Category Archives: IBS

FODMAPs in the media

So happy that FODMAPs is becoming well known in the media and more people are becoming aware of this fantastic approach to help the symptoms of IBS.Image

Anyone who suffers from IBS will understand how annoying and frustrating it can be! So i welcome any coverage in magazines ….Image

fod maps 2

Gluten-Free Living on a Budget Tips

This is taken from (I have edited it!) a great blog – check out these Budget tips when on a gluten free diet …

Gluten-Free Living on a Budget Tips

  1. Buy pantry items on sale. 

Beans. Rice. Canned tomatoes. Canned pumpkin. Quinoa. Gluten-free pasta. Stock up when you can. And buy in bulk.

  1. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. 

Cut down on meat and browse my Vegetarian and Vegan Index for some budget-friendly inspiration. My Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas are super popular- and muy delicioso. Not to mention my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie and the all-time classic comfort food Baked Mac + Cheese.

Shop at the Farmers’ market for seasonal inspiration and budget friendly prices.

  1. Make your own snacks instead of buying pre-packaged. 

You can make twice as much hummus for less than half the price. Try my Jalapeno Lime Hummus recipe, or classic Hummus Tahini. Make your own snack chips out of stale corn tortillas and brown rice tortillas- here’s how to make your own chips. Easy. Make your own pesto, too. And if basil is outrageously expensive- try cilantro, parsley and mint. It makes a wonderful pesto with pecans (cheaper than pine nuts).

  1. Use more potatoes. 

They’re amazingly versatile. You can make a soul warming- and filling- soup Potato Leek Soup for very little investment. You can make a baked Idaho potato- or a sweet potato- the centre of a meal rather than a side dish. Top it with a scoop of leftover Santa Fe Chicken Chili, or veggies like my Balsamic Roasted Veggie Smothered Potato. Top a baked sweet potato with my Melted Peppers and Dags. Easy and cheap. Buy them at your local Farmers Market.


  1. Eat breakfast for dinner .

Make an 1-2-3 omelette with eggs and left over blue corn chips and call it a Blue Chip Fritatta. Make pancakes. Or Pumpkin Waffles. Or a simple Fried Egg and Pesto on Toast. Bake up a spaghetti quiche-pie with leftover pasta and veggies and call it an Autumn Pasta Fritatta. Find more brunch, quiche and egg recipes here.

  1. Pasta is goddess sent. 

Even though gluten-free pasta runs a tad more expensive than regular old grocery store spaghetti, you can often buy in bulk and save. Ask your grocer for a case discount.

  1. Make soup. 

And if you make it a slow cooker, you save energy costs. Easy, And pretty cheap- if you buy the beans on sale. Use leftover chicken and make my Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken and Cilantro. Hardly a sacrifice. Browse more soup recipes on the blog.

  1. Make your own broth

Don’t bother buying expensive gluten-free broths. Make your own with water. Fill a pot. Toss in some old celery sticks that have been hanging around, a couple of bendy carrots, a piece of onion, some garlic and a shake of herbs. Sea salt. Cover. Simmer. Strain. Boom. Broth. And you know what’s in it.


  1. Remix leftovers. 

Don’t just reheat  leftovers in the microwave. Get creative with leftover rice, quinoa, stews and chili. Combine leftover veggies and chicken for soup. Throw in leftover salad greens. Toss in some carrots. Add a scoop of rice. Save leftover chili (like my Two Artists Chili) and bake it with rice the next day for a fabulous Baked Chili Casserole (pictured above). Make a fabulous Brown Sugar Meatloaf and smashed potatoes and the next day turn leftovers into a tasty pie (see below for recipes). Make a potato soup into a fish chowder the next day by adding a can of wild salmon and some frozen corn. Use leftover rice and chicken and add some garlic and frozen spinach to make my Chicken Spinach Rice Bake. And of course- the obvious favorite around here- make Mexican. Use leftover chicken, beef or turkey to make enchiladas.

Read more:

FODMAPs – Simply explained!!


The diet with the weird name may help your IBS symptoms – and has now become the new buzzword, featuring in two well-known female magazines this month (July 2013).

The FODMAP diet is has some proof that it helps IBS sufferers. Avoiding these foods seems to reduce bloating, gas, constipation, and abdominal pain in IBS sufferers.

These foods have short chain carbohydrates and therefore can be hard for your small intestine to absorb. So the food ends up being digested by bacteria in the large intestine, ie your colon. This can lead to extra water in your bowels, gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and other symptoms of IBS.

 What’s behind the FODMAPs diet – how did it all start?!

A study by Gibson PR, Shepherd SJ, showed that a low FODMAP diet decreased “functional gut symptoms” for people with IBS, while a high in FODMAPs increased those symptoms. In other words, less FODMAPs consumed, less IBS symptoms for IBS sufferers.

To combat this Dr Sue Shepherd’s low FODMAP diet recommends the elimination of complex foods for about 8 weeks.

The low FODMAP diet has been used at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London and has been supported by research at King’s College London.

The NHS says that while the exact cause of IBS remains unclear, it is believed to be triggered by a range of factors including stress and issues with the immune system.

Sue has developed a dietary management approach which has revolutionised the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (low FODMAP diet) – her pioneering research has contributed world-first information, and for which she was awarded the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s Young Investigator of the Year Award in 2006.

Sue is also the director of a busy private dietetic practice (Shepherd Works), specialising in gastrointestinal nutritional conditions, such as coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, employing twelve dietitians. See –

What does FODMAP stand for?

It is an acronym for…







All of these are carbohydrates. 

1. Fermentable – as they ferment in our intestines.
2. Oligo-saccharides – are fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides.
3. Di-saccharides – are lactose.
4. Mono-saccharides– are fructose 
5. Polyols– are Sugar Alcohols.

2.   Fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides are poorly absorbed in all people so restriction of these helps most people with IBS symptoms.

Fructans can also be known as fructo-oligosaccharides and are chains of sugar fructose. In the real world this means wheat products, some vegetables i.e. onion and garlic and when they are added to processed foods and FOS, oligofructose or inulin.

E.g. (Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Asparagus, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Raddicio lettuce, Spring Onion (white part), Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.)

Galacto-oligosaccharides are chains of sugar glucose : beans and pulses.

E.g. (Legume beans, baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans, Lentils, Chickpeas).

5.Polyols are sugar alcohols i.e. sorbitol and xylitol. These occur naturally in some fruits and some vegetables. They are also added as sweeteners to many low sugar products such as sugar free chewing gum, mints and ‘diet’ foods.

E.g. Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Longon, Lychee, Nectarines, Pears , Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol  and Isomalt.

There are two further groups, Fructose and Lactose. These two groups are not malabsorbed in everybody with symptoms and breath tests can tell you if you have a problem.

3. Lactose is something we all know. It is found in animal milk and milk products.

E.g. Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).

 4. Fructose can be found in large amounts in different foods especially in some fruit and honey. It is also added to many food products as a sweetener or flavour enhancer. So its time to start checking food labels in supermarket!!

E.g. Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids

 These are,the main groups that when starting the Fodmap diet all sufferers must stay clear of for at least 6-8 weeks before entering the reintroduction stage.

Basically, the idea is to avoid all foods that are high Fodmap, the list is far too long for me to write on my blog!

Go to Dr. Sue Shepherd’s website,, for info on HIGH FODMAP foods and this website is good too:

However please, please go to your GP if you have any symptoms of IBS as this diet can really help and quite literally change your life! Ask for a referral to a dietician and insist on help for the Fodmap Diet. They will help you as an individual to help you get better and explain thoroughly what food you can eat, what you can’t, starter recipes to get you cooking good low Fodmap meals, snacks and brands that are good for you.

 More Sciencey stuff!


IBS food and cooking simple


IBS – The Facts


I have decided to write a post about IBS. I suffer from IBS and have done for 6 years. Ive had the blood tests, the scans, the other tests etc to see if it was anything else and it wasn’t; the only explanation for my symptoms is IBS.

I thought I had it under control by taking over the counter medications and anti-depressants when needed (see my post about the Gut and Brain connection).

This post was written by me and I have provided the links to the information I have taken from the internet. There are so many great websites out there so make sure you have a look! This is only a small chunk of information on IBS!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is the name doctors have given to a collection of otherwise unexplained symptoms relating to a disturbance of the colon or large intestine. IBS is a “syndrome.” The word syndrome means a group of symptoms and signs that indicate a disease or health problem.

IBS is one of the most common problems of the digestive system – about 2 in 10 people in the UK have IBS and it’s twice as common in women than men. Women might be more willing to talk to their doctors about IBS Symptoms. Men, women and children all get IBS. Hormones play a part in IBS. Many women report a worsening of symptoms during menstruation.

IBS can develop at any age, but most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 35. When X-rays, blood tests, endoscopies and other diagnostic tests are carried out, the results do not reveal any obvious abnormality. For that reason IBS is often called ‘a functional disorder’ of the bowel; in other words, an disturbance in bowel function without any change in structure or obvious cause.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Most people with IBS find their symptoms an occasional nuisance but don’t need to see a doctor. However, for some people, the condition seriously affects their quality of life. If you find it difficult to cope with your symptoms, see your GP.

  • Pain or discomfort in your abdomen is the most common symptom of IBS and it’s often in your lower abdomen on the left-hand side. You may also get stomach cramps. The pain may be mild or severe and may ease if you open your bowels. It can often get worse if you eat. You may feel pain at a particular time of day, often in the evening. Women often find the pain relates to their menstrual cycle.
  • A change in bowel habit is another common symptom. Your faeces may vary in consistency and may alternate between constipation and diarrhoea. Alternatively, you may just pass small amounts of mucus. At times, you may feel an urgent need to open your bowels or this may feel strained. Afterwards, you may feel that your bowels haven’t been completely emptied.
  • Your abdomen may feel bloated and may look swollen. This is more common in women.

These symptoms may come and go – you may not have any symptoms for months and then have a sudden flare-up.

Other symptoms you may get if you have IBS include:

  • feeling sick
  • indigestion
  • headache
  • backache
  • tiredness
  • muscle and joint pains
  • ringing in the ears
  • belching
  • shortness of breath
  • problems with your bladder- passing urine frequently
  • problems with your sex life- pain during or after having sex, or a lack of interest in sex
  • anxiety
  • depression

A similar range of symptoms are reported by patients with other medically unexplained illnesses, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Functional Dyspepsia, suggesting they all might all be expressions of an alteration in sensitivity or irritability affecting the mind and the body.


No One Knows for Sure What Causes IBS.

At this point, no one has found one specific cause of IBS. But thanks to tireless work of countless researchers, we know a lot more about it, and what you can do to prevent symptoms of IBS.

One theory is that the intestines overreact to signals of stress or anxiety coming from the brain; the ‘nervous stomach’. Food sensitivities or food allergies can trigger an IBS attack. Finding and eliminating foods that don’t agree with you can make a dramatic difference.

Note that food sensitivities are not the same as allergies. You may not be “allergic” to a food, but it can still be a major cause of your IBS symptoms.



What Are the Possible Causes of IBS?

Your genetic make-up – you may inherit IBS

Bacterial Infections- inflammation of your bowel, for example an infection such as gastroenteritis

Over Sensitive Bowels

Food Sensitivities

Extra Pain Receptors




Yeast (Candida Albicans)


Food Additives

The First 5 Things to Do if You Have IBS Symptoms

1. See your doctor. – You don’t want to try diagnosing yourself with IBS, only to find out you have a treatable and/or a serious condition.

2. See an allergist.

3. See a qualified dietician or nutritionist.

4. Keep a food diary and look for problem foods.

5. Avoid foods that you find trigger your IBS.


Diet advice


  • Eat regular meals.
  • Drink enough fluids but try to limit caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, to a maximum of three cups a day and also limit alcoholic and fizzy drinks.
  • Cut down on foods that are rich in insoluble fibre, such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain rice and cereals that contain bran when your symptoms get worse.
  • Eat no more than three portions of fruit a day.
  • Limit processed foods. These may contain ‘resistant starch’ that is difficult for your body to digest.
  • If you have diarrhoea, cut out artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol. This is used in some sugar-free sweets, drinks and diet products.
  • If you feel bloated, try eating oats, which are found in some cereals and porridge, and a tablespoon of linseeds each day.
  • FODMAP for IBS-

You may find it helpful to keep a food diary for two to four weeks to see if certain foods cause your symptoms. Always speak to your GP before changing your diet as advice may differ depending on your symptoms. If certain foods still seem to bring on your symptoms after trying this diet advice, it may help to see a dietitian.

Lifestyle advice

Regular exercise is a good way to help reduce your symptoms. It helps keep your bowel movements regular and reduces stress. Aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, at least five times a week.

If your symptoms are noticeably triggered by stress, try learning stress management or relaxation techniques.

If these self-help treatments don’t work, see your GP for advice. He or she can help you identify factors that may be making your IBS worse, and suggest other treatments.