I wrote this post saturday night— it’s now tuesday and I’m just getting around to posting it. I’ve received more bad news since writing the post (not gut related). which I’m processing, somehow, before talking more about. In terms of my gut, it’s the same since I wrote this post. I guess the good news is, it’s not worse. The bad news is, it’s not better. I’ll figure it all out eventually– right? Right. Sure. Yes. Until then— here’s my diet/stomach thoughts:———–

So, to be completely honest, I’m sitting here with a bit of frustration as I write this post. I’m trying to stay all positive like, since I know I have things to look forward to and things will get better, but its a bit tough sometimes. It’s saturday night right now and all I want is to feel wonderful and to be snacking on something delicious. We’re going away tomorrow morning, Alex and I and spending the night in Miami because I have a super early monday morning doctors appt— for non stomach related issues. Which, is good to have other things taken care of, but one of the main things on my mind is, how do I fix my once again broken stomach? And less important, will I be able to eat ANYTHING delicious when I go to Miami? Since I’ll be posting this AFTER our Miami night, chances are you’ll already seen anything I’ve eaten thanks to social media. But since I’m not sitting in the future yet, I’m going to sit here and wonder and hope delicious things other thank liquids will go in my body.

If you didn’t yet check out my first food c. diff post, and you’re interested you can find it HERE  Or if you want to read about how my whole year went to crap you can read that HERE  Anyway, I was doing pretty well for a while, and I’m not really sure exactly what happened or what changed, but my stomach/body is a mess again. I went back to the ENT this past week because my throat has not stopped hurting in 7 months— and the earaches have come and gone through out that whole time. So I went back, since the first visit I had (6 months ago) the doc shooed me off with a “drink more water/take better care of yourself.” (Thanks doc. Please note, I drink A LOT of water). So I went back, he numbed my nose, stuck a tube in, looks inside and tells me I have reflux. WHAT? I have the most alkaline diet ever and I haven’t had heartburn since I became vegan. How is this possible? I start googling “reflux and earaches” and the guy is right– all my symptoms match. And again, I’m thinking, how is this possible?! My stomach has been really out of whack this month– not terrible, totally tolerable with the exception of this week, but off. I write to my hero, the dietician I met with in MA, and she tells me, it’s highly unlikely that my body is making excessive acid and but that my sphincter is probably loose. Turns out that my (very) high fat diet might have been causing some problems and she tells me to lay off a bit. I’ve been scooping in loads of extra oil, coconut butter, and avocados— I haven’t gained a single pound in my efforts, but apparently I’ve loosened my sprinter and acid is just creeping up into my head. Wonderful. I complain to my mother and she reminds me— this isn’t a new thing that I’m dealing with. I’ve always had heartburn/reflux issues. And I hate to admit it, but she’s right. I was on prescription strength zantac since the age of 12 or 14 or so. I had to swallow the glue stuff and have my insides examined. I lived in constant pain, everyday from it. And then I became vegan and BOOM, problem gone. And I don’t feel that bad saying it, but I really did stay vegan for my own health. Sure, I still don’t want to eat a living/dead thing, but I’m a bit selfish and I did it because it made me start feeling awesome. But now what? My acupuncturist told me I don’t eat healthy because I eat too much and I eat too much (healthy) fats. Both these facts are true. But I’m not over-eating for the fun of it, I’ve been doing it in effort to gain weight. Side note: I don’t think it’s okay to say to someone “I wish I had that problem” when they step on the scale and are discouraged by weight loss. I get it, we’re in a society that often emphasizes on being thin, but I don’t consider myself “lucky” to have this problem. I’d rather be healthy than underweight and struggling to gain weight. And it really frustrates me when people undermine the fact that I struggle to gain weight. Whatever, lets move on.
So this past week, my stomach has exploded. Well, it hasn’t actually exploded, though I know it probably could, but I look like I’ve been about 6 months along in a pregnancy with this belly. Thin everywhere, with a giant balloon coming off my torso. Even a bowl of broth makes it expand. With the exception of tiny tiny amount of buckwheat noodles this evening, I’ve only had liquids in the past 3 days. I’m in pain. My stomach is large and I don’t get it. Grateful to say, I don’t think it’s the c. diff coming back. But I know something has been off this month— and this week it really just took over. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s the reflux thats been apparently building really taking over, I don’t know. My hormones have been completely off too. All I know is everything was working fine, until it wasn’t. There’s a good chance it is all just reflux. Like I said, I always dealt with it, so it’s not the craziest thing for it to return in my weakened body state, even with a good diet.  For now, I’m just trying to cut out the fat, eat even easier foods (baby food), and not stress about anything (hard) especially my upcoming endoscopy/colonoscopy. If any of you guys have had those procedures, please tell me their not bad. I always hear that their easier than they would seem, but oh boy, I’m not looking forward to it.
So if you’re done listening to me complain— let me tell you about the foods that have worked and haven’t worked. (spoiler alert, I’m probably not done complaining).


Indian food always seems to sit well with me. Though I’ve found, typically when made by an actual indian person. Why you ask? I think it’s because I’m typically too lazy to soak my grains. I’ve decided this has been a huge step that I’ve really stupidly looked over. The more I see what grains do to my body and the more I read about grains, the more I’m seeing that grains really do seem to be tough on the body— any body. Prior to c. diff, I had no issues with them— or not that I noticed anyway. After the c. diff, I kind of see why so many people cut them out. I don’t really want to cut them out completely for me— and/or especially for Marlowe, since they are her biggest protein source, but I do plan to be more proactive about proper preparation of grains. I plan to long soak/sprout as often as I can. so this dish: Dal with greens? When properly soaked, not so bad on my tummy. Rice? Major brain fog. I’ll be soaking rice if I have it again too. Quinoa? Neutral, but still not super easily digested.

I was eating almond flour bread with coconut butter for a long while. Then I started adding in coconut flour or buckwheat flour to lesson the almond flour. Then I just cut it out completely. I noticed I do have a lot more issues with nuts, even nut butters now. Coconut butter is freaking delicious and almost like a sweet treat in a world where I haven’t had sugar for 7 months, but now it’ll be a rare treat because of the fat content. Sorry coconuts. sorry tastebuds.

This curry recipe I posted the other day. This worked out not so bad on my gut. I had the leftovers with quinoa instead of rice though. Side of fermented cabbage. I would eat this again and maybe slice up the bok choy a bit more.

We’ve been having spring rolls but cooking the filling since I can’t have raw veg. I also found brown rice paper wrappers that are wonderful! Sure still made from grain, and still processed, but this meal always feels like a wonderful treat. I shared the recipe HERE last month.
I’ve been playing around with breakfast a lot. I really enjoyed eating oatmeal everyday, but like the other grains, sometimes it gives me a bit of trouble (brain fog). Not at all as much as rice or lentils, but a bit. Really, I just need to soak my oats longer and then I should be okay. This is chocolate quinoa bowl with a  bit of unsweetened coconut yogurt, strawberries and a tiny sprinkle of granola. On the good days, I have little problems with a breakfast like this. On the days that my stomach is upside down, I must avoid.

This was my go to for a few weeks— we had so many giant avocados! Chocolate avocado pudding! It was SO good! But since I was told I have to cut down on fats (yes, even my beloved avocado), this will have to hold off until my body is better.

Okay so eggs. I think I mentioned it, but I stopped eating them. I got to a point where I was eating a good amount of them a day— then about a week ago, I just grossed myself out too much and stopped again. I know I should still be eating them. I know my body needs the non-grain protein. And I know it’s still the one protein my stomach can handle. The rational thing is for me to eat them. But now, I don’t know, I gag a little. Oof. I often wish I didn’t have that feeling inside that keeps me away from eating animal products— that I thought it was part of nature to eat animals. But I don’t, obviously. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I eat eggs again, we’ll see. But this is what all my typically meals looked like prior to last week. Pretty well rounded, Id say. A bit of a grain sometimes (quinoa in this case), one or two fried eggs, roasted veggies, half avocado, and a bit of fermented cabbage.

The oatmeal. I also slowly started adding a bit of fruits back into my life! Kiwis are something I used to love as a kid— and my stomach mostly handles them now!! Thank goodness! And guava (from our garden). I have to be super careful with the seeds, but they’re mostly okay. And theres my beloved coconut butter.

Same as before, my rounded meals. a bit of eggs cooked up with garden spinach, small bit of grain, roasted veggies (rutabaga in this case), half avocado, and fermented cabbage.

My sheet tray of veg. pre roasting. I’ve been roasting up loads of fennel! I was iffy about fennel for a long time, but I’ve been really enjoying it roasted lately. And given the fact that it’s super wonderful for your gut? Well, I’m all about it. And purple sweet potato from our favorite produce place  LOVE. My acupuncturist says I need to eat less sweet potato though. She’s right, one large potato in one sitting is too much— but I do plan to still eat it often, just in smaller portions.

Same as the others, no grains though. Also, I’ve been roasting up small amounts of kale now too! I’d say 2 out of 3 times I don’t have grain with my veggies and eggs. Well, now I don’t eat eggs either. So now it’s more like roasted veggies with roasted tempeh for protein. I was surprised when I looked at the back of the tempeh package to see how much protein it had. Not happy about the price of tempeh, super happy about how it sits in my stomach and the amount of protein it has though! 

Soups. So many soups— especially this past week. I’ve enjoyed making creamy soups of the orange and green variety. Acorn squash, rutabaga, zucchini, carrots, all different kinds. This one is topped with a bit of plain coconut yogurt, avocado, and fermented cabbage. For protein, I often serve my soups with a side of grilled tempeh now that I’ve cut out eggs. Tempeh is better roasted, in my opinion, but still good just cooked up in a pain with bit of coconut oil.
So theres that. I feel at a bit of a loss since my stomach has been so reflux-y and large this past week. I’m not sure where I’ll go from here since NOTHING is sitting well in my stomach anymore, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.
Thanks for reading this moody/hangry post. If you guys have any great books/links/resources about grain fermentation— especially beans, I’d LOVE for you to share! Like I said, for now my plan is to long soak. I’m also hoping to start adding idli to my diet since I recently learned the cakes are made with fermented rice and lentils. We’ll see how it goes! If you have a must try idli recipe please share that too. Or if you have an kind, but strong Indian grandmother who wants to come live with me and cook for me, please feel free to send her over. Thanksssssss.

24 Comments

  1. My friend had a distended stomach last year. I think it just went away on its own! It seemed really obnoxious though. Hope you are feeling better soon and able to eat the things you want to!

  2. Just wondering if you have been checked for celiac? Just a thought…I'm sure you've covered all your bases! Wish you the best of luck in all of this.

  3. Oh Drea, poor you, I really feel your frustration with the unexplained stomach problems. And another reaction, this time to the fats. It really is so much for you to deal with, I do hope that things settle down again quickly. I know I mentioned it before, but a little stewed apple might be soothing. And I'm wondering if you could eat egg yolk in something, if the whole egg seems a bit yucky (I know what you mean about eggs, I get that feeling as well sometimes). I wish I had some better suggestions for you. I'm sending you my very best wishes. CJ xx

  4. I did a rotation in ENT in med schoo- funny story, they seem to diagnose EVERYONE with reflux! They scope you, see some red on your vocal Cords, and send you home with a script for Omeprazole. I'd say it happened it at least half of our patients. Anyways, there's a few amazing Greek recipes on the site realgreekrecipes.com which are bean/pulse based and amazing. Typically you soak the beans before cooking for most Greek recipes. Good luck with the colonoscopy- haven't had one but typically people don't remember them since you're given sedation.

    • thats what I'm hearing– they love to tell people they have reflux and call it a day. My allergist recommended a different ENT who does PH testing in the throat– I might give that a try.
      and I will DEF. check the site out. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Cabbage always makes me super gassy & squash always makes me poop a lot… Could be the reason for the bloat? I don't know, it seems like your options are just limited right now. Long time reader– hope you find what works for you!

    • with the exception of this one different type of squash I had two weeks ago, I've had absolutely zero problems with squash. And yes, cabbage can be gassy– but I totally tolerate it when well cooked or fermented. I was eating those things regularly with no problem until last week :/

  6. If you are trying to add protein back into your diet… Have you thought about adding protein shakes? I know there are some organic, non dairy ones out there, could be a nice easy way to get more protein, and they come in chocolate! 🙂

    • I was doing them daily for a while— I've only really stopped doing it regularly this month since my stomach was upside down. I wouldn't drink them on a super regular basis but they have been good to add an extra protein lift this year <3

  7. Have you thought about protein shakes? They make organic, non dairy ones and it could be an easy way to get some protein. And they come in chocolate! 🙂

  8. Oh and one last thing, I know this is probably TMI but I suffered from a distended stomach last year, it was awful and SO painful! Turns out, I was constipated! Seems so simple and that I should have known, but I was still going every day or so, so that's why I didn't realize. It was just a combo of diet and stress. Since changing my diet to a higher alkaline diet it has helped a lot (which I know you already do!) best of luck!

  9. Come back to India Drea! u'll get Idli, Dosa with Sambar and delicious chutneys for breakfast everyday ( Usual breakfast in South India). And my Granny isn't fit enough to travel to the US otherwise I would have definitely asked her to fly to you and cook the most divine mouth watering indian dishes for u! I think she would have liked that 😀 – Yuvika

  10. I've had a gastroscopy, endoscopy and colonoscopy. In the uk we have a choice whether to be sedated. I was all 'oh my gosh there's no way I'm doing this without sedation!' But then a girl came out who just had the procedure with sedation, and because she'd been sedated she had to have a bed pan when she needed the loo. Now that put me off being sedated let me tell you. So then I got into the 'operating' room. The nurses and doctor were so nice. I explained I wasn't sure about sedation or not. I asked if I wasn't sedated but couldn't handle it would they stop and sedate me? They said yes of course. So I went ahead without sedation. And you know what….it wasn't HORRIFIC. ok. So it's not very comfortable and it feels odd. I just squeezed the nurses hand and focused my mind on something else. It doesn't HURT. It just sort of feels like 'that shouldn't be there….don't like it'. All that said, if you have sedation, you have nothing to worry about – you won't even know what's going on. Sedation is almost like knocking you out for a bit. So, don't worry, it's really NOT that bad. You'll be ok X

  11. i deal with some stomach/gut issues as well and i know that feeling of bloating. sometimes i feel it in my stomach, other times i feel it in the very bottom of my belly.

    two years ago i made an endoscopy (don't worry about yours, you'll be sleeping and it will be ok!) and they told me i had reflux (and i really felt everything associated with it) and chronic gastritis (apparently nowadays everyone has this…). so i've changed my diet a lot and the reflux start reducing. maybe it will really help you if you cut some fats, don't eat a lot at a time, taking small portions more frequently. when i have episodes of reflux i can only eat "dry" stuff, like oatmeal, bananas, bread, rice… liquids are not helpful in these cases for me. but really, i think that finding what works and works not for each person, even with the same problem, is quite different. for example, you feel totally fine with spicy and well seasoned indian food, while for me seasonings can be really tricky for reflux and so on! i haven't cook with garlic for a while because sometimes it makes me feel really bad, for example.

    anyway, after "solving" the frequent reflux, i still have a lot of bad things happening in my belly and stomach. bloating, irregular gut, a pain in my stomach that feels like i have a stone sleeping in there, feeling dizzy, headaches, nauseated with food sometimes… all the doctors say it has to do with anxiety, of course. now i've lost some weight as well and my hemoglobin is a bit down and i'm trying to understand why. taking omeprazole, which i've been taking for a while, doesn't help your body absorving B12 and it can be that, but i still don't know and i'm still waiting for some tests.

    so i wrote all of this to somehow tell you that i know some of your feelings and that it is really annoying to fight this, because it apparently has no reasons, and it's also very annoying trying to explain to people that you're actually feeling bad and not only creating a disease in your head just because you don't have anything better to do 🙂

    hope you find out what it is and get better soon! and hope this was somehow helpful** if i remember something that can be useful, i'll let you know.

  12. I am so sorry that you're having to deal with all this. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. And the mental toll it must also be taking. I really hope you get some relief soon.

    On the plus side, I've had a colonoscopy and it was totally fine. I would choose that over a trip to the dentist any day. And, on another plus note, I'm looking forward to getting your cookbook and eating your delicious food on your behalf! Maybe that's not a plus note.

    Take care!

  13. Im so glad you are writing about this because I am having similar issues. Going to a nutritionist now, had some inflammation and candida which I have been taking turmeric (with black pepper) and anti fungals, also upped my b12 and b vitamins, and other things. Already vegan, no gluten, sugars or yeasty foods, however still suffering with the same symptoms you have. Its nice seeing what you are eating because its so similar to me! Im really struggling with everything I'm eating and I can't be figuring out what it is. Last time I went to my nutritionist he wanted me to take iron tablets, but felt so bad taking them and tried liquid and still feeling bad after them. Definitely thinking leaky gut and thyroid problems since they are all linked together with candida, inflammation and stomach problems. I just wish it was easier for me because I am so healthy and I care so much about it. I will definitely keep you posted and keep on reading your journey 😀 Contact me if you want to swap some stories too x

  14. arg. Just wrote something long-ish and then something went wrong and it got deleted. Anyway, the important bit is…for the last year i've been soak grains and legumes on the counter for 24 hours. Twice as much water as dried volume. I add a tablespoon of raw acv and a 1/4 tsp baking soda ( for about 3 cups dried grain), then after 24 hours rinse and cook with new water. It has made a huge difference in how my body reacts to them. Beans and grains from restaurants and/or cans still give me troubles.

    I don't have a reliable resource to point you to, this is just my experience. Sending health and love to you and yours Drea 🙂

  15. two things:

    have you tried making your own tempeh? apparently it is pretty easy and much cheaper than store bought. i've been meaning to try but haven't yet.

    also, have you looked into digestive bitters? They work really well for reflux because they cause your esophageal sphincter to contract, which strengthens it. I don't know if it would help (or hurt) your other digestive issues, but I think it would be worth looking into. I do the urban moonshine brand, since it is organic and I like the company .They are super nice (and excited about bitters).
    I hate all this you have been going through. seriously, i feel like how could this happen to drea! she is an amazing eater!

  16. Drea, I've been reading your blog for YEARS – this is my second comment ever! I'm so sorry you've had to deal with all of this this year, I really hope things start to improve soon. Anyway, I was going to ask if you have heard of/read the book "Gut" by Giulia Enders? It only came out a few months ago. I'm listening to the audiobook at the moment, and although I'm not even half way through, I'm finding it SO interesting and helpful. If you haven't already read it, I would definitely recommend looking into it.

    Stay positive and I hope this all soon passes! x

  17. Ugh! Sending lots of good wishes from Texas. I've had Crohn's Disease for about 17 years, with all the *joys* that go along with it, from colonoscopies to liquid diets to fat medical bills to way inappropriate comments about weight. I'm so sorry that you've been having such a rotten time, though I really appreciate how honest and relatable your posts have been for me through my latest flare-up (and many bowls of plain oatmeal). Thanks for sharing. Hope tomorrow's a good day!

  18. I'm so sorry to read all this. I love to follow your beautiful pictures and inspiring colors in life. Have you heard of the maker's diet book? It's a thought for you to research as this guy was literally dying and wasn't absorbing nutrients. He does some pretty drastic stuff but does heal. Prayers for healing for you!

  19. I just discovered your blog, and came across this post! As I read, I can relate so much to everything going on with your gut. Earlier this year, I started having serious gastro issues that involved constant abdominal bloating, constipation, reflux, serious food allergies (that I never had before), and so many other things. Its been almost a year of suffering, absolute misery, and recently just found out why. I had a endoscopy/colonoscopy done during that process, and it wasn't too bad. The prep isn't so fun but its tolerable. Anyways, I recently found out I have a bad SIBO infection, leaky gut, candida, etc. I completely understand your struggles with food intolerances! I got to the point I couldn't eat anything but steamed cabbage without having a reaction. Its torture. I am still trying to treat these things now, so I am not cured but I just wanted to share my experience and hope it helps. After seeing multiple doctors, of all kinds, I only had luck with a naturopathic approach. So, if you haven't tried that path yet, you really should! It might help you…I hope you feel better soon! =)

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