#018 Aghi And Elena Help Non-English Speaking IBS Sufferers

Meet Aghi and Elena two special ladies with a mission to help IBS sufferers in non-English speaking countries via their Facebook groups.

We are very lucky to meet people like Aghi and Elena, who give their time to provide genuine help to people who seek relief for their IBS symptoms. With their great knowledge they are able to spread the word about the low FODMAP diet all over the world.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Aghi and Elena came across the low FODMAP diet.
  • Which highly regarded food was causing Aghi to be a more sick?
  • What tests have Aghi and Elena undergone to finally get a diagnosis?
  • How has IBS impacted their life?
  • How hard is to follow a low FODMAP diet in countries like Italy and Holland?
  • What is the hardest part of following the low FODMAP diet?
  • Why has Aghi started the low FODMAP diet Facebook group in Italian and how Elena was able to help her?
  • Other Facebook groups created by Aghi in different languages to help IBS sufferers around the world to understand the low FODMAP diet.
  • How Elena is able to help Italian IBS sufferers with her blog and wonderful recipes.
  • What are the biggest difficulties for non-English speaking countries when trying to find information about the low FODMAP diet?


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

LARAH: Hello, and welcome to the Low FODMAP diet and IBS podcast. I’m very excited to introduce you to the guests on today’s podcast. Their names are: Aghi Di Maio and Elena Nicoli. I have a lot in common with these lovely girls. First of all, they’re both Italian, like me, although none of us live in Italy.  Aghi, in fact, has lived in Australia all of her life and this is why you will hear she does not have a strong accent like mine. Elena lives in Holland.  Another thing that we all have in common is that we suffer from IBS symptoms. The third element we have in common, is also the reason why we know each other, and that is, that we’re all trying hard to share the message of the low FODMAP diet to the world. In fact, we wish for all IBS sufferers to understand and try this diet that has helped us so much. Another important factor to mention about my guests is that Aghi is a conference and event organiser, and through her job she is trying to educate the catering and food industry about the low FODMAP diet. In addition to that, Aghi has founded a few very successful Facebook groups about the low FODMAP diet in various European languages; one of which is dedicated to Italian followers of the diet and has been an incredible success. Elena, in addition to assisting Aghi with answering the numerous questions asked by confused Italian FODMAPers, is also a very popular low FODMAP diet blogger in Italian with beautiful recipes and very useful content for IBS sufferers and followers of the diet. So there you go, Aghi and Elena.

LARAH: Hi girls, Ciao!


AGHI: Hi, Larah, how are you?

LARAH: Very good, thank you. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. First of all, I wanted to ask you both if you would like to introduce yourselves and explain how you came across the low FODMAP diet.

AGHI: Well I came across the low FODMAP diet after many years of being quite sick and rushing to the hospital. I’ve got a bit of a funny story to mine, because what happened back then is that I was always sick and nauseous and I didn’t know what the problem was. My sister would say, “You haven’t eaten anything. Can I make you a cup of tea with honey?” And she would make me a cup of tea with honey and of course, I would be more sick than before. Then she’d say, “Oh, I’ll make you another cup of tea with honey.” So she’d give me all these cups of tea with honey and I didn’t know then that honey was the problem causing me to be so sick. So my gastroenterologist eventually sent me to have a hydrogen breath test and I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome and also lactose intolerance.  I was then sent to a dietitian to assist me with the low FODMAP diet and that’s when my journey began.

LARAH:  Thank you, Aghi. Let’s hear Elena now.

Elena - low fodmap podcast guest


ELENA: Yes. My name is Elena and I have been suffering from IBS for seven years, but I was diagnosed only four years ago. So in the beginning, my doctor gave me the usual advice: eat a variety of foods, take some antispasmodic drugs and get some more fibre supplements because of my constipation predominant IBS. But then the situation didn’t get any better and, to be fair, after the beginning of my PhD, the situation got even worse and worse. I was so desperate because I was also very stressed. Also, I knew what I was eating was the problem. I started doing some research on the internet and I found information about the low FODMAP diet. Of course it was not the first time I was looking on the Internet for an IBS solution, but I used to do it in Italian, you know. And that was the first time I did my research in English and so I came across the low FODMAP diet because it was new information in Italian.

AGHI: That’s a problem.

ELENA: Yeah.

LARAH: Yeah. I can just imagine because when I went to Italy just after being diagnosed, I really struggled to get anyone to understand what my intolerance was and when I would give the name, they just didn’t have a clue.

AGHI: Well, it was the same when I went three years ago. People just look at you like you’re insane. They think you’re making it up.

LARAH: Yes, that doesn’t surprise me. So, did you do any particular tests to find out about your food intolerance or malabsorption and did you get a diagnosis for IBS from your doctor?

ELENA: Ah, yes. I got the diagnosis from my doctor when I was still living in Italy. But before, I had to do some tests to determine whether my symptoms were really due to IBS. So I did, for example, blood testing to see if there were allergies, and celiac testing and a colonoscopy. So I did several tests, and in the end, she said: “Okay, you have IBS.”

LARAH: Elena, did you know what IBS was at that time?

ELENA: Ah, more or less, but I had a confused idea of that. Then I started reading articles, but at that time I was quite confused like you said.

LARAH: Yeah, I can understand. All right. What about for you Aghi?

AGHI:  Yes, pretty much. I had a gastroscopy first and my gastroenterologist was also going to conduct a colonoscopy, but she said to me that before we did that, I should get a hydrogen breath test, which is what then diagnosed my fructose malabsorption, IBS and also lactose intolerance. And, pretty much, she steered me in the right direction after that.

LARAH: Okay, that’s good. And did you have a clue about IBS before finding out that you had it?

AGHI:  I had no idea of any of this. The whole concept of being fructose malabsorbent and having irritable bowel, I’d never even heard of these problems, let alone understood what was going on. For me, it was just a completely new world that I walked into that was really very, very confusing and quite scary to be honest.

LARAH: Yes, I can imagine, yeah. Same for me, yeah.  So how has IBS impacted your life?

AGHI:  Well, it has impacted my life a great deal, as you know, being a fellow Italian. There’s no such thing as Italian food without garlic and onion and without fructose in virtually everything, because Italians use a lot that kind of ingredient. The Italian cuisine just doesn’t exist without it. All of a sudden I can’t eat wheat, you know. How does an Italian not eat wheat? Pasta is the basis of everything we do, you know. Vegetables that I could eat before, all of the sudden I had to question whether I could eat them. Fruits and vegetables, I was eating an apple a day, a pear a day, and now all of a sudden I can’t eat an apple; I can’t eat a pear. It was like a world gone mad. It was like waking up in a nightmare. So, did it impact my life? Absolutely! It affected my personal life, my family life, my relationship, work especially because I travelled so much with conferences. It became something I hated doing, I hated being out of home because it was so hard.

LARAH: Thank you, Aghi. What about for you Elena? How has that impacted your life?

ELENA:  Well, yes, in the last seven years, IBS has had a great impact on my life, I would say. For example, before starting the low FODMAP diet, I was feeling so bad that it was really difficult for me to focus on my studies, on my research because every single day after lunch my symptoms started and made me feel so bad and miserable that I could just not focus. So having to deal with it every day — with constipation, bloating and abdominal pain — made me feel very bad. And often people say that IBS is caused by stress, and to some extent I would say so, but I think that sometimes, even all the way around you know, it was my symptoms that made me feel so stressed and nervous and the more I got more nervous, the more the symptoms got worse.

LARAH: Thank you, Elena, for that. Now let’s talk about the low FODMAP diet. So how long have you been following a low FODMAP diet and were you followed by a specialised dietitian initially?

ELENA: Well, I’ve been following the low FODMAP diet for two years and a half, let’s say, and I’ve always been followed by a dietitian since the beginning.

LARAH: Okay, great. Were you followed in Italy by a dietitian or in Holland?

ELENA: Well, in Italy. Yes, I had calls with my dietitian and my dietitian is an Italian. She is one of the few Italian dietitians who knows the low FODMAP diet.

LARAH: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering because even two and a half years, like there is a bit more knowledge now, but even two and a half years ago you were pretty lucky that you found someone in Italy that could help you.

ELENA: Yeah, I think she was the only one at that time when I Googled about the low FODMAP diet and so I only found her blogs. So, yeah, she was the only one basically.

LARAH: Yeah, thank you, Elena. And what about for you, Aghi?

AGHI: I’ve been on the low FODMAP diet since 2010, which is nearly six years now. And pretty much, I started out with the dietitian as well. I kind of went through the elimination process and then I started reintroducing the foods back into my diet.

LARAH: Great. So let’s talk about the elimination phase and all that. So did you go through the elimination phase and then you have reintroduced FODMAP groups to understand the level that you could tolerate that food and did that work for you? Have your symptoms improved?

AGHI: Yes. As I said, I started with the elimination diet and that was the hardest part of all because there’s very little you can eat with the elimination diet, and then you get very, very worried about the introduction. So I didn’t follow the exact procedure that I should have followed. My main reason was because I was so scared as I had been sick for many years so I just didn’t touch certain foods that I knew were going to make me sick. Now that I’m six years down the track, I’m starting to introduce more and more of the foods that I noticed I could tolerate and I found this a better way for me is to go back onto the foods that I thought I couldn’t eat. The main reason is after being sick for so long I was too scared to try the foods and introduce them into my diet. My symptoms went from very, very bad to absolutely improved tremendously — no symptoms at all. And I should add that I know honey was definitely one of my triggers because my sister kept giving me tea with honey that kept making me sick. So I knew honey was a problem right from day one.

LARAH: I know. Honey is one of those foods that everybody wants to offer to you whenever you’ve got something. If you’ve got a cough or a cold, “Just have a little bit of lemon and honey or tea with honey.”

“I can’t have honey.”

“Why, how come?”

AGHI: I used to use a lot of honey before I was diagnosed because I was very into healthy foods and had eliminated sugar and eliminated other things that weren’t natural. So honey was the basis of almost everything I cooked that was sweet.  And obviously, that’s no longer the case.

LARAH: Yes, absolutely.  So apart from honey, was there anything else that you were having all the time that it’s absolutely a ‘no’ still and you haven’t been able to reintroduce it?

AGHI: Fructose. High fructose foods make me sick straight away. I discovered that one New Year’s Eve when we were with my mum and dad. We were just about to celebrate with a little bit of ‘Riccadonna’. It’s not the best champagne in the world and I had, literally, just a mouthful, and the next day I was so sick and nauseous. It made me sick for about three days. So anything that’s very high fructose for me is a huge, huge problem and does make me quite sick.

LARAH: Okay. So in terms of, let’s say, fruits that contain the most fructose, what fruit are you able to have safely?

AGHI: Well, I’ve learned to eat berries a lot, strawberries in particular, and blueberries which are very good for you anyway. I eat bananas a lot more. I like bananas, but I’ve had to eliminate things like mangoes, apples… I occasionally have maybe a slither of an apple. I haven’t dared touch pears. I’m too scared still, I must confess. But I generally tend to stay with berries, citrus fruits like mandarins, oranges…those kinds of foods.

LARAH: Okay, yeah, right. And what about for you, Elena?

ELENA: Yeah, I have been through both the elimination and the reintroduction phase. Yeah, it’s really worked, and already, in the first week, I noticed a huge improvement. But then I had to also adjust to some other things in my diet in order to feel really, really good, symptoms free, and increase my fibre intake, for example. I’ve always eaten very healthy as well, so I have to admit that sometimes I used to overdo it a little bit with fibre and fruit and vegetables. I used to eat tons and tons of fruit and vegetables. Then, of course, it worsened my bloating, and with the help of my dietitian, I have had to find a balance between the two. Too much fibre or too little — because too little, then, worsens my constipation so I have to find a balance between the two. And as for the FODMAP diet, yes I had to figure out which food made me feel very bad, and for me, it’s also fructose. And also I couldn’t reintroduce honey. It was really terrible when I did the reintroduction. With honey, I really felt terrible. And also lactose…I’m also lactose intolerant so I had to test. I also tried to reintroduce a little bit, but I also have to be very careful. I can tolerate a little bit of avocado, for example, and I’m quite fine with sorbitol and I’m very happy about that…and also wheat. I’m quite good with fructans as well. So, yeah, that’s the good news.

LARAH: Okay, that’s good. At least you both managed to determine that fructose is the worst for you. And in term of lactose, are you able to have some dairy, because there are hard cheeses that are usually very low in lactose. Are you okay with those?

ELENA: Yup, absolutely. Yes, I usually eat Parmesan or Pecorino — you know, Italian cheeses I eat that I love so much. And they don’t bother me now and so I’m happy about that. Yeah.

LARAH: Yeah, at least it’s something.

AGHI: I love my Reggiano.

LARAH: Yes. I know. Now I have a question for Aghi as you live in Melbourne which we can consider the low FODMAP diet capital of the world.  Melbourne is where, in fact, the diet was created and the research started. We know that in Australia and in Melbourne especially, the low FODMAP diet is quite well known now, but when did you realise that for non-English speaking countries there was a serious need to create the private Facebook groups that you created about the low FODMAP diet?

Larah with her podcast guest Aghi

Larah & Aghi

AGHI: That’s, again, another very interesting story because I had a request from a girl in Italy to be part of the general English Facebook page I manage. And one night she was online and she sent me a message so I started chatting with her and she was desperate. She was almost ready to commit suicide because she didn’t know what she could eat. Everywhere she went people were giving her different information and no one believed she had a problem. She couldn’t get any satisfaction from the doctors or from her family, from anyone, and she was really, to be honest with you, she was almost suicidal. I felt so so bad for her so I spent quite a bit of time that night chatting with her in Italian and explaining to her that I know it looks really, really hard at the start, but believe it or not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, because of her and because her English was very, very poor and she couldn’t understand, she was really the incentive to create the group, and that’s when Elena and I merged, if you like. Elena has been … In all honestly, and I have to give most of the credit for the Italian group to Elena because I created the group, but Elena has really been the foundation to keep that group going —  adding people to the group, giving them information in Italian and she has her blog, which has all the information. So I created the group, but Elena, in reality, has really driven the group. We’ve got just over nine hundred members now and I’m really pleased to say, thanks to Elena, we now have people within the group that are helping the other people in the group. We’ve managed to get them all to a point where they’re helping each other and I’m so glad to see that, because it means they don’t feel alone; they don’t feel that they’re left out and they can actually manage this because they’ve got somewhere to go and ask for advice and ask for feedback and ask questions.

ELENA: Yeah, thank you, Aghi, for creating the Facebook group.

AGHI: It’s a team effort and Larah has contributed too.

ELENA: Yeah.

AGHI: So I’m very very happy with the Italian group and I’ve also got a Spanish group. The Spanish group is not as active as the Italian group, maybe because my Spanish is not as good as my Italian and I don’t have someone like Elena to drive it. But it’s getting there slowly and it occasionally hits a bump in the road, but again, we’ve got a couple of other links to other Spanish groups and that seems to be bubbling along in the background and I’m pleased with that one too. The one that probably isn’t going as well because I don’t speak any Dutch, is the Dutch group. That’s got about thirty members, but the Spanish one, I think we’ve got almost two hundred members from memory. I’m not sure.

LARAH: Yes, and absolutely a credit to you Aghi and, of course, to Elena for the involvement you have on the Italian Facebook group. Unfortunately, I haven’t been very active at all. I have a lot of my groups that I barely managed to get in, but you’ve done a fantastic job and it is so important for Italian people. They don’t have as many resources as we have in English, to be able to have a place where they can go or they can confide in. They know it’s private so whatever they talk about…  Sometimes people may feel they don’t really want to talk about IBS symptoms, which is not so bad, but at least they have a place where they can freely talk about it and it will not be judged.

AGHI: Well, that’s right. And they can openly discuss things that you would not normally be discussing with anyone else, because we all understand. We’ve all got the same problems and symptoms and we know what it’s like. Wanting to ask questions, you feel better sometimes to ask others questions, but when you know other people who have the same problem, I think you feel a bit more comfortable because you know they understand.

LARAH: Yes, very true. It’s great what you’re doing and the time that you both put in those Facebook groups are a great help for everyone.  So, well done to you really and I’m going to put the links of these Facebook groups in the show notes so that people can find out where they are.

AGHI: Thanks. That would be great Larah.

LARAH: So what do you think are the biggest difficulties that IBS sufferers encounter when they live outside an English speaking country like in Italy?  What do you think are the main issues for them?

AGHI: Yeah, well the biggest issue for IBS sufferers in non-English speaking countries is the language. Whilst English is our first language in Australia, what I find with languages is that you often end up with what we call terminology that is specific to that particular culture, and just because you speak English doesn’t mean you understand everything that’s written in English. So that’s the first issue. The biggest difficulty is always the language. But secondly, if you don’t have the understanding or the backup, the facilities or resources where you live and then the people that surround you to help you, it becomes a battlefield and you feel like you’re alone trying to understand something which is very difficult to understand. And then trying to convince other people or educate other people around you that if you do eat certain things you’re going to be very sick. So then the biggest issues are basically trying to help others understand that this is a legitimate problem; it is an intolerance; it does make you sick and getting through to people what the things are because the low FODMAP diet is not the same for everybody.  We’ve all got different tolerance levels to different food so we need to be able to assess ourselves what is going to make us more sick and what is not. What might make me sick might not be the same with Elena or with you, Larah.  So that’s the biggest dilemma. There isn’t one rule for everybody. The rule just changes for everybody and that makes it a much more complex issue than a lot of other intolerances and a lot of other allergies.

LARAH: That’s very true. Do you have anything to add Elena?

ELENA: Yes. I think the biggest difficulty is the fact that in Italy, for example, people get much less information about the diet and, of course, they have to trust what other people say and write in Italian, and normally, people like me who are able to read English articles, English blogs, and for this reason my blog, I always try to put a link to primary sources for people who can actually also understand English, and reliable information because sometimes in the translation process some information is missing or people mix up things. I think the information in Italian is less precise than what you find in official blogs or articles. For example, in the beginning, my blog was meant to be only a food blog, but then people were asking more and more questions about the diet in general and so I had to start writing articles about different aspects of the diet because people really wanted to know more, not only about the recipes, but information about the diet. I also understood that people really wanted the information in Italian…in their own language.

LARAH: That is so good. I had a look at your blog many times and there is such good content. I imagine that it’s probably the most useful low FODMAP blog that there is in Italian, I would say.

AGHI: I agree, actually. It’s a very good blog.

ELENA:  Thank you.

LARAH: And some of your recipes have also been featured in magazines and newspapers?

ELENA: Yes, yes, in both Italian newspapers and also in a book which was published recently… and a collected volume. So, yeah, I’m very happy about that.

LARAH: Yeah. Well done.  You’re amazing.

AGHI: And the food looks delicious.

ELENA: Thank you.

LARAH: Talk to me a little bit more about Italy and the diet. Personally I went to Italy three years ago, that was the last time I was there and I had just been diagnosed with IBS. I was told to follow the low FODMAP diet and I realised that I really struggled to find food that I could eat because we know that Italian food is absolutely delicious, but there is an incredible quantity of garlic and onion, just to mention these, but we also know that everything… like most of the Italian food is like pasta and pizza with wheat; and the sauces will have high FODMAP ingredients; and vegetables will be high FODMAP, so you cannot even be safe when having a salad. Living in Australia I realise I can eat out, and most of the time, it’s basic food I can have at a restaurant, but still, I can have something like a piece of grilled fish or grilled chicken and some salad. I just ask them not to put in onion or this or that, but most of the time I’m okay; there is something I can eat. How do you find it, both of you, when you go to Italy? What is the biggest struggle you find with food? Is it the same as it is for me?

AGHI: Well, yes. It’s exactly the same for me. Anyway, we stayed with family because we went to Naples, and Naples as you know, is the home of the pizza.


AGHI: …Pizza Napolitana. My husband’s family, they just thought I was crazy. They didn’t believe me. I was cooking for myself at home because they thought I was just exaggerating. They didn’t realise that if I did eat the way they wanted me to, I would have been sick the whole time. So, going out to eat, you don’t know what’s in the food. The food is delicious, no question about it.

LARAH: Absolutely.  The food in Naples, it’s amongst the best food in Italy.

AGHI: It is, but I got sick quite a few times when I was there because we travelled up to Firenze, Venezia, Roma, etc., and when you’re eating out and you ask people questions, they may not check the ingredients of everything they put in. They may say there’s no garlic, but there may be something else. You know what I mean? It’s like, “What’s the big deal?” sort of thing.  And so I did get sick a few times, but I still enjoyed my trip and I did try to educate as much as I could. That is how I got them to understand that it is a genuine problem and it is going to be growing over there, too.  They need to become more familiar with these intolerances.

LARAH: Yes, because it’s not that people in Italy don’t get IBS; they just don’t know it’s IBS. They have the symptoms and they just get on with it and they keep on eating pasta every day. They keep on having onion and garlic and they’re just sick and they just don’t get it and they don’t understand. Even if they ask for help, they don’t find it as easily as we do here in Australia, unfortunately.

AGHI: Yeah, it’s true.  But Elena she’s probably more experienced than us, because she spends more time there.


ELENA: Yes, well the most difficult part, I would say, was in the beginning when I had to tell my family and it was very difficult for them to understand, especially my grandma.   It was very difficult to make them understand what I could not eat. But one thing I understood, I must say that they were very, very helpful and understanding. So for example, once my grandma really put effort into making me tortelloni with buckwheat flour, and lactose free ricotta, she was very understanding. And well now, after reintroduction, I must say that it’s much easier. The great challenge now when I go back to Italy is just not to overdo it with pasta and pizza because, as I said, I can have a small amount of wheat, but of course, for anything else, I always have to watch my bucket so it doesn’t get too full. If you compare your gut to a bucket you have to watch it so that it doesn’t get too full. I think now it’s much easier after the reintroduction.

LARAH: Yep, that’s good. I have another question for Elena. How did you find following the low FODMAP diet in Holland and do people have a bit more knowledge on the diet compared to Italy? And do you find any suitable food if you eat out?

ELENA:  Well, yes and no. Dutch people unfortunately have a terrible habit to put raw onion everywhere. So many times it has happened to me, in Dutch restaurants that I ask, for example, for a lactose-free, wheat-free meal and then I got something completely covered in raw onion and garlic. So I have to specify no onions, no garlic now because this is the main issue, I would say. But apart from that, I think that in Holland there is more awareness of food intolerances and so if you go out to a restaurant and you have a specific intolerance, then they take it very seriously. From this perspective it’s easier in Holland than in Italy.

LARAH: Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s interesting. Thank you, Elena.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

AGHI: There is one thing I would like to include as well. It’s something that I’ve started working on recently, and that is a low FODMAP dietitians’ directory and a low FODMAP directory, which will follow as soon as I can get it in some sort of state that can be published. The whole idea began with the Italian group. We’ve actually got a list of dietitians that are available in Italy who are familiar with the low FODMAP diet. We commenced that list and it was a fabulous idea and we’ve managed to build on that and it’s grown and become a much bigger list. That’s been published so that the Italian group has access to a list of dietitians in Italy who can assist them with the low FODMAP diet. I’m preparing a similar kind of list for Australia and I’ve got some already on there, but I need more feedback from people to recommend dietitians and services or restaurants and foods that can be included in a low FODMAP directory. We can then have a complete list that we can add to as we go that can be made available to everyone to know where they can go to assist them with the low FODMAP diet when they’re in various spots of the country, or even the world.

LARAH: It’s a fantastic idea, Aghi. That’s great. Would you like to tell the listeners how they can get in touch with you? Your website address, social media, anything that you think may be useful?

AGHI: Well, I’ve got the low FODMAP Facebook page which is basically LFODMAPdiet. If you just look that up then you should be able to access it that way. But I’ve also been working on a website that I want to make a complete website with a whole range of different things, because one of the things that I’ve been building up and working towards is a proper education process for people in the food industry. It’s been bubbling away in the background now for quite a few years, but when the time is right I know I’ll be able to do it.  So, that’s something that I’m planning to do in the future and that will be included in my website, as well as the information about the low FODMAP diet and probably some recipes. I really need to learn to write down more recipes because I’m one of these cooks that doesn’t follow the recipe. I make it up as I go and then I post the pictures and then people say, “Have you got the recipe?” And I think. uh-oh. What did I put and how much did I put? I can’t remember and my husband always complains that I never make the same thing the same way twice, because I don’t follow a recipe. So that’s something I’m building on, and my sister, who is a very keen cook and a very good cook as well, she’s been making all sorts of low FODMAP and gluten-free cakes and all sorts of biscuits. She’s been experimenting, and there are so many things she can make that would be good even for people who might have children on the low FODMAP diet.  Children often feel like they missed out. If we adults think we missed out because we can’t have so many things, I really feel for the children because for them, it’s a lot harder because they’ve got their friends that can eat whatever they want and they’re restricted. It’s not easy for parents of children with irritable bowel or fructose malabsorption. So these are the kind of things that are on my mind that I’m trying to work towards improving and helping people understand better and access information, but also access the resources that are out there to make their lives a little bit easier.

LARAH: Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Aghi. That’ll be fantastic work if you can do that for people and you can’t really find that much information on the low FODMAP diet and recipes that are good for children.

AGHI: Yeah. There is a fructose malabsorption kids Australia group that I recommend to a lot of mothers who join on my Facebook page. I always recommend that they join that one as well because they can then, at least, share with parents who have children with the same problem, and that’s an area that’s quite specific. I see my Facebook pages and groups more as networks. It’s not about building them for the sake of building up.  It’s about directing people to the right areas to help them get what’s best for them as well. So I love the word ‘network’ whenever I create groups. I have got a fructose malabsorption network as one of my groups and one of my pages because networking is a team working together for the same purpose.

LARAH: Yes, it’s really good work that you do and you are spending a lot of time providing all this good information for people. It’s a great help. What about for you, Elena? If you would like to share your details of your website and, of course, all the links will be posted on the show notes.

ELENA: Yes, my website is polvere di vaniglia dot IT.  So I think for English people it is a bit difficult to spell it, but they will find it on the transcript, right? So, it’s polvere di vaniglia dot IT and it means vanilla powder. So this is the meaning of the name of my blog. And I also have a Facebook page, of course, and all the recipes are also translated into English. So even though the articles are in Italian because, as we said, we need more information in Italian, but all the recipes are also in English so also, people who just read English can try them.

LARAH:  Yes, absolutely. And I will invite the listeners to go and check out all the recipes.

All right, well we got to the end. Thank you so much for participating today and for all the information that you’ve shared. We know that in English, we’re quite lucky. We have a lot of information on the diet, but the work that you guys do, to be able to spread this in other languages, especially in Italian. As we’ve seen, there’s not much correct information and it’s still difficult to find help, so it’s great work that you guys do.  Thank you so much, girls.

AGHI & ELENA: Thank you, Larah.

AGHI: It’s been a pleasure.

LARAH: Ciao!

AGHI: Ciao!

ELENA: Ciao!

LARAH: Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I really appreciate you spending the time to learn more about the low FODMAP diet. As you could hear, my guests on today’s podcast, Aghi and Elena, are also IBS sufferers and are both trying to spread the word on this diet, even in other languages.  It is really interesting to hear how in non-English speaking countries, people who suffer from the diet are struggling even more to get the help that they need. But hopefully everyone will help to spread the word on the diet more and more.  We can eventually reach all of those who are currently suffering, who are in pain and think that nothing or nobody can help them. As usual, the show notes for this episode can be found on my website and until next time, take good care.  Look after yourself, be happy and be healthy.  Goodbye.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Aghi’s Low FODMAP diet Private Facebook groups:
Italian Facebook Group
Spanish Facebook Group
Dutch Facebook Group
Elena’s Links:
Elena’s website
Elena’s Facebook page


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.