Saturday, May 26, 2012

Low Residue, FODMAPS, and Why I'm Not Motivated To Cook

The "foodie" in SoleFoodie is dead. Here's why:

Following my hospital discharge I was instructed to eat a "low residue" diet. The goal of the low reside diet is to increase intestinal transit time. This means little to no fiber. The hospital pamphlet encourages the consumption of refined white bread products, cereals,  and potatoes. They restrict the consumption of nuts, seeds, any fruit that has seeds, coconut, any meat product with a casing, and most raw vegetables.Basically the opposite of how I normally eat. 

The day of the North Face 50 miler found me spectating instead of racing. Needless to say my morale was an up and down helter skelter affair. I was glad to be up and moving and out of the hospital bed; but not so happy to have 4 months of training seemingly down the drain. Then I saw a Dunkin Donuts sign. Normally a donut with its offending wheat and sugar is not something I make a habit of eating, but in a moment of self-pity I could not say no. Plus it fit the low residue diet plan.Doctor's orders! As the other ordered coffee I stepped up to the plate and picked out a dozen not realizing that no one else wanted any. 9 donuts later my morale morale was satisfied and my sugar rush was buzzing out of control.

After two weeks of following the low residue diet plan to the letter I decided something had to give. My gut was back and forth. Some days I felt great other days had me wondering whether the pain was coming back. I was eating crap. The low residue diet is basically no different from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and didn't seem (isn't) conducive to long term health. I checked out the Perfect Health Diet blog and sure enough they had a few articles on bowel disease

Following the advice of Paul Jaminet of the perfect health diet and  I am back to wheat free, dairy fee, sugar free, and am staying fiber free after a dish with plantains ripped me up for a day. Nightshade vegetables are out as well so good bye potatoes and tomatoes. 

I was consuming large amounts of coconut milk, mixing it with homemade chicken stock to flavor the copious amounts of ride I was eating, but after reading an article by Chris Kresser titled "coconut milk may not be your friend" I decided to cut it from the dwindling list of allowable foods. Plus it seemed to be annoying my stomach. 

Constant internet sleuthing led to the discovery of the FODMAP diet. This diet is for people with IBS and limits consumption of the following: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. That quite literally takes the cake. I like science, but a polyol? WTF! You have got to be kidding. 

Fortunately the FODMAP diet was not much different from Jaminet's bowel disease diet. A few more things to remove from the list included avocado's, applesauce, honey, and onions. I usually mix honey with brown rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup. Unfortunately that sugar combination doesn't sit will in the gut either. 

At this point there isn't much left to eat. Whether my problems stem from inappropriate levels of gut bacteria, psychological issues, or carbohydrate absorption issues I am officially on a low food diet. My gut feels fine on rice, sweet potatoes, bananas, grass fed beef, heritage pork, wild caught salmon, and eggs (even eggs are questionable as Jaminet suggest the protein in the white can cause issues).

Perhaps now you can understand why the "foodie" in SoleFoodie is dead.  

Although these gluten free banana pancakes are pretty tasty after a long trail run.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wow. The last month has been a whirlwind of highs and lows. I ran the Hyner View Trail Challenge 25k on April 21st and finished 9th. It was my best race to date and a confidence building effort two week prior my first real ultra: The North Face 50 mile at Bear Mountain. I was tapering and ready to rock when I woke up with a nagging stomach pain. No big deal I thought and promptly left on a weekend canoe and camping trip on the Pine Creek.

Needless to say the pain got worse and I by the end of the weekend I could barely stand. A visit to the ER led to a 3 day hospital stay and the talk of surgery loomed overhead. Not exactly the best training strategy for any event much less a 50 mile trail race. Lucklily my body responed to antibiotics and I was released two days prior to Bear Mountain with no restrictions (I didn't tell them what was on the schedule). I was convinced I could run. As I packed the car with my wife preparing for the drive north I said, "I'm fine. I can run. I feel like a hundred bucks".

That's when it hit me: 16 weeks of training. 5 hour slogs in the early spring rains. Gluten free eating to prevent inflammation and improve recovery time. The perfect training plan that was executed as written was all for naught. I should feel like a million bucks. In fact I was weak, dizzy, and clearly out of sorts. Risking my health for one event was ricidulous even if I didn't want to admit it. Is a DNS better than a DNF? I don't know. I picked up my free arm warmers, t-shirt, and water bottle and cheered my friend Ben to a solid 18th place finish.

Now it's time to get back into a rhythm training wise. I have no energy to run. The brain seems unwilling to let the body move fast. I am definitely not "well" by my standard. Waking up is difficult. Focusing on any mental task is sketchy. I'm on a restrictive "low residue" diet designed to calm my intestinal constitution. So i'm eating lots of refined foods which isn't doing much to help my state. Think chicken and rice without the spicy salsa. The fresh greens in my garden are bolting as i've got no desire to pick something that I can't eat without first boiling it to a pulp. I've eaten more doughnuts in the past week than I have in the previous two years combined. No wonder why i'm not getting better.
The best effort i've had over the past two weeks was pacing my friend Jason during his win last weekend at the MMT100 mile trail run. I managed 22 non-consecutive miles and am paying the price with some slayed achilles tendons and super tight iliotibial fascia. Thankfully he had already run about 70 miles before I joined him. Getting dropped would have been a tough pill to swallow but I managed to hold on even with his strong finish over the final 5 miles.

The Rothrock Challenge is less than three weeks away. Time will tell.