Fodmap Finders

 It’s a confusing dietary world, so many ways to optimise health or reduce certain problems.  There’s plenty of scientific evidence for different claims and depending on whose research you trust, experts on every side of the dietary fence seem credible. Instead of confusion let’s go with the glass half full approach and be grateful for so many opportunities to address health concerns. It’s actually fantastic. You have the opportunity to test whether one avenue works for you and if not, try another! Trusting our gut, excuse the pun. Let’s look at Fodmapping and what a Fodmap diet can do for your ‘gut’.
Monash University’s Gastroenterology Department suggests one in seven adults suffer from IBS symptoms, characterised by wind, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diahorea. Gemma Ludski is a keen Fodmap diet devotee in Melbourne, her instagram page FodmapFinders seeks to “hunt for the best fodmap friendly cafes in Melbourne, making eating out exciting again for our fellow fodmapers. She established her page in the quest to share up-to-the-minute Fodmap findings with fellow sufferers.  She explains “Fodmaps are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in naturally-occurring foods as well as additives. Fodmaps consist of four groups; fructose, oligos, lactose, and polyols and includes foods like apples, onion, garlic, and corn”. Gemma believes in the scientific research on Fodmaps as effective dietary therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and fructose or lactose intolerances. 
Photo by Stefan Johnson
Technology is a massive advantage for people with food intolerances. There are a plethora of websites devoted to Fodmap-friendly food companies as well as helpful suggestions for ingredients or health questions. Sourcing ready-to-go Fodmap grocery lists and recipes is simple online too. Tiffany’s instagram page is fodmapfiends. She takes photos of low Fodmap foods in restaurants or cafes and has a good tip for Fodmappers or those just starting out on their health journey. “When a cafe doesn’t have anything low-Fodmap I order a bunch of low-Fodmap sides and make a meal out of it”. She recommends Foddies in Melbourne, “their menu is always dedicated to the low Fodmap diet”.

Gemma and Tiffany both know how difficult eating out can be for IBS suffers and hope more interest in Fodmap eating will go the direction of recent surges in Veganism, Paleo and Sugar-free living in creating more diversified menus. If cafes and restaurants are places of greater food tolerance for dietary diversity it’s a positive thing. “In the next 5-10 years we’d love to see an increase in Fodmap-friendly food products, it would make the process of eating easier AND more enjoyable for people with these intolerances. At the moment dining and eating in general is more of a hinderance than a joy”, Gemma says. She also hopes to see more cafes include menu symbols for Fodmap or fructose free options as currently exists for Vegetarian (v) or Gluten free (GF) menu choices.

Photo by Lauren Lester
 Trying out different dietary requirements can be an experiment in self-expression but Gemma urges people experiencing bowel or digestion issues to consult an experienced dietician. “These intolerances are not a case of a simple cause that has a simple fix, they can affect everyone differently so require different treatment approaches”. She recommends the Monash University’s Low Fodmap app as extremely helpful to understand what can be consumed and what amount is safe. The Fodmap Friendly App is also available.
Bring on the diversity and tolerance. If the commerce leads the way in every way, shape, colour and size it’s a great thing. Who knows when YOU’RE  going to develop a intolerance or feel the desire to clean up your diet.

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