Derek and I have officially hit 4 weeks of eating LowFODMAP. The first 2 weeks of it were extremely difficult. Our bodies felt physically terrible. We were detoxing all the sugars and fermentable foods from our bodies and we felt tired, felt irritable, had stomach pains and experienced some bathroom issues. I was spending hours a day in the kitchen meal prepping. I thought I had made enough for a few days but it was amazing how fast we would go through food since we were so limited on what we could have. It also took extra-long because I had to constantly look up amounts of foods we could have and make sure I wasn’t stacking any FODMAPs together. I was extremely frustrated and was questioning if doing this diet was worth it.
Another thing that has been extremely difficult is the social isolation. I didn’t realize how much of our social life involved going out to eat with friends. If we went for a Sunday hike we would usually grab lunch after, we would meet friends for dinner and most birthday parties and celebrations involved eating. It isn’t like we can’t go out, but it is hard to be at dinner with friends and you can’t order anything... so you just sit and watch and get more frustrated. Since we are a little more housebound than usual, it has caused Derek and I to get on each other’s cases a little bit more. I find myself getting annoyed if he isn’t cleaning the dishes or helping pick up around the apartment (side note he is doing an amazing job helping). We are constantly together and not getting out to socialize so you can see where some bickering would arise.
It was after the 3rd week that we actually started to finally feel better on this diet. We noticed way less bloating, gas and bathroom trips. I have gotten used to cooking and I know off hand what I can make and what goes together. I have started using Amazon Fresh for groceries and saving that time has been a life saver. Why we got on this diet is finally starting to make sense and that makes us way more positive.
Besides our LowFODMAP journey, the point of this post is more to focus on something surprising that we both have learned. We learned that we find so much comfort in food, more than either of us realized. Derek was always someone who said he didn’t care about food, sometimes he would even forget to eat if he was engrossed in work. (I am certainly not like this; I think about my next meal while I’m still eating my current one.) What Derek came to realize is that after a long work week, he craves a nice burger, some fries and a beer. He finds comfort in this food and it is a nice reward for a stressful day. Now that this comfort has been taken away it makes it so apparent how much he needs that comfort.
I have realized the same thing. I care about food and what foods I am putting into my body but I also have my own comfort foods that I turn to. On a Friday night, you could usually find me curled up on my couch with a pint of Halo Top ice cream. In the morning if I had a long day ahead I would make a giant smoothie bowl with tons and tons of toppings. On a weekend after a nice hike or a bike ride all I want is a giant plate of sweet potato fries. I never realized how much I relied on these comfort foods until I wasn’t allowed to have them anymore.
I don’t think it is a bad thing to be comforted by food. We should feel good eating and find a sense of comfort in the foods that we eat. After a long week, I feel like I deserve a treat, it makes me happy. Since our typical comfort foods are currently off limits, I have to be more creative in the kitchen to satisfy our cravings. There are tons of blogs out there that post LowFODMAP recipes and they have been extremely helpful. Derek and I both like something sweet at night so I found a great chocolate chip cookie recipe for Derek and I have found that steamed carrots are surprisingly sweet and even better lathered in peanut butter. We are also getting more creative with our social life. We now ask friends to meet for later afternoon activities like hikes and walks so that we can eat lunch at home beforehand. We started planning dream vacations and thinking of our future family and dream home to break up the monotony of sitting around every night. I have also found some restaurants that have dishes that can be modified to fit our diet so we can at least feel like we are getting a special treat outside of the house.
This diet has been a huge lesson for us. It has taught us how much food affects us, more than we even thought. Food affects our bodies, our energy, and our mood. It has taught us how much our social life revolves around eating and drinking and that we need to be more creative with our friends and activities. It has taught us that we each have comfort foods that we rely on. And the most important thing it has taught us is how strong we are as a couple and how much stronger we are getting by doing this together. We have been each other’s biggest support systems and I am so grateful to have such an amazing partner on this crazy journey.