If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my story where I mentioned I would be starting a new diet based on my health care providers recommendations. Well here are the details….
I have always had tummy issues. It started when I was a kid and I have had multiple flare ups in my life. They typically occur during periods of high stress. My previous medical providers have informed me of my options which basically included limit stress and exercise. So essentially not much help. Given few areas of help, I often forget about my tummy troubles and have gotten used to feeling uncomfortable.
To say it in the most practical way-I feel bloated nearly every minute of my life.
I worked out. No matter how much I worked out my tummy never changed. I tried different diets (keto, intermittent fasting). They did not work well for me.
So, I got used to it.
I recently switched my primary care physician. My tummy has been bugging me a lot more during COVID but with many years of experience of minimal answers, I almost did not bring it up to him. Managing stress has been especially unique during the many unknowns of COVID and teaching many distance education classes. I figured what would he tell me that I didn’t hear before? I am glad I mentioned something.
During the appointments, I made enough comments about my tummy where he continued to circle back to asking me about it. I realized he would not let it go. He was very thorough and did a great job. He reminded me of my diagnosis earlier in my life and it made me realize I have been in a flare up for the last 5 years. I realized the late nights of graduate school. I realized how teaching night classes and eating dinner late early in my career. I realized all the travel. I realized my body was telling me something for 5 years and I was ignoring it.
This doctor’s appointment led to new answers. After my visit, I did some research and found there is a new diet for individuals experiencing my symptoms. I made an appointment with a dietician and we agreed this was the route to go in.
The diet I will be following is the Low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are big words I will have to figure out but essentially these are short-chain carbohydrates that some individuals have trouble digesting.
This diet is based on research out of Monash University. The research identified two lists of food: low and high FODMAP foods. The foods on the high FODMAP list may trigger symptoms. The low FODMAP list includes foods that are easier to digest.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
For one month, I will be only eating foods on the low FODMAP list. After the month is over, I will begin the reintroduction process. I can begin to eat foods from the high FODMAP list to see how my body reacts. If my tummy is upset, I have to go back to low FODMAP foods for two weeks. If my tummy is ok, I can reintroduce another food from the high FODMAP list in three days.
The goal of this plan is to identify the foods that may be causing my tummy issues. Eventually through this process I will have a list of foods that are triggers to my body. It does not mean that I can never eat them, I will just have to be prepared.
WHY SHARE THIS?
I am sharing this information with you for a few reasons:
- Self-Care: going to my doctor was an act of self-care. He provided some resources that I needed and hopefully I see some results soon. It is also important to attend annual exams and be proactive about health.
- Start a conversation: since my Instagram story, a lot of people have reached out to me and mentioned that they would like to understand their gut health. This seems to be a common issue that is not often discussed. I wanted to share the resources here that could start a conversation about your health.
- Nutrition is not one size fits all: I got a lot of bad information over the last few years. I was told the “good” things to eat or not eat. Funny enough many of those items are on the high FODMAP list and are potentially my triggers. Nutrition needs to be focused on in the individual level.
I will share parts of my FODMAP journey on the blog and Instagram. If you have any questions, I am happy to have a conversation about it. In the meantime, I am in the elimination phase. I am excited for this because I am grateful for the answers.
For now, I say goodbye to some of my favorites-avocado, garlic, and everything bagel spice.
For more information on FODMAP I am including this great resources from Modify Health: