To me, VeganMoFo is supposed to be a happy time to post about delightful vegan things, and it’s not delightful to post about being sick. But, I hope that this can be a useful resource to someone else who goes through the same thing, and ultimately it’s all about healing.
As a long-time vegan who eats a ton of fiber daily and just about every type of food and cuisine, I like to pretend that i have an iron stomach. So when I woke up one Monday morning in February with a mild tummy ache I didn’t think much of it and assumed it would pass. It did go away, but after my morning snack of fruit and nuts it came back. Again, it went away and came back after eating lunch, along with feeling a little dizzy and “out of it”, for lack of a better phrase. My first thought was that maybe I had developed a sudden intolerance to something. I’ve never had a problem with gluten so I didn’t think it was that; I realized I had eaten a lot of nightshades (eggplant, tomato, potatoes, peppers) in the preceding days, so I cut those out for a few days to see if it helped. It didn’t. I continued to get a mild stomach ache after eating anything, even just an apple. I never felt like I was going to vomit, but was feeling tired and weak and it was definitely affecting my ability to work.
I made an appointment with my doctor, and after ruling out anything more serious she diagnosed me with dyspepsia, which is basically a medical term for an upset stomach or indigestion. We traced the issue back to the weekend before, when I had indulged in a good amount of wine one night, then ate too much Chinese food the next day. She explained that my stomach lining had become inflamed and hadn’t been able to heal on its own. She gave me a prescription for an antacid, saying that it wasn’t that I was producing too much acid, but by lowering the regular amount of acid it would help my stomach to heal. She instructed me to avoid caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, spicy foods, and chocolate until I was feeling better.
I was a little perturbed at a diagnosis that seemed so generic, but she is the one with the medical degree, so I resigned to try things her way. However, I felt like cutting out the five things she mentioned wasn’t quite enough. If I was going to heal myself, I was really going to heal myself in the best way possible. So I did some research and put together a plan using information I had learned during Natural Chef training at Bauman College, a reflux cookbook named Dropping Acid (clever, eh?), and what I could find online. There was plenty of information on the basics to avoid while healing from dyspepsia, but nothing relating to a vegan diet. Here is the plan I came up with.
I initially planned to do the first phase for two days, the second for five, and the third for seven (for a total of two weeks), but I stayed longer in both the second and third phases because my stomach didn’t feel ready to move on. So, if you follow this plan listen to your gut (literally) and don’t move forward too quickly if you’re not ready.
Please note: I am not a medical professional. This is just what worked for me to heal what was diagnosed as dyspepsia.