When your stomach cramps, your body aches, and the thing that keeps you alive is making you sick, your head is all over the place. What do you do? You can't just stop eating. You have to eat. I remember many days of my life where I refused to eat. It always led to being dizzy, light headed, and nauseous. Sometimes I preferred that to the sharp pains in my stomach and the embarrassing runs to the bathroom during school. But my hunger strikes could only last so long. I had to start eating again.
I'll never forget the day of my colonoscopy and endoscopy. The "cleanse" had my stomach feeling fine for the first time in 12 years. My doctor told me to try a Celiac diet, and so that was the end of me eating gluten. 2 weeks later, I burped for the first time that I could remember. It was so relieving - normal body functions! I decided to cut out dairy too, in an effort to clear up my skin. It worked!
But a few months later, I was experiencing symptoms I knew all too well. Stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and general discomfort. I didn't understand. There was no way I was being gluten-ed. I was being so careful. There was so little chance of cross contamination, and I had been calling all manufacturers of food products I was buying. The timing coincided with the early ideation of the Thryve app. So as my first prototype, I was taking pictures of everything I ate. In weeks, I had realized the problem staring me right at the face.
The first thing- I had replaced gluten with rice, which would be fine in moderation. BUT, I was having rice-based cereal. I was eating rice cakes, plain rice, and gluten-free bread with rice flour. Very often. The second, was that I replaced dairy with soy. Soy milk in my cereal, a glass of soy milk here or there, soy "cheese", and soy in my dairy-free products. I was someone who prided herself in being healthy, yet my diet had become so limited. I did some research, and realized that over doing it on rice and soy could easily be the cause of my problems. I cooled it with the rice and soy, and I started to feel way better.
Over the years, I've occasionally fallen into this habit where I stop paying attention to food, and eat the same few things - it's so hard not to. I can only tell because my face will break out, or I end up craving the same things every day, or my body and stomach always have a presence in my mind. When you move meal to meal, day to day, week to week, it's really easy to lose focus on the big picture. Our lives are so chaotic, how can anyone remember what they've been eating and what they need to eat more or less of? So much time can pass before we realize we haven't had a vegetable in a while. Or like I did early after my diagnosis, consume so much of one thing without blinking an eye.
This is why I created Thryve. The first big thing is to help people figure out their trigger foods. The second is to help them manage their eating style once they know what to avoid.
As you eliminate foods from your diet, be careful not to just completely swap it. Remember to be mindful about how you eat, and be sure to avoid my past mistakes. It's better to replace a food with a suite of options, instead of just one.
And if you are looking for a food diary that you can use to also track symptoms, we'll be launching in the next few months! Check our homepage here, to sign up as a beta tester or to be notified when we officially launch.