What is the low fodmap diet?

what is the low fodmap diet? If you’ve been with me for a bit, you know that I struggle with stomach issues. In reality, it’s one of the reasons I started this blog.

I was having major stomach pains–I’m talking vomiting, pain and nausea that would wake me up in the middle of the night, gas, heartburn…the full monty. I experimented with an intense carb diet (which–go figure–also made me gain weight) so that it, if I had celiac’s, it would show up on my GI test. When it turned out I did not have celiac’s disease, but may have a gluten-intolerance, I tried a gluten-free diet, but felt like a fraud. Who was I to be eating a gluten-free diet when I didn’t have a diagnosed condition? Plus, though the gluten-free made me feel a bit better; lighter, I was still experiencing the same stomach nausea, especially when it came to alcohol.

To add to the fun, I randomly developed a fruit allergy over the past year (fun fact: I found out I was allergic to some sort of berry when my lip swelled up during a morning meeting).

The full post on my stomach issues can be found here, and in it I also mention how my nutritionist “prescribed me” a low fodmap diet.

Because this was just before my wedding, I’ll be honest. The solid information informing me that there was indeed an issue and a “cure” for my pain came as a relief, but I didn’t necessarily do much with this new insight. I blame everything that was going on in my day-to-day, wedding prep schedule.

Fast forward to almost a year later, and I think I’m ready to give this new diet a try.


What is the low fodmap diet?

Essentially, it’s a diet for people who suffer from digestive issues (especially IBS). My nutritionist recommended it to me because of my gastroparesis issue.

It’s interesting when looking at what foods are allowed on the diet and which ones to steer clear from because, for the most part, the items that I shouldn’t consume are indeed the ones that usually cause me problems. However, there are a few exceptions for me personally; items that are included as safe, when personally they cause me issues. Which they do say–the low fodmap should be seen as a guide, adapted to your own needs. (If you search “low fodmap guide” and look in images, you’ll see that the charts do vary slightly). For all intents and purposes, I’ll be trying to follow the chart below (again adapted to my own needs), but here, here and here are a few other good ones.

your easy guide to low fodmapping We’ll see how successful I am at this. I’m one of those people who, if I say “I’m doing this,” I usually freak out and feel too much pressure, so just stop doing it. This was also a problem in school where I suffered from text anxiety…but that’s for another day, another post, ha.

I will say, after we have settled into our new place, I’m excited to jump back into a routine. Probably restart BBG (again, since I’ve only successfully ever completed it once and that was back before my wedding) and get back on this healthy eating, while trying to stick with the low fodmap thing.

Experts say to give it 6-8 weeks on the diet to see if it helps, and then slowly introduce the other foods back into your diet–one by one–to see if and what may cause your issues. So I’m considering doing that, since I’ve already found some of my triggers after experiencing problems the past few years (almonds are my downfall, for some reason). However, you will still see me eating apples, which are on the “no no” list, but have never caused me any problems. I can’t give up those little suckers.

What do you think? Have you ever tried the low fodmap thing?

where in the world…

catching up / last week Being away from this space makes me a sad panda, but alas my life is a crazy chaotic mess right now and has forced me away from the things I love (…that’s you and this blog).

I suppose a short recap is in order.

San Francisco was amazing. The wedding we attended was at Campovida and it was insanely beautiful. Seriously, if I could’ve had my wedding outside, that was exactly how I would’ve done it.

Following the wedding, we road tripped it into San Francisco, stopping shortly in Santa Rosa for a delicious brunch at this cute farm-to-table place called The Naked Pig.

The house we airbnb-ed in the city was beautiful. Lots of wood floors, natural light, the coziest bed I have ever slept in (like sleeping on a cloud). Lots of good stuff. We arrived late Sunday afternoon and spend the next two days eating, shopping and drinking. I’m talking pastas and soups and ice cream sundaes and Irish coffee and In-n-Out burgers. Just, a lot of food. Probably too much food.

We got home in Chicago late Tuesday night and, since then, our world has continued to race.

While balancing two busy work schedules, Ryan and I continued slowly packing up our things throughout the week.

Then, on Friday, we attempted an afternoon Ikea trip (I say attempted because nothing fit in our car and we will have to return to Ikea this weekend).

Saturday morning we woke up early to head to my 83 year old aunt’s wedding in Milwaukee, drove back to Chicago after the reception (with my parents a few minutes behind us), loaded more wedding stuff into our new place and then headed to dinner at TWO. After dinner, we got home and watched Birdman (or re-watch, for me) and Ryan headed out to DJ at Blackfinn.

By 11PM, I was in bed. And by 8am the next morning, my dad was banging on the door asking if we could help jumpstart his car. I woke up. A service was called. My dressers were moved and thrown away. More boxes were moved into the car and delivered to the new place. Pizza was had, the family left and packing continued.

Now, I’m sitting here. On the couch. It’s 5pm and Ryan’s working and thus has to watch the playoffs…which means I’m watching the playoffs. Neither of us know what to eat for dinner, but we have to order in since all our kitchen stuff and dry food is packed away.

Essentially, I’m exhausted. And not only that, it’s not over. There’s still so much to do this week–we need to return to Ikea, buy a mattress, buy a couch, finish moving, set up cable/Internet and clean this place. That doesn’t include seeing friends, buying a thank you gift for our landlord/friends, going to my 9-5, or just doing day-to-day stuff like eating well and exercising. And this lack of schedule is really making me and my body feel like poop.

I suppose this is my long-winded way of catching you up and letting you know I’m TOTALLY not abandoning this space. If anything, I really am planning on ramping up content over the next month. Just please, bare with me while I get my life in some semblance of order and try to get back on track.

head in the clouds


Just wanted to stop in and let you know I’m traveling all day today (flying Chicago > Seattle > San Jose, transferring to a car and driving 3 hours to this rural wedding destination).

I’m essentially half asleep as I type this, sipping Starbucks coffee (in a Seattle airport – I had to!) and feeling a little icky after too much airport food. I’m managing thanks to a stack of magazines, a notebook and this and this and this podcast.

I’ll be back Wednesday, but until then, you can follow me on Insta (my social network of choice) while I run around San Francisco with the bub and his parents.

Hope you have a wonderfully beautiful weekend!

meet me monday?

Kind of a silly post title, I know. But what else should I call these new little meet-cute mondays (ohmygosh did I just solve it!? on second thought…no…). I thought I’d occasionally do more of a personal thing around here and you can follow my Twitter / Facebook for more “motivation monday” link-age.

the best things in life are worth the risk Not sure about you, but Monday mornings always end up being these deep reflective times for me. Especially on my commute (shout out to my fellow bus riders!).

Generally speaking, we spend our weekends how we want to. Doing activities we enjoy and meeting up with people who make us happy. Essentially, we do the things that “fill our bucket.” And that always makes me come into work on Monday, reflecting on my week, my life and my goals.

Am I doing the things I want? Am I contributing to society in a positive way? Do I feel like a better person, or am I fully utilizing my talents?

Friday night, Ryan and I went to see Fast and Furious 7. If you’ve never basked in the glory of a Fast and Furious film, let me catch you up to speed (ha, puns): expensive cars, hot girls and big muscles. It’s also pretty cheezy at times. However, rather than a testosterone-filled ending, Fast and Furious 7 featured a tribute to Paul Walker. And guys? I cried. I’ll admit it.

Paul Walker was supposedly a very sweet actor and (from articles I read here and here) a good human being. And his light was extinguished way too quickly. But look at the legacy he left. He’s positively remembered and seemed like he enjoyed the life he lived.

I guess what I’m rhetorically posing to myself and to you guys (and the universe) is are you happy with what you’re doing?

Honestly, I’m not sure if I am. I’m happy with a good portion of my life. Most days, I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people and have the opportunities I do. But somedays, it’s a little harder.

Somedays I question what I’m contributing to. Am I working toward my higher goals? Am I growing as a person? Am I being a good friend, daughter and wife?

I’m hoping to make a few changes…a few risks…over the next few months that may help me get where I want need to be. Per usual, will keep you updated.

a few personal thoughts

sharing some personal thoughts today on midwestlovefest.com Apparently I couldn’t wait till next Monday and wanted to start sharing a few personal thoughts with you this hump day…

I’ve recently become obsessed with this notion of not being a victim of your circumstances. I’ve seen so many people play the victim role in the past few years and you know where it gets them? No where. Once the sympathetic pats on the back have stopped coming, they’re left a sad, discombobulated mess. They find it difficult to dig themselves out of the hole they’ve created and their loved ones become frustrated carrying the weight of their unhappiness.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when a victim is truly that, a victim. But right now, I’m talking about when things don’t go your way and you let that define you.

It’s something I’m really struggling with, to be honest. Though I’m surrounded by amazing people and blessed with an incredible husband and supportive family, I’m feeling unfulfilled creatively and in my career. And the question I keep coming back to is, how do I change that? How do I step outside myself to alter my reality instead of watching it unfold in front me? How can I be a participant instead of an observer?

Of course, I have yet to answer these rhetorical questions. I’m still searching. Of course, if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them! Because right now, I’m just mulling these ideas over and over again in my mind. Trying to be inspired…trying to put one foot in front of the other until I’ve trudged through hell and back and figured out where I need and want to be. Guess I’ll let you know when I get there.

moto monday [ed 40]

motivation for your monday | ed 40 Can’t believe this is edition 40 of moto monday. Truth be told, I’m kind of getting tired of this series. Bet you weren’t expecting me to say that, huh?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sharing links with you guys…but maybe I should be doing that on Facebook or Twitter, and share more personal insights on here.

I suppose this “epiphany” moment came last week when I became practically obsessed with Jenna Kutcher’s blog. I started following Jenna on Instagram (I think?) after realizing she was a Wisco-based photographer. But I never knew she had a web presence until I serendipitously decided to visit her website. Her voice is so approachable, it’s like reading a good book you don’t want to put down.

I miss writing like that.

Blogging is so weird because you have bloggers like The Skinny Confidential who are so staccato and short with posts (which totally works for her brand and tone!), but then I see posts like Jenna’s and I’m like, oh yeah. I’m a writer. I really enjoy writing…I forgot!

I suppose I started shortening my posts because of time–time spent writing the post and time you spend reading it.

I know the internet is reprogramming our brains to have shorter attention spans and figured I needed to play into that. But then, I go and read blog posts like Jenna’s and realize the insane power of a compelling story, which trumps all sorts of various attention spans.

With that in mind, I might tweak these moto monday posts starting next week…maybe making it a bit more personal? What do you think? I haven’t really decided yet. TBD.

For now, though, enjoy the 40th edition of moto monday, link-style:

+this girl will rule the world one day.

+can’t wait to see this movie.

+ri ri is a goddess.

+it might be good to know this is happening.

+my april calendar (this doesn’t include the San Fran wedding we have to go to, Ryan’s dad’s birthday, moving to another apartment in Chicago, turning in our leased car, my parent’s visiting, my great aunt’s wedding and my grandma’s birthday brunch celebration).

+current fave (upbeat) song.

+animal love.

+interesting read for all you lifestyle entrepreneurs.

+moving/decorating our new apartment has me on a huge interior design kick, and i’m drooling over these digs.

+a beautiful desktop wallpaper to usher in the new month.

bikini body tips: complete roundup of women’s activewear

the best workout gear to sport this summer I think I underestimated the time it would take to write this post. I meant to make this live on Wednesday…but that didn’t quite happen, obviously.

On Monday, Ryan came home.

Tuesday, we had to figure out the new apartment situation and pick up the keys from the owner. So, we met her at our new apartment and she introduced us to one of the building maintenance people and gave me a tour (since it was my first time ever being in the apartment!)…but I wasn’t able to take any pictures or snapchats with everyone in the room :( Then, I had to complete a brit.co post for Easter.

Wednesday, we took advantage of Chicago’s incredibly beautiful weather by going for a walk on the lakefront, followed by hours spent filing our taxes together (married life!) and topped off with a delicious dinner delivery: lobster rolls and a tasty lobster bisque. Oh, and lots of packing and tidying up.

Now, Ryan’s in Portland till Tuesday and I’m home in Wisconsin! Writing this post as a scented candle burns to my right and Gangland is playing on the tv in front of me. Basically, heaven.

Anyway, back to business.

When trying to get back in shape (or just trying to friggin’ stay in shape), I swear one of the best ways to kill your workout and stay motivated is to feel great in what you’re donning at the gym.

Though I’ve heard trainers/people in the fitness community say that before, I never believed it until I started doing bbg. There’s so much jumping and running around, if your clothes don’t fit well, it can be a huge distraction and make you feel gross. And when you feel gross, you’re probably not going to be giving it your all.

But there are A TON of activewear options to choose from. I mean, I’m pretty sure every brand on the planet has some sort of workout line now.

So, I thought I’d make it easy(er) on you and compile a ton of kick-ass clothes in one place. I hope you enjoy! And if you swear by any particular brand/clothes/shoe, please dish in the comments! stylish workout shoes for this summer 1. $68 / 2. $120 / 3. $100 / 4. $140 / 5. $190 / 6. $180 / 7.$180 / 8. $65 / 9. $110

workout shirts (for this summer!) 1. $42 / 2. $64 / 3. $68 / 4. $88 / 5. $58 / 6. $58 / 7. $42 / 8. $58 / 9. $64 / 10. $64 / 11. $68 / 12. $59

colorful workout leggings 1. $53 / 2. $58 / 3. $64 / 4. $78 / 5. $94 / 6. $56 / 7. $74 / 8. $74 / 9. $64 / 10. $74 / 11. $102 / 12. $98 / 13. $88-98 / 14. $68 / 15. $98 / 16. $82-92 / 17. $150 / 18. $50 / 19. $60 / 20. $120 / 21. $45 / 22. $65 / 23. $110 / 24. $50

sports bras for summer workouts! 1. $68 / 2. $55 / 3. $44 / 4. $54 / 5. $44 / 6. $42 / 7. $52 / 8. $52 / 9. $48 / 10. $42 / 11. $48 / 12. $58

complete roundup of women's activewear for summer! 1. $44 / 2. $54 / 3. $44 / 4-5. $54 / 6-8. $54-58 / 9. $54 / 10. $58 / 11. $66 / 12. $21


moto monday [ed 39]

motivation monday | ed39

hello darkness monday, my old friend.

ah, we meet again.

how was your weekend? do anything interesting?

I planned on just relaxing and doing nothing. And…I was very successful at that. Sunday was especially dreary and I swear the weather pressure messes with me, emotionally. I know, I know. I’m a grandma–“Oh the weather did it!” Guess if the shoes fits…

Luckily for my mood wings, this week will be slightly shorter (by a 1/2 day) because of Easter. It also means I’m going home to be with family for a bit, which is always uber refreshing–to just get out of the city and be in the comfort and quiet of Northern Wisconsin.

Plus, on an exciting note (like I mentioned last Friday), Ryan’s home from New York today and we’re hoping to go for a walk by the lake tonight (it’s supposed to be 58º!), followed by…

picking up the keys to our new apartment! Woohoo!

I’ll probs do a bit of a snapchat (username: midwestlovefest, in case you wondered) video tour around the place since it will be my FIRST time ever seeing it.

Yes you read that right, first time ever visiting the apartment we are about to rent for a year. But, like I said before, Chicago real estate will do that to you. I also trust my husband a pretty crazy amount, so that helps too.

Hopefully, taking this next step forward–into leasing own apartment as a married couple–is just the start of other positive life changes (…and no, not kids). Because I could use a few happy change-ups.

Okay okay, enough of my blabbering. Just ignore my nonsense and enjoy these random links I found for you:

+this video made me cry. Some humans can be so mean, but other humans make life worth living.

+I’ve really been into healthy sandwiches recently and need to try this ASAP.

+THE CUTEST thing you will see all week.

+holy cow…this. Reminds me of WILD by Cheryl Strayed. More here.

+beautiful photo. #loveyobody

+too adorable. PS #onwisconsin

+one of my favorite talks by one of my favorite people. Never gets old (and NEED to get her book).

+let’s never be so mature that we can’t enjoy jumping on beds.

+for all you stress balls like me.

+missed SNL on Saturday, but this makes me wish I hadn’t.

healthy enchiladas recipe

a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest I am so ridiculously happy it’s Friday. It’s been a pretty rough (read: frustrating) week. Just one of those weeks when not much seems to go right–the amazon delivery I was so excited for is somehow stuck at the postal facility (even though it says it was delivered), I’ve continued battling this cold, which halted my strength training workouts, I haven’t been eating the best (mainly because the cold’s throwing off my appetite) and I’ve been waiting to hear from a few people for awhile now, and still haven’t heard from them. SO. FRUSTRATING.

a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest Okay, vent sesh basically over.

On the flippity-dippity side, I spent last weekend bedridden, so I’m planning on making this an “inspiring” weekend.

Hopefully Amazon will deliver my books (or I’ll just pick up the The Goldfinch again), and I can just read, take long walks and do this two day juice cleanse. Sunday, I’m hoping to meet up with a friend who I haven’t seen since my wedding (and now she’s getting married!). Then Ryan comes back Monday and we’re picking up the keys to our new place.

Good things, good things.

Just need to get through today.

a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest It’s probably a little odd that I’m sharing this delicious homemade enchiladas recipe while I’m in the midst of a juice cleanse, but how could I not share? These enchiladas are insane.

My mom used to make them for us when we were little. And recently, randomly, I started craving them again. So, I got her to email me the recipe and then I altered a few of the ingredients to make them a tad healthier.

a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest For someone who has little to no experience cooking ground beef, I’d say I did a pretty damn good job. Which means, you can do a pretty damn good job.

A few random notes: I recommend using lean, grass-fed beef to make the healthiest possible enchiladas. But, remember to cook the lean beef in a bit of olive oil (because it’s so lean, it might be lacking in the fats and oils that help it naturally cook).

a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest Also, add more enchilada sauce if you want softer enchiladas (and less sauce if you want them a bit crispier). And finally, I highly recommend Ezekiel tortillas (found mine at Whole Foods). Definitely made me feel guiltless about chowing down.


a healthy enchiladas recipe | midwestlovefest

healthy enchiladas recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Homemade enchiladas made with lean beef, healthy tortillas and refried beans.
Serves: 6 enchiladas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (Old ElPaso - medium)
  • 1 can refried beans (I use fat free)
  • 1 pound hamburger (I use 90% lean, grass-fed beef)
  • tortillas (10-small or 6 large)
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped onions
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to at 350°.
  2. Brown hamburger (if you're using lean beef, brown in a bit of olive oil).
  3. Drain.
  4. Mix salt, pepper, cumin, onion and refried beans to hamburger.
  5. Warm tortillas in oven or microwave.
  6. Divide hamburger mixture into 10 (or 6) sections.
  7. Fill tortillas with hamburger mixture.
  8. Add cheese if preferred.
  9. Lay folded tortillas, folded side down, in dish or cake pan.
  10. Pour enchilada sauce over top of enchiladas (more enchilada sauce means softer tacos).
  11. Sprinkle 1 cup cheddar cheese over tortillas.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes.

Hope you all have a wonderfully inspiring weekend <3

bikini body tips: homemade protein bars

tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest When you’re trying to tone up, everyone always advises you consume more protein. While, I believe it’s up for debate how much protein is healthy to consume (honestly, how much is too much?), protein is an important part of toning up and shedding pounds. Not only does it keep you full longer, so you’re not randomly snacking on junk, but it helps repair and rebuild the muscle that’s broken down during an intense workout.

So great. Protein is awesome. Except I’m not one to gobble chicken breast on the daily. Sure, it’s a versatile protein (bake it, shake it, cook it etc.), but really…I need some variety.

bikini body tips: homemade protien bar Enter this wonderful recipe (originally posted on Fitnessita).

Now, I’m already pretty damn picky about the snack bars I pick up from the store. I mean, have you ever checked the label on the backs of those things? It’s like a mini dictionary, all those wacko ingredients. But I admittedly don’t enjoy making my own bars at home. Every blogger is like, “Blah, blah. They’re SO easy! Granola and coconut and yum!” But I’ve never had them turn out as good as those bloggers claim.

But…I swear to you, this recipe is different. This has become my go-to bar. tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest The ingredients are simple, pure and delicious and the recipe is super-duper simple. I’m talking 5 minute simple. Plus, I’ve discovered it’s a difficult recipe to screw up. And, trust me, I’d know.

There’s no baking involved, so all you need to do is nab the right ingredients, mix them together, throw them in the fridge and cut them into individual bars. You can also add an “optional” chocolate drizzle on top. I did this for my first batch, but discovered (on my second batch) that it wasn’t even necessary. The bars were perfectly decadent all on their own. Though, it’s ultimately your call if you want the added sweetness.

tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest I do recommend the Trader Joe’s chocolate hemp protein powder I used.

I’m not a huge fan of whey powders (just a personal preference), but I also have difficulty with a lot of the additives of most vegan protein powders. So I took a gamble and won out on this tasty, plant-based alternative.

tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest As far as making the bars, you can either use parchment paper or plastic wrap. I preferred the plastic wrap because it conformed more easily to the glassware.

Once you’ve laid out the plastic wrap and poured the mixture in, throw the whole thing in the fridge for an hour or more (I just went for a walk while I waited). Then, slice them into bars and boom! Dunzo.

Store them in the fridge (in little plastic baggies or wrapped in plastic wrap) and grab them on the go.

I figure they would keep for about a week or so, but I devour them so quickly I’ve never made it through a full week to actually know.

protein-two tips to getting your body bikini ready! | midwestlovefest Another plus side to these bars, they are extremely filling. Just make sure you don’t leave them out of the fridge too long. They will melt and literally look like poop (I found this out when I left one in my purse).

In non-related-to-protein-bar news, Ryan returned from Portland Monday and left for New York this morning. SUCH a jet-setter. Makes me want to travel SO bad (I know you care about these random things in my life (ha), so I thought I’d mention it).

Okay, back on track.

What’s your go-to protein bar? Aside from this homemade one, I’m obsessed with the snack brand KIND since their ingredients are a bit more on the pure side. Have any other recos?