For longer than I care to admit, I was experiencing everything that's sung about in the Pepto Bismol jingle (except for heartburn) on a daily basis.
It became progressively worse and started to disrupt my sleep. So I went to my doctor, who referred me to a GI specialist, who ran all sorts of tests to rule out scary sounding diagnoses. Those tests all came back negative (whew!) and the probable cause was determined to be MY DIET. Whaaaaaat? But I'm a healthy eater! I mean, I cook nutritionally balanced meals at home that include lots of (homegrown) vegetables. How can this be?
Here's the education I wish I'd received a long time ago: FODMAP is an acronym for the categories of carbohydrates that can make people with sensitive stomachs miserable. Certain naturally-occurring carbs in foods don't get fully digested, so they pass into the large intestine. And that's where the fun begins: your gut bacteria feed on the undigested carbs and have a wild party that leaves you with the hangover. Lactose is a FODMAP; lactose intolerant people are well aware of what consuming dairy does to them. Likewise, the internet is full of horror stories detailing the disasterous consequences of eating too many sugar-free gummy bears, an extreme example of sugar alcohol intolerance.
With the help of Monash University's app and A Little Bit Yummy (based on Monash's research), I've begun to identify which foods are the most troublesome for me. I'm reasonably certain that alliums (onions and garlic, along with their close relatives leeks and shallots) are my biggest nemeses. Before I eliminated them from my diet, I was eating them every day, as they're ubiquitous in recipes for stews, salads, and sauces. Knowing now that alliums put me in a world of hurt, I'm going to be altering my vegetable gardening plans. For instance, I'm currently growing leeks; now I will be giving them away to others who can use them without pain.
I'm still learning a lot about this stuff and I feel like there is a lot to learn still. My New Year's resolution is to find a sensible diet that works for me and to grow delicious vegetables that support my diet. Moving forward, all recipes that I share here will be low FODMAP. Please note: I'm not a dietitian, just a nerd who loves gardening, food, and feeling good. If my story sounds similar to your lived experience, talk to your doctor.