Low FODMAP Diet Rechallenge Guide

So I thought I’d do recaps of the reintroductions I’ve done so far.

I’m following the low fodmap diet with the help of a dietician. After following the elimination diet for 8 weeks (see “What is the FODMAP diet” for more information), we discussed what my first introduction should be. I’ve always felt that lactose doesn’t sit well with me – I’ve never eaten a lot of ice-cream or drank a lot of milk, probably because it makes me feel ill, but I never really realised it.

We thought we might as well get one of the potential worst triggers out of the way first.

So, on the morning of my first reintroduction I prepared my baked oats with 125 ml semi-skimmed milk instead of almond. It’s a weird experience – you’re basically eating a food and then just waiting to see how it makes you feel. Which I think could potentially lead you to develop “symptoms” without there actually being any. That’s why you repeat the food challenge over three days, to eliminate that problem.

Peanut butter, banana and raspberry baked oats – one of my favourite combinations for my first reintroduction!

Within about half an hour of eating the oats, I felt sick, and the milk kept repeating on me. Luckily my mum had come to visit for the day – we headed out into town to do some shopping to try and distract me. I was ok, but felt pretty lethargic. I put that down to a heavy gym session the night before. We did a bit of shopping, but I was feeling more and more “heavy” – my body and mind didn’t really feel “with it” if that makes sense.

We headed home and I slept. No stomach cramps or pain, which was good. So the next day I had milk in my porridge again. It became apparent that the lethargy from yesterday was definitely not due to the heavy gym session – again after eating it within an hour I felt extremely fatigued. I was at work, and just had no concentration, and the best way to describe it is “brain fog”. It’s difficult to explain – you feel like you’re on a cloud and separate from your body. This lasted for pretty much the whole morning, with the fog only “lifting” mid-afternoon. I was still exhausted – I think I went to bed about 8pm that night.

Final day of lactose reintroduction was more porridge with milk.

By the third day I was dreading having lactose, so tried to make my oats look as pretty as possible! Homemade chia-seed jam and peanut butter oats.

Once again, “brain fog” and extreme lethargy descended. I actually had to leave work, I physically had no energy or concentration to do anything. It is the most bizarre feeling. After speaking to my dietician she confirmed that this was a common reaction if a food is a trigger.

It surprised me – I assumed all reactions to foods would be physical, it didn’t occur to me that trigger foods could have such a big effect on me mentally.

So that was one down anyway! I now know that I need to avoid lactose. Getting the first introduction out of the way was a relief – before I introduced it it was a lot scarier than I was expecting it to be be. I guess it’s fear of the unknown! But reintroductions are an essential part of the FODMAP process.

What I learnt from my first reintroduction:

When I experience a flare-up (in this case caused by lactose), I lose my appetite. I learnt that it was important to keep eating anyway. It made me feel better once I ate, and keeping your energy up is vital!
Don’t be scared – reintroductions are vital and lead to a much more varied diet. It also shows what you need to avoid – something also vital to avoid flare-ups in future.

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