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When I was 12 I was diagnosed with IBS. Up until last year, I have just put up with the symptoms. I find that being a Mum you tend to ignore your own health as you’re focusing so much on your children, especially when they are young.
However, now the kiddies are older, slightly more independent and don’t rely on me as much I’ve started to focus on my own health and wellbeing. One of the areas I really wanted to focus on was my gut health.
As I’d ignored my symptoms over the years they have progressively got worse and I got to the point where I really needed to do something about it. I’ve been on a variety of different medicines in the past, all of which just masks the symptoms rather than curing it.
I decided to do a bit of research and came across the Low Fodmap diet.
Related Post: How To Simplify your Food & Eating Habits
What is the Low Fodmap Diet?
The Low Fodmap diet is an elimination diet where you avoid/limit any foods that are high in Fodmaps. Fodmaps have been proven to increase symptoms in people with stomach conditions such as IBS. Hence the name Low Fodmap Diet.
Fodmap is an acronym…
F – Fermentable: which mean they are broken down by bacteria in the gut
O – Oligosaccharides: are individual sugars that join together
D – Disaccharides: a double sugar molecule
M – Monosaccharides: a single sugar molecule
A – And Polyols: sugar alcohols
Don’t panic if you have just read that and gone I have no idea what she is on about. I did the same and the truth is you don’t really need to know what it stands for but you do need to know what foods you can and can’t eat.
Please note I’m not a dietician so before you consider the diet for yourself do your research and maybe book an appointment with a dietician. There are lots of resources online.
Here are is one resource that I have found particularly helpful…
Diet Versus Disease by Joe (MSC Nutrition)
3 Phases of the Low Fodmap Diet
Different people react differently to different foods. The point of the Low Fodmap Diet is to find out what effects you.
This is why you start with the elimination phase. This means cutting out all foods that are high in Fodmaps. It’s recommended that you do this for at least 6 weeks to allow your gut to heal. However, a lot of people notice their symptoms improving within 1 week. I certainly did!
After the elimination phase, you start the reintroduction phase. This is when you start slowly introducing high Fodmap foods back into your diet one at a time. You will need to keep a food diary to be able to monitor any changes in your symptoms.
I found this great free app called Bowelle which I use for recording everything from what I’ve eaten, my symptoms, my stress levels and (not so nice) my bowel movements. I’d definitely recommend downloading this app.
New Exclusion Diet
Once you’ve identified your ‘trigger foods’ you can then create a new diet for yourself that excludes those particular foods.
The whole process isn’t easy and you have to be very strict with yourself. I guess it boils down to how bad your symptoms are and how much you want to do something about it.
What Can You Eat on the Low Fodmap Diet?
As I said earlier everyone is different and a food that causes symptoms in one person may not in another.
When I first started the diet 6 months ago I was completely overwhelmed by what I could or couldn’t eat. I’d buy something thinking I’d be okay with it and then find out it wasn’t right for me. It can be VERY frustrating.
After about a month of struggling, I was introduced to the Low FODMAP Diet App developed by Monash University. It changed my life!
‘Your complete on-the-go guide to the Low FODMAP Diet’
The app works on a traffic light system…
- Red means a food is high in Fodmaps
- Amber means it has a medium amount of Fodmaps
- Green means it’s low in Fodmaps
During the elimination phase, you need to stick to the green foods. Then during the reintroduction phase, you can slowly start adding in the amber and red foods and see how you get on.
This app really was a game changer for me and I would highly recommend it. You have to pay for the app. I believe it cost me about £8 but it was totally worth it. There are other free fodmap apps out there but I couldn’t say whether they are any good or not.
4 Things that have Happened Since I’ve Been On the Low Fodmap Diet
- My symptoms have considerably improved
- I’ve lost A LOT of weight
- My skin is much clearer
- I feel 10 x healthier
I’d love to say my symptoms have gone completely but that isn’t the case, however, they have improved a lot.
Every now and then I slip up with what I’m eating and then I pay for it for about a week afterwards. If I stick to the diet though I’m fine.
The weight one has been a little bit of an issue for me as I didn’t really need to lose any weight to start with. This now means my BMI is telling me I’m underweight. I think this is mainly down tot he fact that I have cut out all processed foods and gluten.
Before the diet, I used to get a lot of spots (I had acne as a child) and my skin always looked quite sallow. Now, my skin looks fresher and I hardly ever get spots any more.
In general, I just feel much healthier and definitely have more energy. This has also had an impact on my mental health which is great!
I could probably rabbit on for hours about this diet so I shall leave it there for now. If, however, you’d like to hear more then let me know in the comments below and I’ll create some more posts on this topic.
So what about you? Do you suffer from IBS? Would you consider giving the Low Fodmap Diet ago?
This is NOT a sponsored post. I’ve just found the diet has really helped me and thought others may benefit from it too.