When I finally stopped eating this one type of food, my digestion drastically changed for the better
For most of my life, I just thought I had a sensitive stomach. I would feel bloated and gassy a few times a week, and the discomfort didn’t seem to have one specific trigger. This pattern went on for so long that I simply taught myself to live with it, and would occasionally tell people, “sorry, I have sensitive digestion.”
Employing solutions like curling up in fetal position to release gas (only when I was alone, of course!) and keeping Gas-X in my purse for when I needed it definitely helped (In fact, Gas-X was a real lifesaver — the Extra Strength Chewables not only provided fast relief, but they have a nongritty texture that makes taking them easy), but I was still dealing with gas and bloating after meals.
After talking it over with my doctor, we decided I should try eliminating certain foods from my diet for a few months to see if it made any kind of difference. At first, I was devastated at the idea of giving up things like bread and cheese — I’m Italian after all — but I was so fed up with my digestion issues that I was ready to try anything.
First, I gave up gluten. It was difficult at the beginning (read: no more sourdough bread at dinner), but I got used to it over time. The only issue: I still had gas and bloating!
I gave up soy next. This was easier, but still, the gas and bloating remained.
Then, I gave up dairy.
I have always been a cheese fanatic. Growing up, I could eat a quarter block of hard cheddar cheese in one sitting. I put it on everything, including vegetables. Ice cream was another favorite of mine, and even though I wasn’t a huge milk drinker, stirring cream into my coffee was a staple in my morning routine.
But as soon as I stopped consuming dairy, my occasional gas and bloating after meals started to dissipate. I didn’t want to believe it at first. I ate dairy all throughout my childhood and never seemed to have any issues, so why was this happening now? It turns out, you can grow into a lactose intolerance (which is a condition where the body can no longer properly break down milk lactose), and certain people can even get by with eating a little bit of dairy without having symptoms. Because lactose intolerance can be mild in some people and much more intense in others, my doctor and I deduced that my occasional gas and bloating was probably due to a more mild case.
Once I realized what living life without bloating was like, it was pretty easy to say goodbye to my cheese habit. These days, I try to keep my dairy consumption to a minimum (although the occasional pizza night still happens), and whenever I feel that familiar rumbling, I no longer get frustrated. I just take my trusty Gas-X and make a note of what I ate so I can make sure to either avoid the food next time, or at least eat much less of it.
Is my diet perfect? No way! But figuring out one of my main gas and bloating triggers helped me feel more empowered — and much more comfortable in my jeans.