FODMAPS for the frightened FreeFromer

Now I’ve read about FODMAPS. They’re complicated. Huge lists of fruit and vegetables that could be causing all your IBS symptoms.

I have to admit, FODMAPS has me running for the hills because I am already avoiding some pretty major food groups and really annoying things like celery and tomato to boot.

So last week’s visit to the Allergy Clinic at Churchill Hospital in Oxford may have quite literally changed my life.

I had an appointment with the lovely Liane Reeves who talked me through FODMAPS.
She agreed she was reluctant to reduce my already tightened diet.

So we talked about other things I could do, still thinking about FODMAPS but not going at it full on. The allergies are under control. The eczema isn’t great but is not covering my face and I am sleeping well so that’s not bothering me much really. I just get on with it.

But the IBS and stomach symptoms like cramps, constipation, bloating etc. can be really painful, tiring and anti-social to say the least.

I took away five really simple tips. Think FODMAPs for beginners, which you might find helpful.

  1. Oats
  2. These make up a large part of my diet. And in the last year I’ve started getting lazy and eating muesli instead of my favoured porridge. By simply making sure you only eat cooked oats this could make a big difference. Uncooked oats can be harder for the stomach to digest. Cooking opens up the starch molecules and should make them easier for the body to make use of. Just three days of having porridge instead of lazy muesli and I feel better already. Could it really be that simple? Liane also suggested I alternate with other breakfast grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and rice flakes.

  3. Oats again – are they all gluten free?
  4. As well as always buying gluten free oats I also drink oat milk and cream and alternate these with other plant milks. But are these made with gluten free oats? I’m not so sure they all are so I need to do some research to find out. No good being all clever and buying GF oats of I then don’t check the milk…

  5. Water and fluid
  6. I do drink herbal tea and water but I should be drinking a lot more, especially if I start my day off with porridge of other grains. Oats need a good amount of fluid to aid digestive transit.

  7. Vegetables
  8. Things like onions and garlic are high on the FOPMAPS chart and also make up a large part in my diet. But you could try using garlic infused oils, or cooking with large chunks of onion to get the flavour, but fishing them out before eating or whizzing up soup.

  9. Probiotics and Prebiotics
  10. Let’s give them a go. I don’t take anything regularly so I do need to also take a look at whether taking a regular boost for my stomach flora might help. I know when I don’t need them as my stomach reacts quite quickly with bloating but they can often help if I am struggling to digest food or know I’m going to eating a lot of rich foods, like this time of year. BioCare looks like it might be wheat and dairy free but please read and check the label.

3omega6 Flax milk on blueberry porridge

3omega6 Flax milk on blueberry porridge

Thank you Liane. Could cooking my oats and drinking more tea and water really help me feel better so quickly? Or am I just a sucker for the placebo effect? You listened and were kind so I feel better anyway? Or is this just a good week?

Who cares. Happy Christmas everyone

I also found out about The British Gut project. Visit to find out what your gut microbiome health is really like.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Dear Ruth, Just to wish you a Happy Christmas and thank you for all the effort you put into highlighting us ‘allergics’. I learnt about Fodmaps last winter when intent on keeping healthy! I ate kale, broccoli, cauliflower and lots of cabbage for vit C, only to become very unwell with IBS. My wonderful nutritional lady Carol Grainger here in Midhurst spotted the problem and end of the cabbage family for me. The fodmaps are contained in the stalks. I can just cope with a few brussell sprouts, no stalks but it has taken 75 years for this to happen. There always seems to be something creeping up behind me. xx Jacquie

    • I know what you mean about creeping up behind you. Things that were fine one minute suddenly become a problem. Thank you so much for your continued support. It’s so lovely to have comments on here. I find I’m OK with tiny bits of these fermentables but not if I eat lots of them. I think most people get some gas symptoms occasionally from certain foods but when you put all these together it can make fur quite a bit of discomfort. Honestly though, cooking oats seems to have really helped already.

  2. Hope you manage to have a safe an enjoyable Christmas Ruth.

    As I found at Ravenstone, the deeper you research a subject the more frightening it becomes. Interesting stuff though.

    • FODMAPS are just way too complicated but I think it’s already helping me a bit. I have such great memories of Ravenstone. Now a distant memory but you’ll get back there. Summergrove was so much fun for me, to have fish and chips and roast dinner and so many other lovely meals all cooked for me. I’m getting my stomach analysed so that might also help with which pro and pre biotics my body might need. Bring on 2016.

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