Fellow IBS sufferer, Chloe, aka The Fairy Fodmother blogger, shares her IBS story and her tips on mastering the low-FODMAP diet.
How do you cope with IBS on a daily basis?
I only use the low-FODMAP diet currently to manage my symptoms as that’s really all I’ve found useful. Although peppermint tea is definitely a staple to try keep my stomach calm.
Any life-changing tips of how to deal with symptoms?
Whilst the low-FODMAP diet hasn’t cured me of symptoms it has made them more manageable and helped me better understand some of my triggers. I get a lot less stomach cramps now and less nausea. I honestly don’t find it hard to stick to, I’ll do anything to avoid the pain of IBS! I think it’s key to focus on what you can eat, not what you’ve cut out. I enjoy cooking so it’s helped me become more creative in the kitchen and also made my diet more varied in many ways.
What’s the food you most devastatingly miss?
I probably miss apples the most, I used to eat one most days and they’re great to take with you when you’re out the house. Onion and garlic are probably the most annoying to avoid in terms of eating out or buying ready-made food but as long as you’re prepared – always make enough for leftovers! – it’s manageable. It does get easier over time, I’ve also found that as my stomach’s calmed down I can reintroduce more foods. Portion size is critical, you don’t have to completely stop eating certain foods a lot of the time you just need to eat less of them and not mix them with other high-FODMAP foods.
What’s a typical weeknight dinner?
I’m not sure I really have a weeknight staple, I get bored very easily. My main aim is to make sure I get plenty of veg in my meal. My typical favourites tend to be carrots, courgette, peppers and tomatoes. I love a vegetable curry with plenty of soothing turmeric and also find it really handy for using up whatever’s in my fridge. For lunch it’s often a roasted veg and grain salad.
Do you feel your lifestyle has changed?
I think since having IBS I’ve become a lot more conscious about what I put in my body and therefore am healthier as a result. It’s also sparked a great interest in nutrition and the therapeutic role food can play.
What do your friends and family do to accommodate?
My family is super accommodating so I’m very lucky. I think it’s important to talk about the diet with your friends and family, that way you feel less awkward eating around them and avoiding food as people already have some sort of understanding. And educating them can help them prepare suitable meals. My family love experimenting in the kitchen and turning our previous favourites into FODMAP suitable food. Nowadays I never leave the house without a suitable snack as I can’t rely on finding things when I’m out.
Head over to The Fairy Fodmother for a whole heap of hints, tips and recipes for fellow IBS sufferers who have no clue where to start with the low-FODMAP diet.
Read More in the Living With IBS Series: