Thursday, July 13, 2017 –
Are you stuck in an awful gastroparesis limbo? Not sure what to eat, and afraid to eating anything because you may be sick for the rest of the day?
I have good and bad news. The bad news is, there isn’t a generic gastroparesis diet that works for everyone. The good news is, the initial first step “diet change” for everyone with gastroparesis is the same!
Start today by not eating these four things. I’m not saying you can never have these items again because you can, but first, you have to get your symptoms under control and heal your stomach. Look at eliminating these four things as wiping the slate clean in your body and starting fresh. Within a week, even days you will begin to notice a difference. Then you can advance to the second step which is customizing a diet and regimens that are specific to you and your symptoms.
And don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging by possibly taking away some of your favorite foods. I will also give you suggestions on tasty alternatives to these four categories, at home ideas and ideas when you’re around the town.
** Any product images below that show a brand is the brand I buy and highly suggest you try them as well.
Here we go…
#1 – Caffeine
Coffee probably came to your mind first, and those were my thoughts exactly. I love my coffee. Let me repeat, I love my coffee! But when I discovered how different my body felt without caffeine, it was worth it, and hang tight because I have some tasty, natural energy alternatives!
Indigestion – Caffeine increases the production of stress hormones. Stress hormones, cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, cause your heart to beat faster and give you a boost of energy. But negatively, for those of us that have gastroparesis, the decreased blood supply to the intestines results in slowed digestion.
Gastric Secretions – Caffeine is acidic. It increases the acidity and amount of gastric secretions. As a result, irritation of the intestinal lining can occur. This is very important because having delayed gastric emptying also means that the lining of our stomachs are very sensitive and additional damage that caffeine can cause will only escalate our symptoms.
Dehydration – Caffeine acts as a diuretic. Blood flow to the kidneys is increased, resulting in increased urine production. Increased urine can lead to dehydration, which in turn can contribute to constipation.
Foods & Drinks That Contain High Amounts of Caffeine
• Instant Teas and Coffee Powders
• Dark Chocolate
• Energy Drinks
• Liquid B12 supplement
• Green Tea
• Matcha – Which is ground green tea leaves.
• Wheatgrass shots or juice – This is a natural energizer and contains essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus it can be easily digested. Many organic or vegan restaurants offer wheatgrass shots or juice.
• Chai – Commonly made with rich black tea and variety of spices like cinnamon, ginger, or cardamom.
• Lemon Water – This is great to drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or throughout the day. Simply add some fresh slices of lemon to your favorite bottled or filter water.
• Flaxseed – Sprinkle flaxseed over any food or add ground flaxseed to smoothies or freshly made juices.
#2 – Dairy
Although dairy products can offer a high level of important nutrients, there are other options for gaining the same valuable nutrition without the associated harm dairy products cause.
Chronic Inflammation – Dairy is highly acidic, despite it containing high amounts of calcium that acts as an alkaline agent by nature. Milk is rich in natural acids that can cause calcium deposits to build up and potentially cause long-term inflammation. It doesn’t necessarily keep your bones strong as once believed. Most plant-based foods do a much better job and don’t contribute to chronic inflammation. (Such as Kale and Almonds.)
Poor Skin – Your skin is the largest organ on your body and whatever the internal body can’t get rid of, the skin will try to do so itself. This is especially true when it comes to the liver and digestive system having a hard time with internal wastes that can’t be properly removed.
Chronic Digestive Problems – Aside from a little lactose, dairy can also cause some stomach and intestine damage due to the way it inflames the gut lining. It’s one of the top culprits to cause and irritate leaky gut syndrome, which can lead to autoimmune disease and other health issues over time. As if that wasn’t enough damage, there’s also the extensive list of GI disturbances it creates such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or even long-term IBS.
Cancer Risks – What’s even worse than digestive disorders is the way dairy contributes to cancer. It’s been found to be a leading cause and contributor to prostate, breast, testicular, and colon cancer. Why risk it? As a two-time, cancer survivor, I highly recommend switching to a plant-based diet for a majority of your nutrition.
Foods & Drinks That Contain High Amounts of Dairy / Lactose
• Milk, milkshakes, and other milk-based beverages
• Whipping cream and coffee creamer
• Ice Cream
• Pudding and Custard
• Cream Soups and Cream Sauces
There are several non-dairy foods that are very high in calcium. Start adding a few of these suggestions to your shopping list.
• Collard Greens
• Bok Choy
• Flax Milk
• Seaweed / Seaweed Chips
#3 – Sugar
Before I get into how sugar affects the digestive system and gastroparesis, here are a few (I know many…) ways it affects the entire body. Adrenal fatigue, candida, diabetes, hypertension, immune function suppression, infertility, mineral depletion, mood swings, thyroid problems, and weight gain.
A drop in blood sugar can kick the adrenals into high gear, causing them to produce excess cortisol. Cortisol inhibits the production of hydrochloric acid in the digestive system, which is needed to break down food properly. The lining of the stomach is often weakened at this point from the above-mentioned infections, toxins, and poor diet.
A compromised intestinal lining allows the undigested food particles to leak out into the bloodstream (leaky gut). This can lead to a whole host of autoimmune diseases when the immune system thinks those particles are foreign intruders and starts attacking the body’s own organs and systems.
Foods & Drinks That Contain High Amounts of Sugar
• Syrups and Sweeteners
• Drink Powders and Soda
• Dried Fruit
• Cookies, Cakes, and Pies
Regardless of how healthy some of us eat, we all suffer from the dreaded sweet tooth from time to time. So instead of going for just one cookie or candy bar, here are some healthier sugar substitutions.
• Honey – When deciding on which honey to purchase, opt-in for the brands that are made locally. Plus it’s packed with antioxidants.
• Cinnamon – Spice up your morning coffee or your oatmeal, and enjoy the immunity boosting effect it has.
• Coconut Sugar
#4 – Gluten
Many people overuse the word gluten and they don’t actually know what it is. Gluten is a protein made up of the peptides gliadin and glutenin and it’s found in many grains such as wheat, semolina, spelt, rye and barley. The word gluten comes from the Latin, “glue”. It gives bread its airy and fluffy texture and dough its sticky texture. It’s also used as a stabilizing agent in many processed foods; salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Whether you’re eating a fried doughnut or organic 12-grain bread, the effects of gluten on your gut are the same. When your food finally reaches your intestines, tissue transglutaminase, an enzyme produced in your intestinal wall, breaks down the gluten into its protein building blocks. As these proteins make their way through your digestive system, your immune system in your gut, the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) reviews them for potentially harmful substances. In people who have no issues with gluten, it’s absorbed as a protein. Those of us that have gastroparesis but not celiac, we also have an intolerance for gluten.
When the antibodies our body produces to defend itself against the gluten attack, it decreases our ability to absorb nutrients and allowing the walls of the intestines to become leaky. As I’ve mentioned several times in this post already, it manifests itself into digestive symptoms, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
By now you should see the connection between all four of the listed foods we need to remove from our diets before we can take any further steps in healing our bodies from gastroparesis. Caffeine, Sugar, Dairy, and Gluten each effect the digestive tract in their own individual ways but all are responsible for creating the exact same symptoms and damage.
Foods & Drinks That Contain High Amounts of Gluten
• Most grains
• Condiments: seasonings and gravies
• Alcoholic Drinks: beer, ale, light beer, and most hard liquors
• Processed Meats
• Birch Benders Pancake Mix
• Gluten Free Pasta
• Gluten Free Tortillas
• Gluten Free Cookies
• Chia Seeds
Popular Restaurant Suggestions That Are (Basic) Gastroparesis Approved
*Please remember that each of us is different and what might settle with me without causing symptoms may not settle with your stomach. This is just a basic gastroparesis diet. For more in-depth analysis of what will work best for you, fill out the form here to be notified when the “Gastroparesis Survival Guide: A Recipe To A Better Life” is launched.
• Chick-Fil-A : Grilled Chicken Nuggets
• Culver’s : Chili
• Chipotle : Burrito Bowl
• Popeye’s : Red Beans and Rice
• Subway : Salad
• FIve Guys : Bunless Burger
• Taco Bell : Cantina Bowl
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