It has been a little under a week since I began a low FODMAPs diet, so I thought I would do a quick review of how I have been feeling, and even more importantly, what I’ve been eating!
I started on Monday morning, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I literally have no clue what it means to eat gluten free (and dairy, fruit, sugar, and processed food free). I started the morning with gluten free oatmeal, half a banana, peanut butter and water. Within a few hours, it dawned on me that I can’t eat anything I have in my room! Fruit? No. Crackers? Absolutely not. Granola Bars? Nope. Monday’s are a pretty busy day, so I don’t have time to get lunch until two and I was so, so, so hungry by then. I ran to our dining hall and assembled a plate of what has become my main staple over the course of the week- rice, peanut butter, fish (if it’s being served) and vegetables. It’s close to impossible to determine what is in the food, so I have been sticking to the basics.
Come Monday afternoon, I had a little bit of stomach pain, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. Tuesday and Wednesday were another story. I had a bad stomach ache on Tuesday and an awful stomach ache on Wednesday. I felt very frustrated and defeated because I am being pretty strict with this low FODMAPs thing, and yet, it didn’t seem to be helping. However, Thursday offered some light at the end of the tunnel! I was [mostly] stomach ache free for the duration of the day and was basically completely pain free on Friday! Now, while I would LOVE to attribute all this to the food that I’m eating, I can’t help but assume that this is also stress-related. I had an anatomy exam on Wednesday (stomach pain on Tuesday), and a biochemistry exam on Thursday (stomach pain on Wednesday). Since Thursday morning, it has been smooth sailing into a pretty low-key weekend and coincidentally, I haven’t had any pain. Oddly enough, I don’t feel stressed out by my work. I mean, I guess I do, but I always know that I’ll get it done. Perhaps my body feels the stress and I don’t…Does that make sense?
I really do think that I have sensitivities to certain foods and high stress levels make it worse. I plan to continue with a Low/ No FODMAPs diet until next Monday and see how I feel. I may continue it through finals week, since it will be stressful, as a way to test out my little theory.
All in all, this week has been frustrating in that I still felt pretty crappy despite my efforts AND I felt frustrated with the dining hall staff when I would ask what was in a certain dish and they would mostly respond with “I don’t know” and I got a lot of those “Why do you have to be difficult?” looks. This week has given me a taste of what it feels like to have a serious allergy to something, which would require a ton of questions when eating out, and the frustration that is a result of people’s ignorance and lack of caring.
I skipped anatomy yesterday morning and went to spend an hour with Russ since we won’t see each other any other time this weekend. We walked around with the intent of buying lunch from one of the many food trucks on Temple’s campus, but I kind of had a feeling that my options would be limited, a.k.a nonexistent. I had one of my beloved Lara Bars and enjoyed the sunshine with Russy!
There were many times that I felt like I was at a complete loss for things that I can eat, so my wonderful father offered to go to Trader Joe’s with me and find some snack and meal items that fit the low FODMAPs bill. I think it was a successful trip!
GF oatmeal, quinoa, GF crackers, GF bread, carrots, coconut milk yogurt, GF cereal, Lara Bars, mixed nuts, raisins, peanut butter, and lots and lots of almonds!
Trader Joe’s is really great about marking what is GF, vegan, vegetarian, etc. and they even printed three extensive lists for me to take home. Maybe one day they will have a Low FODMAPs list 😉
I tried to purchase things that were still pretty close to their natural state (oatmeal, almonds, fruit, quinoa) and not very processed (like the bread) because I know that when things are made gluten free, sometimes other things are added to make them still taste good.
So, anyway, moving on to what I have actually been eating this week!
Snacks have been very limited this week because I really was at a loss for finding something that was okay. Even if it was gluten free, maybe it had dairy, or high fructose corn syrup, or a lot of sugar. I have been sticking to LaraBars, which I actually just tried for the first time this week. Our school store only sells the Cherry Pie variety (and at an outrageous price of $2.29 per bar), so I have been limiting myself to one each day. Also, I’m not really supposed to have much fruit and I think one bar is more than I should have, but it’s my only option…and they taste good 🙂 I bought a few at Trader Joe’s where they are more reasonably priced and they offer more of a variety. I’m excited to try the other flavors! I would also like to make my own, but I was in a bit of a crunch for time this weekend, unfortunately.
Looking forward, I will be snacking on the massive amounts of almonds, carrots and rice crackers I have. I’m excited to have food to eat between meals!
Lunch has been the same that dinner has been- brown rice, either chicken or fish, and vegetables. Despite having a buffet of food to choose from, I am very limited in my choices as far as things that are low in FODMAPs and gluten free. I guess I could, technically, ask for this or that without this or that, but I already request a lot and I think I would need them to change everything for me. I’m doing my best, but it sure isn’t perfect. Side note- I have stated on here that I don’t [really] eat meat at school, but now that I am trying to eat gluten, dairy, high sugar and processed food free, I am extremely limited and I know that I need to get protein from somewhere. For the time being, beans and soy are off limits, so chicken and fish have been my go-to. I am still saying no to beef, though.
Like I just said, dinner is always the same thing- rice, vegetables (preferably cooked because they’re easier to digest) and some sort of protein if I can find it. I haven’t had any dessert this week because not even fruit is low FODMAPs!
So after a week, I can’t say that I have seen a world of change, but I’m hopeful that my tummy troubles have a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not too far off. I plan to give this a go for another week or two and re-evaluate. Maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s a gluten sensitivity, or maybe as John says, “I’m just homesick and going home makes my stomach feel better”. It’s a creative solution, but I don’t think that’s it. (Sorry, John!). I’m going to ride this out until the end of the semester and if it doesn’t improve with dietary changes, I’m going to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist and let her put me back on a boiled rice diet. Blech.