinders University, heading to the (now infamous) Live At The Zoo festival.

My way of eating at the time was the stereotypical country girl + university student diet - I ate meat + three veg almost everyday, vegemite on toast each morning, snacked on the $0.99 Mi Goreng noodles and ate whatever meal I was given from the Italian restaurant where I worked. Add alcohol and stress to the mix and I managed to make myself seriously sick.

The first instance of crippling Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) happened at Live At The Zoo after I consumed a hotdog and washed it down with a Vodka Red Bear (remember those?!). It started with a lower back ache, then the bloating - my stomach expanded so much I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. And pain, lots and lots of stomach pain.

I remember going to the University Medical Clinic after I got back ... the doctor advised me that I was experiencing IBS, and I had to stop eating practically everything I was currently consuming. That meant, no red meat, no gluten, no onions, no garlic, no apples/pears, no stone fruits and definitely NO ALCOHOL!

21 year old me was not impressed.

I asked the Doctor what it was that I COULD eat. She advised that banana's and peppermint tea were good options, handed me some leaflets and wrapped up the session. I walked out of that medical centre annoyed and in disbelief.

"I can't live off bananas and peppermint tea you crazy woman!"

For several years I tried to ignore the issue.

After a while, I did my own research and finally accepted the diagnosis.

At that point, my food reactions weren't consistent which made life challenging. I could eat battered fish and chips one day - then the next time I would be in crippling pain and berating myself for not knowing 'better' and choosing a 'better' option.

I started to pin point my triggering foods - gluten, onion, garlic, sweet carbonated drinks (aka Cider, Bundy, any pre-mixed canned drinks) anything with high levels of fructose (dates, cashews, stone fruits, dried fruit, honey, mango) and attempted to cut them out of my diet.

This is where the problem started.

If an ingredient caused me to react, I would cut it out of my diet.

This continued, until I had a limited list of foods that I could tolerate without becoming symptomatic (and yes bananas and peppermint tea were on the list *insert eye roll*).

Whilst completing my second degree, I visited a Dietician.

She was quite concerned with my restricted diet (although understood the reason for it) and encouraged me to eat small amounts of the foods I was intolerant to. She suggested trialling 1/4 of an apple, 1 slice of pear, 4 cashews etc etc and spreading them out across the week. I understood what she wanted me to do, but the practicalities of eating just a slice of pear and then wasting the rest didn't sit well with me and to be honest, it was just easier to cut them out. At this stage my symptoms were so bad, honestly, I was afraid of the pain these foods caused and would avoid them at all costs.

Next, I saw an Integrative Practitioner. He diagnosed me with a Zinc + Copper imbalance in addition to my IBS (hence the acne) - I had so much copper in my body I was unable to absorb enough zinc to balance it out. This only perpetuated the issue however as now I had a whole new list of foods to add to the avoid list.

The whole, extensive list of foods that I could eat without becoming symptomatic:

*limited amounts.

Fast forward to 2017, I was living in Coffs Harbour and had finally committed to seeing a Naturopath. I was well and truely over feeling like shit on the regular and reacting to almost everything I was consuming.

I knew it was going to be an investment in my health, in terms of the cost associated, but I viewed this as the final straw. I was done.

The 'diet' that cured all of my food intolerances:

No alcohol

No grains (except brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa or millet)

No sugar

6-8 serves of beans / legumes per week

2 days meat free

On meat days, eat only 1x serving of meat

Salad at least once per day (for 'wet fibre')

1 Indian / Thai curry per week

No more than 1/2 glass of water before / during / following meals to aid absorption

Eat seaweeds (dulse, wakame, kombu, nori) - for Iodine

And I had to start eating all the foods I was intolerant to, particularly onion and garlic ...

I followed this strictly for 3-4 months.

Plus practitioner level vitamins in accordance to my specific requirements (as per my test results) which included the following:

  • Hydrochoric acid & pepsin

  • Acetylcysteine

  • High dose Zinc

  • Manganese

  • Activated B+

  • Iodine drops

  • Folinic acid

*These vitamins changed upon each visit with my Naturopath - depending on my test results and my specific requirements at the time.

The outcome:

When I started on this journey my Naturopath said to me that she will get me back to eating burgers and pizza with no reactions.

At the time I thought that was the most random comment a Naturopath could make - wasn't she supposed to be preaching health?!

But she was 100% right. I can eat a burger, followed by an apple and wash it down with a pear cider if I want to and have ZERO reactions!!

*I don't make a habit of it, I do still follow the diet fairly well but the point is, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and I don't react.

For people with no food intolerances or who don't experience negative reactions to certain foods this won't seem like a big deal, but for me, being able to eat something and NOT REACT is HUGE.

  • I don't need to worry about how much fructose is in that piece of fruit

  • I don't need to consider the hidden ingredients in a meal when i'm out for dinner

  • I don't need to be 'that person' who asks the waiter for no onion or garlic in their meal

  • I don't need to practice my willpower each time a bread roll with butter is presented at the table

  • And regardless of what I eat, I don't experience any symptoms! Which means no more berating myself for making the 'wrong' choice and regretting it afterwards

  • And I no longer drink peppermint tea - too many bad memories

I now only take 2x supplements ongoing

I still eat a curry with dulse flakes and beans at least once per week

I still watch how much water/alcohol I consume during a meal limiting this to 1/2 glass

I take a Vitamin C capsule or eat bitter greens or take a sip of ACV prior to a meal to stimulate stomach acid (when I remember)

I continue to consume limited amounts of sugar

I add beans and legumes to any meal I can

I still have meat free days

and im still hopeless at eating a salad once a day - that one never stuck

That was my very long journey. I hope it supports you with yours.


As always, if you want further accountability to change your undesirable habits then reach out to me via DM on social media or through the contact me page and lets schedule in a 30 minute complimentary Life + Wellness Coaching Consult for you xo

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