Many of you are anxious when going on holiday because of the difficulties involved in sticking to the low Fodmap diet. The video today was shot after a holiday to Europe, when I visited several countries. I talk about my experiences during the holiday on eating safely and I mention a couple of times when things went wrong.
Transcription of Eating Low Fodmap on holiday
As most of you will know, I’ve just been away for a month in Europe and I got back yesterday. So I’m pretty jet lagged. But I thought you might like to hear how the trip went from the point of view of eating low FODMAP.
It all went actually really well, surprisingly. I went through Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. And for each country, I had written up a laminated card in the language of the country; no garlic, no onions, no beans. Because those are my three big triggers. I’m not lactose intolerant at all. I have no problem with that. So I used Google Translate to get the translation. In Italian, I knew it because I speak Italian, but in the other countries that are German, Hungarian and the Croatian, I just used Google Translate. And only in one restaurant, I think it was in Hungary, the waiter sniggered a little bit at what I had written on the card. So maybe it wasn’t the perfect translation. But he understood and that was the important thing.
I did end up eating a lot of schnitzel, which is chicken covered in breadcrumbs or veal covered in breadcrumbs. The amount of breadcrumbs that is on a piece of schnitzel is not enough to cause a problem even if you have an issue with the fructans in wheat. So, a breaded or crumbed piece of meat is okay. And in Austria and Hungary, there was a lot of schnitzel on the menu, which was nice. I had a bit too much though – I was a bit tired it by the end. Mostly they’re served with potatoes either in the form of potato chips or roasted potatoes, a lot of them. And I would just make sure that there was no onion or garlic involved in that.
What I have found on analysis – because everything went really well except for a couple of incidences which I’ll mention in a minute – was that I ate a lot less vegetables and fruit than normal. And of course, we know that’s where a lot of the FODMAPs are and in particular my biggest trigger is fructose, and I ate practically no fruit. And I could almost say that my system was better for having no fruit or vegetables. We know we can’t do that long-term because we’re not getting the nutrition we need. But it was an interesting exercise just for the month, to know that I’m better off without fruit and vegetables.
A couple of incidences that did happen. One of them was actually my last meal in Hungary. We went to a pub, well it was like a bistro, and it was very busy and they didn’t have a lot of staff on. And the woman was very kind and I showed her the card and said, “No garlic or onion.” And then I mentioned the pasta that I wanted – I don’t have a problem with having a bit in my meal, so I was able to say normal pasta. And then I said, “And also a garden salad.” Now when she brought it, the garden salad had onion all the way through it and I said, “But I said ‘No garlic and onions.'” And she said, “Oh, you only said that for the pasta.” Which of course is ridiculous. But anyway she said, “Can you just take it out?” And I said, “No, it’s covered in dressing and the dressing will now have absorbed the onion flavour from it, (which of course would have the FODMAPs in it). So I need a fresh one.” She wasn’t that happy about it but off she trotted. And bought me back another salad and said, “Here I’ve made you a fresh new salad.” And put it down. So I was busy talking away to the people at the table – there were seven of us travelling through Austria and Hungary – and I was eating the salad. And after a while, it suddenly dawned on me that this tasted a bit like onion and I looked down at the plate and I actually saw a couple of little pieces of onion in it. And I realised that she’d taken the onions out of the same salad, even though I had explained to her that it would be contaminated and that I’d be eating onion in the dressing. Anyway so that was a big hiccup and for a couple of days, I had some stomach pain from trapped gas and so on. Not too tragic but just unpleasant and unnecessary, completely.
So, from then on I actually told them that I was allergic to garlic and onion and beans. That way I think you get a better reaction because otherwise they just think that you don’t like them. Because they don’t know anything about FODMAPs, of course. That was a little bit of a lesson learned that it’s probably important for you to either write you’re intolerant or even allergic to garlic and onions so they’ll be very careful. If they know that you’re going to maybe drop down on the restaurant floor, frothing at the mouth, or having to be carried away in an ambulance because you’re allergic, they’re going to be more careful. So take it from me, add that to your laminated card.
And the only other issue I had was in Italy. They have these pastries that have like a vanilla cream in the middle of them. And when I saw the same thing in Austria I ordered one for my breakfast. Again I can eat a certain amount of wheat. So I had a big bite and that was fine. Then I took another big bite and realised that in the middle was a whole big lump of apricot jam and not the vanilla cream, which I would’ve been able to tolerate. So I hadn’t had very much. I mean I couldn’t exactly spit it out, I was with people again. So I had to eat it and that gave me issues just for that day. I hadn’t eaten enough for it to be a big problem. So again, something to look out for. Don’t expect something to be the same as in your country or another country where you know it to be a safe food. Those were my only issues the whole time.
All the restaurants were really good at taking into account what I said. The people I was with were all family from Italy and just learned to expect me to be making a little bit of fuss about what I could and couldn’t eat and it paid off to do that – to make sure that I was standing up for myself and my needs.
From the point of view of food, I had a very pleasant trip for the whole month. I did get a bit of a throat infection and a cold because there were extremely hot temperatures over there, where we’re up close to 40 degrees many days, and then you going into air-conditioned buildings. And that contrast is a little bit too strong and I did end up with something. So you might be able to hear it in my voice that it’s not quite normal yet but I am on the mend. And it’s the first cold that I’ve had for years. First illness of any kind that I’ve had for years.
But from the point of view of my gut, it went extremely well and I hope that you can learn something from my experience. Thank you for watching and goodbye.