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The FODMAP diet & my story

Put simply, FODMAP is a diet. It is often recommended for people who struggle with IBS, indigestion and bloating.

I love food. But about 3 years ago, I had severe food poisoning which developed into gastroenteritis. Following 8 weeks of stomach cramps, endless trips to the toilet and a complete lack-of-appetite, I was left with a digestive system that seemed to react to anything I put in my body. Meals would leave me bloated to the extent that I looked 7 months pregnant and no matter how much I exercised, I still felt ‘heavy’. In short, the bathroom and I were too well acquainted; in the wrong way. As these episodes became more and more of a normality, I began to worry less and less about it.

A couple of months ago, I started reading about FODMAP. This was not the first time I had read about the diet, but I had refused to try it previously because in all honesty, I love food  A LOT and the diet appeared far too restricting. So why this time? I am not trying FODMAP because I am concerned about my general health or because it is severely impacting my every day life, but because I wish to finally try and take control of my digestion and establish what I am eating that is upsetting my body so much.

How does the diet work?

The diet itself is pretty simple. You take a list of foods that you can’t eat (high-FODMAP foods) and you cut them out or significantly reduce consumption for a prolonged period of time. During this time your stomach should improve and once settled, you introduce the restricted foods one by one and identify which you can and can’t eat. Simple, hey? 

So what can/can’t you eat on the FODMAP diet?

OK, so I wasn’t being completely honest when I said the diet is easy-peasy. The high-FODMAP food list covers a variety of categories including grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Without going into too much of the gross and geeky stuff, high-FODMAP foods are foods that are poorly absorbed by our bodies, resulting in bad digestion and bloating. Some examples of low-FODMAP foods that can still be eaten on the diet:

  • Veg & legumes: Kale, courgette, potato
  • Fruit: Bananas, oranges, strawberries
  • Meat: Nearly all meats if un-processed
  • Grains & nuts: Oats, quinoa, peanuts, hazlenuts
  • Drinks: Black coffee, certain fruit juice

A few of the high-FODMAP foods that should be avoided can be seen below:

  • Veg & legumes: Garlic, onion, asparagus, mushrooms
  • Fruit: Apples, avocado (cries), mango (cries), watermelon
  • Grains & nuts: Wheat products, cashews, rye
  • Dairy (if lactose intolerant): Milk, some cheeses, yoghurt
  • Drinks: Coconut water, various fruit juices, beer

Obviously this is only the the very start of the list, and a full version can be found here (which includes foods you can eat as well):

A quick disclaimer: I am in no way a doctor or nutritionist and all advice and future posts will be based purely on my own research and personal experiences. As I continue to adopt the low-FODMAP lifestyle, I plan to document my journey and progress as well as provide hints and tips for readers who may also be suffering from IBS. So follow me and feed comments / questions back to me, I want to hear from you!

Rach x

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