Why I ‘pass’ on the bread

Low Fodmap For LifeThis is a post that I have been wanting to write for a while now as I felt it was time to give an explanation as to why I follow a low carb diet as well as a diet low in fodmaps and free of gluten. A close friend said to me early last year: “what is there left for you to eat?” Well, if you take out grains, processed foods and sugar then we are left with the simple things that people have been eating for many thousands of years – vegetables, meat, eggs, a little fruit. And lets not forget chocolate which deserves its own food group (do you remember that I make my own chocolate without sugar?).

When I started the low fodmap diet three years ago I wondered how I would be able to stick with such a restrictive diet and yet I have and it gets easier each day for a simple reason: it works for me. I feel energetic and pain free. The same goes for being free of gluten for seven months now and counting: it works for me. I am free of brain fog and the draining weight of fatigue.

I was told by my doctor last March that I had PCOS and my first reaction was relief as I am so glad I didn’t realise this earlier in my life as no doubt I would have fretted and worried about its impact on my fertility. Blissfully ignorant, I was fortunate to be able to fall pregnant and maintain my pregnancies and for this I am eternally grateful. My pregnancies weren’t without their own issues as I suffered gestational diabetes. Again I find myself feeling grateful for this as it opened my eyes and heart to the suffering of those with diabetes type 1 and 2 (I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy) and I would not be aware of this if I hadn’t experienced it for myself even if only for short periods of time. My experience with gestational diabetes increased my awareness of what I ate and how it made me feel in my body. I adopted a low GI diet and thought this was the best way. When I started following the low fodmap diet I found it more of a challenge to eat low GI carbohydrates as most gluten free or wheat free alternatives are highly processed which I found very concerning. I eventually found suppliers of wholegrain spelt products which I incorporated in my recipes and meals and felt relief that it was possible to eat low GI on the fodmap diet.

Fast forward to March last year and my doctor’s diagnosis of PCOS. He reassured me that it wasn’t a sinister illness and that there are things I can do to minimise symptoms (which for me at the time were irregular cycles). 1. Keep your weight down (lucky for me I am in a healthy weight range); 2. Follow a low carb diet based on natural, unprocessed food.

Now, I was very surprised at the comment about low carb! I went away and did some research and found evidence that supports the link between PCOS and insulin resistance and increased risk of diabetes type 2, as well as research that shows a low carb diet improving PCOS symptoms. I was already very aware of the impact of food on my blood sugars but that it could influence my hormones so signifcantly was news to me. And so began my experiment of low carb eating.

The result: two months later my cycle returned, albeit a little irregular for a while. 6 months on I won’t look back: it works for me. My cycles are regular, my moods are significantly more stable, and oddly enough, my body fat has subtly re-distributed itself to different places! Now when I eat something high in carbohydrates (like a regular-sized chocolate bar or regular gluten free bread) I have an uncomfortable dis-ease with my body like I am having an out of body experience – it is not pleasant. The only cure is to go for a long walk and eventually I start to feel normal.

I am not perfect as it is very hard to remain vigilant and restrict sugar and foods high in carbs (along with the fodmap restrictions). However, as with the low fodmap diet, I manage to stay on track 90% of the time. And right now, for me, that is good enough. I am also getting more and more creative in the kitchen and finding ingredients that work for me – I currently have a mild obsession with flaxseed meal of all things! Instead of asking “why?” I am finding myself asking “what?” and this is helping me to move forward and start to accept myself as I am with all my dietary idiosyncrasies…

I am also grateful that this journey is leading me away from a future with diabetes type 2 (which I have many risk factors for) and taking me to a future of health for me and my children. I can’t change their genes (I have been told this is all genetic) but I can have a positive influence on what we eat as a family and the type of life we want to live.

All the best,

Sacha x

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Why I ‘pass’ on the bread

    • Low carb and low fodmap is tricky but it gets easier over time once you get used to it. I found that it was useful initially to track my carb levels on an app (and also a bit of an eye opener to see how easy and quickly the carbs add up!), but these days I just keep a food diary and try to be mindful of the foods I am eating – which we have to do on the fodmap diet anyway. Personally I try to stick to the lower end of the carb scale – 25g – 40g or thereabouts. I have occasionally tried to go lower than that but my body didn’t like it!
      The way that I approach my day is to try to eat low fodmap vegetables with all three main meals and exclude starchy vegies. I don’t always have vegetables with breakfast but I try to on most days with either a side of spinach or a green smoothie. I try to have some protein and a little fat with each meal as well but I try not to over-do the protein. Sometimes I make the mistake of not eating enough fat and I get really tired and lacking in energy. Cheese, coconut milk (in small quantities), nuts (in small quantities) and coconut oil are good options that work for me. I also cook with butter, full cream milk (lactose free) and macadamia oil in small ammounts. I think that a lot of people struggle with low carb diets because they are scared of adding the fat, but to be honest a low carb diet is not sustainable unless you eat enough fat and you will need to find the right balance for you. Good luck with it and if you find some tips that work for you please let me know! Sacha

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      • Thank you so much! What a great response. I’ll keep you posted as I work out the best diet for me. My ibs cramping was so bad I just ate white food for a day and it got better. So that was pretty high carb. Lol. So now I am thinking my symptoms are related to too much fiber or high fiber and some fodmaps. Anyway, thanks😄😄

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  1. So glad to see someone else has attempted this! I have IBS and PCOS and have been on a low FODMAP diet for a couple of years now. I have always been a healthy weight but it is just starting to creep up now and I want to get it under control before it becomes a problem. It looks like a challenge but I think I’m going to give it a fair go.

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    • Hi Nicola,
      I know what you mean about the weight creep! I still eat gluten free bread every now and then, but try to restrict it to one slice and buy the low GI version. When we have PCOS it is a bit harder for us than for others, I am learning every day that balance is what is important. good luck!

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  2. Hi Sacha,

    It makes me happy to see that someone else has had the same experience I have. I only just am on the tip of entering into the FODMAP life and am learning a lot, but have found that some of my go-tos (like Truvia for coffee and other things) aren’t FODMAP friendly.

    A couple of questions… Do you just not use sweetener in anything these days? And also, how were you originally diagnosed with IBS? I supposed I should research your blog some more before asking these haha 🙂 I have mentioned IBS to a doctor a while back, but I was basically just told “Ehh, just keep a food journal and dont eat stuff that makes you sick.” By looking online, I am pretty sure I do fall under the IBS category.

    Your explanation of having an out of body experience is also something I HEAVILY relate to!

    Again, I’m very thankful to have found your blog!

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