The healthy food is making me feel awful! Help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been eating very healthily for a couple of months now and it seems like my stomach is always unhappy. I constantly am bloated, have diarrhea or constipation, have heartburn, have painful gas cramps, or am burping every two minutes.

Gah! I know leafy greens are hard to digest. I chew very, very thoroughly. Is there something I can eat in conjunction with all the leafy greens that will help?

This is what I ate yesterday and this is a pretty average day of eating for me:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of low fat/high fiber organic cereal with fresh strawberries and raspberries with 1/3 cup of skim milk

Snack: Handful of raw almonds

Lunch: Medium sized salad of mixed baby greens, alfalfa sprouts, and beans (lentils and soy) with a tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette and a banana

Dinner: 1/2 boneless, skinless organic chicken, 1/2 cup of whole grain angel hair pasta, 2 table spoons of marinara, 1/2 cup (or more) of bell peppers and a bowl of fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, figs).

My stomach never seems entirely happy. Its at its absolute worst after salads and other dark, leafy greens like broccoli and spinach. They sometimes make me feel nauseous and often extremely bloated (even with a normal sized serving that I eat slowly and chew well). I don't feel full, just really bloated.

It's just really frustrating me. I feel like the more I improve my diet, the more upset my stomach. Why?
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#2 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Maybe not enough fat and/or too much gluten/dairy? Also, I suggest lightly steaming your vegetables or sauteing them with a little olive oil. When I was on a "healthy" low-fat diet, I was miserable. Now I eat more good fats like olive oil and nuts, steam or saute most veggies, and go without the gluten, and I feel much better.
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#3 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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Have you tried Kefir or other probiotics? My son has a touchy stomach with certain foods, so we drink a lot of Kefir or I sprinkle probiotic powder in his milk and mix it in. This helps him a great deal. A good yogurt might help, too.

HTH,
~V

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#4 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 04:53 PM
 
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The first thing that jumped out at me was the lack of fat. Fat helps digestion so you need it for all of the fiber you are eating.

Is there a reason you are measuring everything? Eat a variety of good, whole foods and you'll be fine nutritionally.
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#5 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 05:10 PM
 
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I noticed the absence of fat too. Some nice oil, and maybe some full-fat organic yogurt or kefir would help out.
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#6 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by californiajenn View Post
The first thing that jumped out at me was the lack of fat. Fat helps digestion so you need it for all of the fiber you are eating.

Is there a reason you are measuring everything? Eat a variety of good, whole foods and you'll be fine nutritionally.
I'm measuring things right now because I've felt that I have/have had issues with overeating at every meal. I'm trying to kind of re-program my brain regarding portion sizes. And I'm trying to reduce the amount of fat I eat.. which has essentially made me terrified of fat. Ugh.
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#7 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
I noticed the absence of fat too. Some nice oil, and maybe some full-fat organic yogurt or kefir would help out.
I did have yogurt with fruit this morning and I did feel better.

I don't know why eating healthy and balanced is such a struggle for me. I feel like I'm either eating like absolute crap or I take it to the opposite extreme.

Either way I don't feel great.
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#8 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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You need fat to enable your body to absorb the vitamins in the leafy greens. I'm not kidding, you really do! Use olive oil in your pasta sauce and use more salad dressing (made yourself with heart-healthy oil). Your digestive tract needs fat to help things along.
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#9 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by vioburn View Post
Have you tried Kefir or other probiotics? My son has a touchy stomach with certain foods, so we drink a lot of Kefir or I sprinkle probiotic powder in his milk and mix it in. This helps him a great deal. A good yogurt might help, too.

HTH,
~V
yeah, that. Kefir or yogurt will help digestion tremendously. I'd also recommend more good fats as well.

Erin, Catholic mama to three sweet boys: Ambrose (11/06),  Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10) and a sweet girl, Charlotte (7/12/12).

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#10 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post
And I'm trying to reduce the amount of fat I eat.. which has essentially made me terrified of fat. Ugh.
Watch out for low/reduced fat products while TTC. Have you read The Fertility Diet? Lots of good info and good reasons to switch to whole fat if you're already eating low/nonfat dairy.
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#11 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shonahsmom View Post
I did have yogurt with fruit this morning and I did feel better.

I don't know why eating healthy and balanced is such a struggle for me. I feel like I'm either eating like absolute crap or I take it to the opposite extreme.

Either way I don't feel great.

The thing is, if you are eating good, nutritious whole foods, you really can't over eat. Eating 2 lbs. of carrots isn't great but eating a 2 lbs. of a mixed salad with lettuces, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, etc. is fine.

Besides, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

The best thing I can recommend is too keep your house stocked with wonderful foods and let your appetite be your guide.

If you make eating a chore, that's what it will become.
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#12 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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I agree about that fat. I listened to a cd from Sally Fallon and she says that lots of health issues come from not having enough healthy fats. Coconut oil, Olive oil and animal fats including eggs and whole raw milk. I have also noticed that I eat less when I add butter and stuff to thing.. Like oatmeal.. I added butter to it and was full til lunch time.
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#13 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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All that fiber and so little fat is a sure recipe for digestive distress. Healthy fats doesn't mean binging on fried pork. But fat is essential for life and normal digestion. So I agree-- increase the fats a bit. Some fatty fish? Cold-pressed olive oil? Even some butter, or just a bit of full-fat milk. Organic eggs.

And it's the fats in the food that leave you feeling satisfied, and that stick with you awhile so you're not immediately hungry again. So it's possible that a bit more fat might help a lot if overeating is an issue.

It's also possible that you're simply in a bit of withdrawal, especially if your diet contained a lot of either sugar or starch before. When I went on my current dietary regimen (for the treatment of a chronic disease), I gave up most sugars and all starches, and it was HARD. I felt awful, like I was detoxing. So there might be something like that going on. And anytime you drastically increase your fiber, your gut might take some time to adjust.

I would consciously increase the fats a little, even including a very moderate amount of dietary cholesterol. Then give it some time, and see if your body adjusts. Probiotics can help, too.

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#14 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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I agree with what everyone has said. You need more fat and less raw veggies. Definitely get yourself of some good quality butter (raw is best) and some coconut oil. Eggs for breakfast, cooked in either of those fats would be good, or lard or bacon grease. More meat, more full fat dairy, less veggies and fruit. Definitely nothing considered low fat. Fat is your friend (unless it's on your rear end!! )
Come on over to the Traditional Foods forum. You'll find lots of good info there!

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#15 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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are you soaking the raw almonds at all before you eat them? almonds need to be soaked first,

i think the raw veggies should be fine but i would do less grains and dairy. i have ibs and a lot of other digestive problems and find that doing the eat to live diet is actually helping my tummy do a lot better and it is mostly fruits and veggies and a lot of it raw.

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#16 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moonfroggy View Post
are you soaking the raw almonds at all before you eat them? almonds need to be soaked first,

i think the raw veggies should be fine but i would do less grains and dairy. i have ibs and a lot of other digestive problems and find that doing the eat to live diet is actually helping my tummy do a lot better and it is mostly fruits and veggies and a lot of it raw.
:

Soak your nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes so your body is able to assimilate the nutrients and soaking will eliminate most of the antinutrients in these.

TOTALLY agree about the fat, you NEED fat!!!! Good fat, not the bad stuff. Healthy saturated fats are actually GOOD. Don't be afraid of fat. Add healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil, drink whole fat milk, etc.

Cut out the soy UNLESS it is fermented. Soy is touted as a wonder food but we as Americans are eating it all wrong and it also has lots of antinutrients and has a bunch of other ill health effects, ie. thyroid problems, pancreas problems, the list goes on.

If you have any white sugar- cut that out too- it's pure evil.

If you can, get grass fed meats and grass fed raw milk. Grocery store, mass produced milk is absolutely horrible for you. It grosses me to look at the milk in the store knowing what is in it- uke

I also agree about steaming the leafy greens, it will make them easier to digest and nutrients better available.

Try to add fermented foods and drinks, they do wonders for digestion. And cod liver oil, CLO is awsome for you. Oooo, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and eggs- I noticed no eggs.

Try looking at the Traditional Foods forum. I truly believe that getting back to good home cooked food, preparing them CORRECTLY, and knowing what is in your food- hormones, pesticides, etc., and where it comes from is key.

HTH!!!

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#17 of 23 Old 07-25-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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I think you should check out the Traditional Foods forum. You could probably benefit from some healthy bone broth for nutrition as well as digestion.

Also, I find that when I eat any kind of peppers I get a really upset stomach. I dunno why, but I saw that you ate some peppers.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-28-2008, 05:41 AM
 
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I agree with needing to add more fats. Also, I see that you are relying heavily on carbs--you need more protein. Also, if leafy greens upset your tummy, don't eat them as much. I found out I am really sensitive to peppers. It makes my stomach all wonky, I get tons of gas and bloating and the runs. So now I do not eat them. And it is ok. Other veggies have nutrients that are also in leafy greens.

I've also found that I don't do well with raw veggies, so I eat most of them lightly steamed/cooked. Maybe try that?

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#19 of 23 Old 07-28-2008, 06:49 AM
 
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Definitely agree with adding more fats, and less carbs and more protein. Also, check out this book: Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats . I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list. I've done a ton of research in the past 3 years dealing with horrible gall bladder issues, and one of the things I found is that America's obsession with eating a low fat diet is very unhealthy, and actually contributes to weight gain. And the statistics drawn from one of the main studies done on the correlation between fat consumption and heart disease were skewed. Fat is NOT the enemy (aside from trans fats, which IMO don't count as food since they're synthetic anyway). Your body desperately needs fat, including animal fats. Coconut oil was vilified for years, when in actuality it's one of the healthiest oils you can consume.

I found that when I switched to whole, raw milk and butter and stopped worrying about fat, I lost weight and had TONS more energy. And improved my digestion.

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#20 of 23 Old 07-28-2008, 10:05 AM
 
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you aren't eating enough fat and protein! even if you were eating vegan you need to eat enough fat and protein. I'd put a nice half of avocado, peas, garbanzos and some nuts on the salad (with a fatty dressing). I'd have a thick slathering of some nut or seed butter on some toast with breakfast and maybe an egg if you eat those. I can't imagine how awful I'd feel if I ate a low-protein *and* low-fat diet!
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#21 of 23 Old 07-28-2008, 10:32 AM
 
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I'd also caution you to eat soaked our sprouted grains if you're suffering from digestive issues. Whole grains--while good for you--contain antinutrients which inhibit mineral absorption and make the food difficult to digest. And you're eating a lot of whole grain. Read this: Be Kind to your Grains.

Also, increasing the amount of quality fat you eat and eating a cultured food (true sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt etc) at ever meal will help as well.

The other thing is that you're eating dark leafy greens raw. Leafy greens like spinach and kale have oxalates which is another antinutrient that can be mitigated a bit by cooking. While an occasional salad of raw spinach or kale isn't a problem, the fact that you're eating these salads on top of the whole, unsoaked, grains is likely to account for the digestive issues you've had.

Don't get me wrong, though, whole grains and leafy vegetables are good for you. It's just that they have to be properly prepared for your body to fully enjoy their benefits.

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#22 of 23 Old 07-28-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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I would say more fat, more protein, less fiber. Your meals are consisting of a lot of fiber. Of course there is the recipe for GI upset.

Are you taking any supplements? Fish oil or anything? Your body really needs heart healthy fats, lack of fats can be blamed for a bunch of maladies. I just realized myself I have had HORRIBLE hormonal issues, bordering on depressive/anxiety problems. I started taking fish oil again and OMG I have changed from feeling like sh** to feeling really good again(libido, good mood, not wanting to freak out). It really is amazing.

Eating healthfully isn't necessarily eating a low fat-high fiber diet, it's about eating healthfully for your own body. Obviously your body is trying to tell you that this diet is not what you should be eating, I'd cut back on the fiber and leafy greens for awhile. My grandma has IBS and she can't even taste a piece of lettuce otherwise she has major GI issues. She also only drinks coffee, tea or root beer, but that's a whole different problem(one that will never be taken into consideration).

I'd try to impart some yogurt, protein and fats back into your diet because it sounds like a big part of the problem.

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#23 of 23 Old 08-01-2008, 12:25 PM
 
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You need more oils and fat. The broccoli will definitely make you gassy so go easy on it. I wouldn't eat it in excess every day.

A lot of fiber will make you bloated and uncomfy. I did Weight Watchers and ate a lot of fiber then and it made me feel miserable sometimes.

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