My friend Suzi recently launched her website orgfork.com.au, and I was very honoured when she asked me to write an article on being fructose intolerant. It’s become a huge part of my life but I HATE those people that constantly talk about being gluten-free/organic/I-quit-sugar crap!
So what you read below is ALL I will EVER say about the topic haha. But I guess in a way, by talking about it more people will understand how difficult it is having an intolerance and how awesomeeeeee it would be to just eat whatever you want! Anyway I’ve written a couple more articles for OrkFork which I’ll post soon. So without further ado here’s my article 🙂
Love you all ❤
I first discovered that my body couldn’t absorb fructose seven months ago. Previously, doctors had conducted vague tests on me assuming I was gluten intolerant. But every morning I would still be curled up in bed, not wanting to move a muscle, fearing that if I did, my stomach would rip in two. I knew it was serious when I started taking days off work. But everything changed when I made an appointment with a dietician. After reading the food diary I’d been keeping, he instantly knew fructose was the cause. He said anything can trigger an intolerance, from pregnancy to moving countries. In my case, it was a single, stressful and traumatic event. It’s funny how your body reacts in ways you can’t comprehend. But unlike the overnight formation, once you are intolerant, you will be that way forever. For my own sanity, I forked out $400 to get tested over 2 months just to be sure. The news wasn’t sinking in.
I’m really not one to bitch and moan about things, because honestly, I have it pretty good. Great friends, supportive family, awesome job. But it’s surprising how being unable to eat most foods can really take a toll on your mental state. It’s almost unfair, like the world is playing one big trick on you. You have enough money to go to nice restaurants, but you can’t eat a single thing on the menu. You have a birthday, and you can’t even eat the cake! There is a lack of awareness within our community, and a serious lack of options for people like me. Gluten and lactose intolerance have become buzzwords, but a lot of people still think fructose is just fruit.
Now for the educational part. (Try explaining this to your Greek grandma who considers lasagne an entree).
Fructose is also a compound of wheat, which gets frustrating when restaurants suggest gluten-free meals. For the record, gluten and wheat are two different things! And wheat isn’t just in bread. It’s found in “extras” such as mayonnaise and terriyaki sauce. So fructose-free meals are usually very plain. On top of that, sorbitol intolerance often goes hand-in-hand with fructose intolerance, and if you looked at the ingredients of toothpaste, chewing gum and diet soda, you’d see it’s a main ingredient. I know, a joke, right?
I’m still no expert on the issue, even though I’ve read so much information on the topic, but now I am slowly learning what works for me. Like in every other facet of life, every body is different, and being intolerant to certain foods is no exception. The word “intolerance” signifies a degree of tolerance, so while some fructose malabsorbers can handle a bit of avocado in their sushi roll, or the accidental pistachio mixed into their bag of nuts, others will eat the same amount and suffer for days. That’s why the fructose-free FODMAPs diet is so easy for me to follow – simply because the consequential pain is just not worth it.