Friday, April 19, 2019

My Favorite Low FODMAP Meals & A One Year Update

I'm getting close to my one year anniversary with the Low FODMAP diet, so I thought I'd share an update! This will be massively uninteresting unless your stomach hurts all the time, so apologies in advance. :D

Of course I'm not a doctor or expert, so here's the usual disclaimer: never trust anything I say without doing your own research. (Monash University invented the diet, so start there. Then download the $8 Monash app for your phone, because it's worth it.) Most of what I've learned is pretty standard stuff, though, so I'm not going to throw anything crazy at you.

I'm feeling even better since my first (and only?) mention of Low FODMAP here last July. I can still say Low FODMAP has saved me from a life of constant stomach pain, plus a whole battery of invasive GI tests. It's also fairly easy to try and a low financial commitment, so I *highly* recommend it if you're hurting. I still have setbacks when I slip up and eat something I shouldn't - and I'll be honest, those setbacks hurt more than they did before I started LF - but overall I feel pretty great, and I can eat a lot more now than you'd think. I can even eat at a lot of restaurants!

In case you're not familiar with it, Low FODMAP is an elimination diet meant to treat all forms of IBS and GI discomfort, like reflux. It is NOT a weight loss diet. It helps you ID what types of foods cause you pain, and then avoid them. Boom bada boom.

On paper you're only supposed to be strictly LF for about 6 weeks, then you start re-introducing problem foods one at a time. I stayed in the elimination phase for 6 months, which is NOT recommended, but I was both lazy & hit a lot of setbacks. In fact I'm *still* in the re-introduction phase, so I haven't tested some foods like honey or garlic yet. I'll get to them eventually, but for now I've cleared my highest priority foods, wheat and avocado, so I'm pretty content.

 (John says this post needs more pictures. How'd I do?)

One important thing you should know is that FODMAPs are not allergens. I'm not allergic to my trigger foods, I'm simply intolerant of them. There's a big difference. It means a tiny bit of your trigger food usually won't cause a bad reaction. (Contrast that with a gluten allergy, where even cross-contamination is a danger.) FODMAPs are more about the level of exposure and how much you eat. That's not true for everyone, of course, but overall it helps to remember this when you're feeling overwhelmed: This is not an allergy. It's OK if you miss a little something sometimes. Just do your best and odds are you'll still find relief.

I mention this because I've seen too many people get overwhelmed by all the restrictions and quit before they even start. Research and preparation is great, but you can get stuck there, and the more you read about all the stuff you CAN'T eat, the more intimidated you'll get. So my advice? Just start. You don't need a month of meal plans; you only need today's.


I have one friend in particular who keeps telling me she wants to try Low FODMAP, so I thought I'd take you through what I typically eat each day. These are my "safety meals," and the menu I go back to anytime I've had a bad reaction to something. I'm eating these right now because two days ago I rather cavalierly threw a bunch of mushrooms on my salad at a restaurant buffet, along with a bunch of other stuff I didn't look too closely at, and I've been in pain ever since. Oops.

I don't think I ever really believed a little food could cripple a person, but I spent most of yesterday afternoon in the fetal position. Trust me, once you understand which foods do that to you, there is ZERO temptation to cheat.

Everything I'm about to show you is Low FODMAP, and - to my knowledge - safe to eat during the elimination phase. I'll also include my favorite take-out options and some of our easy at-home dinners. Hopefully these will make getting started seem a little less scary. :)


I eat this breakfast bowl from Aldi every. single. morning.

Is it soul-crushing to eat the same breakfast every day? Yes. Is it worth it? SO MUCH YES. Before I found these bowls I had to make my own breakfast every day, which often just didn't happen. When I had the energy I'd make this, though:

A little more tasty, but 1000% more effort.

In addition to eggs, cheese, potatoes, and (onion-free) sausage or bacon, you can also eat wheat-free toast with certain types of jelly or peanutbutter, and even some kinds of oatmeal. (Always consult the Monash app; a lot of oatmeal is not Low FODMAP.) So there are plenty of breakfast options.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Happy Homecoming, Evangeline!

I just shared this on Facebook yesterday - where I learned the proper term is "Gotcha Day"? - but since this is for posterity, I'm also posting it here. I want to remember this.

Plus this gave me an excuse to scroll through a thousand Eva photos, pick out a few bunch of favorites, and talk about them. AW YEAH.


One year ago today our neighbor Rebecca pulled off the highway to rescue a tiny black kitten, huddled on the middle yellow line (!!). It was so small that at first she thought it was a hair scrunchie. Then, after Rebecca got the fuzzball into her car, the kitten disappeared so thoroughly that it took her a few hours and disassembling the dash to get her out again!

One year ago today we'd just lost Tonks, and I was fighting a losing battle to keep my Lily alive. I still can't talk about it - can barely type this - but suffice to say Eva came into our lives that day, and eventually our hearts.

Evangeline was my light through the grief, her persistent distractions and demands all that kept me grounded. It took me months to admit I loved her, but now every day I'm so grateful she's here.

I forgot to mention Eva's birthday last month (or our best guess at what her birthday is), but I think today is the REAL celebration. So happy homecoming, sweet Eva, my Evangeline. Prepare to get LOTS of treats and belly rubs.

Here's Eva today, but let's take a stroll down memory lane as she grew up:


 Her first bath:

 She eventually forgave us. 
(Look how tiny her head was! We think she was about 4-5 weeks old.)


 Keeping our router warm.

Once we adopted Suki a few months later, it got a lot harder to get photos of just Eva: 

Suki was top dog from day one, and still bullies Eva around a bit, but they are devoted sisters: