Low FODMAP – A beginning

Monday, January 16, 2017

How we got here: Four years ago now my stomach went nuts. I had a bad stomach bug after eating a burrito (how could you, surprisingly it didn’t stop me from eating burritos as a whole) and while I felt way better the next day things started going amiss shortly there after. I didn’t have insurance so I went to an Urgent Care close to home and they suggested antibiotics in case I had giardia. They suggested this as the cheapest option, no testing, knock it out if it’s in there, oh well if it isn’t. At the time I was not familiar with how much antibiotics can wreck a system, especially one that is already wrecked. I wonder what would have happened if I had testing done and went into debt that way instead of living with digestion issues for the next 4 years.
After that round of antibiotics I went to a chiropractor who told me to go to this doctor that was holistic in nature. I showed up practically crying (actually I was probably crying) because I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t eat, and life was stressful. Through the next few months the doctor would suggest things, my dad ended up paying for my health insurance and I thought I was on the way to getting some answers. Oh no naive Corey… that was not the case. After random tests that I assumed were covered by insurance, no definitive answers, a lot of bills to pay and my doctor asking why I wasn’t eating a couple months in I quit and managed the best I could. I figured anxiety wasn’t helping me, I avoided foods that really made me feel weird and I kept trucking on.
Between then and now I went and saw a couple other doctors, other symptoms popped up that might not seem related but I’m pretty sure are, and just dealt with it while feeling guilty.
Early November I decided I had enough, I decided it was time to see a doctor again, that it was time to stop half ass trying stuff to make my stomach better, that waiting it out and hoping it would fix itself wasn’t going to happen. I was tired of my excuses, I was tired of my relationship with sugar, I was tired with how little I liked food, I was tired.

I made an appointment with a new internal medicine doctor once my health insurance changed over at my job and hoped for the best. Honestly… not all that thrilled. She listened to a couple of things I said, decided IBS and then proceeded to tell me to look up the Low FODMAP diet and give it a shot. Basically, google this and have fun! At the time I was looking into the candida diet but not ready to take the plunge, because, well it’s quite tough. I went home and looked into the Low FODMAP diet and wasn’t impressed. No garlic, no onion, very little gluten, but an allowance of sugar that surprised me a bit. I stopped cooking with onion or garlic and I started taking a probiotic that day but didn’t do much else. I wasn’t ready to start this or another diet right at the holidays.
During the holidays I didn’t gorge as much on candy, and while home I didn’t even eat the things I had been looking forward to. My stomach had been going a little nuts so the idea of mexican food or In N Out surprisingly didn’t interest me.

After the holidays were over I hemmed and hawed and finally decided that I would try the Low FODMAP diet. I didn’t really have a plan though, and I wasn’t going to allow myself sugar. I really like to make myself miserable when I start a new goal. Not only was I going to embark on this goal, but I was determined to get my body in shape and stop resting on my shoulder excuses. (When I looked back at 2016 I had a hard time seeing goals accomplished or even worked towards… so for 2017 I decided to come in hot apparently.)

This is how the first two weeks went:

Week 1:
– Went to Trader Joe’s thinking maybe this would be the time I would end up liking it like others do. It was January 2nd, that was not to be the case. The place was packed with people and their Whole 30, gluten free, resolution high glory and I was feeling anxious, claustrophobic and, once again, couldn’t find most of what I wanted. I still hate Trader Joe’s.
– Walked by the basket of treats that is still at work and everything was pretty much fine. I know I can’t touch it, I even donated my delicious trail mix to it last week because if other people eat it, I can’t. I have a problem with low key binging chocolates. All was good until I opened my desk drawer and found a Reese’s I had forgotten to give up. All the basket treats, no problem, something in my desk that feels like “mine” – challenge. I immediately put it in the basket and tried to distract myself. A couple days later it was gone and not by me. Phew.
– Not all that hungry, feeling upset about other things (a dude). Making it easier to not think about sugar or the glutens. Silver lining?
– Finishing my sourdough bread loaf one piece at a time. While real sourdough is Low FODMap, most that are in stores now are not. Going to have to find one that is.
– Bloat is definitely disappearing… that paired with some core workouts is an interesting feeling.

Week one went okay solely because I didn’t feel like eating much and was slightly upset due to other things. I went to the gym, my abs felt awesome, my bloat definitely went down, but then…

Week 2:
-I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m Huuuuuuungryyyy! Give me everything and anything but really not anything.
-Not a fan of straight coconut aminos, they make me feel gross.
– Any time I want to practice my pregnancy look I can just eat a bunch of rice product like, well, rice, and rice cakes/rice chex etc.
– I consciously decided to eat things that weren’t Low FODMap, I need to start over and plan better to support myself. As a “you’ll be okay” I got myself sushi with wasabi that had sorbitol (not okay) in it and then I had an absolutely delicious cupcake with cookies and creme icing and sprinkles. Honesty it was the sprinkles that called my name the most. I was able to enjoy it slower than I would have a month ago, progress?
– What does it mean to eat enough food, is this hunger because I’m working out too? What is the cost of eating going to be? What was filling me up before? Salt?
– Not necessarily cranky but I am short on patience.
– Intolerance to carrot?

Week two was a cluster-eff. I was hungry, like deeply hungry, often. I was angry and I don’t know if I was that angry at a situation I had been a part of or if part of it was the hunger. I decided that I didn’t need to take delicious cereal away from myself because I needed something to fill me up but then the bloat came which makes me suspicious of too much rice as it was a rice based, gluten free cereal. I started to wonder if I was eating enough for the time I was putting in to the gym (probably not an actual worry considering I’m not lifting heavy, but still a thought because dang it, hunnngrrrry). Nothing I was allowed to have sounded good, I had told myself no baked good, I hadn’t supported myself with a good plan and life felt hard. I made one delicious dinner and enough for lunch the next day and it was so good but still I was incredibly hungry. Half way through the week I decided I needed to re-evaluate, I got some sushi, overlooked the sorbitol in the wasabi and then gave myself a gluten filled cupcake of wonder and sprinkles. No regrets. I stuck with the gym, I checked out some different Low FODMAP cookbooks from the library, looked up and then purchased a multivitamin recommended by the doc and started testing some recipes. I continued re-evaluating my goals and how militant I wanted to be.

After obsessing and stressing and going around in circles, after reading some intense GAPS diet cookbooks and after looking up so many recipes online I decided that militant still doesn’t work for me. I do know that concrete guidelines, timelines, and baby steps do work though. Here’s where I am at now… I’m starting over from the beginning. I will continue to omit garlic and onion in all high FODMAP forms (powdered and fresh, green onion and garlic infused olive oil is okay), I am allowed to bake Low FODMAP recipes, I am going to be finding myself a Low FODMAP friendly protein powder, I have made myself some chocolate peanut butter balls for when I need a sweet hit (I’m not omitting sweets at this point, though I am making them with low levels of fructose), and I am looking up simple but delicious ways to cook the veggies I can already tolerate. I’m also going to be working on getting really cook at cooking meat in simple and delicious ways. My kitchen is going to be a bit of a test kitchen for a while, I’m going to need to try a lot of things to figure out what my staples are going to be. All that and I’m sticking with the gym, the gym, unlike this food craziness, makes me feel good, it’s not going away.

I’m excited to see my relationship with sugar change, I don’t know that it will happen right away but I definitely want to be more intentional with it and start adding a bigger variety of veggies in.
I’m excited to see what my body does with this working out, I have a couple things that I would like to see but my main goals are restrengthening my body, rehabing my shoulders and showing up.
I hope to gather important information about certain food intolerances and triggers, I hope to shift my tastes to healthier options 80% of the time, and I hope to learn more about cooking.

When I first start making plans and goals I think of super militant impressive things I need to do. I think it needs to be all or nothing and then I find myself pretty miserable pretty fast. While I’m sure going on the GAPS diet wouldn’t hurt my stomach, it’s not the lifestyle I want to have right now. I’m the kind of person that needs to be boiled slowly with changes if I want them to stick. I was afraid that if I didn’t go full out that at the end of the year I would see no difference, but the more likely thing would be that if I stuck to militant and at this point impossible criteria I would end up quitting which would just feed my excuses. In all of this I am learning how to support myself while continuing with my goals. I no longer am interested in trying to mentally beat myself into submission.



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