I’ve mentioned a couple times that I have lots of dietary restrictions. Really, there are just two, but they are big: I’m lactose and fructose intolerant. Lactose is pretty self-explanatory. Fructose not so much.
This Saturday and Sunday I felt like crap. I even convinced myself I had a stomach bug for a brief bit. I was way over-fructosed. This happens on occasion, probably a couple times a year, but it’s not been so terrible since I was diagnosed as fructose intolerant!
So, what is fructose intolerance you ask? Fructose is the sweet part of table sugar. It is the sugar that makes fruit taste sweet and, of course, is found in most processed foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup. It gets a bit complicated, though, because when fructose and glucose are found in equal portions (or there is more glucose than fructose), then it doesn’t bother me!
Fructose intolerance is a somewhat recent discovery, to the point that many doctors don’t know what it is. I was fortunate enough to be at the University of Iowa when I was going through my testing and they have done a lot of the research on fructose intolerance there. When I’ve seen other doctors since and tell them I’m fructose intolerance, it’s not unusual for them to ask me what that means. There are some estimates that many (maybe enough most) people who have irritable bowel syndrome are fructose intolerant, since IBS is a sort of non-diagnosis when other tests are inconclusive.
So I can’t eat obvious things like processed foods and most fruits, but other things like honey and most non-sugar sweeteners are also out. Also on the big ol’ no list are onions, garlic, and peanuts. I’m usually very careful about what I eat. I eat very little fructose, I eat balanced meals, I know where my food comes from as much as possible. In the last few weeks, I’ve become much more lax in my food consumption. I’ve been eating out a lot more and I’ve been lazy when I cook. So then this weekend happened.
I’ve been eating chocolate rice crispy treats a la Nanie (marshmallows = bad…and of course I have to eat ALL of them), I had pizza without asking that they not use sauce, I ate movie theater popcorn, the list goes on. After a few days of really crappy food choices, I paid the price. So now I’m going to have do go on a bit of a fructose cleanse for a few days to make myself feel better.
It’s no secret that I love eating. Sometimes I even eat two breakfasts. Yummm…great breakfast at The Chocolate Gallery with Jessica and Ezra before going to picket up race packets in Detroit in 2012.
Avoiding fructose is not as hard as it sounds…if I’m at home and doing my own cooking. It was a rough few months when I first found out, but since then it’s been okay most of the time. I quickly learned substitutes (I can have shallots but not onions or garlic), I became a healthier eater overall (despite hardly eating any fruit), and I’ve learned to really enjoy the little bits of fruit I do eat.
Since I’m usually so good about what I eat, it is especially frustrating when I feel crappy. I almost had to cancel running with Katya yesterday! Luckily I woke up feeling much better so we did 6 miles before she made this amazing recipe for us for brunch. There’s no picture because it looked too good not to eat immediately!