Happy New Year low-FODMAP’ers everywhere! And happy new organ – did you know about the mesentery being reclassified as an organ? That clever clogs Leonardo da Vinci did! Read here
So what is 2017 going to bring? Hopefully happier tummies all round. Some of you may just be starting out on your Low-FODMAP journey, some of you re-introducing and some are happy having identified your own FODMAP kryptonite. I have to say each part of the journey has been a fascinating one. Yes, it’s been bewildering, frustrating and complicated at times but I’m always learning something new about myself.
One of the most difficult things I’ve found is trying to sort the wheat (gf obviously) from the chaff. There is so much information out there, so much, but it is too easy to get bogged down in everyone else’s details. One of the marvellous things about the human race is that we are all different. We may have similar reactions to food, stress, environments, and illnesses but there will be no one-size fits all diet answer to all these symptoms. The low-FODMAP diet has helped us enormously as a family, and I do mean as a family: a miserably mummy with tummy ache is not beneficial to all our mental well-being. Little Miss can get on growing and general 7-year-old busy-ness without the hindrance of IBS symptoms.
I’ve been over-reading on the Internet (why? Why?!) and feel sad when people feel they’re not doing their diet right if they can ‘inexplicably’ tolerate some high FODMAP foods from one subset but not others. Well, here’s my inexpert opinion – you tolerate them because you can. Enjoy what you can and avoid what you cannot. Equally, don’t torture yourself about things you cannot eat without symptoms, you can always try again in the future. We live in a state of re-introductions. Some things that I couldn’t even tolerate a low-FODMAP serving of a couple of years ago, I can now eat a tiny bit of (I’m looking at you peas ;-))
There are also the things that aren’t part of the low-FODMAP diet that I cannot eat but I can now tell what part of my body they hurt. Eggs always hurt the bottom right of my stomach, where I imagine my appendix is: cow’s milk products hurt halfway down the abdomen on the left hand side, give me a headache and nausea. The more I get to know my body the more I can manage my life. I cannot tolerate any soy in any form. I was to be able to tolerate soy lecithin but over the last year even that is troublesome .
In the autumn I tested positive for methane predominant SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. I knew something was wrong as my tummy constantly felt active but still with constipated symptoms. With medical guidance I’m currently looking into treatments. It’s a whole new world of complicated diets. I find the current information for SIBO utterly impenetrable and I’m trying not to get too bogged down in other people’s experiences. Before Christmas I followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet alongside low-FODMAP in preparation for antibiotics and whaddya know? Soy is one of the ‘illegal’ foods.
I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very long winded fashion, is that I’ve got to a point that I can listen to what my body is telling me and can take action to do something about it. But this has been a very long journey and I’ve been lucky to have a doctor, dietician and further clever medics that didn’t dismiss my inklings as automatically wrong.
Don’t give up fodmappers, listen to your body. If you’ve a gut feeling something is or isn’t working, it’s probably because your gut wants to tell you something! I’ve had 40 years with this body now; I’m learning new things about it all the time. I just wish, as with so many things, I’d listened harder years ago!