If you’ve come to this blog one or more of the following is true about you:
- You have food allergies
- You have a digestive disorder that prevents you from eating certain foods
- You have decided to remove certain foods from you diet
It also could be that nothing is wrong with you and you got here looking for a recipe and just happened to get on a blog about a person offering alternatives to those who are on a restrictive diet.
Honestly it doesn’t matter why you’ve come. I hope that you find something useful here. Alternatives for the not so Vegan is a great name for this blog. It was conceived after a friend made a joke about my diet; I was told I was practically Vegan on account of my stomach to which I replied I’m not so vegan since I eat some meat and eggs. I decided to start writing a blog as it became more and more apparent in my circle of friends that no one had heard of IBS and no one seemed to understand how I survived without eating dairy. Trust me, the first couple of months were hard; I lived on peanut butter on wheat bread sandwiches and pasta coated in olive oil for a while until I got the hang of things and moved to a bigger city where alternatives were readily available. My goals for this blog is to share with the world my experiences of living with a digestive condition that limits my diet. It is my hope that from this people with similar problems can learn to cook and find alternatives to making and eating foods they love. I plan to post recipes and reviews of products that I have tried and use frequently in my day-to-day life. Let’s get on to a little about me and why I cannot eat certain foods.
I cannot consume dairy, red meat, tomato skins or caffeine. Because of this my diet consists a lot of vegetables and fruits; with an occasional meal of fowl or fish. I do not do this by choice. I do not actually have food allergies. I have not been this way my entire life. I grew up eating cheeseburgers, drinking Mountain Dew and eating fresh picked tomatoes from my mother’s garden. Five years ago I was told I now have Irritable Bowl Syndrome C/D and I have trouble digesting food; at first it was just dairy and caffeine, followed a few years later by red meat then tomatoes after that.. If I consume anything on my do not consume list, I will not break out in to anaphylactic shock; it will not kill me. It will however make my life as miserable as it possibly can. I will get severe and debilitating stomach pain mixed with extreme bouts of constipation and diarrhea. This can happen a few hours after eating or a few days. On top of that, I usually feel extremely ill following eating something I shouldn’t. This feeling of being ill can last for a few hours or for a few days, during which I don’t feel like eating or doing much of anything. Welcome to the life of IBS. I’ve been living this for five years. There is no cure that insurance will cover and there is no approved medication to keep the symptoms under control and get your life back to normal and there is no recognized cause. It’s not necessarily a life sentence. It could go away as quickly as it came. There is also no strict set of rules for it. Something you ate a week ago could start bothering you tomorrow. Take for instance my aversion to tomato skins, glorious tomato skins. For the first three or four years, these didn’t bother me. Just recently though, if I eat a tomato with the skin on, I better be close to a bathroom as they tend to cause my stomach to seize and cause a huge wave of IBS D in about an hour after eating them. There are things you can do to help manage it. Your doctor can prescribe a pill that you can take when you start having a flare up. It’s mostly used to stop the diarrhea, and can cause constipation if used regularly because it is actually a muscle relaxant and slows the contractions of your stomach. For those of you that don’t know, diarrhea is caused by quick contractions in your stomach and constipation is caused by too slow of contractions in your stomach. Since I have C/D the contractions in my stomach are a delicate balance, so I avoid the medication I haven’t had a prescription for it since I was diagnosed. Additionally you can take an OTC fiber supplement. I prefer to try to work in extra fiber into my diet as most OTC fiber supplements aren’t a good source of dietary fiber that actually helps control your bowel movements. I do take OTC probiotics, which just put extra bacteria into my stomach to help with digestion. I also try to drink pineapple juice before a large meal as the acid in pineapple juice is very close to our own digestive enzymes so it helps with digesting food.
Also, when I say there is no recognized cure, I mean gastrointestinal doctors say there is no cause and cure. There is talk among nutritionists and homeopathic doctors that IBS is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria and chemistry in your stomach and that to reverse it you just need to reset your system with excessively high doses of probiotics and specially designed drink mixes to reset the chemistry. And while I have read astonishing cases about this sort of treatment working, no insurance company or gastrointestinal doctor will support or recommend the treatment. My GI doctor didn’t even tell me about these alternative methods. No cause, no cure. The issue with these miracle cures is the cost. One program I researched the medication alone was 300$ a month and you had to be on the program a minimum of three months (900$ total) and there was no guarantee that three months or any length of time would fix the problem as all IBS cases are unique. Insurance would not cover any of the medication.
So, here I am five years out and still going. I have my bad days. Some days I give into temptation and eat something that I’m not supposed to and pay for it later. It really is hard when it’s not your choice and you’re surrounded by people who can still eat all the things you remember from your childhood. I have my good days where I can go months with strong will power. The hardest part has been making sure I am getting all the nutrients I need. That just takes proper meal planning and remembering what food sources are good suppliers of what. It’s a game of give and take and eventually I will find the perfect balance. Until then and even after I’m hoping to be here to provide help for those just starting out or who are struggling.
Lastly, I would like to make a disclaimer: All of these reviews are honest and unprompted. I do not get paid (either in money or in free product) for any company or companies product I review. I do not get asked to write a review. These are all things based on personal experience and use in my life. I just wanted to make this clear as I know some blogs out there write reviews and work with companies. Not here. This blog is provided totally free of charge and without ties to any company.