Thursday, January 20, 2011

Un-restricting my restricted diet.... 

My new gastroenterologist referred me to a dietitian, with whom I met on Thursday of last week. After eight years on a low fiber diet for gastroparesis, my intestines are no longer doing their job (sorry if that's too much information). Since high fiber is out of the question, I now must try transitioning to "medium" fiber, about the amount someone preschool age should eat. I have been experiencing mixed feelings ranging from being cranky about having to change my diet yet again, to nervous that the results might make me sick, to pleased that I might be able to have a few foods I had been missing.

I will be eating a little more of some of the veggies I already eat, like canned spinach and asparagus. I'll be adding very small amounts of fruits like berries and apples (we're talking just a few bites). I will "upgrade" my usual organic low fat plain yogurt to Greek yogurt. I will try adding back small amounts of foods I miss like baby carrots, hummus and cucumber. I will continue as usual with foods like brown rice, popcorn, teff tortillas, buckwheat cereal, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, crust-less sugar free pumpkin pie and small amounts of beans.

This will be VERY tricky and will take months to perfect. I am nauseous every day of my life from the gastroparesis, and too much fiber will cause me to not be able to keep anything down. Too much fruit will throw my glucose levels off and mess with my diabetes. Stuff like flax seed and nuts are healthy, but my reflux goes crazy if I have more than a tiny amount. And obviously I have to stay gluten free.

So I have to add only one new food at a time and wait a few weeks before switching to another new food. That way, if I aggravate one of my other ailments I might have some clue as to what to blame. Some foods I may have to limit to once a week, like I do with uncooked tomatoes.

I was told to start by logging the amount of fiber I already consume on a daily basis. I am on day six of this and must say that the totals are fairly erratic, especially since I never before monitored my fiber intake and have no idea what's in what I eat. I've been too busy paying attention to the amounts of fat, carbohydrates and protein in everything (as if those weren't enough to strain my brain!). Some foods, like fresh mushrooms, red bell pepper and fresh tomatoes, are not on the fiber handout I was given, so I'm gonna need to get a more comprehensive list somewhere online.

The average adult is supposed to eat 30 grams of fiber a day, which I now understand is quite a lot. My intake since I have started monitoring has been as low as nine grams, and I already eat more fiber than most people with gastroparesis. But I am to gradually get up to at least 15 grams per day, tricky since my stomach will only let me digest so much food per meal.

I was definitely in the cranky phase earlier tonight. It takes about two weeks of adherence to any new lifestyle change before it becomes a habit, and those two weeks can be very frustrating. My biggest complaint is the extra energy required to prepare more food than I am accustomed to eating, energy I don't really have.

My other complaint is that my body, with all its various ailments, is not gonna give me easy-to-interpret feedback as to the success or failure of this new venture. For example, I was fairly nauseous last night, but I have no idea if this was because I had a migraine or the fact I had an apple with skin at dinner, or perhaps both. And it just now occurs to me that I should probably be doing more glucose tests since I am eating more food.

I think my head may explode. But is that from the new diet or the migraine? Probably both.

I go through this every time I have to mess with my food intake. In a few weeks I will probably wonder what all the fuss was about. But for now I will have to force myself to stop rolling my eyes because it's making my head hurt worse, heh heh.

I often wish we had alternate "control" lives who could take whichever path our "real" lives didn't. Then you'd know whether the diet was to blame. :/ I hope your migraine eases up soon, and that the changes really yield some beneficial results.

Keeping a log sounds really useful, by the way. (But kind of a pain in the tuckus, too.) :)
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