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Thinking Out Loud: Why Re-Testing FODMAPs is Hard

A couple of months ago, I posted about how I had started into the long and slow process of re-introducing FODMAPs.

You see, unlike the gluten-free diet for someone with celiac disease or, say, a lower-sugar diet for someone with diabetes, the low-FODMAP diet is mean to be followed only as long as needed, until your symptoms are mostly eliminated. Then, gradually, FODMAPs are re-introduced, carbohydrate by carbohydrate. So, for instance, you’d test fructan grains like oats and wheat, fructan vegetables like onions and artichokes, foods high in mannitol, like mushrooms and cauliflower, fructose, lactose, fructan fruits, and…oh yeah. GOS. Gotta test those almonds!DSCN0402It’s a really slow process. Basically, what you do is try a small portion of a food high in the carbohydrate. So, for instance, 15 almonds or 1 slice of wheat bread. Then you skip a day. And then, you try a more moderate portion (20 almonds or two slices of bread). And finally, skip another day, try a larger portion (25 almonds or three slices of wheat bread–or mushrooms, or cauliflower, or yogurt, or avocados, or…okay I’m done now).

Here’s the kicker. You can only re-introduce one food at a time. Which means that while re-introducing wheat, for instance, you have to continue following a strict low-FODMAP diet in all other ways to make sure you’re not sure you’re having “interference” in your wheat introduction from, say, lentils. And, once you’ve re-introduced a food, you wait three days (on a strict low-FODMAP diet) before you re-introduce the next food.

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my favorite low-FODMAP salad (also lunch today)

The idea is that you eventually get to a place that’s a sort of happy medium. Probably lower-FODMAP than what you were previously eating, and you may continue to avoid some kinds of foods entirely. (Peaches, for instance, tend to give me no end of pain. Fructose doesn’t seem to be too happy either. Sorry, honey.)

So far, a lot of my re-introductions have gone really well! Fructan vegetables (onion & garlic), fructan fruits (raisins, dates, dried cranberries, fresh grapefruit), GOS (almonds, chickpeas, lentils, black beans, some other kinds of legumes), and fructan grains (wheat, oats, rye, barley, and chicory) all seem to have gone okay. At least in isolation. I’ve been feeling a bit bloated since the second wheat test, but nowhere near my worst symptoms!

Which means hopefully I’ll be able to eat things like bread from WheatFields Bakery (here made into some delicious maple syrup-topped French toast!) Even if I still eat largely lower-FODMAP, I can still have a higher-FODMAP meal as a treat or if it’s convenient.

DSCN0851Just a few more things to test now: lactose and mannitol. The testing sheet’s almost full.DSCN0873Next to it on the fridge is this cute postcard from my grandpa.DSCN0874It’s not quite the philosophy I abide by, but sometimes it’s just the thing when you’re trying to survive a terrible tummy day.

Also on the fridge: Easter-themed coloring pages. Coloring has been my new favorite thing recently!DSCN0868

Thanks to Amanda for her wonderful Thinking Out Loud linkup!

What’s on your fridge?

Have you gotten into the “adult coloring” thing?

 

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