14 March 2012

Diary of a FODMAPee : Week 1

I am a wheat-free, lactose-free, vegetarian. God, help me.
It's one heck of a label, and one that brings up the same query, no matter who I tell:

"So, what actually can you eat?" They ask, scratching their heads.

My answer: "Rice..."

Don't worry, it's not just rice.
The mystery stomach pains I've had over the past goodness knows how many years, has finally been whittled down to probably being food allergy related. And so I'm on a specific diet called the FODMAP diet, which eliminates all fermentable carbohydrates from your diet. These are (in some people) foods that don't seem to digest properly in your small intestine. So I'm on this diet for eight weeks. But just in case I'm also intolerant to the moo-juice, I'm off milk too.

Right now, my kitchen cupboards are clear of anything naughty. I've done my big shop, bought wheat-free pasta for an extortionate £2.50 a packet, listed my suitable vegetables and stuck the list firmly to the fridge. I've said my goodbyes to chocolate and cakes and had my final cup of milky tea. It's my first week, and so I'm raring to go.

Lets see how long it lasts, shall we?

Day One 

My first day on the FODMAP diet and I take a detour through Sainsbury's past the bread and cakes section, just to have a sniff. Only a sniff, mind.
I'm swinging my plastic carrier bag containing my wheat-free, lactose-free, vegetarian packed lunch ready to pop in the fridge once I get to work. It's all pre-prepared, which means no stress and no possibilities of me falling into temptation and wanting what I can't eat.
Each morning, my daily routine getting ready for work is a timed-to-perfection rush. I know I need to speed up the hair dryer if I take too long in the shower, forget the jewellery if I'm indecisive about what to wear, and if there's only five minutes left, I ditch the straighteners because I just have to clean my teeth. However, this morning my list went like this:
  • Shower
  • Dress
  • Teeth

I loved having a packed-lunch. I felt like one of those special few at primary school who got to take a packed lunch to school. Those kids whose Mums spent loads of money on the latest lunch-box fads, like Frubes and Cheesestrings. You know, the cool ones who sit on the packed-lunch table. I always remember peering across my lunch- the suspicious reeking brown stew steaming across my plate, to the wonderful treats being pulled out of those kids' lunch boxes. I'd turn green at the swap of a Marmite sandwich and the exchange of a Club chocolate bar for a Twix. 

Because I'm on this diet, I've got one of those clicky-topped Tupperware boxes with the separate compartments as my lunch box. At 7:00am this morning I was grateful for this simplicity. So I pulled out my wheat-free bread, lactose-free butter and start spreading. Cutting my cheddar cheese into long strips and dolloping Heinz Salad cream all over it, I make the almost perfect sandwich (only not quite because wheat-free bread tends to have loads of holes in, which make for a bit of a mess). This fills up one compartment. Slipping a Babybel and one strawberry Lactose free yogurt in the other two, I'm pressing the lid firmly on and finally ready to go. 

Not bad for my first day, I think positively. Grabbing my keys I glance in the mirror and slightly horrified at the sight of me, I slick a bit of mascara on as a last minute thought. 

My usual walk to work means I pass a big Sainsburys. This morning the smells of wheaty wonder wafting through the air were enough to turn anyone's head. So I go in. Just for a sniff, mind. 

And I come out with Lactose-free milk. Because today is Day One. And I'm being really good. 


To find out a little more about the FODMAP diet and what FODMAPs are, I've found this website helpful.


  1. I'm hungry just reading this. Are you sure you can survive without those foods?

  2. Funny how more of our bodies seem to be rebelling to the edible world about us. I recently tried a little "Atkins-ish" style of eating, looking to trim up a bit before the sun-dress season begins. This means basically cutting all wheat/flour/high carb stuff out. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for lunch, roasted salmon and veges for dinner. As I don't particularly crave sweets like most people do--I'm quite happy with this. To my WONDER, within two weeks--the pesky acne that I've just managed my whole life, completely disappeard! Shocking. Who knew?

    And I do so love a packed lunch! (I sneak treats into my boys lunches all the time, just little surprises--but it does make them smile)

  3. I have a friend who is a gluten-free soy-free vegan. Who is a famous cookbook author. So ... there is hope! haha

  4. You don't have to give up cakes and other deserts, just buy gluten-free stuff and lactose-free milk which is delicious because it's a bit sweeter than regular milk ;) There are also lactose free yogurts, butter and all other ingredients you need for baking. But it is quite expensive.

  5. Good luck with that! You have just reminded me how much I like mini babybel. Must put on shopping list...

  6. Your starting to make me hungry with this mention of food.

  7. Good luck. I think that sometimes once your mind is made up on something, then it's easier to stick to it and you seem to be looking on it positively too!

  8. sheesh...i havent eaten my tummy is all growly n stuff...
    good on you for taking care of yourself like that..maybe it is high time i started to do the same...

  9. I hope it's still going well for you. I know it must be a bit of a nightmare but if it stops the pains in your stomach it's worth it. I can do the vege side okay though it was hard for the first 3 years, but I couldn't go vegan.