My journey on the FODMAP diet, part 1

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One thing that you readers may not know about me is that I have suffered from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for much of my life, and it’s just about as much fun as it sounds. I have been on several medicines to try to help ease my symptoms, but they were not doing much. One day, my gastroenterologist told me about this diet called the FODMAP diet. The gist of it is that there are several sugars and starches, called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols) that ferment in the gut and cause IBS symptoms, like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gassiness, and avoiding those molecules will minimize negative symptoms. Sounds simple, right? It is, until you account for the fact that so many common foods have FODMAPs in them, including (but definitely not limited to) wheat, milk, onion, garlic, beans, legumes, and many different fruit juices that are used as sweeteners. Regular table sugar and cane sugar are fine, though, because both of those sugars are composed mainly of glucose, which does not cause gut problems when there is more of it than there is fructose in a food.

A major complicating factor in my FODMAP journey is that I have several food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts (not including coconut), sesame, lentils/legumes, and seafood. I also have oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a condition that makes it so that whenever I eat a raw fruit or vegetable (with the exception of blueberries or lettuce), my tongue, mouth, and throat get itchy. OAS has made it hard for me to eat healthily for my whole life, even before I was diagnosed with IBS because fresh fruits and veggies are the cornerstones of a balanced diet. Cooking fruits or veggies can change the proteins of the produce enough so that they do not cause an OAS reaction, but not all cooked fruits or vegetables taste great and cooking fruits and vegetables is a time-consuming process. Interestingly enough, I have not always had OAS, so when I was younger, I loved eating baby carrots, clementines, and cucumbers, and I would totally still snack on those fresh fruits and veggies if they didn’t make my mouth and throat feel super itchy and uncomfortable. When I found out I would probably have to avoid wheat, dairy, onions, garlic, and so many other foods I used to eat, my whole world came crashing down around me, so I put it off for as long as possible.


Author: fabulousfeministfangirl

Intersectional feminist and fangirl of many things, including The Voice, Broadway musicals, Glee, and Jane the Virgin.

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