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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The FODMAP Issue

There has been lots of news recently about people not really having gluten sensitivity.  Maybe its FODMAPS that are the issue and people with non celiac gluten sensitivity's problems are "all in their head." For many struggling with this condition, this type of press can cause major frustrations for the sufferer.  I frequently have people posting these studies that "debunk the mystery" on my facebook wall or send me a link to the "latest scientific study"
FODMAPS are, "short-chain carbohydrates, named FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) these short-chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. The production of gas by these bacteria is a major contributor to symptoms." For the sake of time, these include a lot of high sugar fruits, vegetables like onion and garlic, and legumes. Kid X was doing well with his gluten free lifestyle until after a terrible sinus infection.  All of a sudden after being treated with very strong antibiotics, Kid X began to show GI symptoms again.  His abdomen would get tight and swollen, vomiting, diarrhea and malaise set in.  It seemed any fruit, vegetable or bean would cause this reaction.  Immediately I cut out beans, this was one of his favorite vegetables.  I figured, this might be contributing to his swollen tummy. But even with several once tolerable fruits like bananas and apples, the same reaction would occur.  After doing more research I found that suffers with IBS and other GI issues sometimes had improvement by getting rid of foods that were high in FODMAPS. Couldn't hurt right?  So by trial and error, I eliminated foods that caused Kid X to have increased GI symptoms.  I kept a log of what fruits and veggies were tolerated and which were to be avoided. There was a pretty clear pattern of foods high in FODMAPS causing his symptoms.  Foods with low FODMAPS seemed to be tolerated very well.Could his issue just be leaky gut or a depleted good bacteria in his gut from antibiotic therapy? Maybe, but as time as gone on, even trying these foods again has not been successful.  With all the confusing research and studies out there, who knows what is right and what is wrong.  As time progresses we find out things that are bad for us were really good all along, and things that we considered good for us are once again labeled bad.  Speaking to others with similar conditions, are a good start.  I've learned some other signs to look out for just by listening to what other celiac and gluten sensitive people are able to eat or not eat.  I cook gluten free and FODMAP free for the most part for the entire family.  I do make exceptions with some of the FODMAPS for the rest of us that don't seem to be bothered by it.  I want my garlic and onions sometimes!  Kid X does very well with the fruits and veggies he can eat and doesn't seem to complain.  He loves strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.  Even limes and lemons!  I can easily occupy him at restaurants with a lime or a lemon.  The other day he ate 5 slices of lemon at his grandmother's house! Being 3 years old, he is finding his voice, able to tell teachers and friends that he can't eat that banana, apple or enjoy those baked beans.  Having substitutes while everyone else indulges doesn't even phase him.  His children's day out has been wonderfully accommodating.  When snacks or food related projects come up, we bring a substitute.  During the last week of school this year, the class was doing a project with sugar cookies.  We brought sugar cookie mix for the entire class to use instead of  just bringing Kid X a gf version.  He got to mix up his "special" cookies with the class!  For my family, we will continue to cook gluten free, FODMAP free just as we have been doing since finding out about Kid X's diagnosis.  I will continue to read all the latest studies and newest trends, but continue to do what works for my little man.  So friends, continue to post studies, even post all those things that you think will debunk this so called fad.  I do not wish for you ever to have to go through what my child has gone through. Food allergies and sensitivities are real and the best thing to do is be compassionate for those families that are affected whether you thing it is real or not.  I am thankful that this is diet controlled for my little one! Just as I have to abstain from seafood so I won't have an anaphylactic reaction, those that suffer with gluten issues have to abstain as well.  Though the immediate  reaction might not be as "severe" as other food allergies, they are just as life threatening. Plus there are a lot more things in life to be concerned with and thankful for than trying to prove someones diet as wrong. Whatever future studies will or won't prove, I don't think eating real fresh foods, cooking more and eating less processed, sugary, carbohydrate rich foods ever hurt anyone.