Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Favorite Fructose Malabsorption Resources

We haven't been on this Fructose Malabsorption journey with Amber very long yet, but I've already acquired a set of resources that we couldn't survive daily life without, at least it seems.

When your child's body cannot tolerate any amount of fructose (or fructans) without causing intestinal pain and illness, you spend almost every waking moment after the diagnosis trying to figure out how life works now. 

These are the items that I use almost daily to keep Amber safe from her own body's reactions.
  1. Plan to Eat - First off, this is not a paid endorsement.  I'm just a huge fan of this website service.  Enormous fan.  I was not good at making meals at home regularly before using Plan to Eat.  Then when Amber was diagnosed with FM it became imperative that I had a good way to track recipes that work and plan meals that she could eat.  Thankfully, I had already started with Plan to Eat before the diagnosis, so the small learning curve needed for use had already been completed. 
    Plan to eat lets me import recipes directly from website, or enter them manually.  This is so great when I'm searching online sites for Fructmal recipes.  It lets me create custom searchable tags for the recipes too.  This means I can find all of the Fructose Free or Low Fructose recipes in an instant.  Meal planning is a breeze with this and it allows for me to alter plans with simple drag and drop usage.
    Originally, it worked best on the PC, but since I've been using they have made huge upgrades that allow it to work just as well on my iPad.  That has made this invaluable.  I don't need a PC or paper books in the kitchen. Just my iPad has all my recipes, meal plans, and many other Fructmal resources.  Plan to Eat also has a shopping list feature that allows you to manually add items as well as automatically loading the needed ingredients for your planned meals.  The shopping list is the default screen for smart phones, and I can't live without this. 
    So, I could go on for hours about this service, but you get the general idea.  They are also having a Black Friday sale (Nov. 29 - Dec. 2, 2013) where a yearly subscription is half off.  Even current subscribers like me can purchase our next year at half rate.  I am so there.
  2. Low FODMAP diet books:
    IBS - Free At Last by Patsy Catsos - This book really helps explain the details of the Low FODMAP diet and why it works. It is also a basic instruction book on the diet.

    The Complete Low FODMAP Diet by Sue Shepherd - The Austrialian dietician who has done tons of research on FODMAPs
  3. Websites and Blogs of Dieticians:

    Kate Scarlata - Dietician who specializes in IBS and FODMAP information.  Great source for the latest details on the diet.

    IBS - Free at Last - The website associated with the book above.  Has a lot of new information and additional resources.

    Monash University - Where a great deal of the research occurs.  They are the gold standard.
  4. Monash Smartphone App -
    The app contains a food guide with detailed FODMAP content in hundreds of foods.  You can set up what intolerances you have and the app will use a Red, Yellow, Green light system to let you see at a glance how the food might affect you.  It also explains the low FODMAP diet and helps you plan food challenges.

  5. Food Intolerances App (iPhone, iPad) -
    This app contains about 700 foods with details for common food intolerances.  You can filter the foods for histamine, fructose, sorbitol, lactose, salicylate, gluten, milk protein and egg to have the app use Red, Orange, Yellow, Green coding system to easily alert you to problem foods.  The app displays the amounts of fructose (with the fructose to glucose ratio), sorbitol, saccarose, lactose, and gluten status of each food.  Additionally has comments to explain why the less obvious foods have their color rating.

    This is my preferred app when checking foods for Amber.  The fructose malabsorption food lists provided by dieticians, doctors and online all vary and some contradict each other.  I've found this app to be the most useful in evaluating food because I can see the actual fructose and sugar content in each item.  If only it contained every possible food.

  6. Fructmal Recipe Blogs and Websites:
    Usually these blogs / websites are written by people who have fructose malabsorption and are sharing recipes they have either created or converted for themselves.  Individual tolerance level is extremely important for FM'ers, but many of the blogs will list if a recipe is considered "elimination safe" for the low FODMAP elimination phase. 

    No Sugarless Gum - This is probably my favorite fructmal food blog even though it doesn't have as many recipes as some others.  The food here seems to fit us the best.

    Delicious as it Looks - Another great one.  Some of it is just not for us, but it has a lot of good ideas and information.

    Fructose Free Me - This one I use sparingly but it has an extensive list of fructose free or low fructose recipes.
  7. Parents of Fructmal Kids Facebook Group - These people are great for information on how things really work for our kids.  They are a wonderful support, not just for the newly diagnosed, but also for those struggling with flare ups and new issues.  They have file resources on just about every topic you can imagine related to Fructose Malabsorption and share recipes too.
  8. Parents of Fructmal Kids Pinterest Board - A board just for recipes that have tested safe for fructmal kids. Even though each child's tolerance is different, it's great to find recipes that are palatable to kids and work for at least some of them.   There is also a separate Pinterest board for recommended products.  It's great to have an easy way to find the products (pre-packaged food, vitamins, etc) that others have already checked out. 
  9. Google Drive - This is a life saver because it's where I track Amber's food intake, her symptoms, blood sugar, and any other information I need to store.  I always have access to it via my computer, iPad or iPhone.  It's not a piece of paper I lose, or am so tired that later I can't read what I've written.  I can easily print the monthly logs for doctors or even email the documents.  I love it when technology actually makes my life easier instead of just more electronic.

Linking up with List it Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. I am an adult FM sufferer, and I can sympathize with Amber. I remember as a kid, begging my mom to put oil instead of tomato sauce on my spaghetti! Nobody knew about FM back then, but I sure knew some things were total bad news for my gut. I spent so many days in pain, crying, bloated, not understanding what was wrong with me and why I couldn't eat fresh made salsa with raw onions!
    I was wondering, do you know any good resources on fructans? I see lots of stuff on fructose (which as you mentioned sometimes contradicts each other), but not much out there with solid numbers on levels of fructans.
    Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes to your family!

    1. Mellie, The Monash app lists fructans and galactans in foods. Basically, Monash University has the most recent numbers on all foods.

  2. Hi. I have just started home schooling my 11yr old daughter due to chronic health issues. She has asthma, costochondritis and for the past 6 months showing a lot more signs of connective tissue disorder. Your blog is very encouraging. She has had nausea that we are aware of since the age of 3. This is a lot worse now. I have never heard of fructose intolerance and wander if she has this. I will mention it to the peadiatrician when we see him. Thank you for posting all the info, it's such a great help!