I've spent far too much time recently thinking about what I eat, and how to sustainably change it to combat a variety of GI symptoms. I've been tinkering around the edges of my diet for a few months in an effort to improve things. Today I sat down with a dietician to figure out what next steps make sense and what options are sustainable given my frequent travel. There are many changes I could easily sustain if I cooked all my own food every day. But I cannot avoid eating nearly 25% of my meals out becuase of work travel. And many of the symptoms are worst when I'm on the road.
It started back in April when I gave up caffeine after a few weeks of absolute misery. If you know me at all, you know that I adore coffee. You can guess how hard that was. In the end, I switched to decaf, kicked the cafeine addiction, and after a few miserable foggy weeks, I felt much better. That was step one. By mid-July, when I finally got organized and found all the doctors here in California, I asked a few questions about the ongoing stuff, had a bunch of tests to rule things out, and got advice about eliminating foods.
Step 1: Dairy. It turns out I'm lactose intolerant. This is not something a girl from Wisconsin ever wants to hear. My biggest struggles are no ice cream and terrible lattes. Why do all the coffee chains insist on using sweetened vanilla soy or almond milk? If I want sugar in my decaf latte or tea (which I absolutely do not), I'll add it myself, TYVM.
Step 2: FODMAPs. What's that, I asked? Just about all the things I most like to eat including garlic and onions, wheat, stone fruit, apples, pears, asparagus, beets, and many many other things. I lasted 5 days of the recommended 30 with not much noticeable improvement. Last week's New Yorker has an excellent introduction to the science; I'm confident that there's something to this—and it's not actually gluten.
This is why I saw a dietician today. With all the traveling I do, there's no way I can sustain a 30 day elimination diet without turning into That Person in every restaurant I visit and being stuck eating dry chicken breast and steamed veggies. In the interest of experimentation—which is pretty much the only way any one person can get a handle on their own IBS symptoms—I'm eliminating
Step 3: Onions
Step 4: Wheat
for 21 days. Starting tomorrow, because there are brownies in the house and I ate a small one in protest after my appointment this afternoon. I'll send the rest to the office with D tomorrow.
Wish me luck. Please. Because I think I'm going to need it. Nearly everything I cook starts with sauté the aromatics in fat. How do you cook with no aromatics?