I’ve been dealing with gastrointestinal issues and symptoms of IBS for over a decade. My IBS symptoms were so frequent that going to the bathroom urgently was something so commonplace that my boss just came to expect it. I knew that dairy would sometimes trigger episodes (but I wasn’t lactose intolerant), and stress played a massive role, but I could never figure out why even without these two factors, I still would have (what I called) GI attacks. Because of this, I did some research to see what solutions were out there for this issue. I found a ton of helpful articles that led me to a company called ModifyHealth. I was really intrigued by what ModifyHealth had to offer and wondered if they could help me become symptom-free.
Could their Low-FODMAP diet plan offer the solution I had spent years (literally) searching for?
What is Low FODMAP?
If you’re not familiar with the Low FODMAP diet (many people aren’t) then you aren’t alone because I hadn’t heard of it before my research. From what I gathered, the Low FODMAP diet seems to be the most recommended dietary protocol by gastroenterologists and dietitians for people suffering with chronic digestive problems like IBS. It sounded perfect for my stomach issues so I had to learn more! After reading about it and hearing that around 86% of people feel better after trying this diet, it was music to my ears.
If you are still wondering what “FODMAP” stands for, I did some research on that too. FODMAPs are certain types of simple carbohydrates that aren’t easily digestible and can lead to intestinal issues for people who are sensitive to them. Think bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. When you’re embarking on a low-FODMAP diet (and it’s something you should consider if you suffer from IBS, IBD, SIBO, or just frequent upset stomachs) it can be really overwhelming— FODMAPs are in a lot of foods, and it can be tricky to figure out what is safe and what isn’t.
Who is ModifyHealth?
After I learned more about the Monash Low FODMAP Certified™ diet, I wanted to learn more about ModifyHealth as a company. Their website says that ModifyHealth’s goal is to make Low FODMAP simpler and easier so people can get the relief they are looking for. They offer home-delivered, Low-FODMAP certified meals, educational material, and dietitian support to help you succeed. As a result, they are the #1 doctor and dietitian referred meal delivery service in the US.
Before I started with the ModifyHealth program, I consulted with one of their dietitians, Jessica. My call with her blew me away. I learned so much about FODMAPs and the different groups, potential food triggers when reintroducing groups after the elimination phase, how to eat out at a restaurant while on this diet plan, and overall nutrition tips that can be utilized even when I am no longer eating meals prepared by ModifyHealth.
As someone who always tripled the amount of garlic a recipe called for, I thought going without garlic and onions would be the hardest part of this diet. Speaking with the dietitian taught me that since FODMAPs aren’t fat-soluble if I am really craving that garlicky flavor, garlic-infused olive oil has that same flavor I love without any of the FODMAPs (and I know for a fact I would have never figured that out without her expert advice).
I also really liked Jessica’s tidbit of knowledge in explaining why it’s so important to slowly introduce different FODMAP groups back into your diet so you can clearly identify triggers. She said to think of your body having a FODMAP bucket, and as you eat foods that contain them the bucket fills. When the bucket is overflowing is when your body experiences symptoms of IBS or other gastrointestinal issues, but it isn’t necessarily the last food that you ate that was the actual trigger.
Food as Medicine
Armed with this knowledge, my dietitian’s support, and a variety of ModifyHealth’s prepared meals, I was ready to give this my best shot. I received an assortment of meals with various proteins like salmon, chicken, tofu, and beef, so I was really able to taste all of what they had to offer. My favorites were the turmeric chicken, which has a coconut curry vibe that was incredibly yummy, and the herbed chicken, which has a delightfully pleasant lemon flavor I wasn’t expecting.
I think the portions of these meals are quite fair and they surprisingly tasted great despite having to eliminate many common seasonings that are high in FODMAPs. I never felt hungry after and preparation was easy. At home, I preferred to heat up the meals on my stovetop, and at work, I just had to pop them into the microwave for a few minutes and my lunch was ready.
The most surprising part about my experience with this diet plan is that it actually worked. I noticed an immediate decrease in the amount of IBS symptoms I was experiencing within a few days. The ModifyHealth Low-FODMAP meals and diet plan paired with the ability to work with an expert dietitian as you go through the process can really help you make lifestyle changes that will improve your quality of life (and help you save money on toilet paper). If I had tried the meals without speaking to Jessica I don’t think I would have realized the true reach of FODMAPs, and how to maximize my chances for success.
Now that I’ve given it a shot and started feeling better, I am a little heartbroken that I had to part ways with my favorite garlic seasoning, but I am excited about a future with fewer IBS symptoms and, most importantly, knowing how to prevent them in the future.