I had a meeting with my GI doctor, who basically told me to try to keep doing what I was doing: stick to the low-FODMAP diet (or actually start doing that), and start paying attention to what things bother me.
There’s some things that I knew that bothered me, and there are some things that I’ve started to realize upset my stomach more than I knew.
I already knew that onions really bothered me, and eating onions can give me really bad painful cramps. Which is too bad because I like them.
I knew that I was lactose intolerant, as well, so I’ve always tried to avoid dairy as much as possible. I can get away with small amounts of hard cheese (like cheddar), don’t like soft cheeses for the most part, and really should avoid blue and feta, even though I like it. I made some mashed potatoes with milk recently, and I used a lot of milk because I wanted them to be really super creamy, and that was a MISTAKE. I was in intense pain for quite a bit.
Surprisingly, I’ve always assumed that I could eat yogurt, but I recently realized that if I eat yogurt it makes me slightly nauseous. Small amounts are okay, like in a smoothie or something, but I can’t eat a bunch on its own.
Yesterday I ate some salted peanuts, and got really nauseous. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but I thought that peanuts were on the low-fodmap list, and so I’d be able to eat them. I was really frustrated because my boyfriend went running and I would have gone with him, but I felt sick so I ended up staying home and sleeping instead.
I keep meaning to get a notebook and keep track of what I’m eating, how it makes me feel, and just keep a comprehensive list of what I can eat and what I can’t. I also keep meaning to exercise and maybe do things that will make me feel better about myself. It’s just hard. All those websites just say things like “start with 5 minutes a day!” but it’s hard to make the step to doing that first five minutes.
So I am NOT doing well with this whole FODMAP diet. It’s really the soda that is the worst for me, because I really like soda, and I have a hard time giving it up. I try to give myself rules to even just have it less, and next thing I know, I’m popping over to the vending machine to buy a Coke because I’m too sleepy to sit at my desk any more.
But there are a lot of good foods that are low-FODMAP and offer the possibility for yummy recipes if you are willing to think for a minute to figure out what works.
First of all, one of the first things I did when I was considering doing this was make some garlic infused oil. Although garlic and onion are absolutely no-go foods, very high in FODMAPs, cooking with infused oils is somehow okay. (I don’t know why, I haven’t looked into that far, I’m just happy I can get some garlic flavor.)
I always knew that I had trouble with onions, and even though I love the flavor, eating them gives me really bad cramps and sometimes worse GI upset. So I’ve been limiting my onion usage for a while now, due to that. But it never occurred to me that garlic might be an issue to.
We had tried Blue Apron a couple of times, and every time their recipe asks for a clove of garlic, they’ll send you an entire bulb. So we had two and a half extra bulbs of garlic, and I decided to use it for garlic infused oil.
So I chopped up the garlic, fried it in oil to get all that nice garlicky flavor out, and then put it into a sauce bottle (once it had all cooled). I had enough for one and a half bottles, so I made one with just garlic and put some chili flakes in the half bottle in case I want something with a little heat.
Things to note: I made sure to measure how much I would be able to fit into the bottles before I cooked it, since I didn’t want to end up with extra I couldn’t use.
Also, if I did it again, I wouldn’t chop the garlic so small. One piece ended up stuck in the squeezy spout of my sauce bottle, and I had to use a bamboo skewer to poke it back out!
My second recipe, which used my fancy new oil, was an adapted shrimp scampi with gluten free pasta. I made enough for 2 people so the measurements that I used (are approximate, because I don’t measure when I cook) are for two servings.
Start a pot of water on to boil. Add some gluten free pasta. Check the box for cooking times, since it will probably be different than normal pasta. I tried some brown rice pasta and it took 10-12 minutes (it was also super delicious, although my boyfriend says he hopes that I can start eating gluten again soon, or I’ll have to cook him his own pasta).
Melt a tablespoon or so of butter in a frying pan. Once it’s melted, add the garlic infused oil to cover the bottom of the pan. There should be about equal amounts of butter and oil, maybe slightly more oil, but not a lot. Add about half a tablespoon of lemon juice (more if you like a really lemony scampi, can’t go wrong with that!). Season with salt and pepper.
Let the sauce cook for a couple minutes, stirring regularly to make sure it’s well mixed. Add shrimp and about 1/4 cup (or a little less) of fresh parsley, if you have it. Raw shrimp does not take long to cook, it will be a nice pink color, only 2-3 minutes. Pre-cooked shrimp just needs to heat up and get coated in the sauce, but don’t leave it in more than 1-2 minutes or it will overcook and get tough.
I often use frozen, precooked shrimp because it’s the cheapest stuff at the store and then I don’t have to worry about making sure it’s fully cooked. I thaw my shrimp before hand so it’s easier to take the tails off, but if you don’t mind picking them out as you eat or if you bought ones without tails, you could just throw the frozen ones right in and let them thaw as they cook.
Once the shrimp is done, turn off the heat. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. There shouldn’t be a lot of sauce, just enough to give the pasta some flavor and spread throughout.
My third recipe is a Chicken Stirfry with Veggies.
Pick your veggies. I tried to come up with a sort of Asian-esque flavor, so I stuck to more Asian veggies. Cut it into smaller cubes, or julienne. I used spring onions (just the greens), carrot (which I peeled with a peeler because it would take too long to julienne), fresh ginger (grated), and a zucchini (cubed). I had bought water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, and meant to buy bean sprouts but forgot them, but those would all be good additions (and more Asian than zucchini).
Cut up all of you veggies and put them in a bowl. Add some salt, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil, and mix to coat all the veggies. Note: if you have some really thick dense veggies, set them aside and flavor them separately, so they can be cooked first.
Cube some chicken. I used 2 breasts and it ended up making enough for 4 servings, with all of the veggies and some rice on the side. This could easily be omitted or substituted for a veggie protein or any other meat.
Heat up some oil in a large frying pan. I used my spicy garlic infused oil for this. I started by cooking the spring onions, because I was using them as an alternative to regular onions, but they’re delicate so I’m not sure if really they should go at the end. They are yummy raw so you could definitely just throw some on at the end. Then add your chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and mostly cooked through.
Add your dense veggies, if you have any, and cook for a few minutes extra before adding the rest of the veggies. Cook everything together, stirring to combine flavors, until chicken is cooked through and the veggies are nice and soft. Taste a bit (carefully, don’t burn your tongue) and if it needs some more flavor, add some more soy sauce to taste. I added a tiny bit of lemon juice to mine to brighten it up and it complemented the flavors well, especially since I had used zucchini.
Serve with rice, and enjoy!!
I’m sorry that these recipes are kinda rambling and not written out in a very good recipe format. If I start doing this more often, or if people seem to like my recipes, I’ll re-do the format for each one with maybe less comments (or the comments as notes at the bottom) and in a more readable format, and a separate post for each recipe.
I had stopped drinking soda when I decided to start the FODMAP diet. It’s not allowed on the diet, I knew I was drinking too much, and I should stop, and it would save me money.
So I did. I had to slowly wean myself off of it since I was heavily addicted to the caffeine, but I managed to stop. And I’ve been doing okay.
But then yesterday we had some leftover sodas from an event the week before, and I was tired, so I had one. And I remembered I had a fruity energy drink, so I had one of those too. And then today we had another event at work and there was soda, and it was free, so I had one with lunch, and I grabbed an extra for later, because old habits die hard.
And then this afternoon, I realized that I was a little lightheaded, and my sinuses were feeling all congested and painful again. Once again, is it coincidence? Probably not. I often have issues with lightheadedness and dizziness and vertigo and sinus problems and yes, I just had to have sinus surgery and today is a bad allergy day because the pollen counts are high, but there’s probably a connection between all of my issues. And if I don’t drink soda or caffeine for a week and don’t feel lightheaded for a week, and then I drink soda for a couple days in a row and it starts up again, maybe that’s the connection I should be looking into.
So I guess I’m going to have to stop drinking caffeine completely again, and actually stick to it this time. It’s going to be hard. But I really need to make a commitment to my health for once and maybe I’ll start seeing some real results.
So far, I have to say that going on the FODMAP diet will probably work for me. I just have to work at it, too.
I didn’t stick to it very well last week. I know that at first you should really do a complete elimination phase and not eat anything that’s not on the approved low-FODMAP list, but I like bread. And bread has never upset my stomach or let me down or hurt me or any of those other things that Rick Astley sings about.
Also, like I mentioned in a previous post, I ate out a lot, and had lunch catered, and it’s hard to turn down what you know is really delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwiches just because you can’t eat the (really really good) buns and probably can’t eat the sauce. Or the beans. Or the cake or the muffins or the soda and okay I didn’t do very well at all for a couple days there.
But that’s a good thing.
Because before I started this diet, my stomach was a mess, my digestive system was a mess, I couldn’t eat food without getting sick. And then I went on it (mostly) for about half a week, and I got better. Sure, maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it was just time for my stomach to finally recover from the antibiotics that I had been on. But maybe not. Because as soon as I started eating junky food again this weekend (I’m looking at you, that delicious but not okay gyro with tzatziki sauce) and yesterday (I tried to get the better stuff at Panda Express, but they were sold out! It’s not my fault all they had left was Honey Walnut Shrimp and spicy things), my stomach started getting upset again.
So could it be a coincidence? Sure. It might be. But really there’s only one way to find out. And if that way means that I have to eat healthier food, and save money by not eating out and buying stuff at vending machines, then so be it!
As for the exercising, I tried out an arm exercise once last week and couldn’t raise my arm above shoulder level for three days and then I went on a walk on Sunday and now I have tendinitis in my ankle and can barely limp down the hall to the bathroom so I guess I’ll hold off on that for a bit.
It’s very hard to stick to any sort of elimination diet unless you absolutely cook all of your food yourself.
And if you’re busy, and you have things planned, sometimes, that’s just not possible.
This week, we had a thing we went to after work on Wednesday. There wasn’t enough time between getting home and having to leave to make dinner and eat, so we just went out. Once you’re out, it’s hard to analyze all of the food and try to figure out which things are okay for you to eat and which things aren’t. Thankfully I’m not dealing with actual allergies, and my doctor’s decision for me to try the FODMAP diet was aimed at overall better GI health, so if I don’t do as well on the diet the results aren’t too disastrous.
But it’s hard.
This week, we’ve also got lunch catered at work. And not the “here’s the menu, order what you want” type of catered, but “here’s the one type of food that we have for lunch, this is what we’re eating today” type of catered.
Neither day is acceptable for my diet.
So it’s frustrating because I wanted to start on the diet this week, and apparently I just picked a bad week for it. But it’s so very tempting to give up. Because it makes you see how hard it is, and how hard it’s going to be trying to continue.
I want to stay on this diet for at least a couple of months, and so far I haven’t even managed to be on it for a couple of days.
We went running this weekend. By which I mean my boyfriend went running, and I walked around catching pokemon while wearing exercise clothes. There is a new outdoor workout area near where we go running/pokemon-ing, so we checked that out for a few minutes. There was equipment for doing sit ups and jumping things and one where you pull down (which was really hard) and one where you push up (which was impossible). Also, it had rained a lot the day before, so the ground was a horrible horrible muddy mess, and we just sort of sank into it.
I did find a cool fossilized shell in the mud though, so that made it worthwhile.
I decided that I really needed to actually try and start the FODMAP diet. On Friday I planned out meals for the week, and then on Saturday we went shopping and I bought a bunch of food. I messed myself up a little bit by getting my boyfriend to buy me a bunch of soda on Friday night, but I was good otherwise. I even used up all the garlic that Blue Apron had sent us to make some garlic infused oil to cook with, so that I can get garlic flavor without the FODMAPs.
Possibly related, but probably just coincidence since it was so quick, my stomach has FINALLY gotten better, for the first time in like two weeks since my antibiotics. Hopefully with my new diet I stay feeling good and even start feeling better than ever.