One facet of following the low-FODMAP diet is that it’s restrictive enough that I don’t feel comfortable restricting my diet further in any way. I try to eat as wide of a variety as food as possible.
For instance, I used to be mostly (although never 100%) vegetarian. And there are so many really important reasons to go veggie. The environment, your health, food sustainability around the world. Your budget. The meat industry is a pretty ugly beast. (No pun intended–not that that was funny. I’ll quit now.)
But my plant-based protein sources are limited so severely by IBS. Tofu is great, peanuts are okay, almonds and hazelnuts–gotta be careful, and most legumes are out. I feel that if I want to make sure I’m eating an adequate variety of foods, I really need to be including some meat in my diet. That doesn’t mean I eat a ton of meat–if you check out my recipes, you’ll see that I find a lot of ways to make the low-FODMAP diet vegetarian-friendly–but I also have some organic beef patties in my freezer, and I do eat meat a few times a week, sometimes more or less depending on the week.
There was also a time just a few months ago when I considered cutting sugar mostly out of my diet for my IBS. Sugar (including artificial sweeteners!) can lead to overgrowth of gut yeast, which can cause icky digestive issues. But I had severe anorexia for several months of my life, and disordered eating for a long time before then, and I know I’m still struggling to have a joy-motivated, rather than guilt-motivated, relationship with food. Cutting out sugar just felt too close to going back to that disordered place. I do still eat a sweet breakfast most days, and one or two sweet treats throughout the day. I know that’s more than the CDC or whatever recommends, but I’m not drinking soda or giant frappuccinos every day, either.
There are so many dietary options out there, touting their benefits: paleo, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, keto, low-FODMAP, whole 30, “clean” (whatever the heck that is supposed to mean). High-carb, low-carb, high-fat, low-fat, high-protein. We’re also supposed to eat organic, local, fair trade, and minimally processed. No wonder so many people struggle with orthorexia and EDNOS!
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of these diets in and of themselves. (Except maybe the low-carb, high-protein thing. That one I take issue with.) And of course, some of these diets are absolutely required for people with certain conditions, like celiac or ulcerative colitis, to thrive. What makes me nervous is when we start stacking all of these restrictions on top of one another, so that this food is bad and now that food and that food and that food until suddenly, all that is allowed is lettuce and rice cakes!
As for myself, I eat modified low-FODMAP for IBS (which in and of itself cuts out a lot, although I’ve also been able to re-introduce a lot.) I also eat more vegetarian meals than meat-based, I try to eat more healthy than unhealthy foods, and I try to eat local foods, when I can.
This is what works for me in terms of mental and physical health. And though I’m sure there are plenty of other battles–good battles–to fight, fighting off a disordered relationship with food and severe IBS is plenty for me.And without further ado, here’s what I ate Tuesday. Thanks to our lovely hosts, Arman, Laura, and Jenn for the What I Ate Wednesday linkup!
What decisions guide what you mostly eat or mostly don’t eat?