On Sunday I went through to Edinburgh with my wife and we had a lovely day out, but I must confess that I made a big mistake when it came to lunch. Hunger got the better of me and we went to a Pizza Express that was nearby. I made a good choice by going for the gluten-free pizza base, but they’re not nearly as tasty as their standard bases and it certainly paled in comparison with the fantastic gluten-free pizza bases you can make with the Grass Roots gluten-free pizza base mix you can buy online from FODMarket.
Anyway, I ordered my pizza and when it came I made short work of it. I didn’t suffer any ill-effects immediately, but later that evening after dinner I started having painful intestinal spasms and bloating. After giving it some thought I realised that, for all that I’d chosen the gluten-free pizza base and vegan toppings, such as dairy-free cheese and low FODMAP vegetables, there was a high chance that the pizza sauce contained garlic and possibly even minced onion.
I think that’s where being prepared on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet comes in because I made a mistake by allowing myself to get too hungry which led to me making an impulsive decision about what I would eat. Sadly, I know that if I’d been at home I would have been able to prepare myself a suitably low FODMAP meal, but because I was outside I just went with whatever was handy nearby.
This experience has made me realise that I think this has wider implications for people who follow the low FODMAP diet, regardless of whether they’re on elimination, reintroduction or maintaining, and that is the cold hard fact that it is hard to eat out on the low FODMAP diet.
One thing I omitted from last week’s blog post was that I’d decided against visiting my step-daughter and her family overnight last Wednesday because I knew that I would have to bring my own food and prepare my own meals because they eat a largely vegetarian diet and it would most likely be very high FODMAP.
And do you know what? Aside from the hassle factor of cooking meals for myself (never mind the cost aspect too), the main reason I decided against going to visit was because I felt embarrassed. I was embarrassed and self-conscious that I was following an eating regime which set me apart from the family and meant that I had to eat differently from them. I was embarrassed that I would have to bring low FODMAP ingredients with me to make meals specific to my own requirements.
And that makes me sad.
It makes me sad to realise this because my family would never judge me for taking care of my own health and eating whichever way is best for me.
However, it’s sad that I should feel self-conscious about taking care of myself and eating the right foods during the elimination process in order to identify what doesn’t agree with my gut.
It’s Monday now and my gut is steadily quietening down thanks to a combination of medication and eating healthy low FODMAP food, but I have to say that I am glad I had my experience yesterday because it really brought home to me the importance of making the right food choices for myself.
I’ve enjoyed being fairly symptom free on the days I’ve eaten sensibly low FODMAP and I didn’t enjoy having them return after yesterday’s mistake. It’s made me even more determined to continue seeing through the elimination phase and, once that’s completed, start identifying the higher FODMAP foods I can successfully tolerate and the ones I can’t.
I think that the low FODMAP diet is still in its infancy, but I eagerly anticipate the day when our shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants are all FODMAP educated and there’s a plethora of low FODMAP foods available to us in the same way that we now have a much wider awareness of coeliac disease nowadays and the importance of coeliacs eating a gluten-free diet.
This post has been somewhat rambling and I apologise for that, but I hope the honesty of my words makes it clear to anyone else out there who struggles with IBS or is in elimination and makes a mistake or feels self-conscious about making food choices as a result of their own dietary needs, that it’s okay.
You can make whatever requests you need to make food suitable for you when eating out.
You can bring your own low FODMAP food with you to places if you need to.
And ultimately, you’re entitled to take care of your body in whichever way is best for it because it’s where you live and you deserve the very best.
Jane (The Fat Foodie) xxx
Here are the details for Lesley, the FODMAP Trained Dietitian, who is taking me through elimination: