#027 RD Janet and Hannah Explain How To Make The Most Of Your Time With The Dietitian

Dietitians Hannah and Janet, have created Fodify Foods, a range of low FODMAP products, which are so convenient, when we are too busy to cook from scratch.

In this episode, our two lovely guests from England, Hannah and Janet, share their knowledge and wisdom about the low FODMAP diet and explain how their personal experiences led them to create a delicious range of low FODMAP spice mixes and sauces to add convenience to the sometimes time-consuming process of cooking a low FODMAP diet from scratch, for people suffering from IBS.

Check out this episode to hear all about Hannah and Janet’s journey!

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • Can accumulations of low FODMAP foods throughout the day trigger IBS?
  • Is it possible to tolerate FODMAPs but still incur IBS symptoms?
  • How to identify IBS trigger foods when symptoms sometimes develop after several hours (and a few meals later).
  • Is it beneficial to see dietitians who have had personal experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet?
  • How can you prepare before going to see a dietitian for the first time?
  • What are the three main points to focus on before seeing a dietitian?
  • Why you should visit your GP before seeing a dietitian?
  • Is it possible for food intolerances to develop later on in life?
  • Why is it important to not follow the low FODMAP elimination phase for too long?
  • Does everyone benefit from the low FODMAP diet?
  • Why should you have some high FODMAP food, if you can tolerate them?
  • Why is it possibly more important to have expert guidance throughout the reintroduction phase than the elimination phase?
  • What sugars and sweeteners are okay for those following the low FODMAP diet?
  • What are some tips to follow to lose weight while on the low FODMAP diet?
  • Why did Hannah and Janet start Fodify Foods?
  • What products does Fodify Foods offers and where can they be found?

LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD THE LOW FODMAP DIET & IBS PODCAST EPISODE 27 HERE

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

LARAH: Welcome to the Low FODMAP Diet and IBS Podcast. By the time you’ll listen to this episode it will be the end of January 2017 and I really hope you have started well the new year and you haven’t suffered too much from nasty IBS symptoms during the holidays. I’m very excited about today’s episode. I have two guests instead of one. They are two lovely dietitians from the UK who launched, over a year ago, their low FODMAP products range.

My guests, Hannah and Janet, are dietitians from the UK who have both trained in the low FODMAP diet at King’s College London and they both suffer from IBS. While trying to help their patients manage food intolerances, including IBS, they both realised that there were not convenient food options without onion or garlic available anywhere. For this reason, they combined forces and launched Fodify Foods which is a unique company that brings you simple yet healthy food options made only from low FODMAP ingredients that are also gluten and dairy free. We’re going to talk about Fodify, Hannah’s and Janet’s company, in a little bit.  But now, it is with pleasure that I introduce you to Hannah and Janet.

LARAH: Hi Girls. Hi Hannah. Hi Janet. How are you?

JANET: Hello!

HANNAH: Hi!

JANET: It’s great to be here.

HANNAH: Yeah, thanks for inviting us.

LARAH: Thank you for taking the time. Would you like to tell the listeners a little bit more about yourself and when did you get diagnosed with IBS?

HANNAH: I’ve had digestive issues since I was about eighteen, although I didn’t get diagnosed until I was probably in my mid-twenties. When I was eighteen, I remember quite vividly that whenever I ate something with onion in it, it would make me quite significantly unwell with really severe stomach pains and quite a bit of diarrhoea and I had no idea… This was before I’d even heard about FODMAPs. So, it was really not for another ten years that I learned about FODMAPs and the effect that food can have on my digestive system. I think my own experience with IBS probably kind of led me towards becoming a dietitian and working to help other people with IBS and similar issues because I’ve kind of seen the huge impact that it can have on your life if you do have IBS, and how you can manage it and make it better through diet.

LARAH: Alright, yeah, thank you. Thank you for that, Hannah. What about you, Janet?

JANET: I’ve always known that I’m intolerant to some food — in particular, some fruits. And I can remember eating some dried mango quite a few years ago, and feeling really unwell. I had cramps; I just really didn’t feel good after eating it. So, I’ve always known there are certain foods — and it wasn’t until I learned more about FODMAPs that I realised that lots of foods that I found myself intolerant to, were actually the high FODMAP foods. So, when we formed Fodify, back in 2015, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to try the elimination diet myself, to actually see whether food was the root cause of my symptoms. And since then, I’ve been able to discover which foods I can eat and which foods I should avoid.

LARAH: Okay. And is it like fructose for you, or is it more than just that?

JANET: I think it’s probably partly fructose and partly polyols.

LARAH: Okay.

JANET: But I think, for me, it’s probably more that I know that I have tolerance levels. There aren’t so many foods that I can’t eat at all.  I just know that certain foods I have to be careful with the quantity of.

HANNAH: Yes, I think it’s about the combination of foods for you, isn’t it?

JANET: Uh-huh.

HANNAH: It’s about the accumulation of different FODMAPs over the day that has an impact.

LARAH: Yeah, so if you had too much of different types of high FODMAP food rather than just one individual, maybe.

HANNAH: Yes, that’s always something present when I do the challenges. I do tolerate individual FODMAPs from the background of the low FODMAP diet quite well, but It’s when you start combining them that it can start to cause problems.

LARAH: Yes, and like for me, last night I was at my sister’s house. They came to visit me (from Italy) and they’re renting near here. And it was seven o’clock at night and I was starving. I asked “Do you have anything to eat?” Obviously, everything they had contained wheat and everything else. And my sister said, “Ah, I’ve got some couscous.”

“Couscous is wrong (high FODMAP),” I said, “but, okay, just let me try a little bit.”

So not only there was couscous, but there was onion, raisins, and all the wrong things in there, but I was starving so I said, “Stuff it. Just let me have a couple of spoons.” But, yeah, it didn’t work. Sometimes I can tolerate — like most of the time I can tolerate a few different things. But, yes, as you said, it’s the combination. They were all in there.

HANNAH: Did you enjoy it though? That’s the important thing.

LARAH: Not really. You know what it is? I was interviewing Laura Stonehouse from Our House for Tea, a few weeks ago and we had so much fun because we were talking about how I missed a lot of things about England, including all the food that you can get from Marks & Spencer, even though, now, I wouldn’t be able to eat most of them. But, you know, just the fact that you could grab something and it’s ready and it’s beautiful. In Australia there is nothing like that. When you go to the supermarket, you can only really get food that you need to cook from scratch. They will have a really pathetic, sad pasta salad or potato salad. They just managed ‘chopped carrots’ recently.

HANNAH: You know, a couple of the Marks & Spencer sandwiches are suitable. They’ve got a wheat-free BLT and a chicken sandwich. They don’t have any onion and garlic in them and they don’t have any strange ingredients…and the bread is suitable. So, actually, those two sandwiches are good.

LARAH: Perfect. That’s so good. The couscous that my sister bought, it was just rubbish, really.  It wasn’t even good; I was just starving. Everything else they had was like wheat pasta or whatever. So I was just like, “Give me a few spoons of that,” and then  later on I was like, “Oh, no, what have I done?”

HANNAH: That’s annoying. I say to my patients, “If you want to have something now and again, just eat it and really enjoy it. You may well suffer afterwards, but…”

LARAH: Yes.

HANNAH: It’s not dangerous to us. The worst that’s going to happen to, is that you’ll get some symptoms. They can be debilitating, but they will pass. And as long as you enjoy eating the food, it feels worth it sometimes. I can’t really eat onion, but sometimes I just want to have a curry and so I do have one.

LARAH: Yes.

HANNAH: Yes, I get symptoms, but it’s fine with me.

LARAH: Yes, yes.

JANET: I think what I find quite difficult about it — before I establishing which foods I could eat and which foods I can’t — was that because my symptoms seem to develop over a period of time, it’s not something that happens kind of instantly or sort of within half of an hour or an hour. It’s something that can develop over a number of hours.  It was really difficult to try and identify which foods were causing the problems without doing a very strict elimination, and so that’s why I think it’s a combination of foods that’s the problem.

LARAH: Yeah, absolutely. Do you think you went into this field because you felt like you had digestive issues, or is it just a coincidence?

HANNAH:  I think, definitely.

JANET: For me, definitely. That’s why we formed Fodify Foods. You know, we both have personal reasons as to why we want to have these foods out there for people to buy. So, that’s definitely why we started.

HANNAH: Yeah, I think having that understanding helps you to connect with patients as well…

JANET: Uh huh.

HANNAH: I think people can often tell that we have personal experience because part of our consultation is showing that we understand the issues that people are suffering with. And it does reflect in the way that we’ve dealt with people and kind of helps people understand the advice that we’re giving as well. It’s more genuine. And people want to take it on board as well.

LARAH: Yes, absolutely. And you can sympathise with them because you’re going through the same thing, so you understand how hard it can be sometimes to follow the diet, but how rewarding it is. So, you can encourage people because you’re experiencing it yourself.

JANET: I also think that by doing it yourself and by following the diet yourself, you kind of learn the fine details of the diet yourself. You can only learn so much by reading books, by looking things up. But actually, by trying it yourself you learn so much more, so I hope that that comes across when we’re seeing patients as well.

HANNAH: And I think it helps you appreciate the challenges of, you know, not being able to eat out — not being able to buy products very easily which without having a personal experience with, it’s not always so clear what the difficulties are.

LARAH: Yeah, I’m sure that’s the case. Alright, let’s go to our next question. Hannah, you’re both dietitians and you’ve trained in the low FODMAP diet at King’s College in London. Is that where your first met with Janet?

HANNAH: We actually met studying Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s between 2004 and 2008, and that’s where we met and became friends. At that time, the FODMAP diet wasn’t part of our curriculum at all, and actually, it still isn’t a really big part of the curriculum. FODMAPs came over to the UK in sort of 2008 and 2009. When we graduated in 2008, we started working as hospital dietitians in London in different hospitals and then moved on to different roles. Janet went on to a role in the community and I stayed and worked in east London. We both separately undertook roles in gastroenterology and started to see people with IBS. And this is when FODMAPs was starting to become a little bit more known about in the UK. And so I went on to the FODMAPs course at King’s in 2011, and this was one of the first few courses that they started doing.

Janet did the course a year after in 2012. And this is a three-day course. There’s three separate days over three months. It’s very comprehensive. It teaches you the science and the background behind the diet, as well as how to educate patients. And part of the course involves trying the diet ourselves for a week, as well as cooking and sharing food on one of the days. We all had to bring in a low FODMAP dish. I remember bringing in a gluten-free pizza and a simple tomato topping. I remember even at that time thinking that it’s really hard to pick what toppings to put on there and trying to figure out which vegetables were safe. It was great to see all the kinds of different foods that people came up with and being able to try the food as well. We’ve actually got the opportunity to taste different dishes we’ve come up with and that really gave us an insight into what the diet was like — the challenges, and also how it can be enjoyed and implemented in practice.

LARAH: Yeah, thank you, Hannah. And since then there is so much more research that has been done.  So, even finding food that is suitable is not as difficult as it might have been a few years ago. Monash University has tested so much more food. So I have to say that after three and a half years of being mainly on the low FODMAP diet, it’s much easier now. It’s a breeze compared to before when I had to wean myself off everything I was eating. Now I know exactly what I can eat and, yeah, it doesn’t even seem that difficult anymore. Do you find the same?

HANNAH: Yeah, definitely. If you were to Google FODMAPs back in 2011, you wouldn’t really find very much information, whereas now, you get an abundance of really good resources and different websites and to different people like yourself that are working in FODMAPs and are blogging about it and spreading the word and message — pointing the way to really good resources and recipes so that we can really help people. Back then there was nothing available, so I think patients do find more resources at their fingertips nowadays.

LARAH: Yes. I think in terms of cooking your food at home, now there are all the resources that we need to make good choices. The issue is more about when we try to go eat out because it’s a bit trickier to find suitable food. But, I think it will come with time.

HANNAH: I think it’s coming. So we’ve seen a couple of restaurants in the UK and they’re starting to be more aware of onion and garlic and just starting to code the different foods. I’ve seen one restaurant actually coding for low FODMAP from their menus and another big chain over here, Pizza Express, started coding for onion and garlic on their allergy menu which is quite exciting.

LARAH: I know. It’s great because obviously, everybody says, “Onion and garlic, they’re so healthy.” Yes, they are for everyone, but not for those who have digestive issues and IBS.

HANNAH: Yes, my brother is a chef and when I go and stay with him and he’s cooking me food, and he says “it’s so good, you know…onion and garlic are the base of everything. Can’t I just put a bit in the food?”  I just think it’s hard to change people’s perceptions. Actually, you don’t need onion and garlic to flavour food. There’s so many other things you can use.

JANET: It is very interesting to see when people do cut those out actually. A lot of people said that apart from the symptoms, obviously, they don’t actually miss the flavour of it as much as they expected to. And actually, they can find ways to flavour their foods without using onion or garlic. And I think sometimes it surprises me how many people actually don’t necessarily notice that difference.

LARAH: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m happy with my replacement which is the garlic infused oil. I still get the flavour without all the symptoms, but, yes, there are so many other ways, as well, to use other spices and herbs instead of onion and garlic. You can still create beautiful dishes.

JANET: Exactly.

LARAH: Alright, thank you, Hannah. Well, the next question is for Janet. So on your website, I was reading in one of your articles which I think will be very useful for our listeners and it’s “How To Prepare Before Going To See A Dietitian For The First Time.  So it’s just like what questions to ask and how to prepare really. So would you please explain what people can do to prepare in order to make their time — it’s quite expensive to see a dietitian so you want to make the most of it —  to make the time with the expert  be more effective and useful?

JANET: Like you said, it is so important to try to make the most of your appointment  with a dietitian and there are probably three main points that I’d suggest focusing on. The first thing is to make sure that you get a diagnosis from your doctor — so a diagnosis for IBS — and also to make sure that other conditions have been ruled out. I know that if I saw somebody in the clinic who hadn’t been tested for things like celiac disease and hadn’t had inflammatory bowel disease or maybe even bowel cancer ruled out, then I wouldn’t be confident in giving them the low FODMAP advice. So, definitely the first thing to do is to make sure that you’ve seen your GP and you’ve had that diagnosis of IBS as opposed to anything else and that you’ve ruled out all of those other conditions.

Once you’ve done that, the next thing is to make sure that once you’ve got a referral to go and see a dietitian and you know that that dietitian is the best person for you to be seeing. Not all dietitians are going to be trained in how to advise people on the low FODMAP diet. It may be that you’re just going to see a general dietitian who will have lots of skills, but not necessarily in advising on IBS or the low FODMAP diet.  So, if you’re in the UK, we do have a list of trained dietitians. Or if you’re in other countries, it’s a case of finding out whether your dietitian has been trained and whether they’re going to be in the best place to advise you on following the low FODMAP diet.

And finally, it’s really important to make a list of questions that you want to cover with the dietitian. When you get into that appointment you might find that all those questions that you’ve been thinking about just fly from your head and you can’t think of any of them. So the best thing I can say is that for a week or so before you see that dietitian, just jot down the questions that you think about so that when you see the dietitian you can make sure that everything you want to know you can get answered.  If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably know a fair bit about the low FODMAP diet already. You’ve probably been Googling, looking online of what the low FODMAP diet is, what it means, what sort of changes you might need to make to your diet. So make sure that you write down anything else that you want to find out. And also, when you come and see the dietitian try and keep an open mind as to how they suggest you to do the diet yourself, particularly if you’ve been trying to do it already at home. If the dietitian better understands what you need out of your appointment as well, they’re going to be able to support you in a much better way — in a way that you want.

LARAH: Yeah, perfect Janet. These are really very useful tips. When I went to my dietitian, I just went there not even having a clue what she was going to tell me. So there you go, there is an advantage now for people. Be prepared.

Low FODMAP Fodify SpicesJANET: I suggest if you want to find out more about what we suggest, we have written a blog post about how to prepare for seeing a dietitian for the first time.  If you just go to our website, you can have a look at the blog post there.

LARAH: Great! So, Hannah, one for you now. So is it possible for IBS sufferers to be okay with a certain food but then later on becoming intolerant to that food? And if that is true, is there a reason?

HANNAH: Well, absolutely. I think this would definitely ring true for lots of people. I’ve heard so many times people tell me that they used to be able to eat anything and not have any problems, but they suddenly developed these severe symptoms to many different foods. And this can be explored through the low FODMAP diet and their symptoms improved and enable people to identify with their individual triggers. I think it’s a really important question as to why this happens. So we don’t really know fully why this happens for different people. There are some things that we can definitely say that may cause the underlying issues for some people, but it can be quite complex as well. I think one thing that has been shown to trigger IBS in lots of people can be an attack of food poisoning or a really bad tummy bug, and after this the symptoms of IBS can crop up and food intolerance can develop and we don’t quite know why this happens. Maybe there’s some disruption to the different levels of bacteria in the gut and this is quite topical right now about our gut bacteria and how that relates to IBS and food intolerance. It’s kind of a focus of lots of research and understanding not only why this happens, but how we may be able to help it as well. But it’s not just things like food poisoning and tummy bugs that cause IBS; there’s other things as well. For some people, it seems to come on after very stressful life events. For others, you know, we can’t really pinpoint why it happens. There must be some genetic component as well, because it does seem to run in families.

What I’ve also seen as well, is if people start avoiding lots of foods for a long time they can become more sensitive, and that’s why we always advise people to not be too restrictive and also to just follow the low FODMAP diet for a short period and then go through the reintroduction. I think it’s only natural that when you start the diet and you feel a hundred times better that it can be quite tempting to not reintroduce foods because you don’t want to rock the boat and feel worse again. But it’s so important to get those foods back if you can tolerate them because they’re good for you as well.   FODMAPs do contain prebiotics — FODMAPs are prebiotics, essentially. They do feed good bacteria in your bowels and they are good for you. If you can have them, you should have them. And, I guess, what we also find is that, even if you have been intolerant to one food for a while, it can go the other way and you can develop some tolerance to it. So it is always important to periodically retry foods after let’s say six months or even after a year, even if you have had the severe issues in the past. It’s worth retrying again in small amount to see things have changed. Things change over time. We don’t fully understand why, but maybe one day we’ll know more. There’s lots of research going on.

LARAH: Yeah, thank you, Hannah. And this is just so important what you said about reintroducing food. In my Facebook groups, I hear often about people being worried about reintroducing food because they started to feel better and, obviously, they have not been given much guidance on that, which is a shame. That’s why, more than probably the elimination phase, the reintroduction phase you do really need to have an expert that is helping you through.

HANNAH: Definitely. And there’s also people who don’t get any benefit from the diet, so not everyone does benefit from the diet. So, we know that about three quarters of people do benefit and one quarter don’t benefit. Then we find people still doing the diet after two months, after three months, and longer despite having no benefit. And other people do need to stop the diet and reintroduce because it hasn’t had any effect considering they’ve been overly restrictive. We tend to forget about that as well.

LARAH: Yes, absolutely. There is a good twenty-five percent that it doesn’t work for them for whatever reason. It might be another other type of intolerance, so they definitely cannot be on the diet for no reason.

HANNAH: Yeah.

LARAH: I was so happy when I could have another piece of mango again. I love mango and I live in Australia so there are lots of mangoes here. At least if I lived in Europe there’s not much temptation there. There’s no mango anywhere…but more now. But, yeah, in Australia now it’s mango season and I’m like so happy I can have a piece of mango here and there.

HANNAH: Yeah, it’s funny what people do and don’t tolerate; it’s so individual. So some people are completely fine with fructans and very intolerant to another fructan. It’s fascinating why you might be intolerant to one food and not another and it’s something that we also don’t quite understand. That’s why it’s so important to explore your own intolerances with the reintroduction.

LARAH: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. So, Hannah, could you also explain about sugars and sweeteners? Which ones are okay and which ones are not if someone follows a low FODMAP diet?

HANNAH:  Yes, obviously, there are lots of different types of sugars and sweeteners. It can be quite confusing, especially because some of them have quite similar names as well. So the ones that we know are definitely high are the things like honey and fructose; agave also has the fructose. So these are the sugars. And then there are sweeteners that are definitely high. They are the polyols. These are the things like xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt so generally the things ending in ‘ol plus isomalt’.

The sugars that we know that are safe are things that are glucose-based — glucose syrup, dextrose, palm sugar, things like maple syrup, and rice malt syrup as well. Then, the sweeteners that we know that are definitely safe are the things like aspartame, saccharine, stevia, sucrolose and things like table sugar or sucrose and white sugar and cane suga are generally low in FODMAPs and in small amounts if you have lots of sugar and it does become high in sugar sucrose, half fructose and half glucose. And  glucose does help absorb the fructose, but only up to a certain point. It’s important to not have too much sugar, and it’s also important not to have too much sugar in your diet anyway for health reasons. If you’re having sugar in moderation and that’s safe on the low FODMAP diet. Golden syrup is kind of in the same category as sucrose and it does become high in larger portion. There are some sugars and sweeteners that we’re not really sure about and they haven’t been tested yet. We suspect it might be high in FODMAPs so that’s  the things like coconut sugar and molasses. So coconut sugar does contain some inulin and molasses is slightly high in fructose. So the best way to check out which sweeteners is you can and can’t have is to kind of look at information from your dietitian and also the Monash app is a really great resource to look at all the different sugars and sweeteners that have been tested — and also the different portions. It is important to think about the portions size that you have and the app can be quite a useful reminder for that.

LARAH: Yes, the app is absolutely my bible — especially at the beginning.  That’s what I used all the time to navigate myself in the supermarket for what I could have and what I couldn’t have. I recommend it to everyone.

HANNAH: Yeah, definitely. I also use it all the time and they’re updating it regularly so it’s good  idea to check on it to see if anything changes, but also there are things I might forget when I’m with a patient and they’ll ask me about things.

LARAH: Yes, and the quantity as well because sometimes you might just look at the green and the red but not realise that there is a quantity associated with that.  So it may be a red, but if you look inside you can say, “Okay, if I only have this quantity it’s okay.”

It might be green but like in the case of broccoli, half a cup is not very much broccoli and so you can’t have a whole plate full of broccoli and think you’re going to be okay.

HANNAH: Yeah, definitely.

LARAH:  All right. Well thank you for those, Hannah, and, yes, we know that sugar we should really limit it for our diet anyway so…

HANNAH: Yes, the dietitian in me kind of giving a sugar lecture. It’s quite topical. I don’t know what it’s like in Australia, but definitely, sugar is on our agenda in terms of reducing everyone’s sugar intake at the moment.

LARAH: Yes, it’s pretty funny. Like thirty or forty years ago it was fat. Fat is bad…..so they put sugar everywhere, and now it’s obvious they understood that sugar is the cause of a lot of issues that we’ve been having for the past thirty or forty years… and all the processed food.

So, let’s say  — I know that is not the case for everyone — there’s lots of people who have IBS that are actually underweight or losing weight, but a lot of people like me tend, instead, to put on weight. It may be due to age or it may be due to different things.  So considering this is going to come out in January when people may think, “Okay, maybe it’s time I’ll do something about it,”  what would you suggest?  What tips would you give for someone who is following a low FODMAP diet and trying to lose extra weight?

JANET: So before I go through more tips, the first thing to say is that for anybody who’s ever tried to lose weight, I think we all know that it’s very, very difficult.  And so the first thing to remember is that trying to lose weight, it’s not easy.  It’s going to take a bit of effort, but by following a low FODMAP diet it’s definitely still possible to lose weight as maybe just a few different things to focus on. So I’m just going to go through a few tips that — They’re not really any different to general weight loss tips, but there’s probably a few low FODMAP things to bear in mind when I go through each of the points.

So I think the first thing, as dietitians, that we recommend for someone trying to lose weight to do is to plan out all of your meals and snacks.  So it may be sitting down at the weekend when you’re doing your shopping list and planning what you’re going to have for eat for your breakfast, lunch and dinner so that during the week, if you have particularly busy days at work or you’ve been out with friends or something, that you know exactly what you’re doing and exactly what sort of foods you need to be preparing.

So the best way to feed the body is to have three meals per day — three well-balanced meals — the main meals. So breakfast, lunch and then an evening meal and also having one or two healthy snacks through the day.  So when you’re planning your meals, that’s a really good way of making sure that you’re eating regularly, that you’re eating healthy meals and healthy snacks and that you’re not eating too many calories from the foods that you’re having.

So the second thing to think about is making sure that every day you’re managing to get your five a day of fruits and vegetables. So when trying to lose weight, fruits and vegetables are a really good option to try and fill up on because they’re low in calories, they’ve got a good amount of fibre in them and so they’re great for snacks and also to bulk up your main meals. And things to bear in mind though, is when you’re on the low FODMAP diet you need to restrict some of the variety of fruits and vegetables that you’re having, and also the quantity, to make sure that you’re not eating too many FODMAPs, particularly during that initial exclusion phase.  So it may be more difficult to get your five a day, but if you plan carefully it’s still definitely possible to have five portions without exceeding the recommended portion size and still getting a good variety of different things so that you’re not getting bored of what you’re having. And probably the best thing to say this point is, like you were saying earlier, the Monash app is a great place to look to find out what the latest recommended portion sizes are.

Next, I’d suggest being careful with your intake of starchy carbohydrates and fats.  So when you’re planning your meals like I suggested, scouting out your breakfast, your lunch and your evening meal, it’s really important to have starchy carbohydrate at every single meal.  The reason being is that starchy carbohydrates — so things like bread, or pasta, rice, potato, or cereals, all of those foods — provide us with the energy that we need to do all our daily things like going to work or walking to the shops or anything that we do every day.  So it’s really important to have those carbohydrate foods, but limiting those to about a quarter or a third of your meal plate.

And the other thing to bear in mind is that when you’re having those carbohydrates, be careful not to add too much fat to them. So when you’re having bread to try not to add too much butter to it. Or if you’re cooking potatoes, boiled potatoes are going to be much lower in calories than say chip- type potatoes or roast potatoes. So it’s being careful about what we’re adding to our carbohydrates as well.  So we do start the carbohydrate, so when you’re on the low FODMAP diet you can probably choose lots of gluten-free options and it’s worth bearing in mind that some of the gluten-free options that we buy from the shops and things like gluten-free bread or gluten-free biscuits and that sort of thing, they can be quite high in fat. It’s part of the processing to make sure that they have a good texture to them and that they taste good. Often there’s more fat added which can mean that if you compare a gluten-free slice of bread with a standard wheat-based slice of bread, you’ll find that the gluten-free one can have quite a lot more calories in it.  So it’s just being careful with how much of those foods that you’re having.

So when you’re trying to lose weight it’s really easy to think that you want to cut out all the treats that you enjoy. You think that biscuits or chocolate or dessert or anything like that is something that you absolutely have to cut out entirely when you’re trying to lose weight. So you might think, “I’m not going to eat chocolate…” — if that’s your favourite food — for the next six months which, obviously, it’s good to try and avoid those treats. But if you cut them out entirely, you’re more likely to crave those foods and then give in and eat them when you’re having a really bad day. A better way is to allow yourself to have treats occasionally — so maybe having one day a week where you can have your favourite foods, but make sure the rest of the week you’re being sensible.

And then, the last thing which is really important for anyone who wants to try to lose weight, is keeping active. So here in the UK our recommendations are that we should partake in physical activity for thirty minutes a day five days a week. So taking part in activities is going to burn calories and help you lose weight in that way, but it’s also really good for your mental health — for the happy hormones that are released when we do physical activity. And it can just mean going for a walk to the park, or maybe buying a pedometer to track your daily activity. But physical activity is really helpful and also something to bear in mind if you suffer from the constipation side of IBS. It can really help to relieve some of your symptoms.

And lastly, if you want to lose weight and you think you’d benefit from more support, I’d really suggest trying to see a dietitian. So if you want to see a dietitian, have a chat with your doctor, find out what services are nearby, and then you’ll be able to see someone who will be able to recommend a specific plan for you.

LARAH: Thank you for that, Janet. I just wanted to ask you something about the five a day. Is it five vegetables or does that includes fruit as well?

JANET: Its fruits as well, so the five a day is a mixture of fruits and vegetables.  So maybe when you’re doing the low FODMAP diet, it might be more feasible to do maybe two portions of fruits and three portions of vegetables, particularly if you’re trying to limit your fructose intake. But it is a mixture of fruits and vegetables. And we’d say that a portion of either fruits and vegetables is around what fits in the palm of your hand.  So something like an individual banana or say a few tablespoons of cooked vegetables, that would be a portion.

LARAH: Okay, that’s great.

HANNAH: It’s probably different in different countries. I think we have a five a day in the UK, but possibly in Australia, it might recommend seven a day so it’s going to vary from country to country as well.

LARAH: Yeah, there’ll be different recommendations for different countries. I could probably see that. Okay, well let’s talk about the products that you’ve created. So, Janet, how did you come up with this idea of creating low FODMAP products? I know you  mentioned it a little bit at the beginning, but if you want to go through the whole story…

Fodify Tomato Sauce

JANET: So whilst working as a dietitian and advising patients on how to follow the low FODMAP diet, I was recommending the diet to lots and lots of people and what I always seemed to be saying to everyone was that cooking from scratch is the best option because there weren’t any ready-made products that are going to be suitable while following the low FODMAP diet. And I found myself saying it so many times, and so many people would turn around and say that it wasn’t something that was going to fit in with their lifestyle. It just became apparent that there was a need for products. There was a need for easy-to-use, ready-made healthy low FODMAP food products, and looking in the shops, there was just nothing available. And I was watching the TV and it suddenly sprung to mind. I thought, “Hang on a minute. Let’s create these food products. Nobody else is doing it and there are patients who need them.”

So that’s when Hannah and I met up for coffee. We talked about FODMAPs. We’re both, obviously, very passionate about treating IBS and helping people manage their symptoms. We talked about the FODMAPs and the fact that there’s nothing out there for patients or for people following the diet and we thought, “Let’s do it. Let’s start a company. We may be mad, but let’s start Fodify and see if we can help people.” That idea came about last year. We’ve been going for about a year now and we’ve got cooking sources and spice mixes and I guess our goal was really to help people add flavour to their meals without needing onion and garlic.

LARAH: That’s great. And Hannah, can you explain a little bit more about the different products and also where they can be purchased from?

HANNAH: Yeah, so we’ve got two sauces. The first sauce that we created is the tomato-based pasta sauce. It’s tomatoes with some aubergines and courgettes as well with a blend of our favourite herbs. It’s also fat-free with no added sugar. It is a very versatile sauce. It’s not just a sauce that can be put on pasta, but you can use it as a base for a bolognaise or add some meat, fish, or other protein, or even use it when used as a ….sauce as well and we’ve got a number of different recipes on our website as well.Fodify Curry Sauce

Our second sauce is an Indian curry paste, and this is also tomato-based with a special blend of spices. And what you can do with the paste is you can add your favourite milk or milk-alternative or extra tomato depending on how you like it. I quite like to add  coconut milk, and that makes it into a tikka masala style curry, which is one of things I definitely miss with not being able to eat onions and garlic.

So our other products are three-spice mixes and they are also very, very versatile. My favourite is the Mexican Fajita Spice. I really don’t think that you can tell the difference in terms of the lack of onion and garlic in our spice mix and the regular fajita and spice mixes that would be full of onion and garlic.

The other two are the Thai and Moroccan spices and they are also very versatile. You can make lots of different dishes with these two.  When we’ve polled them, the Mexican does come up slightly ahead in terms of preference, but it’s very closely followed by Thai and Moroccan, so they are very popular as well.

LARAH: Where can they be found?

HANNAH: At the moment, you can purchase these just on our website and we’re working to stock these in more retailers in the near future, so watch this space. We do have a grand plan to expand our range as well and to also keep them affordable. So we definitely want to hear from people so if you have any ideas about the products and foods we try to make for you, we’re really keen to hear from people who want these kinds of things because we’re here to help people and give people what they need.  So, absolutely, that’s what we want to do.

LARAH:  Yeah, absolutely.  And at that moment they are just available in the UK. Is that right, or would you ship?

HANNAH: That’s right. We can only ship within the UK and maybe in the future that can change, but right now it’s just in the UK. We’re quite small.

LARAH:  Okay, so for anyone listening from the UK, contact Hannah and Janet on their website (links at the end of the article), and just let them know what it is that you miss that is high FODMAP that you’ll think would be a great idea to create the low FODMAP equivalent. That’s awesome and, like in Australia, we do have some products that are being created by Sue Shepard.  I’ve tried the curry one, but, yeah, there isn’t a tikka masala which is really my favourite one as well.

Well, good. I love this and there are going to be more and more products coming out. And even though, yes, it is good to cook from scratch, the convenience is great, and if you know that it’s a healthy product and it’s already made…

HANNAH: Yeah.

LARAH: Absolutely.

HANNAH: Absolutely. We’re not trying to suggest that you eat just convenience food. It’s just nice to have it when you need it and if you don’t have time to cook on a busy work day and maybe picking up something on the way to a friend’s house. It’s just great to grab something easy and quick.

LARAH: Yeah, I totally agree with you.  Okay, so is there anything we haven’t covered at all?

JANET:  We’ve got lots of articles on our blog. Have a look on our website and have a look at our blog post and you might find some answers there. Or even if you think there are questions that need answering or anything that you’d like to ask or maybe write about, do let us know. We are always happy to try to help people the best that we can. We’re always writing new blogs, especially if anybody has any ideas, do get in touch.

LARAH: Alright, sounds great. And then on that note, could you just tell how people can contact you? So your website then your social media addresses and stuff?

JANET: So you can find us on our website, we also have a Facebook page and we are also on twitter and on Instagram as well. (links at the end of the article)

LARAH: Yeah, very good, very consistent, very easy to remember Fodify foods.

HANNAH:  Yeah it is, hopefully.

LARAH: Yes, for sure. So thank you so much for having participated to this episode. This is great information that you have shared and thank you for answering all the questions and congratulations on your products. I wish I could try them, but next time I come to England, I’ll definitely order some and maybe by then, they’ll also be in retail shops.

HANNAH: Yeah, hopefully, and thank you so much for having us as well, and it’s really good to talk about FODMAPs and it’s our favourite subject. I feel like we could talk about it all day. Yeah, it’s great to talk about it.

LARAH: Yeah, absolutely.  Well thank you Hannah and thank you Janet.

JANET: Thanks for inviting us.

LARAH: Goodbye.

Thank you all for listening to the first episode of the 2017.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it and you found it useful and big thanks to my lovely guests, Hannah and Janet from Fodify Food.

If you have any questions at all that have not jet been discussed on this podcast and they are about IBS and the low FODMAP diet, please let me know so that I can address those with my future guests on the podcast.  I also would like to take the opportunity to congratulate those who are currently doing the second round of the 21-day Low FODMAP Smoothie Challenge. So this is a challenge that my friend Clare, who is a nutritionist, and I started last year. It consists of introducing a healthy low FODMAP smoothie per day in addition to a normal low FODMAP diet. The quantity and the ingredients that are used in the recipes have been tested for low FODMAP and, therefore, they should be safe for most people on the diet. You can check out the challenge on my website and you can also subscribe for free for next time we usually run it every few months so that you don’t miss out.  Subscribe now and you can also find some more information about the low FODMAP seven day reset that Clare and I have created.

I hope you will join me again next week and until then take good care and goodbye!

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

 

 

About Larah Brook

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.