It’s unbelievable that it’s been almost a year since I posted anything…
I started this blog because I love writing… but not in the same way of most people who love to write. I like to write scientifically, I like to write about the work that I do, I like to pull together grant proposals, I like to write science-y reports, I like to do THAT kind of writing. The kind of writing that is 100% impersonal, lacks flavor and personality, and will be steeped in facts. It’s so easy for me to write when it’s not about ME. This blog was meant to help me talk more about myself, to get more personal, to write more about life and less about science. My dear friend recently pointed out that I’m an extremely private person (and she was totally right on), and the intention of this blog was indeed my solution to becoming less private. Literally letting the entire world into my life… (I’ve never been good at taking “babysteps.”)
In any case, I failed. I went straight for the one thing in my life that is super important and personal to me (food) and I made it so much less personal by just posting recipes here and there. The irony is that I don’t follow recipes. I’m notorious for looking at one then saying, “Eh, I can make it better,” tossing the recipe aside, and diving straight into the kitchen. I gave you a lot of recipes, told you all about what I do in my kitchen, but I gave you zero content about myself. Not that YOU necessarily care about ME or the things that I want to write about, but my purpose was to give you those things. And I failed.
And so, I’m going to give this a real shot.
For most of my adult life, I’ve struggled with stomach issues. At times, my stomach issues were so terrible that I was the butt of many jokes with my friends because I couldn’t keep my rump roaring under control (yeah, that’s a euphemism for farting). At times I’d be incredibly gassy and bloated, others constipated, and there were moments of the worst diarrhea I can imagine (now finally there’s some openness). To be honest, I actually didn’t realize that the way that I was feeling was NOT HEALTHY OR NORMAL. I thought everyone felt like this, and everyone else was just better at keeping their barn burners in the barn (gotta love fart jokes).
It’s been recently brought to my attention that feeling this way is really quite far from normal or healthy. I said, “Huh? How can this be? Everyone doesn’t lie in bed awake with stomach pain?” Sounds silly to say out loud, I know… So two weeks ago, I started on a journey to figure out what the triggers are for my digestive issues by starting a low FODMAP diet (WTH is that, you ask? Google it, I say). UGH. The word “diet” shatters my freaking heart into tiny pieces because to me it actually spells “restriction.” (A little more irony for the pot: I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years – but that’s another story.) I didn’t want to go on a DIET… I didn’t want to have to think about what I was eating and not in a “I will eat all the cookies and donuts” sort of way (maybe sometimes) but more in a “I want to cook what is calling to me when I walk into my beautiful kitchen” kind of way. Food is my soul. Feeding my family delicious food is my love language.
The thought of starting a diet was a lot for me to process, yet I desperately wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing all my troubles on my bottom half. I looked up recipes to (kind of) follow, I did a bunch of research about the foods that I could and couldn’t eat, and then I went grocery shopping and only bought things that I was allowed to put into my body. I also gave away whatever was already in my pantry that might be triggers so that I didn’t accidentally chef-up something that was going to put me back into mega digestive discomfort.
My mind was completely blown at how quickly everything turned around. Suddenly, I didn’t feel ANY of the symptoms that I had before. None. It was working, and I was learning a ton about how non-restrictive the diet really was (like, I don’t actually HAVE to use garlic and onions in EVERYTHING that comes out of my kitchen). And then last Saturday night happened…
We drove to Massachusetts for a super awesome show, and I hadn’t even considered the idea of eating at a restaurant as being the worst idea ever. It struck me as we were looking over the menu that there was literally nothing that I could do to avoid the inevitable, so my strategy was to minimize the impact. I went for ramen. It was certainly the best choice for taste and also the most terrible choice for my stomach. The fresh mushrooms, the garlick-y broth, the marinated onions, the noodles, oh my. Throughout the entire show I was in pain, throughout the entire drive home, I was in pain, and all night, I was in pain. When I woke up in the morning, 12 hours after eating, I was still in pain. You can see in the photo below that even 12 hours after eating, I was still super bloated. Even 36 hours after that meal (I stuck to low FODMAP after that), I was still not feeling my best. It took 2 full days to get back on track. It’s astonishing to me that THIS IS WHAT USED TO BE MY NORMAL!
But it’s not my normal anymore!!! The diet isn’t forever, and eventually I’ll start adding things back in one-by-one to find out what the real triggers are for me. My NEW NORMAL is a path to digestive health, and I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve started to shape my eating into something that makes me FEEL good and not just around something that TASTES good. I really can have both of those things at the same time (who knew?!).
All that is to say that I’m not going to give you a recipe. Even if you ask nicely. This week, I made sesame roasted vegetables with tahini glass noodles. It was low FODMAP, it was delicious, and I felt really freaking fantastic after eating a bowl of this delightful meal (and scarfing it for lunch leftovers for 2 days).
If you’re still reading, thanks. That’s a lot of support and I totally appreciate it.
^Doesn’t that look so tasty!!! 🙂