Some of you may remember me mentioning that Sion had been suffering with some digestive problems late last year. He had a whole host of blood tests and even an ultrasound to rule out any nasties, but unfortunately a definite diagnosis was never given. Last month his symptoms flared up again and after a liver function test came back as abnormal we braced ourselves for the "urgent but routine" appointment his doctor had made for him.
Thankfully he now has a diagnosis of IBS, which while uncomfortable at times, is at least a manageable condition with diet and medication as necessary. His doctor gave him a list of foods that follow the FODMAP principle of diet. As a sign of support and to keep our weekly food bill reasonable I am happily now following this principle too.
Here comes the science bit (from this website);
FODMAPs are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as food additives. FODMAPs include fructose (in excess of glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol). A diet low in FODMAPs (“a low FODMAP diet”) is scientifically proven and is now used internationally as the most effective dietary therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and symptoms of an irritable bowel, including excessive wind (flatus), abdominal pain, bloating and distension, nausea and changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea and/or constipation). A low FODMAP diet has also been proven with solid scientific research to reduce symptoms of fatigue, lethargy and poor concentration.
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:
Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. These molecules made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain
Disaccharides – “di” means two. This is a double sugar molecule.
Monosaccharides – “mono” means single. This is a single-sugar molecule.
Polyols – these are sugar alcohols (however don’t lead to intoxication!)
You can see a list of the key foods to avoid and enjoy here
The main foods that we now avoid are onions and garlic (except for the green part of spring onions), most green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus & cabbage, stoned fruit (plums, peaches, nectarines), wheat and lactose containing dairy products such as cream and ice cream.
There are lots of foods that Sion can eat; sweet potato and pak choi are fast becoming favourites. We are learning what textures and flavours can substitute the "bad" list and how we can continue to enjoy the meals that were firm favourites before Sion's diagnosis.
Now I have the space to cook and the light to take better pictures, over the coming weeks I will put up recipes of meals that we are able to enjoy. I am by no means an expert and would advise people to check with their GP before significantly changing their diet. However, with a few simple changes we have both noticed a change for the better over the last few weeks.