Checking In: FODMAPs and Exercise

My doctor cancelled on me for the third time and rescheduled my appointment. Ordinarily, I would not complain, but she’s my gastroenterologist and I really need to see her. Little known secret but for the past two years I’ve been dealing with unexplained stomach issues that I’m still in the process of diagnosing (my hope is to have things close to sorted by the summer).

Long story short, I’m gluten free and also a bona fide FODMAPer. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols or delicious things I can no longer eat because they make my stomach angry. I have to avoid fructose (apples, honey, high fructose corn syrup, rum), lactose (some dairy, but not all dairy; let’s hear it for lactose free milk and ice cream people), fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin, aka stuff that is in EVERYTHING), galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, and soybeans), and polyols (sweeteners like mannitol and sorbitol, apricots, pears, mushrooms, cauliflower). It sounds incredibly restrictive, but it’s really not so bad. It has meant some inventive times in the kitchen, but I kind of enjoy the challenge. Getting used to the diet had a steep learning curve, but I seem to be getting on the right track with the help of a talented team of physicians. It makes dining out difficult, but that’s what sushi is for. And it is not a forever diet. Eventually, I will add that which I’ve eliminated back in and figure out what I can tolerate and what I really can’t. But I have to figure out what’s wrong before I start challenging my body.

One way I have heard can help is through regular exercise, a department I have never excelled in. Though in all honesty, this brutal winter has done little to motivate me. As usual, the winter sends me into a fitness slump, which in turn aggravates my stomach. A giant contributor to these kinds of issues is stress, something I am in no way lacking. Stress has always been an overly large part of my life. Working out helps to minimize stress and anxiety, so I need to get serious about fitness.

My major problem is not having enough structure. If I want to do something, I really need to be held accountable for it. This is one of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo so much. I want to be active but also have time to work on my passion projects (like music and writing). For this purpose, I’ve devised a strict but manageable schedule in a neat Excel sheet so I can visualize the plan and somehow squeeze everything in. I’m really looking forward to spring so I can get back outside. I’m not a great runner, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I hear a lot of runners didn’t start out that way. It takes a lot of commitment. From what I read it can take as many as sixty days to form a habit. I know I am easily discouraged and too hard on myself, but I really do want to stick to this.

The running and cardio will be the tough part. I like yoga. I’m a little shy to go to a public class, but I practice fairly frequently at home, even during the winter. I think all of this will be challenging, but I want to do whatever will help make me feel better an make me healthier in general in the long run. I’ll let you know how that goes and what I learn (if anything) along the way.

In other news, I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s massive novel IQ84, which is delightful but taking much longer to read than I expected. More on that soon, I hope!

Until next time.


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