I Am A Little Upset

I have been slowly, carefully, conscientiously changing my diet from the ground up. Swapping out tasty processed snacks, meats, and canned goods for nutritious whole foods – you know, raw food in its natural state that you have to cook yourself. I have slowly given up most snack cakes, candy bars, hard candy, fast food, etc., for fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, long grain wild rice, quinoa, rolled or  steel-cut oats, sweet potatoes (mainly fries), and an abundance of fish and chicken, limiting red meat to one or two meals a week.

I have relapsed. Period. McDonald’s has called my name, successfully, as I walked by, more than once – more than five times, actually – since I started this latest fitness program. Taco Bell lured me, twice, even though I had sworn to stopped giving them my money after they discontinued the Beef Meximelt, the best thing on the menu, ever. Burger King…you get the picture. But, for the most part, I have kept to the meal plan. Lots of green veggies, some starches, and some meat, in very controlled portions.

To that end I have stocked my refrigerator with vegetables I can cook, and by cook, I mean roast or steam. Mark Johnson does not hover over the stove, shaking pots and pans, sautéing and deglazing. It’s not in my wheelhouse. Microwave, toaster oven, rice cooker, air fryer, slow cooker. That’s my range.

I used to eat “kinda” healthy on the cheap, buying the cheapest tomatoes and whatever salad mix was on sale, or a huge tub of spinach or a spring mix (romaine, spinach, kale). Now, I invest my grocery budget in vegetables that taste good steamed or roasted with a light coat of olive oil and a dusting of some salt-free spice mix from Mrs. Dash. Lemon pepper is my favorite. Cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers. Over rice, on their own, with four ounces of chicken, salmon, or tilapia. And, it has been good. I have enjoyed the flavors I have been able to coax out of my limited spice rack, and the smells coming out of my toaster/convection oven while it cooks.

I’m eating healthier, which is all I wanted. A healthier living: more physical activity, more exercise, more water, hopefully better sleep (has not happened, yet), less body fat, more lean muscle, one of these days. Little by little, 10,000 steps by 10,000 steps, one small change after another. Et cetera, you know the drill. Everything has been working according to plan, health-wise.

Except the flatulence. Gas, in other words. Farting to be exact. I don’t know when it started but I have turned into a gas machine the past few months and it is driving me crazy. Because. BECAUSE. Sometimes – just sometimes, bur often enough – gas builds up in me enough to feel like urgency – to make me feel like I am going to defecate in mere seconds if I don’t find a toilet, immediately.

In other words, it feels like I have diarrhea, most of the time, when I get gas. And, I am getting gas most of the time. And, having to run to the nearest bathroom, almost every time.

And, I couldn’t figure out why until yesterday. Really. Yesterday. While I was surfing the internet trying to find out if green beans cause gas so that I could have some for dinner, with bacon crumbles, if they didn’t.

Have you heard of FODMAP? Well, neither had I until I happened upon a site that informed me that green beans were low on the FODMAP scale, and would not give me gas.

So, fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, or FODMAPs are sugars in food that are not absorbed properly and trigger symptoms in people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Symptoms means, gas, bloating, cramps, constipation and/or diarrhea.

Do I have IBS? I don’t know. I had a bout of chronic diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain, bloating, and bloody, mucus-y stool (feces) that lasted for years, starting in 2001, but I never received an official diagnosis of IBS. At its peak, I was taking seven Imodium at one time to try to get my bowels under control. It stopped and started over the years, and finally seemed to go away for good in 2016, right after I left the hospital following my heart failure incident. Whatever I am dealing with now doesn’t feel the same, exactly. Not yet.

Well, back to the story. So there is a list of high FODMAPs, which cause gas, and low FODMAPs, which don’t. People with IBS are encouraged to eat low FODMAP foods whenever they have a flare-up, which may be what I am experiencing.

I tell you…

I took a look at the list of high FODMAP foods…

Brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, wheat and whole wheat, cabbage, celery, sweet corn (SWEET CORN?). Peaches, pears, APPLES, watermelon, cherries, fruit justice from concentrate (is there another kind?), Wheat and rye products (bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, etc.), dairy that contains lactose, Nuts, including cashews and pistachios. HONEY.

I mean, this is the majority of the food in my current diet.

Before I expanded my palate and learned how to cook vegetables in a convection oven, I was almost strictly a meat, poultry, fish, and potatoes guy – with a lettuce, tomato, and ranch dressing salad for dinner. Meat, poultry, fish, and potatoes are low FODMAP foods; when my diet was that simple, that uninventive, I didn’t have gas. I didn’t have any of these problems.

I spent an hour in low-level shock.

Whole foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Home-cooked meals. And Whole grains. Are kicking my ass. I am gaining a lot of nutrients from them. My diet is healthier. But, they are bad for my health.

It is ironic.

So…it’s back to basics. Lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes. Four ounces of fish, poultry, or lean meat, almonds, eggs, tea, coffee, rice, oats, oranges, bananas, green beans, carrots, bell peppers. Back to my diet before my fitness program – with a lot less processed and fast food.

What have I learned? I’m a delicate snowflake who can’t handle…

The more you know, the more you grow…?

Unbelievable.

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