I know that all 8 of my very devoted followers have been asking, “Where have you been, Katy? Vacation?”
The answer is YES and NO.
I kind of went AWOL from blogging lately.
Even though Poo and I did get away for a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary, recently, I have spent most of my free time dealing with the garden and researching possible treatments for my IBS-D symptoms from the unfortunate episode of food poisoning I contracted on vacation last June.
Post Infectious IBS happens suddenly after a bout of food poisoning or some sort of infection in the stomach. Usually bacterial. Around 17% of those who are exposed to a severe case will experience IBS-D and may never recover. A small portion of those might recover, but it can take years.
Ohhhhh, goody …………….. I get to be one of them!
Apparently the antibiotic I took for 3 times a day for 2 weeks only helped me during the time I took it and 1 week thereafter. UGH 🙁
I signed up for a free 2-week trial period of the Forks Over Knives Meal Planner, based on a testimonial that I read. I thought it might help with my IBS-D symptoms.
I tried it. Although the concept is great, and it takes all the guess-work out of the grocery shopping and the meal preparation, I experienced no significant difference in my symptoms, maybe worse but now I know why ………………..
I came across this thing called the FODMAP Elimination Diet.
FODMAP is an acronym that refers to: good luck pronouncing these babies ………
- Fermentable – carbohydrates that are easily broken down by bacteria in your gut.
- Oligosaccharides – short chain carbohydrate that are difficult to digest.
- Disaccharides – lactose is a sugar naturally found in milk, and hard to digest by a significant amount of the population.
- Monosaccharides – a fructose found naturally in fruits.
- Polyols – sugar alcohols found naturally in fruits and veggies but, also used as an artificial sweetener.
They are the names for a collection of molecules found in food that are poorly absorbed by some people. People with IBS!
I remember first learning about high and low FODMAP, (pronounced fawd-map) foods when I learned that I was gluten intolerant. That was about 5 years ago. I didn’t pay much attention to it because the foods that are high in FODMAP’s didn’t ever bother me or wreak havoc on my digestive track. It was only the gluten.
I mean, really …… who voluntarily gives up onions and garlic? They’re the cornerstone of every dish I make. I will be using chives from my garden instead, at least for a while.
But, I am willing to try anything at this point to help myself get back on track and feeling better. My doctor was very supportive when I expressed an interest in the FODMAP Diet but is more than willing to put me on some sort of medicine to help. I have told her many times, I would make a horrible drug addict as I have trouble remembering to take my vitamins, let alone another pill.
This is a very specific diet that must be followed exactly if I want a fighting chance and possibly a hope of healing my gut.
The short of it goes like this:
- Elimination Phase – eliminate all high fodmap foods from the diet for 2-8 weeks, until your symptoms are controlled. Document everything you eat and drink as well as your symptoms.
- Testing Phase – once your symptoms are under control, you begin to add one high fodmap food at a time, and from only one category at a time, documenting the results. Everything else in your diet stays the same so there is only one variable in the equation, hopefully identifying triggers.
- Personalization Phase – once you have identified your triggers, you will have a better sense of meal planning and options for those times when you have to eat out.
I have followed this for about 12 days now and can say it has definitely helped with the stomach cramps and diarrhea, although still not normal.
Additionally, I feel like I’m just now starting to grasp the full impact of what this food experiment can do for me, as I think it was “hit or miss” during the first week. I have made a few mistakes choosing foods I thought were “Low” only to realize later, they were not. I’m catching on ……….
There is a lot to remember and I have had to change a number of things to accommodate this new normal. But I am feeling a little better and I have found a couple of Apps to help me. This one is free:
I have never paid for a phone app but the Monash University FODMAP App comes highly recommended at $7.99. It can be used as a quick “look-up” tool when in doubt. Although it doesn’t include regular store items, it is a complete guide to whole foods and easy to understand. Both Apps use a stop light color system to avoid any confusion: Red = high (avoid), Yellow = small amounts, Green = low and good to go!
So ……… here we go again, and I say “we,” because Poo does NOT cook so he will be eating what I eat an 🙂
Another experiment in controlling the stomach distress, headaches, fatigue, reactive arthritis and of course ……. the big “D.”
UPDATE: I received a phone call from the Florida Department of Health this week. They did an inspection after I filed a complaint and found numerous critical violations. You might remember that I sent an email to the General Manager of AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, (where I am sure I contracted the food poisoning), and “cc’d” the county and state health departments. What I find quite disconcerting is that the restaurant had advanced warning that inspectors would be coming and they still had multiple critical violations. Really?
“The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of everyday.” – Unknown
* Up next, our trip to Nashville, Indiana