The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet

The Complete Low-FODMAP DietTwo months ago you’d have drawn a blank look from me if you mentioned a FODMAP. Or rather, the FODMAP acronym. Today, it seems to be integral to my eating life.

After some seven years of turning up to various doctors complaining of an assortment of annoying but arguably not life-threatening symptoms, it looks like we’ve finally worked out what’s causing my issues: fructose.

That’s essentially a sugar that’s contained in a bunch of foods that make up the FODMAP grouping, or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccarides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.

High-FODMAP foods have been linked to a bunch of food intolerances, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s and Coeliac diseases. Low-FODMAP foods, on the other hand, seem to make those of us whose bodies flair up when we encounter high-FODMAP foods very happy.

As someone who studiously steers clear of anything involving the word ‘diet’, I was dubious about The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet‘s ability to convince me to start and stay with it. So it’s testament to the strong communication and communication design of this book that I consider it a worthy purchase and read.

Research-rich, it delivers a trove of detailed information in largely lay terms, which means it’s not overwhelming and people like me can have a red-hot crack at adopting the diet. I’m impressed, especially so as the book has whole sections and a sample weekly menu plan for vegetarians and vegans (they also have ones for coeliacs and so on).

This means I’m not cobbling together information and coming up with my own approximations of how the diet would apply to me. Which is pretty much par for the course with any other diet or recipe I’ve ever attempted.

That’s not to say that the diet isn’t confusing, because it kind of is. With foods anywhere from onion and garlic to apples on the do-not-eat or eat-minimally lists, there’s nothing hugely intuitive about which foods are high- or low-FODMAP. That may be why the diet took so long to really take off.

But, having been loosely following the low-FODMAP diet for a month or so, I can testify that this diet is already improving my allergies/intolerances. And doing so in a way that doesn’t compromise my overall long-term nutrition. Which means I should probably fully commit to it and stop faffing about.

The avoiding onion and garlic thing is, I have to say, indescribably difficult, with those two tasty vegetables forming the basis of just about every cooked food and every cooked winter food I’d currently like to consume.

I have also joked that, as a vegan on the low-FODMAP diet, I’m pretty much the most nightmarish dinner party guest ever. I’ll forever need to be turning up to people’s places armed with my own food in tupperware so as not to send them (or me) into what-on-earth-is-safe-to-eat meltdown.

But that’s a small adjustment to make in light of the more exciting healthfulness I’m feeling. Plus, there are some tasty-looking low-FODMAP recipes at the back of the book that warrant some road testing…

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.