Who am I?
I am a super organised perfectionist who is a lover of travelling, reading, writing, photography and cooking. I live with my Italian husband and 23-year-old son in New Zealand in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Why this blog?
I want to help those of you with irritable bowel syndrome by supplying you with information and recipes based on the low FODMAP diet. This is a diet which helps 75% of sufferers and has the ability to change their lives.
How did I get to this point?
I have suffered from digestive issues all my life. I can’t tell you when I realised that not everyone suffered when they ate, but I learned early on that one didn’t talk about what happened inside the body. It wasn’t until I went to live in Italy at 23 that I found a nation who thrived on conversations involving the condition of one’s internal organs. But it is difficult to change more than two decades of conditioning and, even though I lived there for 9 years, I never contributed anything of interest to these intimate discussions. I suffered in silence.
Through the years, I approached numerous doctors with my symptoms only to be told that I had irritable bowel syndrome and to eat more fibre, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Each time I diligently went away and obeyed their instructions and felt worse than ever. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I guess I was insane. For years!
Two years ago, I started this blog as a way of exploring food and the effect it had on me. At first, I cooked mainly fast, healthy, real food dinners since I work full time and have little energy in the evening to cook complicated meals for the family. I joined a few groups of bloggers who were focused on eating and living in a healthy way and discovered the different eating regimes they were following which helped their health issues.
I tried the well-documented Paleo diet for several months and ultimately it made me worse. I lost energy and my digestive issues got worse. This is not a testimonial against the Paleo diet. It helps many people – I was just not one of them.
So I Googled the heck out of my symptoms for the zillionth time and the low FODMAP diet came onto my radar and I realised I had seen it mentioned before but had glossed over it. I found an article that described the symptoms of someone who was intolerant to FODMAPs and a light bulb went on. This person was describing me, right down to how ‘healthy’ food made me worse. I investigated further and fructose malabsorption was mentioned. I knew almost immediately that I had hit the bullseye. The puzzle pieces were falling into place. I read about the hydrogen breath test for fructose malabsorption and had soon booked myself in for one. The test was positive and I had confirmation of what I already knew. I was put onto a nutritionist who specialized in the low FODMAP diet and I started the elimination portion of it. The improvement was rapid and surprising and miraculous. Some days I thought I could dance on water.
And how is my life now?
There are days when I think I am feeling so good that I can test the limits of this diet but then the symptoms return and I remember. There are good days and bad days but far more good days and I am so grateful I could kiss the internet for the knowledge and information that is on there. I now blog, not to find a solution to my own issues, but so I can help others like me who are suffering and have suffered all their lives. This intolerance to the sugars in food is a strange and difficult one to isolate. I had tried eliminating so many types of food in the past with no relief but I had never thought of something as complex as this. For the most healthy foods to be the culprits is almost unthinkable and I now know why the doctors’ advice always made me worse. And I know why the Paleo diet didn’t work – honey and fruits and vegetables all contain fructose. I was making and eating ‘healthy’ granola bars which were piled full of dried fruit and honey – the worst possible thing I could do.
What does this mean for you now?
My blog is now dedicated to low FODMAP recipes which I hope inspire those with FODMAP intolerance to eat as balanced a diet as possible within the limits that are imposed by this eating regime. I also write articles on low FODMAPs in the hope that I can impart to others what I have learned along the way. I am not a medical expert and don’t profess to have all the answers but I am a sufferer who is rapidly gaining a bank of knowledge about this condition. If I can reach others and help them to have the same light bulb moment that I had, then it will be worth the hours of work I dedicate to this blog.
Adriano – husband
He is Italian. Not the romantic, pinch-your-bottom kind. This one is solid and so-not-romantic but he’s worth keeping because he has learned to throw a few ingredients together to make something decent to eat and he does so on the weekends. This might sound not too way out there but it is for an Italian man. They love food and can talk forever about it but they don’t cook it. They will kill it for you and drag it home all bloody but then you have to take over and transform it into something that looks as far from a cute animal as possible.
Anyway, besides cooking occasionally, during the week hubby staves off the mental collapses of the Auckland population by fixing people’s computers but the main thing he does in any spare hour of his life is jump on a mountain bike and try to kill himself by throwing himself into a tree or down a ravine. I swear to you, he comes home with more injuries than a stuntman – bruises and blood oozing from all limbs. He even strained a muscle in his chest last week while falling into a tree. I didn’t even know you could strain a muscle in your chest. What can you do with your chest to strain a muscle?
Dario – son
He is twenty-three and has a Bachelor of Architecture and two-year diploma in photography after being homeschooled by moi for most of his life. However, he still communicates with me in grunts, that is unless he wants something and then he comes over all eloquent, and full-bodied persuasion flows from his lips. Every excuse I give to the negative of whatever is the latest need is met with a desperate desire on his part for a logical explanation from me. He pounces these erudite moments upon me when I have just finished a day’s work, have ridden my go-nowhere bicycle for half-an-hour and have collapsed shaking onto my seat in front of the computer to check my emails before leaping up again to prepare dinner. I am at my lowest ebb and he knows it. So the argument goes around and around with him insisting on logic. See if you can be logical when your blood sugar is plummeting from over-exertion – not doable. These conversations often end with me getting a tad testy and then he thinks I am unmanageable.