Monday, March 2, 2015

Beginning the FODMAPS journey

My husband has always had stomach troubles, but in recent years it's gotten so bad that he struggles to enjoy a movie, take a long car ride and often has to get up several times during the night foregoing any sort of decent sleep. Needless to say without going into too much detail, about a year ago he was diagnosed with IBS. While his doctor was able to give us some hope in the way of treating the symptoms with multiple medications, there wasn't much help in diagnosing what causes the issue in the first place. My husband was starting to feel hopeless, and like he'd have to live with feeling sick every day, without being able to do the things he enjoyed in life. As my husband and I both don't believe in masking problems with medication after medication, we started doing some research. We came across a diet known as FODMAPs and that's where we find ourselves today.
Studies on IBS are lacking in the U.S., but in Australia, there have been many studies on how diet can affect people with IBS. FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates, disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Basically 90% of the average person's diet. These are foods that are hard to digest for all of us, but for people who already suffer from a stomach issue, such as IBS, they can be life altering. We found and started reading a book called IBS - Free at Last! It's a simple guide on how following a FODMAP elimination diet can help people understand what they are intolerant to, as well as helping people understand how to moderate their food intake and read food labels so you really know what you are putting in your body.
We are currently in phase one of the diet, which is eliminating completely foods that are high in FODMAP. These foods are surprising in that they include things that are meant to be good for your diet, such as wheat, rye, barely, certain vegetables and fruits and even dairy. This was a real eye opener as when we went grocery shopping it was almost impossible to find foods we COULD eat at this phase that my husband actually likes (on top of having stomach issues he is also incredibly picky.) Almost everything we eat consists of wheat, onions, or tomato paste, all things we can't have on this elimination phase of the diet. It was also interesting to see how many foods we thought were okay that had all kinds of weird ingredients. For example, when looking at corn tortillas, we found some had strange preservatives while others were simple corn, oil and salt. It was really nice to finally care about what we were putting into our bodies, but a very time consuming task. Hopefully it gets easier as we get more knowledgeable.
At the end of the elimination phase, we will be adding back in certain foods one at a time to figure out what it is causing my husband's intolerance and all of his suffering. Along the way I thought it would be nice to do updates to reflect on how we are feeling, what we are craving and how we are finding the process in general. I can tell you right now, the first day was the hardest (I hope!)

Have you guys ever done a diet like this?

Find the book IBS - Free at Last! here :

Read about my husband's IBS journey in his own words here!

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