Low FODMAP Day 4: Lunch Edition – Tuna-Hummus-Feta sandwich

Its the weekend! That means I get to sleep in, do a bunch of homework, and … have to actually make lunches. Here’s what I’ve had so far today:

Breakfast: 1/4 cup of instant oatmeal, with a spoon full of chia seeds, a bit of maple syrup, ~ 12 blueberries, 6 raspberries, and a sliced strawberry. And a water bottle.

Lunch: Tuna-Hummus-Feta sandwich, zucchini sticks, and a cheddar and mozzarella blend cheese stick.

I used Kate Scarlata’s hummus recipe to make some hummus for snacks this week, and decided to use today’s 1/4 cup allowance as part of my lunch today. It turns out we didn’t have any mayonnaise, so instead of eating the hummus as a side, I mixed it with a can of tuna. I added salt, pepper, lemon pepper, paprika, and a bit of feta cheese, then made a sandwich with Udi’s white bread- gluten free, low FODMAP, and surprisingly tastes like normal sandwich bread; its just a bit dry.

I’m usually pretty picky about my tuna sandwiches, so wasn’t sure how I’d like this one, but it was pretty darn good! The Udi’s bread is pretty small, so I ate half the tuna on the sandwich, and half just out of the bowl. Zucchini sticks on the side were a lovely complement.

Here’s the actual recipes:

Hummus, modified from Kate Scarlata’s FODMAP friendly Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can 15 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large lemon, juiced – about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic-infused oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • a bit of water to thin

Instructions

  • Add chickpeas, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, garlic-infused oil, and sesame oil into a food processor.
  • Blend until creamy- add water to reach desired consistency.

It isn’t quite as good as normal hummus, but it is a decent substitute. Remember, have 1/4 cup or less- depending on your tolerance.

Tuna-Hummus-Feta Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hummus (above)
  • 1 3 oz can of chunk light tuna, in water
  • feta cheese
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon pepper
  • Udi’s white bread

Instructions

  • Add hummus to a bowl.
  • Drain tuna, and add to bowl with hummus.
  • Season with paprika, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, and feta to taste.
  • Top a slice of Udi’s white bread with a heaping scoop of tuna mixture. Top with another slice of bread.

Low FODMAP – Day 3: Spam & Quinoa Fried Rice

Day 3! Today went better than yesterday, but I still hit some grumpy sugar lows. I did plan a more extensive menu for the next four days, and spent a lot of money at the grocery store. It is crazy how expensive it is. I needed quinoa flour for a recipe I will be sharing with you in the near future- it was $10.00 for a small bag!

I still haven’t noticed any change in my level of bloating.

Onto today’s food:

Morning: cheddar cheese stick and black tea

Snacks: 2 of cocoa lemon energy balls, a few hours apart; I enjoyed them more today than I did yesterday. And a water bottle.

Lunch: NY strip steak, broiled Italian tomato, and green beans from the dining hall. I’m not positive that everything was cooked without garlic or onions, but I picked the best I could. A had a lot of work to do this afternoon, so we didn’t get lunch until nearly 3:00pm. By that point I was cranky and a bit weak, I needed the extra calories from the steak, tomato, and green beans, over a salad. I had some more water with lunch.

Snack: A few Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. Guys, these are SO good. The bag was on sale for $2.50, and I’m so glad I picked them up. I’m very glad I can have a few of these throughout the day.

Dinner: A 1/2 cup of  V8 Pomegranate Blueberry juice, a water bottle, and spam & quinoa fried rice. Spam & quinoa fried rice is actually a dinner we have often, although we did have to modify it to be lowFODMAP. It’s a recipe A and I wing every time we make it, but I’ll give you a general idea of what we do:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • Jasmine rice
  • 1 Can of spam
  • Shredded carrots
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Curry powder, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  • Dice the veggies and spam.
  • Measure out the amount of rice you’d like, and begin to cook.
  • Measure out quinoa and rinse under cold water. Start to cook quinoa.
  • Heat a large wok on medium-high.
  • Beat together eggs with salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder.
  • When the wok is hot, add the spam, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until browned and crispy on all sides.
  • Remove spam to a paper towel covered plate. Add eggs to the wok and scramble to your desired doneness.
  • Remove eggs, adding them to the top of the spam.
  • Season the veggies with salt, pepper, curry powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes, then add to the wok. Cook until tender crisp.
  • Add back the spam and eggs, as well as the cooked rice and quinoa. Mix together.
  • Remove from heat, then enjoy! If you have wheat free soy sauce, I recommend adding that on top.

low FODMAP – Day 2: No Bake Cocoa Lemon Energy Balls & Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken

Thursdays are hectic. A has class from 12:30 – 2pm, and I have class from 7:00-10:00pm. So we head into work at 9:00am and I stay there until A’s done with class. Then we grab food from a dining hall, rush home, set up dinner so I can eat by 5:30pm and head out to class in time. So, I have no instagram photos for you today… whomp whomp. I will share with you what I ate today, and their respective recipes where appropriate. I found today that I certainly did not have enough energy, and did not take in enough calories. I’m feeling pretty crappy right now. And my bloating hasn’t gone down at all. I am, however, less gassy- but at the moment that is clearly not helping the bloating, since I still look quite pregnant.

Onto the food:

Morning snacks: a cheddar cheese stick, and 2 No Bake Cocoa Lemon Energy Ball. And a black tea blend.

The No Bake Cocoa Lemon Energy Balls (or Bites) are modified from ea stewart I’m not sure how I feel about them. I actually found them to be a bit too lemon-y, which is very unusual for me as I love lemon and lime flavors. My stomach also felt a little unsettled after them, even though I only had two, spaced over an hour apart. I’ll try the left overs again tomorrow and see how I feel about them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon flax seeds

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture is sticky and well combined
  • Shape mixture into ~1inch balls. Place on a tray or plate lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before eating.
  • Store in the freezer.

Lunch: A Greek salad, with no onions, from one of the dining halls, and water.

Dinner: For dinner I needed something that took minimal prep, and was easy. I found Kate Scarlata’s Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Tostadas, A and I love southwest US and Mexican flavors, so I though these might be a good transition dish. My impression while eating it was… it was okay. It had a nice heat, but need a better layering of spices. I really missed my garlic powder and onion powder in this one.

Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Ingredients

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 1 can 28 oz petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
  • corn tortillas
  • shredded cheese (cheddar, or Mexican blend)

Instructions

  • Put chicken, tomatoes, cumin, chipotle chili pepper, and bell peppers in to the crock pot. Cook on HIGH for about 3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Turn off crock pot and shred the chicken.
  • Place corn tortillas on baking sheet. – I recommend using parchment paper, or non-stick spray, as I didn’t, and they stuck.
  • Using a slotted spoon to drain the juice, spoon the chicken mixture onto the tortillas.
  • Top with a bit of shredded cheese.
  • Bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

I also had a 1/2 cup of V8 fusion – pomegranate blueberry. And lots of water. That’s it for day 2!

low FODMAP – Meal 1: Scrambled Eggs and Pan-Fried Baked Potatoes

As a way to get myself through this low FODMAP diet for the next month, and to share what I’m eating with you all, I’m going to do my best to instagram everything I eat, and share the recipes for what I cook. I’ll tag everything on instagram as #foodforspoonies, #lowFODMAP, and #bestliaryouknow.

For dinner tonight, A and I had Scrambled Egg and Pan-Fried Baked Potatoes. Breakfast for dinner is always a winner in this house. It was pretty good. It wasn’t incredibly filling, so A had to eat something else afterwards, but it was good enough for me.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • Mediterranean spice infused olive oil (garlic and basil infused)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt
  • Herbs and seasonings of your choice
  • Optional: shredded cheese of your choice
  • Bacon bits
  • Dried chives

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F (~219 C). Wash your potatoes thoroughly, then rub with olive oil, paprika, and pepper. Poke holes in the potatoes. Put on a baking sheet or pan, and put in the middle rack of the oven until fork tender, 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
  2. Remove potatoes from the oven, set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides.
  4. Add butter and olive oil to a large frying pan, over medium high heat. Add the baked potato innards, and allow to crisp a bit.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk your eggs together with a splash of water, salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs and spice you’d like.
  6. Pour your eggs in with your potatoes. If you can handle some cheese, add in some shredded cheese. Scramble your eggs, stirring frequently, until they are done to your liking, then remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Portion out your eggs & potatoes to your plate, and top with bacon bits and chives.

Bloating- Next step: CT & low FODMAP

I met with Dr. S this morning. Surprisingly, its been exactly one year + one day since I met with her the first time.

She is going to check with the records from Dr. B2, and make sure the gluten-sensitivity test was reliable. She also ordered me another CT scan- so on Monday I’ll get my little dose of radiation and hopefully we’ll get something useful from it.

And, saddest of all, she is having me try a low FODMAP diet for the next month. Looking through what I can and can’t have, and I’m pretty sad. It’s not like I ate all the high FODMAP foods often, but we do cook a lot with garlic and onion, and no camomile or oolong tea is quite disappointing. The worst part is making my poor husband go through this with me. For some things, like the wheat products, I can simply abstain while he enjoys his (he loves bread, and would be pretty devastated to give it up), but we’re still going to have to make only one dinner, so a decent portion of what he eats will have to change too.

Overall, I’m not convinced it’s going to help, and its going to cost us more than our usual grocery shopping. But, I’m willing to give it a try.

Bloating – Update

The gluten sensitivity test (the tissue transglutaminase antibody test) came back negative. That rules out Celiac Disease.
We also did a blood test for H. pylori, which came back negative.
So now I’m being referred back to Dr.S, the gastroenterologist. And, somehow I got super lucky and managed to get a referral for tomorrow at 9:00AM! They had a cancellation, which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

I’m sure tomorrow’s appointment will be just another run through of the symptoms, but hopefully that will lead to scheduling the ‘scoping, and getting to the root of whats going on. Dr. B2 said to make sure I show Dr. S the CT results that showed my small bowel intussusception, which I certainly will be doing.

Here’s a picture of some bloating from this afternoon, before I headed to class.

20150414_152729

My belly is quite large. It doesn’t always stay that large- it is usually worse when my bladder is full–which makes sense if the full bladder taking up more space, making the bloating more noticeable. But, I also noticed that, boy, that amitriptyline and letrazole has made me chunky. I weighed 144 lbs at my visit to Dr. B2; I weighed 123 lbs at my surgery back in August. It is strange to me, gaining weight so quickly now, as took me foreeeever to break 100 lbs growing up…I think I broke 100 lbs my senior year in high school, and weighed a consistent 115 lbs all the way through my undergrad degree. I broke 120 lbs when these health things really started to snowball into what they are now.

But thinking of the past isn’t going to get me anywhere, I’m staying focused on the present as much as I can.

Bloating – Revisited

Way back last June ago I posted about bloating.

I expected the bloating to resolve post surgery, but it hasn’t. It’s actually gotten worse. I’ve been trying to seek out help for it but got blown off by Dr.B every time I’d bring it up- because I wasn’t very bloated when I’d show up to my appointments early in the morning (with most of my classes in the afternoon/evening, morning appointments are necessary).

Earlier this week I became incredibly bloated after having lunch with my coworkers. I decided it was time to take advantage of the triage option at my university’s health clinic, so that someone (medical) could see me when I looked 6 month pregnant and document it. Of course, the day I walked in the clinic was PACKED. They managed to squeeze me in, but I could only see a P.A., whose background was in pediatrics/preventative medicine. He concluded that, yes- I was severely bloated, and that I should make an appointment to see one of the internal medicine doctors at the clinic. Then he prescribed me some GasX- which did nothing.

Today was my appointment with the internal medicine doctor- another Dr. B, I’ll call her Dr.B2.
Guys, Dr. B2 is amazing. She’s my new favorite doctor. Not only did she listen to me, she looked through my entire binder of medical records AND praised me for having them all available and being so well prepared. We went through possible causes of bloating, such as taking in too much air while eating or drinking, gas-inducing foods, and gluten and/or lactose intolerance.

We concluded that I don’t take in too much air- I can’t really chew gum as it causes my jaw to dislocate, I don’t use a lot of straws, or talk a lot while eating. I’m going to keep an eye out for triggering foods- but it’s mostly vegetables, which are difficult to avoid. I don’t think its a dairy sensitivity, as I don’t eat much dairy and when I do I haven’t noticed much problems. I’m also going to cut out my carbonated beverages (sad, as I love my vanilla coke). And she’s sending off blood work to test my gluten sensitivity.

If the gluten sensitivity test comes back negative she’s going to refer me back to Dr. S, the gastroenterologist, to get scoped – both ways; especially after having that intussusception show up on my CT scan in 2013, she thinks getting a good picture of what is going on is important. And I totally agree.

All and all it is incredible to have a Dr. actually listen to me and look through all my records, then not only agree but suggest that we do testing rather than wait-and-see. I really needed that.

“The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records”

This morning my mom shared a link with me to a New York Times article entitled “The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records.”

The article describes a 26 year-old PhD student at M.I.T. who had access to his medical records and used them to push for treatment of a brain tumor. His graduate education and resources enabled him to research symptoms of his tumor growing, recognize them as they came to affect him, and push for further medical attention. The article then goes on to suggest the benefits of allowing patients access to their medical records- they can become more informed about their condition, and more complaint with treatments.

I find this article comes at a particularly apt time for me. I have diligently gone to all of my medical care providers and demanded a copy of my medical records. In some cases they give me the entire file, others they only give me the digital file. In one case, my doctor had to approve what she was willing to give me. Sometimes I have to pay for it, other times its free. At the end of the day I have the most complete collection of medical records I could gather (everything except my ophthalmological care- which I should collect and add to it). It lives in a binder that I bring with me to each and everyone of my medical appointments.

As you know, I am also a PhD student. I have a background in Animal Science and Reproductive Physiology. I have access to University research, and understand medical jargon. Plus I have rather impressive research skills. In my training as a graduate student I have been taught to collect all relevant data, analyze the data, integrate information, and provide thorough commentary. As such I have shown up to doctors appointments with printed copies of documents detailing how I’ve been feeling and information I think is important to my health care provided.

And yet all I’ve ever been met with is:

  1. Evidence in my medical records that my doctors do not listen to me when I speak
  2. Doctors who think I am over analyzing or “paying too much attention” to my health
  3. Doctors who refuse to look at the binder of medical records I bring to them
  4. Doctors who are only willing to give me the 15 minutes of a standard outpatient visit

Which leaves me feeling depressed, and I may go as far to say even traumatized each time I have a doctors appointment. I have anxiety about making doctors appointments, even though my pain is returning, and even though I am still certain there is something going on with me that is not being addressed and needs to be–something wrong–because I know I’m not going to listened to or treated like a patient who knows more about their own health than anyone else, let alone as a competent person- who has advanced degrees and clearly knows something about reproductive physiology, research, and making logically and critically sound decisions. Honestly, I avoid seeking out care because of this fear. Every time I think about making a new appointment the memories of the previous failed appointments re-surge. Its to the point now that I think I need to seek out psychological counseling to help manage it.

My point here is that having access to your medical records isn’t inherently healing. It actually can make things worse for a patient’s experience- serving as more evidence that they are not being heard. What would be healing is attentive medical professionals. What would be healing is medical professionals that actively listen. What would be healing is medical professionals that show they care about the patient as a whole- as a person and not just as a symptom or collection of symptoms, or someone who is taking up their time. What would be healing is being taken seriously by medical professionals as agents of our own health. I’m not denying that what the M.I.T. student was able to do with his records isn’t important- actually, I’m arguing that it is essential to good health care; but, it all comes down to the medical professionals. The M.I.T. student was incredibly lucky that his doctors took his research and experiences seriously and treated him as knowledgeable of his own condition; that they were willing to pursue his medical directives- and do so in a timely manner; that when he spoke about his condition and thoughts about the direction it was going, he was heard.

Apparently I am not that lucky.

And since I am also 26 and also a PhD student (actually one with more relevant degrees relative to the medical field), I have to wonder why it is that I am not being taken seriously.