I sat down with my laptop tonight with very little idea about what I am going to write about. It is the end of the week and I am due for a post today. All week I have been feeling quite content and happy. A quiet sort of happiness knowing that at each moment, there was nothing else I needed to fulfill me. And it is not tied to any one person or event. Just a general feeling. While I am not sure I understand totally why I feel like that, I am guessing it has something to do with examining and eliminating the various causes of unhappiness in my life over the last little while.
I started the week feeling really ill. I had really bad gastric pain over the weekend necessitating a search on the “Google machine” as to the possible causes. On Monday I went to the doctor who prescribed Peppermint Oil capsules and a special diet called the Low FODMAP diet. It stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols and has been developed by Monash University in Australia as a way of reducing the discomfort and pain caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome. By eliminating the different types of food constituents that act as a substrate for the bacteria in your gut that cause the excess gas production, it reduces the bloating and therefore the pain. On this diet, among a whole host of other things, you are not allowed to eat onion, garlic, gluten (wheat), lactose (dairy), apples, pears, mango, and all processed foods like ice cream and sweets which contain these ingredients. As spicy food was making my symptoms worse, I have decided to eliminate chillies for the duration I am on this diet. You can actually download an App for the diet onto your phone or iPod and take it with you when you go shopping, so it is very user friendly.
As a lover of all things food, with so many foods gone from my repertoire, I should actually be unhappy, but I am not. Maybe it was the relief from all the pain I had been suffering in the recent months, but I just feel good. I thought about it over the last few days, trying to figure out where this feeling was coming from. And the conclusion I came to was this; life throws you lots of curve balls. How you deal with each of them determines whether the event will leave you happy or unhappy. In my culture there is a saying “when the boat capsizes, you say that way around is better” meaning you accept the new situation and try to make the best of it. With this in mind, I have gone shopping with the FODMAP App and put a lot of effort into making interesting meals for myself. Only four days into it, I am feeling much better than I did last week. My plan is to stick to the diet very strictly for the next four weeks and then add back one food at a time to see how I tolerate it. I am hoping that I can eventually have dairy and onion and garlic with a little bit of chillie if nothing else and I can go back to eating my beloved curries.
I am hoping I can post some recipes and progress updates over the next few weeks. I would love to hear from you if you have had experience with FODMAP or other elimination diets for IBS or similar conditions. It is a very challenging diet, but the relief I have had so far from my symptoms make it totally worthwhile.