The Low Fodmap Diet: A solution to IBS?
Sufferers of ‘IBS’ can all relate to the miserable symptoms of the illness. Think; bloating, constipation, stomach pain, gas and nausea. If that’s you, you will most likely be reading this, because you are totally fed up.
That’s where I was back in 2012. I was constantly bloated, gassy, unable to lose weight or see progress in the gym. I was miserable, in pain and sick to death of not being able to eat anything without it giving me these symptoms. Those who have struggled with IBS know that the symptoms can get so severe that you cant move, cant sleep and cant live a normal daily life. I longed to be ‘normal’.
My stomach was constantly bloated, gassy, unable to lose weight or see progress in the gym. I was miserable, in pain and sick to death of not being able to eat anything without it giving me these symptoms. Those who have struggled with IBS know that the symptoms can get so severe, that you can’t move, can’t sleep and can’t live a normal daily life. I longed to be ‘normal’.
I needed to do something about it!
That’s when I decided it was about time to take matters into my own hands, rather than relying on the GP’S (who kept throwing various medication at me). I referred myself to a local Dietician and we tore apart my diet.
In the consultation we discussed how I had previously used an ‘elimination diet’ to try to get to the bottom of my IBS, this resulted in removing Gluten and Dairy from my diet as it was obviously causing me problems. I lived a ‘clean’ eating life, but eliminating the above food groups didn’t help that much, which I mentioned in my consultation.I had kept a food diary (which I recommend doing) and showed this to her.
The high fodmap carbohydrate problem.
A reoccurring element to my daily food consumption was small chain sugars or carbohydrates. I was eating no starchy carbohydrates and processed sugar at the time and I was replacing my carbs with high fructose fruit and vegetables. Sugar was also being replaced with artificial sweeteners and honey. I was also drinking lots of black coffee and tea to stave off hunger pangs and at the weekends, I still drank the usual few (bottles) of wine with the girls.
The dietician had recently been working on a project with the Monash University, who had released a scientifically backed study that looked into how certain foods could affect the gut and overall health and wellbeing of a person. The aim was to help alleviate the symptoms of IBS.
FODMAP was the name, and it is life changing.
The abbreviation FODMAP stands for:
Sounds complex right? Having a background in nutrition, I was well aware of the chemical structure of food and the effects on the body on a nutritional level. However, the information, that these usually beneficial short chain sugars could be detrimental to my gut, was a new idea completely.
Here is a basic guide on what food is a trigger in each group and what should be limited or avoided.
-Fruits such as; papaya, watermelon, apples, pears, mangos.
Dairy products including:
Legumes such as:
For a full list of the breakdown of FODMAP friendly (and non-friendly) foods download the PDF.
Adapting to Low Fodmap
The full list seems overwhelming, and at first, I found it restrictive. After a while though, I found foods that were ‘safe’ and foods that really stopped me in my tracks.
You will too, and then following a FODMAP friendly lifestyle will become second nature.
I also discovered an awesome book called ‘Fitter Food’ by the dream team at Fitter Food in the UK. Who also encompass a low FODMAP way of life, when tackling gut problems.
My takings from the diet and the result of really getting down to what was causing problems, were:
- Raw onions and Garlic are a big no no- cooked onions are ok, but garlic is a life ruiner!
- I can eat dairy in moderation and replace it with almond milk or lactose free milk/yoghurt.
- Carrots, meat, fish and root vegetables are my best friend.
- Small amounts of maple syrup is fine, I avoid artificial sweeteners!
- To replace the loss of certain fruits, I live off bananas, dragon fruit, frozen berries and pineapple.
- Caffeine is fine at 2 cups a day
- Gluten and Wheat is sometimes ok in small amounts, but if I want cake or pasta, I prepare to be in bed for the next day, sob!
I have to admit, its a bit of a nightmare eating out, you feel like an irritating customer with the’ ‘no raw onion, garlic, gluten’ when ordering out. But who cares, it’s well worth the cringe factor for an evening free of tummy turmoil.`
Get the low down on how to eat out on low fodmap anywhere in the world.
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 that 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.