I recently had a chat with Suzanne from ‘Strands of my Life‘ to find out a bit more about her low FODMAP coaching program. Suzanne herself is a long time sufferer of IBS and found the FODMAP diet life changing, she wanted to share her success with others. I found her story similar to mine, she saw multiple doctors and they all told her ‘eat more fruit, eat more fibre’ but this was only making matters worse. Then came the low FODMAP diet! Getting a hold on the low FODMAP diet can be challenging as there are SO many things to consider, but as I found out this is where Suzanne specialises! We chatted about traveling on the low FODMAP diet and ideas for how to get through the festive season with many social gatherings ahead, here’s how our chat went…
How did you discover the low FODMAP diet?
I have had IBS all my life but it was at a manageable level until about nine years ago when my father
died. Then it ratcheted up several notches to a really invasive level and I started seeking an answer in a determined way. I went to several doctors but they all gave me the worst advice ever – to eat more fruit, vegetables and fibre. I knew instinctively that was wrong but it made no sense. I also researched vigorously online, and the low FODMAP diet kept coming to my attention but I consistently ignored it as too complicated. But then one day I was feeling really terrible and I stopped to read about a woman whose IBS symptoms had been helped by the low Fodmap diet, and it caught my attention. In describing her symptoms, she was describing me. I read a bit more deeply and then started a long period of in depth research on how it all worked because there was little out there about the diet at the time and much of it was conflicting, as it still is today unfortunately.
Can you tell us about your personal journey on the low FODMAP?
The diet is a very complicated one which is not just a list of good foods and bad foods but also of amounts, combinations and accumulation. After an extensive period of research and experimentation I started to get the diet right, and the results were miraculous. I now live a symptom-free life with the occasional brief hiccup. My life couldn’t be more different from before discovering the diet.
What is your favourite food or meal?
I don’t have a favourite meal. I am constantly creating new recipes for my blog, Strands of My Life, so my family seldom eats the same thing. But if I had to choose a cuisine, it would be Italian. My husband is Italian and I lived in Italy for nine years so became very conversant with the cooking.
What’s your best advice for travelling on a low FODMAP diet?
If possible, stay in self-catering accommodation and if not, keep a laminated card with you in the language of the country you are visiting with the main foods you must avoid on it. The important ones are those that can be hidden in a dish like lactose, wheat, onion and garlic.
With the festive season quickly approaching, how do you suggest those on a low FODMAP diet deal with attending Christmas parties, BBQ’s and family gatherings?
I always take a dish with me to every gathering and I make sure it is an all-in-one meal which contains all the food groups so that even if there is nothing else I can eat, I can have my own offering.
Tell us a bit about your program and the benefits?
It is a 6-week program that includes customised meal plans, daily diary pages, videos and lifestyle exercises to create a balanced life that supports a life with IBS. It is a one-on-one program in which I work closely with my clients to create a perfect final diet and to help them get some balance into their lives. The results are astonishing as you can see from some of the many testimonials I get about their experiences on the program, you can read them here. My clients now live a pain and symptom-free life just like me.
What inspired you to create the program?
I started my coaching program a few years ago because I was getting daily emails through my blog from desperate people with IBS, some of whom had unsuccessfully tried the low FODMAP diet. I realised that because of the complexity of the diet, people were failing and turning away from a diet that could have saved them, and that made me feel so sad. The coaching program took off immediately and has not slowed down since.
Can you share with us a FODMAP friendly recipe?
I have many low FODMAP recipes on my blog. One of my latest is a Mexican-inspired chicken cornbread pie which you can find here.
Thanks to Suzanne for chatting with me, if you’d like to find out a bit more about her coaching program you can read more here.