Note from Jane: This is the latest in a monthly series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, choose Duffy Chronicles from the Stories menu.
We’re now officially halfway through the year, my friends! Can you believe it? My summer has been made many times more pleasant than in years past by the recent addition of my window air conditioner. #moderndayblessing!
Two of my favorite things are cloudy, overcast days and rain. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, a.ka. The Valley of the Sun. We heated burritos and chimichangas on the windshield of our truck while waterskiing on the lake. We bought sunscreen in gallon jugs. We used water in our radiators (FYI: this was a really BAD idea when we subsequently drove our cars to northern parts and they FROZE). We complained that if the rest of the country got “snow days,” we ought to get “hot days” off of school.
Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in the greater Portland Metropolitan area. When people ask, I tell them I’ve already stored up a lifetime’s worth of sunshine. I feel like I’ve found the ideal region to live and if it weren’t for that pesky summer season with its allergens and sun and heat, life would be practically perfect in the PNW! Fortunately, there is one redeeming quality of summer that has always won my complete and unqualified forgiveness:
Watermelon! Juicy, sweet, ripe, perfect, watermelon!
Watermelon will not be a part of my life for at least the next few weeks, and perhaps longer. After 3 rounds of blood and stool tests and a visit with the gastroenterologist, I’ve been diagnosed with…. IBS, just as I suspected all along. However the tests haven’t been in vain since they rule out Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other causes (IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion) and the GI visit did yield one valuable nugget of information: the recommendation for a low-FODMAP diet.
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosacchardies, Disaccharides, Monosacchardides and Polyols… essentially short-chain carbohydrates, sugar alcohols, and fructose that exists in a food in excess of glucose have all been found to upset IBS. This research comes out of Monash University in Australia and has only been in publication since about 2005—relatively new, methinks. Nonetheless, clinical results are positive for about 90% of cases. The recommendation is to eliminate all high-FODMAP foods for a period of 2-8 weeks, see if symptoms clear up, and then re-introduce or “challenge” foods one FODMAP group at a time.
The three biggest challenges I’m facing with this are:
- Watermelon is a high-FODMAP food (I am seriously grieving this)
- Of the allowable fruits, I can only eat 1 serving per meal and if used as a snack, must be 2-3 hours between fruit servings (I normally eat much more fruit!)
- Garlic and onion are high-FODMAP! I never appreciated before just how pervasive they are in both recipes and in the case of onion powder, in all sorts of mixed spices and powdered base mixes.
Last night I made pasta with Kickass Vegan Meatballs and my previous favorite tomato sauce of all time: Bravo Tomato Sauce. I omitted garlic and onion from both recipes, and in the latter also scallions. The “meatballs” were actually pretty good—they could have used a bit more flavor which I suspect the garlic and onion powder would have provided. The sauce however was extremely lacking. And thin… watery. I suspect a good portion of the liquid would have been evaporated while sautéing the onion, garlic, celery and scallions, which of course I skipped.
For all of my nervousness in approaching the GI appointment, I was extremely gratified that the doctor did not recommend colonoscopy (I’m quite concerned about the risk of perforation) and that he absolutely connected bowel issues to food and talked with me about the direct effect my fruit consumption was likely having on my digestive system. It was a direct answer to prayer to have the doctor take this approach and reaffirmed my belief in the truthfulness of the Word of Wisdom as a guide for our temporal health and well-being. I truly feel that a whole food, plant based diet is the best foundation from which to customize a way of eating that works for an individual’s health (and in my case, digestive) needs. Even if that means sadly learning to cook without onion and garlic.
Its hard for me to believe an entire month has passed since I last reported in. Unfortunately I haven’t made the progress this month that I had hoped to make. I’ve been in a weigh loss stall for the past several weeks—a couple of months even—as I’ve battled food addiction in the form of nuts. It began with salted dry roasted almonds and from there turned to dry roasted, salted macademia nuts. So for the past couple of months my weight loss has been measured in tenths of a pound each week instead of whole pounds, with occasional small rebounds (read: gains) and plateaus. I did reach one significant milestone, and that is that the scale, for the first time since beginning my WFPB adventures, registered in a new “century. ” In the parlance of online weight loss forums the appropriate salute would be “Welcome to TWOterville” (next stop, ONEderland).
My goals for July are:
- No nuts. Absolutely, positively, no nuts. At all.
- Adhere to the low-FODMAP diet.
- Eat a vegetable at least two meals per day.
Love and Blessings,