So it’s been one week since I began the low FODMAP diet, which is supposed to be good for people with digestive problems. How’s it going, you may ask? Well, thus far I’m pretty underwhelmed. I’ll tell you why.
Right off the bat, this diet has been an exercise in surviving fatigue and mood swings. The reason is that the diet severely restricts how much sugar is being put into the body. Now, I’ll grant that my body could probably do with a lot less sugar, and most of the types of sugar that the diet cuts are not good for you anyway, but my body is used to a lot of sugar. I’m a carb fiend, and I love my sweets, cookies, ice cream and other treats. So, in other words, I’ve been going through some major sugar withdrawal. You may scoff at the very concept of such a thing, but there have been studies that show that sugar withdrawal is very similar to withdrawal from many common addictive drugs. The result is that I’ve spent the past week struggling for energy, even when I’m actually technically eating a ton of food. So in that sense, the diet has been extremely frustrating and depressing.
Another reason that the diet has been depressing is for the reason I’ve previously talked about, which is that I basically can’t eat anything I want. Oh sure, I can eat tons of meat and vegetables, so it’s not like I’m starving, but I can’t have the overwhelming majority of the things I want to have. Last night we had steak and I desperately wanted to put steak sauce on it, but it had several of the aforementioned evil sugars in it. In the bag-up room I’ve desperately wanted to have some good old fashioned cereal, but I couldn’t because they’re all made with wheat. Every day has been like this. “What do I want to eat today? Hmm…nope, can’t have that. Can’t have that either. Really can’t have that.”
Of course, with the two points I’ve made so far I must point out that this is a self-imposed diet. I haven’t been told that I have to be on this diet or anything like that; it’s an experiment that I chose to take on. So, while I’ve been all but miserable, I could have just given up at any time. But I want to see this through.
There are other reasons that I’ve been underwhelmed, of course, besides just dissatisfaction with my options.
For one thing, I was under the impression that this diet was supposed to give me more energy, but that certainly hasn’t been the case at all. Part of this can be attributed to the sugar withdrawal previously mentioned, but I also feel very strongly that the diet itself is doing nothing to increase my overall energy.
For another thing, I haven’t particularly seen any kind of change in my digestion and intestinal issues. Basically nothing has changed; I still have the same pains and squeamishness and sudden bouts of urgency. Striking difficult-to-digest sugars and gluten from my diet has thus far done absolutely nothing to abate these conditions.
Finally, I’ve seen absolutely no change in the particular issue that caused me to look into the low FODMAP diet in the first place. I won’t discuss this issue because, frankly, it’s not the kind of thing one discusses in polite conversation, but suffice it to say that I’ve been having some concerning symptoms, and research led me to this diet as a possible solution. But so far, nothing, nil, nada, no change at all.
Now, I’ll admit that it has only been a week, and it’s entirely possible that one needs to adhere to this diet for many weeks before really seeing any changes, but I will admit to being very disappointed that I have basically seen no upside at all to torturing myself this way (except for, you know, the sake of the experiment). All in all I just have to go ahead and say that this diet is extremely frustrating and has as-yet given me no motivation at all to continue on with it. The only question now is, do I keep going for the rest of the shift (one more week), or do I just throw it all out the window and eat an entire box of Tim Hortons donuts?