Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Onions make me cry.

Last Monday I started my first reintroduction week.

When first following a low Fodmap diet, you stay strictly low Fodmap for 6-8 weeks. Once this is completed, and hopefully you are feeling much more like a human being again, you then start to reintroduce groups of the foods or single items that you have been avoiding.

You reintroduce over 3 days with the same food, a little on the first day, if no symptoms, a little more on the second day and, then, if no symptoms again, a little more on to the third.

Hopefully, after a while, you will have a list of foods that you can eat and still stay well. Ideally, a list slightly longer and more varied than a strict low Fodmap diet. Each individual may be different and what works for one will not necessarily work for another. As I have said before the beginnings of a Fodmap diet should always be done with the help of a dietitian.

So, last Monday I started my reintroduction. I reintroduced onions.

Before becoming low Fodmap I loved Onions. I would have proudly wore a t-shirt stating 'I Heart Onions'. Did I realise the depth of my love for onions when I could eat them freely? No. Did I take the lowly onion - used in pretty much every tasty dish you would ever eat - for granted? Yes.

If this is you, and you do not have to eat low Fodmap, then I beg you stop taking them for granted, go home smell them, fry them, soften them, cook with them everyday, just bloody well enjoy them.

My love for onions was my reason for choosing this to be my first reintroduced food. My top missed foods have been onions and garlic. The plan was this:

Monday - add 1tbsp of cooked onion to my dinner.
Tuesday - add 2tbsp of cooked onion to my dinner.
Wednesday - add 3 tbsp of cooked to my dinner.

Monday night I happily chopped away at my onion, carefully dividing into tablespoons to be used over the coming nights. That night I was adding 1 tbsp fried onions to my home-made cheeseburger with home-made chips, perfect Monday night comfort food. My dinner was delicious and the following hours to bedtime absolutely fine, it was all looking good.

Tuesday morning was not great, but quite often in the morning my stomach can give me a hard time. So I did not take this as an immediate bad sign, and was still remaining positive about onions. As the day went on certain symptoms started to creep back in and by home-time from work I was feeling uncomfortable.

Undeterred, I wanted to at least try my second day as the symptoms were no where near as fierce as I was used to pre-Fodmap. So, Tuesday nights dinner went ahead as planned, home-made tomato sauce with 2tbsp onion and gluten free pasta. My dinner was yet again delicious, but. the following hours were not as fine.  I looked 5 months pregnant my stomach had inflated so much, and the pain was slowly but surely creeping. After an unpleasant nights sleep, believe it or not, I still wasn't sure if I was experiencing symptoms (I didn't want to believe it was the onions). Previous to the Fodmap diet my symptoms had been severe and became known as attacks; what I was experiencing was not what I had known, but, certainly felt like small steps towards severe symptoms.

It was time to speak to my dietitian.

I relayed my symptoms and my dietitian confirmed what I feared - onions make me cry. It appears that I could eat onions in small amounts and only suffer mild symptoms; any more and slowly but surely my body will build up towards an attack.

So there it is no more french onion soup, onion tarts or crisp, sweet onion rings for me. I am a foodie, and I love nothing more than trying a new restaurant, a new dish or even, well made classics made by the best chefs. I do not want to say goodbye to all of these, if it means I must be super strict low Fodmap all week to have that one special meal on a special occasion then this is what I must do. As long as onions are only a small amount of the meal and I try my best to ensure the best part of the meal is low Fodmap, this part of my life should still be enjoyed.

Onions may make me cry, but, I will not lose flavour in my food. I now have a challenge, to ensure my food is never lacking from having to omit onions. I will be trialing, editing recipes and working my way through my knowledge to come up with Fodmap recipes for Stews, Risottos, Soups and much more, that are just as tasty without onions. As, soon as I have them, they will appear here.

Wish me luck.

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