Hello dear readers!
I hope all is well and you are ready for Christmas. As you may have guessed from the title Sarah and I have been checking out the “low FODMAP” diet. This is something that we have been following for a month or so now – as always things have been so busy here I’ve not had a chance to sit down and write. With a bit of spare time and a desire to write I’ve decided to share some more about this diet, what it involves and how it’s made me feel.
How did we find out about it?
Last month I had a meeting with my consultant, which Sarah also came too. At the end of the meeting he suggested I saw a dietician later that morning. In the past I haven’t really put much effort into my diet in terms of managing my Crohn’s, so discussing this properly was a new thing for me. As well as Crohn’s I have IBS, which is responsible for a lot of the bloating I’ve been experiencing. I gather that this isn’t particularly uncommon with us Crohn’s sufferers. If you’re reading this and have Crohn’s then please feel free to comment let us know if you also have IBS.
What causes a lot of the bloating associated with the IBS is some of the more complex carbohydrates and sugars in food doesn’t get digested, so they stay in the gut. While in the gut they ferment, producing carbon dioxide which causes the bloating and subsequent wind. The idea of this diet is to cut out these foods altogether for 8 weeks. After this they get added one at a time and in small quantities to see how they affect the gut. Through this process of elimination you can tailor a diet that is right for you.
What does it involve?
When we first heard about this diet I must admit that I assumed eating would be very boring for a while with not much going on at meal times. After the basic biology lesson we were given a booklet which goes through the diet, what to eat, avoid and what to have in small quantities. The main things to cut out of my diet include: wheat, milk, garlic and onion. Now, I am quite a fan of cooking for the two of us, and generally cook with a lot of garlic and onion. I usually have sandwiches for my lunch at work. And to top things off I drink a lot of tea and coffee which I have with milk. So I figured a lot of changes would happen!
We were told that there are a lot of recipes on the internet, and that there’s actually a whole cookery book dedicated to this diet. Now fortunately for us, Sarah and I cook the vast majority of our meals from scratch. This is to our advantage as firstly we have a good knowledge of what we are eating. Secondly it makes it easier for us to leave out things on the bad list and substitute them for things from the good list.
We tend to use a lot of stock in our cooking. Sarah being ever vigilant has read the ingredients to find that there’s generally a lot of onion and garlic powder used. This is something I’d have probably overlooked so I guess the lesson is to never be too careful. As a way around this Sarah has made her own chicken and beef stock from scratch, which she have frozen in ready to use blocks.
Having properly looked into the diet we have realised that the diet isn’t as scary and boring as we might have feared. For example most meats are on the good list; a lot of carbohydrate-based foods are on the good list including rice oats and potatoes. Then of course gluten free variations of pasta, bread etc are on the good list. I know these products sometimes get a bit of stick but there are a lot of foods out there that taste good. Alternatives to dairy such as Soya are on the good list, and work well in my hot drinks.
So how’s it making me feel?
Great! Just: great. I kid you not I have had so much energy since being on this new diet it’s crazy (hence sitting here writing rather than falling asleep on the sofa). Sarah’s also commented on how much energy I have since being on this diet. My bowel movements seem to be normal (ah-ha! You thought you’d made it through an entire post without hearing about poo…). I’m going less, having less urgency when I need to go and whats coming out is actually formed; all stuff I’m still getting used too.
This is all rippling out into other areas of life; because I have the energy and I am not worrying so much about going to the toilet I am able to focus so much more. Enjoying my life with Sarah, my role in the band, and my self development at work is all so much easier now that I can concentrate.
Do I recommend it?
Definitely. I know I’ve said before that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another. I’m sure this diet to some extent is the same. However the health benefits I’ve enjoyed far outweigh the hassle of watching what I eat. For the sake of a little bit of reading and planning it seems daft to not give this diet a go.
To sum this up we went into this diet open minded, researched it, and gone for it. We have made adaptions to our diet which hasn’t been a drag at all. In fact in some ways it’d been a joy as it’s presented us with a reason to try new foods and new variations on staple recipes. I feel great and it’s spurred me on to embrace the diet and stick with it.
I hope this little essay was of use, thanks for reading. Have a great Christmas!