New Year, New Goals

Hi All!  First of all let me apologize for posting a giveaway and then disappearing.  I bit off more than I could chew over the holidays and Mrs. Pea’s first giveaway fell through the cracks. 😦  However, if Roberta Decker and Emily over at The Waiting are still interested in receiving their snowflakes please send me your mailing addresses through private email on my Facebook or Etsy page.

Now on to the new year!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays and have all recuperated from them by now.  This year I resolved to take control of my health.  **Warning the rest of this post is about digestion issues**

For most of my life I have suffered from what my husband and I call “bad tummy” issues; the rest of the world knows it as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.  This not only affects my digestion but also my energy levels and moods.  It is a functional disorder but none the less painful and embarrassing.  Over the summer my doctors found I had H. Pylori, a common gut bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers, I really hoped that going through all the antibiotic treatments would help my “bad tummy” but in fact it has made it worse.

Well, this is the year I take the reins and make my bad tummy better!  I found a book called IBS: Free at Last! and it really has changed my life already.  The author, Patsy Catsos, explains what is happening in the digestive process that causes IBS flare ups, and outlines how this new diet out of Australia works to control it.   The low-FODMAP diet works by eliminating or at least limiting certain carbs, found in every type of food from veggies to sugar-free additives, that are poorly digested and quickly fermented in the gut.  To quote wikipedia,

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and monosaccharides which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, including fructans, galactans, fructose and polyols. The term is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols“.

In Patsy’s book she lays out a plan to eliminate all FODMAP heavy foods from your diet for a couple of weeks and then taking a series of challenges in each carb category to figure out which ones you are most sensitive too.   Within days of starting the elimination diet I was back to my old self again.  It has been hard giving up wheat, cheese, garlic, and onions.  My key to success so far is having a meal plan everyday.  This diet is fairly easy to follow if you are cooking your meals at home, but extremely difficult to stick to when eating outside the house.

So far I have made it through two challenge phases: the fructan challenge which includes wheat, garlic and onions, as well as the lactose challenge, I’m certain you all know the term lactose by now.  While it was nice to get a weekend to enjoy wheat and another for ice cream, neither of these challenges ended well for me.  I am hoping the next two will go better, but we will see.

At the end of these challenges I will know what permanent lifestyle changes I will have to make.  The goal of this diet isn’t to cut certain food out of my life for good but to know what to limit in my everyday diet and to recognize ahead of time what is going cause my “bad tummy.”  Having the power to spot a problem food for me is HUGE!

In the coming months I hope to move my cooking section out of this blog and into another one focused more on low-FODMAP living.  I am trying to think of a catchy name for said blog, so please leave suggestions in the comments below!

Happy New Year!