As a dietitian it is a great joy to work closely with IBS clients and watch their symptoms virtually disappear after they reduce dietary FODMAPs. I see their lives transformed and it is wonderful to be part of the journey.
I was surprised then when chatting with one of my successful IBS clients the other day. While she felt great, and her IBS symptoms had disappeared, she admitted feeling depressed that her low FODMAP diet was so restrictive and she felt it was a life sentence.
She explained that she and her husband loved to socialise and entertain, but many of their favourite meals were now on the ‘banned list’. She was bored with the diet and now rarely hosted dinner parties and found the diet too limiting to go out to dinner.
I understood her dilemma; she was delighted to be free of her IBS symptoms, but resented what she saw as a restrained diet and couldn’t see any reasonable alternatives.
We talked about experimenting with meals and swapping high FODMAP foods for low FODMAP alternatives. In her mind all stir fry’s and Italian dishes were off the menu because garlic is a high FODMAP food.
During our conversation she was delighted to discover she could ‘swap’ garlic for garlic infused oil or asafoetida spice. This small change alone has opened up a whole world of low FODMAP recipes and meals. Her mood and outlook improved dramatically.
We talked about other changes she could make. I explained that she could still enjoy the sensation of a warm apple-pie and remain low FODMAP by replacing apples with chokos and cinnamon or rhubarb and raspberries. She could even enjoy lactose free icecream to top it off!
Following a low FODMAP diet does not have to be restrictive and it’s not a life sentence. If you are beginning to feel frustrated with your diet experiment try swapping high FODMAP foods for similar low FODMAP alternatives. Focus on foods you can enjoy rather than concentrating on the foods you can’t. You may just discover a whole new world of foods that taste similar, possible even better than your old favourites.
You may also be ready to step outside your comfort zone to challenge yourself by reintroducing FODMAPs. Our FODMAP Challenge program will step you through to find your FODMAP threshold.
Last week I posted a low FODMAP bolognaise. Try it for dinner tonight and tell me what you think.
Have you discovered other low FODMAP foods that can be easily swapped for high FODMAP foods? Write and tell me about your discovery.