For a blog about food, books, and travel, I've certainly been neglecting everything but the books lately. The reason I don't always talk about travel is because I don't always get to travel as much as I'd like. But food is another story...
I have suffered from IBS a majority of my life. It started when I was in 7th grade and has manifested itself in different ways over the years. I haven't had it so severe though that it has impacted my day to day life... until recently. My lowest point was this past June when I was on vacation with my husband and some dear friends in Northern California, a culinary wonderland, and I barely ate the whole time because I felt so horrible. That was the moment I knew something had to change -- and I started with changing my doctors. I decided I was tired of going to doctors who would only prescribe some medication or, to appease me, test me for something, tell me the results were negative, and then never follow-up. I decided to go to a place where doctors are in-the-know because research is happening all the time: a university health system.
My new gastroenterologist put me in touch with a nutritionist and for the past 8 weeks I have been on a low FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are different types of sugars that are not absorbed well in the small intestine and for people with IBS, this is what causes so many of our unfortunate gastrointestinal symptoms. I have to admit that when I first heard about this diet I was dubious. I had been living with this disorder for so long and dealing with my fear of being in an inopportune place when an attack came that I just assumed that this was my lot in life. While no means a cure, I have discovered that I now am understanding my body better than I ever have. I am finally understanding which foods trigger my symptoms and how I can better manage what I eat so I don't have to worry about whether or not I can go somewhere after dinner for fear of having an attack.
I am so grateful to my doctor and nutritionist at the University of Michigan and I highly recommend giving this diet a try if you suffer from IBS -- though I wouldn't suggest going it alone. Being under the care and guidance of a nutritionist has helped educate me on how this process works. And the process is ever-evolving, which is why I am so happy that I now have a doctor who cares enough to follow up with me rather than just testing me for something, telling me nothing's wrong, and then never attempting to seek further answers. So for those of you out there who are suffering from any kind of health ailment and the doctors aren't giving you answers, I say to you: find a doctor who will keep fighting right along with you. It makes a world of difference.