A New Beginning – The Start of the FODMAP Diet

As of now, the start of this blog, I have been on the FODMAP diet for only 3 days! To tell you all the truth, I have been struggling! Not because I have been struggling with food, but more because I have been struggling knowing what I CANNOT eat. I am an absolute food lover! I am the type of person who tries to diet and lasts about 3 or so days (probably less…) before giving in to dessert at dinner and now, I have gone from being the person who eats anything and everything to the person that is restricted from eating so many things! Because of this, I AM SO HUNGRY (hence the blog title!). I crave chocolate and cake and biscuits and pasta and all those fabulously fattening foods that I can no longer have. When I first got the diet and for the first couple of days or so (and I know saying that is premature, because I am STILL in my ‘first couple of days or so’), this really affected me, because I thought constantly about the things I could no longer have. Then someone told me, ‘do not focus on what you cannot eat, rather focus on what you can eat!’, and that has really helped me out, because in all honestly, while there are a lot of things that we cannot eat or that are restricted on the FODMAP diet, there is also a lot that we can eat!

To give everyone a bit of background, whilst studying in Australia, I live in an all catered college! Of course, when I was put on my FODMAP diet, this is the first thing I thought about, what would I eat? How would they cater for me? Should I even bother talking to them? After a back and forth debate with my sister about whether to talk to the kitchen staff about my new diet or not, (I was reluctant to believe that they would even try to cater for me), I decided to go and talk to one of the kitchen ladies, and to my astonishment, she was BEYOND helpful, there was nothing more she could have done to help me, she was AMAZING. She took me through the kitchen, showed me where all the food I could eat was stored, gave me containers for take away lunches in the event that I could not eat dinner, cooked me special food away from onions and garlic for my meals, and even gave me some of her own lactose free and gluten free bread supplies! I cannot be more grateful to her, she really changed my mindset about how I would cope with the FODMAP diet.

However, even with the special attention from the kitchen and always having food on my plate, I AM STILL HUNGRY! I am not sure if this is a mindset toward the food I am eating or if I am not eating enough… But yesterday I decided it was high time that I go out shopping for my first FODMAP food haul! So, last night I spent my evening googling FODMAP shopping lists (the link for a helpful one was posted in my previous post) and downloaded the FODMAP diet app onto my iPhone. This app is AMAZING. It can be bought in itunes on your iphone and if you just search ‘FODMAP’ it should come up. It was designed and generated by Monash University and it has a HUGE data base of foods that have been tested and that have been concluded as either being high or low in FODMAPS. I would really recommend downloading this app to anyone on the FODMAP diet, it costs about AUD12.99, but it is honestly truly worth it.

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There is a food guide,

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a shopping list section (I used this today!)  Image

and even recipes!

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Overall, an amazing app!

Anyway, with my FODMAP app in hand and my research done on shopping lists, today was the day I went shopping!!! And wow did I have fun! I went down to the supermarket (for those of you that are Australian, I simply went to Coles!) and instantly found the ‘health food’ section. It was massive! Admittedly, I did chose one of the bigger supermarkets for this shop, but I was still pleasantly surprised with the amount of amazing stuff they had, stuff that I had never bothered to look at before! I could have stayed in that isle for hours, looking around and finding many, many, things to buy, but unfortunately both my studies and my non-FODMAP-er friend beckoned me away. I did, however, come out with an impressive haul!!

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I am sure that for many of you, these are things have seen often, but for me, a few of these things really excited me! I haven’t tried some of them yet but I can tell those of you that are new to the low FODMAP diet or those of you that just haven’t tried these products yet, that some of them are great!

* Lactose free milk – if you’re one of the unlucky ones that have been put on the FODMAP diet with no lactose (like me, [insert sad face here]), that this milk is great! In the past I have tried soy milk, rice milk (pictured above) and almond milk, but I found them all too sweet and un-milky tasting for me. This lactose free milk however, tastes just like milk! I was so pleasantly surprised! I definitely prefer it to rice milk!

* Sunbites air-popped popcorn – the huge packet that is pictured above, actually comes in little lunch box sized packets and they’re a great snack! They’re really flavourful and just plain yummy! Will have to take a packet with me next time I venture to the cinema!

* Sunrice seeded rice cakes – when I first bought these I was extremely reluctant to taste them – I mean, YUCK, seeded rice cakes? They don’t exactly sound the most appetising! But they’re actually really tasty! I have been concocting plans all day about how best to eat them and I have decided that for my first try I will give them a go with peanut butter, banana and maple syrup – YUM! I will let you all know how they taste 🙂

* Vaalia lactose free yoghurt – I actually first tried these yoghurts yesterday as I was kindly given two by the lady that works in the kitchen! Again, they’re really tasty and if you closed your eyes and never saw the ‘lactose free’ label, you would never know the difference between these and normal, IBS symptom inducing, lactose yoghurts. I am looking forward to eating my yoghurt with my cornflakes and some banana! There is also another brand of lactose free yoghurt that I am yet to try, made by Laddells. Let me know if you have tried it and what it is like!

Along with the Vaalia lactose free yoghurt that I was given, the kitchen lady also gave me a block of lactose free cheese! Image

This cheese tastes AMAZING. Just like normal cheese!! I could eat pieces of it and normally, I am not a cheese devourer (except for feta, that heavens that is still allowed on the FODMAP diet!). Today, I even had this cheese on a spelt bread, toasted sandwich, tasted great! I recommend!!!

* Rooibos tea – this is nothing new to me, I have been drinking rooibos my whole life! For those of you that don’t know what rooibos tea is, it is ‘red bush’ tea from Africa! It is caffeine free and high in antioxidants. I absolutely love it. I wanted to share it with all of you obsessive tea drinkers (I am one of you! Don’t be ashamed to admit it! I too, love my tea!). Rooibos tea, with a little bit of lactose free milk, is an amazing, warm, caffeine free treat for you to substitute your normal, 100 cups a day, of caffeinated tea or coffee with. It may take a bit of getting used to, because it is a different taste, but I would really recommend it. If you cannot stomach Rooibos, try Earl Grey, Green or Peppermint tea.

The others I have not tried yet, but these are what I am truly excited about trying!

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I have been craving sweets ALL WEEK. Ever since I was told I couldn’t eat chocolate, jelly sweets are what I have been after. We have a canteen that opens every night at college and the other night, I galloped down there like a race horse to buy some but EVERY packet I found had gluten in them. I didn’t even know that these sweets contained gluten? I was really surprised! But then, today, I found these!!! They are made by Sue Shepherd, the founder, creator, main researcher, whatever you would like to call her, of FODMAPS and they even have a special FODMAP friendly logo! This made me so happy ❤  I found them in my regular old supermarket! They were quite expensive, around $4 a packet, but I figured I needed them, right? Because of the traumatising new diet that I have to get used to, I need a treat! I can’t wait to give them a try, I will let you all know what they taste like!

 

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Okay, so I am a true kid at heart. I couldn’t resist buying the kids, animal shaped, cookies over the adult ones… But I am after all a zoology student… These look really good! And they also come in little individual packets, which means I can take them to university with me for a snack! I am also so grateful for the huge label on the side, documenting exactly what they do not have in them!

Which brings me to my last item of excitement… I was left extremely disappointed when I arrived home today and looked a bit closer at this purchase, finding out that I actually could not eat it! 😦

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I was so excited about having some rooibos tea and gingernut biscuit when I got home from the shop, I have missed my tea time treats! But as I sat down and had a closer look at the packaging, I realised that most unfortunately, the biscuits contained soy! Another product that is not allowed on the FODMAP diet. So now, I am sitting, writing this blog post with a cup of tea and a mandarin, while the gingernut biscuits stare mockingly at me… If only I could give them away, but alas, what normal person, with a normal digestive system, would want my gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free, vegan cookies?! This brings me much sadness, but also teaches me a valuable lesson, which I can now pass on to all of you, CHECK ALL LABELS VERY CAREFULLY. I hope that none of you are ever left as devastated as I am….

 

 

 

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An Introduction – Who is the Hungry Girl?

Hello to everyone reading my brand spanking new blog!

As a bit of an introduction, I will answer the question on everyone’s mind, who is this hungry girl? Well, to put you all out of your misery, let me tell you!

I am a 20 year old girl (surprisingly!) studying Zoology in Australia! I spend half my time in Australia studying and half my time at home, with my family, in Dubai. I have recently been put onto the FODMAP diet (if you need to know what FODMAP stands for, I recommend you google that, because even I cannot recite that mouthful from memory!) as a trial. After many doctors visits, many tests and a lifetime of stomach problems, the many professionals I have seen can only assume what I have is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The FODMAP diet is specifically designed for those with stomach problems caused by IBS and if I understand correctly, FODMAP refers to a group of foods (the ones I can longer enjoy), that cannot properly be digested properly, resulting in the many symptoms that come with IBS. 

Once I knew I was on the FODMAP diet, I did a little research into it, trying to find out what is was, what it does, what I could still eat etc etc. Here are some of the things I found most useful out there!

Here are a couple of helpful links on FODMAP information:

* http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/ 
– Monash University also does a FANTASTIC smart phone app! I was incredibly pleased and surprised with it. Stay tuned for my next blog post about the phone app!

* http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet
– Dr Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet and hence I found this page very helpful! She also has her own line of FODMAP friendly foods that can be purchased in supermarkets (I am know for sure they can be purchased in Coles in Australia!)

The following are great for shopping ideas:

* http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-basics/low-fodmap-shopping-list/
– I found this shopping list really helpful! This blog is written by an American dietitian and whilst a lot of the name branded food on the list is American and cannot be purchased in Australia, I still found it really helpful in terms of getting ideas!

* http://shepherdworks.com.au/shop/low-fodmap-diet-5th

– this looks like a great book by Dr Shepherd herself! Unfortunately its all sold out, but I will probably be searching my local bookstores and even Amazon for this later on. 

And so, with the understanding that the FODMAP diet is relatively new and with a slight nudge from my mom, I have decided to start this blog, a blog about my journey with the FODMAP diet. My goal is to give those new to the FODMAP diet, or just to IBS, a (hopefully) helpful place to come, read, process, laugh and get some ideas on what to eat, what to buy and how to still enjoy food (hopefully, I myself can find this out)! 

I hope that you enjoy my blog!