Day 14: FODMAPs

A lot has happened in the past few days. I’ve seen the Hunger Games. Twice.

I had the MOST AMAZING RUN (and experienced “Vomit Hill”).

Vomit Hill - I almost contributed to its namesake.

And yesterday, I saw a nutritionist. I have been thinking about seeing one for quite some time and this past week I was pushed to the edge. I feel like my body is attacking itself whenever I eat.

You see, I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux at age 5; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at 10; Chronic Daily Headaches due to decreased levels of Serotonin at 19; Lactose Intolerance in early 20s; Hypothyroidism at 27; Gastroparesis at 28. Not to mention Asthma and Seasonal Allergies.

That’s a whole lot of auto-immune problems going on.

When you have IBS, you’re told to eat more fiber. When you try to lose weight, you are told to eat more fiber – because it is more filling than other foods.

When you’re diagnosed with gastroparesis, you’re told to eat less fiber – that fiber is one of the worst things for that condition.

So, when you have it all (aren’t you jealous?), what in the hell are you supposed to eat?

I don’t know. And that’s why I went to see a nutritionist. No matter what I’ve tried, I can’t lose more weight. I’m down 27 lbs. from my highest weight 2 years ago, but I cannot get past this hump. It’s frustrating because I work out – hard. I work out 4-5 times a week.

The appointment was very eye-opening. Rachel was very friendly and helpful. I was afraid that I would scare her off with all my problems. After listening to my history, taking a look at a food log and asking me some other questions, Rachel suggested I might benefit from eliminating FODMAPs from my diet.

I know what you’re thinking – what in the hell are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. The term is an acronym.

FODMAPs are: Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans), Disaccharides (eg. Lactose), Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose) and Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt).

Basically, they are sugars, starches and fibers in food that some people (especially those with IBS) can’t fully digest or absorb. Because FODMAPs aren’t absorbed properly in the small intestine, “They end up in the large intestine along with water, where they undergo bacterial fermentation into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and short-chain fatty acids.” Sounds sexy, right?

Can I be honest here? Good. I can’t even explain just how bloated I’ve been lately. And gassy. Again with the sexy talk.

After researching and reading more about FODMAPs, I wonder if the size of my gut will go down as I eliminate FODMAPs from my diet. Can I blame my bloaty gut on them? We’ll see.

First attempt at FODMAPs elimination diet - salmon cakes.

For the past two weeks, it hasn’t mattered what I eat – I always feel horrible after eating. It’s frustrating. It makes you not want to eat. But I know I have to, so I keep eating. Honestly, I’m willing to try just about anything at this point. So, Rachel and I decided that I would try to eliminate FODMAPs from my diet for the next month, and then return to discuss how the month went. I am going to keep a food journal, detailing everything I eat for the next month. I will be including my energy level and other physical symptoms with each post. You can follow my food journal (if you’re interested) at http://fodmap.tumblr.com.

Initially, I’m going to completely eliminate FODMAPs from my diet. If things get better, I may attempt to bring certain (borderline) foods back in to my diet, to see which FODMAPs my body can tolerate. I’m hopeful this elimination diet will change my life for the better. Otherwise, I’m gonna be pissed to give up things like apples, pears, avocados, watermelon, artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onion, mushrooms and EVERYTHING THAT CONTAINS GLUTEN/WHEAT.

Yeah. I’m not happy about this diet, but I’m trying it because I so desperately want to feel normal. Even if it means eliminating favorite foods from my diet. Basically, eliminating FODMAPs from your diet means eating no packaged foods – it is difficult to find packaged foods that don’t contain FODMAPs, so this afternoon’s trip to the grocery store was a lengthy one – full of reading labels on EVERYTHING and trying not to feel too depressed. I’m to the point I just NEED to feel better and I’ll do just about anything to get there.

Anyways. Whew. There’s that. Here’s to new beginnings.

Here are some resources I’ve found helpful so far:

 

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