Missing in Action/Fruit Kabobs

Missing in Action/Fruit Kabobs

I have been absent from my blog for a while.  Blame Facebook and the low FODMAP groups I have found there.  Also blame that I’ve had some really great days when I have tackled yard work or felt well enough for short road trips & shopping.  There was also a bit of downtime when I had a bad flare up after testing wheat and a lunch event where there might have been something else that messed up my system for a 5 to 10 day stretch.

Had a visit with my GP yesterday and because of what I told her about that flare up I am going back to wheat/gluten for a few weeks to prepare for celiac testing.

But I do have some things I want to share.  In this post I have a really simple, low FODMAP treat that you can make and serve to friends sm fruit kabobswithout them ever guessing you made it to fit a restricted diet, fruit kabobs.

Because it is the brief magical time for fresh native strawberries they are the center of my fruit kabobs.  The other fruit includes green & red grapes, green & orange melon cubes, plus fresh pineapple chunks.  That is it.  I even purchased those other fruits all cut for me in a fruit mix at my local natural foods co-op.  I took long cooking skewers and cut/broke them in half, about 5.5 to 6 inches long when divided.

I have an oval glass plate that depicts the Swan Boats in the Boston Public Gardens that is sentimental to me and I used it to plate my kabobs.



Week 4, Live and Learn, Erythirtol in Truvia

Week 4, Live and Learn, Erythirtol in Truvia

Last Thursday I had nasty symptoms which have lingered, but they are starting to subside today.  So I have wondered, as I am not officially diagnosed as IBS, if the low FODMAP approach will really be the answer.  And of course your mind can go to all the more serious health problems that have similar symptoms.  Then I went to move my container of Truvia, I noticed that the first ingredient is not stevia but erythirtol.  Bingo, brain engaged, I remember from the handout I received at the doctor’s office (prepared by Kate Scarlata that sweeteners ending in -ol are no-nos, icky sugar alcohols.   So I go to look it up.  On Kate’s eliminate  list, under polyols and under sweeteners are the following: “sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), isomalt (953), maltitol (965), xylitol (967)” but no erythirtol.  Still it has that -ol ending.   I have known for ages that sugar alcohols and my digestive system are a match made in h-e-double toothpicks (sugarfree chocolates, sugarfree gum, no way.)

Time to Google (or Bing). Right there at the top is this wiki excerpt:

Erythritol ((2R,3S)-butane-1,2,3,4-tetraol) is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. It has been approved for use as a food additive in the United States and throughout much of the world. In general, erythritol is free of side effects in regular use

Ah, time to search erythiritol and FODMAP.   I click  Sacha Walsh‘s Aug 17, 2014 blog entry “Is erythritol a Fodmap?”  I learned that  she had tried Natvia, the name for Truvia outside the U.S., in baking and beverages having read the same wiki info, but she experienced “digestive dramas – nausea, cramps, and constipation.”  OK — maybe we are on to something. Let’s keep clicking.  Another blog post, this time with the title “Is Erythritol Low FODMAP?‘  It is authored by

Looking at Alana’s footnotes, I see Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, sited, with a link.  Onward go I… Patsy writes in an Oct 31, 2014 post:

I used to think that erythritol was OK for low-FODMAP diets because it is well absorbed compared to other sugar alcohols. But recent studies have shown it interferes with fructose absorption, so I no longer recommend it for the elimination phase of the diet.

Bye, bye to that strawberry sauce/jam I put Truvia into.

Let me add that I had already thrown out the SweetLeaf  Stevia Packets from my local Co-Op, Natural Foods store, as they contain inulin  (a fructan, clearly mentioned on the “eliminate foods” list) just in case you run across that brand and think “stevia” A-OK.  Because, as we have read so many, many times — always, always read the label and the full ingredient list.

Always, always double-check the label and the ingredients list.

The Fiber Question

If you have IBS or IBS-like digestive problems,  you are well aware of the conflicting pros and cons of dietary fiber.  A number of web sites have articles on this subject.  Here is a link to one of my favorites, written by a  board certified gastroenterologist.

I have now been on the low FODMAP diet for just over two weeks.  If you had asked me about dietary fiber three weeks ago I would have said I got enough, in fact, I would have said my body was sensitive to high fiber foods.   Actually, that is exactly what I told my doctor at my last visit. She was not convinced and instructed me to take a daily dose  of Metamucil, but with a smaller amount of liquid to help control diarrhea (or with a larger amount of  liquid to treat constipation.)    Now my only prior experience with Metamucil was shortly after gallbladder surgery and it was not pleasant. So looking at the drugstore shelves, I opted for an all natural simply psyllium husk product rather than the flavored Metamucil product my husband had brought home to me post surgery.  I have been happy with that choice.  I have logged what I eat on MyFitnessPal for years, ever since meeting with a R.D. to work on controlling rising A1C levels. I have noticed a drop in my daily fiber intake since starting the low PODMAP diet and it is sending my body a little too far in the opposite direction.  So in an attempt to obtain a state of balance, and given that many high fiber foods contain nasty FODMAPs and that many of the good fiber sources suitable for a FODMAP-elimination diet simply are unappealing to me, I have made the following chart.


Low FODMAP  Fiber Sources, that I actually am willing to eat:

Food Group Food & serving size

limit most to the stated amounts per sitting

Fiber g
grains Rice bran, 2 TBs 3.1
Oat Bran, 2 TBs 1.8
Quinoa, ½ C cooked 2.6
Brown Rice, ½ C cooked 2
Oats, ½ C cooked 2
seeds/nuts Chia seeds, 2 TBs (1 TBs) 9.8  (4.9)
Sesame seeds, 2 TBs (1 TBs) 2.7 (1.3)
Peanuts, 32 estimate ¼ ounce 0.7 estimate
vegetables Baked potato with skin, 5.3 ounce 3
Parsnip, ½ C 2.8
Carrot, 1 med estimate 61 grams 1.4
Romaine lettuce, 1 C 1
Kale, 1 C chopped 2.6
Green beans, ½ C cooked – 12 bean limit 2
fruits Orange, 1 small 2
Kiwi, 1 medium 2
Banana, ripe, 1 small, 3 ounce peeled 2
Blueberries, 20 berries  (?- ½ C) ?-2
Raspberries, 10 berries  (?- ¼ C) ?-2
Strawberries, 10 medium 1.2

The portions of food above are smaller than you will find on many FODMAP friendly fiber lists, but they are consistent with the 2/3/2016 updated Low FODMAP’s  Grocery List from Colleen Francioli of FODMAP Life and BonCalme that I find more of the most recent & comprehensive.

You might like to view these:     Fiber Without FODMAPs by Kate Scarlata,  Fiber without FODMAPS by FODMAP Life,  Getting Enough Fiber on a Low-FODMAP Diet by  Patsy Catsos,  and IBS and Fiber by  W. Travis Dierenfeldt, MD (author of the link which I used to open this post.)

Recovery Day

I am bouncing back from yesterday.  My morning started a little on the late side, but it is Saturday after all.  By 10:30AM I was feeling nearly normal.  It is now 2:30PM and I am feeling well enough to head out to see a 2 & 1/2 hour long movie.

It was nice that I had plenty of leftovers and packaged food on hand for a couple days of not feeling like cooking.IMG_8059

I opened a bag of Synder’s Gluten Free Preztel Sticks and found them tasty.  A half portion hit the spot.   They helped my tummy feel calmer, much like saltines do, but are a wheat free option.

Postscript:  Back from the movie.  I made it through no problem.  Whew!  Feels good.

Sick Day & Saltines

Just one week ago I heard the acronym FODMAP for the first time.

I had been sailing along happily, then BINGO — Warning, we are headed into too much information territory:   5:30AM, my head is splitting, I cannot lift it from my pillow, an hour passes and I have got to move because I feel like I am going to vomit (I am not prone to vomiting), I make it to the bathroom but just dry heaves — I still feel miserable but pee is all that comes out of me. Now I am back to bed until 9-10AM ish,  and oops,  it is rush to the bathroom and swish, empty those bowels.  Still feeling miserable.  Swallow some water and regular morning medication.  I so feel like saltines, but no I will not do that.  I have gone a week wheat free.  Thinking to myself,  what was different yesterday?  It  was a really good day.  I did an aerobics class.  I made two new low FODMAP recipes:  strawberry jam/sauce and cornflour sponge cake.  I ate nothing but items that are FODMAP approved, and in acceptable portions.  Granted the two recipes were new, I have not eaten strawberries in ages or a cornflour sponge cake ever.  But I am not ready to blame those delicious items for this morning.  Hey, I ate no yogurt yesterday, and I didn’t take any acidophilus.  Maybe?  Maybe not.  But on that note it is nearly 11AM, and sick headache/bellyache or not, I think I should eat something.  Off to have a Yoplait lactose free French vanilla yogurt.  And heck, I guess I’ll try a single 325mg Tylenol and hope it does not make things worse.  Darn it is past Noon and my tummy is still flip-flopping.  I so want those saltines, and the comfort of an old habit.   I am thinking strongly that I read someplace that a small portion has recently been added to the Monash research approved list.  Time to google.  Darn, no results telling me what I want to know.  OK, off to the stack of printed food lists I have acquired this past week.  The six page list from BonCalme is where I saw saltines. saltines Yippee-yippee, there it is on page  3, hiding as Crackers in bold type, followed in the magic word saltines, followed in parenthesis, U.S. 5.  I missed it the first time I looked, but I am stubborn, even or especially when I am sick.  I take a little plate out of the cupboard and separate 5 crackers from a 10 pack and savor.  Could anyone enjoy a saltine more?

It is going to be about 3:30PM when I post this and since about 1 PM I have been doing stuff around the house.  My head is nearly normal, my tummy does hurt, but less and less. I am eating a bit and no bathroom trips.  I, cross my fingers, may be turning the corner on this little flare up.