#007 Alana Scott On Managing Food Allergies And IBS Along With Fabulous Low FODMAP Recipes

Our guest for this episode is Alana Scott, the founder of the website A Little Bit Yummy’. On her website Alana combines her passion for cooking and love for writing, to provide us with delicious low FODMAP recipes and science-based articles.

Learn more from Alana Scott on how she manages her IBS symptoms and learn some amazing tips on how you can manage your low FODMAP journey as well.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Alana came across the low FODMAP diet.
  • How Alana faced additional challenges due to food allergies, celiac disease, and IBS
  • What are the foods that Alana had to give up?
  • How her passion for cooking affects her food intolerance.
  • The inspiration behind her delicious recipes.
  • Excellent tips for creating delicious low FODMAP food.
  • What are some tips for eating out in restaurants?
  • Some great tips for travelling when you’re on a low FODMAP diet.
  • What is Alana low FODMAP dinner plan service all about?
  • Her all-time favourite low FODMAP recipe.


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Can’t listen to this episode right now? Read the transcript below!

LARAH: Hi, and welcome to a new episode of the Low FODMAP Diet and IBS Podcast. My guest, Alana Scott, was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome a couple of years ago and since then, she’s been following a low FODMAP diet to help manage her symptoms.  In addition to suffering from IBS, Alana is also celiac. She is allergic to tree nuts and is also intolerant to dairy proteins. Alana is the founder of the website A Little Bit Yummy”, where she combines her passion for cooking and love for writing to provide us with delicious low FODMAP recipes and science-based articles. Her recipes are so delightful that they have also been published on the Monash University low FODMAP blog.  The low FODMAP articles are so clear and in depth that they are published on both the Healthy Girl website and in the Healthy Food Guide Magazine in New Zealand. There you go…Alana Scott.

LARAH: Hi, Alana.

ALANA: Hi, Larah. Thanks for having me on the show today. It’s such a pleasure to be here.

LARAH: It’s such a pleasure for me to finally meet you.  I’ve read a lot of your blogs on your website and I’m a big fan of yours.

ALANA: Thank you so much. It’s just a delight being able to share the low FODMAP information with everyone and to inspire others to love the low FODMAP diet.

LARAH: Absolutely, I agree. Let’s spread the word as much as we can on the low FODMAP diet as it has helped both of us.  So the first question I would like to ask you, if you could just tell the listeners a bit more about yourself and how did you get diagnosed with IBS and how you came across the low FODMAP diet?

ALANA: I had quite a complicated medical history in the past. When I was really young, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, so that was about fourteen years ago. All my Irritable Bowel Syndrome and digestive issues started a bit later when I headed to university.  So my first surprise was my nut allergy, which I realised when my boyfriend at that time had eaten some Nutella — which is the hazelnut spread — and then kissed me and I broke out in a rash. I got itchy and a bit breathless and so I thought, “What is going on?”

Okay, so I figured out tree nuts were an issue. I also have some problems with cashew nuts and almonds as well. So that was the first gastrointestinal allergy issue to crop up.  And then, when I was at University, I was quite busy and I was just eating anything that was available because I was poor. I couldn’t afford to eat what I wanted to eat and I noticed I started to get a really sore stomach —  lots of diarrhoea, bloating and nausea — which is just really  horrible to experience. I also knew wheat and pasta and bread were issues for me, so I sneakily came off those.  I was having really bad issues with diarrhoea, so I came off that and my symptoms started to get a little bit better, but I didn’t get heaps better. Next I took myself off to the doctor, where I promptly got told off for taking myself off certain food groups. They recognised that there was definitely a problem going on, and I had weight loss as well, which is unusual. They sent me straight on to the gastroenterologist and the dietitian, and this is where it started to get interesting.

I was initially only diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and my lovely dietitian put me on the low FODMAP diet. I was lucky with the fact that the low FODMAP diet did give me quite a bit of my life back. I could all of a sudden go out with friends again without worrying about having an accident and feel a bit more comfortable, which was fantastic. However, I had some underlying symptoms. We tried the low FODMAP for three-months with good results, but then the weight loss continued quite dramatically and I was having severe nausea and still some diarrhoea and the dietitian was like,  “Well those are red flags. We’ve got to deal with those quickly.” So I was told that I’d  have to go back to the gastroenterologist for tests, biopsies and more blood tests. They discovered at that point, that I am a celiac, and now, after cutting the rest of the trace gluten out of my diet, I’m so much better. I really do have my life back. I just have a few other things I have to manage on top of the low FODMAP diet.

LARAH: Wow, thank you, Alana. There’s so much going on and I’m so glad that you were finally able to get a diagnosis for both IBS and being celiac before you wasted to nothing, really.

ALANA: It is a relief.

LARAH: Yes, I can imagine.  So when I hear all the things that you suffer from in terms of food that you cannot consume, I really start to think of how lucky I am to ‘only’ be suffering from IBS. I know it’s not only, but compared to what you went through. What do you feel is the biggest challenge in your life? Is it suffering from IBS, being celiac the nut allergy…?

ALANA: They all have their different challenges. The nut allergy is the scariest because of the fact that it could kill me in a matter of minutes, if I don’t keep control over that. However, it is quite easy to avoid nuts in your everyday life and it’s really well-labelled on packaging as well. So for me, that’s not so much of a challenge anymore. It’s in the background. My biggest issue is with my celiac disease, because I am highly reactive to gluten. Just last week I was in the hospital because I had a severe reaction and I needed some help to get re-hydrated with some fluids. For me, it’s managing trace gluten, which luckily, for the other low Fodmappers who are listening, isn’t really too much of an issue just on the low FODMAP diet. For me, low FODMAP is quite a breeze because there are so many foods that we can really enjoy while being on the low FODMAP diet, so I don’t really find that too hard to manage.

LARAH: Yes, that’s right. If you ‘only’ have to deal with the low FODMAP diet, there is a good variety of food — healthy food that you can have. Of course, for you, it’s more restricted because it’s minus gluten and minus nuts.

ALANA:  Yeah, everything is manageable, so it’s good to keep that in perspective as well.

LARAH:  All right, that’s great. I think a lot of people who have similar allergies to yours can probably relate to your story really well. Can you just tell me about the top three favourite foods that you had to give up while you were on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, and also if you were able to reintroduce these foods after the elimination phase?

ALANA: I was really gutted about losing avocado. I used to love smashed avocados on toast with a squeeze of lemon juice and some crushed black pepper. That was my go-to lunch every day and I loved it. So for me, giving up avocado was really disappointing, but it has been well worth it for the results.

My second food would have to be apples. My mum makes the most amazing homemade apple pie and it’s just something that I haven’t ever been able to reproduce with low FODMAP foods. So that’s probably, definitely my number two.

Finally, it would be stone fruits like peaches and nectarines — those fruits that sort of resemble summertime goodness. I have to say I miss those. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As my celiac disease is more under control and my gut is healing from the damage, we are noticing that my FODMAP tolerances are increasing. And the exciting news is that my sorbitol tolerance has really increased so I am going to get my avocado back and a few of my stone fruits as well, in moderation. So for me, that’s really exciting and it’s such a big improvement from when I first started this journey.

LARAH: I’m so glad for you and I can relate totally with avocado. I used to have avocado all the time. In fact, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, all I could have for the first four or five months was toast with Vegemite —  which is like the Australian spread —  and avocado on top, and that’s all I ate for months and months.  I was eventually able to reintroduce avocado and a few other which I like– hummus and mango — but in just a small doses to keep it under the threshold.

ALANA: Perfect.

LARAH: So I can see from everything you post that you have a really big passion for cooking. Could you tell us when this passion started and do you think it had to do with your food intolerance —  the fact that you are so passionate in cooking and you had to cook specific food?

ALANA: Well I actually grew up in the family restaurant which was nestled on three acres of garden and on a deer farm. So it’s  quite a unique situation in that I grew up around amazing food. My mom is a huge believer in simple country cooking, which is basically using fresh flavors, local produce and keeping things simple.  So I try to bring that through into my food as well.

The funny thing is, I always swore that I was never, ever going to enter the food industry because I know how much hard work it is. But then I got food intolerances and became a celiac and I have nut allergy, and I was like, “Well, if I want good food, I’m going to have to cook it myself. I really had to re-engage my love of food, brush up on my cooking skills and embrace living with food allergies and intolerance. That’s why I started  A Little Bit Yummy . I wanted to teach other people how to cook beautiful, yummy, delicious food that is safe for our gut.  So that’s where my passion comes from.

LARAH: And you’re doing a great job, Alana, because all your recipes are just so appealing. Well done to you.

ALANA: Yeah.

LARAH: As I said before, I love your blog articles and your recipes are always so interesting and appealing. Even Monash University wanted to work with you and, in fact. they publish your recipes on their blog.  We talked already a little bit about your childhood experience, but could you go into a few more details? Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes?

ALANA: I actually draw a lot of my inspiration for recipes from low FODMAP Facebook groups. I’m in a very unique situation where I can watch people have conversations and find out what foods they are missing and what sort of foods they enjoy. That inspires me to go and create delicious food that the everyday person will love — something that you can share with your friends and family and they won’t even know that it’s low FODMAP, or gluten free, dairy free or whatever you need it to be. So my followers are key in my recipe development. I’m also a real foodie so I really enjoy exploring new flavours and keeping an eye on what’s happening in the food magazines. Most of those recipes are high FODMAP, but I can sometimes say, “Oh, I really love these elements in this recipe”, but I like to put my own spin on it adding in different elements, and then, of course, make sure it’s low FODMAP and safe according to the Monash app guidelines. So I draw my inspiration from all over the place.  I have some favourite foodies as well like Nadia Lim and Annabel Langbein who are both Kiwi cooks who are all about fresh food, so I love watching what they’re up to as well.  At the end of the day, I just go into the kitchen and let the inspiration come to me while I’m cooking.

LARAH: Great, Alana. There’s probably a lot of people out there who believe the low FODMAP diet is tasteless, but we both know that this is not true. Could you give the listeners a few tips on how to create delicious low FODMAP food?

ALANA: Absolutely. My number one tip for you guys is to go ahead and stock your pantry. I want you to go and grab some beautiful garlic infused oil, a range of dried herbs and spices so you can have them on hand and some easy to use condiments like oyster sauce, soy sauce and also Worcestershire Sauce, which is actually low FODMAP despite containing garlic. It’s fermented, so it’s well within the low FODMAP thresholds.

Then when you’re cooking a meal and you’re trying to adapt it and it’s got onion in the original recipe, there’s lots of tips you can do to replace the flavor. My favourite is leek tips because it is a little bit more stronger in flavour.  So if you’re using a small onion, I would use a cup of green leek tips and add those into your dish. Or, you can use fresh chives or spring onion.  If you’re using fresh chives or spring onion, then try to add them into the meal towards the end so they maintain their flavour and freshness. So both with your leeks and spring onion, you only want to use the dark green tips.

LARAH: Perfect.

ALANA: If you’re looking at replacing garlic, go for garlic infused oils. If you’re making aioli, I’d use half a teaspoon to a quarter of a cup of mayonnaise. If you’re making a spaghetti bolognese, you put a  tablespoon in as your base flavor. Also just get creative with your spice mixes. I mean adding paprika and cumin to your mince to make a beautiful mince mixture for your nachos. If you’re making a bolognese, you could use sage, oregano, thyme and basil to create those beautiful Italian flavours. There’s lots of different options that you can play with.

LARAH: Yes. Thank you for those tips and it sounds delicious. I have to say that I’m a big fan of the garlic and onion infused oils. Maybe not using as much the green part of the leeks and the spring onion as I should, but it’s more because I don’t like throwing away the rest.

ALANA: You can actually regrow the spring onion and the leeks from the base. So just pop them into a glass of water and they will re-shoot over about a week and then you can harvest them.

LARAH: Ah, that sounds like a good tip. Maybe I should reintroduce those back. That’s good.  Obviously, with all the intolerance and allergies that you have you, do you find eating out in  restaurants challenging? Are there any tips you can give to people that are suffering from intolerance and allergies when they go out to a restaurant?

ALANA: Eating out can be a real challenge, especially if you’ve got additional intolerance on top of the low FODMAP diet, but it is definitely doable. My top tip is that you want to plan ahead if you can.  So hit your computer and start searching. Look for restaurants that have good gluten free options because at least this means you can avoid your higher amounts of fructans that occur in your wheat, rye and barley.

The next thing I will do is scan the menu and look for options that have good salads, a gluten-free pasta, a gluten-free pizza base, steak and chips or plain roast potatoes or roast vegetables and veggies like green beans and carrots that reoccur in the menu. Then you know that those things are at least in the kitchen. Then, if I spy meal that I think is easily adaptable — it might be like a chicken salad — then I go, “Okay, let’s earmark that meal as a possibility.”

Next, I will call the restaurant. Never call the restaurant during the busy times which is of sort of between 11 am to 2 pm which is the lunchtime rush — or after 5 pm because they’re going to be swamped and not able to hear your request. I generally call between 2 and 5 pm and ask to speak to the maitre-d’ or the head chef. Then I say, “Hey, look. I have food intolerance and I need some help choosing a safe meal when I come with my friends tomorrow night or the day after.” And from there, I let them know what my no-go foods are — mine are gluten, onion, garlic and then probably high fructose foods that are my worst triggers.  Then I would say, “I see you’ve got this on the menu. Can we adapt this recipe?”  Most of the time they say, “Yes, we can,”  and every now and then they might say, “Could you bring a safe mayonnaise with you and then we can make your dressing so it’s perfect for your needs?”

So my top tip is really just having a chat with the restaurant before you go and they will be able to help you find something that you can eat. If you are still concerned, take something with you like tomato paste for your pizza base, your mayonnaise or your favourite salad dressing, and that way, you’ve got more options when you get there.

LARAH: Yes, thank you for those tips Alana. It is very true.  When I was first diagnosed with IBS — and I used to eat out a lot before and I found myself oh no, what can I have?!? In Australia, it’s actually not too bad. There’s usually a grilled chicken and salad, and a grilled fish and salad is almost everywhere, but I found myself doing the elimination phase when I was in Italy and I could hardly eat out in a restaurant in Italy.

ALANA:  That would definitely be more challenging, but as you said, there are options. Grilled fish and chicken are fantastic options.

LARAH:  Perfect. So you also travel quite a bit. What are the biggest challenges you find while you’re travelling  in terms of being able to find suitable food? How do you manage it and do you have any tips about travelling and following a low FODMAP diet?

ALANA: Travel is definitely a sticky point. It’s much easier if you’re travelling within your own country because you know your favourite brands and how to handle your local restaurants. However, international travel is a whole different kettle of fish and you need to be a bit more prepared. So if you know where you’re going, then it’s a really good idea to have a look at what local foods there are and see which ones are FODMAP friendly and how you might be able to adapt them. My top tip is to get a food intolerance card translated.  So this is a card where you write down your top triggers. So whether it be onion, garlic, wheat, mango, whatever it is, you write it down and get it translated into the local language. That way, if you’re at the food vendor or in the restaurant, you can hand over your card and then hopefully you can negotiate some form of safe meal from there. You do need to be a little bit more prepared.

With travel, we also have anxiety that comes into play because there is so much unknown. You’re in a new culture and new environment. You don’t know where everything is and you probably, at some point, you are going to eat something that doesn’t quite agree with you. So my next tip is to put together a FODMAP emergency kit which is basically any medication that you use to help manage your symptoms — whether it be like De-Gas to help manage bloating and gas, or anti diarrhoea tablets or fibre supplements to help the constipation. Make sure you pack those.  Also if you feel like you’re going to have an accident — which is awful to think about — pack some wet wipes and underwear, and pack anything that you need to feel comfortable. It will help you reduce your anxiety levels because you know you can cope if the worst situation happens.  I’m not sure if you want me to talk about airplane food, but I can if you’d like.

LARAH: Yes, sure. Yeah, I’d love that.

ALANA:  So, unfortunately, the airlines haven’t caught onto the fact that there is this low FODMAP diet happening. They’re a bit slow to the ballgame, really, which means choosing airplane food is a nightmare. It’s really hard. Lots of people go for the gluten free option, but that it might not be your best bet, just because the gluten free option often has a lot of onion, garlic or hidden FODMAPs in it. So if you see a bland food option on the menu, try and grab that because it’s more likely to be your rice or plain potato or grilled fish or chicken. So try to grab that. My alternative is to pack some snacks in case all else fails. I take fresh food on the plane which will keep for 6 or 7 hours quite happily or I will pack a little lunch box with my homemade granola bars and a safe muffin and some rice crackers and whatever else I feel like — maybe some low FODMAP hummus just to keep me going.  So you might want to plan ahead if you can and take some food on the plane with you. Just don’t take ice packs through security because they’ll think it’s a bomb and try to arrest you. Make sure you don’t do that.

LARAH:  Yeah, I get that.  Yes, absolutely.  Be prepared just in case you can’t find anything that you can eat because yes, you might be able to get a packet of chips, but really, if you have a long flight, you’re only going to have just a packet of chips. So, yeah, get yourself prepared and pack some food that’s obviously not in liquid form because you won’t be able to go through security.

ALANA: Exactly.

LARAH: That’s awesome. In terms of the things that you like to cook, what is your absolutely favourite meal that you enjoy cooking?

ALANA:  I have a confession to make. I’m completely addicted to chicken nibbles, and I’m not sure what they’re called in Australia or around the world, but they’re sort of like chicken wings that are broken apart into the drumlets and the wing tip.


ALANA: I love them because they’re full of flavor and are just so juicy and they’re just delicious.  So whenever I’m having a bad food day or I just don’t know what to cook, chicken nibbles are my go-to and I do them in so many different forms. There’s a beautiful, Sweet Orange Chicken Nibbles recipe on my website. You can get all my recipes off my website. Or you can get my Asian Marinated Chicken Nibbles recipe off the Monash University blog. They’re just delicious and they’re always a hit no matter if you’re feeding your parents or hanging out with your kids. Everyone’s going to love them.

Sweet Orange Chicken Nibbles

Courtesy Of A Little Bit Yummy – Sweet Orange Chicken Wings

LARAH: And do you serve them with something like a side salad or rice or anything like that?

ALANA: They are so versatile. Depending on the flavours you decide to cook with your chicken nibbles, you can do them with a beautiful  low FODMAP coleslaw; you can do them with roast potatoes and a small serve of green beans and broccoli; you can do them with carrot and potato mash. It doesn’t matter what you put it with, just make sure you add some veggies and a carb into your meal as well to help keep it all balanced.

LARAH:  Its sounds delicious. I was reading that you have more exciting projects in the pipeline to help people on the low FODMAP diet even more. I heard that you might have a meal planning service?  Could you explain what it consists of?

ALANA: Yes, I sure can. I am launching really, really soon, a low FODMAP dinner plan service. So  you pay a few dollars each week and you’ll get your five low FODMAP dinner recipes which are absolutely delicious and family friendly. Each recipe has been checked by a FODMAP trained dietitian and made according to the low FODMAP app guidelines so you know that they are fine for the elimination phase, or when you’re having a bad day.  These will all be available through my website. So basically, I will let you know when it’s up and running and you can pop on over to my website. You can sign up for a free trial week and then, if you decide this is for you, then you can go ahead and sign up for the subscription-based service. Then, each week, you’ll get five delicious recipes turn up and a smart shopping list so you don’t have to try and figure out what you need to get from the supermarket. I’m even going to give you the options to swap out recipes from your week and choose something from the database.  So if you’re just not a big tomato fan or don’t like a certain recipe,  that’s okay.  You can go and choose a different recipe.

LARAH: That sounds like an amazing service that you’re providing, Alana. I wish that would have been available when I did my elimination phase. And yes, please, once it’s all set in place,  send me the link so I can add it to the show notes for this episode. That will be great.  

ALANA: Perfect. Thank you very much.

LARAH: Thank you so much, Alana, for all the fantastic content you have provided for our listeners and for myself as well. I’ve learned so much.  Could you tell the listeners where they can find your website, Facebook group or anything else?

ALANA: Perfect. So you can find me at alittlebityummy.com. Or you can find me on Facebook by searching “A Little Bit Yummy” and the same goes with Instagram or Twitter. So just remember. “A Little Bit Yummy”.  Google me and you’ll find me. And feel free to drop me an email because I love hearing about your stories.

LARAH: That’s great, and it’s good that you kept it consistent. “A Little Bit Yummy”, that’s the magic word.

ALANA:  Exactly.  

LARAH: Thank you so much, Alana, for your all your input in this podcast.

ALANA: Thank you very much for having me.

LARAH: Thank you, bye.


LARAH: I hope you have enjoyed this episode with Alana Scott. She is an amazing girl with a lot of knowledge on the low FODMAP diet. She has also given us some great tips.

If there is a particular question on the low FODMAP diet and on IBS that you would like me to cover during one of the next podcasts, please contact me on my website. You can also find me on Facebook.

Thank you for listening, and until next time, take good care and have a great, healthy week! Good bye.  

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Alana’s website:
A Little Bit Yummy
Articles on the website A Little Bit Yummy
How To Eat Out On A Low FODMAP Diet
Recapturing Flavour – Cooking without onions and garlic
Links to Alana’s social media:

About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.