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Wednesday, January 2, 2013


FODMAPS. Sounds like a texting abbreviation that all the cool kids would know. I personally had never heard of such a thing before two weeks ago. Jonah met with a nutritionist to figure out what else to do to help his ouchy tummy issues. She gave us a few options, including staying on the medicine he takes to reduce his stomach/intestinal spasms, and not doing any other interventions. I didn't think that sounded like it would fix the problem, so we moved on to another option. I decided to have Jonah do the FODMAPS diet, a restrictive elimination diet. Jonah will stay on his tummy med until we can try weaning him off of it once his diet is stable. The FODMAPS diet eliminates fermentable carbohydrates; basically, for a few weeks, you stop eating anything that could be difficult for your body to digest. Then you slowly add those foods back in and see what your body's reaction is. 

We have to take out pretty much all our normal foods from our daily diet for the next three weeks. When I told my sweet hubby that if Jonah was going to do this, we would all do this diet, he was not happy. Pissed off, is more like it. He's a man who loves his ketchup, and ketchup is definitely on the Do Not Eat list. But as I continued to research the diet and explain it to Alex, he got on board like he always does with all my crazy ideas. Then we had to break the news to the kids.

They were surprisingly supportive of the whole FODMAPS idea. I've explained to them before about how what we eat affects our moods and behavior, so we talked about that again. They all also felt that if one of us had to do this diet, we should do it together. Although in times of apple-juice-deprived-frustration, Ben has said "I don't even NEED to do this diet! Why do I have to do this diet??" My secret motive for this is that I'm sure all of us have food sensitivities that we need to take care of.

I cleaned out our pantry, fridge, and most of the freezer of any "unsafe" foods. Anything with lactose, fructose, gluten, beans, onion, garlic, tomato, corn, broccoli, yogurt, anything that ends in "-ol" (whatever those are), the list is a mile long. Then I went grocery shopping, which took about three times as long as it normally does. I had to read all the food labels on every single thing I put in the cart. It took forever. Luckily I didn't have any kids with me. Now the pantry and fridge have safe foods that we can eat without any tummy issues. 

The first morning, Ben was very upset because he couldn't have his gallon of ice-cold apple juice. Or as much cantaloup as he wanted. Other than that, we've been able to manage pretty well for the past three days. I have safe snacks the kids can munch on. Ella has actually eaten RAISINS four times!!! And carrot sticks are back on her radar! With a lot of "male." Ella has to put "male" on everything. I tell her it's pronounced "mayo," but she disagrees. "Male" is a safe food, luckily, so I load up her plate with it and she dips everything in it and is as happy as a clam with all her "male." Whatever works.

Alex really, really misses his ketchup. But he said yesterday that he can actually taste his food now, not just the ketchup covering it!

I'm determined we're going to do this right, this time. We've tried gluten-free diets in the past, and going dairy-free too. It's so difficult because on my own, I don't know if I'm doing it right. But Jonah's nutritionist gave me a menu and exact list of what we can and cannot eat, which is so helpful. We need to explore, once and for all, what is going on with our bodies and what we should all be eating. I'm anxious to see the effect this diet has on the kids' behavior.

I noticed an immediate difference in how I feel when we started this diet. I just don't feel like I have a giant clump of gushy playdoh in my belly all the time. I feel light inside, and like my body is working effectively. And, amazingly I've lost four pounds in the last 2 days. Crazy! Alex doesn't have heart burn and other tummy issues. Ben said this morning that he thinks this diet is making him feel happier. After talking with our counselor today, I realize that Jonah is going through some detox. His behavior has been pretty challenging. He is moody and irritable and depressed. Much more than usual. Our counselor said this could be due to his body just detoxing from all the harmful effects of the food he's been eating. Poor guy. 

So we'll see how the next couple of weeks go. It's crazy when you start to realize just what you put in your body every day, and your kids' bodies too. We can't eat any fast food, obviously. When the boys went out for an excursion with their grandparents today, I had to email a huge list of 'can and cannot have' foods to Grandma. We have to have our last grandparent Christmas party at our house instead of Grandma's house because of our diet. The boys will have to have lunches from home every day at school, something they're not used to. (And Mommy's not used to, either) Aidan will have to bring a snack from home for his therapy group. Food is something that is such an integral part of so many aspects of life. If you suffer from allergies or sensitivities, you're out of luck in many areas. 

The good news for our family is that because of the other experiences we've had on GFCF diets, I know some of the yummier products to give the kids that they'll actually eat. I found a safe cookie mix that even Alex likes. I found a bread that is really good. I even got a great pasta the kids will eat. So this time around we're having more success than before. Only a couple more weeks to go! Then we'll start adding foods back in and see what happens. 

Wouldn't Alex be crushed if he finds out he really shouldn't eat ketchup anymore, ever? I can only imagine the heart-wrenching "goodbye" time he'd have to have with the ketchup bottle that's stored in the basement for now.

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