#014 Clare And Larah Help You Make Healthy Low FODMAP Choices

An introduction to the FREE 21-Day Low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge.

Meet my friend, business partner and co-creator of the FREE 21-Day Low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge, Clare Zivanovic. Clare and I would like to invite you to our first healthy low FODMAP Challenge. In this episode we will tell you what to expect from this challenge and you will also learn about the exciting challenges that are in store for the future as well!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Larah met Clare and why they decided to became low FODMAP challenge partners.
  • How Clare’ nutritionist background helped with creating healthy low FODMAP smoothie recipes.
  • How important it was for Larah to switch to a healthy low FODMAP diet.
  • What to do to join the 21 Day Low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge.
  • How Larah and Clare are supporting challenge subscribers via the private Facebook group.
  • Sneak peak to future challenges, you are invited.

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

LARAH: Today I’m here with my friend and business partner Clare Zivanovic. Clare is a qualified nutritionist, naturopath and medical herbalist. Clare is also the co-founder, together with her husband Goran, of Gothic Zen Studios, which is a small film production house here on the Gold Coast.

I was fortunate to have met Clare and Goran at the beginning of the year when we started to collaborate on my documentary. I will talk about this in more detail some other time, but just briefly, this a film following my journey to health, fitness and weight loss and of course, I had to do this while following a low FODMAP diet, as I suffer from IBS. As you can imagine, I could not just go and join any weight loss plan as most likely, the food would have been unsuitable and high FODMAP. So there you go, but I will talk in more detail about this project some other time.

I got to know Clare and Goran more when we travelled together to Melbourne for some filming for the documentary and we got on really well, like long-time friends. When I mentioned to Clare that I wanted to create low FODMAP challenges to help people who are on a low FODMAP diet to make healthy food choices, she told me that it seemed like a great idea and knowing her nutritionist and naturopath background, I had to ask her if she was interested in joining forces with me in this project. So there you go, this is how our partnership started.

What’s important to know is that Clare also suffers from various food intolerances herself and understands perfectly what it means for people when they have to stay away from unsuitable food. She is all about healthy food, so you can understand why she is the perfect partner to have. One more thing about Clare, her motto is: Happiness is the key to living a successful life.

I’m very much a person that always thinks that happiness is the key to everything and I always think that the cup is half full, not half empty, and to just be happy and grateful for what I have in my life. That’s another thing that Clare and I have in common.

Well, enough about that. Now let me introduce you to my guest, friend and business partner, Clare. Hi, Clare.

CLARE: Hi, Larah. Thank you so much for having me and, oh my gosh, your introduction was amazing. I just want to give you a big hug. All right, I guess you want to know a little bit about me.

LARAH: Yes, that would be great. Just tell us a bit more about yourself as your background sounds very interesting.

CLARE: Sure, okay. Well, as you mentioned, I’m a qualified naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist and I’ve been in the industry for about 15 years and been involved in a lot of different areas in that time. Gosh, I must have seen hundreds of clients one-on-one. I ran my own practice for a while. I helped formulate products for an international company and I also spent time as the editor and writer of an international natural health magazine called Options, and that was really fun. I really, really enjoyed that. It was one of the favourite things that I guess I did in my natural medicine world.

Also, you did mention my intolerances. I’m gluten and dairy sensitive myself, however, I don’t really see it as a big issue. I kind of enjoy looking for alternatives and being a little bit left of centre, I guess, so it kind of forces me to find something different and I’m cool with that. I guess the biggest change that I’ve made is, as you mentioned, I have a background in natural health, but I’ve also moved into a creative career with Gothic Zen Studios. Yes, it’s a mega change. Yes, it’s very different, but I find it kind of rewarding in a similar kind of way in that it still touches people on inspiring levels. I’m very lucky in that way. We do a lot of filming and editing for clients all around the world and I’m just so grateful for it because that’s how Larah and I met. It’s great.

LARAH: Yes, Clare. I agree 100% with you. In a sense, it was really lucky for me that you went into business with your husband.  Otherwise, I would not have had the chance to start this partnership with you.

CLARE: Absolutely, we are both so lucky, and that’s probably a good time to say thank you to Goran by the way because he did all the photography and filming for our smoothies, so without him, things would have probably looked pretty boring. So thanks, Goran. You’re awesome!

LARAH: Yes, thank you so much, Goren. So now it’s time to explain what Clare and I are creating together in the space of the low FODMAP diet. Let me just give you a little bit of a background story, and some of you may have heard my story before, so this is just a quick recap. You can hear my story in episode 1 of the podcast series, if you want to know a little bit more about this.

As a quick recap, I was diagnosed with IBS in 2013, and that was when my GP referred me to a dietitian because he suspected I had IBS. The dietitian advised me to follow a low FODMAP elimination diet, which I did. Eventually I was able to re-introduce some of the high FODMAP food in small quantities. Nowadays, I probably consume on average, 85% low FODMAP food and that seems to keep my IBS symptoms at bay. What I noticed is that at the very beginning when I first started to follow the low FODMAP diet, I had to change my current eating habits a lot. As I was worried about eating the wrong food, I mainly ate some safe vegetables and meat or fish, so I gave up all the other things that I was eating.  Eventually, I started to feel pretty good because my IBS symptoms improved a lot. I also started to lose some weight as well. I just want to clarify that I was never really big. I wasn’t morbidly obese, but at the time I was probably 10-12 kg overweight, so for me, losing 5-6 kg initially when I started to follow a healthy low FODMAP diet was very welcome.

Eventually, as time passed, within a few months I became more comfortable on the low FODMAP diet and therefore learned how to replace all the high FODMAP comfort food that  I used to eat before with low FODMAP equivalents. I started to experiment with gluten-free flours, safe nuts, dark chocolate, low FODMAP sauces. I can tell you that my low FODMAP lasagna tastes just the same as a regular lasagna. It’s pretty nice. Anyway, you name it. I had found alternatives for all the things I loved to eat. Was that food healthy for me? Were they low calories, low sugar, low fat? Of course not, so the weight came back and did not stop there. It kept on going and eventually I became  20 kg and more, overweight, which is approximately 44 pounds for those who understand pounds rather than kilos. In addition to being overweight, I felt much older than my age. I had aches in my joints, my knees, my hips, my lower back, and I felt very unattractive.

I realised this year that it was time to do something, and finally, I did. I’ve turned things around and started to adopt a healthy, mainly low FODMAP diet. At the beginning I decided to do ten days of just juices. In those juices I would put safe quantities of low FODMAP fruits and mainly vegetables and some proteins in a blender most of the time to also get some fibres. I think I really needed this juice period to get rid of my cravings and sweet tooth and get me to the right path. I personally would not suggest to other people to do that. You should really get medical supervision or approval from your GP or a dietitian to follow anything like that. But for me, it was helpful and it worked. After ten days I was down 3 kg (about 7 pounds) and a lot of my cravings also improved, so I was happy with that.

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with the whole long story about my journey and my weight loss in this podcast now, because that is going to be in my documentary, which is coming out next year.  I just wanted to tell you that switching to healthy low FODMAP food really did it for me. Since then, I have lost more weight. I have lost a significant amount of extra weight. I also have been exercising and I feel healthier and fitter than I probably was 10 years ago. Another thing I’ve learned during this time is to stop using food as an emotional escape. Now when I feel I’m struggling with something or stressed, I use meditation and exercise instead of heading for the fridge and getting some comfort food out. These are words that I’ve heard many times before said by other people, but I couldn’t actually believe that would be possible, to switch your mindset and not reach for food when you have other issues that are obviously not hunger. It’s never hunger really.

21 Day Low FODMAP Smoothie ChallengeSo for anyone in my situation, I just want to say that it is possible for you to also make a change and switch to healthier food, even if you are already on a restricted low FODMAP diet. And this is what Clare and I are doing right now. We are creating 21 Day Low FODMAP Challenges to get you to start a healthier diet. The first challenge we decided to make was with smoothies, as it is easier to just introduce one healthy change in your daily routine — and smoothies are pretty easy to make. And now I will let Clare explain to you about this challenge and how her nutritionist background helped us to put all these smoothie recipes together for you.

CLARE: Thanks, Larah. I’m really excited about this journey and it’s a pleasure to let you know the details.  Essentially, the 21 day low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge is for those people with IBS who want to follow a healthy version of the low FODMAP diet. We know that it’s easy to follow the high sugar, high saturated fat version of the diet, but as you mentioned, we noticed that finding a healthier version of the low FODMAP diet was a little tricky so we decided to fill that gap. Our intention is to inspire people to make healthy low FODMAP choices. It’s as simple as that. I guess that’s where my nutritionist background kicks in. I just love seeing people eat healthy food. I’m a foodie too, so it makes me happy.

All right. So with the smoothie challenge, participants drink one low FODMAP smoothie per day for 21 days which is 3 weeks. We provide all the meal plans, recipes and shopping lists via email, so it’s super easy to follow. You’re just making 1 healthy change in your diet per day which is adding the low FODMAP smoothie, so it’s super simple. It could not be easier. All the recipes have been carefully designed to be suitable for sensitive tummies, especially for people with IBS. We’ve used my nutritionist background and combined it with the Monash University low FODMAP app to make sure that all of our smoothies are low FODMAP and packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Essentially, they’re tasty, good for your belly and super healthy too. And I just want to mention that supporting our participants is really important to us. We know it’s not always easy to make a change in your diet, and that’s why we’ve created a private Facebook community where you can get support from us as well as from other people following the challenge. I guess, in a nutshell, that’s the 21 day low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge!

LARAH: Well. Clare, that explains it really well and hopefully it is clear for you listening.  Thank you, Clare. So the first 21 Day Low FODMAP Smoothie challenge is starting in a few days and it’s absolutely FREE and the people who have subscribed to the mailing list will be receiving their first week shopping list and the recipes tomorrow. So don’t hesitate, just go to my website www.lowfodmapdiets.com/challenges and subscribe.  If you haven’t picked up that website address, don’t worry. You can also find us on Facebook. We have a Facebook page called low FODMAP Smoothies and you can find us there — Clare and Larah. From there, you can just click the signup button and that will take you to the lowFODMAPdiets.com/challenges page.

All right. So don’t wait any longer. Go to the website and subscribe to the challenge. And just a short word of advice, only the subscription box on the challenge page is linked to the challenge. If you have subscribed already to another page on my website, that is linked to a different list. If you want to be in the challenge, you also need to subscribe from the challenges page.

So really, you have nothing to lose. The challenge is FREE and when you sign up to this we will also add you to the future challenges too. There will be a snack challenge, lunch and dinner challenges. You name it, we have it all in store for the future.

CLARE: That’s exactly right, Larah. We have so many challenges planned for the future, I think our brains might explode, but we’re having fun, so it’s great. As I said, I’m a bit of a foodie, so sharing all of these recipes is really exciting for me. I’ll look forward to seeing you all in the challenge and on our Facebook page as well.

LARAH: Yes, please. Come and say hi on our Facebook page. There are already some images and recipes of this diet. You will be receiving them in your inbox in the next few days. Just come and say hi at low FODMAP Smoothies on our Facebook page. That’d be great!

Thank you so much for listening. I know that this has been a little bit of a different episode, but I really hope that you’ve enjoyed it and that you will be able to join us in this challenge and see your life being transformed.

Thanks again. Bye.


Links and resources mentioned in this episode:



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.