FODMAP Diet – Week 5

This was my fifth week on the FODMAP diet.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
An explanation

Proposed Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Overnight Oats with blueberry milk, collagen peptides, peanut butter thinned to a sauce, and superfood granola.

Lunches/Dinners

  • This week I want to keep it simple – all I have planned is to make up big batches of veggies, a base to go with them (rice/quinoa mix), and make a spicy lime vinaigrette to go with everything. And rotisserie chicken. I’ve got that on hand.

Snacks

  • I had no plan going to the grocery here, just knew I was tired of the marmite rice cakes, the buckwheat crackers I bought last time were yuck, and I didn’t want to rely too heavily on fruit this first week back from vacation.

Actual Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Overnight blueberry milk oats with superfood granola & peanut butter.
  • Breakfast out at Eggspectations: Chicken, egg & fruit.

Lunches/Dinners

  • Batch cooked a big bunch of zucchini & carrots and had a bunch of ways with a spicy lime vinaigrette and rotisserie chicken.
  • Batch cooked some brown rice pasta – had with my favorite chili tuna.
  • Lunch out at Wagamama: A rice noodle and greens salad with carrot and lemongrass vinaigrette + chicken.
  • Lunch out at Chang’s: Spicy tuna sushi that was a frustrating semi-fail.
  • Cucumber/cherry tomato/cilantro/lime vinaigrette salad – also eaten as a snack.

Snacks

  • Fairly joyless buckwheat & chia rice cake crisps – joyless because I couldn’t for the life of me think of what to put on them that wasn’t either a ton of calories, contained dairy, or was too sweet. I’ll keep working on this issue and get back to y’all with some options.
  • A semi-fail green smoothie that looked compliant from the menu, but tasted like it may not be.
Monday: My post-yoga snack out tasted less FODMAP-friendly than it looked on the menu — buuuuut, it was pretty much the only thing that *was* FODMAP approved on the whole menu. Vegan places run on FODMAPs I’ve come to find.
Tuesday: Lunch was out and I was super pleasantly surprised that Wagamama actually had a compliant salad – aaand it wasn’t 1,000 calories. Win!
Wednesday: Took myself out for breakfast and had one of my standbys – grilled chicken breast, poached eggs and swapped potatoes for fruit.
Thursday: Got cocky. Went to PF Chang’s for lunch and figured there would be something I could have other than plain rice. I was wrong. Sushi was the only thing on the menu that was FODMAP friendly without trying to explain my drama through levels of English comprehension, and that even needed substations – no avocado – and I had to pick out hidden green onions. On the other hand, this was actually all the food I needed for lunch and I was happy I didn’t order triple the amount like I wanted to.
Friday: Smoked beef brisket and fries out; cucumber tomato salad and overnight oats in
Saturday: Grilled chicken and veggies for lunch; Thai flavored mussels & Belgian frites for dinner

What did I learn this week?

This week was all about getting back into the swing – again – because for some reason I completely lost last week and thought I had just gotten back from vacation. 😆

I was a bit cocky in my restaurant choices, not wanting to believe that the vegan place really *doesn’t* have anything for me (again. It didn’t when I was doing Keto, and it’s semi-difficult to eat Paleo there too).

I also need to leave non-Japanese Asian places alone. Garlic is building block #1 of Chinese food. And yes, it’s in everything. Usually with onions.

FODMAP Diet Week 4

This was my fourth week on the FODMAP Diet. Well, not straight – last week, I went pretty off the rails while on vacation.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
An explanation

PROPOSED MEAL PLAN

This week, the meal plan was simple – we got back from vacation early in the week, I had some planned meals out, and really just wanted to concentrate on eating smaller meals full of simple things that I know wouldn’t hurt my stomach – and to me, that means Japanese (light).

My meal planning consisted of a breakfast: Strawberry Milk Overnight Oats (recipe coming soon), and simple “safe” veggie + rice bowls with a little protein.

I knew I wanted to batch cook some veggies – was craving bok choy, carrots & cucumbers – and steak nibbles sounded great. I made a 4-portion batch of veggies (recipe for this coming soon too) + steak bites and combined that with a couple portions of leftover rice I grabbed for dinner the day after we got back.

ACTUAL MEAL PLAN

Breakfasts

  • Super plain oatmeal made in the microwave
  • A planned breakfast out – steak and eggs.
  • Strawberry Milk Overnight Oats.

Lunches/Dinners

  • My first meals back were super simple: delivery chicken pho (the broth of which probably had garlic – oops – my FODMAP brain isn’t quite working yet).
  • Dinner that first night was delivery chicken & rice.
  • Fried rice grabbed at a grocery hot bar – and oops: I’m pretty sure it contained hidden onions. I tasted them but did not see them – and was in crisis mode needing food-wise.
  • Dinner that night was chicken kebab with white rice grabbed from a local takeout place because my favorite go-to place for healthy reasonably-portioned meals had literally zero things I could eat. Good thing the kebab place was next door, and I was no longer starving to death.
  • I made sure to batch cook the next day – had my veggies, rice & a little meat for 2 out of 3 meals he next day.
  • Had a planned lunch out and tried to make the best choices possible: sushi over a bunch of dishes that would have me picking around my plate – and didn’t do too terribly. Had a (fake) crab + shrimp salad with mayo (which may have had a bit of non-compliant something in it), salmon and cucumber sushi, and sliced melons + strawberries.
  • Went to a Japanese-themed game night with friends: had salmon & cucumber appetizers, killer homemade miso soup, a really good little gingery salad, Japanese curry (which may or may not have had 100% compliant sauce ingredients), and glutinous rice balls for dessert. And Frangelica on the rocks all evening. Mmmmm. Ate too much by far, but it was delicious.

Snacks

  • I had a couple frozen pineapple things left, so snacked on those.
  • Didn’t really feel like snacking otherwise – was still trying to reign in my overeating on vacation, while consequently overeating two days. Oops.
Monday: Delivery pho (oops: probably contained garlic), delivery chicken & rice, and one of those pineapple frozen things I made the last week I was home
Tuesday: Quickie microwave oats, fried rice (oops: probably had onions), more chicken & rice and the last pineapple thing
Wednesday: Steak & eggs out, 2 variations on a cucumber/carrot/bok choy bowl
Thursday: Monthly wine lunch out – stuck to whiskey Diet Cokes, 1 glass of red wine, the single type of nut that was compliant in the mix, and sushi.
Friday: Surprise dinner out and I managed to behave at the wings place, only having chicken & rice.
Saturday: Game night was actually mostly compliant – because my friends are awesome.

What did I learn this week?

You’d *think* I’d have learned to not schedule 2 big food days in 1 week, or to make sure I’ve get my butt to the grocery the day I get back from vacation, but no. Did not. Oops.

This week was all about mitigation and having fun with my friends without going completely and totally off the rails. I did fairly well, at least according to my GI system – it hasn’t been terrible this week. A little pain some days, and some poo issues – but nothing major, and nothing that kept me from living my life. Bonus: this was also a very low carsickness week. Not sure if carsickness is related to the rest of my gut issues or if I’m just a delicate Princess, but I was in and out of Ubers in the heat and really only got nauseous and spinny once. I’m counting that as a win, even if it’s unrelated!

Looks like I’ll be continuing on with FODMAP for at least two more weeks – I go see my doctor again on the 25th for an assessment. We shall see what happens then. In the meantime, I need to remember to update my symptom tracker app religiously – I’ve been a touch slack in pain reporting because I’ve been tired of worrying about or paying attention to it in the last couple weeks. I need to get over that for these next two – we won’t know if this diet has actually done me good unless I’m accurately reporting symptoms and trying my hardest to remain compliant.

FODMAP Diet Week 3

This was my third week on the FODMAP Diet.

Week 1
Week 2
An explanation

ACTUAL MEALS

This week, the hubby and I were on vacation in Germany, so I did what I could and ate compliant foods where possible. It was hard to not bury myself in a vat of sauerkraut & pretzels.

Breakfasts

  • For the most part, I erred on the side of breakfast meats – sausages, bacon, cured meats – lots of protein. Some breads when I was tired of straight protein.
  • There were a few pastries when that wasn’t possible, and a language barrier day where I accidentally ordered something containing bread, dairy & onions – which I only ate a few bites of.

Lunches/Dinners

  • I did what I could here, and if it was something I knew was not compliant, I only ate a bit. Ish.
  • Had warm sauerkraut, a potato dumpling & a couple bites pretzel one day.
  • Had currywurst and the bun on a slider the next.
  • Had mostly-compliant ham-stuffed pork – and then some pasta one day.

Snacks

  • Mostly cured meats. Man, I missed prosciutto.
Sunday: Cured meats and some fruits for breakfast, currywurst for lunch, a mid-afternoon vodka tonic, a pulled pork slider & sweet potato fries for dinner & prosciutto snack
Monday: Lunch was a roadside affair and contained a pretzel. Oops. Dinner was fairly back on track.
Tuesday: Ummmmm …. erm …. ok, so no excuses here – I just. Didn’t. Wanna, and I knew bread wouldn’t hurt me.
Wednesday: Breakfast was a language barrier fail, so I only had about a quarter of mine and ate the hubby’s roll instead. Lunch was not what I wanted, but was what they had in stock – dinner was the one thing on the menu that didn’t list garlic as an ingredient. Ate half the pasta.
Thursday: Could have been better. Ate 1 of those doughnuts then found pastry with rhubarb, which I’ve been sorely missing.
Friday: Split the pretzel, I’m actually beyond tired of fries, and dinner wasn’t horribly off track – there may have been dairy in the potatoes, but there most likely wasn’t garlic and maybe not even onion.
Saturday: Went off the rails with sweets, bread and pasta. At least potato chips are FODMAP? (I’m sure not this flavor)

What did I learn this week?

Vacation while FODMAPping is hard. I mean, I already figured it would be – and I was right. While meat-centric meals were pretty easy to come by, this being Germany and all, staying away from bread when I’d already worked hard (before FODMAP) to give myself permission to eat bread again was hard and I didn’t do the best job. I could have chosen to do better, but I wasn’t really feeling it tbh.

I think I’ll postpone my doctor checkup and give this thing a solid week, maybe two more (especially given that the vitamins the doc had me taking only just came in this week).

FODMAP Diet Week 2

FODMAP Diet Week 2

This was my second week on the FODMAP Diet. Week 1 went fairly well, despite eating more meals out than anticipated (foolishly, if I was paying attention I would have remembered), and being bummed that no garlic or onion were to be had.

Week 1
An explanation

PROPOSED MEAL PLAN

This week, I didn’t meal plan heavily. I know I’ve got at least two if not three dinners out, and I didn’t feel like shopping too heavily in advance of our vacation next week, so I bought the bare minimum and will be eating a lot of pantry foods. This proposed meal plan is what I have come up with on the fly.

Breakfasts

  • Overnight oats with peanut butter and strawberries

Lunches/Dinners

  • The salmon burgers I didn’t eat
  • The rest of the chicken/tomato sauce/olive mixture I made
  • Maaaaaybe the rest of the baked sweet potatoes from last week if I can find a way to dress them up so they’re not so plain
  • I grabbed some wholegrain rice pasta from the grocery
  • Steaks with smashed baby potatoes and green beans as a nice dinner for the hubbs
  • Zoodles(?) with chicken and frozen green beans & carrots

Snacks

  • I have Marmite-flavored rice cakes left over
  • A stab at a compliant Dole Whip

ACTUAL MEAL PLAN

Breakfasts

  • Overnight oats with strawberries and pumpkin seeds
  • Overnight oats with peanut butter, strawberries and pumpkin seeds – and I need to doctor these up a bit next time; the weirdo French peanut butter in a tin can I bought because the kid on the package was mildly disturbing may be – dare I say it – too bland for my taste. I love my no sugar added peanut butters, but this was less satisfying somehow. Maybe because I’m making my oats with water instead of unsweetened plant milk?
  • Went out for a scheduled (weekly) breakfast date on Wednesday – had steak & poached eggs with a side of fruit instead of the fried potatoes & onions. Brought my own hazelnut milk for my Americano(s).
Maybe not the soundest reason for a purchase, but this kid kinda freaked me out so I couldn’t resist

Lunches/Dinners

  • Finished the chicken marinara-ish mix off by Monday.
  • Made steaks with smashed potatoes and green beans for dinner Monday.
  • Scrounged leftover potatoes topped with Kewpie mayonnaise for lunch Tuesday because I was woefully unprepared with the proteins when I crashed through the door in dire need of lunch.
  • Delicious and super easy Japanese style zoodles with poached chicken.
  • The last of the baby potatoes I boiled up for dinner Wednesday with more poached chicken and Kewpie mayo.
  • Lunch out Thursday – ordered a side of chicken breast, a side of turkey ham and a side of confit potatoes.
  • Dinner out Thursday, too – had more chicken breast and plain rice.
  • Friday dinner was planned out as well – Brazilian steakhouse with 2 vodka sodas

Snacks

  • Had a fresh strawberry juice while out
  • Made a really good dessert from a lemon-flavored coconut yogurt mixed with strawberries and this really good vegan (and compliant! The only freaking thing that didn’t have dates and/or almonds in it in seemingly the whole restaurant!) granola.
  • The third and final bag of organic popcorn – with butter and nutritional yeast topping.
Monday: The only thing I ate out today was the strawberry juice I had after braving the ‘I feel like I’ve literally been trapped in an oven’ heat to see water and run back to the train
Tuesday: Poor planning, so I didn’t hit my protein macro, but I managed to not eat out despite being s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g for lunch
Wednesday: Pre-Breakfast snack because I was up way too early, breakfast out, dinner was the last of the potatoes & some chicken, the last bag of popcorn for a snack
Thursday: Lunch and dinner both out – lunch was the sides and add-ins I could cobble together, and dinner was the thing on the menu with the least substitutions – chicken& rice (hold the pico, minus the side salad)
Friday: Dinner Out was a meatstravaganza at a Brazilian steakhouse
Saturday was a travel day: Ate what I could on the plane, the Munich airport happened to have a grocery with cured sausages & chips to snack on, and dinner was off-track with a pretzel and sauerkraut, but c’mon – it’s Germany!

What did I learn this week?

HaHaHa. I need to plan better. I know winging it is no way to meet my macros, and I need to not be lazy the next week I’m home. Which won’t be next week – let’s see how I handle this business while on vacation. Spoiler: I’ll be eating sausages and I know I won’t be able to completely not eat sauerkraut. At least it’s fermented? Maybe? Hoping I won’t be undoing any good I’ve done in these two weeks so far.

FODMAP Diet – Week 1

This was my first week on the FODMAP Diet. Last week it was the IFM Elimination Diet, but after 1 week and a chat with my functional fitness doc about my bloodwork and the strong reaction I had to cabbage (boo!), we decided to switch over to this diet to see if we can get things to calm down in my GI system.

The good news: Yay! Coffee! I can have a vodka soda!

The less good news: Garlic and/or onions are in literally everything I make and in most of my favorite foods. Italian and Mexican are going to be tricky. Also: it’s the start of mango season and mangos are high FODMAP. Guess I won’t be subsisting on mostly mango and chicken salad lunches like last year. Boo!

Proposed Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Overnight oats with peanut butter, blueberries & pepitas

Lunches/Dinners

  • Baked sweet potato with ground chicken marinara, olives and baby spinach
  • Ground chicken marinara with olives, baby spinach and zoodles
  • Salmon burgers with a carrot/cucumber/sesame salad
  • Salmon fillets with green beans, rice/quinoa mix and chive sauce
  • 1 weekday breakfast out, 2 weekend lunches out, 1 skipped weekend breakfast

Snacks

  • Rice cakes with tuna salad

Actual Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Overnight oats – remembered everything but pepitas
  • Overnight oats and I remembered the pepitas

Lunches/Dinners

  • Ended up eating out pretty much every day – or eating rice cakes with tuna salad, which turned out well. I ended up grabbing Marmite-flavored rice cakes because it sounded weird, and was pleasantly surprised. They make a great base for tuna salad. Not so much for peanut butter, but maybe that’s good – I don’t need to eat so much peanut butter anyways.
  • I only ate 1 of 2 salmon dinners – chucked the other (boo).
  • Only ate 1 serving of the chicken & sweet potato, and that was on Saturday.
  • Ended up eating out more than anticipated, which shouldn’t have been as big a surprise as it was. I know my life.
  • Also ate popcorn with nutritional yeast for dinner one night, because hubby was out and yolo single life.

Snacks

  • Single servings of the rice cakes, some leftover grapes, and an errant blueberry or two.
Monday: Lunch and dinner out – Niçoise salad and grilled chicken
Tuesday: Lunch out – Turkish kebab
Wednesday: Breakfast out – ate 1 bite of these joyless grains
Thursday: Big lunch out – vodka sodas, picked a bunch of scallions out of things, ate too many of those shrimp chips
Friday: Brunch out – lots of seafood, 1 vodka soda
Saturday: Lunch out – picked out all the peppers and onions, Skipped the salsa

What did I learn this week?

So. I thought I learned last week to not schedule every meal and to not make 99999 recipes requiring tons of ingredients.

My meals this week *were* simple, but I completely forgot about the standing lunch date I had planned for Thursday and the birthday party brunch I said I’d go to Friday. Oops.

So, I didn’t end up making everything and I still have some ingredients left over for next week, so it isn’t all a bust. A macros bust (somewhat), but not a FODMAP meals bust (quite).

I also learned that limiting myself to 1 vodka soda is hard with my wine group (I ended up having 3 spaced over 6 hours), but was easy in a big group setting where I could buddy up with the other non-drinker (I had 1). Overall, I’m pleased with that.

For next week, I’m not planning anything special – since we are heading off for vacation the next week, I’ll be making food from the pantry and eating up the rest of my batch-cooked food (that hasn’t spoiled). I will buy some more berries for breakfasts, and I’m kind of craving a Dole Whip for dessert – I bet I can make a compliant version. If it works, I’ll actually have a recipe to share next week. Fingers crossed.

Also in the realm of things I need to keep better in mind: storage. I only have a limited amount of Tupperware containers, and don’t want to buy more – planning a bunch of things to batch cook doesn’t work out super well, unless it’s enough for mains + sides, and I can chuck them in the 4 divided meal boxes I have.

I kinda want 4 small icy treat containers, though, that can double as individual overnight oats holders on weeks I don’t make anything.

Oops – Changing Directions, Again

Photo courtesy of Ella Olsson and Pexels.com

Changing directions again – this time to the FODMAP Diet instead of the IFM Elimination Diet.

First, let’s recap this first week on the IFM Elimination Diet.

Proposed Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes
  • Overnight oats made with water instead of almond milk

Lunches/Dinners

  • Quinoa salad with chicken, grapes & almonds
  • Baked chicken with cabbage
  • Coconut chicken with cilantro lime cauliflower rice
  • Walnut-crusted fish with cilantro lime cauliflower rice

Snacks

  • Fresh berries with coconut mango cream
  • Roasted beet hummus with savory seed crackers

Actual Meal Plan

Breakfasts

  • Pineapple
  • Overnight oats made with water + pumpkin, tahini, almond & pepitas
  • Pumpkin pancakes didn’t happen because I vastly overestimated my desire to wake up Monday morning and make pancakes.

Lunches/Dinners

  • Quinoa salad with chicken, grapes & almonds – with added broccolini and green beans I had from last week instead of baby spinach because I couldn’t find baby spinach in my local grocery.
  • Only 1 of the 4 proposed servings of chicken cabbage bake because the cabbage killed my stomach on Monday for dinner
  • 1 serving of quinoa/rice pasta with chicken and tomato sauce for lunch one day because I had an epic fail and my quinoa somehow managed to take twice as long as it should have to cook. Monday was full of fail, guys. Lunch and then dinner. Whomp, whomp.
  • Rice bowl with chicken & basil.

Snacks

  • Fresh berries with coconut mango cream. You guys. This was awesome.
  • The beet hummus didn’t happen because the crackers were a no-go; couldn’t find xantham or guar gum where I am.

What did I learn this week?

I (re)learned that my body hates cabbage right now. It doesn’t always, but for now it does. This week was slightly difficult (no coffee), but overall not too bad. I ate my breakfasts before meeting up with friends for coffee dates, drank herbal tea while out, and ate a bunch of food at home. The cabbage was an epic fail, and my gut was suuuuuuuper cranky all week, but overall it wasn’t a huge hardship.

So, Why the change? After chatting with my doctor about this first weeks’ goings-on, we decided to switch tactics and go for the FODMAP Diet. According to the labs the doctor ran, there’s something else going on in my gut and we need to work on reducing anything that can ferment in my gut and continue causing inflammation. So, no cabbage – no cruciferous veggies – no beer.

FODMAP Diet

What’s the deal with the FODMAP diet, and how does it differ from what you were doing? This diet varies a bit – some things that were out before (beef, pork, caffeine, soy sauce, corn, eggs) are in, and some things that were in before (hummus), are out. I will also need to make modifications to this diet because I know cruciferous veggies are a trigger right now, and I still can’t do dairy.

Note: The guidelines below are super-simplified and the literature available about the FODMAP diet isn’t always 100% clear on what’s actually in vs out. A bigger list can be found here: https://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/

Foods to Avoid

Fructose

  • Apple
  • Mango
  • Nashi
  • Pear
  • Canned fruits in juice
  • Watermelon
  • Fructose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Large servings of fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit juice
  • Honey
  • Corn syrup

Lactose

  • Milks
  • Soft unripened cheeses

Fructans

  • Asparagus
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leek
  • Okra
  • All onions
  • Wheat and rye in large amounts
  • Custard apples
  • Persimmon
  • Watermelon
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion
  • Inulin

Galactans

  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas & beans

Polyols

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Blackberry
  • Cherry
  • Lychee
  • Nashi
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Prune
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Green pepper
  • Mushroom
  • Sweet corn
  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Xyliol

Foods to Enjoy

Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberry
  • Durian
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon/lime
  • Mandarin/orange
  • Passionfruit
  • Pawpaw
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Rockmelon
  • Star anise
  • Strawberry
  • Tangelo

Vegetables

  • Alfalfa
  • Artichoke
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean shoots
  • Bok choy
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Choko
  • Choy Sum
  • Endive
  • Ginger
  • Green beans
  • Lettuces
  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Red pepper
  • Silver beet
  • Spinach
  • Yellow squash
  • Swede
  • Sweet potato
  • Taro
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Yam
  • Zucchini

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Chili
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • Lemongrass
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Grain Foods

  • Gluten-free breads and cereals
  • 100% spelt bread
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Polenta
  • Arrowroot
  • Millet
  • Psyllium
  • Quinoa
  • Sorgum
  • Tapioca

Milk Products

  • Lactose-free milk
  • Oat milk (no additives)
  • Soy milk (no additives)
  • Rice milk
  • Hard cheeses
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Lactose-free yogurt
  • Gelato
  • Sorbet
  • Olive oil

Sweeteners

  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Artificial sweeteners not ending in -ol
  • Golden syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Treacle

Week 1 Meals

Breakfasts

  • Overnight oats with peanut butter, blueberries and pumpkin seeds
  • 2 scheduled breakfasts out – have either something gluten-free with no onions, or a fruit plate

Lunches/Dinners

  • Salmon burgers with carrot/cucumber/sesame salad
  • Sweet potato with chicken meat sauce, olives and spinach
  • Baked salmon with rice/quinoa mix, green beans, chive sauce and lemon
  • Zoodles with chicken meat sauce, olives and spinach

Snacks

  • Fruit
  • Rice cakes with tuna salad

Beverages

  • Coffee – consider bringing my own milk, since the soy at the coffee shop probably isn’t good, the coconut milk at Starbucks has sweeteners, and almond and cashew milks are a no-go
  • Teas (some sources say weak teas only; I plan to just avoid fruit teas that contain apples or cherries

Emergency ‘I’m In A Social Situation And Don’t Want To Bounce To Go Eat At Home All Sad And Alone’ Food

  • Order the fruit plate for breakfast
  • Order a salad with no cheese; oil & vinegar dressing
  • Go for sushi and have rolls
  • Return to traveling with ‘purse nuts’
  • Consider returning to having ‘purse milk’
  • Grab some rice cakes at the grocery – if by some miracle they have squeezy peanut butter, grab that too
  • Consider traveling with a bigger bag 

Meal plan for the (first) week in hand, let’s see what happens with this diet. I should be on it for the next month – my next doctor visit is right after we get back from vacation in 4 weeks. Hopefully that’s enough time to at least get somewhere in the healing process.

Trying Something New (Again)

IFM Elimination Diet logo courtesy of the Thrive Carolinas website

Sorry guys, no recipe this week; I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this new month-long thing I’m going to be trying starting next week: an elimination diet. No, not Whole30, and not FODMAP – this is called the IFM Elimination Diet, and I’ll be undertaking this journey with the functional fitness doctor I just started seeing to see if we can get a handle on what exactly is going on with my gut, what foods I’m actually sensitive to – and what foods are causing reactions due to something else going on in my body.

This particular diet aims to give the body a chance to just chill out and not have to work so hard processing foods it’s not super happy processing – which in turn should cut down on things like digestive issues, headaches, sinus issues, low energy, depression, mood swings, eczema, skin irritations, joint aches, asthma, and possibly weight gain. Well. Since I’ve been plagued by most of that ish for quite awhile, let’s go into this new thing with an open mind and see what happens.

Of course, I’ll be taking y’all along for the ride and giving you updates as I go along – just in case this info could help some of you some day (hello, my Nerds!). This month will also include a week-long vacation, so let’s see what happens there – I may have to end up stretching this to two months in the process, since the national foods of where I’m going are things I can’t have on this protocol (and vacation yolo).

Foods to Eliminate

  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Gluten (barley, rye, splet, wheat)
  • White sugar
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Processed meats
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks (even diet), and chocolate)
  • Alcohol
  • Peanut butter

Foods to Enjoy

  • Fruits
    • Especially red & blue
  • Vegetables
    • Ideally, 10-12 servings a day – colorful, but especially green, red & blue
  • Nuts & seeds
    • 1-2 servings daily
  • Legumes
    • At least 1 serving daily; hummus is ok
  • Non-gluten whole grains
  • Healthy oils
    • minimally refined, cold-pressed when possible
    • coconut milk
  • Lean meats
    • Ideally, in every meal

Some things that may cause issue, and I’ll be mentioning to my doctor at our next visit: Legumes. I know (or at least I think I know) that lentils and beans hurt my stomach – this is one of the first things I discovered issue with waaaaaay back when I did my first elimination-style diet years ago. Do I need to reintroduce them? This protocol seems to love legumes even if they’ve caused an issue in the past – and gives ways to deal with gas and bloating. Does that include stabby-stabby pain? Hummus seems to be ok – so what gives there? Green peas are also fine with my body.

Histamine reactions. Since my current big issue the doc wants to work on first is my sinuses, should I also cut foods that may trip a histamine response? Those that are on the ‘to be enjoyed’ list would include:

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Spinach
  • Eggplant
  • Vinegar
  • Canned fish

And then there are two other classes of foods that may cause issue: oxalates and salicylates – and those groups would whittle down my pool even further – lots of berries and some of my favorite greens are on that list, along with almonds – citrus is also on one of those lists. Let’s hope I don’t have to go that bugnutty. It is summer after all, and my body craves fruit + shellfish (R.I.P. shellfish) + avocado when it gets hot.

Since inflammation is an issue in my body, these are some suggested foods to help with that:

  • Omega 3s from fatty (wild caught) fish and grass-fed lamb (I don’t think this exists in Qatar), almonds, walnuts, flax seeds
  • Dark leafies (kale – which is exorbitantly expensive here), cruciferous veggies (my favorite – but they’ve been killing my stomach lately and where the actual trigger to make me finally go see someone and talk about this drama)
  • Red & blue veggies
  • EVOO and olives
  • Moist heat cooking under low temps (like crock pot cooking)
  • Spices like turmeric, ginger, oregano, garlic, rosemary, cayenne, cloves and cinnamon

It looks like I’ll be eating things from different food groups than I was when I was eating Paleo (which is the last time, consequently, that I felt I had a good handle on my digestive issues) – I’ll be incorporating things like oats, quinoa and rice into my diet – but most of the rest of this is familiar territory.

What’s going to be hard is the no caffeine – while I’m not physically addicted to it and don’t get the great energy boost other people enjoy, I am definitely psychologically addicted – I need a nice warm mug of something in the morning – and socially addicted, since most of my outings these days revolve around morning meals. Eggs are also going to be difficult. And where I live in general is going to be throwing me curveballs – I can’t get my compliant ingredients in any sort of quick timeline here. My Paleo faves – coconut aminos, collagen peptides & Red Boat fish sauce all take a few weeks to arrive from Amazon; juuuuuust in time for the protocol to be (mostly) over. So, most Asian food is out unless I want to go for sushi only – and with no soy sauce. (which is actually only kind of a pain in the ass: I can eat rice! but not anything else on the menu …)

Things to also take into consideration: drinking enough water (the protocol suggests 6-8 230ml glasses (which is about a cup or 8 ounces per serving – so the same as the generally-held standard for the US even though this business is in metric), eating enough food (since this is not a calorie-restrictive diet), not going too HAM at the gym (because the body may super not want to play along here – the doctor may or may not limit ones’ exercise while on this protocol – I think I’ll be fine, since I currently only do yoga 2 – 3x a week + try to walk a 5k a time or two on top of that).

Other than that, I think I’ve got a handle on this thing – I found some sample recipes online I’ll be starting with, and have made myself a big master spreadsheet for meal planning (I’m going to still at least keep an eye on hitting the non-paleo macros I just set for myself, but I’m not going to get too crazy about it – especially on Week 1). If you want me to drop my spreadsheet, let me know – I’m happy to share.

Week 1 Meals

Breakfasts

  • Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes
  • Overnight Oats (made with water instead of almond milk)

Lunches / Dinners

  • Baked Chicken with Cabbage
  • Coconut Chicken with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
  • Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Grapes & Almonds
  • Walnut-crusted Fish with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice & Spinach

Snacks

  • Fresh Berries with Coconut Mango Ice Cream
  • Roasted Beet Hummus with Savory Seed Crackers

Beverages

  • Sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus at night
  • Hot herbal tea in the morning
  • Hot herbal tea while out with friends
  • Sparkling water while out with friends

Emergency ‘I’m In A Social Situation And Don’t Want To Bounce To Go Eat At Home All Sad And Alone’ Food

  • Order the fruit plate for breakfast
  • Order a salad with no cheese; oil & vinegar dressing
  • Go for sushi and have rolls with no soy sauce
  • Return to traveling with ‘purse nuts’
  • Make sure to also have ‘purse tea’
  • Grab some rice cakes at the grocery – if by some miracle they have squeezy almond butter, grab that too
  • Consider traveling with a bigger bag 😉

March 13, 2019

Almost tried to catch a shot of the big blue & yellow angel fish shaped guy I was watching cruise barnacles, but the angles and distance weren’t quite there. He was cool, though. But – so was this view.

I think the weather here has turned a corner – it was only 79f, but man did that couple degrees of heat zap my energy today. Booo, summer coming. Let’s see if we can make it to Ramadan before the outside gets miserable to be in.

Croatia – July 2018 – Zadar & Home

It’s finally the end of my Croatia vacation spam! If you’ve been tuning in all along, thanks for indulging me! It was great to get back out in the world, with DH and a camera in my hands. Three, if you count his camera + my phone. That’s a lot of snapping away.

After our day island hopping around the Adriatic, we had originally planned on heading to Dubrovnik – but were warned in multiple towns and the entire Internet that it would be crowded and may not be the most fun ever time to visit.

Loving the relaxed time we were having, we decided to scrap that leg of the trip – come back and cover it during shoulder season – and opt for a leisurely stroll back up the coast to Zagreb and home.

Lucky us, I had a backup plan – Zadar.

Zadar isn’t large by any means, and we felt like we did it justice in the day and a half we spent. You’d think that all the little seaside towns would look generally the same – and you’d be a quarter right; they have similar architecture – but the sea is really what got me as looking different. The color here was deeper, the boats were bigger, and the vistas were wider.

Super cool stuff.

The drive wasn’t shabby, either (an understatement).

… and that was our trip to Croatia. We absolutely loved it here – the food was fantastic, the sights were breathtaking, the people were friendly, and we can’t wait to go back (next trip: Pula, Omis & Dubrovnik).

Zagreb

Plitvice

Split

Island Hopping

Did we miss your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments below!

Croatia – July 2018 – Island Hopping

This day was one of the highlights of the trip. If you are planning on island hopping while in Croatia, and I highly suggest you do – you are missing out otherwise, I suggest going with one of the package tours.

The one we chose (Mayer Tours) was an 11-hour 5-island tour and came recommended on Pinterest somewhere. These guys were good – we did not get to visit the main attraction of the area – the Blue Cave – due to large swells closing the cave off for a few days, but that was okay. From what we’ve heard, all the boats that want to visit wait in line for up to 2 hours for a time slot, then offload passengers into an even smaller boat 10 at a time for a 15-minute tour of the cave.

I’m cool with not having waited for 2 hours to get in.

Our original plan scrapped, the days’ plans shifted continually, and I’m not 100% sure where all we went. I know we saw Korcula, Brac, Vis, a couple sandy beaches, Hvar, submarine tunnels, and military lookout points. Not sure what all else – but, as with any tour you pick or way you choose to see the islands, it was all freaking stunning. The water is crystal clear, oddly less salty than the Atlantic (at least to an East Coast of the US girl), and all the little towns and beaches are beautiful for some reason or another.

Super cool day, despite being on the back of a fast rib boat in the wind and noise and sea spray for most of it. (I hate wind and being wet and cold – so that’s saying something if I was still happy for an 11-hour day).

Pics!

And more – because restraint is not my middle name.

And that’s it for our island hopping day.

Can’t recommend highly enough.

Zagreb

Plitvice

Split

Onwards to the last destination!