Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: FODMAP

The next step is the hardest one

I have good news. The Low FODMAP elimination diet I’ve been doing for….two months? Is that right? Well, that’s when I started planning it, at any rate. I know I was on it by Christmas, so at least a month and a half. Anyway, the good news is that with this diet, 90% of my digestive issues, including the worst, are gone. And, by the worst, I mean shitting my brains out for half an hour at a time. Oh, TMI, I guess, but I can’t really talk about my digestive issues without explaining what exactly is happening inside my body. Besides the ‘shitting my brain out’ aspect of it, there’s the bloated stomach feel and the flaming butthole feel. I still have a bit of the latter two, but it’s drastically reduced. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can walk around without worrying about where the nearest bathroom is. I have only had to walk briskly to the bathroom two or three times in the past month and a half. Not run, and it didn’t last for half an hour.

By the way, when I say half an hour, I mean that I’m in the bathroom for a half hour to an hour–not that I’m shitting for the entire time.  It’s like five minutes of shitting, then five minutes of sitting and fuming, and then rinse, lather, and repeat. I  know it should be lather, rinse, and repeat, but it’s rinse, lather, and repeat in my brain, and I’m fine with that. Now, it’s walk briskly to the bathroom and sit for five minutes, then I’m done with it. It’s such a change, and I’m very happy.

So. The goal of the Low FODMAP elimination diet is not to be on it indefinitely. You can, but it’s really hard to get all the nutrients you need, and it’s very limiting. I have said that I don’t mind eating the same thing every day, but it’s getting a bit old now. I had been trying to open up my meals before trying this diet, but now it’s just a sad, sad world. I tweeted last night about how I was choking down a just barely ripe banana, which I hate, because a really ripe banana is High FODMAP whereas an unripe/barely ripe banana is Low FODMAP.

It was mushed up/sliced up and on top of my cereal, and I was just a sad, sad person choking it down. Weird fact about me. I can put foods on other foods, but then I eat the topping first. Such as, I’ll put spinach on top of pasta, fake cheeze, and sauce, then I eat the spinach before eating the rest. So, I was having cereal with mashed bananas and almond milk. I was forcing the bananas down mostly because I was trying to broadening my palate a bit, but it was not a good choice. I also chose it for the fiber-like aspects of it–for obvious reasons.

Back to the point of my post. The elimination diet is not meant to be forever. The next step is to add one ‘forbidden’ food at a time back into my diet. Here’s the thing. I’m unwilling to do it because I don’t want to spend more time in the bathroom again. It was not fun, and it really messed up my insides. And my asshole. I don’t want to go through that again, and I know that I’ll have to in order to figure out what is the actual trigger.

I am fortunate in that I work from home and can plan my day around the need to camp out in the bathroom. It doesn’t mean I want to do it, though. I remember how painful it was, and I do not want to go through it again. In addition, I know I’ll have to note my reactions (in writing), and I don’t want to do that, either. I write so much on a daily basis; I don’t like making it a chore. That’s why I resist when I read about journaling emotions or other such shit. But, in this case, while I can probably keep it in my head, I don’t want to count on it.

I have to do it, though. I want to be able to eat more and to know what exactly is irritating my bowels. My plan is to start with garlic, then onion, then honey. By the way, you’re suppose to add one a week. I suppose you could add everything from the same family (five different categories), and then figure out if that category is one that hurts me. That’s more a brute force way to deal with it, but the downside is that when there is the shittening, I’d still have to do each of those foods individually. The time saver is that if I don’t have a response to the category, then I can just skip to the next category rather than add one by one. Garlic and onion are often both present in the same foods, so I may just try both while controlling for other ingredients.

The other thing is whether I want to try adding back dairy and gluten. I’ve done without them for more than two-and-a-half years, and my digestive problems vastly improved. Do I want to risk it again? I’m pretty sure I have a lactose intolerance because I’m Asian. As for the gluten, it might be specific types of gluten.

If I do try to add back dairy and/or gluten, I’m going to take it very specific because I know there is something within each group that irritates my bowels. It would be amazing to be able to have real cheese again. Honestly, that is the one that I miss the most. I can do without many of the things I’ve eliminated, but goddamn I miss cheese. The reason I don’t care as much about the others is because there are several tasty substitutes. When I gave up gluten, dairy, and sugar twenty-plus years ago, the alternatives were made of tapioca root and arrow root, mostly. It was sad, and by the fourth month, I was literally dreaming of pizza.

I know I’m going to be happier at the end of this journey, but it’s the taking of said journey that is going to be a pain in my ass. And in my asshole. Which is not going to be a good time.

Should it stay or should it go?

so many questions!
Yes, no, maybe?

Still in the research phase of planning an elimination diet. Quite frankly, it’s mostly because I am balking at actually doing it. I know I have to do it or rather, I should do it if I want something resembling a regular life. Although, I may have to give up my idea of what that is. I may never have the same amount of health I did before I started getting this array of illnesses/allergies/sensitivities/whatever the fuck it is. Part of it is probably age. Shit just slowly starts to deteriorate as you get older. I like to joke that I can still stay up all night; I’ll just pay for it for the next three days.

Today, at Cubs, I looked at almost everything I eat on a regular basis. Not the cookies because I need my chocolate. For now. Although I did also get dark chocolate almond milk. I looked up every ingredient, and most of the ones I checked were low FODMAP. However, almost everything I buy has either onion or garlic in it. I stopped buying hummus and almost all sauces. In fact, the only condiment I am currently using is mustard. Oh, and some salad dressing, but I have a hunch that isn’t a good option. I had already bought it, and I’m cheap AF. Also, maybe I’ll resent it less if I ease into it. The chicken I buy has dehydrated onion powder on it. I bought it anyway because I can’t give up everything at once. Or rather, I have to steel myself  in order to do it.

One of the other issues is that I have comorbid health issues. I already know I have gluten and dairy issues. I also have migraines, so I have to deal with triggers for that as well. As I wrote about recently, I figured out that caffeine is probably a trigger. Which is ironic as it’s also what staves off a migraine. Now, I might have to deal with IBS or something similar. And that road is hard and arduous. And I’m still stuck in the ‘it’s fucking not fair’ phase.The thing is, I know while it’s not fair, it’s not terrible in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it’s tedious and annoying, and it’s making me grim at the moment. However, compared to a million other things, it’s really not so bad. I just need to get over the fact that I’m so annoyed by it and move on already.

One thing I’ve learned from my research is that it’s not just high FODMAP and low FODMAP. It’s about portion size, which is something I am not good at. Or rather, I hate watching portion sizes for many reasons. One, it makes eating more of a chore than it already is. Two, it’s a slippery slope for me into eating disorder. Three, it’s tedious. But, in an elimination diet, it’s important because a low FODMAP food can easily become a high FODMAP one. Let’s take blueberries for example. 20 blueberries is low FODMAP. Anything over that is tiptoeing into bad territory. So, yeah, portions are very important.

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More frustrations with FODMAP

So, I’m planning the FODMAP elimination diet thing, and I’m in the exploratory stage. One thing you must know about me is that I don’t do anything quickly. I take forever to make a decision, but once I do, I go in whole hog. My BFF once said after I got my cats that it seemed like I had made the decision with the snap of the fingers, but when she thought more about it, I had been talking about it for a few years. It’s the same with all the decisions I make. I think about it a lot, and then I research it to death, then I do everything all at once. It happened when I decided to lose weight, twice, to great detriment (because I have a really strong will once I actually decide to do something), and it was the some when I eschewed gluten and dairy. Only once in the two-and-a-half years did I decide to give it up–on my trip to Malta–and that was only for two days.

As I’ve noted before, I’m pissed that I have to do more. I’ve given up dairy, gluten, and caffeine, and that’s a lot of shit. The caffeine was the hardest to give up, but it’s the one I miss the least. To be fair, I do drink a cup or two of caffeinated tea every week or so, plus a caffeinated pop if I go out to eat. I bought some cold coffee this week and then got a piercing headache from drinking it. I woke up with a horrible headache–teetering towards a migraine–and I’m pretty sure it’s salt this time. Been eating a lot of chips lately, and even though they are reduced salt, it’s still not great. In fact, I’m eating some as I write this. I had given up chips a long time ago, but I’ve added them back in. I know I need to cut them out again, but it’s not something I’m happy to do right now.

I read a FODMAP article about how the person who helps her clients achieve a low-FODMAP diet liked to focus on what they COULD eat rather than what they couldn’t. I appreciate this approach, and I understand why she does it. However, it’s really hard for me not to be resentful about what I can’t have, especially because I don’t cook. Not only do I not cook, I don’t like to cook. I *can* cook, but it seems like a waste of time. I hate prep work, and I don’t see the point in cooking for one. Yes, I know about batching it and freezing portions. I hate defrosting stuff.

Here’s the thing. I have to give out about ten times the energy that ‘normal’ people do in order to do even the simplest things. This will be a factor in what I have to say later as well. So, yes, defrosting food is not a big deal. Really, it isn’t, especially with microwaves. But to my brain, it’s almost insurmountable in addition to nuking food in general. Yes, you can take it out ahead of time and allow it to defrost naturally–which I do with the roast chicken when I buy it. But, doing it for more than one thing is too much for my brain. For whatever reason, my brain shuts down when it’s more than a few simple steps, which is something I’ve adjusted for all my life. It’s difficult to explain it to people who don’t have the issue because it sounds stupid. Believe me, I know it sounds like bullshit when I try to describe each step it takes for me to, say, go to the grocery store. By the way, this is relevant for later as well.

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Food map? FODMAP it is! *Sigh*

I’ve been aware of the FODMAP elimination diet for years, but I’ve always shied away from it because it’s really damn restrictive. I’ve already eliminated gluten, dairy, and caffeine, which is the reason I don’t want to do the damn diet. I feel as if I’ve given up so much, and I don’t want to give up more. But, my symptoms are getting worse, and it’s exhausting to have to deal with the aftereffects. In looking over the lists of what you can and can’t eat on this elimination diet, I found out that cauliflower is high FODMAP, which might explain the terrible reaction to the Cauliflower Bezule I had while I was in Philly.

IT WAS STILL WORTH IT!

The problem is that I don’t cook. I tend to eat a lot of prepared food, processed and otherwise. Many of the items on the high list are in many processed foods including onion and garlic. Let me give you several other items on the ‘do not eat’ list, particularly ones I like to eat. Mushrooms, peaches, watermelon, apples, beans and lentils, gluten and dairy (already given up), cashews, honey and other sweeteners, and alcohol. The last isn’t a problem for me. This is but the tip of the restricted list, and I get tired just looking at it.

Giving up dairy and gluten wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hard. There were plenty of substitutes, and I rarely miss it. Yes, I do occasionally want a dumpling or cheese, but it’s not something that has a negative impact on my life. This, on the other hand, is an ordeal. Right now, I’m big into hummus. Chickpeas are medium FODMAP and garlic are high FODMAP. I love potatoes, which are low FODMAP, but can be irritable, nonetheless. Thankfully, citrus fruits are low FODMAP, which is good because I eat an orange a day.

I just read an article about how you should think about what you can have, not what you can’t. There’s plenty! You can have salmon and green beans and potatoes, for example! Actually, that sounds delicious. The problem is that I don’t cook. I will have to cook. These two things are mutually exclusive, and I don’t know how to reconcile it.

My nose is burning. It’s hurting like hell. My head is softly thumping, but it’s not migraine levels. Yet. I stopped drinking the cold coffee I bought, and that seems to have done the trick. I might check it by drinking some of the coffee because, science.

I really am not feeling blogging this week, so I’ll end this hear. I’ll leave you with yet another Oxventure. Actually, it’s the first of three episodes, and Andy Farrant who plays the rogue pirate, Corazon de Ballena (nee de Leon, kind of) has to pretend to be a young paladin named Chauncey. His voice and manners as he pretends to be Chauncey had me in tears. I earmarked where it all started in the video below. There is also a lot of homoerotic tension in the quest as well, which is delightful.

Fighting myself and my body

but probably won't.
I would love to be able to eat this.

My digestive system is acting up again. Still? Still. I don’t know what it is, but I have a sneaking suspicion. I have been eating more hummus than usual because hummus is delicious, and I get in moods where I want to eat one thing all the time. Unfortunately, my stomach has been not happy about it, and it’s making its unhappiness known in one specific way–me spending too much goddamn time on the toilet. The problem is that I don’t know what exactly it is about hummus that is making my stomach cranky, and there’s no easy way of figuring it out. My stopgap measure is that I bought black bean hummus instead of hummus that is chickpea based. Why? Because if I don’t have the same problem with the black bean hummus, then I know it’s the chickpeas. If I do have the same issue, then I know it’s most likely not the chickpeas.

I have another issue coming up. After Taiji on Friday, I had to go to the bathroom. Warning, TMI for bodily effluvia. You have been forewarned. Normally, when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, it hits me immediately. I have to race to the bathroom within a minute or it will not be a good time for me. Let me put it in plain terms–diarrhea for days. When I’m done, I have to sit on the toilet because it will start up again in a minute or so. Then a few minutes later, more. I can sit on the toilet for up to half an hour at a time, and even then, it feels as if I’m not completely done.

Side Note: I read an interesting description of food allergies vs. sensitivities/intolerances, which was really illuminating. I know what I have is not an allergy (it’s not life-threatening), but it’s still pretty miserable to experience.

Anyway, the last time, I ate a scrambled tofu breakfast burrito with fake cheeze before going to taiji. I have had all that before with no problem. I was fine during class, but then as things were winding up, so was my stomach. By the way, winding up and winding down can mean the same thing. Funny. I made it to the bathroom, just, but it wasn’t a deluge like it had been in the past. It was solid waste rather than runny waste. I made it home and had to go again. My stomach was touch and go well into the next day.

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