Two hands desperately reach above the surface, drowning in a large pile of healthy whole foods.

Diet to Diagnosis

Keto is a no-no. In 2013, I decided to try out the keto diet. A stupid choice for myself really because I love all things gluten and dairy. I gave up on abstaining from dairy pretty fast (within 6 weeks) but stuck without gluten for 4 months until I tried to put it back in my system. Well folks, quicker than my ex, the gluten said no to entering me again. So I banished it from my life for 6 more years after that.

Pop goes my bloating

In May of 2016, I first started noticing how distended my stomach was. Of course, no matter how many times I begged people to tell me I look bloated, no one would, out of politeness. So, in the beginning, I thought it was all in my head... Maybe I just felt like I looked that way? Or, maybe I should get more exercise? But the distention stayed put no matter what I did. Due to the fact that I had already been gluten-free for three years, so I knew that couldn't be the cause of my sudden discomfort, but I didn't really understand what was going on. I started seeing my general practitioner, who sent me to the pharmacy to pick up GasX, which did absolutely nothing for me. She sent me for an ultrasound in December of 2016, which ended up showing I had benign tumors on my liver but had nothing to do with my bloating. Finally, she decided it would be a good idea to see a gastroenterologist.

Gastro? Uh oh

I started seeing a gastroenterologist sometime in late 2017. He had a terrible bedside manner and made me feel really bad for even daring to see him but I didn't want to struggle any longer to find another specialist. He first tried to tell me to stop chewing so much gum. So I was off gum for six weeks, which resulted in no change. So, of course, months and months went by without so much as a slight indication as to what it was. It got to the point where I assumed I had colitis or Crohn's because I was WebMD'ing of course. Through multiple tests, including two hydrogen breath tests, a CT scan, and an MRI, he diagnosed me with IBS in the summer of 2019.

FODMAP is A bad direction

After the diagnosis, I tried going on another diet — this time it was FODMAP. For anyone who does FODMAP and likes it, honestly, that's great that it works for you. I can tell you though it definitely did not work for me. I think I lasted 2 weeks doing it. I love to cook, absolutely love to cook... and do you know what 2 popular ingredients in cooking are? Garlic and onions! GARLIC AND ONIONS! Both of which are not allowed in a FODMAP diet. Now I know I could substitute for like garlic oil and onion powder but it's just not the same. There's no better smell than garlic and onion sizzling in olive oil, truly. Besides garlic and onion, I find FODMAP to be too restrictive and limiting in what it has to offer. I don't even want to be restricted to which fruits and vegetables to eat... I would almost rather feel sick than give up food that makes me happy.

Now I have learned throughout this whole experience to just eat what I choose to eat and want to eat but to do so in moderation (seems simple enough, right?)

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