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.
Nothing sadder than trying to choke down a food I don’t like (barely ripened banana) because I’m trying to expand my Low FODMAP diet. 😞
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) February 11, 2020
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.