Displaying items by tag: holiday gift ideas fructose malabsorption

What do you buy for the teenager living with Fructose Malabsorption?

A typical teen's gift list most likely includes a new phone, a new computer, fancy headphones and a gaming system.  Basically all 21st century teenagers want tech presents with a hot logo and a recognizable brand name; and have no concept that a $500 phone is a big ask!

When I was a teenager in the 90's I am sure my parents felt the same way and lamented my annual holiday list.  I can remember being desperate for a Coach purse, Doc Martin boots and a Champion sweatshirt.  By the way, did you know Champion sweatshirts are cool again; especially vintage sweatshirts?  Both of my teenagers desire hooded Champion sweatshirts with the small "c" on the cuff.  Too bad I am the opposite of a hoarder and didn't save all of mine.

Clearly teenagers have their hearts set on gadgets and brand name items.  I have a few ideas for you that are popular at our house.  

I am sure you are asking yourself what do tech gadgets and trademarked presents have to do with Fructose Malabsorption?  I am actually asking myself how I made this connection.  Sometimes I wake up dreaming about Fructose Malabsorption; and fantasize how I can make life better for my daughter.  These early morning musings sometimes turn into my best FBF blog ideas.  What works for my daughter living with Fructose Malabsorption most likely might help you make your teenagers holiday a bit more magical. When I go to bed at night I think about what do I want most for my daughter as she navigates Fructose Malabsorption.  How can I nurture her?  I want my daughter to:

to love her life

own her food intolerance

feel that she is in control of what she eats and doesn't eat

and most importantly that life is still fun when you have Fructose Malabsorption.


So, how do I make this happen?  How do I make my 13 year old holiday wishes come true without taking out a loan?  I buy tech items, gadgets, things that need to be plugged in, and soft goods and hard goods with brand name appeal.  I seek out items that help her own her Fructose Malabsorption; give her a sense of control and maturity that she is so desiring; and hopefully (fingers crossed) find something that is worth a social media post.  Score one for me, the coolest mom of a teenager!  Most likely not cool, but at least appreciated.  :)


Holiday Gift Guide For Teenagers Living With Fructose Malabsorption:

(disclaimer:  I do not have any affiliate program)

1.  Soda Stream Machine:

When you have Fructose Malabsorption you are limited to 15 grams of fructose a day.  At our house our goal is to consume 95% of daily allowed fructose in safe fruits and vegetables.  This doesn't leave room on our fructose scale for popular sugary drinks like soda, juice, and energy beverages.  This is tough when you are teen!  You want to sit around with your girlfriends, watch a movie and enjoy a fun drink.  You can't do this with Fructose Malabsorption.  Most commercially produced beverages marketed to teens are a Fructose Volcano waiting to happen.  I watched my daughter go through this last year.  We had a post hockey game gathering at one of her teammate's houses.  All of the other girls were drinking soda and other fructose landmines disguised as healthy options, and my daughter was stuck with water.  Yes, water is good for her and she needs to drink a lot of it (see item #2).  However, she also craves bright and shiny packages, flavored drinks and beverages that bubble when you open them.  She wants to blend in with her teammates, feel like she is part of the group and not an outsider.

Last year my son purchased a Soda Stream Machine for my daughter for her birthday.  I had no idea how this would transform her life.  

It is bright turquoise; contains a carbon dioxide canister; makes bubbly, fizzy water in seconds; and you can get creative and customize your own flavors.  Our Soda Stream Machine is so cool it has actually been featured in many social media posts.  Most evenings my daughter makes her own flavored bubble water with our Soda Stream Machine.  Currently, her favorite is cranberry.  She has also experimented with lemon, lime and orange bubble water.   It only takes a splash of fresh juice.  It is 100% natural.  Yes, actually it comes from nature not from "natural flavors".  It is incredibly low in fructose and that is a win at our house!


2.  Hydroflask:

Have you heard of VSCO?  No, not a typo.  Not disco, but VSCO.  VSCO is one of the hottest social media trends for young teens.  Originally a photo-editing app, VSCO has become the "hippie" or "grunge" style of the 21st century Gen Z millennials.  The VSCO girl aesthetic is driven by specific brand names:  Lululemon, Birkenstocks, Fjallraven backpacks, Apple AirPods, and Hydroflasks.  VSCO girl social media posts are all about product placement!  Picture a group of teenage girls taking selfies with scrunchies and friendship bracelets lining their wrists; Lululemon black leggings; oversize college sweatshirts (why didn't I save my old Champion sweatshirts?); bright white ankle socks pulled up over the leggings; original brown Birkenstocks; a tiny Fjallraven backpack causally draped over one shoulder; and a Hydroflask in one hand and an iced coffee in the other hand.  That is VSCO!  I am all in for my daughter expressing herself and embracing trends.  When I was her age I was obsessed with Guess Jeans, Benetton rugby shirts, and Jansport backpacks.  I just didn't have the ability to get together with my girlfriends for a spontaneous photo shoot.  Thank goodness some of my looks are only memories and not memorialized forever in the cloud.  

What strikes me the most about the latest millennial trend is Birkenstocks.  Truly, Birkenstock has an amazing marketing team.  Somehow Birkenstocks were cool in the 70's when my parents participated in peace rallys wearing bell bottom jeans and both of them had hair longer than mine.  Where is the photo cloud for these moments?  Flash forward to the 90's when I was in high school and it was all about Seattle grunge rock.  Most days I would wear my dad's x-large flannels to school with baggie jeans and Birkenstocks.  No, I didn't have AirPods; but, I had a bright yellow "Walkman" with mixed tapes featuring my favorite songs from Reality Bites.  Birkentstock, where will you take us next when my young nieces are in their teens?

Back to the Hydroflask.  The Hydroflask is a water bottle that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours.  Last December when my daughter asked for a Hydroflask I was all in.  Yes, it costs a considerable amount more than most water bottles.  But, if it gets her to drink water it is priceless. When you have Fructose Malabsorption digesting access fructose can cause an osmotic load in your body.  In layman’s terms this basically means that your body is working really hard to get rid of excess fructose and pulls a lot of water out of other cells in your body to eliminate the fructose.  When you have Fructose Malabsorption it is essential to drink a lot of water.  I try to drink 72 ounces of water each day and want my daughter to, too.

At our house we are embracing VSCO:  the brandnames, the creative expression, the photo shoots and the Hydroflask.


3.  A Blender:

Yes, I am recommending a blender.  No, this isn't a wedding registry item-it is for your teenager.  A blender is a gadget.  It can be techie, quite expensive, have all sorts of buttons and customizable options, and is a great gift for a teen with Fructose Malabsorption.

For the last few years I have intuitively known that protein is my gut's friend.  Protein makes my unique gut happy and run like a train that is on schedule.  How do I know this?

Since my diagnosis 10+ years ago I have been conducting a scientific experiment of my own gut.  I have been trying to determine what makes my unique gut happy and what makes it angry.  And, looking for answers/conclusions/rock solid evidence on what I can and can not eat.  I want a set of rules for my gut.  I don't want guess work.  Yes, accidental overdoses and fructose volcanoes have happened in the past 10 years.  But, for the most part my scientific experiment has helped me find a diet that works for me.  All of my logging in daily food journals, reading label after label, and experimenting with different combinations of fresh whole food has worked.  For the most part I know what I can and can not eat and how much of a "safe" food is actually safe.

I am a quantitative person.  I want results that can be measured and numbers that I can live by.  And, I want researchers/scientists/gastroenterologists to help me find this quantitative data. For example, I do best when I eat less that 15 grams of fructose per day, eat more glucose than fructose, and eat protein with every meal.

My scientific study has helped me determine that protein is my friend.  If I want to eat vegetables or fruit that are higher in fructose eating a protein source with it helps.  Why is this?  What's the deal with protein?  Is there a link with protein consumption and fructose malabsorption?

I never knew scientifically why this worked, but I intuitively knew why.  Protein makes my gut happy. 

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.

It is amazing how intuitive your gut can be.  It sometimes knows whats best for you more than your brain.  My brain wants cookies, but my gut wants protein.  Listen to your second brain:  your gut.  :)

I was thrilled to read this study.  Some unknown chemist spent countless hours in a lab and quantitatively determined for me what I already knew:  protein (or more specifically amino acids found in protein) help digest/absorb fructose.  Wow!  My theory has been validated!

I eat protein with every meal, but my daughter who also has Fructose Malabsorption doesn't enjoy protein as much as I do.  She also has a hard time eating a large enough protein proportion because her tummy gets full.  And, sometimes I am not craving fish, steak or chicken.  And, when you live with Fructose Malabsorption you need protein each day.

We recently found a solution: organic, 3rd party tested protein powder.  

For the last six months I have been drinking a glass of water each evening with a scoop of protein powder.

How do I feel?


What is different?

My gut's train schedule is never delayed and it definitely isn't speeding up if you know what I mean.  My bowel output is the best it has been in years.

Any other changes?

Yes, the rest of me feels better!  I am not experiencing mid-afternoon nap desires.  I can actually function at 3:30 each afternoon.  

And, my hair and skin look and feel fantastic!  I even notice new eyebrows growing in.  Please don't ask me about my over plucking eyebrow situation from my late 20's.

I am definitely not claiming that protein powder is a miracle supplement for everyone.  However, for me it is!  My unique gut was clearly missing some important amino acids.

4 months I ago I asked my daughter to try protein powder.  

Here is where the blender comes in.  I knew she wouldn't want to just drink straight up protein powder.  If she was going to embrace this experiment it needed to be an experience.  Over the course of the last 120 days we have had a lot of fun perfecting a protein powder smoothie.  Her favorite recipe calls for 9 ice cubes (her favorite number is 9), 1 cup of organic milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, and a little cocoa powder.

My daughter is also finding positive results.  She is actually choosing to make herself a protein powder smoothie before her hockey games.  

I love that the protein powder has taken away the protein push in my house.  It's ok if she doesn't want cooked chicken at lunch and is full after a grilled cheese and cucumbers.  She is getting those needed amino acids in a different form.



Published in FBF Blog