Digestive Woes

Pretty much all of my friends know that my digestive system is The Worst in about as ambiguous a way as is possible. I've done rounds of testing (SIBO being the most majorly disgusting), a few different elimination diets (ovo-lacto vegetarian; dairy-free, both vegetarian and not; low-FODMAP; paleo, but without eggs), and gone to see doctors more in the last two years than I have every other year of my life combined. The results are always along the lines of "Huh, that's weird, I would have put money on you having X, but you...don't." So I continue to have the vague and unsatisfying diagnosis of IBS. I live a life plagued by constant mild-to-extreme nausea (inc. occasional weeks of random barfing) and "urgent intestinal distress."* This is a big reason why I had to stop tattooing: having to cancel an appointment the morning of because I suddenly got nasty sick--which happened way too often--is a bummer for everyone. If only it had been carpal tunnel, man. 

But the point of this post is not to tell you the gross details of my idiot intestines. The point is that I recently discovered that there is a whole field of nutrition that might ACTUALLY be able to solve my problems, and that field is nutrigenomics.** Honestly, I am very surprised that, with all of the casual food and genetic research I do for funsies, I only just found out about this whole concept (by name)*** yesterday.

As the name suggests, nutrigenomics is the study of food+gene expression. The general idea is that no one diet fits all (duh) and that maybe we could dial in which foods work for you as an individual by looking at your genes. This sounds both logical and thoroughly awesome to me. Then again, on most days nutrition science seems about as hard-sciencey as sociology, so I'm trying to keep my expectations in the "tentatively optimistic" range. But, man, I would LOVE to take my raw data from 23&me and--much like I did with Promethease for pharmacogenetics (and general interest)--plug that ish into a program that poops out my ideal diet. 

I was not stoked on paleo when I did it because I felt like crap for a whole month. I'm not opposed to giving up foods--even foods I love (pierogi, burritos, Daniel's homemade pizza, etc). What I'm opposed to is giving up the foods I love and continuing to feel awful. This seems like a thing science could figure out, and that is really exciting. I am also a fan because I love lists, and so even if my ideal diet is literally five foods, I'm ok with it, because it's a list that I can follow and know is working. If someone could decipher the secret to my ideal workout, while they're at it, that would be stupendous, THANK YOU.

If you know of any good studies on this topic, I'm interested in links! No links to that "eating for your blood type" guy, though, because I think he establishes people's "genotype" by suspiciously phrenologistic means (i.e. with a "biometric protractor" + your fingerprints). I try to be open minded, but will maintain that this method is very sketchy until proven otherwise. I suspect I could get about as far by telling people to eat pears if they are shaped like pears, beans if they are shaped like beans, apples for apples, etc etc snake oil etc.

EDIT: Have any of my Bay Area friends tried/looked into Habit? I'm not in the Bay, but if I hear good reports and they expand their area of service, I may be interested.


*if you know me irl or on twitter, you know that I am not ashamed to be more graphic, but for you, sweet readers, I am attempting to be at least a liiiittle genteel about it.

**along with its close friend, nutrigenetics--a technically separate scientific pursuit, but obviously in the same camp

***I've read a lot of interesting blog posts that sort of talk about this, but never by name and usually in the context of a particular disease--usually something like blah blah this gene = heart disease blah blah eat less cholesterol blah duh blah blah.