Displaying items by tag: fructose malabsorption and fodmap

Are you like me?  Do you feel like the words "gut biome" are everywhere?  In commercials? On grocery store shelves?  

And, we can definitely all learn about our gut on Social Media!  It is truly everywhere.

Along with the #gut biome you see two other associated popular words:  probiotic and prebiotic.

Probiotics and Prebiotics what is the difference?

Probiotics are foods with active live cultures like yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, pickles and kefir.  

Foods like soybeans, bananas, whole wheat and oats are in a food category called Prebiotics.  

Probiotics introduce bacteria into your gut.

Prebiotics can stimulate the growth and balance of new, healthy bacteria in the colon.  

Both Probiotics and Prebiotics have been shown to potentially assist in the protection against colon cancer and other diseases; help in the absorption of calcium; and may reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the colon.  

So, why am I rambling on about gut bacteria when this is a recipe for Banh Mi meatballs?  

Because this recipe includes both Probiotic Foods and Prebiotic Foods.

The pickled vegetables are Probiotic.  When you pickle a vegetable with vinegar you create a Probiotic Effect.

The cabbage and broccoli in the Asian slaw recipe are Prebiotic foods.

Therefore, this recipe is delicious and nutritious.  That is a double win for me!

 

Banh Mi Meatballs:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked jasmine rice (make sure you do this before you start the meatballs)
  • 1 pound ground beef (you can also use ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into 1 inch size meatballs, like the size of a golf ball.
  2. Cool the meatballs in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.  This allows them to set-up and for the flavors to mix together.
  3. Cook on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 18 minutes at 400 degrees.

Tips:

  1. This recipe could be a good challenge recipe if you are following the FODMAP program and are in the challenge phase.  You would want to only use the onion or garlic.  For more information about FODMAPS link to my article: FODMAP, A Closer Look
  2. I like to make the meatballs in the morning or the night before and allow them to cool for a long time.  This makes the meal prep at night a lot easier.

 

Pickled Vegetables:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced
  • 6 sliced radishes
  • 1 sliced jalapeño, including the seeds

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and let chill in the fridge.  The longer the vegetables chill the more pickled they become.

 

Asian Slaw:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl and let chill in the fridge.  The longer the slaw chills in the fridge the more you will taste the cilantro and lime.

 

 

***You can see that most of this recipe can be prepared in advance.  I love recipes like this!  

Before dinner time you could have the rice steamed, the meatballs ready to cook, and the veggies and slaw chilling in the fridge.  When it is time to start dinner all you need to do is cook the meatballs.  How great is that?

Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy

The Top 15 Lessons I Have Learned From Starting A Blog About Fructose Malabsorption:

 

 

 In August of 2017 my daughter and I visited a local bakery to pick up a piece of cake.  This cake and bakery are well known in the Minneapolis area.  It truly is divine, delectable and downright sinfully good.  Our plan was to share the piece of cake and watch the movie "Titanic".  My daughter had been begging me to watch the movie all summer.  I kept putting off her request because who watches a movie in the middle of August in Minnesota?  August is fantastic in Minnesota.  Most of us spend our days outside boating, swimming, hiking, golfing, playing tennis, picnicking..you get the picture. August is all about enjoying the glorious weather before the winter hits and we are back to hibernating.  My son was off at overnight camp, my husband was playing golf and I decided to embrace her movie request.  It finally occurred to me that, yes, my daughter was asking to spend 3 hours with me watching a ship sink.  I didn't just need to watch this movie with her; I was lucky she asked me.  

Anyway, back to the cake.  As usual I always ask for the ingredient list in a bakery item when I order it.  Even if I have ordered this same item 1000 times before I always ask.  Trust me, both my daughter and I know what a fructose volcano feels like and don't want to make that mistake again.  The bakery assistant gave me one of those looks when I asked for the ingredient list, "it's one of those ladies, can't she just order the cake and move on."  I held my chin up high and didn't let her annoyance annoy me.  We diligently waited for her to return from the kitchen and hand us the ingredient list assuming it would contain the same ingredients we use at home to bake a cake:  flour, eggs, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, butter.  This time I was completely shocked when she handed me the list.  HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP was the second ingredient listed!  Yes, HFCS!  How could our favorite bakery cheat on us?  We felt betrayed.  Needless to say we did not purchase the cake and have not returned.  

Even though both of us were somewhat heartbroken we decided not to mourn the loss of the cake.  We chose to take on the challenge and bake an even better cake.  Flash forward four hours later, both us were crying as Jack couldn't fit on the rather large piece of floating door, lamenting the fact that Rose would be all alone, and devouring our cake.  To be honest, it wasn't as pretty as the bakery's, but it was delicious and totally safe.  As I was tucking Grace in that evening I said out loud for the first time, "wouldn't it be fun if we had a website all about Fructose Malabsorption?"

These are some of the most famous last words in our house.  Somewhat of an, "oh no, she didn't really say that out loud did she? "  Just so we are clear when I say something out loud that typically means it is going to happen and it is most likely something I have been considering for sometime.  When I say it out loud it basically means I have already created a google doc on the how, why, when and where of my new idea.  

My family was shocked when I told them about my idea.  I am the least likely person to start a website because my tech skills are not savvy, they are almost nonexistent.  For example, today I could not figure out how to turn the flashlight on on my phone.  I usually solve my technological misgivings by texting my kids.  They are the resident "Best Buy Geek Squad" at our house.  Typically, they make fun of my lack of tech prowess.  I constantly need to remind them that I didn't have email in college or a cellphone until after the birth of our first born.  Yes, I used to live in the dark ages.

Why did I speak those words out loud?  Because, I felt called to do it for my daughter.  It is really hard to live with Fructose Malabsorption, especially when you are a little kid.  I wanted to find a way for her to own her food intolerance and share her frustrations and discoveries.  I, too, needed an outlet.  Somedays I don't want to have Fructose Malabsorption.  I just want to wake up and go to that local bakery and gorge myself on a piece of cake.  But, I can't.  

This idea kept gnawing at me, finding ways into my dreams and filling up all of my thoughts.  Honestly, I was super scared to take on this challenge.  But, I kept coming back to images of my daughter not eating at school and social events, sitting in the corner feeling like she was different.  I needed to do this for Grace.  I wanted her to see that I am willing to do things I am scared to do.  If I can tackle the technical/website component of this adventure than maybe Grace can start tackling her fears and frustrations. The more I thought about it the more I wanted the challenge...I kept thinking you don't grow in life unless you try new things.  

On March 1st Families Balancing Fructose will celebrate our one year anniversary.  In the last year I have learned how to back end edit a website, upload pictures, analyze google data and navigate social media.  Almost one year in I feel like a tech genius!  One year ago I didn't even know how to create an embedded link in a document.  And, now my kids even ask me tech questions!

As I reflect on the last year I realize there are so many lessons learned beyond website editing.  I have learned so much about my gut, other people's guts, my daughter's determination and grit, and how to embrace Fructose Malabsorption and celebrate it

 

Lesson 1.  Everyone has a unique gut and unique gut voice.  Our individual gut is like a second set of fingerprints.  We need to find this voice and listen to it.  We can learn what works and what doesn't work.  We know how to feed our guts, how to make healthy choices and how to find joy in safe eating habits. Fructose Malabsorption makes us intuitive eaters.

 

Lesson 2.  All sorbitol including natural occurring sorbitol in stone fruits is a definite no for my gut and my whole body.  I try to eat a very diverse diet, but choose to avoid sorbitol at all costs.  On the flip side gluten and other foods on the FODMAP list work for me.  I can eat small amounts of garlic and onions.  A few times a month I enjoy green beans.  Back to lesson #1, each of us has a unique gut.  We all react differently to FODMAP foods and need to use this protocol they way it was created.  The FODMAP program was created to help us determine are gut fingerprints.  It wasn't created as a safe diet for all of us. If you want to learn more about FODMAPS take a closer look at my blog.

 

Lesson 3.  Protein is so good for my body.  Eating protein sources with essential amino acids aids in the digestion of fructose.  For the last few years I have intuitively known that protein is my gut's friend.  I have even figured out that if I want to eat vegetables or fruit that are higher in fructose eating a protein source with it helps.  I never knew scientifically why this worked, but I intuitively knew why.  Recently one of my new Fructose Malabsorption friends shared an article from the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition that proves my theory.  Amino acids, found in proteins, have been scientifically proven to aid in fructose absorption.  This discovery has caused me to change my breakfast options.  Occasionally I add sausage links or whole milk cottage cheese to the breakfast rotation.  This discovery has also changed the lunches I pack for my daughter at school. Grace and I wrote a blog about school lunches and it includes 6 lunches that are low in fructose, kid friendly and easy to make.

 

Lesson 4.  Eating a diverse diet is good for me and my body.  The more I try to eat in moderation, not eliminate a lot of foods, and balance my daily fructose intake the happier my gut feels.  My gut is not happy when I limit my diet to only a few items.  My gut flora is diverse and craves a diverse diet.  In one of my earliest blog articles, Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion, I begin to explore this topic.

 

Lesson 5.  Most days I eat the same thing for lunch.  I am very utilitarian when it comes to my midday meal.  I don't want to think about Fructose Malabsorption and the fructose content in food.  When you have Fructose Malabsorption eating can become a pain in the you know what!  You constantly have to research and plan and think and prepare what you are going to eat. However, let's look at lesson 4.  I need to switch up my daily lunch routine.  Over the last year I have added new protein sources, a different collection of vegetables and have created many new salad recipes and simple vinaigrettes.  

 

Lesson 6.  My new Facebook Fructose Malabsorption friends have taught me a lot about gluten and glyphosate, and why organic flour can be different especially if it comes from a European country.  My grocery purchases have considerably changed due to these lessons.  I am now purchasing imported pasta and have decided it's ok to give your child white bread

 

Lesson 7.  My brother had an unfortunate agave incident this summer.  Much to his dismay we learned a lot about the agave plant.

 

Lesson 8.  I have always wondered why balsamic vinegar gives me a tummy ache?  And, why has it taken me 10 years to find the answer?  Balsamic Vinaigrette used to be my go to order out at a restaurant and consequently my go to way of leaving the restaurant feeling yucky.  My thought was vinaigrettes are healthier than dressings like ranch or caesar, dressings with more fat and; therefore, a better option.  Why then was I feeling bloated and why was my gut yelling at me when I was choosing balsamic vinaigrette?  I had no idea what was in balsamic vinegar and to be honest didn't realize I needed to know.  It hadn't occurred to me that my healthy choice was not healthy for me.  I didn't know that balsamic vinegar could contain anything other than vinegar.  And, I assumed it was a healthy choice because it was low in fat and I was putting in on a salad.

 

Lesson 9.  Are you like me?  Do you feel like the words "COCONUT SUGAR" are everywhere?  In your Facebook and Instragram feeds?  At your favorite restaurants and bakeries? What's the deal with coconut sugar?  Can we believe all of the health claims about coconut sugar?  Is it a healthier option compared to table sugar?

 

Lesson 10.  Over the last year Grace has finally owned her Fructose Malabsorption and wants to write about it. Grace's first article details how to navigate social outings when you have a food intolerance.

 

Lesson 11. In addition to Facebook I have connected with a lot of fellow FM patients around the world.  They have given me a lot of great advice, including new ways to explain Fructose Malabsorption to your friend, neighbor, relative and restaurant waiter.

 

Lesson 12.  Recently I’ve been revisiting old cookbooks that have been collecting dust on my shelves.  I found the Strawberry Shortcake cookbook my grandmother gave me in 1980 when I was four years old.  What I love most about this cookbook is that it encourages kids to get in the kitchen, make a mess, and start experimenting with flavors. There aren't any complicated directions that need to be followed.  Truly, the whole goal is to engage kids in new and unusual smells, textures, tastes and sights; and to be proud of something they created with their own two hands.  I also own my mom's Joy of Cooking cookbook that was published in 1964.  You will not find any glossy pictures in this book, just simple recipes and tips on how to cook fresh in season food.  This last year I have made a lot of recipes from these two cookbooks and highlight them on our website.

 

Lesson 13.  Last fall my cousin, Cari, a millennial, told me about a conversation she was having with her friend about fructose and my rotisserie chicken blog.  Cari was shocked to find out that rotisserie chicken necessarily wasn’t a safe food and that a multitude of mass produced additives could be hiding in chicken.  Honestly, I was shocked, too. I had no idea Cari and her friends cared about their food choices as much as I do. Cari doesn’t have a food intolerance; and is a healthy 26 year old who loves trying new workout classes, going out to dinner with her friends and exploring Minneapolis.  Why does Cari care so much?  Do other millennials like her make food choices based on similar convictions?  The answer is, YES.  According to the Washington Post, “millennials are the largest U.S. age demographic, and as such they are key tastemakers.” Millennials are savvy eaters.  They demand transparency on food labels. They want to know where their food is sourced and do not want any hidden ingredients.  These are my kind of people.  I, too, demand transparency. I want to know exactly where my food comes from, what is hiding in it and how my health could be negatively or positively impacted by my food choices. The millennial population knows 6 truths about fructose that we all need to know.

 

Lesson 14.  Over the last year I have developed a list of questions you should ask yourself when you look at any food label.

 

Lesson 15.  I have also learned this year that it is really hard to take a good picture of food.  If you live in the Minneapolis area and want to be my photography intern contact me.  I am in need of help. I actually wrote a blog about my photography issues.

Published in FBF Blog

I am a huge fan of one pot, one crockpot, and one sheet pan dinners.  Typically at our house I have 30 minutes to prepare and serve dinner and zero time to clean up and wash dishes.  There is nothing worse than coming home from a long night of carpooling kids to lots of dirty dishes.  This one pot Italian salmon recipe is delicious, a crowd pleaser and super easy to clean up.  It is similar to a creamy risotto, but does not require constant stirring.  The jasmine rice is partially cooked on the stove top and then finished in the oven with the salmon, herbs, bell pepper, mushrooms and spinach.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2.5 cups broth
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 4 oz chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds salmon cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil and butter at medium heat in a large skillet.  Use a skillet than can transition to your oven.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Constantly stir the rice.
  5. Add the broth and water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Once it boils reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  
  6. Remove the cover and bring the temperature back up to medium. Add the vegetables and spices and cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Add the salmon and cook for 4 minutes.
  8. Add the fresh mozzarella and cook in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your desired temperature.

 

Tips:

  1. I prefer to use Jasmine Rice because it absorbs flavor without losing its texture.
  2. We like to purchase our salmon from Whole Foods due to their sustainable seafood pledge
  3. This recipe could be a great challenge recipe if you are in the process of challenging FODMAPS in your diet.  For more information on FODMAPS link to: FODMAPS, A Closer Look.
Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
Wednesday, 24 October 2018 01:25

CrockPot Chicken and Vegetable Stew

One of my husband's good friends says, "that everything cooked in a crockpot" tastes the same.  I have to disagree with him!  In the last 3 years I have made a concerted effort to cultivate a variety of crockpot recipes including stews, soups, French dips, Asian stir frys and Italian one pot meals.  My crockpot is my best friend.  I love when I prep a crockpot meal the night before I plan on serving it.  I wake up the next morning, turn on the crockpot and honestly feel lighter.  I don't have that heavy feeling weighing me down all day because I know dinner is cooking while I am out working, carpooling kids, cleaning and volunteering.  This stew is packed with vegetables, herbs, chicken and barley.  It truly is a one pot meal.  My kids love it with a dollop of sour cream and my husband enjoys dipping a fresh baguette in his bowl of stew.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • .75 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound new potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

 

Directions:

  1. In your crockpot add the broth, water and all of the spices.  Stir this mixture.
  2. Add the chicken, barley, onion, potatoes and carrots.  
  3. DO NOT STIR.
  4. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  5. Serve with optional sour cream and/or a fresh baguette.

 

Tips:

  1. I keep Litehouse bottled fresh herbs in my fridge.  They taste just as good and last for months in your fridge.
  2. I always use new potatoes in this recipe.  The skin stays on new potatoes when they are cooked in a stew for a long time.  And, we all know the nutrition is in the skin of the potato.
  3. This recipe could be a great challenge recipe if you are in the process of challenging FODMAPS in your diet.  For more information on FODMAPS link to: FODMAPS, A Closer Look.
  4. I prep this stew the night before and put the inner pot of the crockpot in my fridge.  This makes my morning so easy.  I just have to pull the pot out of the fridge, stick in in the crockpot, and turn it on!

I could eat Southwestern/Mexican food at least three times a week.  My family feels differently.  They prefer a more diverse weekly dinner menu and like to switch up cuisines from Mediterranean to Italian to American to European.  I love Southwestern and Mexican food because everyone is happy when I make it.  I only need to prepare one dish like beef fajitas, chicken Tinga or Southwestern tilapia.  Next, my family gets creative and plates their dinner in their own special way.  My son is currently into bowls and will add rice, olives and Double Take Verde Good Green Chile Salsa.  My daughter prefers to breakdown her meals.  She like to eat everything separately.  Grace will eat her vegetables first, followed by the protein, and then ends with the carbs:  save the best for last.  

Tilapia tacos work well for our family.  I am happy because I only have to make one dish and can prepare and serve it in under 30 minutes.  My family is happy because they can tailor dinner to their individual taste preferences.  That's a win at our house!

 

Ingredients:

Tilapia:

  • 2 pounds of fresh tilapia
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Southwestern Coleslaw:

  • 3 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienne sliced
  • 1/2 cup Just Mayo
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 1/3 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Other Ingredients:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Double Take Verde Good Green Chile Salsa
  • Your favorite Southwestern/Mexican fixings:  fresh corn, black beans, olives, cilantro lime rice, sour cream, fresh flour tortillas, corn tortillas, bell peppers and onions

 

Directions:

  1. Place all of the fish marinade ingredients and tilapia in a large plastic bag.  Let it sit for at least 2 hours in your fridge.
  2. Combine all of the coleslaw ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add the seasoned fish.
  5. Bake the fish for 10-12 minutes or until you can flake it easily with a fork.
  6. Serve the tilapia with the coleslaw, salsa and fresh cilantro.

 

Tips:

  1. You can make the marinade up to one month in advance and store it in your freezer.  I love to prep multiple marinades at one time.  It seriously cuts down on meal prep time. Here is a link to my favorite 7 marinades.
  2. I am currently obsessed with Double Take Verde Good Green Chile Salsa.  Typically, I do not indulge in a lot of salsa because tomatoes have close to 4 grams of fructose/serving.  What I love about this salsa verde is that it is made with tomatillos and tomatillos have only 1.3 grams of fructose/serving.  Each day I balance my fructose loads like my own personal kitchen scale. Salsa verde makes this balancing act a lot easier and gives me room to eat additional fruits and vegetables.
  3. I prefer to use Just Mayo by Hampton Creek.  I 100% agree with their mission:  "sustainable, healthier food that is affordable and delicious".  Why do they call it "Just"?  Simply, because it is "Just" good and "Just" the perfect thing for our body.  Like their label states:  "What is Just-an adjective, meaning guided by reason, justice and fairness".  I use it in my tuna salad recipegreek chicken salad recipe and cranberry chicken salad recipe
Published in Quick, Easy, Healthy
Tuesday, 12 June 2018 13:53

A closer look: FODMAPS

FODMAP:  a closer look

When I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption 10+ years ago a low FODMAP diet didn’t have the notoriety of today.  Low FODMAP recipe books did not exist. Apps dedicated to tracking a low FODMAP diet were not readily available. A low FODMAP diet was not the standard protocol, and patients didn’t have access to the technology we do today with misleading information.  

In 2008 after my diagnosis my doctor and dietitian advised me to limit my daily fructose load to less than 15 grams per day, avoid all man-made highly processed products, steer clear of all man-made sweeteners that are high in fructose, keep a food journal, and most importantly eat a diverse diet of real whole foods.  A low FODMAP diet was never suggested to me.

Now in 2018, ten years later, I am thriving.  My gut is not yelling at me. I do not go to bed so bloated that I look 3 months pregnant. I have a ton of energy and am happy.  

Yes, there still are limitations in my life.  We rarely go out to eat, and when we do we search out a local, chef driven restaurant committed to using real whole food ingredients.  Most of the items in our grocery cart are not convenience items. My cart is filled with whole foods found in the perimeter of the store.  In addition to weekly runs to the grocery store we visit our local bakery, Breadsmith, at least twice a week to purchase fresh baguettes and sandwich bread.   A fair amount of my time is spent meal planning and cooking. I still get very nervous when eating at a friend’s house; worried that I might eat something that doesn’t agree with me.  But, I can live with these limitations because I feel so much better than I did when I was first diagnosed. I know what doesn’t work for me. I have an answer and I know how to treat my intolerance by eating real whole food.

When I started my website adventure in the fall of 2017, I didn’t realize how different my journey to gut health would be compared to people who are diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today.  When I was diagnosed only two books were available at my local bookstore about Fructose Malabsorption and neither mentioned the low FODMAP diet. When I originally googled Fructose Malabsorption, hardly any websites were dedicated to Fructose Malabsorption and suggested diets.  The only websites I could find were rare medical journals. I didn’t even own a phone and had no idea what an app was.

Honestly, I feel lucky.  My only sources of information were my dietitian and my doctor.  I knew my body couldn’t process high amounts of fructose and I knew how to simply eliminate that from my diet.  I didn’t have incessant food product marketing, fad diets and debunked health claims clouding my understanding of how to treat myself.

So here I am trying to help people with Fructose Malabsorption, trying to connect with others who have children like I do who live with Fructose Malabsorption.  And, I am faced with this new reality: access to information on our phones and computers trumps visiting a medical professional.

Given this new reality, I want to understand what it is like to get diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today.  What are the hot topics? Where do people look for help? What diet is most suggested?

A low FODMAP diet appears to be the most suggested diet when diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption.  There are 100+ books on store shelves about FODMAP diets. Google FODMAP and you could spend a lifetime looking at all of the websites.  And, let’s be honest-we all look to the internet for health advice.

So, what is FODMAP?  FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols-a mouthful!   Basically, FODMAPS are foods that aren’t well absorbed in the small intestine, pass into the colon and undergo fermentation by bacteria.  Please understand this is a natural process. Fermentation by bacteria should happen in your colon and is good for you. Everyone should eat FODMAP foods.  They are high in fiber and contain vital nutrients. We know now that bacteria lives in our gut for a reason and is important to having a healthy gut.

Why then is a low FODMAP diet suggested?  Who invented the FODMAP diet and why?

A team at Monash University in Australia led by Dr Peter Gibson and Dr Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet.  Dr Gibson, Dr Shepherd and their partners knew that FODMAP foods caused fermentation in the gut. Their theory was that if a patient reduced FODMAP foods, then consequently they would have less fermentation and less symptoms.  Their original patients felt better and had less symptoms. The low FODMAP diet was born! This is where social media, food product marketing and debunked medical claims found on the internet took a great idea and altered it.

I am definitely NOT advocating against the FODMAP diet.  What I am advocating for is to use this diet the way it was meant to be used.  In actuality, it wasn’t a diet when Monash University introduced the low FODMAP concept.  It was a diagnostic tool used to help patients with IBS regain a healthy gut. There are 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet, not one.

  1. A low FODMAP phase where you limit your FODMAP foods for 2-6 weeks under the care of a medical professional.  
  2. A re-challenge phase where you slowly re-introduce foods and journal your symptoms.  This phase takes 6-8 weeks and assistance from a medical professional is suggested.
  3. The third phase is an adapted FODMAP diet program.  Your medical professional will create a lifestyle diet for you that is diverse and includes tolerable FODMAP foods.   

 

The FODMAP concept is not a diet.  It is a tool to help you settle your gut and determine what works for YOU and doesn’t work for YOU!.  It is not a 100% lifestyle change. Each of has a unique gut biome, and the goal of this concept is to listen to your gut and figure out what makes you unique.

So why are people living a low FODMAP diet lifestyle?  

I think there are multiple reasons for this.  

  1. When we have known what it is like to have IBS and not to have IBS it is scary to think about eating something that might not agree with you and make you feel sick again.  The concept of reintroducing food can be daunting. 
  2. I also think the wealth of information, albeit fake information on the internet, is pushing people to try the FODMAP diet without understanding the original concept.  
  3. And, since all of us our guilty of using the internet to diagnose and treat ourselves we are not searching out relationships with medical professionals who can help us.

Why not stay on a low FODMAP diet for ever?  What are the consequences? 

If you eliminate FODMAPS you are eliminating many real whole foods that are beneficial to our health.  FODMAPS are needed to maintain a healthy bacterial population in our colons. They promote healthy bowel movements, decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In addition researchers at Monash University (where the FODMAP concept was born) recommend, “that a low FODMAP diet be followed strictly for just two to six weeks...and not be followed as a permanent diet for life” (www.fodmapguru.com).  The originators of the FODMAP concept do not suggest a long term low FODMAP diet.

Truly, I can see a lot of benefits from the 3 phase FODMAP approach.  What took me years to determine regarding my unique gut could have been discovered in a matter of a few months if I had known of and adopted the FODMAP concept.  For example, I learned after a lot of trial and error and food journaling that sugar alcohols, like sorbitol don’t work for me.

If you choose to follow the low FODMAP concept, then consult a trained doctor and/or dietitian who can guide you along your food journey.  Thriving with Fructose Malabsorption is possible. It takes time to understand your gut’s voice, but it is worth it.

 

Resources:

"Monash University:  The 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet"

"Kismet health:  Why this is not a long-term solution to your digestive issues"

"Fodmap Guru:  Should You Stay on a low FODMAP diet permanently?"

"A FODMAP Diet Update:  Craze or Credible?"

"The Dietary Fibers-FODMAPs Controversy"

"All About SIBO:  Small Intestinal Overgrowth"

Andrea Hardy RD explains why a low FODMAP diet can harm your gut.

 

Published in Fructose Resources
Saturday, 28 April 2018 12:28

FODMAP: a closer look

FODMAP:  a closer look

When I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption 10+ years ago a low FODMAP diet didn’t have the notoriety of today.  Low FODMAP recipe books did not exist. Apps dedicated to tracking a low FODMAP diet were not readily available. A low FODMAP diet was not the standard protocol, and patients didn’t have access to the technology we do today with misleading information.  

In 2008 after my diagnosis my doctor and dietitian advised me to limit my daily fructose load to less than 15 grams per day, avoid all man-made highly processed products, steer clear of all man-made sweeteners that are high in fructose, keep a food journal, and most importantly eat a diverse diet of real whole foods.  A low FODMAP diet was never suggested to me.

Now in 2018, ten years later, I am thriving.  My gut is not yelling at me. I do not go to bed so bloated that I look 3 months pregnant. I have a ton of energy and am happy.  

Yes, there still are limitations in my life.  We rarely go out to eat, and when we do we search out a local, chef driven restaurant committed to using real whole food ingredients.  Most of the items in our grocery cart are not convenience items. My cart is filled with whole foods found in the perimeter of the store.  In addition to weekly runs to the grocery store we visit our local bakery, Breadsmith, at least twice a week to purchase fresh baguettes and sandwich bread.   A fair amount of my time is spent meal planning and cooking. I still get very nervous when eating at a friend’s house; worried that I might eat something that doesn’t agree with me.  But, I can live with these limitations because I feel so much better than I did when I was first diagnosed. I know what doesn’t work for me. I have an answer and I know how to treat my intolerance by eating real whole food.

When I started my website adventure in the fall of 2017, I didn’t realize how different my journey to gut health would be compared to people who are diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today.  When I was diagnosed only two books were available at my local bookstore about Fructose Malabsorption and neither mentioned the low FODMAP diet. When I originally googled Fructose Malabsorption, hardly any websites were dedicated to Fructose Malabsorption and suggested diets.  The only websites I could find were rare medical journals. I didn’t even own a phone and had no idea what an app was.

Honestly, I feel lucky.  My only sources of information were my dietitian and my doctor.  I knew my body couldn’t process high amounts of fructose and I knew how to simply eliminate that from my diet.  I didn’t have incessant food product marketing, fad diets and debunked health claims clouding my understanding of how to treat myself.

So here I am trying to help people with Fructose Malabsorption, trying to connect with others who have children like I do who live with Fructose Malabsorption.  And, I am faced with this new reality: access to information on our phones and computers trumps visiting a medical professional.

Given this new reality, I want to understand what it is like to get diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today.  What are the hot topics? Where do people look for help? What diet is most suggested?

A low FODMAP diet appears to be the most suggested diet when diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption.  There are 100+ books on store shelves about FODMAP diets. Google FODMAP and you could spend a lifetime looking at all of the websites.  And, let’s be honest-we all look to the internet for health advice.

So, what is FODMAP?  FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols-a mouthful!   Basically, FODMAPS are foods that aren’t well absorbed in the small intestine, pass into the colon and undergo fermentation by bacteria.  Please understand this is a natural process. Fermentation by bacteria should happen in your colon and is good for you. Everyone should eat FODMAP foods.  They are high in fiber and contain vital nutrients. We know now that bacteria lives in our gut for a reason and is important to having a healthy gut.

Why then is a low FODMAP diet suggested?  Who invented the FODMAP diet and why?

A team at Monash University in Australia led by Dr Peter Gibson and Dr Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet.  Dr Gibson, Dr Shepherd and their partners knew that FODMAP foods caused fermentation in the gut. Their theory was that if a patient reduced FODMAP foods, then consequently they would have less fermentation and less symptoms.  Their original patients felt better and had less symptoms. The low FODMAP diet was born! This is where social media, food product marketing and debunked medical claims found on the internet took a great idea and altered it.

I am definitely NOT advocating against the FODMAP diet.  What I am advocating for is to use this diet the way it was meant to be used.  In actuality, it wasn’t a diet when Monash University introduced the low FODMAP concept.  It was a diagnostic tool used to help patients with IBS regain a healthy gut. There are 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet, not one.

  1. A low FODMAP phase where you limit your FODMAP foods for 2-6 weeks under the care of a medical professional.  
  2. A re-challenge phase where you slowly re-introduce foods and journal your symptoms.  This phase takes 6-8 weeks and assistance from a medical professional is suggested.
  3. The third phase is an adapted FODMAP diet program.  Your medical professional will create a lifestyle diet for you that is diverse and includes tolerable FODMAP foods.   

 

The FODMAP concept is not a diet.  It is a tool to help you settle your gut and determine what works for YOU and doesn’t work for YOU!.  It is not a 100% lifestyle change. Each of has a unique gut biome, and the goal of this concept is to listen to your gut and figure out what makes you unique.

So why are people living a low FODMAP diet lifestyle?  

I think there are multiple reasons for this.  

  1. When we have known what it is like to have IBS and not to have IBS it is scary to think about eating something that might not agree with you and make you feel sick again.  The concept of reintroducing food can be daunting.
  2. I also think the wealth of information, albeit fake information on the internet, is pushing people to try the FODMAP diet without understanding the original concept.  
  3. And, since all of us our guilty of using the internet to diagnose and treat ourselves we are not searching out relationships with medical professionals who can help us.

Why not stay on a low FODMAP diet for ever?  What are the consequences?

If you eliminate FODMAPS you are eliminating many real whole foods that are beneficial to our health.  FODMAPS are needed to maintain a healthy bacterial population in our colons. They promote healthy bowel movements, decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In addition researchers at Monash University (where the FODMAP concept was born) recommend, “that a low FODMAP diet be followed strictly for just two to six weeks...and not be followed as a permanent diet for life” (www.fodmapguru.com).  The originators of the FODMAP concept do not suggest a long term low FODMAP diet.

Truly, I can see a lot of benefits from the 3 phase FODMAP approach.  What took me years to determine regarding my unique gut could have been discovered in a matter of a few months if I had known of and adopted the FODMAP concept.  For example, I learned after a lot of trial and error and food journaling that sugar alcohols, like sorbitol don’t work for me.

If you choose to follow the low FODMAP concept, then consult a trained doctor and/or dietitian who can guide you along your food journey.  Thriving with Fructose Malabsorption is possible. It takes time to understand your gut’s voice, but it is worth it.

 

Resources:

"Monash University:  The 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet"

"Kismet health:  Why this is not a long-term solution to your digestive issues"

"Fodmap Guru:  Should You Stay on a low FODMAP diet permanently?"

"A FODMAP Diet Update:  Craze or Credible?"

"The Dietary Fibers-FODMAPs Controversy"

"All About SIBO:  Small Intestinal Overgrowth"

Andrea Hardy RD explains why a low FODMAP diet can harm your gut.

 

 

 

Published in FBF Blog
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 13:12

Breadsmith Bakery

Families Balancing Fructose prefers to purchase our bread at our local bakery, Breadsmith.  Breadsmith bakes all of their products from scratch each and every day using the freshest ingredients.  My daughter, Grace, loves their country white bread for school lunch sandwiches.  Check out my article on why, "It's ok to give your child white bread" on the "Families and Fructose" page on this website.  Please share with us your favorite local bakery.

 

 

National Pretzel Day, April 26th:

We love Breadsmith's pretzel buns.  For a quick, easy, and healthy dinner I make Ellie Krieger's Smoky Smothered Porkchops with a bell pepper, celery and bacon sauce and serve it on a pretzel bun.  My family loves it!  Serve it with a small side salad and you have a complete balanced meal on the table in under 30 minutes.

 

 

Published in Restaurants
Monday, 19 February 2018 14:27

Cliff Notes on Sugar Digestion

Cliff Notes on Sugar Digestion

 

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance. 

 

Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion

Here are the basics of Fructose Malabsorption written in layman’s terms.  Real food-food without a label- food like bananas, potatoes, berries, cucumbers, cheese, berries and milk contain sugar.  There are six types of sugar found in real food: dextrose, glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, galactose, and lactose. If you have Fructose Malabsorption you only need to focus on 3 of these types of sugar: glucose, fructose and sucrose.

All fruits and vegetables have different amounts of fructose and glucose sugars. I like to think of it like a teeter totter, what we used to play on at the local park. The more your friend pushed you down on their side of the teeter totter the more you went up.  Every fruit and vegetable has its own teeter totter.  For example; green peppers have 1.7 grams of glucose and 1.6 grams of fructose; causing the teeter totter to be heavier on the glucose side, not balanced, and sending the fructose side up in the air. Another example are red apples.  Red apples have 7.4 grams of fructose and 3 grams of glucose. The apple teeter totter is also out of balance, opposite of the green pepper teeter totter. The fructose side is much heavier sending the glucose side of the teeter totter up in the air.  What you need to remember is vegetables and fruits that have teeter totters with heavier fructose loads like the apple one are not good for people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption.  If you have Fructose Malabsorption you do not want to play on a fructose heavy teeter totter. 

Fructose Resources

If you have Fructose Malabsorption your body has a difficult time absorbing digested fructose.  The majority of the fructose you eat is not absorbed into your bloodstream; and sits in your gut resulting in all sorts of issues. It’s like a volcano waiting to erupt causing gas that makes you feel bloated, producing bowel wind, and changing your bowel output (diarrhea and/or constipation).

Fructose ResourcesSo, if you eat things with a teeter totter that is heavier on the fructose side (not balanced like the apple one) you create a volcano in your gut.

Fortunately, all is not lost. Those of us with Fructose Malabsorption can eat fruits and vegetables with fructose in them as long as we eat more glucose. Glucose is like a spaceship transporting fructose across the gut barrier into our bloodstream thus preventing the fructose volcano.  By paying attention to the fructose and glucose loads in food you can alleviate your symptoms, stop feeling like a volcano is about to erupt from your gut, and start living a healthy lifestyle again.

Fructose ResourcesMany fruits and vegetables represent a well balanced teeter totter or one with a heavier load of glucose.You will feel a lot better if you eat these foods, and mostly avoid the foods that have a higher fructose content. Foods with a higher amount of glucose are “gut friendly” and foods with a higher amount of fructose are not “gut friendly”.

 

My family still continues to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with heavier fructose loads, but only in moderation and only with other foods that have a higher glucose load and foods that contain protein.  It’s about balance, not elimination.

So you ask what is sucrose, the 3rd type of sugar? Sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, is 50% fructose 50% glucose. Sucrose is totally balanced, ready to be digested and tastes great in homemade cookies.  Go ahead and bake, get your kids in the kitchen, make a mess and enjoy eating homemade safe treats; treats made without man-made highly processed sugar substitutes.

Fructose ResourcesWe bake a lot in our family. My kids love creating treats with their own hands, and I love knowing that all real food ingredients are used in each recipe. We still balance our fructose loads when eating homemade treats. I have learned through my dietitian that each person who suffers from Fructose Malabsorption can only handle up to 15 grams of fructose per day. Some FM patients can only digest ½ of that. As you rethink your food culture and start to cook more at home, pay attention to how your Fructose Resourcesbody works and what feels good-give your gut a voice. My daughter’s gut voice is happy when we keep her daily fructose load to less than 15 grams a day.  We choose to not find that entire amount in treats. It’s all about balance. We eat safe fruits and vegetables (real foods that have a heavier glucose load, or those that have less than 5 grams of fructose) first; and if their is space on our own personal kitchen scale we eat a homemade treat.

 

There is one more type of sugar that you need to be aware of: man-made sugars and man-made sugar alcohols. Our food product industry has developed a multitude of fake sugars that can wreak havoc on the guts of those who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption. All of these sugars have high fructose loads and are hidden in highly processed food products. These man-made products have unbalanced teeter totters and can create gut volcanos. They are not safe.

There are over 50 types of man made sweeteners we need to avoid. Our family keeps it simple: we avoid highly processed products, go back to basics and eat real sugar when choosing to have a treat. If you look at the sugar food label it’s only ingredient is sugar.Fructose Resources

 

 

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance.

When diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption it is best to keep a daily food journal.  It will help you see trends in your diet and determine what foods work best for your unique gut voice.  Link here to see an example of a Daily Fructose Malabsorption Food Journal.

Everyday my goal is to have my personal teeter totter or science scale heavier on the glucose side or in balance, limit my daily fructose load to less than 15grams, and eat safe fruits and vegetables each day.  I still choose to eat fruits and vegetables with higher levels of fructose occasionally.  For me and my daughter it's not about elimination, it's about balance.

 

Sources and Notes:

Families Balancing Fructose Blog Posts About Sugar And Other FM Related Issues:

FODMAP: a closer look, an article about a FODMAP diet vs a FODMAP program that includes 3 phases. Some people living with FM can not tolerate other foods in addition to fructose.  For example, wheat, onion and garlic can be an issue.  This article dives into this topic.

Coconut Sugar Encyclopedia Entry

What Millennials Can Teach Us About Sugar

Fructose Malabsorption and Chronic Inflammation, Symptoms Beyond Irritable Bowel

An Apple A Day Is Not The Fructose Way

It's Ok To Give Your Child White Bread

Other Sources:

For more information about all types of sugars visit Wikipedia.

For a list of fruits and vegetables and the specific glucose and fructose ratios I prefer to use USDA Food Composition Database. Here is a link to a database that lists all types of fruits.

Here is a link to database that lists all types of vegetables.

CSID Cares also publishes a database that includes fructose and glucose amounts.

Dr Ede of Diagnosis Diet also explains Fructose Malabsorption very well. 

GI for kids gives a very simple explanation to help when you when your child is diagnosed.

Some people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption also have a difficult time digesting naturally occurring sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol. Here is a link to an interesting article

FODMAP: a closer look, an article about a FODMAP diet vs a FODMAP program that includes 3 phases.

Some people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption choose to follow-up a low FODMAP diet. NutrientReview.com provides information regarding this diet.  Another resource suggests to limit your time on a FODMAP diet.

Authors Anne Kemp and Christine Shafter explain Fructose Malabsorption in their book, "Healthy Eating, Low Fructose, 100 Recipes To Calm The Stomach".  You can find it on Amazon.

This article explains different names for High Fructose Corn Syrup.

FructoHelp is a great resource for all things Fructose Malabsorption.

SugarScience is a great resource for all things fake sugar related.

Published in Fructose Resources
Saturday, 17 February 2018 23:50

It's Ok To Give Your Child White Bread...

It’s OK to give your child white bread….

 

For years now we have been inundated with health claims regarding wheat bread vs white bread. Whole wheat bread is touted to be a much healthier choice by many manufacturers. In fact, in many kitchens white bread is considered very unhealthy and has gained treat status due to this incessant marketing.

I was wandering the pre-packaged bread aisle of my local grocery store and found these claims on a loaf of wheat bread.

“All whole grain, 100% whole wheat bread:  heart healthy, diets rich in whole grain foods and low in total fats may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers”

Wow!  If I don’t make sandwiches for my kids with this bread I must be increasing their risk of developing heart problems and cancer as adults!  How could I not use this bread?  I would be a terrible mother if I didn’t use it.  

I know many moms and dads who feel this way; who have succumbed to defunct food product marketing.

But, I ask you to stop looking at the health claims on the bread’s label and instead turn the loaf over and look at the ingredients.  Chances are you will find many ingredients you can not even pronounce like calcium propionate, azodicarbonamide, and fumaric acid.  Do these ingredients come from the earth or from a factory?  What is better for our children?  Is it food that comes from the earth, food that we can pronounce; or products that are not real food, products that claim to be real food?  

I am not advocating for you to switch from pre-packaged wheat bread to pre-packaged white bread.  Instead, let’s try to find bread that is made locally from fresh ingredients and only those ingredients we can pronounce like flour, sugar, eggs, water, yeast.  

I haven’t even mentioned the fructose loads in many of these supposedly healthy whole wheat pre-packaged breads.  Along with high fructose corn syrup many of these breads contain unsulphured molasses, agave syrup, honey, tapioca syrup, and/or cultured corn syrup solids. These breads will definitely not make our children healthier, they will only make them suffer more.  

There are many fabulous bakeries in Minnesota who use real ingredients and have options for those living with Fructose Malabsorption.  We have embraced and supported these bakeries.  I actually feel like I am living like the French and pick up a fresh baguette each day.  

Our favorite bakery is Breadsmith.  Along with baguettes Breadsmith bakes various sandwich and sweet breads fresh each day. My children love to visit Breadsmith.  You can smell the bread rising even before you even open the door, it is simply divine.  And, best of all they offer samples.  

My daughter, Grace, especially loves the country white sandwich bread.  It has 7 simple ingredients:  unbleached flour, water, sugar, margarine, organic eggs, salt and yeast.  I am a very proud mom when I pack her a sandwich for lunch made with Breadsmith white bread.  I know Grace is eating something that comes from the earth and it will not make her tummy hurt.  

 

If you curious about the differences in organic flour vs non-organic flour, why bread made in Europe is better for us, and why pesticides in America are making us sick link to blog article on this topic.

Click here for more information on how to read a label.

Lauren Renland, MPH, RD explains on her website the differences between low FODMAP and low gluten, and why even if you are following a lower FODMAP protocol why you can enjoy a fresh baguette.

 

"For a product to carry a health claim on its package, it must have a package, so right off the bat it's more likely to be processed rather than a whole food."

Michael Pollan

 

 

 

Published in FBF Blog