Starting a Low FODMAP Diet

I’ve been struggling with my gut over the last few months. What I thought was a relatively straightforward lactose intolerance seems, actually, to be more complicated.

Certain foods will trigger unsavoury reactions – sometimes immediately, other times within a half hour. There’s no simply identifiable pattern. Cheap bottled beers can provoke a sudden reaction, or a vodka and lemonade, and other times just a handful of humble Malteasers will render me horizontal.

After a tense couple of months of me keeping track of everything I ate and drank, my gut still wasn’t giving me a discernable answer. It’s somewhat hypocritical of me (as a person who writes about food, wine and cheese online) to say that I didn’t trust the suggestions that I would read on health / food / lifestyle webzines.

I went to see a specialist dietetian yesterday and after a very informative consultation, the conclusion was these three simple words “low FODMAP diet.”

I was sent away with a couple of hefty booklets, told to read them carefully, to follow them strictly and to make contact with the doctor again in a month’s time.

FODMAP is a simple abbreviation for the diverse and complex categories of food which the human body finds particularly hard to digest. The FODMAP diet is essentially an elimination diet. I need to completely cut out these food groups (namely, lactose, gluten, beans, pulsees and legumes, and certain fruits and vegetables) in order to reintroduce them one-by-one again gradually and sense my body’s reaction.

It’s going to be tough, especially when going out with friends socially, to stick to this diet. I was aware of the FODMAP diet even before the consultation but I had hoped that there might have been a simpler solution. I guess my gut knew that this was the next step…. but my brain didn’t want to accept it.

I’ll start the diet tomorrow with the plan to stick to it religiously for the next 4 weeks.

It means no more pizza, pasta, bread, (unless they are gluten free); onions and garlic are absolute no; chick peas, beans and pulses are also out. Strangely, sweet dessert wines, rum, honey and agave nectar are all out but maple syrup is ok. Rice, corn and potatoes are ok. Meat and fish also. One of the weirdest things is that I’m allowed just one quarter of avocado and half a grapefruit per day.

Tomorrow the diet gets underway in earnest. I’ll report back.

Day 1: link here

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