A Lesson in Fructose and Sweet Onions

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net Who knew something so yummy could be so dang painful?

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Who knew something so yummy could be so dang painful?

Jed is one tough little guy.

I know this because I spent yesterday being “fructosed”…and it sucked.

My head pounded. My thoughts were fuzzy and disconnected. My stomach was an almost constant cramp. My patience was at an all time low. I was snapping at my men. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.

If this is what my sweet little boy feels like when he’s fructosed, well, he is just about the toughest little guy around for still being so awesome through it all.

How did I end up so fructosed? Well, let’s go back in time a bit…

About a month ago, I figured out that to make hamburgers REALLY delicious, you should carmelize some onions and serve them on top. Yum! Takes burgers up about ten notches, as a matter of fact, and since I’m so limited on my diet I was THRILLED with this discovery!

Then Darrel saw some sweet yellow onions on sale at the grocery store and bought those; I started using them more often because, well, they don’t make me cry like a little girl who didn’t get a pony on her birthday when I chop them.

Time to get a little graphic here (which, frankly, y’all should be used to on this blog by now!). I did notice that I started to have quite a bit more…um, well, gas. Like “clear a room” gas.

Other than offending other people, it didn’t cause any problems for me and MAN! Were my burgers and hamburger hash ever tasty with those sweet onions! So I kept on eating ’em. Variety tasted so sweet, you know? (Besides, even with being at work last month I spent most of my time alone at home with the kids, so I didn’t offend too many people! Um. I hope.)

As with anything that tastes so danged good, you wind up eating more and more of it. It’s human nature to want to eat the tasty treats!

So I suppose that sometime in the last few days, I managed to eat TOO much of those tasty sweet yellow carmelized onions. And yesterday I paid the price.

Now, I already suspected I have FructMal because of the melon experience last summer, but being on such a restrictive diet I hadn’t had a chance to test the theory out. Frankly, I’ve been so busy paying attention to the boys’ food needs and reactions that I hadn’t really noticed when I get gassy or tired and compared it to my food.

So yesterday I spent some time trying to educate myself about onions. 

First I found this article, which is all kinds of awesome. That’s where I learned that sweet onions have about 25% more sugar in them! Worse, when you carmelize onions, they break down their natural sugars into monosaccharides – like fructose. Which makes total sense, because we all know onions are sweeter when they’re cooked, right?

But, dude. Fructose! Ugh!!

Then I found this, which is probably the funniest and most succinct description of the symptoms and treatment of FructMal I’ve ever found in one place.

That’s where I learned about the connection between FructMal and depression. I knew fructose made Jed “wonky” and have behavior issues, but this was news to me.

Now for a little story about me as a teenager.

I wonder if those of you who knew me in high school are aware of this, but I spent over TWO YEARS of my high school and early college years being drugged for bi-polar disorder. 

Yeah. I’m not bi-polar, y’all

As a teenager, though, I would have these sudden fits of rage followed by bleak depressions, and they came on so fast (and left just as quickly) that the only explanation the shrinks could come up with was bi-polar.

(Oh, and why was I going to shrinks? Because I had some boring freaking teachers in high school at times and would regularly sleep through their classes. Don’t challenge my brain? Fine. I’ll take a siesta! Unfortunately, they couldn’t possibly understand that I was tired and they were boring, and insisted I be removed from school until I passed a drug test – because drug use is the only explanation they could contemplate! This despite my repeated explanations. Ugh. This happened so often (with negatives on every drug test, thankyouverymuch) that the Principal – boy, do I have another great story about HER – insisted my parents take me to psychiatrists to figure out what “my problem” was. There’s more than one reason I want to home school my kids; allergies are actually only one of them.)

So they put me on lithium. For over two years. Go here and read the side effects. Is it any wonder I was a total mess the last two years of high school? (And don’t you love the irony of a school insisting I was on drugs so much that they forced me into a situation where I WAS drugged with an incorrect medication? Bad words. Bad words. Very very very bad words.)

Wanna know what I ate almost exclusively in high school? Coca-cola. Pizza. Doughnuts. Tacos. Burritos. Desserts. Chips and queso. Yeah, I’ve said before I was the pickiest kid on the planet, and that was pretty much all I would eat. All day, every day.

Looking at that now, do you know what I see? High FRUCTOSE corn syrup. Tomato sauce. Wheat. More wheat. MORE WHEAT. Garlic. Onions. Sugar. More wheat. Oh, and have I mentioned WHEAT?

All of which are on the no-no list for FructMal.

So, turns out, I’m not crazy! And I’ve probably only occasionally been actually  depressed.

Turns out, I was just severely fructosed and suffer from Fructose Malabsorption, and the fructose was making my life hell. I’d get fructosed, get depressed and miserable, then the fructose would fade and my angsty “mad at the world” self would be unleashed – only worse than normal, thanks to being subdued for a while.

I was being sickened by my diet.

Huh. Good to know.

I have a LOT more self-educating to do, y’all. This CANNOT be Jed’s future! 

(And you know? This makes me even MORE of a food activist now! My last year in high school my grades plummeted. I remember struggling like crazy to be as “bright” and sharp as I had always been. Between the fructose and the lithium, it’s a wonder I could remember my name! As a result of those grade drops, I dropped from the top 10%, couldn’t get the financial aid I needed to go to my first choice schools, wound up at a college poorly suited for me, and ended up dropping out. Imagine how different my educational – and self-worth – trajectories would have been had I NOT been drugged out with all these unknown things? I’d probably have a doctorate and be engaged in some challenging work by now. Of course, I wouldn’t have Darrel or the boys, so I’m not sorry…but, just imagine…)

I HATE FRUCTOSE.

And y’all? Be careful of your onions. They could totally screw up your chances of getting in to Julliard. Or getting a date.

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15 Responses to A Lesson in Fructose and Sweet Onions

  1. dkaj says:

    I love your blog so far! I can so relate to some of this stuff with my extended family.

  2. PowerMom says:

    Yikes! I’m really new to the fructmal scene for the sake of my 1 year old bu I’m starting to think that my teenagers and myself should try the low fodmaps diet as well. We all struggle with GI problems as well as depression and skin issues.

    • Carrie says:

      Welcome! Yes, it does sound like you might benefit from cutting back on the fructose. I wish I had known all of this sooner; I guess better late than never! Let me know how it goes for you!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Carrie, you are so right — I had no idea! I did notice that you seem to lose something of yourself in the later half of high school, but had no idea why. Pushing drugs to make sure a kid isn’t on drugs is so wrong on so many levels. I affirm your right to be freak’n pissed!

    • Carrie says:

      For years I’ve wondered what happened to me. I’ve felt like a shell of my former self for over half my life and couldn’t determine what made the change. THIS makes sense in a way nothing I’ve ever hypothesized before has. I wondered if anyone else had ever noticed the change in me at the time; obviously someone did! 🙂 I really am NOT crazy!

      Right now, I’m just looking forward to spending the rest of my life reclaiming the awesomeness that once was me. (Hope that doesn’t sound too vain, but I really did have a lot going for me before it all went to hell in high school.)

      Yeah, our Big Bertha was a serious piece of work. One day I’ll tell you my other little story about her. 😉 I bet your Mom has some tales to tell, too!

      • Rebecca says:

        If it makes you feel any better, I once had my allergy medicine confiscated on a high school Student Council trip… lest I attempt suicide all Claritin Clear.

        • Carrie says:

          Ugh. Yeah, I heard stories like that in school. That’s why I always hid my OTC stuff. Who needs to go beg the school nurse for an aspirin when you’e got a headache? LOL Schools are so stupid sometimes; you’re the LEAST suicidal person I could imagine! You know, even if one COULD off oneself with Claritin. 😉

          From what I’ve heard, they’ve only gotten more ridiculous as time has passed. How DO you deal with the foolishness all day? (BTW, did you know that I was studying to be a teacher in college? That’s part of why I dropped/flunked out of college…after I revisited SoHo one day on Christmas break to say hi to a few of the teachers that were cool and saw how badly things had deteriorated in just two years, well, I kind of lost my desire to deal with the administrative aspect of education. Lost goal=lost focus on my classwork=deciding to quit college at the same time my grades dropped so low I’d have had to reapply for admission. Oh, well.)

          You sound like you really love the kiddos, though, and from what I’ve seen, you’re a KICK BUTT teacher! Wish I’d had you as my teacher back in the day. 🙂

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  5. This is great information! I’d love it if you would share at our Healing With Foods blog hop! Hope to see you there! http://peelingbacktheonionlayers.com/healing-with-food-friday/

  6. Thanks for sharing at Gluten Free Fridays! Great information!

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  8. Trena says:

    I’ve found I can’t eat fruit… and many veggies BUT wheat and baked good don’t bother me.

    • Carrie says:

      That’s rotten and awesome at the same time. LOL I wish wheat didn’t bother us, but I really wish we could eat fruits and veggies without issue. It’s all so individual, though. I’m glad you can have doughnuts! 🙂

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