After a total of 7 weeks with no bowel movements, I looked about 6 months pregnant and my husband and I were both getting a little worried.
A close friend and mentor of mine from church sensed I wasn’t feeling well and she asked me if I had ever tried an elimination diet. I had not, but anything with the word ‘elimination’ in it sounded like something I was interested in. She told me how she had struggled for years with an undiagnosable sickness with symptoms exactly like mine. She had eventually undergone surgery to remove a portion of her colon before she finally put her foot down and decided there had to be a better, healthier way of healing her body. She asked me if I had any known food allergies. I said no, not that I was aware of, and then she suggested I try eliminating dairy from my diet.
Eliminating dairy…what a blanket statement! No cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, or happiness. It was so difficult for me! But I managed to go a couple weeks without dairy joy in my life but unfortunately, my physical condition hadn’t changed. I went back to my friend and confided in her my intense frustration and confusion. She smiled. I got the feeling she knew something I didn’t. She said, what about eliminating gluten? I had absolutely zero idea what gluten was. Turned out it’s the protein found in wheat, barley and rye (and in lesser concentrations in things like rice and corn) that is responsible for the chewy, fluffy texture of breads and pastas. Oh!…oh…my whole diet consisted of mostly carbs. Even after having altered my diet to include more lean meats and veggies, I still ate a ton of pastas and breads. Scratch that. I didn’t just eat them, I lusted after them. Any time I got a craving for something it was usually a cookie, cake, or roll of some kind. How could something my body craves be bad for me?
I was desperate for relief though so my friend Cindy explained and talked me through going “gluten-free” and I tried it for a week.
Boom! Instantaneous relief! I was shocked and awed. Why was my body suddenly reacting so poorly to a grain protein? And why did I feel so much better without it?
I had so many unanswered questions, but one thing I knew for certain was that somewhere along the road, gluten stopped being my friend and became a trigger for serious gastrointestinal inflammation and upset. The way I viewed all my favorites changed; my husband saw a delicious slice of pizza; I saw razor blades. Some people looked at cookies and saw delicious chocolate chip treats; I saw bloating and constipation. Doughnuts were not delicious breakfast options anymore, but glazed poison bombs that exploded as soon as they hit my small intestine.
So many of my habitual eating patterns had to change. I couldn’t enjoy the same convenience foods. Subsequently, my grocery bill increased by about $150 per month. But with the migraines gone, the acne gone, the fatigue gone, the constipation and bloating gone, and my sinuses open, I was finally able to think clearly. I remembered my relationship with God and understood that He very possibly could have been using my physical sickness to get my spiritual attention. My heart mind and ears opened to what He had to say, and for the first time in a long while, I listened. What He said was, “You are not healed by your own strength or will, but by Mine.” And I knew it was the truth. I knelt down and prayed, thanking my God who healed me.