Sometimes I forget that my stomach is not “normal”

Ever since I can remember the occasional bloating, constipation and upset stomach has been “normal” for me (that’s as much TMI as I will get). I vaguely remember changing my diet to be more healthy in high school and not having as many stomach problems. I then remember a time in university where I ate quite well considering meal hell hall and not having issues. I then have those memories of being so hugely bloated after drinking beer, but not reacting to it other times.

I then remember my grandmother being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I got tested because my stomach wasn’t very happy at the time, but the test was negative for celiac. Despite the negative test, I opted to eat gluten free instead of the small intestine biopsy because I really didn’t missed gluten products all that much and the food isn’t as expensive or as bland as the early years of celiac. Eating gluten free has been helpful for me in avoiding the consequences from eating gluten. When I eat gluten, it feels like a ball is sitting in the bottom of my stomach and of course it never ends well…

But now, well, it’s gotten to be worse. I don’t feel like I go by a day without bloating or some other issue. So, has my stomach always been bad and I just haven’t realised it until now? Have I finally realised that this isn’t normal and I need to fix it?

Nevertheless, I’m here now and I’ve finally made a step towards taking care of the issue. I contacted my lovely dietitian friend with a simple text of, “Ugh. Can you do a blog post on reasons why I might be so bloated these days?” She responded promptly with, “Have you tried the low FODMAP diet? It’s fantastic for bloating. I can send you some resources.”

Here I am, two days later and I couldn’t be more excited for the next 6 weeks of the low FODMAP diet to help with my (very likely, but not medically diagnosed) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)!

I’m ready to go! I’ve downloaded the app from Monash University, I’ve got my food journal up and running, and I even feel less bloated today (placebo effect?).

So what is low FODMAP?

Well, it’s basically giving up certain foods that contain short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest and then slowing adding them back in to determine your triggers. What more information on that? See this blog post, The Low FODMAP Diet?

As it turns out, it limits or eliminates  a LOT of common health foods (to get a full list, I’d recommend the Monash App). However, there is a lot of healthy foods to enjoy while on the diet!

Source: Low FODMAP Diet Resources

Perceived challenges

After looking at the resources, I’ve noticed the big challenges for me will be totally eliminating garlic and onions, while also drastically reducing beans/pulses (of any kind!). I’m hoping that onions and garlic can be reintroduced into my diet after the 6 weeks is up, but we will see! I’ll also miss all of the delicious in-season veggies and fruit I enjoy right now like peaches, watermelon, and sweet corn.

Another change will be portion control because some foods are okay to eat in small servings. For example, sweet potato is only a low FODMAP food when you eat 1/2 cup or less per day. If you eat 3/4 cup or more, your intake of polyols will be high. Similarly with almonds, 10 nuts are fine, but 20 nuts and you’re running high on oligos. Again, avocado is okay as long as you have 1/8 or less a day – which is probably good practice anyway since it is such a dense food as 1 entire avocado could nearly be a meal in itself.

Why I’m okay with this diet

Normally diets are seen as punishment and not being able to eat what you want. However, low FODMAP is a diet that allows you to reintroduce some foods to see how you react. If you don’t react to the food, then that’s fine, you can eat it. If you do react to a food, but you love it so much that you can’t give it up, fine, but expect consequences or eat it in moderation. To be honest, when you know the consequences, it will turn you away from that food whether or not you love it – it just isn’t worth it.

I’ll try to do some updates throughout the next 6 weeks and I will also be doing some posts on my fitness Instagram @HITTster which will be updated more frequently.



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