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 :-)

Food Maestro UK - Low-FODMAP, My Family and Me - Guest Blog

Food Maestro UK run a nifty little app especially designed to help you find Low-FODMAP products in the UK market. Here's a little guest blog I wrote for them, explaining my family's low-FODMAP journey. Happy reading!

Food Maestro UK - Low-FODMAP, My Family and Me

Laura stonehouse Our House For Tea 001.jpg

Join Our House For Tea at Booka for Supper!

What are you doing on 3rd November? I'll tell you what you should be doing, join me for a little bit of supper at Booka Bookshop in Oswestry, Shropshire. We'll be having a low-FODMAP, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free time with a little bit of cooking, eating and a chance for you to mingle and chat with other people who are also enjoying a low-FODMAP diet. 

Tickets available from Booka here or pop in to see them. It really is the most amazing bookshop. Enthusiastic staff, lots of author events, gorgeous windows and exactly the right sort of place relax with a coffee and get lost in a book. Named the Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2015,  I'm not exaggerating!

See you soon.

There I am! I'd love to be there with you. 

There I am! I'd love to be there with you. 

Read Marianne Williams' review of the Our House For Tea's Low-FODMAP Family Cook Book

I was both thrilled and touched by Marianne William's review of Our House For Tea's Low-FODMAP and Family Cookbook. Marianne is impressively knowledgable about all things FODMAP. She set up the first NHS primary care dietititan-led gastroenterolgy clinic in the UK in 2011. She knows all the science of IBS, the Low-FODMAP diet, food allergies, coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity and I was awestruck by the list of her awards. I always say, if you want to know more about Low-FODMAP, speak to a professional and Marianne certainly knows her onions. This being a Low-FODMAP book, onions are probably a bad example! Read more about Marianne here

In the meantime have a look at these lovely words!

This is a wonderful family-focused low FODMAP recipe book born out of a need for simple, practical food that would be both healthy and acceptable to the entire family. The reality is that cooking separate meals as a busy parent is destined to cause exhaustion and frustration and may lead to an eventual inability to follow the diet. This book gives down-to-earth recipes which will appeal to the kids as well as the adults. There's no suggestion that the family need to, or should, follow the entire FODMAP diet with every meal, but this book makes great suggestions for those meals you are likely to eat together. Great ideas from 'fruity ribs' to delicious looking 'cheesey drop scones' as well excellent ideas for meat and vegetable stock. Even puddings are covered with ideas such as tasty banana pancakes and adult treats such as hot chilli vodka. The photos are a great addition as are some of Laura's low FODMAP hints and tips. A very useful addition to the low FODMAP recipe book collection.  

NOTE: As with all FODMAP recipe books it will be important to keep abreast of any updates or changes to the ‘allowed’ foods.

Marianne Williams 7th October, 2016