When I find myself rubbing my extended stomach and muttering to myself, “I feel “blubbery,” that’s a sure sign that I am bloated. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling – my stomach feels blubbery. My stomach is protruding and pudgy, and I feel fat and lethargic. The last thing I want to do is go clothes shopping. Even though my weight is still the same – I don’t always gain weight when I feel blubbery – but I feel so fat that I can’t imagine trying to buy new clothes. I can sort of feel the lower part of my stomach, under my belly button, settling in my lap when I’m sitting down. That’s how I’m feeling right now.
I’ve been reading that the Low-FODMAP diet can provide relief for 70% of people with IBS. IBS symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. I have never been diagnosed with IBS, but I often have three of these symptoms (not diarrhea). According to the book I’ve been reading, two of the biggest FODMAPs to avoid are garlic and onions. Today I ate a salad of spring greens with Tessa Mae’s Zesty Italian dressing. This dressing was recommended to me early on by my nutritionist because it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free and tastes very good. I noticed that it has garlic in it as well as onion powder, but I had already purchased a bottle and surely, the amounts of the garlic and onions are so small they will not make any difference, right? Well, by the way my stomach is feeling blubbery right now, apparently it is enough to make a difference. So, I definitely need to avoid garlic and onions, even in tiny amounts, from now on.
Last week, my stomach was feeling about as flat as I can ever remember it feeling. Then, I ran out of berries to eat with my breakfast and cut up an apple and sprinkled it with cinnamon to eat instead. Later that day, my bloating seemed to return and I haven’t been able to get back down to that flat-stomach feeling again. Apples are a high-FODMAP food! Apples seem like such a healthy food to eat, but the book I’m reading says apples are high-FODMAP and they contain two (or even three?) different kinds of FODMAPs. So, I need to avoid apples for a while, along with the garlic and onions.
I think I may have finally figured out my bloating problem. Even when I was following the AIP diet strictly, I found that I still felt bloated. AIP helped me lose weight, eliminated my acid reflux, and otherwise made me feel good and healthy, but a lot of the time I still felt bloated and heavy around my stomach. The bloating would come and go. Some days I felt very bloated and other days I felt skinny. That’s the best way I can describe it. Some days I felt skinny and other days I felt like a fat blob. Even though I was losing weight.
I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. I was eating a strict AIP diet. For a while nothing seemed to make a difference. I thought it might have been the plantain chips, so I stopped eating those for a week. I still felt bloated. I thought it might have been the guacamole, so I stopped eating that for a week. No difference. Still bloated. I read about how bananas can help bloating, so I tried to eat more bananas. No real lasting difference (there’s only so many bananas I could eat). Sometimes, I knew the bloating was caused by mild constipation. On those days, I could feel that I was constipated and I knew as soon as I had a bowel movement, some of the bloating would go down. My nutritionist told me that constipation is either due to not enough fiber or not enough water. I was eating a lot of fiber on AIP, so I tried drinking more water. I think that helped with the constipation, but there were days that I still felt bloated and I wasn’t constipated.
All of this time, the rest of my diet was strictly AIP. I thought it might be the estrogen patch I applied twice a week. Maybe my estrogen level was too high. So, I asked my gyno to change me from the 0.1 mg patch to the 0.075 mg patch. She asked me if I had tried the low-FODMAP diet. I have read about FODMAPs and I know that I’m sensitive to garlic and raw onions. However, I was eating a lot of cooked onions, which I thought were okay. They are AIP compliant and I didn’t notice any immediate symptoms after I ate them. So, I started using the 0.075 mg patch and I stopped eating cooked onions at the same time. A few days later, my bloating went down! The problem is that I can’t really tell what did it, the lower estrogen or eliminating onions. I suspect it’s probably the onions, or maybe both.
I’ve been using the 0.075 mg patch for a month now and I’m afraid I’m starting to have hot flashes again. I’m also not sleeping well. I keep waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, like I used to do. I don’t think I’m having night sweats, but I do feel like I’m getting hotter and hotter, which worries me. I went into the office this week and wore a light sweater over my sleeveless dress and I felt hot and bothered. Of course, it is August, but I was inside. So, now I’m thinking I need to read up on the low-FODMAP diet and see what I need to eliminate to do that “properly” and see if that makes a permanent difference. Also, I’m feeling normal now, no bloating, so it could be a good time to test onions to see if they really are the culprit.