3 Common Food Ingredients that could be making your Stomach Hurt

Should you go to the doctor?

There are many foods that many people think are healthy but can actually cause a range of symptoms from indigestion to severe stomach pain that sends people to the emergency room. Unfortunately doctors rarely mention food sensitivities at the first visit but will instead waste time with tests and scopes or tell you to take anti-depressants or eat more fiber or take a prescription acid blocker. Often the person actually has food allergies or low stomach acid (not high!) and their pain will continue until they find a better doctor! Too much fiber can actually make things much worse. You can do a little detective work on your own before spending money on tests. All it takes is a little label reading and  self-control in the grocery store and kitchen. 

Soy is not for everyone.

There is one ingredient that is being used more and more by food manufacturers because it’s cheap that is a common allergen: soy . Soy is often used as a protein source for people who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet.  It is also added to many processed foods like soup, frozen dinners, sauces, and even breads. Soy protein is used in many  high-protein products sold to athletes such as protein powders and bars. For a soy-sensitive person this can cause awful smelling gas and reflux and gut pain . Continued consumption can lead to deteriorating health, skin problems, headaches , hormone disruption, etc.

Dairy thickeners can cause pain.

Another common type of ingredient that can cause problems are thickeners such as guar gum and carrageenan. Unfortunately these are in almost all frozen and refrigerated dairy or dairy substitutes like ice cream and yogurt . The only way to avoid them is to read ingredients and only buy the expensive all natural brands of these products. They usually taste much better.

Grains are not always healthy.

The other common pain causing food category is grains, especially wheat . Some people may tolerate all grains except wheat , but often if you’re sensitive to wheat , you should limit or avoid corn as well as other wheat substitutes. Only by experimenting can you find what you can eat and how often without getting into trouble.

Try an Elimination Diet.

If you’re having stomach aches, gas, diarrhea or constipation, try eliminating these ingredients and see if things improve. Simply stop eating foods with these ingredients, substituting other foods to replace the calories, and keep track of how you feel. Give your body at least a week to start feeling better before you give up. If you notice any improvement at all, do not eat those foods for at least one month. Then after a full 30 days , minimum, you can try adding back in one food at a time and note any change in your condition. For example, avoid wheat, soy and thickeners for 30 days. Then , try eating one of those ingredients and see how you feel. Any headaches, gas, diarrhea, etc within minutes or hours after eating could indicate a sensitivity to that food. Wait a week and then eat it again and check your symptoms. If you have the same reaction, that’s a pretty good sign that something is happening when you eat that food. Only add back one type of food at a time or you won’t know which food is causing the symptoms.

What can I eat instead?

You may feel like there is nothing to eat when you first start to avoid these ingredients because they are in so many processed foods. But that is the problem, eating processed foods. The solution is that you must learn to eat other foods. You don’t necessarily have to cook all the time. Raw foods or simple menus work great. For example, boiled eggs, huge salads with homemade salad dressing, cooked meats of all types, raw and cooked vegetables with seasonings such as garlic and butter, raw and roasted nuts, and fruits and natural dairy products. To replace the missing grains you can eat potatoes and other starchy vegetables and also rice. Rice is high in calories so be careful, but it does not usually cause allergic reactions.

You may not have to avoid them forever.

Finding out if you are sensitive to certain foods will give you the information you need to make better diet choices. You may be able to eat those foods again someday but it’s best if you stay 100% clear of them for at least six months to a year to heal your digestive system.  And if you do add them back in, it’s best to limit them to treats or occasional meals. But why would you want to eat highly processed foods? Instead, try to stick to natural , whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, natural dairy products,  meats, eggs, and health fats like nuts, olive oil, avocado and coconut oil and milk. You may be amazed at how your skin clears up, headaches disappear, and you will probably also lose weight and sleep better!

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