The non Moroccan eat – FODMAP free

My first eating out Low FODMAP and I chose a Moroccan restaurant next to the hotel. Felt this might be a challenge – but I’m always up for that! My choices were a little restricted but I chose a plain meat dish, I asked the waitress what the fish dish of the day was, to which she replied there wasn’t one, so a steak was the choice to have, she informed me that this would be served with plain salad leaves and chips.

Now this is not what I would normally choose but needs must for the experiment so I said this is what I would have. It was actually really nice and the chips were thick cut and still had their skin on adding to the fibre content of the meal. The leaves were undressed and included a full grilled tomato. The dish also included a sauce, which was served in a separate dish so could be avoided, probably would contain at least onion and garlic, but perhaps I should have asked. Now for your sake ;-), I also decided to have a sweet to see how easy this would be, I didn’t have much choice as the dishes included plenty of pastry and baklava, I chose a chocolate coated meringue. This was huge, a veritable titanic iceberg! What utensils do you think they provided to eat this with? A knife and fork, yes, really! A real effort had to be made to prevent it from being propelled across the restaurant. More went on the floor than in my mouth, probably for the best – very undignified, but lots of fun! I only managed about a third of it in fact, along with my really lovely mint tea. A nice meal, perhaps not what I would normally choose, and not Moroccan, but it was more than acceptable and would mean that I could eat out FODMAP free, should I wish too.

Fast eating – speedy way to make your IBS worse, the benefits of slow eating.

Why is it suggested to help IBS you need to ensure you relax, take time over your meals and chew food slowly? How does this advice help with reducing symptoms?

If you don’t chew your food well you are more likely to swallow air with your food, this can pass into the intestines and increase bloating. After your mouth your digestive system does not have teeth, your gut moves and squeezes to mix and push food through it, but this not break down tougher foods – you need to chew these foods well, prior to swallowing.

If you are eating whilst working you may experience stress, particularly if you are answering a discourteous email that demands some diplomacy in its response, or dealing with a complaint on the telephone. It does not help your digestion (or your IBS) if your body is experiencing stress whilst you are eating a meal. Stress causes an increase in adrenaline, a hormone that gets the body ready for action, and this hormone slows the digestive tract, slowing down digestion. Adrenaline reduces the amount of digestive juices that are secreted to help digest your food, therefore it is perhaps not surprising that you feel so uncomfortable if consuming food when stressed. Sitting up straight can also help – use gravity to help your digestion and don’t slouch when eating.

Sometimes it is difficult to change what we do, particularly if you feel that you may be penalised in some way if you take a break at work, but it is worth considering. Under the current economic climate it is difficult to insist on taking breaks if your colleagues do not, so perhaps it is time we all support each other and take back our work breaks and lunchtime, to allow everyone time to sit down, relax and ‘rest & digest.’