The following is a personal account of using the FODMAP diet plan, we must state most clearly that the effects it had can only be related to my own IBS.We wanted to try this ourselves to ensure that we were able to speak of it with a greater understanding. In particular we wanted to know about the day to day practicalities.
We were also interested, by the results, nearly three quarters of IBS sufferers noted improvements, which in IBS terms is huge. Irritable Bowel Syndrome covers so many symptoms that it is rare to find any treatment that matches that success rate, therefore it would be very wrong of us to not undertake a practical experiment with this ever growing treatment.
Firstly I must explain, that I had been reticent about trying the low FODMAP diet, purely as I had for some time found a way in which to manage my symptoms. So to an extent it was hard to see what this diet could do, it would surely be better for someone who was not in control to try this method .
It was then that the shuddering realisation occurred that I was not practising what I preached, I’d become quite closed minded about the opportunity to improve. I am very aware of how much better I am now compared to the horrible years of being under the thumb of IBS, thus making any changes can be met dismissivly.
When I decided to do this, I wanted to do this properly, so the following is based on an IBS sufferer following this diet for six weeks and the focus is simply on whether or not it worked for me.
The first thing that must be said before going any further is that there were many changes I’d made to my diet prior to the existence of the FODMAP diet. Dairy and wheat have long been gone, and I have a healthy diet with plenty of exercise. So the FODMAP was not a massive change.
Day to Day
On a day to day basis I think the diet is very easy to follow and whilst there is a lot of sacrifices, I know very few severe IBS sufferers who will not willingly give up some foods for peace from their IBS.
I happen to love cooking so I also enjoyed the chance to play with the items that I could cook with, I love a challenge.
Sometimes it is easy to become fixated on what you are missing out of, but if you can forget about that, then this diet is wonderful.
Diet is an issue, whereby the reality is we all have to make sacrifices. We all know some horrible little toad who can eat what they want, when they want, and stay stick thin and beautiful (we hate them too!), However for most of us, sensible eating is already in place and again just do not focus on what you are missing and it will be fine.
So to the bit that matters, did it work. As stated I was not an ideal candidate, as my symptoms are pretty much under control. That said I was very impressed with the diet, it seemed to highlight some foods which still had the potential to cause bloating and discomfort.
Having had IBS for such a long time, I found it interesting that I’d arrived at a diet that was so similar to the FODMAP diet, without the existence of the FODMAP diet. Over the years I’d been eliminating foods, without knowing scientifically why I had done so, I was simply eliminating them if they caused me discomfort. This made the process very long and drawn out, whereas a sufferer reading the low FODMAP diet who was new to IBS would get to a better place much quicker.
Would I recommend ?
I found the diet interesting enough to ensure that I actually enjoyed it, this is not one of those silly faddish diet. I also think it is easier to follow, as Dr Sue Shepard has given it a degree of credence with her clear research and presentation of the facts.
This is not a cure, but it is a considerable step forward in the treatment of IBS. I may have found my own way, but there is no doubt a lot of time and heartache could have been saved if I’d have had the benefit of this book all those years ago.
This will not work for everyone, without doubt this is a good plan, but there are many of you out there with very serious IBS , and it would be very wrong to suggest that this will be your epiphany. It is what it it, a very good step in the right direction for many IBS sufferers.