94lb and 5'7 tall, jaw deformity, Aspergers, ADD, and low stomach acid PLEASE HELP ME
Hello everyone, and thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read this post, because I really, really need help and feel utterly stuck.
I hope this doesn't become a lonely thread with no replies... :s
I really want to go on a 80/10/10 diet, to improve my very poor physical and mental health, attention deficit disorder and Asperger's syndrome, but really need a lot of help.
I have been vegan for 6/7 years (I'm 21) which was a big success for me. It's a long and important story (to me, magical) but I'll be brief-ish here: within months of going vegan my constipation had improved somewhat, I started to genuinely understand my school work (whereas before I didn't understand a thing and relied on brute memorisation) and I needed significantly less food to maintain my weight at 108-ish lbs (I have always been thin and before needed to eat 4500 calories of junk a day to maintain my weight). Literally overnight one night my severe body dysmorphia and cosmetic surgery obsession disappeared, aged 15. Age 16, one day within the space of 10 seconds I had a sudden development of empathy, and I suddenly understood the entire world, which was absolutely magical and words can't express its magnificent importance to me in a forum post. It's so sad that autistics don't know what they're missing (and neurotypicals can't appreciate how bad autism is).
However, a cooked vegan diet could not solve my problems entirely. I have a severe underbite, a problem with the position of my tongue and larynx, and problems chewing and swallowing. Eating takes me ages. I can't help but swallow too quickly, I sometimes swallow huge chunks of food, struggle to swallow chunks of food that are too small, and swallowing generally doesn't feel fully within my control. When I drink liquid, I swallow loads of air, which is painful. In addition, Asperger's don't produce a substance called metallothionine, which is responsible for producing stomach acid. You need stomach acid to absorb many nutrients, and to stimulate your pancreas to produce enzymes, therefore you become malnourished with low (or no) levels. The more malnourished you become, the less stomach acid you have the means to produce and it becomes a vicious circle. So, even after going vegan, I retained digestive problems (although they were less bad), my other mental health problems (ADD, depression, anxiety, tricho- and dermo-tillomania, phobias, and lack of confidence) and skinny frame.
When I was 17 I met an alternative othodontist who said he could fix my face in 6 months. I had external head gear fitted to an inner brace, and my upper jaw was stretched. I lost a stone in weight very quickly, had a nervous breakdown within months, and had pain and severe difficulties eating. My braces came off last year (with the problem nowhere near corrected for various reasons) I look a bit prettier but my jaws are even less functional than before. None of my teeth meet together and the only things I can chew are foods that can be crushed with my tongue. Puree-ing and smoothies are not really an option as I find liquids more painful than food to swallow and can't get much down.
Since I've barely been able to chew for nearly 4 years, my stomach problems have got worse and worse, because the less-chewed food reaching my stomach is even harder to digest and therefore I have even less nourishment, and thus less stomach acid and ability to digest. Food goes in and comes out the other end completely undigested, I do really massive poos and still feel blocked up. Every time my stomach receives something, even if it's just water or a piece of soft fruit, the organ starts to cramp painfully. I feel absolutely stuffed after eating tiny amounts, for example, 1/2 a banana, or 2 dates. In addition, while I had my braces I used a prescription strength toothpaste that was agony on my tongue and made the inside of my mouth peel off, which I always accidentally swallowed while brushing because I can't control it. I fear that this could have further damaged my stomach.
I'm currently trying to go raw, because there is no doubt in my mind that good digestive health and diet is key to good mental health, because your mind = your brain and you need the correct nutrients to think properly.
When I went on a fruit-based raw diet for a couple of days starting about a week ago, I was amazed to discover that my anxiety, depression and stress levels reduced enough that had a glimpse of calm and happiness that I never knew existed. I never knew how stressed I was until the levels reduced enough for me to be able to imagine how it feels to be normal. This state lasted for several hours. I came to the conclusion that cooked food is literally poisoning me, and found evidence that this is true, for Aspergers and our typical gut problems. I also had improved energy and needed less sleep. I failed the raw food diet after 2/3 days because eating takes me so long and I feel stuffed and painful so quickly after eating that I couldn't get enough calories in. I was managing 1200-1500 a day. Since then I have eaten about 900 calories worth of fruit during the day, then eaten a cooked meal in the evening because I worry about the lack of calories. My stress levels are the same as ever, so I don't want to just be partially raw.
So my choice seems to be: have cooked diet, eat correct amount of calories, remain at 94lbs at 5'7" tall, continue to have mental problems with no way out, continue to have extremely poor digestion.
Or: eat raw fruit diet, correct my mental health and feel happy and have more energy despite not eating enough, struggle to ingest 1200-1500 calories a day due to feeling immediately stuffed, lose untold amounts of weight (My neighbour was a 5'2 woman 24 pounds less than me who died of a heart attack due to low weight), no guarantee that I actually digest fruit better than anything else. (although fruit is the only thing that doesn't become highly visible in my poo)
So I need to correct my stomach acid problem. I took acid tablets before, but they didn't do any good at all, probably because they were only 200mg and the amount of water needed to get enough tablets down was painful and had a neutralising effect. So I have brought stronger tablets, and hope that this will be enough. However all the people who say that acid helped them seemed to have taken the tablets containing pepsin, which I'm not willing to do. Does anyone have any experience or advice regarding this issue, such as the correct time (before or after a meal) and dosage to take the acid tabs?
Other things I am doing to improve my stomach acid: I have just purchased some glutathione, which Asperger's lack. Lack of it causes high B12 levels in the blood, but the vitamin is unusable and supplementing with b12 makes the situation worse by leeching folates in some complicated way, due to a broken methylation cycle. B12 is needed to produce stomach acid. I am also going to aggressively supplement with zinc picolinate, and have been taking Epsom salt baths for the past 5/6 months, which completely cured my heavy periods.
I also need to consume waaaay more calories. I would be willing to try the high calorie smoothies (because they have been blended, they are apparently easier to digest), but all the "high calorie" smoothies I've seen have had like 500 calories PER LITRE! That's as much as I could consume in a week! Therefore I need genuinely high calorie smoothies, to get me up to 3000 calories a day. I would also like to include more greens, as the more protein you eat the less calories you need.
I see no point in eating nuts, as I can't chew or digest them at all and they give me particularly bad stomach cramps. I can't chew seeds at all, but don't know how well they would be digested if I could. I can chew coconut flesh to some extent, but can't digest it at all. Would blending nuts/seeds actually make them easier to digest, or will they just not be visible in my poo because they've been churned up?
Also, how do I know I'm truly digesting fruit, since some of them give me bad cramps too (such as dates?)
Basically I need to some ultra high calorie, small in size, non-fatty, non-nutty smoothies to get my weight up. (I would rather avoid fat because I think it might prevent me digesting simple fruit and leaves while falsely making me feel full) I can drink about 150ml at a time, and then won't be able to eat/drink for about 90 minutes. I want to consume at least 3000 calories a day. I would be grateful for any tasty recipes or suggestions. (By the way, I do have a Vitamix :) )
I've been down the doctors many times about my stomach, they are useless, incompetent, ignorant and rude and make my feel like an idiot for daring to make an appointment, and I can't afford to go private, so this isn't an option.
Thank for reading and please reply :)
I haven't read your entire thread but...
are you consuming green smoothies? I'd love to see you consuming one with every meal!!! Adding heaps of spirulina, chlorella, hemp hearts (shelled seeds), soaked chia seeds and a little 3-6-9 oil into each one. And don't forget a little citrus with them as well.
And that's just for starters of course...
Pre soaked chia seeds are great as you do not really need to chew them. Green smoothies are fantastic. Have you tried the ice cream that we make from frozen bananas.
Mono meals are easier for your digestive system. Try a meal of mango pudding (just put in the blender). There should be some calories in that.
There is sufficient in the world for man's need, but not for his greed.
You are very brave to face your physical difficulties, and smart to look to this forum for ideas from all the experienced and creative raw-fooders here. I'm sure many will soon be lending you their support and input! Here's something to consider - soaked buckwheat seed. It is low-fat but high in calories - 1/4 cup has 140 calories. I personally use about 1/2 cup in smoothies. You might experiment with adding a little to a fruit smoothie that you drink over the day, just a few swallows at a time. Happy New Year to you! Jennifer
(I'm not active on this forum, and, for some reason, I just looked at it after years and have no intent to continue here.)
However, I saw your post and just want to say I think you seem incredible the way you have faced your challenges. You're really an inspiration.
Anyway, I have a Blendtec, which is an expensive blender ($400) but it makes the ingredients in the smoothie so smooth that it probably is easier on digestion than using a less expensive blender. You can put in anything you want and it will be blended so well without chunks or anything. (Although, personally I notice I still can't have certain combinations without problems, like cucumbers or broccoli in the smoothie. I find leafy greens, fruits, soaked chia seed or unsoaked hemp seeds ok.) I have digestive problems too. From what I understand, drinking smoothies will repair it so that more raw food can be consumed eventually with less problems. I think you can make a raw diet work. You seem like a good problem-solver. (After I posted this I saw the part of your post that said smoothies are problematic. Please excuse that I focused on that.)
Last edited by GreenLeaves; 12-26-2012 at 07:32 PM.
Your opening post is exhaustive in terms of the reasons why you can't do this or that. Perhaps if you concentrated on the things you can do then with baby-steps you'll do better.
Last edited by MysticTree; 12-27-2012 at 12:41 AM.