Confession: I’ve been following the low-FODMAP diet for a lot longer than I should have been.
You’re only supposed to follow it for 2-6 weeks. Then, you gradually re-introduce things to see how your tummy will do.
Which I did. I started the low-FODMAP diet in May, and by late June/early July–with the consultation of a dietitian I’d been seeing throughout anorexia recovery–I tried re-introducing dairy.
It seemed fine at first. I put real milk on my cereal and ate ice cream later that night. But then, a couple of days later, when I went to visit a friend, I had the worst attack of IBS I’d had in a long time. No fair! So back to the “starting board” it was for me.
Since then, I’ve re-introduced sort of randomly, here and there. I tried oatmeal–that didn’t go well–and almonds, which went better, and I started snacking on almonds and almond butter (yummy!) on a more regular basis. But invariably, I’d have another attack, and I wouldn’t know if it was the almonds or what, so I’d cut those out again. I also didn’t think about the fact that if I can tolerate moderate amounts of almonds, I should be able to tolerate other things with GOS, like black beans.
In other words, I didn’t really have the education I needed to re-introduce FODMAPs systematically. If you’re on the low-FODMAP diet (especially in the U.S.), you may notice that there are plenty of sites with information about the elimination phase and recipes appropriate for the elimination phase, but fairly vague information about how to re-introduce.
Lately, though, Alana and the lovely folks at A Little Bit Yummy have put up a couple of posts about testing and re-introducing FODMAPs, which led me to the book Re-challenging and Reintroducing FODMAPs: A self-help guide to the entire re-introduction phase of the low FODMAP diet. (This, by the way, is why I love blogging. Both in anorexia recovery and negotiating with my IBS, bloggers have given me the resources and community I’ve needed to get me to a healthier place. Thank y’all for that ❤️)
Anyway, this book is exactly what I needed. The author Lee Martin explains what foods work well as FODMAP test foods and how the re-introduction process works. I discovered a couple of mistakes that I was making. I had been starting the re-introduction of a new food a too large of a portion size–Re-challenging and Reintroducing FODMAPs encourages you to start at a very low portion size and take rest days in between each re-challenge so that you gradually work up to the larger portion size. I also hadn’t realized that it’s important to follow the low-FODMAP diet pretty strictly throughout the testing phase (with the exception, of course, of the foods you’re challenging) so that if you have symptoms, it’s pretty clear what caused them.
So I did it! I made some stir-fry and added some chopped sauteed garlic, a little at first, then a little more, and then finally, a whole clove, taking rest days in between. And guess what? It was okay! I had a little bit of symptoms after the third re-challenge, but nothing too terrible.
Do you know what this means? Going out to eat! Not having to bring my own food to parties at other people’s houses! Personally, I think the no-onion-or-garlic part of the low-FODMAPs diet is by far the most difficult. People have heard of gluten and lactose sensitivities, but in the U.S., at least, many have never heard of onion or garlic sensitivies, and at a lot of restaurants, they’re in pretty much every item on the menu.
So the idea is that I will now take a few rest days and re-introduce something new–maybe fructose? But because my Mad Bad Mommy Bommy came to visit me for a couple of days (thanks, Mommy Bommy! ❤️), I decided to go ahead and enjoy onion and garlic so that she and I could go out to eat more easily. The first night we went to a pizza place, ironically called the Garlic Knot, and I was able to order a lovely gluten-free personal pizza with sausage, spinach, and marinara sauce (with onion!) for dipping the crust into–way overpriced, admittedly, but a nice celebration item, given how long it’s been since I’ve gone out for pizza.
In other news, Mommy Bommy and I took the opportunity of her visit (and the fact that it’s my last weekend before school starts up again) to visit YMCA of the Rockies and hike up into Rocky Mountain National Park.
Look for an upcoming post with pictures from that lovely adventure (so beautiful!❄️), as well as a few new low-FODMAP recipes. Also, if you’re a FODMAP-er, let me know if you have any requests for something you’d like me to try and FODMAP (somethings are easier than others, and I’ll see what I can do.)
Happy MLK Day to folks in the U.S.!