I am considered “medically interesting” for multiple reasons too long and convoluted to explain in this blog post. Starting off this post in a positive way, I wish to say I try to be at peace with my medical conditions and I am eternally grateful for all the help and treatment the NHS has provided.
Due to my medically weird body, it was recently recommended to me by the doctor that I try the low FODMAP diet. Diet in this instance is not a weight loss aid but a medically recommended plan of foods to eat and foods to avoid. This diet was designed to help people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut issues. It involves lowering your intake of certain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides (carbohydrates and sugars) and polyols (e.g sugar alcohols) to reduce symptoms such as severe abdominal pain and bloating. Long story short, there was a very extensive list of things I couldn’t eat. This included: onions, garlic, apples, overly ripe bananas, mango, large portions of chickpeas and lentils, lactose (although I don’t eat dairy anyway), sweet white wine, glucose-fructose syrup, gluten etc, the list goes on. More info, including the different phases of the diet, can be found here on the KCL website.
I initially struggled quite a lot, as someone who tries to eat a mainly plant based diet. However, once you overcome the “I can’t eat XYZ” negativity, it becomes quite easy to adapt recipes to your requirements.
So after that fleeting introduction to FODMAPs here are 3 handy tips which I found useful!
- I am used to making food from scratch but everyone craves shop bought biscuits and crisps every once in a while. For this reason I recommend the FODMAP app by KCL which allows you to scan many supermarket products to discover if they are FODMAP friendly – this app seems to be tailored to UK supermarkets. There is also another app by Monash University in Australia which may be more useful for Australian readers, although I haven’t tried it. I found the app super helpful and saved a lot of time as i just had to scan it instead of check ingredients one by one!
- Alternatives for onions and garlic – they seem to be in everything… So my recommendation are: grow your own spring onions so you can keep harvesting the green shoots, make your own garlic oil and purchase some asafoetida – a powder which tastes like onion, garlic and celery when added to meals!
- Encourage others to eat with you – whether that be cooking dinner for your flatmates, family or partner its always easier to restrict your intake of particular foods when you aren’t segregated from those that you live with.
A few of my favourite recipes :
Vanilla-berry quinoa porridge – Takes some time but definitely worth the wait, my go-to breakfast for a busy day!
Berries and ground almonds – Quick and easy, looks a mess when mixed together but tastes beautiful.
Eggy bread – Simple, yet delicious! My current favourite comfort food.
Carrot, ginger, parsnip soup – Such depth of flavour, I have had multiple requests for this. It is the perfect winter warmer.
Vegetable and coconut stir fry – super easy and nutritious meal!
Fish fingers and chips – No recipe for this one, just Young’s Gluten Free Fish Fingers, Asda Steak Cut Frozen Chips and a side salad. (Yes you can still have quick easy freezer meals!)
I was on the low FODMAP diet elimination phase for 4 weeks however now due to different tests my doctors wish to run, unfortunately I have had to stop it. It is likely I will continue with the low FODMAP diet at some point or have other strange dietary restrictions! Perhaps I will delve deeper into my medical history at some point in the future. Watch this space for updates.
Remember if anything feels wrong with your body, see a doctor.
Disclaimers: Please consult a doctor before attempting a low FODMAP diet, I am not a trained dietitian or doctor these recipes are merely suggestions.
The vanilla quinoa and carrot soup recipes are adapted versions of recipes from the low FODMAP cookbook – “She Cant Eat What”.