Look, I was at lost as you probably are hearing this word for the first time. It sounds like some sort of jargon an IT guy would use. Like – “Hey Susan, we can’t seem to locate the FODMAP on the work server – could you try rebooting?”
Ok before I get carried away, let me take two steps back.
For pretty much FOREVER I have battled with a range of varying stomach issues. Cramps, bloating, constipation, runny tummy – you name it. I had tried using dear old Doctor Google – who kept diagnosing me with stomach cancer.
I’d tried at-home gluten and dairy tests (everything seemed normal, but not sure how accurate these are) and I even tried to go full on vegetarian at one point. (lasted all of one week until my boyfriend brought home sushi)
After a particularly bad week of cramps, I decided enough was enough and I had to ‘suck it up’ and go see a qualified gastroenterologist to rule out anything serious like celiac disease.
The doctor asked me what felt like one-too-many awkward toilet related questions, some lifestyle related questions and then finished off the assessment with a physical examination. He then diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which he said was being aggravated by stress.
Before leaving I received a chart about the FODMAP’s diet (what I should eat and what I should avoid) and a prescription for some tablets to control the stress signals my brain was sending to my tummy.
I never filled out the prescription for the tablets – I personally don’t believe a tablet is the solution to my problem.
As I drove back to work, I knew that I needed to take matters into my own hands.
For weeks afterwards I did online research, and read the book ‘Happy Gut’, where I learned how important gut health is and most interestingly – that your gut has a mind of its own and is referred to as your second brain.
As the epicentre of your body, it’s home to trillions of microbes that all work in harmony with your body’s cells to keep you thriving.
But, many aspects deplete your good gut bacteria without you even knowing, like highly processed food, antibiotics, toxins in the environment AND ongoing stress.
Put simply, when you’re experiencing elevated stress levels, your brain goes into flight-or-fight mode, which can impact the blood flow to your gut.
Then I started to map my stomach problems and saw a noticeable pattern – whenever I was having a stressful time at work, or in my personal life – I experienced bad stomach problems, nausea and vomiting.
Armed with this knowledge, I started keeping a food diary and found that certain foods were also triggering my IBS – including certain dairy products, wheat, alcohol and processed food. Aha – there was a light at the end of the tunnel!
So, lets unpack FODMAP’s and how a LOW FODMAP diet can help you if you are suffering from IBS.
Put simply, FODMAP’s are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with IBS.
Breaking down the abbreviation
But what does that mean?
FODMAP’s are found naturally in many foods and food additives. Monash University have done extensive research on FODMAP’s and have created the below chart of what foods to stay away from (high FODMAP)
I have found that eliminating these foods from my diet has helped significantly in reducing the symptoms of my IBS. I have a long way to go in living with IBS and getting my friends and family to understand what triggers it and why I can’t have a bottle of wine with them or eat a bowl of Christmas pudding.
While I may never fully understand the intricacies of my gut health – I am making positive choices to try and ease the symptoms as far as possible.
So, on the blog you may encounter recipes that state FODMAP friendly – which are recipes created with the foods in the LOW FODMAP column. So, keep this in mind when exploring my blog in the future.
Disclaimer – Please keep in mind that I am not a dietician and any dietary changes you make should be made with A QUALIFIED doctor or dietician . We all have our own health and food journeys to go on 😊