1. Are you eating too much at one sitting?
Eating well on a low FODMAP diet means controlling the amount of FODMAPs we put into our bodies in between toilet sessions. We can’t not eat FODMAPs or we would die of malnutrition because they are in all fruits and vegetables. It’s about balance. If we space them out, they will have less effect on us. For example, if we eat a large piece of cake, even though we have used table sugar to make it (and the glucose equals the fructose), the body simply can’t process that amount at once. So eat a small piece now and have another small piece later in the day.
This applies to all meals. Eat small amounts more often but always be aware of the accumulation of those FODMAPs. A big portion of stir-fried vegetables, even with only low FODMAP ones, could cause some issues so go easy and be judicious at all times.
2. Are you eating processed foods?
Processed food is our enemy!! We must never touch them again! Look at the ingredients on a packet and if there is even one ingredient you don’t recognise, then reject it – as if it was poison. But what if you do recognise all the ingredients? Still reject it if you have irritable bowel syndrome or, I would even go out on a limb and say, any kind of digestive issue. Many ingredients are not listed depending on your country’s laws governing food labelling. For example, there is no need to declare ingredients that are under a certain amount and those could be the very substances that slay you.
That doesn’t mean avoid all foods in packets because, for example, rice flour comes in a packet but the only ingredient is rice. Now we could go into the process that turns the rice into flour and the possible chemicals that are used to achieve this, but I choose not to for the basics I use all the time. Others of you might need to eliminate all kind of foods that have been through a process but fortunately that doesn’t seem to be me. However, you can certainly take that extra step and only eat food in its natural state. And I would applaud you for that.
3. Do not hold on!
So you have made a mistake, knowingly or unknowingly, and now you are suffering. Get thee to a toilet as soon as humanly possible. And stay there until the problem passes or you have “passed” the problem. Often circumstances make it difficult to excuse oneself and to disappear for what could be a prolonged period of time to the bathroom. For many years at work, I suffered in silence rather than shame myself by going yet again to the toilet. But in those days, I didn’t understand what was happening in my body and so didn’t understand the importance of zeroing out the FODMAPs to re-establish an equilibrium. I don’t think it is necessary to spell out the issue to those around you when an attack comes on, but I do think you can say that you don’t feel well and need to retreat for a bit. Now that I know exactly what my problem is, I am, surprisingly, much more willing to tell the truth. Having a name put to it with an effective solution has given me power. And I won’t let other people or my issue take that away from me ever again.