FODMAP plus!

I just realized I haven’t really given an update since starting this FODMAP diet other than posting some of the recipes I have been trying out.

Being on the FODMAP diet through the holidays was torture. I wasn’t able to follow it as strictly as I would have liked and I was still feeling issues crop up here and there.

So my dietitian recommended a few modifications to the FODMAP diet. Namely, more things I should avoid eating… great… That’s why I am calling it the FODMAP plus! 

But you know what?  Those extra changes made a world of difference!

Here are the additional things to avoid if you are having gut issues:

  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Fried Foods

All of these are technically not part of the low FODMAP restrictions. However, they are known gut irritants and cutting these out of my diet was the last piece of the puzzle that really made me feel better! It only took a couple of weeks to really notice a difference. Of course I love all of these things and wanted to try adding them back into my diet as soon as possible.

That’s when I had an “episode.”  I almost passed out at work. This was not the first time something like this has happened.

I get lightheaded a lot. Dizzy when I stand up too quick, and shaky if I’ve gone too long without eating. The actual “almost passing out” episodes are very rare. But when they happen they can be severe. Like, I have to lie flat on the floor for several minutes until I feel I can get back up without falling over.

The worst of these actually happened December of 2017. The same week I had my foot surgery and was back to work. I was still breast feeding at the time too. So of course I thought those were the culprits (and indeed certainly made everything worse). The nurses I work with insisted I go to the emergency room to rule out pulmonary embolisms (since I’d just had surgery). After 5 hours in the emergency department they said I was fine and could go home. Of course I knew I was fine since this was not the first time something like this had happened.

When it happened again recently I was able to sneak into an unused room to lay down where no one would see me and make me go to the emergency room again.

So I mentioned this to my dietitian. She was obviously concerned. We reviewed my symptoms…

WARNING TMI COMING UP
(if you don’t want to read about it, skip the next paragraph)

One of my bigger symptoms is loose stools. I wouldn’t call it full-on diarrhea, but things definitely would go right through me. My dietitian pointed out to me that, not only does this  mean I am probably not absorbing the nurtients I need efficiently from the food I eat, but I am also going to get dehydrated a lot more easily. If I am increasing my running and activity levels, those will also dehydrate me. This could easily lead to my (almost)fainting spells. 

That is when it dawned on me that perhaps coffee (though I love it so much) is probably one of my bigger triggers. When I had reintroduced it in small amounts with a meal I seemed to be okay tolerating it. The morning I had my “episode” I had a rushed morning and had only grabbed a latte before needing to go talk to a patient. I fully intended to eat the minute after we finished talking. But having a coffee by itself on an empty stomach has a tendency to send me straight to the bathroom, and this morning was no different.

See. I’m not the only one!

I had also been out for a run the day prior, futher dehydrating me.

So halfway through talking with the patient I had to excuse myself. That’s when I found a space to lay down and recover so I wouldn’t pass out right in front of the patient. Fun.

So for now, coffee is back off of the list of approved foods. I have learned to like tea instead. I have also taken to drink some gatorade after a run to give myself a little extra hydration. Another recommendation from my dietitian.

For the next two weeks I am back on the full elimination phase of the FODMAP diet, plus the additional exclusions based on my dietitian recommendation.

This diet is hard to follow. The additional restrictions are frustrating. But passing out at work and spending my day in the emergency room is much, MUCH worse.

Next up I will review the Monash University Low FODMAP app in detail. I will also do a post with some of my favorite Low FODMAP products. Then I will walk you through my reintroduction phase with the fodmaps!

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