I’ve started this post at least 4 times….how to explain my diet and why it has changed without telling you my whole history with food and health.
Let’s try to put it in a as few words as possible. Years ago I had a lot of pain and health issues including Gastrointestinal (GI) issues that no one could really explain. They gave me lots of labels and none really fit. Eventually I found out I was “slightly” allergic to wheat, so I quit eating it. I felt better. I decided to stop eating gluten all together. For many reasons. That’s not what this post is about though…so to make this shorter I’ll leave that there.
I also have migraines, gastritis and irritable bladder…all of these require me to be picky about certain things I eat. For instance, I can’t have caffeine, red wine, I have to be careful about chemicals in foods, acidic and spicy foods….all kinds of things. Even my beloved dark chocolate can cause me trouble. (I am allowed small amounts. So I savor it.)
What else do you ask? I have Meniere’s disease as you all know. With that comes a low salt diet. I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. And last but certainly not least, I have Fructose Malabsorption. I was going to try to explain this here, but again….trying to make it as short as possible, so I found that Wikipedia really did a good job explaining this, so just click on the word and it will take you there and you can read all about it. After being diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption I had to really change my diet, it was hard. I was put on a diet called low FODMAPs.
I love the description of FODMAPs Kate Scarlata gives on her blog. Check it out. FODMAPs Basics.
Here is the list of foods I was given, what I could eat, what I couldn’t eat, how much of this and that…..I never got this right and found out some of it I still couldn’t eat.
So why did I still need to change? As I said…I couldn’t get it right! I’ve been following Kate Scarlata’s blog for a long time. She is a Registered Dietitian and a huge advocate and authority on the low FODMAP diet. She knows her stuff. So when she worked on a book, a diet book no less, that was based on low FODMAPs I was intrigued. I wondered, why a diet book. But I looked at it and found, this will help me. This book could help a lot of people.
Kate says, “21 Day Tummy is a plan designed for the person with digestive symptoms that also needs to lose weight BUT if you want to just enjoy the amazing recipes and learn more about gut bacteria, inflammation, belly fat and how that all connects to your health…I think it’s a great read with excellent science for just about everyone!” and I agree.
This book starts off with a very scaled down version of the low FODMAP diet. It has now grains in the first 5 days. It does have potatoes. You have a Belly Blaster Smoothie for Breakfast every day for a while. I thought this would be torture for me, I have always been a big breakfast person, but even after I was able to start eating other things for breakfast I have stuck with my smoothies. If I eat a “real” breakfast, I normally have a smoothie for lunch. I really like them. They are good, and like a meal in a glass. I have one and I’m not hungry for hours! I do mean HOURS! It’s funny, I turned to Stuart the other night and said, “How come I can have a smoothie for breakfast and not be hungry for hours and have a full dinner and be hungry in less than 2 hours?” He said, “Me too!” Funny huh?
So I have used this diet as an elimination diet. It has fewer foods than the low FODMAPs main list to start. It has great recipes! Everyone knows how tight we have been on money, so I checked this book out of the library 3 times! Then I got a $50 Amazon gift card for my birthday and finally bought it. I also bought the cookbook. We’ve been cooking exclusively out of these books since the beginning of June. However, we have eaten out a few times. Try moving like we have and not eat out a few times. But I have stayed pretty true to the diet.
How has it worked? Wow! I have more energy than I have in so very, very long. My tummy is flatter than I’ve seen it in years. I lost 5 inches in my stomach the first week. When I eat something that doesn’t agree with me I can bloat so much that I will suddenly gain 6-10 inches in my waist, I have measured it. It is so painful! This has stopped. I accidentally got something the other night and was shocked.
I’ve lost 26 lbs since the beginning of June, most of that in June. When I started the diet it started coming off very fast, I’m glad it slowed down, I was getting saggy skin. My body couldn’t keep up with the rapid weight loss. It is still coming off, slow and steady. However, I have lost my “food baby”. Yes that’s what we used to call my tummy. Almost every time I ate, I would suddenly look pregnant. I don’t look that way any more. I still have weight to lose, but my digestion is so much better, and I just feel better.
I had a physical in June, just a few weeks after starting this diet. My triglycerides where in range! They were lower than they have been in 20 years! Yes 20 years! I have weighed much less and been much more physically fit in those years. My doctor was thrilled. My bad cholesterol was a tiny bit high, but just a very tiny bit. Every thing looked really, really good.
Is my diet the catalyst to making me feel sooooo much better. Where my gut is concerned, YES. Has it helped my fatigue, I would say Yes! Does it make me feel good, Yes. When your stomach doesn’t hurt and you aren’t worried about passing gas or running to the bathroom, or if your pants are going to fit after you eat…you feel better. Plus, I’m in smaller clothes. How cool is that? But really, that’s just the icing on the cake. My tummy doesn’t hurt any more. I am having regular poos. I know that what I’m going to eat isn’t going to hurt me. And I love my smoothies. haha Getting some of my figure back is nice, and yes, it is giving me some sexy confidence back. So that is pretty darn special.
Is it helping my headaches? Maybe. Is it helping my dizziness? Maybe. There are too many other factors going on at the same time to be able to tell, if the diet has helped This is not a diet for Meniere’s or Migraines, but I think everything is interconnected, so I’m sure everything I do affects all of me.
I know you are all wondering….what exactly are you eating?
are you really wondering that? I could give you a list of the foods, but without the book to explain things to you, and tell you why certain foods are good for your tummy and why other foods are bad for your tummy….I don’t think it would help that much. I know having the list of foods given to me didn’t help me much at all. But the book really helped. Remember, I just checked it out of the library….3 times….before I bought it. If you, or someone you love, have any tummy troubles, I think it’s worth checking out.
The low FODMAP diet is the diet for people with Fructose Malabsorption, no doubt about it. However, it is also becoming the main diet to treat those with IBS. They are finding that it is also helping those with many other intestinal disorders: IBD…Crohn’s, Colitis….ect. Oh…many people were also raving about having their acid reflux go away. Unfortunately mine didn’t, but as I said, I have gastritis. I need to have another endoscope, that part of my tummy issues didn’t go away. Drat.
The low FODMAP diet is ideally supposed to be followed for 2-6 weeks under the guidance of a registered dietitian or nutitionist, and at that time they will advise you how to introduce foods back into your diet to recognize your personal triggers. This is often hard because there are so few dietitians or nutritionist who are well versed in the low FODMAP diet. Luckily, this is changing as the diet is becoming more understood and well known in this country. The 21-Day Tummy book does have guidelines in the back to help you reintroduce foods to see what may be your personal triggers.
I haven’t been willing to try to add new foods into my diet yet due to all the stress of moving, I will start adding in new foods soon and will hopefully finalize my diet in the near future.
So now you know a little bit more about my diet. If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Next part 3 in the Feeling Better series….Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.