I remember the first time it happened. The first time I felt that incredible pain in my stomach and laid on my mom's bed for 6 hours as she was begging me to go to the hospital. It was at that time of my life, my second year of grad school, that I finally admitted to the dangers of my coffee addiction. I saw my bad stomach episode as a warning sign and gave up coffee completely and switched to tea. The second time it happened the pain didn't last as long but I watched as my stomach blew up like a balloon. Then I was very confused.
After that it came very regular. After I ate I felt pain in my stomach and it looked as though I was all of a sudden 6 months pregnant, and on I put my sweatpants. So I went to my primary care physician and she told me it was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and although I did not think my symptoms matched the description of IBS symptoms I was nonetheless very excited to get some answers and find a solution to my problem. So I tried the IBS diet for 9 months and practiced Bikram yoga about 3 times a week to no avail. I still had all of the same problems.
About 7 months after the IBS diagnosis I met with a nutritionist who told me that I could possibly have Celiacs disease but to get a test because there is only a small chance that I have it. Shortly after that my mom overheard friends of our family at a softball game talking about their son's newly developed food allergies (to gluten and yeast) and the doctor he has been meeting with. I decided to go and take the blood test to find some answers. When the test came back I had reacted severely to yeast and hazelnut. I also reacted mildly to: casein, soy, almonds, honey, yogurt, asparagus, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, eggplant, coffee, egg whites, egg yolks, and more. My doctor told me that in the beginning stages I cannot eat anything that I reacted to, even if it was mildly, because my stomach has to heal. She also told me that she was not sure if I was ever going to be able to eat yeast again.
I learned that I had developed the yeast allergy after being on antibiotics for a long time. Antibiotics wipe out all of the good bacteria in the stomach and so a yeast overgrowth can develop in the gut. I also found out that sugar feeds yeast, and I cannot consume vinegar because it is fermented. So the "cannot eat this" list (in a nutshell) has now grown to: anything containing yeast (bread, soy sauce, soup, crackers and many more), sugar (everything), dairy, vinegar (all kinds of sauces, ketchup, bbq, salad dressings), gluten (wheat), alcohol, soy (all forms, including tofu) and random vegetables.
I can't eat what?
After a year and a half of having this diagnosis I still adhere strictly to the diet, and recently have been following a very low glycemic diet, eating vegetables and foods with a low glycemic index, and pairing foods that break down into sugar with proteins and/or fats. I will be posting recipes without the use of yeast, soy, dairy, gluten, vinegar, and refined sugars or sweeteners for those of you out there who are like how I was and think you can't eat anything.