This journey started for me in April 2014 when I went to A&E after not recovering from a pretty not-nice food poisoning. Before that point I always thought myself lucky to be one of those blessed people to never worry about what or how much I was eating – I remember eating entire packets of biscuits and never getting a stomach ache! Now, however, I almost constantly have a sore tum, and it seems that everything I eat is the wrong thing and sends me into cramps and spasms.
After eliminating Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis as explanations for what’s wrong with my gut, I feel like the medical personnel I was seeing just gave up, putting it down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They gave me some supplements and sent me on my not-that-merry way.
So I have spent the last year plodding away with a bad stomach, trying to work out what works and what doesn’t, without going full out no FODMAP, or gluten free, or whatever. It always seemed to me that everything I ate was wrong, and it seemed to get worse if I ate at certain times or left it too long between eating. There’s also a sort of social pressure when it comes to this sort of illness, people thinking they’re doing the right thing questioning what I eat and when, which was hurtful and confusing when I was suffering something I didn’t understand. I blamed myself for eating the wrong things even though I had no idea what my body was doing, and even things that were apparently good for me to eat would give me troubles. So even though I know that I don’t have it that bad, my life overall hasn’t had to stop… this still isn’t pleasant. It is confusing, frustrating, and upsetting. So now that I’ve been dealing with it for a year without any signs of getting better, I’ve booked in with a nutritionist to discuss going no/low-FODMAP.
I guess the question I have been asking myself is why has it taken me so long to get to this point? The answer is that a low FODMAP diet seems scary. I had a friend at drama school who was on it and he hated the damn thing (his symptoms were a lot worse than mine). I love going out for meals with my friends, family, and boyfriend, so the thought of being in the position where that would be difficult or impossible is frightening. Plus it’s massively inconvenient. Do you know how many things have garlic and onion in them? Try EVERYTHING. Bye, canned tomato paste! Bye, my newly discovered recipe for delicious walnut and garlic crackers!
But now I have realized that actually, having a perpetual stomach ache is pretty inconvenient too. A low FODMAP diet is generally a fixed term arrangement – six to eight weeks in most cases I believe. There might not be an ‘end’ to this IBS debacle – but there might be a method of dealing with the symptoms.
This is a space for me to share recipes but also my experiences on the diet and if it helps or hinders my journey back to some form of normality in my stomach. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been on low FODMAP and for anyone who is starting out or thinking about starting out, hopefully my experiences will shed some light for you. And at some point I’ll write about what FODMAPs are, for those who don’t know!