The FODMAP diet remains a mystery to me. Dr. Kupfer gave us 3 handouts about FODMAP – a one-page “cheatsheet,” a medium-length article, and a recipe book. Although the article has a very helpful decoder list of secret foods (additives) that aren’t safe, the cheatsheet and article contradict each other on some points, which is confusing. I looked up the book the article was adapted from, and from what I could see in the Kindle Sample, some of the food lists in the book contradict the food lists in the article. Furthermore, the author’s website has lists that contradict the other three! So far, this is the best summary explanation I’ve found:
The Australian group has produced strong evidence that a group of short-chain carbohydrates, named FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) are problematic for those with IBS. These short-chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. The production of gas by these bacteria is a major contributor to symptoms.
For now, I’m following the list in the article Dr. Kupfer gave me. I’ll keep looking at other sources and will wait to see what the dietitian says in November. Overall, there’s a LOT of overlap between my list of restricted foods and the FODMAP restrictions, so I’m very hopeful that we’re on the right track. There are, however, some foods that are FODMAP-safe that my body definitely does NOT like. For example, Tuesday night I had .8 oz of brie, which, according to all the lists, should be OK. Here’s what happened (as recorded in my food journal):
Immediately after eating it my tongue tickled, especially toward the back of my throat, and RUQ pain increased. I felt lightheaded and floaty. A little while later my lips were tingly and I had some mild brain fog (forgetting words) in addition to sneezing and itchy eyes. The sneezing and itchy eyes passed. Now I’m nauseous and trying not to throw up. Feel tightness in chest, like my lungs are being squeezed shut. My belly and throat (esophagus) feels absolutely miserable. I feel awful. It’s better if I don’t move at all. Persistent pain in the lower part of my front right ribcage – like a knife. Also unusual grumpiness and intolerance. Irritability. Bad dreams and jitters. Muscle tightness and knotted stomach upon waking.
Dr. Kupfer cautioned us that experimenting with the FODMAP diet would be a long and tedious process. I’m glad I experimented with brie and I’m glad I gathered meticulous data about my reaction, but I’m not glad that it didn’t end on a better note.
According to the FODMAP list, I need to say a tearful goodbye to a few of my staples, including Gu, pumpkin seed crackers, pistachios, cashews, and chocolate bars. Consequently, I’m struggling to meet my daily calorie requirements. But, guess what?! Remember how, for a whole year, I subsisted on marshmallows and Justella? And my friends and family, out of “concern” for my “health,” encouraged me to “eat” “healthier” “foods”? Well. Let’s start with this quote from “IBS–Free at Last!”
Think you’re the only one who feels miserable while eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and yogurt?
Clearly, in the FODMAP world,”healthy” is relative. When the meals I was “encouraged” to explore made me feel sick, I felt guilty for not trying harder to be “healthy.” Of course, you can guess where this is going. What “unhealthy” foods, it turns out, are FODMAP-safe? MARSHMALLOWS AND JUSTELLA, THAT’S WHAT. So, yes, while I admit that it would be in my best interest to consume foods with more nutritional value than marshmallows and Justella, now we all know that I gravitated towards those two for perfectly healthy and understandable reasons. Friends and family, rescind your anti-marshmallow judgment!