New Diet for Bruce

September 12, 2020

Bruce and I had a bit of scare, we had been very afraid that the colon cancer had came back. He was having the same symptoms that he had had when they discovered he had stage 3 colon cancer 16 years ago.

To our great relief, his colonoscopy came back clean! So, what was causing his symptoms?

The doctor felt it could be a something that he was eating and put Bruce on a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP = Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Poloyols Yep, even though I minored in chemistry in college I had to look that up. The following information is from the Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Stanford Medical Center, Digestive Health Center Nutrition Services, Kate Scarlata & Monash University Low FODMAP App amd USDA Nutrient Databank.

FODMAP are sugars (carbohydrates) that are found in foods. FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans – aka insulin (wheat, onion, garlic)
  • Galactans (beans, lentils, legumes, soy)
  • Polyols (stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol)

FODMAPs pull water into the intestinal track and may not be digested or absorbed well, which may cause them to be fermented upon by bacteria in the intestinal track when eaten in excess.

In case you were wondering, the symptoms are gas, bloating, cramping and/or diarrhea. Bruce had horrible cramping and all the above symptoms before his diagnosis of colon cancer and he said this was as bad.

So, what can he eat for the next six weeks before he can start adding foods back into his diet?

Food GroupFood to EatFoods to Avoid
Meats, Poultry, Fish, EggsBeef, chicken, canned tuna, eggs, egg whites, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey, cold cutsFoods made with high FODMAP fruit sauces or with high fructose corn syrup
DairyLactose free dairy, small amounts of cream cheese, half and half, hard cheeses (cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, Swiss), mozzarella, sherbet, butterButtermilk, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, creamy/cheesy sauces, milk from cow, sheep, or goat, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, soft cheeses (Brie, ricotta), sour cream, whipped cream, yogurt
Meat and dairy alternativesAlmond milk, rice milk, rice milk ice cream, nuts, nut butters, seedsCashews, chickpeas, coconut milk*, coconut cream*, beans, black eyed peas, hummus, lentils, pistachios, soy products (Note: some sources say that canned chickpeas* and lentils* that have been rinsed are okay.)
GrainsWheat free grains/wheat free flours, gluten free bagels and breads, gluten free hot/cold cereals (corn flakes, cheerios, cream of rice, grits, oats) gluten free crackers, noodles, pastas, pancakes, pretzels, and waffles, quinoa, rice, tapioca, corn tortillas Chicory root, insulin, grains with high fructose corn syrup, wheat, flours, foods made with wheat, einkorn, emmer, kaput, spelt, durum flour, farina, graham, semolina, flour tortillas, rye
FruitsBananas, berries, cantaloupe, dragon fruit, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, rhubarb, tangerineAvocado*, apples, applesauce, apricots, dates, canned fruit, cherries, dried fruit, figs, guava, lychees, mango, nectarines, pears, papaya, peaches, plums, prunes, persimmon, watermelon
Vegetables Arugula, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bock choy, cucumbers, carrots, celery, sweet corn*, eggplant, lettuce, parsnips, potato, radish, spinach, swiss Chard, squash (butternut, winter), yams, sweet potato, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnut, zucchini Artichokes, asparagus, beets, leeks, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, garlic, green beans, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, snow peas, sugar peas, summer squash
DessertsAny made with allowed foods, dark chocolateAny made with high fructose corn syrup or made with foods to avoid, milk chocolate
BeveragesLow FODMAP fruit or vegetables juices limited to 1/2 a cup at a time, coffee, tea, limit wine and beer to drink a dayAny with high fructose corn syrup, high FODMAP fruit or vegetable juices, fortified wines (sherry, port), rum
Seasonings, condiments,
Most spices and herbs, homemade broth, butter, chives, flaxseed, garlic flavored oil, garlic powder, olives, margarine, mayonnaise, onion powder, olive oil, pepper, salt, sugar, maple syrup without high fructose corn syrup, mustard, low FODMAP salad dressings, soy sauce, marinara sauce (small amounts), vinegar, balsamic vinegarHigh fructose corn syrup, agave, chutneys, coconut*, garlic, honey, James, jellies, molasses, onions, pickle, relish, high FODMAP fruit/vegetable sauces, salad dressings made with high FODMAPs food, artificial sweeteners: sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol (cough drops, gums, mints)

*The sources disagree if these foods should be avoided or not.

Photo by Element5 Digital on

15 thoughts on “New Diet for Bruce

  1. I’ve been in Bruce’s situation and stage (now 6 years clinical remission) and after all the bowel surgery I have a lot of food sensitivities that never bothered me before, the absolute killer being ice cream but any dairy is rough. Artificial sweeteners are also the kiss of death. I found the ketogenic diet to be the easiest on the gut (although it had some of its own downsides) especially in respect of gas and boating. Great for weight loss, too and the dog loves all that bacon. I cycle on and off the keto diet as a kind of cleansing every few months. Regular Metamucil dosing has helped. I found that the ultra-filtered “Fairlife” brand milk is pretty digestible, too. But I swear that if I hear one more fart joke I will go for throat. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure what happened, but your comment wound up in the spam section. I retrieved it.

      It has been 14 years since Bruce was diagnosed, he has been in remission for 9 years now. It took them 6 months to diagnose him as they just didn’t want to believe a 41 year old would have colon cancer. He kept pushing them until finally the doctor and the insurance agreed to a colonoscopy. He was actually relieved to know what was wrong and that he had something to fight. He still says it was the worst birthday ever, as he turned 42 at the time of his diagnoses. I still remember that time with terror.

      I think missing part of the colon causes problems with digestion. He had to give up cow dairy sometime ago. He found that he could eat goat and sheep cheese without trouble. We don’t eat artificial sweeteners. With this low FODMAP diet, he is feeling good. He told me that he had forgotten what normal felt like, but now he is back to normal. The gas, bloating, and diarrhea have stopped.

      He was taking Fiber Choice. Once the doctor put him on the low FODMAP diet, he realized that Fiber Choice’s fiber is inulin, which is something he should be avoiding. I’ll check out Metamucil to see what type of fiber it has, as he needs to have fiber.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most blogs automatically condemn my comments to spam but I like SPAM so there’s that… Anyway, I agree with all of what you say above. I printed out the FODMAP and have been following it the past few days. Too soon to know for sure but I think I do feel a bit better in the gut. Lots of food choices are not covered and I take the position that if it’s not explicitly excluded then I can have it. I note beer is not explicitly excluded and if it is, don’t tell me. Metamucil is psyllium fiber. I get mine at COSTCO which seems to have the best deal.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad it is not colon cancer, but sounds like a challenge to keep to the new diet and not be able to eat certain things that are tasty. Probably if a person stops eating certain things for awhile the craving might go away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The idea is stop eating all of the high FODMAP foods and then slowly add them back to see which ones are causing the problem. He needs to be symptom free for 2 weeks before I can start adding back the foods to avoid. It is going to be interesting cooking, so many things have onions and garlic!


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