For most of my adult life I have dealt with extreme stomach aches. A lot of my troubles began in my Senior Year of High School and continued for several months until my first semester of college. I didn't know why I felt so sick and why I couldn't eat almost anything without feeling sick to my stomach. I began losing a lot of weight and we started going to doctors. We saw several Gastroenterologists and there were varying degrees of input such as: eat more fiber (what?), an intestinal parasite, and IBS. But unfortunately no one was able to give any advice on how to deal with my stomach issues. Several years later as a Junior I started having similar symptoms. We had more tests done and saw more doctors all with the same outcome.
About a year ago my symptoms started up again. I had recently had a baby and had heard that some women develop lactose intolerance as a result of pregnancy. I immediately cut dairy from my diet. This helped quite a bit but didn't solve the whole problem. I knew there was still something I was eating that was making me sick. I kept a food diary and it was very inconclusive- why would a salad make me sick while french fries didn't? It just didn't add up.
I needed to see someone ANYONE who could offer any advice. I made an appointment with a new Gastroenterologist and hoped for the best. I couldn't take another disengaged doctor who didn't care about my problems and would just write it off as IBS and offer no additional help. My new doctor was incredible! She listened to my problems gave me options about treatment and diagnosed IBS. At first I was skeptical (other doctors had diagnosed IBS and said it was a mental issue, and there wasn't much to do but endure it.) But this doctor had a plan. She gave me a pamphlet on the FODMAP Diet (learn more here), which contained a list of foods that are triggers for IBS attacks, something I had looked for for years. It was a long list. After leaving that appointment I felt enlightened but also overwhelmed. Looking at my list I could see there were a lot of changes that I had to make, and honestly I felt like freaking out. I felt like I would have to discard the last 4 years of work that I have spent collecting delicious, money-conscious and easy recipes.
I have spent the last month completely overhauling my diet. Going gluten free, dairy free cutting out fruits and vegetables and other things that are part of the FODMAP Diet. And I feel great! The hard work has been worth it, but it has been and will be HARD WORK. I am constantly trying out recipes and looking for resources to share on this blog. Next week we will be talking more about the FODMAP Diet. If you are part of the gluten free, dairy free, bean free, high fructose corn syrup free band wagon please follow along on this journey with me and feel free to share your experiences!