Do You Really Need to Cut Out Certain Foods?

August 25, 2014

I have IBS. Well, at least I think I do. A lot of people who have undiagnosed stomach issues get the common diagnosis by their doctor as irritable bowel syndrome.

This means that everything else has essentially been ruled out, and you have no other significant GI issues, yet you still have the common symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea (or both), etc.

Nothing is TMI for me by the way 😉

Anywho.. lately I’ve seen a LOT of people complaining about similar stomach issues. The first thing they do? “It MUST be the dairy or gluten I’m eating!!!!” must cut those foods out.

I realize that this is very common, and I’ll be honest, I have done the same.exact.thing. I was once convinced I had celiac disease. I mean, I had ALL of the symptoms, I MUST HAVE IT. I was tested literally twice by blood and twice by biopsy and it was negative all those times but I still thought I had it.  (i’m a little bit of a hypochondriac hahaah).

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So I cut out gluten. Yet, I was still eating dairy. Well, turns out my gallbladder was actually not working at all. That made a lot of sense. The 6 months pregnant looking bloated belly, the gas, constipation, pain after eating high-fat meals, etc. So, I had it removed. Let me tell you, whoever says that’s an “easy-reovery” surgery didn’t have the same recovery as me. It was terrible, not fun whatsoever.

I have to admit, my symptoms got a LOT better. A lot. The bloating was gone, I was pooping regularly, no more severe pain, etc.

Well, for a while at least…

I started getting severe upper abdominal pain early in the mornings, around 4 am. Every. single. morning. This was about a month after my surgery. It would radiate to my back and I could never get back to sleep. Eating something or drinking my coffee would help, and I would be up for the day. This happened for months, and still continues to happen, the doctors and I am still not sure why.

They told me it must be IBS. This pissed me off because it seemed way worse than IBS, and that has no cure and no one knows what causes the symptoms.

Naturally, the first thing I did was cut out gluten and dairy. I heard that if you have IBS, those foods really should be off-limits completely.

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Initially I thought it helped. I didn’t have ANY dairy or gluten for a while, months even. But sometimes I would still have the pain. I brushed it off.

I went on vacation a few months later and tried dairy and gluten. I was completely fine. No reaction, nothing. I continued to eat it on the trip.


I didn’t die. In fact, I was literally perfect. I had NO stomach issues on the trip whatsoever. After the trip, I continued to eat dairy and gluten. Sometimes I had issues, other times I did not. That’s what happened to me when I was eating it, and when I wasn’t. Nothing really changed.

I’m still trying to figure things out, as it is a work in progress, but one thing I can tell you is I have IBS and I am FINE eating dairy and gluten these days. I do believe that eating WAY too much FIBER was giving me problems. I track macros, so I know how much fiber I’m eating. If it gets out of hand one day, I definitely feel the effects. Maybe that’s why I was fine on vacation – I was eating out all the time, and not really eating a ton of fibrous foods. I’m not 100% sure this is the reason, but at least I’m getting somewhere.

I will be honest, if I have wayyyy too much dairy, then sometimes I’ll feel the effects. I’m still not sure if I can tolerate a ton of whey protein in particular, but usually I’m okay with cheese and yogurts and such.


Yes, everyone is different. Yes, if you have celiac you MUST stay away from gluten. What I am saying is, maybe it’s not what everyone else is telling you. Dairy and gluten are popular subjects these days, but it doesn’t mean that it is what everyone has issues with it.

I also believe if you cut something out of your diet completely, you do have to give your digestive system time to adjust when you re-introduce it. Your body doesn’t like change, so it has to adjust to whatever you are changing. Think about vegetarians – they don’t eat meat, but if they decide to eat it again do you think they will go for a 12 oz. steak right off the bat and not feel some effects? No, they are told to start small. Same thing with other foods.

Figure out YOUR body, and what is triggering your symptoms. Keep a food journal and track your symptoms. That’s the best way to figure things out.


What do you think?

Have you ever cut out certain food groups because people told you they weren’t good for you?



    1. I also have IBS and have experimented with cutting food groups out to try and make the symptoms better. Nothing works. The only thing I’ve seen a direct correlation between is stress and IBS flare ups. My stomach just shuts down if I’m anxious/tense.

    1. Love this post, lady. I’ve suffered from digestive woes for basically a long as I can remember, and cut out/re-introduced everything under the sun. Some things worked for a while, and some made no difference at all. At the end of the day, I’ve found that STRESS is the biggest trigger for me. When I’m stressed out, foods that usually give me no problem at all sudden kill my stomach. And the worst part of it is that I’ve gotten so used to feeling stressed that sometimes I don’t even realize it when my levels are way too high. Stress management has done me a whole lot more good than dietary adjustments. But yeah… Too much finer can definitely be a bad thing for me 😆

      1. yep! i can relate to that for sure. Stress is so gut damaging! and that includes exercise (in extremes).

        1. YES! Stress for sure and I agree with the exercise in extremes!

      1. YES! same here. Maybe that’s why I had no issues on vacation.. guess I need to be on vacation forever 😉

    1. I’m touching wood right now because I am thankful that my digestive system has always been on point. I think it is one of my body’s better functioning systems; however, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t played around with food. I haven’t cut out groups but I have learned when my body will tolerate them better. For instance, I will try not to have dairy and fruits at the same meal because I tend to bloat and have gas issues.
      Have you tried group pairings or timing?

      1. I have, it didn’t help. Just made me more stressed out and made things worse haha!

    1. I feel you here. Even though I have Celiac and have been gluten-free for 5 years, my stomach is still a mess everyday. I just live with the pain and discomfort, which I know I shouldn’t, but stomach issues are impossible to figure out. No one know how you feel except YOU! A doctor really can’t help at all and I have been to so many.

      1. That’s how I used to be, but it got better somehow!

    1. I don’t know anything about IBS but I cut out gluten for a long time and added sugar I felt better but always was so restrictive it wasn’t good for my soul. So I went back to them all. Now every six month I launch a round of whole30. There really is no method to my madness 🙂

      I do get the belly bloat with soy though so that crap is completely OUT of my diet. I hope you are feeling better and get it all straighten out soon. This does not sound enjoyable at all.

      1. Yeah, I get more stressed if I’m restricted and it actually makes things worse!

    1. I’ve cut out dairy and grains before, for long periods. While I did feel better, I learnt it was less to do with cutting out those food groups and more to do with changing my carb/fat balance – when I ate less grains, I ate a lot more fats to make up the calories. Something weird happens with my body too in that I can get all the symptoms you described above one day, and eat the exact same thing the next day with no negative effect. I’m convinced my bloating has nothing to do with food, and more to do with my hormones!

      1. Exactly what happens to me!!! I do have trouble with my hormones, very interesting. Thanks for the comment!

    1. I am always interested in posts like this, having recently been told “IBS” by one doctor after years of already eating “allergen/irritant-free. It’s a bullshit diagnosis. There has to be some underlying cause making the bowel irritable. Yes, dietary changes help most people most of the time, but what about when things go haywire even when you’re on a crazy restrictive protocol? This happened to me. SIBO was/is the issue. Getting my intestinal flora sorted and healthy and healing my damaged gut is now my plan. It super sucks but it’s nice to have sort of answers :). You might (and others like us might) want to learn more about SIBO. I wrote a bit about it a few weeks ago. May your intestines feel good and function well!

      1. Interesting! I’ve heard about that, but my doctors have NEVER mentioned that. I’ll loo into it. Thank you!

    1. I’ve definitely noticed a connection when I eat very fibrous foods and stomach issues. When I was younger and eating basically only white carbs, I would get stomach aches all.the.time. Now, it’s not so bad, but I do not do well on a lot of broccoli and kale actually does not sit well with me at all. Interesting post!

      1. So true! I used to actually not be able to eat broccoli or kale either, but somehow am completely fine with it now. I can’t have cups worth of it, but a reasonable amount is fine with me!

    1. I’ve been gluten and dairy free for years. How would I reintroduce them? Slowly….or just start eating it freely and deal with whatever happens until it disappears? Thanks for this post.

      1. I would definitely say slowly.. start with one or the other. Like if you wanted to do gluten, start with like 1 piece of bread or something like that. Then increase and see how you react!

    1. Wow, this is so me. I feel your pain and hope you can figure out what works for you.

      I also have IBS. No one told me to do this, but I actually went vegetarian about five years ago and I feel SO, SO much better. I only bloat when I’m stressed or drink too much beer haha. Wine sits better with my digestive track.

      I don’t know if you eat ground flax, but it made me have such bad and persistent bloating for a month this past October that I had to miss work and see a doc. Just a heads up!

    1. Also…it’s worth having a fiber supplement like Metamucil around (I’m searching for a more natural alternative, but that’s what I picked up in October). I’ll take it at night on bad days and it helps to sort me out for the morning.

    1. Great post! I’ve found that stress, lack of sleep affect my IBS issues a lot. I limit dairy and gluten because I think it helps but yes I still eat it from time to time and am completely fine if I don’t overdo it. I don’t believe I need to be gluten free or not eat greek yogurt and ice cream every so often to have a happy tummy. GREAT post for changing the discussion!

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