In my last post , I mentioned that I believed gluten was the main problem. However, after reading “The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders” by Sue Shepherd PhD (founder of FODMAP diet) and Peter Gibson MD, I realized that it is not the gluten in wheat products that irritates those with IBS, but the fructans. Fructans are carbohydrates that are completely malabsorbed because the intestine lacks an enzyme to break their fructose bond – who knew. I also learned from the book that certain foods that I thought were completely out are actually okay in moderation. Foods are constantly being tested, so the FODMAP diet may expand over time to allow small portions of certain foods. For example, pumpkin was originally naughty, but the book states that it is FODMAP friendly in small portions, so I can add it to a baking recipe, but I wouldn’t be able to eat pumpkin soup, which I don’t think I’d eat anyway. I’m glad I bought the book for this reason and I have a few more options than I thought I had previously, which is encouraging.
I am still struggling to eliminate polyols completely. Polyols are found in the sugar alcohols in gum, like sorbitol. I’ve been pretty good this week and only had one piece of non-FODMAP gum. I did try a FODMAP friendly gum from Whole Foods, but it tasted like I was chewing on my shoe, so that just won’t work. I’m pretty sure Bazooka gum is FODMAP friendly, but it’s only good for about 5 minutes and I hate the feeling of sugar being on my teeth, so it’s not the greatest substitute, but better than shoe chew.
As I said in an earlier post, I’m putting my America’s Test Kitchen Gluten Free Cookbook to good use. I made a carrot cake and pizza dough so far. I was pretty doubtful that the pizza dough would cook properly as it was such a wet dough, more like a thick cake batter – no tossing this in the air and singing in Italian. But, I followed through with the recipe directions and it tasted great and was surprisingly chewy. This will definitely be my new go-to pizza dough recipe. I also learned some helpful tips about altering existing recipes I have that contain gluten. Depending on the recipe, additional liquid may be needed, a portion of liquid fat may need to be replaced with almond flour and cooking times may need to be adjusted. I love America’s Test Kitchen for these tips so that I do not have to get a whole new recipe rolodex; I just need to make a few tweaks to my existing recipes, which is a relief. I’m excited to keep experimenting.
This third week seems to be the turning point. I have not had any stomach pains, bloating or nausea all week. I’m not sure if it’s because the FODMAP diet is finally starting to take effect, or if it’s because of a new supplement I started taking at the beginning of this week – collagen. I happened to read an article that collagen is proven to improve joints (my left knee has been creaking louder than some of my floorboards lately). Although not proven scientifically yet, many people also report that collagen helps regulate stomach issues, so I figured that was two reasons to give this a try. The first day I took it, I wasn’t sure I could go through with it because it is a powder that gets dissolved in about a cup of water and it makes the water pretty cloudy and has a slight odor. Surprisingly, the powder has no taste, so as long as I don’t look at it or sniff it while I’m drinking it, it’s as if I were drinking a plain glass of water. The other benefits of collagen include healthier looking skin and thicker hair. Not quite sure I need help in the thicker hair department as my hair is about as thick as a lion’s main, but if it is helping ease my IBS symptoms, bring it on.