Life lately and a few thoughts

A lot of my posts lately have been scheduled ones. This is because I blog on my break and then work whilst I am away. Life lately has been a bit strange really. To be honest ever since the new year I have been a bit up and down and as I have mentioned on here I attribute this to 3 things.

First up, FODMAPS. There is no two ways about this they affect my well being. They affect my physical well being, with stomach aches, but there is so much evidence they affect my mental wellbeing also. I am worth more than this therefore I need to remove them once and for all.

Exercise also affects my physical and mental health and I have become one of those people who enjoys it and needs it. DAILY. I have some little goals now. The perth half marathon in August, a 100km charity walk in October and an entry to the London Marathon Ballot.

Diet. Oh my I slipped. Off the back of the slip I have a few things to say. Since January I have not been religious with counting points. I have attempted other more extreme diets. I have failed and sadly it has affected my well being, feelings about myself and exercise. Recently I fell into the starting tomorrow everyday thing. That has only been lately and I have the rest of the time indulged more and listened to myself. I have basically maintained with a 1.5 kg gain from the last few weeks. This attitude has also affected my tiredness and too be honest I hate it. I am now back to weighing weekly and weight watchers online. $50 per month is a small price to pay to get to my goal.

One of my main slip ups is just my lack of care for food. It is just not priority for me so I don’t eat then get starving and need to eat the nearest thing. This is part of the reason I put on weight and no longer acceptable to me. On the upsideI no longer binge, I am pretty regular with exercise despite what I said above and I am also mostly good at low FODMAPs. I also seem to be pretty ok with maintaining. So for all these reasons I am happy about how I spent the last few months.

I have learned how I like to eat and to be honest just need to tweak it up and count points again. I have done it before and I can easily do this again. I like weight watchers because I can eat healthy, low FODMAP, enough to fuel me and it works. It also doesn’t mean life has to go on hold and this is important as I have a lot of life coming up.

I am almost delighted with these break throughs and feel like although I have a weight goal, the very centre of my healthy range, it is no longer just about my physical body. I am addicted to how good a healthy lifestyle makes you feel and because of that I can no longer living life at any less.

How is your relationship with food? Have you ever had a moment like this?

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The (lact)eeze life

I was sent these products to have a little trial of last week.

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As you know as part of my digestive troubles I cannot really eat any foods with much lactose. On a daily basis my dairy intake is limited to lactose free milk, one brand of greek yogurt and occasional cheese. I was particularly excited to try these as it is often in social situations when it is hard to avoid dairy completely and it is in social situations that you really don’t need the side effects.

The tablets them selves tasty a little chalky with a hint of mint. To be honest the taste didn’t bother me at all as long as they worked. The first day I tried them I had two tablets and ate some normal dairy chocolate. I felt funny afterwards like I knew I should get wind bad enough to poison the dog and an upset stomach but this didn’t really happen. I also had none of the normal cramping.

Today I ate a magnum. Nothing. No cramps, wind or upset tummy. The weirdest side effect was me feeling odd that it hadn’t happened after a lifetime of problems.

I used 2 tablets as I went on a proper dairy eating mission, in the name of research, of course. I would suggest 1 tablet for meals generally dairy free which may have the odd bit in, for example when it is sneaked in sauces etc.

The tablets contain lactase which, as I understand, breaks down the lactose for you! perfect! The RRP is $4.95 for a pack of 10. I have now noticed them in my local chemist.For me, this is quite expensive to use daily. However these tablets will definitely be a regular feature in my house for…

1. when you just want some really nice dairy foods or dessert. Take 2 and enjoy that meal as anyone else.
2. When you literally cannot find an equal product which is lactose free. One problem with fodmaps is we often cannot eat a variety of other ingredients which they add to lactose free products which mean we cant have them anyway. Sometimes the simple lactose filled product is the best otherwise ( e.g. no inulin) and now we can enjoy them.
3. In my handbag for coffees out. Basically soy coffee, in my personal opinion, SUCKS! I use lactose free milk at home but this is not generally stocked by coffee shops.
4. When you just need a treat and nothing else will do
5. When you are out for dinner or at an event. Often you can easily get food gluten free or dairy free but both is a stretch. I shall swing for gluten free and a couple of tablets before the meal and it will save a lot of worry.
6. If you cant have dairy you may well not be getting enough calcium. Chew these and boost your dairy for a while to get strong bones.

I will definitely always have these at home and a handbag pack for the above occasions. I also intend to take them to England for my wedding. No one wants a windy bride! or worse … in white!

For now I am going to get back to my lactose lovers list of joy….

brie cheese
dairy chocolate
iced coffee
trifle
mousse
truffles
cold rock
Strawberries and cream
cocktails!

perhaps I need to ration myself before I undo all that good weightloss.

Low fodmap shopping and store cupboard guide

As you all know I can’t digest fodmaps and when I try to we get I dire situation or one of three dire situations. I think I was lucky enough to be diagnosed when fodmaps were quite a new thing. More and more people are now being diagnosed, i mentioned a friend who recently was and felt really lost. I provided her with a list of food ideas and a shopping list I use and thought I would pop it up for any other newly diagnosed people.

My store cupboard used to be full of all these fancy products but to be honest basics are mainly fodmap friendly.

In my cupboards
White basmati rice
Sushi rice
Gluten free pasta
Gluten free plain and self raising flour
Coconut milk
Tuna tins
Coffee
Long life lactose free milk
Long life unsweetened almond milk
Stevia
Oats
Lentils I can have a little of this
Dried cannelini beans I can have a little of this
Rice crackers
Rice cakes

Condiments cupboard
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Salt
Pepper
Herbs
Gravox gluten free
Bouillon gluten free
Tamari soy sauce
Pickled ginger
Vanilla essence
Vegemite
Peanut butter
Chia seeds

In my freezer
Frozen salmon steaks
Frozen berries ( check unsweetened)
Meat frozen in single portions
Spinach
Peas
Frozen left over meals
Home made pesto frozen into iced cube trays for portions ( just basil, pine nuts, Parmesan and oil)
Frozen bananas

My weekly shop
Salad leaves
Capsicum
Tomato
Cucumber
Avocado
Lemons
Broccoli
Potatoes
Fresh fruit- papaya and pineapple or rock melon are faves
Coconut water
Lindt 70% plus sea salt
Chobani plain Greek yogurt

In my snack drawer of fun at work
Popcorn
Eskal gluten free pretzels
Rice crackers
Rice cakes
Sachets of porridge
Almond milk

This is a little summary of how I operate . I find I always need enough of the good stuff around so I don’t wander to the bad stuff. My store cupboards and freezer are generally stocked enough I can whip up a relatively healthy low fodmap meal if I have just flown home and not shopped for fresh food.

I also keep movicol in the house for emergencies and take a psyllium husk tablet daily to help keep things regular.

Lately I have been eating away from home a bit and not taken as much care and have suffered as a result! This definitely works for me. Life can be varied with fodmaps it just takes a little planning.

do you have a shopping groove?

FODMAPS… an update

Hello, another blog post in this week and it`s another update I am afraid. A girl at work has been diagnosed with a FODMAP`s problem also and she has found very limited and mixed information about it all. This condition is just not well known enough at the moment.

One update is that I have downloaded the Monash University FODMAPS app for my phone. It is quite usefull and a good starting point. The best thing I have learned from it is that Quorn is low fodmap and I love that food. It is also very points friendly.

My stomach has been really good lately and I have been able to eat more and more foods, chobani I am looking at you, and I had been worried that they were effecting me and I wasn`t noticing this. Anyway after a few more major blips and testing the water they definitely were not affecting me like high FODMAP foods and my stomach seems to have just calmed so much more foods are ok.

Knowing the lack of info out there I will definitely be making an effort to post more FODMAP friendly meal ideas and food reviews and recipes. Do remember though what works for one may not work for another.

Do you know anyone with a FODMAPS problem?

A note on anxiety

Let me first say I have never been diagnosed with medical anxiety. Anxiety has not inhibited my life, if you just look at the surface, but I have always been an anxious person. A worrier, stressy bessy, nervous nelly… all of the above. One strange thing about it was that it always went through phases of being better and then worse. Another strange thing about it is that as I have gotten older and am less effected by other adults it should have dissipated. It has , a little, but it is still there.

I remember my mum questioning if it was because she was stressed whilst carrying me? I remember thinking it strange that my grandma stresses about having nothing to stress about and I remember thinking I don’t want to be like this. Yes I have learned tools that have helped me. The number one tool being to stop, breathe and think through the situation to the worst that could happen. Often I find once I realise this is not that bad I can move forward. Sometimes I like to sit back and think how small i am in a big world, to envisage the peaks and troughs that are life, to accept that challenges and stresses are inevitable and to ride out the lows and enjoy the highs.

I have found that sleeping well helps. That not taking on too much helps and that by speaking about it helps. Sharing it. It is a commonly accepted fact in our house that sometimes I will have a bad night. A bad night where I cannot sleep, I wander, I toss, I turn and I stress. I now know that whatever I am stressing about is generally not a big deal come the morning. Nowadays I accept it, have a read, have a sleepy tea, distract my mind, move on and then sleep.

Over the last year I have learned massive amounts about the person I am, the qualities about myself I want to encourage, and what I strive to be. Anxious and stressy is not in that list. I dont want to be the thinnest, healthiest, fittest, most successful person on the planet as, in my opinion, that is not balance. Balance is what I strive for.

Lately we have realised there is a massive link between FODMAPS and my anxiety and mood. If I have eaten fodmaps I seems much more susceptible to feelings of being overwhelmed, stress and also overactive concern for other peoples well being. I am so glad I know this as it was the oddest situation where my problems were not necessarily linked to times of stress etc but food.

I had always assumed that excess stress affected my stomach. Women primarily hold stress in there stomach. Little did I know that actually the stress and anxiety ( beyond normal and reasonable stress) was a result of the food.

I look forward to embracing being the most balanced person I can be. I look forward to a future which involves a healthy amount of stress, after all it is a greater motivator, and I look forward to all of this with a FODMAP free future.

How does stress affect you? Do you find a link between eating and stress?

Fodmaps update

As you guys know I eat low fodmap after a few years of battling with terrible tummy trouble. It has only really been the last 4 months or so that I have mastered the art of low fodmap eating and I feel like I can now talk about the effect this has had.

Firstly fodmaps are summarised on the image below ( from google)

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Generally I eat really low fodmap. I think I can tolerate baked beans in a small serve occasionally, most veggies and mango with no ill effects. I am also able to have chobani greek yoghurt and am trying to move to the plain version which is so much healthier. In general too much sugar sends me loopy and when you consider regular sugar is still 50% fructose that’s probably why.

A few days ago was the work Xmas party and the options for drink were wine or beer. I drank wine, ate a mini pie and had a slice of pizza. The next day I was so sick. Yes I had drunk a bit but it felt much more than that. The next day I resumed fodmap friendly eating and felt a bit better but two days on and I was still exhausted and napping in the day. Honestly I think as soon as fodmaps are involved I don’t get any vitamins absorbed properly until my tummy calms down and it wipes me. I literally do not know how I lived like this…. For years!

The other test was after 3 months to see if I had a threshold. Many other people who are less intolerant than me have a threshold they just have to eat below. Over the space of 5 days I had a slice of homemade cake, battered fish and a freddo bar. For the next week at work I had a really upset stomach. I thought this was from stress, IBS style, but reverted back to fodmap free. The second half of my swing, when I was already tired, was even more stressful but there was no upset stomach… I literally just cannot each any fodmaps such as wheat and lactose.

Each week I find new foods I can have, each week I gain strength and energy, it feels like I am finally building the reserves I was missing for so long. Each week I steadily loose weight and whilst I attribute this to weight watchers I feel there has been a change in my metabolism since I kicked fodmaps, for the better. It makes sense as a dietician suggested that despite me eating so much if the nutrients weren’t absorbed your body is basically starving and holds onto all the fat. Now my body is chilled and relaxed It is working so much better.

In general I am pretty happy with my diet. I focus on protein and veg for each meal, with occasional carbs like sushi. I have 2 serves of allowed whole fruit as snacks or desert. I look forward to my daily lactose free cappuccino or a couple of squares of 70% Lindt. I eat fats from nuts, avocado, olives and oil and I drink a lot of water ( I would like to add more green tea and bump the occasional diet coke). This works for me. As occasional party food I have fresh seafood, rice crackers, yumi’s gluten free dairy free dips, cheese, salami,pavlova, jelly, gluten free home made cakes or pizza.

are you formal? What diet tweaks have changed your world?

Fodmaps update

It has now been nearly 3 months fodmap free. In the supermarket I noticed that this

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Has made it to WA. At first I resisted, then I researched. Greek yoghurt is the lowest lactose form of yogurt due to straining twice. As someone who currently has barely any calcium I was keen to try. I knew from other blogs chobani has hardly any nasty add ins so would be a good bet. I had one yesterday and one today and so far no ill effects. Watch this space!

Tummy updates

Caution over shares ahead…

Just a quick check in to let you know I have now been 3 weeks low fodmap and it has changed my world again, why did I not stick to it before. I have no bad tummy, no wind and feel good after each meal with no pain or sickness.

I think for me I honestly couldn’t launch right into is and stick with it until, I had worked through a few eating based issues. Now I feel ready to make the best choices for my body.

Once again the switch is what’s working for me rather than removal of foods just switching them for low fodmap foods. I have ended up having two night out where my friends are having a sophisticated drink of wine and I am on vodka, lime, soda or pre packed cans ( I feel like a 16 year old!) but my tummy doesn’t get Ill after so it’s a small price to pay. A few times I have had a little amount when it is unavoidable and the results have not been great. Lesson learned.

I hope to post some low fodmap recipes on here. Give them a whirl. Although a relatively new thing I am lucky as the research is developed here in aus and is being successfully used to treat all sort of stomach complains from ibs to chrones!

Fodmaps investigation

Over the last week or so i have jumped right back on the diet wagon and been figuring out some final tweaks. Please note that the fodmap thing is very individual and the ones which affect some won’t effect others as much and they may promote different reactions in individuals. This is also potentially full of over shares but for anyone with digestive issues they will be used to this.

For me the things I can’t eat are

Fructans and fructose- wheat and fructose. Certain fruits, eg water melon, apples, pears etc don’t sit we’ll with me and upset my tummy. Concentrated fructose such as agave, honey, fruit juice are also out. Bananas and berries are all good. Wheat is out it absolutely bungs me up and makes me uncomfortable. Fructose can also cause gas for me.

Lactose- lactose is out. But dairy is ok as long as it is lactose free so I enjoy lactose free milk and hard cheese which has no lactose in it. Lactose in me causes an immediate upset tummy.

Galactans and raffinose- garlic and onion, small amounts in cooking seem ok, raw is bad. Large amounts in sauces is also out. Legumes are out ( it’s possible lentils may be ok)

Sugar polyols- sweeteners are out. Stevia is in.

Sadly observations over the last few weeks means that my beloved dark chocolate is out. It does seem that coffees are in though ( made with stevia and lactose free milk). I have also been enjoying barley wraps a lot at lunch.

How has a work day looked…

5am melon ( not watermelon)
9am cappuccino and 2 poached eggs with grilled tomatoes 7pp
Lunch salad and tuna or meat or veg, cheese and ham barley toasted wrap. 6pp
Snack. Banana or almonds 3pp
Dinner meat and veg 10pp

Snack include rice crackers as needed.

After dinner snacks of raw cacao with coconut or coconut water ( which is low fructose) also works.

This routine has my tummy feeling amazing.

At home I am mainly eating

9am fruit and coffee or porridge and coffee 6pp
Lunch salad or sushi 6pp
Snack fruit
Dinner whatever meal I am cooking that day 10pp

Treats popcorn, rice crackers etc.

I am really focusing on what I can eat rather than cant. It’s also easy to keep this food within points infact I am a little low sometimes so am adding avocado ( which some people can’t have but I can) or coconut to get the calories up. It’s definitely what I need as within 3-4 days of following the diet my tummy calms right down and feels well again. I am also amazed at how fodmaps is so personalised as to what each individual can have. It also amazes me that in one individual different fodmaps have different problems associated with them.

do you follow a fodmaps diet? What makes your tummy feel better?