After 16 years of suffering with digestive issues, I finally decided to get myself sorted out.

I was constantly fed up with struggling with my weight and had started to feel sick, even after only eating a small amount of food. I had experienced alternative treatments and most of them were effective. The Vega machine worked out which foods I was intolerant to (a lot), but I wanted to get to the root cause of my problems.

The doctors tried to palm me off with IBS, but I was adamant this wouldn’t be the final diagnoses. I know IBS is only one side effect of my problems, and the one I manage to control by constantly changing my foods. I started to feel like my family and friends thought I was some kind of control freak, with eating issues since I was always changing what I could and couldn’t eat. One minute I was cutting out wheat and the next sugar.

Due to my family history of colitis and diverticulitis I undertook many different procedures. I even had a colonoscopy, which was horrible, and my results came back clear. Whilst this was a positive, it was also frustrating my problem remained. My last appointment was fantastic. A dietitian called Jane Cunningham was sympathetic that we had not found the root cause and thought that I may have a variable type of IBS caused by a sensitive gut. She suggested I try a new diet that had been recently discovered in Australia called FODMAP.

Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and PolyolS (FODMAPs) are short chain carbohydrates (e.g. fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, polyols, fructose and lactose) that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Ingestion of FODMAPs leads to alterations in fluid content and bacterial fermentation in the colon triggering functional gut symptoms in susceptible individuals. Removing FODMAPs from the diet is effective in improving symptoms of people with functional gut disorders like IBS.

The low FODMAP diet originated in Australia and was developed by a team at Monash University in Melbourne. It has been successfully adapted to the UK by researchers at King’s College London and implemented at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London.

Taken from King’s College London

When I looked at the foods on the avoid list, I felt very positive as it included many of the foods that cause me adverse reactions. The only problem with this FODMAO diet is that it is not as logical as others and requires you to “learn” what can and can’t be eaten. You don’t have to eliminate all of the foods on the avoid list forever, just for a few months. It is advised you reintroduce them gradually, so I am hopeful this is a way of controlling my digestive issues. Interestingly before encountering the FODMAP diet, I cut down on fruit as I kept reacting to it. FODMAP quite clearly indicates that you should only have a small amount of fruit at any one time. This can become a little complicated as quantity varies per fruit, but it does make sense.

My favourite aspect of the FODMAP diet is that after what feel like ages, I can stop using meal replacements. Like any type of  ‘diet’  I do find I need to be super organised with shopping.FODMAP provide you a list of fast food and convenient food options, which is great for when you have a super busy week, and far more realistic than to expect followers to eat clean the whole time. I do miss avocados and garlic though!

If anyone has tried this FODMAP diet do feel free to comment. For more information visit the FODAMP website.