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That's a mouthful.
Last Sunday I posted a status on Facebook, admitting that I was a little freaked out about the possibility that I might have a problem with fructose. I said:
I've been hibernating, thinking about all the foods I need to give up for the rest of my life… oops, I mean for two weeks or a little longer. It just feels like a death sentence to have to give up more foods, even for a little while. I have already been contemplating giving up night shades since they are not good for us with autoimmune diseases. And eggs may or may not be harmful. So many different ways to look at everything. It seems like the best thing to do might be to do intro again for a month and avoid all the fructose/fructan foods during that time. I like to start at the beginning of a month but this month is already started and I am attending a conference for work in October. So I'm very undecided.
I was touched by the responses and encouragement I received from several people, one in particular really made an impact and I decided to do something starting Monday. I'm not sure why, but it seemed too difficult to try and manage a new food list in addition to GAPS, so I decided to do something that I know.
The low carb Leptin Reset by Dr. Jack Kruse. If I remember correctly, I felt better during November and December when I did the Leptin reset. Dr. Kruse says if you need to lose weight, you should stay under 25 grams carbohydrates. Now for some reason, that didn't bother me as much as it did to try and wrap my brain around what I was allowed to eat and was not allowed to eat to trial the fructose malabsorption.
My purpose in this challenge is to see if I can determine if fructose malabsorption is behind my sometimes depression and general feeling of not having enough energy. I understand that many with FM have symptoms of IBS, of which I have none.
Here is a quote from Dr. Emily Deans from Evolutionary Psychiatry:
An unprecedented change in our Western diets has made high-fructose foods readily available year-round, something that was never possible before industrialization. So we have fructose-malabsorbers with depleted serotonin craving carbs, munching on sugary foods, leading to more cravings, and a vicious cycle ensues. Adolescents may be more vulnerable, as they are probably the most likely to have a free fructose-laden diet.
When I'm on the low carb Leptin Reset I am amazed that my cravings are at zero. There seem to be different levels of cravings – before I started on GAPS, I craved lots of foods. After being on GAPS for a few months I felt like I had no cravings, but when I do the low carb Leptin Reset I realize that I did have some cravings because now I have no cravings at all for baked goods or sweets. Why do I ever start eating higher carbs again, I wonder? I think it is because I start missing them intellectually and talk myself into having them because I should be able to, like, it's not fair that I can't. Because right now I feel zero cravings for baked goods. Oh – looking at photos of delicious GAPS legal desserts does cause me to want them, but otherwise I feel no desire.
Before GAPS – High cravings for carbohydrates
After GAPS for a few months – barely imperceptible cravings
Low Carb Leptin Reset – zero cravings
So I started on Monday, technically Sunday night. I should get a diary going so that I can keep better notes but I do recall that on Monday night I could not get to sleep until after midnight, and I was in bed early, just about 8:30pm. I was up and down, up and down and had to get up and pee about six times. This is unusual for me nowadays although I do get up most of the time at least once during the night to pee. I had that weird blood sugar feeling of maybe I'm hungry but I don't really want to eat but I probably won't get to sleep at all unless I eat something. I did everything I knew to do to help me sleep. I got up and ate some leftovers, I took some CALMS magnesium, I took melatonin, and I listened to my Rest Easy “Ultimate Tranquility Sleep Aid” audio. Still I lay there. I remember my sleep becoming disordered in the very beginning of when I started the leptin reset last year on October 31st so I tried to stay calm and not get myself all agitated. It's like a cycle, first you can't sleep, then you start thinking how are you going to make it the next day without getting enough sleep and then it feels like you are laying there with your eyes wide open, body stiff as a board, freaked out about the next day. I did finally drift off to sleep sometime after getting up that last time at 12:30.
At work on Tuesday, in spite of missing sleep, I was in a good mood and actually felt happy but I just can't believe 24 hours without fructose and fructans was the sole reason. I was able to get to sleep soon after I went to bed, but I woke in the middle of the night and could not sleep for a couple of hours.
I had a hard time getting up, but I have to be at work by no later than 9:30 (how embarrassing – I used to get there at 6am) so I finally dragged myself out of bed at 7:05. I was okay on Wednesday once I got up and moving, my mood was steady. I slept much better, but I was pretty tired from not getting enough sleep two nights in a row.
Same steady mood on Thursday. Slept pretty good.
I had to go in to work on Friday. I attended a meeting with two coworkers and then I returned to work and was able to really focus and I felt very productive as I was able to complete several tasks in a timely manner. Much of the time I feel so overwhelmed I don't feel like I'm getting anything done. I know part of the problem is that I'm getting a lot of work done but for other people. I have my own set of tasks that must be completed, but then there are also a bunch of other jobs that I'm expected to do for superiors. It is very frustrating for me because I am beginning to realize there may be no way humanly possible for me to complete all that is expected of me.
I kind of took it easy today. Mood still feels stable. This hasn't been as difficult as I anticipated. Weekends are usually the time when I create in the kitchen but I am restricted so heavily that I can't think of anything. I do miss coming up with yummy recipes but I am jotting down ideas as they come in my idea book.
Mood stable. Feeling a sense of loss over not being able to cook and of course ideas keep coming to mind that I can't have. I am wondering if I will be able to have coconut again or nuts, almond flour… honey… I am not even sure if I will be able to determine a reaction since the depression from eating carbohydrates seems to have an accumulative effect. I'm not even sure how to introduce foods. I mean, I think I know how, but do I just have a teaspoon of cooked onion every day for five days and that is the only new food to make sure it doesn't affect me negatively?
Foods I have been eating since Monday (all these foods are allowed if you have fructose malabsorption):
- hamburgers on lettuce buns
- hamburgers with green chilies mixed into the meat prior to frying
- baked chicken thighs
- canned wild salmon with lettuce and tomato and olive oil
- canned wild salmon all by itself for lunch
- baked chicken thighs with lettuce, tomato and olive oil
- about 20 freeze-dried blueberries (at one sitting)
- a few pieces of freeze-dried pineapples (throughout one day)
- a couple of strawberries
- 6-8 raspberries on some days
- black olives
- roast beef
- pork roast
- zucchini squash
- grilled chicken breast
- green beans
- banana (maybe half of one – it was in a custard experiment)
- oranges (less than one orange for the whole week)
I thought it would be harder to do without onions, garlic and mushrooms since I eat them a lot, usually every single day.
I should probably avoid nightshades as they are a problem for a person with inflammation or autoimmune disease but I have not been able to persuade myself to give them up, especially with removing so many more foods.
This week will be week two. The sources I've read say to eliminate fructose and fructans for a period of at least two weeks, so I'm starting there. I would like to continue the low carb leptin reset however, for at least a month. One upcoming problem is I will be attending a conference at work and typically fruit is one of the few things I can actually eat of the food available. I will be staying in a hotel with a full kitchen so I will be cooking my own breakfast. My problem though, is the conference begins on October 10th. I would like to have some foods reintroduced prior to that time. If I avoid fructose and fructans for 14 days, I can begin introducing foods on the 24th and have about 18 days until the conference begins to test foods. I will have to figure out how to do this.
Here are some articles I have read on fructose malabsorption:
- Cassandra Forsythe: Complete FODMAP List For a Happy Gut
- Pub-Med Fructose malabsorption and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: guidelines for effective dietary management
- Evolutionary Psychiatry: Dietary Strategies for Fructose Malabsorption
- Evolutionary Psychiatry: IBS, Fructose, Depression, Zinc, and Women
- Fructose malabsorption, FODMAPs and the Paleo diet
- KosAbility: Fructose Malabsorption – The unknown common condition
- Dr. Judy Tsafrir FODMAPS and GAPS to treat IBS
- Chris Kresser: FODMAPs: Could common foods be harming your digestive health?
So that's where I'm at. I'll keep you posted on how things go. If you haven't already, be sure to check out my raw organic honey review and giveaway that is going on right now until Friday the 21st. Thank you for following along me on my GAPS journey. 🙂