So what’s this all about? I’ll give you a bit of an explanation as to what’s going on with me.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been having lots of painful, very unglamorous, stomach problems. I’ve been back and forth to the GP countless times, and been prescribed a myriad of tablets, none of which provided any relief for me. It’s been absolutely rotten and I feel like I’ve struggled to be taken seriously. At some point, a doctor wrote down the words ‘low fodmap diet’ and told me to look it up. I was unimpressed by this further lack of advice but, after some googling and more tummy problems, I went back to the doctors a couple of weeks later and asked for more information. This time I saw a different GP, who knew absolutely nothing about the low fodmap diet, but looked it up while I was there in front of her and suggested I try it.
This low fodmap diet has been the only thing that has worked for me, and I’m both happy and sad about that. Obviously, I’m absolutely thrilled that I can go back to feeling healthy and pain free. But there’s part of me that is a little bit sad that this pain free life comes with a lot of limitations. At home, I’ve stopped having wheat, lactose, beans, garlic, onions, and a whole load of other fruits and vegetables. It’s great to feel better, but I’m really quite frustrated by the fact that eating an apple makes my tummy sore. Also, I’m worried no one is ever going to invite me round for dinner ever again.
The thing about the low fodmap diet is that it’s supposed to be an elimination diet. You give your tummy time to settle whilst you eat all the safe foods and avoid all the high fodmap ones and then you’re supposed to reintroduce foods and work out what your body can’t cope with. My problem is that everything I’ve tried to reintroduce has still given me a sore tummy.
My mum is really caught up with why this has happened. She keeps saying ‘But when you lived in Paris, you could eat bread and pastries and you were fine!’ I don’t get it either. But the point is my tummy is in a lot of pain, which wasn’t the case a few years ago when I was living the Parisian dream, and this is the only thing that has helped so for now I’m going to go with it.
The other thing I’ve found that helps is exercise. I started running towards the end of my Erasmus year in Paris. My best friend runs a lot and she made it sound fun, and it was a great way for me to explore. I did the Couch to 5K plan properly in January/February this year, and since then I’ve been running as regularly as I can. I usually run 4-5km around three times a week. I absolutely love it, it’s a great way to start the day and I have time to focus and clear my head. I really notice the negative effects on my body and my mind if I don’t run. I’ve been going to more classes at the gym too, and again, it all makes my sensitive tummy feel better.
So, I’ve had a bit of a lifestyle change. I’m cooking almost everything from scratch (or my lovely boyfriend is, who has taken to this all remarkably well!), exercising as much as I can fit into my schedule, and I’ve felt better than I have in ages. But it’s been a huge shock to the system, and I’m finding it really hard and really frustrating. I can’t just go out for a meal anymore, because half the things on the menu are ‘high fodmap’ foods, and it’s a really complicated one to explain to people who think I’m on some sort of fad diet. Alcohol doesn’t really agree with me either and I’ve found it more difficult than I would have anticipated to account for my not drinking socially. What’s even worse is that I can’t have any fruit juice or anything fizzy, so I’m literally sat drinking water, or cranberry juice for a special treat!
I’ve found a couple of blogs from people suffering from similar intolerances and this has helped me loads, knowing that it’s not just me. I’m hoping that in writing this, I can provide similar to support if you’re in my boat too. It’s also some motivation for me to keep going and keep eating new things, and not just eating the same food for every meal.
I promise it won’t all be doom and gloom and me whinging about my tummy. When I asked my parents what I should call this blog my dad suggested calling it ‘laughing Lisa’, to which I replied ‘but Dad, I’m really not very funny’. Mum and Dad said ‘well, we do laugh at your expense a lot!’ So if you want, now you can do the same! Hopefully I’ll share some easy recipes and where/how to eat out. You get to do it all with me, because it’s all new! You can keep up with my running progress, and I may even share a photo of me with my full ‘running in the dark’ regalia. For someone who doesn’t wear a bike helmet, it’s very safety conscious and I’ll encourage any laughing at my expense. I’ve got some plans to blog about some more fun stuff too, so please do stick around!