I didn’t choose the low fodmap life, it chose me.
For as long as I can remember, my digestion has been a little … special? Random mild pains, bloating (like debilitating … so much pain ya can’t sit up straight), nausea, vomiting … and we’ll leave the unladylike bits out because my dad’s the only one who reads my blog and he doesn’t wanna hear it.
And that was just life. Stress made it worse. Even good stress, like going on a fun trip! But sometimes, it would just flare up for seemingly no reason.
I learned that I can go 3 days without eating and still function well (going to work, hanging out with friends, walking around Rome all day), as long as I sleep 9-11 hours a night. Not a super common experience, but one I could power through when needed.
Went to all kinds of doctors, had all kinds of tests. The verdict: I’m super humanly healthy! There’s nothing wrong me! Diagnosis: IBS. Which means: gastrointestinal distress with no discernible reason.
A few years ago, I started up with a new PCP and as she was going over my history, I mentioned IBS. And she asked if I’d tried the low fodmap diet, and gave me a handout.
I read the handout. It. was. nonsense. The list of foods to avoid? Seemingly random. But I decided to give it a go. What could it hurt?
A few weeks later, wondering if it was working, I expressed my doubts to the husband. And he observed: you don’t complain after dinner every single night anymore. And he was right! It was our nightly ritual to have dinner, and then for him to ask me if I wanted to: go to the store! go for a walk! go … anywhere! And my answer was always: give me 20 minutes, I need my stomach to settle. Because there were mild pings an pangs, and a 2% chance I needed to be real close to a bathroom. (Sorry, Dad.)
So I stuck with it. I found my triggers: wheat, garlic and onions. And I found out that if I don’t eat wheat, I can eat dairy. Not like, all the dairy I want; but a whole DQ Buster Bar? Only a bit of discomfort that is negated by lactaid. But … I don’t always take the lactaid and come out just fine. Just need 20 minutes to let my stomach settle, but only like a 0.1% chance of needing to be real close to a bathroom.
Are all my digestion issues gone? Nope. But the days of bloating that build and build and build and bring complete misery? That hasn’t happened since I got on the low fodmap train. Immediate stomach-emptying nausea that can hit when stress and anxiety ramp up? Seriously tamped down. I feel my gut clench up and I expect the unbearable nausea, but it’s down to a very dull roar.
So, I’m a believer. It’s a lot of work to eat a low wheat, onion, garlic diet. It’s so much meal planning, so. much. food. prep. (Yay for the instant pot!) And all my digestion woes aren’t fixed. But: I can live a life without the anxiety that I need to be close to a bathroom at all times. And: I can eat ice cream.