Some of my readers may wonder what the ‘FODMAP’ in Fittie Fodmap London stands for, so I decided to do a post all about the fodmap diet and why I am on it.
In fact one of my friends thought I’d spelt ‘food’ incorrectly so an explanation was needed!
The Low FODMAP diet was developed by researchers at Monash University. The Monash team provided the first evidence that a Low FODMAP diet improves IBS symptoms. IBS is characterised by chronic and relapsing symptoms; lower abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, wind, distension and altered bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation) but with no abnormal pathology. The diagnosis of IBS should be made by a medical professional, as this could be masking another illness.
Fodmap stands for:
Everyone can tolerate different levels of high fodmap foods, so everyone’s fodmap diet will look slightly different (this is stage 3 of the fodmap diet, long term modification). Although I know a lot of people I’ve spoken to via Instagram can’t eat gluten, onion or garlic.
The first stage of the Fodmap diet is a 6 to 8 week elimination period. It means getting rid of all the high fodmap foods in your diet for that period. This was an odd time for me as I had never really restricted my diet in anyway (well apart from calories now and again). Getting used to having no gluten made me feel very odd for the first few days. This can help to reset your gut.
As I was put on the diet by my NHS consultant, I was also referred to a dietician. Although I didn’t find the dietician overly helpful, the booklets she gave me were great. One booklet was full of all the branded food I could and couldn’t eat, including types of crisps and sauces. I may have lived off Walkers Salt and Vinegar Stars for months to come!!!
Anyway after the elimination stage, comes the reintroduction stage. I personally found this stage quite hard (and am still struggling with it to this day). I was worried introducing new foods would make me feel sick or cause me pain.
I have managed to add in some high fodmap foods, such as mango, raspberries, avocados, coconut, tomatoes, pickled onions and peanuts.
So currently I am trying to introduce sweetcorn into my diet (I mean how mad crazy is my life!?!) and I’ve done two days. This consists of having a small portion of sweetcorn on the first day and if you have no symptoms, you can then try more another day. So far I tried 15 pieces on day one and 30 on day two.
I definitely think the fodmap diet helped me with my IBS. I was constantly feeling sick in the evenings and having uncomfortable bloating (where I couldn’t fit in some of my clothing).
I struggled to understand what was going on in my body, as I would eat two identical meals on a different days and have completely different reactions. Now I know this would have been because of the levels of fodmap in my diet the rest of that day/week.
I would never suggest starting the fodmap diet without medical support, if only to ensure other illnesses have been ruled out before you settle on IBS and also to help you start the diet properly.