Your Fodmap to Success in food intolerance


I met up with my son the other day for a last meal out before we depart for Tennessee.

While we were enjoying  a nice sushi lunch together, my son brought up a valid point.  He said that I have been writing this blog from the point of view of someone with celiac disease.  I am not celiac.  I was tested in the early stages when I thought I might be and the test came back negative.

I thought about it for a minute, I and I realized he was right….well, partly anyway.

It has never been my intention to exclude other food allergies or intolerances.  Since going gluten and dairy free, I have pretty much latched onto the whole gluten free, dairy free thing.  This whole thing did start with IBS symptoms.  Having had stomach issues for pretty much my whole life, I started this journey in hopes that I might find relief from symptoms.  I have accomplished that.  My son brought up the subject of fructans.  There is an interesting article on fructans (fructose) here.  Fructans can be very nasty;  symptoms include:  bloating, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea and constipation, increased intestinal sounds and gas production, reflux (e.g. acid taste in mouth, heartburn) and nausea or vomiting. These symptoms resemble those of functional bowel disease. Up to 70% of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have intolerance of normal amounts of fructose. Dairy intolerance often goes hand in hand with fructan intolerance. Fructose is commonly replaced with sorbitol and inulin…two things I cannot tolerate.  These are often used in gluten free products to replace the structure of wheat.  It’s sort of like Russian roulette…

When I began, I followed this list of high fodmap foods as a guide.  When I started reading more and more about gluten and dairy intolerance, I sort of stopped following that list.  I do feel a whole lot better…but I still have some symptoms of IBS occasionally.   My son has an intolerance to onions and garlic.  Onions are somewhat easier to avoid, but garlic is in quite a lot of processed foods and restaurant dishes. It has pretty much limited his going out to eat.  He said if I had not told him about the fodmap list, he never would have figured out what was causing his symptoms.  Onions do not really bother me.  Garlic does in high amounts-like the above picture says-get out of the way!!!!

 Here is a list of high fructose foods and their relationship to their glucose content. Glucose content offsets the fructose.  The biggest culprit-High fructose corn syrup…again in everything processed.  This makes it even harder on those of us who have these intolerances.  Being gluten and dairy free is hard enough, but when you narrow down and even eliminate convenience foods, it just becomes unfair.  I am all for convenience foods.  And once I go back to work, that will be even more important.  In order to follow this list you pretty much have to give up convenience, and dining out.  Although I have to say that for me, dining out is becoming a very unpleasant experience.  But I have addressed this in other posts so I won’t go into it here. 

I can eat some of these foods.  I can’t eat others.  I believe that everyone is different and has different intolerances or allergies. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what works for you and what doesn’t.  If you eliminate every food on every list-fodmap, gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, onion and garlic, et al…what is left?  Ok, as I have said before, meat and vegetables.  But these have their own dangers.  Of course, if you have an allergy, that is an entirely different issue.

It takes a balancing act to find the right combination.  Balance deprivation with wellness.  I have been able to eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet but there are things I miss and will always miss.  And I know if I eat them I will be sick for days, so I don’t.  I believe it is like quitting any addiction.  You have to ask yourself-what do I want to get out of quitting?  Can I be disciplined enough to see it through?  Who am I doing it for?  And why?

Fodmaps throw a whole new set of issues into the mix.  The list of well tolerated foods gets smaller and smaller.  And shopping takes longer and longer.  Once we are settled into our new home (two weeks to go!) I may go back to following the fodmap list more closely.  Yes, this will mean I may have to give up some of the foods I love and may limit even further my dining out options.  But if it makes me feel even better than I do, it will be well worth it.  I will follow the fodmap list for two weeks to see if it makes a difference.

So stay tuned and we will see what develops!

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