Monday, 29 September 2014

How I Gained a More Varied Diet Through FODMAP

Yes, you read that right - I did say 'more varied'. This post is dedicated to those of you who feel that a low-FODMAP diet is so restricted that there's nothing left to eat! I know - I felt like that too.

Hello again Fodmappers. Today I want to share something which was a bit of an epiphany for me.  Quite simply I realised that before going low-FODMAP it felt like everything I ate made me ill. But since discovering the FODMAP approach, I've realised that now I have a whole range of foods to choose from which I can enjoy without becoming unwell. This still feels like nothing short of a miracle. But I admit that initially it felt like my diet was going to be so restricted that it was all going to be very dull. And I was also a bit concerned that, as much of my usual vegetarian options were going to be off-limits, that I wasn't going to be eating healthily either. How wrong I was.

For a start, I have recently rediscovered fruit! This is quite ironic as it is recommended that fruit is limited too (not only to certain varieties but also to one portion with each meal) during the elimination stage but, until a few months ago, I hardly ate any fruit and relied on vegetables for my 5-a-day. Sadly though, many of the vegetables that I used to eat regularly (such as onions, broccoli, beetroot and sugar snap peas) turned out to be HIGH in FODMAPs so it was important that I dropped those and found alternatives. I still eat lots of (other) yummy vegetables but now I also have FODMAP friendly oranges, bananas, grapes and kiwi fruit too.

And then there's the whole wheat thing. I almost feel a little bit guilty telling you just how much of my diet had become wheat based, even without me noticing. It wasn't unusual for me to have something like wheat-flakes, weetabix or branflakes for breakfast, then a sandwich or pasty for lunch, a pasta meal in the evening or maybe a veggie pie, and the inevitable cakes and biscuits in between. No wonder I was ill! If you haven't explored this area yet, you'll be glad to know that there is so much more to eat than wheat. Oats are ok so I often start the day with a bowl of porridge, but you could equally have a slice of wheat-free toast. I also use rice and potatoes more than previously and have discovered the world of 'gluten free' (which means they are also wheat, rye and barley free) pastas. Sometimes I even unleash my inner hippy and make a quinoa or sprouted buckwheat salad.

I now gain my proteins through tinned chick peas, tofu, nuts and nutty butters (did you know you can now get almond and hazelnut as well as peanut butter?) eggs, cheeses and grains such as quinoa instead of reaching for the jar of soya mince.

Milk has been replaced by oat, rice or (and this is my current favourite) almond milk. The lactose-free 'ordinary' milk isn't bad either.

In short, my diet is so much more interesting!

So I hope that if you're still working up to going low-FODMAP, or maybe losing heart a little, this might have given you a bit of encouragement. Remind yourself, that the chances are, that some of the foods you're already eating are ones that are making you ill. You'd have to be crazy to carry on eating those surely? And try something different instead. If it seems like a challenge then treat it as though you're making something special for somebody special - because you are! It's a matter of looking at what you can eat, not what you can't. And you may even find you end up with a more varied diet (and maybe more balanced) diet as a result.

Bon appetit.

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