SCD and low FODMAP dinner, week 3.

Squashablanca offers recipes and lifestyle pointers for people following the low FODMAP diet, which is currently the most successful treatment for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The low FODMAP diet was developed at the Monash University in Australia and most broadly it limits the consumption of several types of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed by people with IBS and cause symptoms ranging from diarrhoea, through bloating, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps and constipation, to fatigue and difficulties with concentration. By limiting their intake, most IBS patients experience a great improvement of their condition. On the downside, the diet is fairly restrictive and complicated – in addition to cutting out certain types of food, one must also monitor portion sizes of ‘allowed foods’ and carefully combine them to avoid cumulative high FODMAP loads. Moreover, the diet does not actually cure IBS, but simply manages symptoms, so it is a lifetime commitment. Nevertheless, the benefits greatly exceed the sacrifice; if you’ve suffered from IBS, you know exactly what I mean.  Since following the diet only for one to two weeks usually brings improvement, there’s no reason to not try it!

As the lifestyle change can be overwhelming and the diet itself is extremely difficult to navigate, most people decide to start it under the guidance of a dietetitian. If you have that option, I would recommend seeing one; however, if – like me – you’re on your own, it’s still possible. Just do lots of research, if you like – buy one of the low FODMAP books written by Dr. Sue Shepherd or by Dr. Patsy Katsos, and get the Monash University low FODMAP app for your smartphone if you think it will benefit you. (I’m not getting any money or other benefits by endorsing these; they’re simply great resources, without which I would be completely lost). There are many resources available when it comes to understanding FODMAP containing foods and the information is often contradictory; here, I follow the Monash University research, but I encourage you to read widely and try to find a version of the diet that suits you best. We’re all different and what works for me, may not be the best approach for you.

My personal story? Like many of you, I tried everything over the years to relieve my IBS, from elephant doses of laxatives to yoga. Nothing worked – till I discovered the low FODMAP diet.  At the beginning, I was skeptical and frankly, rather terrified – no more apples? Yogurt? Broccoli? Pretty much all items on my list of favourite foods were off the table. Moreover, having been a vegan or vegetarian for many years, I could not see myself surviving with the limited amount of foods that were allowed. However, following a particularly difficult winter when I lost thirteen pounds in three months as a result of constant nausea and bloating, and was so tired I could not function at work, I figured things could not get much worse. That was one of the best decisions I’d ever made! And what’s exciting, now that I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on what I can and cannot eat, I am able to incorporate more and more vegetarian and vegan meals into my diet (which is my personal preference and has nothing to do with FODMAPs – just so we’re clear). Am I 100% healthy, 100% of the time? Of course not; IBS is more than just food, it’s also affected by your stress levels, exercise, and it definitely has a neurological component due to the involvement of the nervous system in the intestine. I definitely am healthier, happier and more energetic, and after a few months of adjusting to the new lifestyle, I think I’ve got it figured out – from eating out to making my own cream cheese . Why not give it a go?

meatloaf2small

How did Squashablanca come to life? Writing about the food I prepare satisfies puts a lot of enjoyment back into cooking and eating, and that itself would be worth the effort. In addition to that, I discovered the joys of food photography and currently spend an exorbitant amount of time in really strange positions, getting shots of everything from fennel bulbs to flour. And finally, the idea was not entirely mine; I started writing up the recipes I was inventing for myself, and it was my boyfriend who suggested that I may have something interesting there that could be worth starting a blog.

So, here we are! In my blog, I share low FODMAP recipes that I invent myself or modify from high-FODMAP options; many of these are also suitable for the SCD diet (low carb), Paleo diet, or are gluten- or dairy-free. I also offer short guides on ways to manage the insane time commitment that following a restricted diet entails, tips on how to enjoy going out for meals, and will soon start a ‘backpacking food’ section.

What I do not attempt to do, is reference any sort of holistic healing protocols, offer cures or medical advice, or claim that you should fanatically follow my guidance. Quite the opposite – every person with IBS has individual tolerance levels they need to test in order to be able to enjoy as many nutritious foods as possible. Most importantly, I would never suggest that following my advice is a replacement for any medication you may be taking or any other treatment your doctor has recommended; this is something you should always discuss with a health professional.

Feel free to contact me with any questions related to the diet itself, the symptoms it relieved for me, or anything else related to this blog. And remember… enjoy your food!

6 Comments »

  1. Melissa Beaman says:

    This blog is amazing! Thank you for putting so much time into it. I developed IBS symptoms after getting a parasite infection (Blastocystis Hominis) over 4 years ago when I was on a medical mission trip in Uganda. I have just recently been reading about low fodmap and although it will be really hard to give up some of the veggies and fruit I thought were supposed to be good for me, I think this is really worth a try! Are you on Facebook? I looked for you but couldn’t find you. I’ve never actually followed a blog. Is there a way that I sign up to follow your blog so I receive notifications when you add new entries?

    Thanks so much!!

    Melissa B.

    • odrowaz says:

      Hi Melissa,

      Great to hear from you, and I’m really happy you like the blog! It’s a lot of fun to write – I just wish I had more time for it. I hear you about having to give up fruit and vegetables – I used to be a vegan pre-FODMAP, and for the first few months, grocery shopping made me cry (literally). But it gets easier, I’ve been on the diet for over a year now and rarely ever get cravings.
      I don’t have my own Facebook page, but I’m on Pinterest and Twitter – you can sign up using the small ‘P’ and bird icons in the upper right corner of the blog page. I also typically post my recipes in the ‘Low FODMAP for foodies’ and ‘Low FODMAP – healthy, low carb meal and snack ideas’ groups on Facebook (btw. I really recommend them, they’re full of great information!). Alternatively, you can just bookmark the page using the black bookmark symbol.

      Thanks once more for your lovely feedback, good luck with the diet!

      Zaneta

  2. Kimball says:

    Are you still current? I was trying to find a new post. I love your tone and I just made your cornbread without the gluten and it was the best. Light and fluffy – perfect. Kimball

    • odrowaz says:

      Hi Kimball,

      Thanks, I’m so glad you liked the cornbread! It’s one of my favorite recipes. Yes I’m still lurking in the shadows of blogging, keep trying to write a guide to making low FODMAP smoothies – your comment just gave me a much needed push! Happy FODMAPping. :)

      Zaneta

  3. Pat says:

    Yes! Love the tone of your writing! And the exploration of food and recipe development is a boon to all of us with IBS! Please keep it up. I’m going to make the almond aubergine and pumpkin bread this week and will try the spelt bread on the weekend. I had no idea gluten could be substituted for xanthan gum.

    • odrowaz says:

      So glad you like the recipes! Yes gluten actually works better than xanthan gum, the bread feel more ‘real’ – not so gummy. Good luck with our baking adventures!

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