One Truth: Why I can’t have chocolate or alcohol…

January 16, 2013

I love to be real with you all, and tend to write on and on once I finally sit down to do so. I think sharing just one thought at a time might be a cool way to real chat, but also learn from you all as well. What is great about the blogging community and women in general is our ability to support and encourage each other through the good and the bad. So for today, here is one truth!…

I have a stomach condition with a funny name.
As I mentioned before I would write more about this.
I have talked to more people about it, the more I realize there are so many people with undiagnosed stomach problems! Here is a little more about my mine….

Gastritisan irritated stomach lining caused by anemia or stress (I had both in college). How did I find out I had it? My reaction to even a small glass of wine put me in the ER. I would vomit non-stop for 24 hours and border de-hydration. I felt like I was dying! I was sick the day before my sister Maria’s wedding, the day before my own wedding (over a beer!), and the day before my sister Tricia’s wedding. I thought it was an allergic reaction to alcohol, but when it became the same reaction to all forms of alcohol, I knew something was seriously wrong. The ER told me it was an ulcer.

Fast forward 5 years later, I finally decide to spend the money and get it taken care of. I had a gastroscopy and they told me what I thought would be a curable ulcer was an incurable stomach condition that would require a life long diet of all my favorite things in life...(not exaggerating) No caffein – no chocolate, coffee, or caffeineted tea. No alcohol (I have never been a big drinker, but don’t hold me back from a margarita or a glass of vino!). No garlic, onion, or acid based food. No eating heavy meals late at night, and no fried foods (How can I live without fries??).

To be honest I have cheated on multiple occassions. I am weaning myself off of life’s greatest pleasures. Maybe a little dramatic.. Truth is, there are so many other greater physical sufferings and this is just a small thing I can bear and allow it to strengthen me in virtue, right? 🙂 You can imagine how funny the reactions get when I tell people I cannot drink. They usually assume I am perpetually pregnant or breastfeeding (which is partly true)…

TMI maybe? I share this in hopes that if you or a loved one is having severe reactions to foods, look into it before it does too much damage. My stomach and esophagus were really damaged and I have had to work on re-building them. If I had let it go too long it could have lead to cancer. Scary thought!

So now its your turn! One truth to get to know you better…can be light or steep your choice:)

P.S. Gabe is now suffering from somach problems related to food and drink. Funny how you can develop the same quirks let alone physical ailments in marriage!

Leave a Comment

  • thank you so much for sharing! !I have a really weird stomach- super sensitive to certain acidic foods (like the ones you listed, and alcohol) and have had a million tests run but I’ve never heard of this! I’ll have to ask my doctor about it! THANK YOU!!! I know how hard it is to give up yummy food like that (especially when loved ones can eat it!) but you go girl! Way to take care of your body, you’re an inspiration! 🙂

    • I hope you do look into it! This is why I shared- I wish I had better direction when trying to figure it all out so I hope it helps to shed some light for some people. Thank you for your sweet words! Good luck to you as well!

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    • Ruby, that sounds all too familiar! I hope you are able to figure out what it is soon. Its hard to know what is going on in the inside of our bodies and see the damage being done when we only have sypmtoms to go by. Wishing you the best!

  • Anna, I am deeply sorry for you. I know it’s not cancer or the end of the world or whatever, but I also know what it is like to have some pretty annoying dietary restrictions, so I feel your pain (although mine have never caused a trip to the emergency room! yikes!). I’m hyperglycemic, so I basically don’t eat any sugar beyond that which is naturally found in vegetables and (some) fruit. That includes pretty much any grain as well. The only “cheating” I do is with two of your verboten foods: dark (and I mean dark) chocolate and wine. On the rare occasion that I have even a bit of a sugary dessert or a piece of bread, I get serious headaches and feel hungover the next day. I need to start offering it up more, because you are so right: it is a chance to grow in virtue, particularly the virtues of temperance and self-control!

  • I know that’s hard. My senior year of high school I had acid reflux and IBS. I only ate mild food for years. IBS is chronic, but once I changed my horrible eating habits I didn’t have the same reaction to chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol anymore. When I don’t eat healthy, though, I do get flare ups. So that’s what I’m sharing haha.

    • So much can be diet and health related. There are some fantastic resources for re-building your system through natural substances. Chicken broth, aloe vera juice, etc:)

  • Oh Anna!! That is very rough!

    You may or may not know that I was diagnosed with diabetes (type 1) just before Thanksgiving 2011 – so I have been managing a lot of diet changes – and trying to use it to grow in virtue…so, we have been working on life changes, just trying to be healthy and moderation (yes, I cheat a lot too!) – and drinking alcohol is “too much trouble” to try to figure out how much I can or can’t have, the way it will affect my bloodsugars, driving, eating… so I just don’t bother with it at all.

    Great job taking care of yourself!!

    • Diabetes is far more difficult of a struggle, and I admire you for the way you bear it. I am the same. Too much effort to find out the right results. I am so scared of getting how sick I was. Not worth the risk! <3

  • I’m pretty sure I have some weird aversion to milk. Not dairy, just milk. I love it, but if I drink it too fast (read: normal pace for other people) I get really nauseated for at least 10 minutes and have to lie down. If I drink it slowly, I’m fine.
    So I totally understand about tummy troubles! It sucks.

    carelessly graceful

  • That is so difficult, Anna! And I really admire you for being able to give up that stuff. Ever since I moved to the Netherlands I’ve been told to avoid wheat and gluten because my skin has been very very sensitive since I got here. I still cheat and suffer the consequences – but I couldn’t imagine if my dietary limitations would include WINE and chocolate. Ah!

    Thank you for sharing your one truth with us!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I have dealt with stomach issues since High School and have yet to figure out what it is. Being prescribed numerous different meds and nothing really works. Sometimes the pains are so bad I can’t breath. Your post today was a reminder and push that I really need to get it looked at!

  • new reader here – has your doctor talked to you about a paleo diet? It’s really good for any stomach or digestion issues – just thought I’d throw that out there.

  • Isn’t it so funny how people react when you say you don’t drink or you don’t want a drink??? I can be very sensitive to alcohol sometimes – either getting extremely sick for the next few days or getting a really bad migraine. And it’s not all alcohol or every time and it doesn’t matter how much or how little I drink. i drink has done it to me before. But people get really weird about it sometimes when I’m out – like that I can’t have fun or something. Sometimes I’ll just order a sparkling water with lime to make it look like I have a drink. Do people ever act weird when you don’t order a drink? Do you explain?

    • Lauren…soooo funny! I honestly get such a kick out of it. I don’t think many people know how to have a good time without the influence of alcohol. Luckily I have had so many understanding friends who don’t drink as well and we always have a blast. It’s a great conversation starter for sure:) My sweet husband likes to come up with creative non-alcoholic drinks to get me at the bar, which is nice!

  • Oh no Anna! I didn’t know that about you. Although I do remember Angela telling me about you being sick before Maria’s wedding. I’m so sorry! The only thing I can sympathize with is alcohol- I barely ever drink because even a few sips can give me debilitating migraines. But I can’t imagine the rest. One of my best friends lives with Crohn’s and she has to restrict her diet similarly. Y’all both have things to offer up every day! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow Anna, that sounds like no fun at all! I don’t have any dietary issues but something I struggle with daily is clinical depression. It’s an uphill battle but definitely one worth fighting.

    • We each have our own burdens to carry, and its how we choose to accept them. Seeing how you choose to blog in a positive way is really inspiring Clarissa. Bless you for that! x

  • I have always had an iron stomach. ALWAYS! Until I recently had to leave a job due to stress and abuse, and my stomach has definitely suffered. I started getting strange pains in my stomach and finally saw the doctor. I had gastritis, the doc thinks mainly due to stress. It has been getting better since I left my job, but when I drink alcohol it comes back pretty severely. NOOOOOO!!!! Apparently, lots of fiber and water should help me get back to normal. But what a constant reminder and life suck! Good luck to you on your journey with your stomach condition.

  • Anna, that sounds terrible. 🙁 So glad you found out what it was and avoided anything worse! My grandma was allergic to chocolate, and when we used to go to church, they would have cookies after the service. She would always sneak in a little chocolate chip cookie and we’d say, “Mammaw, aren’t you allergic?” She’s just grin and reply that just a little won’t hurt. Ha! Well…I guess on the bright side of things, you’ll always have that petite and pretty body…although I know that I would be a complete wreck.

  • Hmmm….you may be on to something for me. I have the most sensitive stomach known to man. It’s rediculous! I have had bloodwork, as well as different scans, all showing nothing. But SOMETHING is wrong because my stomach hurts a lot. And if its not hurting I stress that it might hurt if I eat such and such, or think about what I ate earlier going to make it hurt. It’s a battle. Everyday. I’m thinking I may need to do elimination, starting with what you’ve listed and see if that helps!

    Good luck with cutting out the good stuff (chocolate—I don’t drink—never have, so that won’t be a problem…caffine…now THAT will be…)

  • I have a gluten allergy and a non-functioning thyroid, but I’ll take not being able to eat breads, most desserts or breakfast foods ANY DAY over not having coffee or wine. GIRL! You are still the cutest! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ah yes I hate my stomach as well! I am lactose intolerant well…on occasion. Every time I eat dairy Ill either get sick or feel like I am going to its an awful feeling! But it has become my norm its really bad, my friend and I were talking about how you know your life/body issues are really sad when feeling bad is a norm because giving up ALL dairy is just too hard anyways to even be an option.

  • Thanks for sharing Anna! I recently gave up all forms of dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, chocolate and citrus because my daughter has eczema and i think it is food allergy related (i’m breastfeeding). Its been tough, especially during the holidays…but all the worth it when I can see my child is less uncomfortable. I see her as my child that calls me to be more virtuous too, since I was borderline gestational diabetic (when pregnant with her) and had to adjust my diet even from pregnancy! People do think that i’m a bit crazy for all these food sacrifices but i think its only made me out to be healthier for myself and my children.

  • I feel for you! For me eating is one of life’s big pleasures, and being married to a chef I am very lucky I have no dietary restrictions. I have a lot of friends with stomach and allergy issues…. it seems to be more and more common these days! I have had a few instances where drinking causes me to start wheezing…. so I try to be careful about that for sure! ~Stephanie

  • Anna, I can sympathize. Katie as you know suffers from severe migraines and is on a more restricted diet and her sister Elie has had stomach issues (undiagnosed even after multiple tests/colonoscopy) and migraines, and I tend to have a sensitive stomach as well. Both girls are lactose intolerant to a varying degrees. Trying to find new things to eat and enjoy has been a struggle for both of them. I know Katie’s friends always had a hard time understanding why she couldn’t eat a simple sub sandwich (she can’t have nitrites and nitrates). I really do believe all of the preservatives in foods these days are causing a lot of the problems.

  • no fires–now that is hard. i don’t know how i would cope.

    i can’t eat rich foods, they make me ill, so i have to avoid them, so i kind of know what it is like.

  • Thank you for speaking out about this. I’ve been struggling for the past two years with stomach/bowel problems and been hospitalised 3 times. Every doctor has passed it off as something to do with stress or anxiety but I know they’re wrong. What you wrote helped, inspired and scared me. My Grandma and aunt died of bowel cancer, I have no intention of going the same way! I’m heading to my doctors asap and demanding a proper answer, if he won’t give me one, I’ll pay for further testing. Thank you so much.

  • Oh my goodness, that is so very scary! I’m glad you’re ok but sorry you get enjoy some of your favorite foods. I’m sure you’ll be adventerous though and discover new things you can eat that you love!

  • Wow. You are seriously so light-hearted about it and that inspiring! I’m so glad you caught it before it became cancer! I like these share moments. I guess my share would be that I have a scar tissue all throughout my spine. I was in a pretty bad car accident when I was 18 on Christmas Day that left me pretty beat up and scarred my back for life. I try not to let it effect my everyday life, but I did have to quit dancing (I was in school to be a professional dancer) and now cold nights and days almost paralyze me. But like you said, it’s such a small thing compared to what some people live with from day to day. I’m thankful I’m in good health and didn’t lose more in the accident.

    happy wednesday lovely!

    Redheaded Daybook

  • Oh my! I’m glad you looked into it and got some answers! One thing I am trying to work on lately is taking better care of myself 😉

    One truth along the same medical vein…I have TMJ and it stinks. But you learn to live with it and hope it strengthens you in some way. It makes me cranky though to be in pain all the time so I’m trying to find ways to live with it better so I’m a better mom and wife for my family.

  • i sympathize with your story as i have anxiety-induced stomach problems. good for you for weaning yourself and taking care of it! a lot of people don’t do that and certainly suffer for it.
    kw, Ladies in Navy

  • after years and years of strange stomach issues….i finally took an allergy test and i found out i’m highly allergic to eggs! oh, the irony….
    i feel your pain on cutting out foods you love but overtime you get used to it.

    xo the egg out west.

  • What an awful way to find out! But I am glad you found out—-and I am empathizing with you!

    One truth for me—-my pinky toe is barely visible because it hides behind my 4th toe. 🙂 Haha. TMI? Maybe.

  • I am so happy (in a weird way) to hear that other people have similar struggles. I have dealt with mysterious stomach issues for the last several years, and it really made its shining debut this past year. I had nonstop nausea, dramatic weight loss, back and shoulder pain, unexplained nausea. I met with four doctors, in total, with the last finally diagnosing me with something other than stress, anxiety, and other various issues. I had been through countless tests and scans, most of which told me I was “fine,” and a few pointing toward acid reflux and gastritis (HEY! We almost had that in common!). I had lots of friends and family telling me how much it sounded like gallbladder issues, even though I’m not quite the typical GB patient (I’m 25, very petite). I started making Google my second home on the Internet, and the coincidence was unreal. Things I had been complaining about for the last four or five years were symptoms of malfunctioning GB’s. Blah, blah.. I had my GB out last Monday, and I already feel better.

    Despite both of our “problems” being minimal in the grand scheme of things, I know how frustrating they can be. I give you such a pat on the back for rolling with the punches and just learning how to work with your body. It’s definitely a learning experience! Hopefully any of your readers who have weird digestive things going on don’t give up on finding out what’s up! Even if it takes time, that final explanation and solution will be worth every visit and annoying test you do. Thanks for the reassuring inspiration. xx, lj

    • Lydia,
      Couldn’t find an email address for you but wanted to thank you so much for your feedback. SO happy you found out what was hurting you. Its a relief to know, isn’t it? Amazing how many of us have these issues to deal with. It reminds me to always be aware that each person has burdens to carry.
      Wishing you all the best!
      x, anna

  • I am plagued with Crohn’s Disease, so there are a lot of things I have to be wary of. I personally haven’t noticed any trigger foods, but if I am having a flare, I go on a low fat, low residue diet. Strangely with Crohn’s, the things you think of as being good for you (raw fruits and veggies, whole grains) are things they may need to be avoided because they are harder to digest. However, I follow the Bible on what to eat, and since God gave us the plants of the earth, I say phooey to that silly ole’ disease. I am now on Remicade, which is an infusion that I get every eight weeks. It’s pretty hardcore stuff, but it seems to do the trick. I had a very bad flare in the fall of 2011; I ended up in the hospital and had to have emergency surgery because perforations developed in my colon WHILE I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL, as in, I did not have them when I was admitted, but they formed while I was there. I had a colostomy for about four months before they were able to reverse it because my colon had rested, and I had no symptoms. I have my annual colonoscopy early next month, and I am praying for remission! Hope you stay in great health!

  • thank you so, so much for posting this!! i have had terrible stomach problems off and on since high school (10 years now), and have had a colonoscopy and a blood test for crohn’s and celiac and they have found nothing. i will add this to the list!!

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  • I have never heard of this condition…thank you so much for sharing 🙂 I have a friend who has been suffering from a lot of stomach issues that she believes are food related, but her doctors have not been able to figure it out. I will direct her to this post in hopes it may help her in some way. hmmm…a truth about me is that i have been terribly allergic to cherries since I was about 19. 🙁 i am the only person i know that is allergic to cherries…i am tortured when they are in season and everyone around me is gushing with how delicious they are. they were a favorite of mine when i was little. i miss them, but i have learned to be happy with all of the tasty fruits i can have & love just as much 🙂 seems minuscule compared to others’ major food allergies, but it still bums me out sometimes. XO Brynn

  • Aw, I’m very sorry to hear this. One of my co-workers has the same condition. It’s very tough on her. It’s also very interesting that I’m reading this today because I went to the doctor earlier this morning because I’ve been having some weird stomach issues lately. I think more people than many of us realize deal with severe stomach issues on a regular basis.

  • I’m sorry to hear this but glad you feel comfortable sharing! Sometimes that is the best way to accept something is to share it with others. So many of my friends have conditions that require them to remove certain foods from their diet. I am lucky I’m not one of them but for all I know there is something out there that I should be avoiding as we speak and I’m just not realizing it. Take care and don’t ever be afraid to share! xxoo

  • I have also had stomach issues and digestion problems for as long as I can remember! I switched to a vegan diet over 2 years ago, and noticed a dramatic improvement. I think a lot of people have medical problems that can be improved by changing their diet, it’s just hard to know what to start with and so hard to diagnose! Thank you for sharing your story 🙂 xo Lacey

  • I had a mld form of gastritis… Started a new job which required early mornings so I was drinking a cup of coffee everyday. fast forward 2.5 months and I had no appetite, nauseated and felt like gulping down a cup of honey to soothe my throat.. lol

    I have cut the coffee but I cld never leave my chocolate…

    I think Gabe’s stomach issues are called spousal empathy eg husbands that get very emotional or crabby or crampy around the wifes “time of the month”
    Another things is that his body might have become adjusted to your diet so deflections from that would cause a stomach upset. I live with my brother and it happens a

  • When I was in grad school I suffered from acid reflux that was a result of stress. I couldn’t eat heavy meals at night, chocolate, mint, tomatoes, drink orange juice and much more. I got many procedures done including a endoscopy because it was accompanied by a pain in my right side. Now I’m very careful not to let myself get to stressed so that I don’t see the symptoms. So glad that you took care of yourself as well!

    XO Kelley

  • Thank you for sharing this! I think I can relate. I have my own stomach problems that cause me to get dehydrated and to vomit constantly. We still haven’t figured it out exactly, but your story has given me some hope.
    You’re incredibly brave and strong for putting up with this misfortune. I hope you’re doing well and your stomach problems haven’t taken over your life.

  • I have had a few stomach issues myself and the worst part is having to make a lifestyle change. Pain in the butt. Thank you for sharing and I hope the adjustment goes smoothly!

  • So sorry that you have had to go through all of this but I know that the Lord has great plans for you and you will be able to find meals and recipes that will satisfy your needs. God bless you! XOXO

  • Oh bless your heart. I could not imagine the willpower is takes to have such a limited diet. It is amazing how much we blog about ourselves but don’t talk about big parts of our lives.

  • Oh, have the strength of a god. Many of my family members are diabetic & so far my tests have come out negative. But reducing the carbs (pasta!) will be a mega challenge for me if I’m ever diagnosed.

    So my truth would be I may never have any more kids. I blessed to have one fabulous 10 year old boy. But when he was a few years old, I was in and out of the doctor’s & a cyst was discovered. At first, the doc thought it might be more fibroid & go away. Instead, it kept growing & started to jumble up my insides. Had to go into surgery to remove the grapefruit sized cyst & an ovary. Endometriosis. I was told that I may not be able to have any more children.

    But I have my son & am grateful. There are so many couples out there that struggle to conceive at I know how lucky I am.

  • Oh you poor thing! No alcohol or chocolate!?! Well, at least you’ll always stay thin! 😉 On a serious note, have you tried acupuncture? I treat a lot of patients with this ailment and I’ve seen AWESOME results!!!

  • OMG. Anna! I have gastritis too! I feel like I need to write you an email. But I had similar experiences…dating all the way back to when I was in high school. The symptoms would come and go and finally in college I had a endoscopy which discovered it! Mine was triggered by use of advil/etc (I was using each month during my period)…but I didn’t know that I had a sensitivity to it. I’m also sensitive to spicy foods, coffee, hard alcohol and red wine (I cheat on the wine…I come from an Italian family that makes wine)! Haha. The spicy food is REALLY hard too. I’m trying to manage it better, but it’s really hard. Thank you for sharing. It’s a really annoying condition, but you are right, we should be thankful it’s not something serious. I hope you’re feeling good with your pregnancy. I’m finally finished with morning sickness (I hope)!

    • Alexa, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what else have you found you should avoid? I just found out I have gastritis, and it’s unbearable when the pain hits! So is white wine okay, but red wine is harder on the stomach? My Dr. told me I could have coffee, but that seemed odd to me… Any tips would help! Thanks!

    • Sending you an email!

  • GREAT post actually! Many stomache conditions go unnoticed because we or even doctors write it off as a stomache ache or something less severe. Not to be a Debbie Downer but my Mother in law complained of stomache pain and her dr. wrote it off as a stomache ache mutliple times… eventually we came to find out that the stomache pain was caused by a tumor growing on her bile duct. Sadly she didn’t live long after we found out. It was too late. So i’m glad you posted this so that others don’t ignore any sort of tummy symptoms.

  • Thank you all so much for the responses! I am working on emailing each of you! Much love~

  • 2 of my small humans have food reactions so I completely understand. I’m nursing so therefor I do too. A simple thing like a meal out can be a giant stress to plan. Can we eat? Should we pre eat. I find its gotten easier over the years.

  • Wow! Thanks so much for sharing with us and being so vulnerable!
    One truth: Before being a girlfriend, a wife or mother, I have always longed first to be a grandma. I love the idea of having grandchildren, telling them stories and having crazy wisdom.


  • Thank you for sharing your truth! Your medical diagnosis has impacted your nutritional choices, but given the adverse reactions, better to be safe than sorry! Hope you are doing well, Anna!

  • OMGOODNESS! I just had a few trips to the ER (scary!) over unbearable stomach pain, only to discover I have gastritus too! Only I feel very in the dark about it. My doctor simply told me to avoid all Advil, ibuprofen, etc. So should I avoid alcohol and chocolate too??? Yikes. And yes, I agree that the name is ridiculous and I hate telling people about it. haha Glad to know I’m not alone, though! Thanks for sharing!

    • I am so sorry to hear it:( I read through what iritates a stomach lining and caffein, acid, and alchohol are the main ones, so to really heal your lining it is good to avoid anything with these in it. However, I am too weak when it comes to chocolate or pasta sauce so I give in once in a while. Will email you!

  • Apparently, gastritis is a fairly common ailment. I’d love to know more of what you know reagarding the “dos” and “don’ts”, so-to-speak. I also discovered I have a mild form of gastritis, and, though it flares up only every once in awhile, it is almost debilitating.

  • hi anna, thank you for sharing. I have all of the intolerances you mentioned coupled with migraine! your blog post helped me in understanding what was going on!


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