I promised I would update you on my progress with my self-styled food reintroduction programme, so here it is. Three weeks in and I have some great successes as well as some mishaps to share. Here’s the full story:
The background is that for the first while on the low fodmap diet you must eliminate absolutely all foods that contain large amounts of hard to digest sugars. Then, once your IBS symptoms are under control you can trial each type of sugar to see exactly which are causing you most trouble and whether there are any you can in fact eat as normal.
The first day of my reintroduction programme I stuck religiously to my complete elimination diet. Porridge for breakfast then homemade low fodmap curry for lunch. As the inevitable 3pm energy slump hit I made a cup of tea and enjoyed my first trial food: two mini gluten free bakewell tarts. You might be thinking ‘if the tarts are gluten free, whats the problem?’. Well, even without the wheat to worry about, the cake is made from almonds (high in hard to digest oligosaccharides), jam could contain polyols, the cherry on top is full of fructose…and so the list goes on. So I savoured my bakewells and waited…I knew that if I felt fine four hours later I could be pretty sure they were okay to eat in future.
I checked the time what felt like about every five minutes for the first half an hour, then after one hour, two hours….things were looking pretty hopeful. Then all of a sudden I realised it was five hours later and I was still feeling fine. No symptoms, just…normal. I celebrated with a little jig and ran to my star chart to put a tick in the bakewell tart column. Success!
I had decided I would trial each food up to 3 times so I could be sure they were a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, so the next week I enjoyed my bakewell tarts once more with no side effects. Then I tried ‘9 bar’ cereal bars, chocolate covered rice cakes, all okay too! My choice of snacks was significantly growing!!
Less successful were figs. Don’t ask me why I decided to trial them next, but I did. The first time I ate them I then had back to back meetings which mean I didn’t eat lunch til 4pm. Needless to say by the end of the day my tummy was not my best friend and I couldn’t tell if that was due to the figs or my super late lunch. So later that week I dutifully tested them again, and spent the evening on the sofa in pain. So figs have been struck off the list.
Since then I’ve got braver with my trials: My current projects are yoghurt, milk and gluten free bread (not together).
The great side effect of trialling all these foods is that is that while I’m doing it I have to stick ruthlessly to the diet. I can’t risk confusing matters by eating potentially troublesome foods, however small the portion, because if they give me symptoms that will ruin the experiment.
Onwards and upwards!
(My fave info on how to trial reintroducing high Fodmap foods is by Two dieticians do the low fodmap diet. )