Kitchen Cabinets Can Be Daunting.

For the first five or so days after my colonoscopy, I was legitimately scared of my kitchen.

I’m not kidding.  I could barely look at it.

And my family is a family of cooks.  Our get-togethers always have the best food, and the liveliest conversations happen around the dinner table.  I was taught how to cook from a young age.  Kitchens just don’t intimidate me.

But Erin and I had spent the past five years of our marriage adjusting to his needs for ulcerative colitis and subsequently readjusting to his needs for IBS instead.  We’d finally gotten used to our norms, and then BAM…diagnosis #3 waltzed into our lives, except it was mine this time.  I knew how hard those first few months were with Erin (both times), and I was terrified to throw out all of that knowledge to begin again for a third time…with both his needs and mine in mind this time.

But what can you do? With my situation, my options were:

  1. Starve to death;
  2. Get sick to death; or
  3. Figure it out.

I won’t sit here and pretend like I just pulled myself up by the bootstraps and went to work at it.  One night (two days after my colonoscopy to be exact), I was laid out on the couch in tears.  Weak, exhausted, starving, and not having a clue where to start, I told Erin that I didn’t want to die but I just wanted God to take me.  To clarify here, that is not even close to my typical behavior. I am a corporate trainer; I make my living by being the energetic, joyful personality in the room.  I skydive and parasail and zipline and swim with dolphins.  I love life, y’all.  But I did not love it in that moment.

In a desperate attempt to get something in my system, Erin threw together the worst concoction imaginable: egg noodles with some weird sauce made of extra virgin olive oil and a load of spices.  My husband is a dear, sweet, wonderful man, but his most accomplished kitchen success up to that point was scrambled eggs.  He handed it to me as soon as it was in the bowl, and I swear, half of that bowl-full got stuck to the fork.  It looked like a candy-apple-gone-wrong when I picked it up for the first bite…and boy howdy, did it taste bad.

But something magical happened in that moment, too.  For the first time in weeks, we truly laughed: laughed for several minutes, then on into the night, and we still laugh about it now.  He went to Kroger, bought some items from the deli, and we ate together with smiles on our faces.  In that moment, I think we both realized that we were going to make it through this.  It might not be pretty, and it might be quite difficult, but we could do it.

And then we went to work.

We’ve spent weeks using pretty much all of our spare time to research PI-IBS and the low-FODMAP diet.  There is so much out there that we still don’t know, but we’ve also learned a lot of great information and want to share what we do know in the hope that it will help you as you begin your journey into the land of FODMAPs.  We’ve listed some essentials for getting started below:

Appliances, Utensils, Etc.

  • Get yourself a really good blender/food processor combo.  (And trust me…you’ll need it.)  We would highly recommend the Ninja Kitchen System with Auto-iQ (you can find it at Sam’s Club or Amazon).  It is tough for everyday use and has all the cool gadgets you’ll need.  Seriously…we use it every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.  The Ninja blending cups are our favorite, most used part of the system…so convenient for breakfast!
  • Make sure you have plenty of measuring cups and spoons.  We have three different sets of measuring cups and two sets of spoons, yet we still find ourselves needing more throughout each day.  My personal favorites are these adjustable measuring spoons and measuring cups like these from Pampered Chef.
  • To go along with that last thought, a measuring conversion chart.
  • Storage containers – particularly glass, airtight ones in a wide variety of sizes. You’ll be making a lot of your own sauces and dressings, and if you’re anything like us, leftovers will become your best friend. This kind is wonderful because they are oven-safe (perfect for heating up leftovers!), and we love these for travelling (i.e. taking food to work).
  • Really good nonstick baking pans (we have these).
  • Mixing bowls (these are my favorites).
  • A whisk with a handle that won’t get hot while cooking (like this one). I learned this the hard way (thanks, beautiful stainless steel version!).
  • A good set of knives and a peeler.
  • A good spice rack with free refills (like this one!).

Pantry Staples

One of the most difficult parts of this diet is steering clear of onion, garlic, lactose, and gluten.  That being said, I’ve outlined a list of pantry staples that you can easily find at a grocery or health food store and are low-FODMAP so you don’t have to research like I did just to get started!

Of course you’re going to need a lot of other ingredients, utensils, and typical kitchen equipment, but hopefully this list gives you a good start on your low-FODMAP journey.  And if you think think that low-FODMAP dieting is boring and flavorless, let me stop you right there!  So many good recipes are headed your way soon.

Now…are you ready to get cooking with me?

**Like what you’ve read so far? Check back in soon for many posts to come featuring low-FODMAP recipes and tips!**

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