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WIAW: FODMAPing at the Y

It continues to be a blessing that I am through the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet and now into the re-introduction phase.

If I were still in the strict elimination phase, I probably wouldn’t be able to eat here at the YMCA of the Rockies, which would stink, because housing and meals are part of my “income.” Plus I have no kitchen in the dorm where I live. However, since I’m able to tolerate a moderate amount of onion, garlic, fructans and GOS, I’m able to eat things like salsa, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, seasoned meats, and soy milk. Hooray!

It is also a blessing that more and more organizations are making efforts to accommodate food intolerances and allergies. The YMCA has a “cage” of gluten-free items, including breads, bagels, cookies, pretzels, and trail mix, all of which make my life a lot easier.DSCN1222Eating in a cafeteria has been a challenge for my anxiety, as I wrote about on Thursday. Last time I worked at a camp like this was when my weight plummeted so dramatically. Partly, I was experiencing very acute IBS symptoms, and partly, I wasn’t accustomed to having so much food around. The multitude of entrees and hot dishes, salad bar, fruit, beverages, and dessert at every meal was overwhelming, and I was afraid I’d overeat.

I eat much more than I did as an undergraduate, but I still tend to eat “lighter” fair, not a lot of meat, and frequent, small to moderate meals, since larger ones upset my stomach.

I figure there’s no reason why I can’t continue to eat moderate-sized meals and frequent snacks here. I brought a bunch of snacks from home, plus I take things from the dining hall to eat halfway through my morning. However, in order to accommodate a low-FODMAP diet and eat what’s being served, I’ve been eating more high-protein, lower-carb meals like meat and salad or sometimes meat and potatoes. If there are no gluten-free, low-lactose options, I make myself a sandwich.

So for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, here’s a day (last Saturday, in fact) of my YMCA eats.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, honeydew and cantaloupe.DSCN1208I normally do oatmeal for breakfast here, which is always available. But on Saturday, when I got to breakfast at 8, there was a line all the way around to the exit! I didn’t mind waiting in line, but they were out of bowls, and I didn’t fancy trying to eat oatmeal on a plate. So eggs and potatoes it was. With low-FODMAP fruit, of course.

Morning snack: an orange and vanilla soy milk I swiped from the dining hall.DSCN1229DSCN1230I often think I’m not going to get hungry between the hefty cafeteria meals, but, nope! I definitely still get snacky. And I have a “rule”/guideline that I eat when I’m hungry (when possible). So elevensies it was then.

Soy milk is fairly high-FODMAP (GOS), and I’m not 100% sure I can tolerate that amount of GOS, but at least a moderate amount at a time seems okay.

Lunch: roasted chicken and salad with lettuce and spinach mix, cucumbers, radishes, sunflower seeds and Italian dressing.DSCN1231I think roasted chicken is one of the better meals they have here. It tastes very fresh and minimally processed. They also always have lots of good, fresh stuff on the salad bar and change it up every couple of days.

I also grabbed a piece of gluten-free lemon poppy seed bread out of the “cage” for later. It’s locally made in Boulder, CO! I was glad I’d snagged it, because sure enough, about 2, only an hour after I had gotten to work, I got hungry.

Afternoon snack: about 2/3 of a piece of GF lemon poppy seed bread. DSCN1235The rest of the day was spent setting up for a banquet. I made maybe 40 runs up and down the elevators/stairs in the food service building carrying carts with everything from warming pans to salad dressings to coffee cups.

I also started having some crummy tummy, which was not so nice. I felt pretty uncomfortable and bloated.

When my supervisor sent us down for a quick 5 pm supper, what was being served didn’t sound so appetizing on a crummy tummy (orange chicken, broccoli beef, potstickers). Instead, I just grabbed a GF bagel, peanut butter, and a banana and ate them quickly. If the lighting in the photo is terrible (it is), it’s because I ate in the back staff hallway behind our Assembly Hall.

Supper: half GF bagel with peanut butter, banana, and the remaining 1/3 of my lemon-poppy seed breadDSCN1241The remaining bagel half and another little packet of peanut butter were consumed when I got home from work around 10.

I know a lot of folks complain about the quality of cafeteria/dining hall food. Admittedly, cafeteria dining can be a bit hit and miss. But I’m perfectly happy just to have allergen-free options and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available at every meal.

I may be a foodie, and I may have a lot of food intolerances, but I’m honestly not a very picky eater.

When was the last time you had to eat in a cafeteria or dining hall on a regular basis? What was your verdict: crummy, or not too bad?

Do you often eat low-carb, high-protein meals like meat and vegetables? Or are you a big carb eater like me?

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  1. Cora says:

    I actually lovvvveee any chance I get to eat in a cafeteria of some sort. I’m not sure why, but I guess I just get all giddy at the thought of having so many choices laid out in front of me in cute little stations, having someone else cook for me, and inevitably there will be choices I never actually make for myself. The last cafeteria I got to use was a few years ago during university. It had great options, but I still can’t imagine trying to navigate my way through it with any sort of dietary limitations. Ugh.

    1. Joyce says:

      That’s awesome! It’s definitely really nice having someone else cook for a change, and I agree, having all the food laid out at little stations is pretty cool.

  2. Those breaky potatoes look heavenly! I’m pretty lucky because UCLA has some pretty awesome dining halls with pasta bars, dessert bars, fusion, etc. But I don’t really frequent it because I don’t live on campus. If it had a gluten free section like yours though, I have a feeling I would!!

    1. Joyce says:

      It’s really nice when dining halls are able to accommodate food intolerances and allergies!

  3. Emily says:

    I’ve noticed that lighter fare is SO much easier on my stomach and lots of meals instead of big meals. It takes me a while to digest big meals. 😀

  4. Diane Wahto says:

    I think people have become more aware of good nutrition and cafeteria food is beginning to reflect that. Michelle Obama gets criticized for trying to provide nutritional choices in school cafeteria, but she’s on the right track. Of course, kids prefer less nutrional food. When I think about what I ate as a kid, I shudder. However, I didn’t have food allergies and nothing bothered me. A hamburger, curly-cues, and Johnny Mathis singing “The Twelfth of Never,” piped out from the jukebox at Bird’s Drive-In? Heaven on a summer’s night. Hey, I should write a poem about that. 🙂

    Of course, I’ve had to mend my ways as an adult. It wasn’t hard. I don’t even think that kind of food sounds good any longer.

    I’m glad you’re able to find things to eat that at compatible with your needs.

    1. Joyce says:

      Burgers, fries, and a jukebox sounds pretty awesome!

  5. Ellie says:

    The last time I regularly ate in a cafeteria was in college and it was ok. I can make most things work because I don’t have any allergies. Being vegan in college was really easy as I am a creature of habit and enjoy the same foods most days.
    Lemon poppyseed bread is the best!

    1. Joyce says:

      That’s part of dealing with intolerances here, too–I have to be willing to eat the same things. But I’m okay with that. 🙂

  6. Kate says:

    I agree with Cora. Having all the choices make me happy! plus there is usually a salad bar, which is always fun.
    I think your lunch looks delicious. I love sunflower seeds on my salad.

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