I love working with gastrointestinal issues. It seems weird, but I like the challenge of helping clients find dietary solutions to complex symptoms that involve the digestive tract. Often these symptoms include abdominal bloating and/or pain, constipation or diarrhea, excessive gas, acid reflux, and nausea. While diet doesn’t necessarily treat these conditions, often it can make a world of difference in how someone feels and how a person is able to heal.
One condition I particularly enjoy working with is eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE. EoE is an inflammatory condition of the esophagus. While the symptoms are similar to general reflux or GERD, it differs in that there is measurable inflammation in the lining of the esophagus that can cause serious damage over time.
Besides causing acid reflux (GERD) or feeling overly acidic, other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, nausea, and abdominal pain.
I’ve actually seen a lot more clients recently diagnosed with this condition. Unfortunately there are few treatment options besides steroids (to quell the inflammation) or proton pump inhibitors (to reduce the reflux), making this diagnosis frustrating for many patients. Often the clients I see have tried standard treatments to no avail and have not had medical professionals thoroughly discuss the diet interventions available.
Thankfully we do have dietary options for EoE! Studies have shown there are 6 foods commonly associated with provoking inflammation in these patients. By cutting out these foods and assessing symptoms over time, we can see if one or more of these foods is the culprit. The 6 food elimination diet, as it is called, is where I often start with clients who have not undertaken this type of diet before.
Here is one link to get more information on this type of intervention:
As you can see, it’s not a particularly hard diet so to speak, but tricky. It involves a lot of label reading, meal planning and close attention to detail. This is why working with a dietitian through the process is particularly helpful.
Do note that this approach does not work for everyone. For some, the triggers foods are beyond the 6 food elimination diet. For those clients I use food sensitivity testing (the Mediator Release Test, as I’ve written about before) to help us devise the perfect, customized elimination diet. Often this helps us close the loop on undiscovered food triggers and finally find success in reducing inflammatory levels and symptoms.
Have you been diagnosed with EoE or your doctor suspects it? Reach out to a dietitian if you need help figuring out what your trigger foods might be and customizing an appropriate diet. These types of diet journeys are always easier and more successful with a little guidance!
Recipe of the Month: Almond Flour Pancakes
If you are getting started on an elimination diet or just want to try something gluten free and dairy free, these pancakes are a winner!
Check out this link for delicious pancakes you can whip up in minutes, once you get the ingredients lined up. Almond flour is easy to find at most major grocery stores now, including Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joes, and even Amazon.
Click this link for the recipe: