Lamentable Fermentables and KEEPING IT REAL

Adding things back into my diet continues, with excess fructose. I had a watermelon, cucumber, coconut water, and tumeric fresh raw juice, from my favorite juice company, Drought.

juice

Pretty, right? While it tasted delicious, I became bloated and gassy pretty much immediately. I also ate pizza this weekend, and had a piece of birthday cake. I have been FEELING it, and not in a good way. Bloated, gassy, constipated, headachey, cranky, nauseated for TWO DAYS. People try to be helpful: “Maybe it’s the sugar!” “It’s probably because of other ingredients in the frosting”. Nope, nope, nope. I can’t eat it. I just can’t. It’s over. This is my life now. A life without bread. A life without cake. A life without watermelon. A life without garlic. Not to mention numerous other things!

To keep it real, this sucks. It sucks big time. I am a person who lives to eat. It’s a huge part of my social life. When my friends and I gather, it’s around food and drinks. When my husband and I celebrate, it’s with food. I love to cook, and low FODMAP has taken some fun out of it. Some days, I feel really upbeat and happy about this lifestyle change. Today, I think it sucks. While my GI told me I can eat what I want, just in moderation, it’s again very evident how little moderation I had when eating, and how restrictive it is now.

I guess all of this has been a highlight and a low light: I know what I can’t eat, which is helpful. But it’s very limiting, which is depressing. I’m going to try to continue to make one new low FODMAP item each week. I didn’t get to the spaghetti and meatballs last week, so that’s been moved to this week. Wish me luck! Send me good vibes about this, because I need them!

Oh, see that picture up there? My instagram account is lowfodmaplife. I post a lot of food and recipes up there. Find me, friend me, and let’s keep each other motivated!

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Freedom?

For the past week, I’ve been eating lactose/dairy. I visited my GI and found out I do not have celiac disease (yay!), so she gave me the go-ahead to start adding other categories back into my diet. My GI was thrilled that FODMAP worked so well for me and that we would not have to proceed with any invasive treatments. She told me that it’s OK if I want to eat bread, or ice cream, or beans, but to do it in moderation. In other words, no more gluten daily, I can have it once a week or as much as I can tolerate. And she let me decide what I wanted to add in first, and I decided to start with dairy, then excess fructose (finally, I can try apples again!), followed by polyols, and finally, fructans. I am staying away from the beans category, since that has always bothered my stomach, and I stopped eating them a long time ago/BF (BF: Before FODMAP). So I decided my first test should be real ice cream, which is something I’ve always loved. My husband and I went to our local ice cream parlor for the occasion. I really wanted cookies and cream (MY FAVE!) but the employees advised against it due to the freezer burn. I ended up having mint cookie, and it was disappointing! Not very tasty, and the cookie bits were really hard. I threw most of it out, which was unheard of prior to FODMAPS. It just didn’t taste good. Could it be I am now solely a gelato gal?? I was expecting this unbridled ecstasy at finally having real ice cream, but MEH. It was just OK. I’ve also had milk several times, and tolerated it well. I tried ice cream again at home, and got a bad stomachache, so I guess that’s my answer to dairy: milk yes, ice cream, probably not.

While I’m slowly adding things in, I believe I know my culprits: fructans. Which really sucks, because I love bread/gluten more than life itself. If you follow this blog, you know of my eternal struggle to find delicious gluten free pizza, and how lame it’s been. This past Wednesday, my job celebrated all birthdays in July, and a co-worker brought in cake for all of us to have. I decided to have a piece, just to see how I’d react. And, as I feared, I reacted very poorly. About 30 minutes after eating the cake, I got a migraine, that lasted for over EIGHT HOURS. I was also lethargic, cranky, and had GI upset, including gas and bloating. On Saturday, my husband got pizza from my favorite pizza place and I decided to have a small piece. I got a headache (although not as severe), a stomachache, and was constipated. So, I think I have my answer: gluten is a once in a while, maybe once a month or once every other week as a treat, if I’m willing to put up with the headaches that come with it.

While I’ll continue adding in other categories, I really like the way I feel since starting this diet. I haven’t lost any weight (everyone said I would), which just goes to prove the myth of “gluten makes people fat!”. No, it doesn’t. Eating a lot of anything will contribute to weight gain. I cut out gluten, but kept eating balanced, proportioned meals, and stayed at the same weight.

I’ll be continuing this blog for my own record of health,to post successful, delicious low FODMAP recipes, and to record my experiences going back to school! That’s right, all of my health issues made me realize that I wanted more training in holistic-based counseling approaches, so I’ll be getting my post-bachelor’s certificate in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness studies. I hope I can write about things that I”m learning. This week: I’ll be trying to make low FODMAP spaghetti and meatballs, wish me luck!

FODMAP Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

I love nothing more than a delicious, filling breakfast. Low FODMAP is a breakfast lover’s dream, what with the meat and gluten free options that abound! I always start my day with breakfast, and never skip. That’s no exaggeration, I NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST. I was conditioned as a small child that it is “the most important meal of the day” and firmly believe this. Here are my favorite low FODMAP breakfast items:

Green Smoothie
greensmoothie

8 oz. non dairy milk or lactose free milk
1 banana (frozen or unfrozen)
1-2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
dash of cinnamon
1 handful of greens (I use a spinach and kale pre-packaged blend)
5 ice cubes

There’s a specific order I follow for blending, to avoid food getting stuck: Break banana into two pieces, add to blender (TIP: if you freeze your bananas, it’s helpful to break them up before they go in the freezer). Add milk. Add peanut butter. Add cinnamon. Throw the greens on top, add ice over that. Blend on high for several minutes or until desired consistency. Pour into glass and enjoy! You can also add a smidge of coconut oil in with the peanut butter.

Green smoothies are great because you can make them any way you want, with any liquid, any fruit, any green, any added protein, etc.

This smoothie gives you protein and possibly several servings of vegetables for the day! It fills me up for 3-4 hours.

Egg and Mixed Green Omelette
omelette

2 organic eggs (or use non-organic, whatever)
salt and pepper
2 large handfuls of greens (again, I use a pre-packaged blend)
2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Scallions, diced

Crack eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper, whisk. Set aside. Add oil of your choice to a pan that has been sitting over medium heat on the stove top for several minutes. Let oil heat up for 1 minute. Add greens, and saute until wilted and half their size, about 2-3 minutes. Pour in egg mixture, making sure to cover all the greens. You may have to swirl the eggs around the pan. Cook until egg mixture begins to get white and stiff around the edges. Add grated cheese and scallions over the egg mixture. With a spatula, fold the egg mixture over to one side, making an egg envelope. Cook one side for 2 minutes, then flip and cook other side for about 3 minutes or until done. Serve with gluten-free bread (I enjoy Udi’s ).

Gluten Free Pancakes with Banana and Chocolate
pancakes

GF Pancake batter, mixed according to the pre-made package’s instructions (I use this brand)
1 very ripe banana, very well mashed
8-10 dark chocolate chips
1/4 c. unsweetened coconut chips or unsweetened shredded coconut

Pre-heat your griddle to high (or if using a pan, pre-heat over medium-high heat). Mix pancake batter and mashed banana together. Spread coconut oil (or oil of your choice) onto griddle/pan. Add 1/4 c. scoop of pancake-banana batter to griddle/pan. Sprinkle 3-4 chocolate chips on pancake. Sprinkle small amount of coconut onto pancake. With a small spoon, spoon a tiny amount of pancake mix from the bowl over the chocolate chips, and lightly pat with the spoon as well. Repeat until your griddle/pan has run out of room. By now, the first pancake should be ready to flip, but you’ll know for sure when the edges are stiff and “standing” slightly, meaning they do not appear liquidy anymore. If you need a time, my guess would be anywhere from 3-5 minutes, depending on your pan or griddle. Still unsure? Take a spatula and gently lift up one corner of the pancake. If you see golden brown bottom, they are ready to flip. Flip over, and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove from griddle and consume!

*NOTE: The mix I use is a little on the dry side, so instead of vegetable oil, I use coconut oil. Also, to keep low FODMAP, use lactose-free or dairy free milk in the mix (if your mix calls for it).

One of my other breakfast staples is from Detoxinista. The grain-free pumpkin seed granola is AMAZING! It’s grain-free, all the nuts are suitable for low FODMAP, and it is so good with almond milk. I even add it to smoothies sometimes for extra protein. If you are avoiding dried fruit, simply leave it out of the recipe. It’s delicious without it!

Again, low FODMAP really lends itself to be “breakfast friendly”, and with so many great choices, I can eat a different breakfast almost every day of the week!

The Best Frosting to Celebrate Another Year!

I celebrated my birthday this week and initially thought I was going to cheat and eat real cake. I had a FODMAP-related meltdown regarding how I haven’t had pizza in almost 8 weeks (I’m obsessed!!) and decided to just forge ahead and finish the elimination phase the best way I can.

So, I made gluten free cake by Bob’s Red Mill and chocolate “buttercream” frosting. I read a ton of reviews about this cake mix, and how a person can make it taste better. I decided to doctor the recipe a bit with 1 extra egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/8 c extra sugar, a 1/4 tsp of extra baking soda, and I mixed the batter for a total of 4 minutes. The cake left much to be desired. It was heavy, chewy, and bland. I wouldn’t use this mix again.

The highlight was the frosting. WOW!!! After making it this way, I don’t know if I’d go back to the original recipe that uses butter, milk, and shortening.

Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting
Frosts 1 8″layer cake or 9×13″ pan cake

Ingredients:
1/4 c. Coconut oil
16oz. Powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c cocoa powder

Instructions:
Cream the coconut oil until smooth, creamy, and without lumps. Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix on low-medium speed. Add in vanilla extract and 2 tbsp almond milk. Mix on low-medium speed. Add in cocoa powder, and mix.

Now, this is where the fun comes in. Taste test your frosting. Too thin? Add more sugar or cocoa powder. Too thick? Add more almond milk. Too sweet? Add more cocoa. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar.

The result of mine was a sweet, chocolatey velvety smooth frosting! After you frost your cake, put cake in fridge until ready to serve. Coconut oil will melt so I don’t recommend leaving the frosting at room temperature for too long. Enjoy the pictures in all their delicious glory:

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It would be hard not to just eat the frosting on its own!! I am also entering my final week of elimination before my GI tells me what to try adding back in. I am nervous to try the forbidden foods again, because I’ve been feeling so well. On the other hand, I had a breakdown about not eating pizza, so maybe it’s time to see what I can add in and tolerate. Next time I write, I may be able to eat gluten again!