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WIAW: The Existential Crisis Edition

A couple of months back, I posted about how I was done with the re-introduction phase of the low-FODMAP diet and had begun eating more moderate- to high-FODMAP foods.

Now that I’ve been working at the YMCA of the Rockies for over two months, I can say pretty firmly that I’m no longer really following the low-FODMAP diet. I eat mostly gluten-free or low-wheat foods, I usually take a lactose enzyme when I eat high-lactose dairy like milk or yogurt, and I avoid high-fructose and high-sorbitol fruits and vegetables like apples, apricots, and artichokes, as well as honey, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave.

If that sounds like a lot, trust me that that’s a lot more than I was eating on the strict FODMAP elimination diet.

I set up this blog in part because I wanted to introduce readers to the notion of the low-FODMAP diet, explain why it’s important, and present some more creative recipes for FODMAPers. I also wanted to talk about recovering from an eating disorder and how my IBS interacts with my past continuing struggle with food-related anxiety.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m starting to wonder if the low-FODMAP diet was really the “right” thing to do.

Even as I write this, I’m cringing, imagining scores of readers going off to proclaim how the low-FODMAP diet is just a made-up, ineffective fad. And I don’t believe that’s true. The low-FODMAP diet did help reduce my IBS symptoms and has helped me be able to eat more, more frequently, which my body very much needed to heal from years of undereating.

On the other hand, I also know that the low-FODMAP diet only helped to an extent and that I should have re-introduced high- to moderate-FODMAP foods much earlier.

Lately I’ve read a lot of speculation that the low-FODMAP diet can do long-term damage to your healthy gut bacteria. We need probiotics keep our gut flora in balance, and a lot of FODMAPs are prebiotics–the stuff that our gut bacteria eat.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with taking a very high dose of probiotics: I tried the Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Women, simply because it was what I could get my hands on. I don’t know that it will magically heal my gut, but I’m hoping it might help mitigate my symptoms, especially when I eat higher-FODMAP foods. So far, I’ve had mixed results. I’ve been more *cough cough* regular, but I’ve definitely still had crummy tummy days.

Long story short: there is no magic cure for IBS. I was hoping the low-FODMAP diet might be it, and although I believe it helped some, I still deal with regular (if less constant) flare-ups. I also hoped probiotics might do the trick, and I also believe they’ve helped some, but no magic healing.

Now I’m facing a question going ahead for the very identity of my blog (duh duh duh!): I know I’ll keep writing about IBS and eating disorder recovery (or what I think of more generally as “eating more and being okay with it.”) But will I still want to do low-FODMAP recipes? Should I continue to promote this little experiment? Or should I (without denouncing the low-FODMAP diet completely) encourage my readers to try other things? Or both?

If you have thoughts, feel free to share them, but in asking these questions, I realize I’m not so much looking for advice as working through my thoughts. These are just questions I need to work out for myself.

Okay. Genug damit, as they say in German. (Enough of that!) Let’s get to today’s What I Ate Wednesday!What I Ate Wednesday ButtonIt was a Monday, so I joked around and called it “What I Ate Wednesday Monday.”

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Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar, honeydew, pineapple, and cottage cheese. Thank goodness for lactose enzyme pills for letting me re-introduce high-lactose dairy products like cottage cheese, ice cream, creamy soups, and yogurt!

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AM snack: Banana

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Lunch: Salad with broccoli, grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, black olives, tuna and ranch dressing (another food made possible my lactase enzyme!) And potato salad. Because I <3 it so.

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PM Snack: Cheetos. Last week I started getting really low blood sugar hungry in the mid-afternoon; my family calls this “bonking.” So I’ve been trying to make an effort to combat afternoon bonk prevention, even if it means I have a pretty small appetite at supper time.

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Supper: half of this gluten-free pizza. My folks came up to the YMCA to stay for a couple of days (!!!!), so rather than eat in staff dining, we ordered a couple of pizzas from the Y’s little cafe. I hadn’t had pizza in so long–I was one happy hungry caterpillar!

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Treated myself to a grapefruit Spindrift soda after supper. I don’t drink pop much, but this one was really grapefruit-y and delicious! Also, unpictured, I snagged a two-pack of Nature Valley almond granola bars before bed.

Bloggers: Has your blog ever gone through a major identity shift? Why did you decide to make the change, and what was the result?

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11 comments

  1. Liza says:

    It’s been incredibly helpful and encouraging to read about your experiences and trials related to IBS/restrictive eating. As someone in the same boat, it’s refreshing to know I’m not alone! I think it’s something that not often talked about, but often a complicating factor in eating disorders and disordered eating in general. No matter what direction you decide to take the blog, I hope this continues to be a part of what you share! πŸ™‚

    1. Joyce says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Liza! I’m so glad my (sometimes aimless) thoughts have been relatable to you. IBS and disordered eating is such an unpleasant combo, and I wish you all the best on those tough days. Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. Diane Wahto says:

    My sympathies are with you. My cure for IBS was simple when I finally found it–lactose free milk. Also, retiring helped. When I no longer had the stress of going to work and standing in front of a class every day, the IBS went away. My doctor suggested I eat cooked carrots. Another of her patients had tried that and it worked for him. It didn’t work for me. I think it’s a trial and error thing that you have to keep working on. You dedication to getting the right food is impressive.

  3. Emily says:

    I really want to hear more about it, because I know several people who struggle with IBS, and I want to know how to support them and love them better, and it would be wonderful to hear you share more of your heart and what you are learning, so please don’t shy away from sharing about it.

    1. Joyce says:

      Emily–it’s awesome that you’re so supportive of your friends with IBS! Certainly, I’ll still write about my journey with IBS. I just don’t know if I’ll be promoting the low-FODMAP diet as much.

  4. GiGi Eats says:

    THAT pizza though?!

  5. Haha I can relate to how you feel with the identity of your blog! I started a blog when I went vegan (to try to lower my cholesterol) and now I’m not vegan… but I still love blogging πŸ™‚ I think this will still be a great place for your to share about recovery and IBS!

    1. Joyce says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Liz! I’m glad you’ve been able to enjoy blogging even though your original focus has shifted. πŸ™‚

  6. Cora says:

    Ooooo the blog identity crisis. Duh duh duh is right. I think it is something that is bound to happen to all bloggers at some point. Like life, our beliefs and thoughts just shift sometimes. But the cool thing is that by you documenting each part of this journey – from starting to FODMAP diet, to reintroducing, to not being sure about it at all any more – you are sharing so much information, just by being honest. So I say for now just continue writing “in the moment,” – whatever your thoughts are at the time are valid and will still help many many people. I’d say because you’ve gone through FODMAP you can still be an advocate for helping those with IBS and sharing specific FODMAP recipes, but now maybe you can just expand your topics around more? Which is exciting, no?
    Also. Your family has awesome vocabulary. I’m totally stealing “bonking.” AND Genug Dammit!

    1. Joyce says:

      I guess the term “bonking” is a term from the athletic world–it means running out of available calories. I love it! Genug damit is actually from an old German teacher.

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