Introducing Dr. Rachel Pauls Food and the Low FODMAP Happy Bar

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Hi guys!

So I’ve had a brief hiatus from blogging (life got in the way, as usual) but I aim to post as often as I have a recipe worth sharing.

Today’s post isn’t about a recipe, though; I’m writing to introduce you to a new, American-based company that has begun producing low FODMAP products! I’m so pleased that people are catching up with a medically prescribed eating protocol that has helped so many control their IBS symptoms. Studies show that 75% of participants experience improved symptoms following a low FODMAP diet, so the more resources out there for FODMAPers, the merrier our guts will be!

This exciting new brand is called Rachel Pauls Food and the first product for sale is called the Happy Bar. I was lucky enough to get a sample to try and, long story short, they were pretty delicious, just as good as – or maybe better than – any comparable higher FODMAP product you’d find in your supermarket.

More information about Dr. Rachel Pauls and Rachel Pauls Food will follow after a review of the Happy Bars. Skip to the end for the contact details.

The Happy Bars

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Each Happy Bar is designed to be nutritious (yet delicious) and contains:

  • Less than 0.5 g of total FODMAPs per serving.
  • No gluten! They are certified gluten free.
  • A minimal ingredients list.
  • No preservatives, for those who are sensitive.
  • 8-10 g of protein and 3 g of low FODMAP fibre.
  • Healthy fats from peanuts or almonds.
  • 210-215 calories per bar.
  • The bars may contain traces of certain allergens, so please check the nutritional information available on the website to ascertain whether they are the right product for your needs.

I love the variety of flavours on offer. You have a choice between:

  • Chocolate Chip Delight – a classic flavour, you can’t go wrong.
  • Orange Chocolate Ecstasy – I’ve personally loved the chocolate orange flavour combination for years and, for reasons unknown to me, this is the first time I’ve seen it in bar-form.
  • Peanut Chocolate Euphoria – another great flavour mix, think crunchy peanut butter with just enough chocolate inside.
  • Peanut Maple Pleasure – Crunchy peanuts combined with rich notes of maple syrup, delicious.

While I enjoyed each flavour, my personal favourite was the Peanut Maple Pleasure – I can’t go past that flavour combination if it’s on offer and the bar was just sweet enough with chunks of peanut inside that gave it a satisfying crunch.

Happy Bars, like many healthier/higher protein bars on the market, will not taste like the sugar-laden muesli bars of your childhood. The flavours are much more refined, with just enough sweetness present to make it feel like a sweet treat without the urge to consume ALLTHESUGAR after you’ve finished eating, which, for me, is very important. Often (who am I kidding, nearly always) I’ll crave a snack when I finish my run but I’m too impatient to wait for an egg to boil and don’t want to have anything too sweet, or I’ll end up bingeing and negating the workout – these bars are perfect for those times.

Even more important (for me) was the lack of IBS symptoms post consumption! After testing out three of the flavours with no reaction, I decided to take the final bar as a snack on my trip from Seattle to Melbourne – and thank goodness I did, because it saved me from having to hunt down a suitable late night snack in LAX after I’d developed blisters on the hike between the domestic and international terminals. Sometimes baby carrots (my other go-to travel snack) just don’t cut it. The chocolate chip Happy Bar had spent around 2 days in my bag by this stage, so it help up well to the rigors of travel.

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All in all, I’d say these Happy Bars are worth a try if you’re in the market for a low FODMAP snack that is suitable for an on-the-go lifestyle or post-exercise treat.

As far as I know, the Happy Bars are currently only available for postage within the USA. I will update this information when I hear back from Rachel Pauls Food.

Interview with Dr. Rachel Pauls

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1. Who is Dr. Rachel Pauls? Are there any other team members? 

I’m a board-certified specialist in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, an award-winning educator of residents and fellows, an internationally renowned medical researcher and speaker, and a mother of three wonderful children!

I also personally experience IBS, and have been following a low-FODMAP food plan for 4 years.   It has been so successful for me, and my patients, that I want to share this information with others! We offer delicious, healthy, natural low-FODMAP foods to all those who experience digestive discomfort.

There are currently more than 20 people working to bring our yummy low-FODMAP products to market including those involved in recipe development, manufacturing, marketing, order fulfillment and laboratory analysis.

2. How did you hear about the low FODMAP diet? 

I began having IBS symptoms about 5 years ago and was thrilled when I reviewed the medical research and learned about the low-FODMAP diet.  It massively improved my symptoms, making me feel healthy and happy again.

3. Why did you decide to create a low FODMAP bar? 

My inspiration for Happy Bars came after a long search for a great tasting, low-FODMAP energy bar.  Since I couldn’t find any, I decided to make my own. In the kitchen, I utilized my baking skills to create delicious, healthy recipes. I loved them so much, I had to share them!  Then in the lab, I applied my medical and research expertise to help design a validated process to analyze food for FODMAP content. The result is Happy Bars, delicious low-FODMAP energy bars.

4. Do you have any plans for to make other food products later on? 

We currently have several other low-FODMAP products under development.  We launched the low-FODMAP energy bars first because it was the product that I craved most as an IBS sufferer and working mom for the convenience of a grab-and-go meal or snack.

5. What can people discover on your website? 

Informative videos, such as one coming shortly on the best food choices to make on Thanksgiving Day, yummy recipes, frequently asked questions, and information on the latest FODMAP medical research.

6. The Happy Bars are currently available on your website – do you aim to eventually sell them in stores? 

We are very careful about the process by which Happy Bars get from the kitchen to your door in terms of storing and shipping them.  Selling anywhere else right now would affect us being able to keep those high standards.

7. How long do the Happy Bars last and what it the best method of storage? 

Happy Bars are happiest when stored on any counter or shelf along with other similar food items. They are best if eaten prior to the date indicated on the wrapper.

8. The Happy Bars have the “Dr. Rachel Pauls Low FODMAP Seal of Approval,” what is this and can buyers be confident that this rating is in alignment with those of Monash University or Dr. Sue Shepherd’s FODMAP Friendly company? 

When we decided to create Rachel Pauls Food, we looked for a laboratory test that would scientifically analyze food for FODMAP content. We discovered that there was no lab in the U.S. currently doing this type of testing. Following an extensive review of FODMAP research from independent scientific journals, we decided to work with a well-respected, FDA-registered, Accredited food-testing laboratory and developed a validated process to analyze food for FODMAPs. Our laboratory is the only known U.S. facility testing for FODMAPs and verifies that our food is low FODMAP.

When you see the Dr. Rachel Pauls Seal of Approval, it means that I have assured through rigorous testing that the product has been scientifically analyzed and verified as low FODMAP and contains less than 0.5 g of total FODMAPs per serving.

9. You mention that your aim is to be able to test foods for FODMAP content in the US. I think that it’s great that the US will have their own, dedicated, FODMAP testing centre. When do you hope to have this up and running? 

Anyone interested in obtaining the Dr. Rachel Pauls’ Seal of Approval for a low-FODMAP food product, can contact us at seal@rachelpaulsfood.com. The Seal will only be granted to products that we have verified as meeting our criteria, including having less than 0.5g of total FODMAPs per serving.

10. Following on from the last question, how will you distinguish yourselves from Monash University/FODMAP Friendly with your testing methods? 

Our process of analyzing food was developed following an extensive review of relevant research from around the globe and is conducted under the supervision of a United States based FDA registered, Accredited independent food laboratory. We are currently the only lab providing a precise specification about level of FODMAPS in tested products. However, with the advancements being made in the study of FODMAPs, it is likely only a matter of time before many labs across the globe offer similar services.

11. Finally, any tips for those following a low FODMAP diet? 

Prior to starting any food plan or diet we recommend first consulting your doctor, dietician or other appropriate health care professional. As well, check out our blog as well as the FODMAP tab on our website.

Rachel Pauls Food contact details

Website: https://www.rachelpaulsfood.com/

Email:  info@rachelpaulsfood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelPaulsFood/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelpaulsfood/

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Travel Series – Flying with Fructose Malabsorption

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I’m not a huge fan of flying. I’m not scared of it but I don’t find it enjoyable, either; long hours (15 hours between Melbourne and LAX) in cramped seating, recirculated air, mostly unsuitable foods and the bathrooms, if you can call them that, all add up to me not having a good time. I stress about connections until we make them and about whether our luggage will make it when we do.

We have had enough mishaps with changed departure gates, delayed planes and missing luggage (LAX is a disorganised hellhole) that Ev and I have become very adept at travelling light. The last time we went home to Australia, we got everything we needed for two weeks, including things for other people, in two carry on bags… and by “carry on” I mean the real carry on bags, not the giant suitcases that American based airlines let people take on and try in vain to cram into the overhead compartments, taking up space meant for everyone. Yes, that annoys me. If I’ve been responsible and packed my belongings into a small suitcase intended for overhead bins, perhaps with valuables in there, I am not impressed when I am told it HAS to be checked, because a 3/4 full plane has already run out of overhead storage. But I digress.

Some people truly do enjoy flying but for the rest of us, here’s how I manage eating with FM and dealing with potential symptoms while flying. It’s pretty appropriate timing, because Ev and I are going to spend the next week in Cabo, Mexico! We’ve been waiting for this holiday since we got back from Cabo last summer. As much as I prefer road trips and exploring different towns, not staying in the one place for too long, sometimes it’s nice to just go and veg out somewhere that is completely relaxing and not have to worry (so much) about the food. As I have said previously, for me, Mexico/Mexican food seems to be a safe bet if I eat plainly and avoid tropical fruits.

The other posts in the travel series can be found here.

I’m sure I’ll be posting photos of tropical paradise on my Instagram account, if you’d like to follow along.

Step 1: Plan ahead, Stress less

Most people don’t need to be told that stress can increase their IBS symptoms; I know I don’t. It’s not all in our heads, though. Research also demonstrates that the two coexist (see here and here), as the autonomic nervous system and certain hormones, which are triggered during times of stress, also act upon the gut.

To avoid stress related IBS and ensure as smooth a travel/flight experience as possible, plan ahead. Some things to consider are:

  • Book your flights as early as possible – cheaper flights means more money in your pocket and less concern about finances during your trip. It’s only a small matter but everything helps.
  • Have all your home-affairs in order well before you go, so you’re not panicking about getting emergency cash out for the house/dog-sitter or paying a last minute bill.
  • Pack early. This is something I can’t help but do, as it all adds to my excitement of going on holiday. It also means you won’t be up until 3 am the morning of your 8 am flight to finish packing your bags.
  • Check in online 24 hours before your flight, if you are able. This means that your seat is reserved on the flight, all you need to do is collect your boarding pass and check in your luggage.
  • Call the airline to ask what their menu will be and decide whether it will be safe for you. This is more important for long haul flights, as I’m pretty sure that standard fare on every flight under 3 hours is a bag of pretzels/mixed nuts and a soft drink/water. Actually, mixed nuts and water sounds fine, thanks. I’ll take that. Just make sure they’re unseasoned.
  • A few days before you fly, call the airline again and re-check your meal preference. I normally go for the gluten free meal and pick what I can from it, supplementing with food I’ve brought from home. The last time I flew between Melbourne and LAX I didn’t do this; my gluten free meal was a normal meal and my husband’s normal meal was vegan. No idea how that happened. What was worse – they don’t carry spares and everyone who had successfully ordered a gluten free meal had shown up for the flight. Which is why I was glad I’d also packed snacks…
  • Pack some non-perishable FODMAP friendly snacks; more on this later, just make sure you call the airline(s) and ask what you are able to take in carry on and what must be in checked baggage.

Step 2: Make some safe food flash cards

If you don’t speak the language, flash cards listing the ingredients you can and cannot consume in the language spoken by the airline/at the airport will help prevent a lot of confusion, if you decide to brave the food.

In fact, even if you do speak the local language, flash cards might still be a good idea as the idea of fructose malabsorption is still so novel that the apparently random list of ingredients that you cannot consume might overwhelm the staff and create an unwanted fuss.

Make sure the lists are clear and concise as to what you can and absolutely cannot consume.

Step 3: Eat plain before the plane

Each time I fly, I will eat plainly in the preceding week, for a few reasons:

  • I know that additional stress seems to set me off with foods I can normally tolerate, so why push boundaries?
  • I want to give my gut the week to calm down, as some foods cause delayed reactions that can last a few days. This way, if I do happen to react to something at the end of the second-to-last week before flying, I have seven days for it to pass.
  • If I am starting from a better place, in terms of my gut, then a small slip up won’t end up with such severe results as it would if my gut wasn’t terribly happy to begin with.
  • Do you want to have diarrhoea on a plane? Exactly.

Step 4: Pack your own food

This will not always be possible, due to customs regulations and such but if you are able, I highly recommend taking FODMAP friendly snack foods to tide you over during flights and layovers while you’re away.

Some ideas include:

  • A variety of foods for different meal times – who wants tuna for breakfast?
  • Non-perishable foods (or at least foods that will keep for a few days outside the fridge) are best.
  • Easily digestible foods that won’t tax your gut too much.
  • Pack the food in a freezer bag and take what you are allowed to inside your carry on luggage. Some carry on restrictions might prevent this, so put it on your list of questions to ask when you call ahead.

Examples of what I might pack:

  • FODMAP friendly veggies of your choice, such as carrot sticks, celery (if you can tolerate polyols), cucumber etc.
  • FODMAP friendly fruits, to a lesser extent, such as bananas and berries. These will need to be kept in a hard case, as they’ll bruise easily while travelling, so I generally wouldn’t bring them on a flight as they’re more likely to get squashed than on a road trip.
  • Muesli bars, like my strawberry pepita or fruit free bars. pictured below. Muffins are delicious but I find that they squash too easily.
  • Pre-packaged snacks, such as corn chips or rice cakes.

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Step 5: Be prepared for the worst

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, shit happens. Literally. While it’s not ideal, you can lessen its impact on your travel by planning for it. If you have an FM-ergency kit, your life will be a lot easier. (See what I did there? You can use it). Keep this in your carry on, you may need it on your flight as well as at your destination.

  • Analgesics to help with cramps – ibuprofen is a known gastric irritant, so I personally don’t use it but if it works for you then don’t stop. I prefer paracetamol (acetaminophen) to help ease cramps, which are not fun to have on a plane.
  • Dextrose/glucose tablets – to help offset any excess fructose that you may accidentally consume, using the co-transport method of absorption.
  • Any supplements that you take, such as a probiotic, digestive enzyme or multivitamin. It’s best not to disrupt your schedule, if possible.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes, in case of an emergency cleaning situation.
  • Any other methods that you know work, such as Buscopan (I’m not saying it does work, it’s just an example). I would advise against using something you haven’t tried before, especially on a plane. It’s best to try those things out at home, beforehand, where you can crawl into a ball and feel sorry for yourself without upsetting the rest of the flight and your holiday.

I hope these guidelines help you fly and travel successfully, as they have me. If you think of anything that I should add, please let me know.

Travel Series – Managing Fructose Malabsorption While Staying at Resorts

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As the warm weather and summer holidays are just around the corner, I thought I’d write a post about managing resort-based holidays while following a FODMAP friendly diet.

Last summer, Ev and I, along with a few friends, flew down to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for the 4th of July long weekend. It was pure bliss, even if we did get a little bored on the second last day (thanks for the rain, weather man!). We spent four days relaxing and exploring downtown Cabo, not having to worry about cash at the resort, as everything was included.

I was initially concerned about what I would eat but, given that corn and avocados (I’m okay with polyols) are staples in every Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to, I thought it shouldn’t be too bad. Luckily, I was right.

The following will outline how to successfully manage a resort-based holiday with fructose malabsorption.

Step 1: Can the resort cater for your dietary requirements?

From the beginning, when you’re browsing websites, many will state specifically whether they can cater for certain diets and will ask you to list dietary requirements when you book your stay. If they don’t, you can always call or email and double check.

However, as FODMAPs and fructose malabsorption are still such unknowns, you might choose to contact the resort and ask anyway. If the resort cannot cater for you, it’s up to you to decide whether you will go and supply your own foods (if possible) or you will find somewhere else.

Step 2: Make some safe food flash cards

If you don’t speak the language, flash cards listing the ingredients you can and cannot consume in the language spoken at the resort will help prevent a lot of confusion.

In fact, even if you do speak the local language, flash cards might still be a good idea as the idea of fructose malabsorption is still so novel that the apparently random list of ingredients that you cannot consume might overwhelm the staff and create an unwanted fuss.

Make sure the lists are clear and concise as to what you can and absolutely cannot consume – perhaps even just handing them the “Can Eat” list might be easier.

Step 3: Plan ahead

If at all possible, pack an emergency food supply (for transit and when you’re out on the town exploring) and bring a stash of fructose-remedies, just in case. This won’t be possible everywhere you go, due to customs regulations and the like – it’s one extra point to research before you go.

Pack any dietary supplements and take them with you if customs regulations allow it. This may include:

  • A good probiotic.
  • A multivitamin.
  • Digestive enzymes.
  • Apple cider vinegar (apparently FODMAP friendly in 1-2 tbsp. servings).
  • bicarb soda etc.

Good emergency foods include:

  • Non-perishable foods, or at least foods that will keep well for a few days in warm weather in a freezer bag (so no yoghurts or cheeses).
  • Foods that won’t tax your gut too much, especially if you plan on being tempted by local delicacies that you haven’t tried before – give yourself the best chance for success.
  • A variety of foods for different meal times.
  • See Road Tripping with Fructose Malabsorption (step 3) for a complete list of foods that may be suitable.

Handy fructose remedies could be:

  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen in the USA) – ibuprofen is a known gastric irritant, so I personally don’t take it. I’m not recommending that you do take paracetamol but it’s my preferred method of choice for helping to ease intense cramps, which aren’t fun even when you’re not on holiday. At home I might try another method first (such as water or tea) but when I’m away from home I’ll go straight to the Panadol.
  • Dextrose – to help offset any excess fructose that you may have ingested, swallowing dextrose (glucose-glucose) ASAP will help to even out the glucose/fructose ratio and potentially prevent a reaction. This all depends on how much fructose you consumed, how much glucose you followed it with and your gut’s own behaviour.
  • Water and lots of it. Not only is it healthier for your gut and body to remain hydrated but if you have to take a tablet, it’s a lot easier to take it with water than dry. Water is also useful for washing things… and on that note,
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes, in case of an emergency cleaning situation.
  • Any other methods that you can take with you that is feasibly going to be useful in case of a reaction. Something along the lines of Buscopan or Beano might be suitable but I do not recommend relying on a product you haven’t tested before to stop a reaction unless you have no other choice.
    • Buscopan contains sucrose, so is listed as inappropriate for those with “fructose intolerance.” I am assuming that they mean HFI here (as we know sucrose is safe for FM) but use your discretion when deciding whether or not to try it – it might help some with IBS but it might not help at all or even worsen your symptoms.

Step 4: Good buffets (and the staff) are your friend

At the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo, if worst came to worst, I could have lived off potatoes, avocado, eggs and corn chips. The buffet was amazeballs.

Using your flash cards (or a friend who happens to speak the language fluently), double check the ingredients with the staff for anything that could potentially hide some FODMAP bombs and decide what is safe for you. For example, the guacamole: is it just avocado, salt, olive oil and lemon juice or did they throw in some garlic, too?

Stay AWAY from the doughnuts at the breakfast bar, no matter how tempting they look – they’re just not worth it. Instead, I opted for a healthier breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, guacamole, sauteed veggies (if safe), baked potatoes and plantains in maple syrup for the sweet note. Plantains are like a cross between a banana and a potato – I don’t know for sure if they’re low FODMAP but they’re really good! The juice bar luckily had fresh squeezed OJ, so I could drink a bit of one of the pre-poured glasses. All the other juices looked phenomenal, including a really healthy (and delicious, according to Ev) green juice but of course it contained apple.

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Step 5: Relax!

Research (and experience) shows that stress is a major trigger for many with IBS style symptoms. Do yourself a favour and take a break from the stress while you’re on holiday and it could go a long way towards reducing reactions. In fact, many people report that they are able to tolerate foods on vacation that they normally could not eat back home – though I’m not sure whether this is due to lack of stress or the quality of foods they’re eating, or maybe a combination of the two.

All the steps above, especially planning ahead (and not just for the eating side of things), will help you to relax while you’re actually away and make the most of your well-earnt break.

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If you have any new suggestions for managing resort travel with dietary restrictions, please let me know in the comments section below.

Cheers and happy holidaying.

Travel Series – Road Tripping with Fructose Malabsorption

Along the Petaluma-Point Reyes Rd.

Road trips are possibly my favourite way to travel; you get to see so much more of the landscape than if you fly everywhere and I find that cities tend to look the same after a while. To be able to drive down the west coast of the USA and see lush greenery and snow-capped mountains turning first into farm land and then into a more arid landscape complete with mesas is pretty awesome. Also, California is full of eucalyptus trees, which reminds us of home and smell amazing, as well.

In my opinion, road trips are also the easiest type of holiday to take while on a low FODMAP diet, as you can really be in control of your food if you plan ahead and pack an Eski (cooler) with sufficient supplies.

I will outline below how I manage my meals on a road trip:

Step 1: Make an itinerary and food list

I am a list maker, so is my sister. It’s something we’ve always done, as we’re OCD control freaks who can’t bear to be disorganised. Plus, it’s fun. Luckily for me, Ev is the same… although he hates packing his own bag. But he’s not the one with FM, so that’s not such a big deal.

Being a list maker means that I like to plan each leg of the road trip with hours and distances and town names. This is good, as it will help you with step 2. Another way to make step 2 easier (well, the act of eating at the restaurants that you’ve researched) is to call ahead or go armed with a list of foods that you CAN EAT (make sure it’s labelled clearly, so you don’t get a plate of onions sauteed with apples on whole wheat toast) to make both your life and those of the wait staff and cooks much easier.

Step 2: Research local restaurants and eateries

Before you go out to dinner, you would find online menus or call the restaurant you’re thinking about going to and see if they can provide a meal for you; travelling is no different. The key to a relaxed holiday (and gut!) is planning. I know lots of people who like to wing it – I have never been one of them – but a “we’ll find something, don’t worry” attitude is more likely to lead you to either an irritated or hungry gut later on if you are following a FODMAP friendly diet.

Either before you leave home, or each day of your trip (if you have internet connectivity), scout out a few potential cafes and restaurants and note their locations with regards to your itinerary. What town will you be driving through at lunch time? Does the town you plan to spend the night at have a restaurant or supermarket that you can source meals from?

Some tips:

  • To reiterate – PLAN AHEAD.
  • Restaurants that already cater to other dietary requirements (gluten free, vegan, nut free etc) will generally be more likely to be able to create a meal for you.
  • Fast food chains can still provide salads – just request no dressing or croutons etc – and hot chips/fries will do in a pinch, as long as they’re suited to other non-FODMAP issues you might have.
  • Choose simple meals that require minimal alterations to be suitable – it’s both ridiculous and rude to think they’ll be able to make you an onion free lasagne but to whip up a salad sans onion and dressing is much easier and many restaurants make their salads as ordered, anyway.
  • Don’t forget about supermarkets, as you can always find gluten free breads/crackers, cheese and suitable veggies etc to fill your stomach.
  • Busier restaurants will find it harder to tailor a meal to you, so eat at quiet times, even if that does mean sitting down to dinner before 6 pm.
Breakfast - an omelette with potatoes and green capsicum.

Breakfast – an omelette with potatoes and green capsicum.

Dinner - a chicken salad sans croutons and dressing on the side.

Dinner – a chicken salad sans croutons and dressing on the side.

Step 3: Pack emergency foods

If you’re driving down a deserted highway and you can’t find anywhere to eat, things can get ugly; this is true even if you don’t have a food intolerance. I tend to become very irritable when I’m hungry (more like a 6 year old than a 26 year old) and I’m sure I’m not pleasant to be around when I’m like that. In fact, even when we’re not road tripping, Ev will tell me to eat something if I’m beginning to get grumpy.

I think packing an emergency food supply is a good thing to do for road trips, regardless of FM. Things to consider when packing a food kit include:

  • A variety of foods for different meal times – I know I wouldn’t want a tin of tuna for breakfast but would be happy to eat it any time after lunch.
  • Non-perishable foods (or at least foods that will keep for a few days outside the fridge) are best.
  • Easily digestible foods that won’t tax your gut too much.
  • Pack the food in an Eski/cooler/freezer bag/car fridge (whatever you’d like to call it) to prevent any mishaps of food left in a car on a hot day. Besides going hungry if your food has gone off, it’s also a waste of money.

Examples of what I might pack:

  • FODMAP friendly veggies of your choice, such as carrot sticks, celery (if you can tolerate polyols), cucumber etc.
  • FODMAP friendly fruits, to a lesser extent, such as bananas and berries. These will need to be kept in a hard case, as they’ll bruise easily while travelling.
  • Muffins, as sometimes a piece of fruit or a carrot stick just isn’t enough. Some good options include my banana nut or pumpkin and chive muffins.
  • Pre-packaged snacks, such as corn chips, rice cakes or gluten free pretzels.
  • Suitable GF or sourdough bread and sandwich fillings, such as ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato, or even just jam and Vegemite (though never together!).

Step 4: Be prepared for the worst

Even the most diligent planning can’t prevent a slip up here or there. A waiter might not take your request seriously, or simply misunderstand you; or you might sneak a food in and hope that your FM has gone on holiday elsewhere. Go prepared with a kit containing methods you know will help to alleviate your symptoms.

My emergency FM kit would include some or all of the following but yours may be different:

  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen in the USA) – ibuprofen is a known gastric irritant, so I personally don’t take it. I’m not recommending that you do take paracetamol but it’s my preferred method of choice for helping to ease intense cramps, which aren’t fun even when you’re not on holiday. At home I might try another method first (such as water or tea) but when I’m away from home I’ll go straight to the Panadol.
  • Dextrose – to help offset any excess fructose that you may have ingested, swallowing dextrose (glucose-glucose) ASAP will help to even out the glucose/fructose ratio and potentially prevent a reaction. This all depends on how much fructose you consumed, how much glucose you followed it with and your gut’s own behaviour.
  • Any supplements that you take, so for me this would include my probiotic and multivitamin. For you it may include digestive enzymes, ACV, bicarb soda etc.
  • Any other methods that you can take with you that is feasibly going to be useful in case of a reaction. For example, I will often drink tea with ginger, lemon and mint to help settle my gut but am I always going to have access to a kettle? Something along the lines of Buscopan or Beano would be more suitable for a road trip but I do not recommend relying on a product you haven’t tested before to stop a reaction unless you have no other choice. Buscopan (etc) might help some with IBS but it might not help at all or even worsen your symptoms.
  • Water and lots of it. Not only is it healthier for your gut and body to remain hydrated but if you have to take a tablet, it’s a lot easier to take it with water than dry. You could crush up some ginger, mint leaves and lemon slices and leave them sitting in your water bottle (remember to change them daily) to infuse the water and help keep your gut happy. Water is also useful for washing things… and on that note,
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes, in case of an emergency cleaning situation.

This sounds like a lot and if it overwhelms you, I’m sorry. Just please remember that you can still enjoy a road trip while on the low FODMAP diet with some extra planning; just like road tripping with kids or dogs… but we still do that!

If you have any other tips that I have forgotten, please let me know in the comments section below. Happy holidaying!

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