You have had multiple test done and the doctors don’t see any need to keep you in the hospital because all your test are now negative, (by the way you have been in the hospital for weeks now.) You have had multiple fevers and have already been diagnosed with diverticulitis and having perforation as well as a “windstock” like mass in ur intestines. The doctors have cut out the windstock and placed a stent. As a last resort your doctor decides to do one last test where you are made a sandwich with a contrast dye within it and your placed under this huge machine to see how fast you stomach can digest food, the test takes 3-4 hours. AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!……You finally have another diagnosis………Gastroparesis!
So what happens now?…….your finally diagnosed and understood all of the doctors instructions. You even have a prescription for a drug that you have read has CRAZY side effects, but you believe there has to be another way. Who wants to take medications that can disrupt your nervous system and make you appear to have Parkinson’s disease when you really don’t? This is madness. However, you don’t want to be afraid to eat food anymore because of the possibility of throwing up after each meal.
But before I go deeper, let’s have an understanding of what Gastroparesis really is. So gastroparesis is a condition by which the stomach no longer knows how to empty itself properly and efficiently after a meal. So many individuals experience nausea and vomiting, extreme stomach bloating and fullness after maybe 3-4 spoonfuls of food combined with a beverage. This condition is most likely seen in people with diabetes, but individuals like myself with no history of diabetes and never had an issue with blood sugar problems, don’t understand why they have to suffer like this when it comes to eating meals. We become Fearful everytime its time to eat a meal and we hope and pray we don’t throw up after a meal. Most studies of this condition say that it is the result of the vagus nerve being damaged. But how this occurs is still a mystery.
So you research and research and try things out until finally you have reached a food regimen that works for you. Until finally, 3 years later, you solved the mystery of how you can have a normal life even though you have been diagnosed with gastroparesis. So here is the food regimen that has worked for me: I began by letting go of red meats. Red meats typically takes the average human being 24-72 hours to digest out of your body. That’s horrible! This means that red meat is just sitting in your stomach for one whole day up to three whole days. What I did hold onto is white meat: white meat can take up to 8 hours to digest. So I chose to keep the lesser of two evils. HA HA!!…..My next decision was to incorporate protein shakes into my food regimen. I would have one protein shake between breakfast and lunch and then another between lunch and dinner. I chose to use non-dairy forms of protein, I have five favorites: Garden of life; Organic raw protein, ” Vega organic protein , Juice plus complete protein, and Tera organic pumpkin protein. These brands are my favorite sources of protein to get due to the fact they are plant-based. The Juice Plus Protein is soy based. Now you may be wondering why I chose the non-dairy route for protein, well……..studies have shown that regular milk is not just regular milk. The cows from which the milk comes from have large traces of mucus in them due to whatever sickness the cow may have at the time of getting the milk from it. This in turn has a negative affect on humans by causing inflammation to occur. So many may experience eczema or itching after consumption of dairy products (also my story). So now you may be wondering what kind of milk do I drink. My favorite non-dairy products are: oat milk, quinoa milk, hemp seed milk, cashew milk, flax milk, banana milk, coconut milk and rice milk. These types of milk are found at whole foods along with the proteins mentioned above. Anyway, raw foods such as uncooked fruits and vegetables or oatmeal are consumed early in the day and never at night. So for lunch, this is the best time to have raw carrots or an apple or broccoli. I also gave up coffee and made teas my go to. Coffee doesn’t help people like myself with digestion issues, it actually makes it worse by causing acid reflux.
So now you may be asking…. what about grains: pasta and rice, etc. Well the answer for that is simple. I never consume wheat at any cost. Wheat is what slows down the digestive process of people with gastroparesis/diverticulitis and causes stomach bloating. So the only answer is white pastries and rice of everything. I know that sounds horrible and it even sounds like your going to gain 80 pounds consuming white of everything, but remember, I said that this is what worked for me. After one year I went from 193 pounds to 158 pounds. So it did work for me. For sandwiches, I would use white or potato bread. for pastas i would cook with pasta made out of rice but nothing with any form of wheat in it. The only time I would consume anything of that sort outside of my food regimen is when I’m out with friends, at a party or girls night at a friend’s house.
So here is a break down of my food regimen:
- I start my morning with a full glass of water upon waking up and before a meal. Studies show that it wakes up the stomach.
- No red meat, but strongly encourage all white meats: chicken, turkey, fish, etc.
- Boiled eggs are to be consumed early in the morning. Choose scrambled egg whites over regular scrambled eggs.
- Gluten-free diet is best
- No coffee. If you need some type of caffeine, then green tea is good as well as greens superfoods in the powdered form. This can be easily mixed with juice. It is found at whole foods and has all natural energy revitalizer in it. There is also Teecino dandelion coffee (it is not coffee and is caffeine free but contains natural herbs to give you the energy needed.) This is also found at whole foods.
- Work out 3 days a week. On my lazy days when i don’t want to work out, I go for walks or jump rope. Yoga is great to.
- Protein shakes are your friend: use one of the proteins talked about above or one of your choice……. drink twice a day. Once in between breakfast and lunch and one between lunch and dinner. if I am lazy and don’t feel like blending fruits and vegetables, I will simply take one of my favorite milks and grab a scoop of protein and shake in my bottle.
- Juicing is your friend, especially for raw fruits and vegetables that your body will take longer than normal to get rid of.
- Raw fruits and vegetables are to be consumed early in the day (breakfast or lunch time) and never at night.
- Teas are wonderful. They aid in helping the stomach digest foods. See teas as a form of a catalyst during digestion, they simply give a little push. my favorite teas are peppermint, ginger, chamomile, cinnamon apple, and green tea. I consume one tea in the morning after breakfast and another at night before bed.
- Avoid wheat. white rice is fine, and pasta made from rice is fine. white bread is fine. Potato bread is fine.
- Avoid brown rice, (if you need to have it then 2x a month is ok.)
- Beans, peas, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are great. They actually have a great source of protein and omega that the body desperately needs for digestion.
- Do not drink fluids with meals. they are to be consumed before or after a meal.
- Oatmeal is to be eaten VERY early in the morning (6am-7am).
- If you consume a granola bar, cereal, or a breakfast bar with any type of grains and granola in it, be mindful that it can drop your blood sugar within 3-5 hours. At this point you will experience signs of hypoglycemia (feeling weak and shaky). So Make SURE to always have a back up snack handy and ready to eat within that 3-5 hour window time frame.
- If you are having a really bad episode of nausea and vomittng, but you also feel very weak, my recommendation is to lay on your left side with a bunch of pillows under your head. And within an hour you will literally feel the food in your stomach begin to move down your digestive tract and digest. Allowing you to feel a lot better.