Eating out and enjoying delicious food cooked by someone else is a treat, that everyone should be entitled to every so often. But its difficult to know how to eat out low fodmap!
If you’re suffering from chronic IBS and follow a low FODMAP diet to help manage the condition, then it can feel like a huge effort to eat out.
From experience, i used to feel self conscious in front of my friends asking for ‘no garlic, onion or gluten please’ I used to feel like self justification about why I was being ‘fussy’ was necessary. Until one day someone said to me, you know what Em? No one even notices/ cares that you ask to exclude something from your order. It’s only you that makes it a stressful experience.
She was right. It used to take a lot to get me to eat out, I was terrified I would be ill for days after due to some hdden FODMAP.Even in England, where they’re all intolerance friendly, I just tried to convince people to come round and I would cook for the, instead using’safe’ food.
Then I moved to South East Asia, and it al kind of turned on it’s head. After a lot of stomach cramps, nausea and bed days, it all came down to figuring out what was causing the symptoms and in which dish, I finally figured out ( after a year !) what I could and couldn’t eat when eating out. Luckily lots of dishes are rice based and vegetarian restaurants here are huge, so marinated meat can easily be avoided and replaced with alternatives.
7 Top tips to eating out on the Low FODMAP Diet.
Become a top organizer
If you’re organizing the meal, then you can have full control of when, where and how you dine.
People are always more than happy to let someone else do the hard work of organizing meals and celebrations. You can call the restaurant, notify them of your conditions and ensure that you’re catered for.
The kind of restaurant you choose is obviously going to be the main factor in having an easier dining experience.
My Italian heritage is put to shame when I turn down Italian dining due to the garlic, onion and wheat content of meals. However, It is do-able, here’s how.
British Pubs are known for their generous portion sizes and hearty grub. So ask for a small portion if you can. When you’re eating in a pub, the menu usually focuses on dishes such as; Roast Dinners, Meat, Fish and Vegetable dishes, locally sourced burgers and if you’re lucky, a salad or two. They’re a really easy option for Low Fodmappers as all you need to do is ask for no garlic or onion, and have any sauces on the side. The sides are usually potato or vegetable based so again, no worries given.
Indian is a tricky one, if you are a big Indian foodie, then there are a few things to make it possible:
- Choose the restaurant carefully, have you been before, are they adaptable to meals and is the menu available to peruse before-hand?
- Check the menu and choose dishes that are FODMAP free. Indian dishes are usually laden with flour aka wheat, but their options such as tandoori, potatoes, raita, and rice-based dishes are usually mild and garlic free.
- Ask for plain meat with sauce on the side, so you can decide if it’s safe or not.
Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai
These oriental favorites may seem like they would be a nightmare to eat at, but actually, due to their rice-based dishes and easy to exclude garlicky sauces, they make a pretty safe eating option. Just again, try to avoid marinated meats and high fat, spicy dishes. Most Thai food uses coconut milk instead of dairy, and the Vietnamese always use rice noodles, bonus! One thing to keep mindful of is soy sauce, which is wheat containing, apart from Vietnam ( who use a different type.) So ask for them separate when possible.
Steps to make dining easier after you have chosen where to dine out.
-Call in advance and check the menu out.
-Be brave and don’t feel you need to justify yourself in anyway, just request that they exclude onions garlic etc.
-If they bring your meal with onion or garlic, send it back, your health is not worth it.
-Avoid alcohol or stick to one or two maximum.
-Don’t arrive absolutely famished. This takes away the urge to pick at potential trigger food.
-Ask for smaller portions or children’s sizes, to manage portion control.
-Drink water wth your meal to help with digestion.
A lil tip about eating abroad:
Dining abroad is different but taking an ‘allergy’ card translated to the language is a life saver, and they will take you more seriously if you say you ‘really really can’t eat it you may die.’ (Be a drama queen !)
If all else fails and you do come into contact with a HIGH fodmap, then reach for your peppermint capsules and learn how to sotp IBS in it’s tracks.
The advice here is based on my own experiences,(I am not a Dr/medical professional) as well as learning from others. My Nutritional qualifications have been built on with research and knowledge i have gained from dealing with my own problems. I hope that I can help you to take a more holistic view on dealing with your IBS and creating steps to manage it for a healthy and happy life.