IBS, MS, Low-FODMAP and Me

When I was younger I had five letters and a pair of brackets after my name – BA (Hons.) As time goes by I seem to be collecting all sorts of letters, IBS is kept in check by a LowFODMAP diet, there’s a little crew of other oddities (SIBO anyone?!) that remind me I’m getting old. Recently I added MS to my alphabet of ailments.

 

Get to know your Low-FODMAP self in 2017!

Happy New Year low-FODMAP’ers everywhere! And happy new organ – did you know about the mesentery being reclassified as an organ? That clever clogs Leonardo da Vinci did! Read here

So what is 2017 going to bring? Hopefully happier tummies all round. Some of you may just be starting out on your Low-FODMAP journey, some of you re-introducing and some are happy having identified your own FODMAP kryptonite. I have to say each part of the journey has been a fascinating one. Yes, it’s been bewildering, frustrating and complicated at times but I’m always learning something new about myself.

Some highlights of my 2016 for various reasons, not necessarily my photography!

Some highlights of my 2016 for various reasons, not necessarily my photography!

One of the most difficult things I’ve found is trying to sort the wheat (gf obviously) from the chaff. There is so much information out there, so much, but it is too easy to get bogged down in everyone else’s details. One of the marvellous things about the human race is that we are all different. We may have similar reactions to food, stress, environments, and illnesses but there will be no one-size fits all diet answer to all these symptoms. The low-FODMAP diet has helped us enormously as a family, and I do mean as a family: a miserably mummy with tummy ache is not beneficial to all our mental well-being.  Little Miss can get on growing and general 7-year-old busy-ness without the hindrance of IBS symptoms.

I’ve been over-reading on the Internet (why? Why?!) and feel sad when people feel they’re not doing their diet right if they can ‘inexplicably’ tolerate some high FODMAP foods from one subset but not others. Well, here’s my inexpert opinion – you tolerate them because you can. Enjoy what you can and avoid what you cannot. Equally, don’t torture yourself about things you cannot eat without symptoms, you can always try again in the future. We live in a state of re-introductions. Some things that I couldn’t even tolerate a low-FODMAP serving of a couple of years ago, I can now eat a tiny bit of (I’m looking at you peas ;-))

Turkey stock is go!

Turkey stock is go!

There are also the things that aren’t part of the low-FODMAP diet that I cannot eat but I can now tell what part of my body they hurt. Eggs always hurt the bottom right of my stomach, where I imagine my appendix is: cow’s milk products hurt halfway down the abdomen on the left hand side, give me a headache and nausea. The more I get to know my body the more I can manage my life. I cannot tolerate any soy in any form. I was to be able to tolerate soy lecithin but over the last year even that is troublesome .

In the autumn I tested positive for methane predominant SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. I knew something was wrong as my tummy constantly felt active but still with constipated symptoms. With medical guidance I’m currently looking into treatments. It’s a whole new world of complicated diets. I find the current information for SIBO utterly impenetrable and I’m trying not to get too bogged down in other people’s experiences. Before Christmas I followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet alongside low-FODMAP in preparation for antibiotics and whaddya know? Soy is one of the ‘illegal’ foods.

Part of my SIBO extermination plan is lots of broth, get used to seeing more of this in 2017!

Part of my SIBO extermination plan is lots of broth, get used to seeing more of this in 2017!

I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very long winded fashion, is that I’ve got to a point that I can listen to what my body is telling me and can take action to do something about it. But this has been a very long journey and I’ve been lucky to have a doctor, dietician and further clever medics that didn’t dismiss my inklings as automatically wrong.

Don’t give up fodmappers, listen to your body. If you’ve a gut feeling something is or isn’t working, it’s probably because your gut wants to tell you something! I’ve had 40 years with this body now; I’m learning new things about it all the time. I just wish, as with so many things, I’d listened harder years ago!

Lovely gifts from the Low-FODMAP community, I'll let you know when I've had chance to play with them :-)

Lovely gifts from the Low-FODMAP community, I'll let you know when I've had chance to play with them :-)

Chatting Low FODMAP with Larah and sounding mildly hysterical!

Larah (www.lowfodmapdiets.com) and I have been on each other's radar via Twitter for a couple of years now - finally we got it together for her holiday podcast. We actually spent far longer chatting over Skype than first intended and in the recording I'm aware I sound mildly hysterical! Still, it was good fun sharing tales of Low-FODMAP, M&S Christmas and err, my sheer laziness in the kitchen...

 

Larah is at @LarahBrook on Twitter, @Larahlowfodmap on Insta and @lowfodmapdietLarah on FB

Larah is at @LarahBrook on Twitter, @Larahlowfodmap on Insta and @lowfodmapdietLarah on FB

This is the first part of a trilogy of Holiday podcasts she is doing - starters, mains and desserts. Also sharing recipes on this episode are Alexandra Adams from Contented Belly and Nataliya from Not From A Packet Mix Good clean fun and not a FODMAP in sight :-)

Listen here

So many things have happened and now it's Christmas!

Welcome back to Our House For Tea!

Look at my excited face!

Look at my excited face!

We've had a busy November with one thing and another. The Young Master turned 11 and we enjoyed his specifically requested Yule Log birthday cake (more of that later). I turned 40 can you believe it! No sniggering at the back please... I had a most marvellous time with gorgeous people and danced for 4 or 5 hours to some wonderful pop from my past. I couldn't walk properly for 3 days afterwards but it was worth every moment of seeing my friends perform routines to the likes of 'Like A Prayer' 'Enter Sandman' and 'Lip Up Fatty'. Good times. Imagine how fortunate I felt to receive a birthday cake I could actually eat - yes the Our House For Tea Cookbook has come good and I had a pile of my chocolate crispy cakes (most favourite cakes ever) adorned with candles not once, but twice!

Snuggles with the nippers and homemade cards - best pressies ever :-)

Snuggles with the nippers and homemade cards - best pressies ever :-)

In my standard scattergun approach to all things low-FODMAP I've got a couple of things I'm very excited about coming up but in the meantime I've been beavering away on a little Christmas treat for you all, normal and freaky eaters alike (Yule Log included!) Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing my go-to Christmas recipes with you, all FODMAP friendly, all gluten-free and most seem free from one thing or another. I've been videoing the recipes too for you to watch my haphazard slightly clumsy nature in my real-life family kitchen. There's one or two continuity glitches when life got in the way but like I say, real-life!

You can sign up to my mailing list and I'll compile the recipes at the end to send out to you. Either use the form at the bottom of the pages or on the contact section. Don't forget I'm also sharing my real-life teatimes on Instagram (@ourhousefortea) Facebook (Our House For Tea Ltd.) and Twitter (@ourhousefortea).

Now I need to talk to you about the book - it is still available on this website with free UK shipping but you need to think about your Christmas orders. I need the orders in by 18th December at the latest if they're going to make it to you in time! Online retailers will need a little more time if they need to print to order so do check when to avoid disappointment.

Winning this from the Allergy and Free From Show was pretty unexpected!

Winning this from the Allergy and Free From Show was pretty unexpected!

Is that everything? Let me know what I've forgotten. Incidentally, I have so enjoyed reading about your teatime exploits with the Our House For Tea Cookbook, thank you so much for sharing with me, keep it coming and let me know how you get on with Christmas!

See you soon, Lxx

Solitary final birthday cake with a MASSIVE candle!

Solitary final birthday cake with a MASSIVE candle!