Wellbeing

What the FODMAP is going on here? Dieting vicariously and reaping the benefit.

Last night I tweeted about sharing this post. My partner is on a low FODMAP diet at the moment trying to rule out the cause of some certain uncomfortable symptoms. The low FODMAP diet is usually introduced after consultation with or under the guidance of a dietician. The diet is often prescribed for the treatment of IBS or similar symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders.

Trying to explain what low FODMAP is can get a bit technical, so I will try my best. Here is what it ‘says on the tin’.

Where FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates or sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as additives, a low FODMAP diet aims to cut these items out in the short term – in an effort to identify which foods are creating the problematic symptoms. You can reintroduce foods after a short period and by process of elimination identify what it is you should avoid thereafter to keep the symptoms under control

So what does FODMAP actually stand for? Here’s a breakdown of the acronym;

Fermentable –  means they are broken down by bacteria in the large bowel

Oligosaccharides – Oligo (Few) + Saccharides (Sugars) = Sugars joined in a chain

Disaccharides – Di (Two) + Saccharides (Sugars) = Double sugar molecule

Monosaccharides – Mono (Single) + Saccharides (Sugars) = Single sugar molecule

And

Polyols – means sugar alcohols

So, why am I posting about it?

I tweeted last night that this diet is a potential life changer and that although I’m not on the diet myself I feel like I’m benefiting immensely from my partner’s experience.

As a couple, we eat together, it’s normal. When your partner is making such an enormous effort to improve their health, you help them out. You join in. You support them. And this is not an easy diet to stick to.

The first few days were the hardest. My partner felt like he couldn’t eat anything. He was moody with headaches and zero energy. I’ve heard of this before when people give up wheat or sugar. It’s like a withdrawal symptom. I tried to remain supportive and encourage him to stick to it. It would be worth the effort to find out what is causing the problem.

What seemed at first to be a diet of carrot sticks, salad and eggs would soon become a kitchen experiment. We have been creating exciting meals that look colourful, wholesome and taste so delicious. I’m used to having flavoursome food and thought this would suffer as a result of ruling out so many items. I’m pleasantly proven wrong.

This vicarious diet experience is forcing me to take a hard look at what is on the food labels. I am relearning everything. It’s amazing how they can disguise food additives in the ingredients list.

I feel like this is a life changing experience with food because it really has flipped my perspective. I’m experiencing food in such a different way. It’s not all carrot sticks and salad, I assure you. And my health is benefiting too as I feel less bloated, I no longer feel uncomfortable after eating and I’m eating more colourful, wholesome food that makes me feel great from the inside.

Finally…

While the low FODMAP diet is only intended for short term use, I clearly see how it changes your relationship with food. I see how you could maintain a healthier relationship with food after the low FODMAP diet has finished. You really learn to listen to your body and what impact the food you eat has on how you feel.

Hopefully I haven’t rambled on about this too much. Food excites me. I love food. What I love even more is learning about our relationship with food and understanding how it makes us feel.

Do you have experience with the low FODMAP diet? Let me know!

Helpful resources

Monash University – where the low FODMAP diet was researched and developed.

Fodmap Friendly

Gastroenterological Society of Australia – Low Fodmap Diet Information

 

As with all health and diet related articles, the content of this post does not replace the information or guidance from a registered GP or dietician. You should always speak with your doctor or registered health professional before making any significant changes to your diet as there are many considerations for your overall wellbeing. 

 

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