My name is Lindsey Johnson and I started this blog in the hope to help others who are battling with digestive issues.
At an early age, I learned to love cooking by watching my Oma. She poured so much love and energy into each meal, and I loved to watch how her hands could perfectly roll a pie crust, how she could peel an entire apple with a knife and only have one long ribbon (which I always got to eat), or how her accurate method of measuring spices was to always pour them into the palm of her hand.
After graduation, I moved to Portland, Oregon and started my first big city job. It wasn’t long after that, that I started getting terrible headaches, blurred vision, and felt tired and lethargic all the time. I then started having debilitating back pain, memory loss, and would have no feeling in my fingers and toes. The scary part came when I would sometimes have the sensation of full paralysis. After seeing multiple doctors, I was later diagnosed with a spinal meningioma. I battled with brain tumors over the next few years and thought it could only go uphill from there.
After a year or so of remission from my spinal meningioma’s, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012. I struggled at first to gain control of my strict diet and constantly found myself looking to the wisdom of others on the internet. It definitely made the struggle easier that my sister and niece both had celiac disease and we could commiserate and recommend lots of gluten free recipes.
It was about a year after having celiac disease that I started to have additional symptoms, that I at first overlooked. I started to always feel bloated and would have excruciating stomach pain. I would eat one bite of food and feel horribly uncomfortable. In addition, I would have chronic constipation and diarrhea at the same time. I thought at the time I must have been ‘glutened’ and vowed even harder to make sure I didn’t have any cross contamination with my food. My husband was beyond supportive, and he vowed to follow my strict diet with me and even made sure to never have gluten containing items in our home.
After three years, I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore. I went to countless doctors who prescribed me with every prescription you could think of. Most of which produced severe side effects that required even more pills. It was then I decided there had to be a better way. With the help of my acupuncturist and trusted friend Sandy, I fought to gain control of my digestive system. She referred me to a naturopath whom later diagnosed me with SIBO through a breath test.
When I first started the SIBO diet, I was overwhelmed and wondered how would I ever be able to eat again. It felt so restrictive and confusing that I would cry almost every night to my husband. I missed cereal. I missed my gluten free pop tarts. I missed mashed potatoes and gravy. But mostly, I missed the comfort of the foods I grew up making with my Grandma. It was then I decided to get creative in the kitchen. I checked out hundreds of cookbooks from our local library and decided that if life was going to give me lemons . . . I would make the best lemonade ever. And so I set to work recreating my favorite childhood recipes and finding alternatives to the ones I couldn’t.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not perfect at this, and I’m still on the road to recovery, but I believe it is possible. Don’t give up! Hopefully my journey can give some of you insight into your own struggles and make the thought of food and cooking not so overwhelming.