3 (Flour-Free!) Alternative Noodle Options for Fructose Malabsorption

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Pasta!!!  My favorite food!  And even though I had to give up wheat, does not mean I had to give up my noodles.  I found some great substitutions, and I actually like Ancient Harvest’s corn and quinoa noodles better than traditional pasta!
This food journey has taught me so much; I’ve learned that substitutions don’t have to be second best.  They can really add something special when put in the right dish.  I’ve also discovered so many weird edibles I didn’t know even existed.  The following are three types of “noodles” not made from flour! Continue reading

What Is SIBO and What Does It Mean For People With Fructose Malabsorption?

Bad Diet__No Sugaless GumI’ve been working on this post ever since I was diagnosed with SIBO a few months ago.  This whole situation has been a real challenge, although I’m excited to be where I am because it means I have an answer to my problems and a plan to get healthy.  There’s also a lot of hope for the future, even though it will probably be a few years, and one thing I’m hopeful of is a potential cure for fructose malabsorption!
It’s been about 4 months and I think I’ve made some progress.  It’s kind of hard to tell because it’s slow going, but I definitely look and feel less pregnant than I used to.  Still bloated, just less so.  Once the SIBO is gone there is still the damage I’ve done to my gut from a poor diet to address.  I’ve been eating well (a low-FODMAP, Paleo diet) a little over a year and that has been really helpful and hopefully has given me a head start!
This whole journey has really been a gift in disguise.  Yes, if I released a genie in a lamp my first wish would be to eat whatever I want without consequence.  But that’s not how the world works, so I’m glad to have been forced into recognizing that food should be something that nourishes our bodies, not tears it apart.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
                                     -Hippocrates

What is SIBO?
SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth.  It’s a condition when either too much bacteria or the wrong type of bacteria (or both) populate the small intestine. Continue reading

7 Ways to Cure the Cold and Flu Naturally When You Have Fructose Malabsorption

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I don’t find it coincidental that in the three years since I’ve given up fructose I haven’t gotten a single cold or the flu.  But my winning streak ended last weekend when I was hit with the mother of all colds.  Even my husband (who eats very little fructose and rarely gets sick as well) got the bug.  It was the kind of illness where you wake up in the morning and just start crying.  It hurt to move, it hurt to blink, it hurt to watch TV.  I had every symptom one can have when in the midst of a cold and then some.  I couldn’t tell if I had the flu or a very flu-like cold.  Either way, it was bad. Continue reading

My Gut: An Update!

All in all, things have been going well for me, gut-wise.  Ever since deciding to take control of my digestive issues years ago my symptoms have been steadily going away.  Giving up (most) fructose, getting rid of cow’s milk, and taking the Mediator Release Test have resulted in vast improvements in my well being.

But a few symptoms remain.  And of course, one of them is the thing I hate the most: being bloated.  And not just feeling a little too full, I feel 5 months pregnant!  All. The. Time.  It’s incredibly uncomfortable feeling like an over-inflated beach ball.

So what the hell could it be?!  I feel like I’ve given up EVERYTHING!  But there’s always something more.  Just when you settle in to substituting foods for other foods you’ve had to do away with (and sometimes you even start to like those foods more) you have to once again say ‘bye-bye.’  Frick.

My dietician suggested my problem could be lectins, which are found in grains, nuts, and nightshades (like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.).  The problem could be leaky gut syndrome, which is a condition where damaged intestinal walls allow undigested food particles to pass into the blood stream.  These particles are seen as “foreign invaders” and our bodies attack them, leading to undesirable symptoms like bloating.  If you want to know more about it check out this article.

So what do I eat?

I’ll be on a pared-down version of the Paleo diet, just meat (no eggs), vegetables (except nightshades), and a little fruit.  Which wouldn’t be so bad except many of the delicious recipes I’ve found for the Paleo include nightshades or FODMAPs (more specifically onion and garlic), so I’ll be doing a lot of recipe adjusting and probably have to make my own.  (Here’s a great article about the Paleo diet with pictures featuring caveman Legos!)

I’m also going to attempt to heal my gut by supplementing with the following (at the suggestion of my dietician):

  • B-complex vitamin
  • Digestive enzymes
  • A high-quality probiotic
  • Omega-3 fatty acid capsules
  • L-Glutamine: an amino acid that supports healthy digestion and some claim it curbs sugar cravings!
  • Goat colostrum: this is the nutrient-dense first milk produced by the mother goat after giving birth.  There is some debate as to which is more effective–goat or cow–but since I’m so sensitive to cow’s milk I’m not even going to try it.  Tropical Traditions‘ website says that goat colostrum “builds tissue and support integrity of the gut lining.”

Something that seems especially daunting about following this diet is the amount of cooking that I’m going to have to do.  The last thing I want to do when I wake up or get home from work is spend any time at all making a meal.  In both instances I am tired and cranky.  To help with this, an idea I’m utilizing I found on Pinterest is the concept of the homemade frozen dinner.  The idea is to prepare each week’s meals on the weekend and stick them in bags in the freezer so when it’s time to make them you can just dump them in a skillet or crock pot.  Perhaps that seems obvious but I quite often need Pinterest to help me function.

So I’ll be starting all this next week after I get home from a trip to Las Vegas.  Wish me luck.

Mediator Release Testing: Could This Be Our Digestive Salvation?!!!

If you’ve been following along with my posts, you’ll know that even after being on an extreme fructose malabsorption diet with about 15 foods I could eat, I’ve still been having a lot of problems.

My dietician suggested I look into Mediator Release Testing, which tests you for sensitivities to 150 different foods and chemicals.  Why hadn’t anyone suggested this to me before?! Continue reading

A Dietician Worth Seeing! (And the dangers of Miralax…)

After starting the fructose-free diet, my overall health had not been what I would call amazing.  I felt much better than I did when I was eating fructose, but I was still having a lot of persisting symptoms; the worst of which was being intensely bloated all the time–I constantly felt like an elephant in her 22nd month of gestation.

I went to many different doctors, most of whom were pretty dismissive and made me feel like I was nuts.

The doctor I saw at the Mayo Clinic had me trying different medications, believing one of them would be the answer.  My gut reaction was telling me that drugs were not the solution, but I was desperate.

Well into taking the third medication he prescribed me with no visible results (and a handful of pesky side effects), I decided I was just wasting time.  I did some looking around on the internet for another dietician.  This time I felt it was more important to find someone who was willing to listen to me, rather than someone who specialized in FM.

I was so pleased with the person I ended up choosing I knew I had to recommend her to everyone else.  She does her appointments via Skype or telephone, so it doesn’t matter where you live!  Her name is Amanda Wikan at Nourished Life.

The first thing we talked about that I want to share with everyone is that if you’re taking Miralax: STOP!!!!  It’s super toxic!!!!!  That made me really pissed for a couple different reasons.  I try pretty hard to stay away from toxins and it turns out I’ve been poisoning myself for about two years.  And it makes me so angry that every doctor I’ve been to has been so cavalier about it!  Most of them have encouraged me to take it everyday for the rest of my life because it’s “so safe compared to laxatives.”  Here’s an article Amanda shared with me about the dangers of Miralax.  Scary.

She suggested that I stop eating dairy for about two weeks to see if that makes a difference.  Apparently, even though my lactose hydrogen breath test came back negative, I could still be dairy sensitive which is different than lactose intolerance.

The first few days of forgoing dairy I felt terrible.  Amanda had warned me that I would probably experience withdrawal, but I was not prepared for how intense it was.  I was extremely fatigued and I actually craved milk!  This prompted me to do a little research on it and it seems that people develop an addiction to milk, similar to opiate addiction.

In a few days, after that crappiness passed, I was getting noticeable better.  My bathroom activities were normal, and blissfully the bloating was gone.
I haven’t quite figured out if I can have cheeses or butter, but I’ve eaten some accidentally since then and nothing happened, so perhaps it’s just the milk that I need to avoid.

Finally, I’m feeling well enough to start my elimination diet once again, although I’ll probably have to start from scratch, and I’ll update my recipes if I can figure out ways to make them dairy free.
I’m still not perfect (I occasionally get some cramping and my night sweats are still in full force) but I’m at the point where I’m OK with that.  At least there’s no looming baby elephant threatening to make his way out.

6 Ways To Survive the Holidays With Fructose Malabsorption

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I absolutely adore holiday season.  The rest of the year, I’m a cynical pessimist, but I can’t help falling prey to the cheery commercialism and succumbing to that warm fuzzy feeling you get when entering a mall starting at the beginning of November.

But this year a dark cloud has been hovering over my contentment, and thy name is Fructose Malabsorption. Continue reading

My Trip To the Mayo Clinic

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Lately I’ve been feeling not as great as I should, even despite resorting back to the cleanse phase of the elimination diet for months.  I’ve been bloated almost constantly, still experiencing night sweats and…other stuff.

I was getting sick of going to doctors who not only didn’t know anything about FM, but didn’t seem to think my problems were that big of a deal.  I usually felt like I was being brushed off.

I’d had enough.  After relaying my most recent doctor visit to a friend who has celiac disease, she suggested I go see her doctor down at the Mayo Clinic.  I felt like kind of an idiot.  There I was, two hours away from one of the best places in the world to receive medical care and I hadn’t even though of going.

So last Monday, I went.  First of all, that place is ridiculous.  The Mayo Clinic basically is its own small city.  And even though I had been fasting per their request, I was really happy to be there.

I met with my doctor and he started asking me a bunch of questions (one of the first was if I chewed sugarless gum.  Har.).  Already I could tell just by the questions he was asking that he wanted to get to the bottom of my problems.  He looked over my paperwork and after glancing at my fructose hydrogen breath test said “well, you definitely have Fructose Malabsorption.”  He said there was nothing he could do about that, but I’ve pretty much accepted my fate at this point.

He told me he thought we could get me to feeling better, but it could be a long trial-and-error process.  It was music to my ears!  I was just so happy to hear someone say with confidence that he could help me feel better.

The first thing he’s having me try is an antispasmodic.  I’m supposed to give it a month, but so far even though things have been different, they haven’t been necessarily better.  Plus it gives you really bad dry mouth.

It stinks that my problems didn’t just go away, but knowing there’s a doctor out there who gives a rat’s ass at least gives me some hope.

No Sugarless Gum Is Now on Facebook!

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Come join me on Facebook!  I’m always doing research and finding new information about Fructose Malabsorption, which isn’t always easily shared through a blog.  This will be a great way to update each other and share what we learn!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Sugarless-Gum/625712470785899?ref=hl

The Trouble with Fructose

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Having Fructose Malabsorption can be really really difficult.  I’ll admit, there are times when I think “how can I go on like this?”  Especially when I smell pizza.  And then the other day, I was catching up on one of my favorite magazines: Psychology Today (it was from about 2 years ago–I’m very behind), when I turned the page to see the headline: The Trouble with Fructose.  My heart was pounding as I read it, looking for the words “Fructose Malabsorption” anywhere.  Alas, it made no mention of us poor FMers.  It did, however, make me feel so much better about my lot in life.  Even better than talking about how fructose is basically poison to those of us with Fructose Malabsorption, the author talks about how fructose is poison for everyone!  The article links it to dementia and says fructose is “best avoided in any portion size.” Continue reading