Yes, it’s very true, the day I was told I had IBS, I was extremely happy. Even though I didn’t know what precisely IBS was, I was certain that it wasn’t one of those horrible and incurable diseases and especially it wasn’t cancer. On top of that, I was extremely excited that at long last, I had a diagnosis for my two years of general unwellness.
I immediately referred to the internet to find out more information about IBS and straight away I recognised that the majority of the symptoms and side effects I had been enduring, were also typical of IBS sufferers.
IBS is the acronym of Irritable Bowel Syndrome; it is a functional gastrointestinal disorder and quite a common disease, but most people are not even aware they have it.
The main IBS symptoms are:
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Tummy bloating
- Excessive wind
- Alternating of constipation and diarrhea
- General fatigue.
My doctor referred me to a professional nutritionist, to guide me with my diet, as even though I was eating pretty healthily, my symptoms were still very strong.
This is when I found out for the first time about low FODMAP diet and how certain healthy food, are not really healthy for IBS sufferers.
FODMAP is the acronym for:
F ─ Fermentable
O ─ Oligosaccharides, which basically means short chain carbohydrates
D ─ Disaccharides (lactose)
M ─ Monosaccharides (fructose)
A ─ and
P ─ Polyols (Sorbitol and Mannitol)
The above names refer to molecules found in food. Some people, like me, struggle to process and absorb them in the small intestine, hence causing these substances to ferment in the large intestine and giving the symptoms recognised as IBS.
When I first looked at the list of the ‘culpable’ food, I had a shock. Lots of the food listed, were things I had on a daily basis, such as onion, garlic, avocado, humus, beans, sweet potato, apples, watermelon etc.
It was a bit disheartening at the beginning the thought of giving up most of the things I was used to eat, especially I had already given up, pasta, bread and most dairies a few months before.
So I spent the following days learning about the low FODMAP diet. Fortunately for me, the main information about this diet comes from Australia, where I live, and it’s from the study and research performed by Doctor Sue Shepherd and other scientist at the Monash University in Melbourne, that we know what we know about low FODMAPs.
That was August 2013 and I have been on a 95% low FODMAP since then.
For anyone out there, who has just been diagnosed with IBS, do not discourage, and work with a dietician to learn more about the food you should/shouldn’t eat.
Every individual is different; some people may only be allergic to a couple of the FODMAPs substances and not all, for this an elimination diet may be suggested at the beginning.
What I can tell you is that I finally feel better, no more running to the toilet and huge bloated belly. My reflux has improved and I am starting to absorb magnesium again.
I have also started to lose weight for the first time in many years, by following a healthy diet of real food, which is also low in FODMAP.
On my site www.lowfodmapdiets.com, I am posting my journey to IBS and back to life again and I am currently working on a weekly meal plan of real food, which is also low in FODMAPs. I will offer the meal plan for free to all subscribers.
Please note that I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, a registered dietician and neither a fitness expert. In this post I am sharing my experience with IBS, with food and low FODMAP diet. This is purely my experience and it is not my intention to give you advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, consult your doctor and do your research.