Good Morning 🌞
I thought I would give you an update of my first week following a Low Fodmap diet!
So many of you reached out to me last week when I asked Social Media for help, so I am hoping this might be useful for some of you too.
If you don’t want to read the lengthy background and info about Fodmaps, one can skip straight to “How I got on in Week 1”.
For as long as I can remember I have suffered with bloating and really bad abdominal pain.
I have been through phases of seeing the Doctor, for them to say it’s probably “just IBS”. Well I have news for you Doctor, IBS hurts too!
I have kept countless food diaries and it’s like trying to crack a million dollar code to work out what effects me.
It’s a hard thing to admit when you are a Personal Trainer and a Vegan that most of the time you look 9 months pregnant with twins but reaching out on Social Media was the best thing I have done!
For myself, it’s so frustrating that I lead a healthy lifestyle, I exercise every day and follow a Vegan whole food diet with limited processed food. You hear all these miracle stories of how people cure all their ailments by going Vegan and how they have never felt better but for me it was hard to admit publically that to be honest I have probably never felt worse!
Part of me never wanted to admit that because I would never want to put anyone off going Vegan! But for me that is the reality! I could never turn my back on going Vegan so reaching out for help on Social media was my last straw!
I tried reaching out before and I tried everything that was being suggested to me
“You’re probably eating too much fruit” Probably 😹
“Stop drinking any caffeine” 😩
” Add apple cider vinegar to every meal”
“Eat more fermented foods for your gut health like Kombucha and Sauerkraut”
“You are having too much fibre”
So for weeks I omitted my daily smoothie, had no green tea or coffee, held my nose and downed a shot of apple cider vinegar with every meal, fell in love with Kombucha, not so much Sauerkraut and limited the amount of vegetables I was having and read every book on gut health available!
And guess what, I got even worse! My friends probably got fed up of me moaning, my work colleagues probably thought I had secretly been eating too many pies as my uniform no longer fits come the middle of the day. I was forever having to cancel plans because of being in pain and to be honest who wants to try and squeeze into a bodycon dress and risk being asked if you are the next Octomum to be!
I would just like to point out I am grateful for everyones support and advice! What works for me might not work for you and vice versa!
So last week I posted this picture on Instagram and I received a few similar posts telling me to try Low Fodmap!
It did all seem to make sense, living on a Vegan diet meant a lot of the food I was eating is high Fodmap and in a lot of my meals I was combining more than one high Fodmap foods together!
What did I have to lose…..
The more research I put in the more I realised this would be a very restrictive diet living as a Vegan but for me anything was worth a go to alleviate this pain!
So what is a Low Fodmap diet?
The word Fodmap is an acronym that stands for
Fermentable Oligosacharrides (fructans and galacto-oligosacharrides, also known as GOS, Disacharrides (lactose- as a vegan we have no worries here!), Monosacharrides (fructose) and Polyols (polydextrose, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol).
Basically foods that contain high amounts of any of these Fodmaps aren’t well absorbed in the small intestine, they pass through to the colon where they draw in more liquid which generates gas and then the bowel ferments them! People who suffer with IBS will find a lot of these high Fodmap foods cause them discomfort!
Monash University have worked for years testing foods to see which ones contain Fodmaps and have come up with lists of low Fodmap foods, high Fodmap and moderate – which means you can eat a small quantity of that certain food.
The top triggers for a lot of people with IBS are agave nectar, apples, artichokes, avocados, beans, cashews, cauliflower, dates, garlic, mushrooms, onions, peas, pistachio and wheat!
When you look at my diet I was eating a smoothie with apples and avocados, a raw snack made from cashews, dates and agave nectar, lunch would be soup with copius amounts of garlic and onion and dinner would be a bean chilli with cauliflower rice! No wonder I felt like I might explode!
The idea of the Low fodmap diet is to only eat Low Fodmap foods for 2-8 weeks. This is called an elimination diet so you should technically eliminate anything that could be causing you discomfort.
Once you have had no symptons for a prolonged period of time you can start the reintroduction phase. A week at a time you add a new Fodmap food group and this will take 9-10 weeks. So for instance one week you will introduce a food from the Polyol group, a small quantity on day 1. If you have no symptons you can add a bigger quantity on day 2 and more on day 3. This will help you to determine if you are more than likely ok with the Polyol group of foods, if you are ok with small quantities or if these foods are best avoided completely.
Once you have completed the Reintroduction stage, you should now have a lot more variety in your diet and you should have a good idea of what foods effect you.
Then it is time to try combining the Fodmaps you get on with as it can be these combinations that also cause you digestive issues!
It is important to not stay on a low Fodmap diet for a prolonged period of time or your gut will not have all the friendly bacteria it needs!
How I got on in Week 1!
I won’t lie, it took a bit of planning to make sure that 1. I would be eating enough food and 2. knowing what foods are low fodmap!
Days 1 and 2:
Since I have been keeping a diary of my symptons I have always rated my bloating and stomach ache on a scale of 1-10. On these days I was around 2/10 for both, although I still had pain and bloating this was nothing compared to my normal 9-10 pain! So i started to have hope this could work for me!
My top tip is to buy the Monash university Fodmap App! It costs £7.99 but you type in a food and it will go red, amber or green showing you if you can eat it and in what quantities! If it flashes red or amber it also shows you what kind of Fodmap the food contains!
No pain or bloating whatsoever 🙌🏾 Considering it is my TOTM too this is unbelievable!
A book I ordered from Amazon also arrived and I would recommend it.
I have also been loving The Wild Gut Project videos on Youtube!
Here is an idea of what I have been eating:
Breakfast: My Protein Vegan Blend shake with almond milk or The Good Guru Vegan shake
Snack: Homemade gluten free cookies/muffins
Lunch: baked potato, salad, olive oil and a few chickpeas
Snack: Rice cakes/mandarin
Dinner: Tofu, rice noodles, courgette
Snack: Chia pudding with rice milk
Drinks: Peppermint tea and Green Tea
Supplements: Quest Digestive Enzymes
I will post some recipes of my Low fodmap meals on the blog in a few days!
So thats Week 1 done for me and I am impressed with the results so far, I was getting to the stage where I was getting anxious about eating because I didn’t want to be in pain so this is a huge relief! I hope it continues to work for the next three weeks before I reintroduce new foods! It does require a lot of planning and I haven’t faced the difficulty of having to eat out yet! I did however have to take a packed lunch to my friends for takeaway night 😭 that was pretty depressing but anything is worth being pain free!
It hasn’t been as restrictive as I thought and I have even added foods like bean sprouts that I haven’t ate in years!
And here is my weekend low fodmap treat! A slice of courgette cake!
The picture above is “I woke up like this” free from pain and bloating wahoo! Don’t look at my peanut toes haha!
Top things I have learnt this week for sticking to a low Fodmap vegan diet:
Watermelon – No. Honeydew melon – Yes!
Nutritional Yeast is low fodmap 🙌🏾
Oat milk – No. Rice/almond milk Yes!
40g of chickpeas is not a lot!
If you are reading this, I hope low Fodmap can work for you too but please consult your Doctor first, I am still undergoing tests to rule out other possibilites and its important you get medical help too.