We know it can be daunting when you’ve been diagnosed with IBS but hearing someone else’s story and learning how they manage their symptoms daily can be a real help, this is why we wanted to catch up with Alana Scott. Alana runs the low FODMAP recipe website alittlebityummy.com and since she was diagnosed with IBS she has completely transformed her diet and in turn her life. We asked her 6 questions which we hope will help all our customers that have had a recent diagnosis, those who have been living with IBS for years and are looking for some inspiration and those who want to know more about the condition.
When did you first get diagnosed with IBS and what were the symptoms that made you think there was something wrong?
I was at university when I started to realise that my gut was misbehaving. It began with me sneakily unzipping my jeans in lecture theatres to let my bloated belly escape… and progressed to me trying to have sneaky farts at networking events! Things then took a turn for the worse. I started losing a lot of weight, I felt nauseous all the time and was vomiting, had bad abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. It got to the point that I didn’t want to leave the house anymore. It was scary because I felt like I was losing myself and was being consumed by my gut issues.
So off I went to my local GP who referred me straight on to a gastroenterologist. Initially, I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and then later with Irritable Bowel Syndrome when I had a few residual symptoms that just wouldn’t settle.
After you were diagnosed, what was your next step?
After I was diagnosed, I had the support of a really knowledgeable dietitian. My journey was a bit more complicated due to my Coeliac Disease. Initially, we tried a strict gluten-free diet to settle my symptoms, and when that wasn’t enough to resolve my gut issues, my dietitian recommended that we integrate the low FODMAP diet as well. I can’t imagine doing this journey by myself. Having the support and knowledge of my dietitian helped ease my anxiety and enabled me to commit to the lifestyle changes I needed to make. If you’re reading this and struggling, then make sure you find someone to help! Just check your dietitian is knowledgeable in gut health issues before you book your appointment.
When did you learn about the low FODMAP diet and did you find it easy to adapt recipes and change your diet?
Oh my, I definitely went through a bit of food depression when my dietitian put me on the low FODMAP diet. She did a great job of explaining the FODMAP diet process, but it was still extremely overwhelming trying to figure out how to implement the diet in my everyday life as a university student.
My first supermarket shop was a mess. I left with a bag of carrots and a chicken breast and thought I’d never eat good food again. However, after a few weeks I started focusing on what I could eat and figured out how to replace onion and garlic. This meant I could start playing with recipes! I discovered that with some herbs and spices yummy food is totally possible. Now adapting recipes or creating new ones is basically second nature.
What is the biggest struggle whilst on the low FODMAP diet?
I think my biggest stumbling block with the low FODMAP diet was when I failed my FODMAP challenges during the reintroduction phase. This happened several times and was really unusual. At this stage, I felt like I was never going to get my food freedom back. We think this problem was caused by my Coeliac Disease and that my gut just wasn’t ready to handle the FODMAPs yet. However, four years on I am now on a fully modified FODMAP diet. I can happily eat small amounts of all FODMAP groups and can even eat some freely. This has made eating out so much easier and means I have heaps of variety throughout the week.
The big lesson I learned from my re-challenge experience is that my FODMAP tolerance levels are changing all the time. This means I go back and retest the FODMAP groups that I still struggle with every few months to see if I can start increasing my serving sizes or bring more foods back.
I started A Little Bit Yummy because I didn’t want anyone else to go through the same food depression I went through. It’s hard enough living with gut issues without feeling like there is also nothing fun left to eat! I also had the encouragement of my dietitian, as she wanted to share my recipes with her other clients to help them on their journeys.
So I became a content writer and started sharing my journey, figured out how to photograph food, and craft resources that everyday people can understand. Now I work with a fantastic team of international dietitians, and together we provide dietitian reviewed resources to over 1.3 million people each year, which is pretty amazing.
Our mission at A Little Bit Yummy is to simplify low FODMAP life by creating a massive FODMAP resource hub. If you are struggling, then make sure you check out our FODMAP Wellness Club – it’s got everything you need to find your happy gut place and your food freedom. We’ve developed e-courses, meal plans, and over 500+ low FODMAP recipes. This is basically the resource I wish I’d had when I started my FODMAP journey.
Do you have a favourite recipe?
Oh my gosh. This is a ridiculously hard question for me. My recipes are kind of like my babies and I have so many favourites. I think at the end of the day I’m a chicken wing woman. I’m addicted to tasty wings and absolutely love them. My favourite way to enjoy them is smothered in a sweet orange sauce, which makes them irresistibly sticky! I love this recipe so much it featured in my cookbook The Gut Friendly Cookbook which has 100 of my favourite low FODMAP, gluten free, and allergy friendly recipes. (Check out the low FODMAP Sweet Orange Chicken Wings here. )
Thank you so much Alana for answering our questions and giving us some much needed advice and positivity in what can be a really stressful time!
If you would like to purchase The Gut Friendly Cookbook, you can buy it here.
What’s on your bucket list? Perhaps sky diving, snorkeling the great barrier reef? A bungee jump?
One of the things on my list was to watch Real Madrid play at the Santiago Bernabéu. This month I got to tick this off my list. I went with a friend and it was all I’d ever hoped it would be, the atmosphere, the noise, listening to 65,000 Madrid mad supporters roar on their team to a 2-0 victory against Celta Vigo - just priceless!
Just about to kick off.
Although the football was always going to be the highlight of the trip we did a lot more than just go to the game. We ate and drank lots of amazing food and drink, did some sightseeing and walked all over Madrid.
We stayed in the north of the city at the Barcelo Imagine hotel, a short 15 minute taxi ride from the airport and nearby to the Charmartin railway station, it’s a lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace, and lovely quiet courtyard and pool for lazy hours soaking up the sun. In between the sightseeing we’d spend an hour or so down here enjoying the warmth whilst enjoying a cold beer.
Barcelo Imagine - A modern hotel with a musical twist. Including a replica floor keyboard from the Tom Hanks movie Big.
One of the colourful government buildings in Madrid.
One of the places that amazed us most was the Mercado De San Miguel a famous market that is now a listed world heritage site offering gourmet tapas. We spent over an hour walking around this small iron structure sampling the best food Spain had to offer.
Some of the tapas available at Mercado de San Miguel.
Wide variety of ham, sausages, salami’s and all things meaty.
The food was way above the standard of normal street food and some of the finer things on offer were oysters, caviar & wafer thin Iberico ham carved on the bone. It’s the type of place you could spend most of the day in and not get bored. Unfortunately with a limited amount of time on our hands we did have to leave to see more of the city.
Another of the many sights we saw over the weekend was the Catedral De Santa Maria La Real De La Almudena a Catholic Cathedral original built in 1879. It features many amazing stain glass windows, paintings, and is stunningly beautiful throughout.
The cathedral in Madrid is a must for every visitor to the city.
After all the sightseeing we stopped off for some food, and ended up in a restaurant called Steak Burger, anybody who reads this blog regularly will know about my love of burgers. It was possibly the greatest ever burger I’ve eaten.
Steak Burger filled with melted cheese.
Another hidden gem for food was Jimbo Smokehouse, a good mile or so outside of central Madrid and tucked down a side street most tourists wouldn’t know it existed. The barbeque food on offer at Jimbo’s is phenomenal and at the risk of upsetting our friends at Red’s BBQ in Nottingham, possibly the best brisket we’ve tried. It was that good we didn’t even think about taking a picture.
I loved Madrid and it’s relaxed pace and atmosphere suited me perfectly and it’s certainly a city I’ll go back to in the future.
On February 13th me and my boyfriend headed to Rome for a city break, we were up bright and early and arrived in Rome around 12pm.
When we arrived we checked into our hotel and quickly headed out to explore. We first headed down to the Piramide and then walked down the river towards the Colosseum and in true Italian style we stopped off for a pizza slice on the way! We were pleasantly surprised by how green Rome was, being used to other European cities resembling concrete jungles it was a very welcome surprise to see lots of parks and green areas.
After exploring the Colosseum and walking down a number of winding streets back to the hotel we had an hours relaxing before heading down the Trevi Fountain area to find some dinner and take in some more of the sights. The Trevi Fountain was by far the most impressive part of the trip for me, it is truly beautiful and so pristine it looks like it was built yesterday! We did the classic coin throw and headed off for dinner.
We couldn’t visit Rome without going to the Vatican city so the next day we headed over to St Peters Basilica to take a look around. After an hour long queue in the sunshine we made it inside and it was definitely worth the wait! It is such a stunning building and a must see if you’re visiting Rome!
The best thing about Rome for me was the food! We knew it would be good but we weren’t quite prepared for how much we would eat! Every cobbled street is full of restaurants, bakeries and gelato shops and we made our way round a fair share.
If you’re planning a city break soon I would recommend Rome 100%! We found that it was more chilled than any other city that we had visited, you can spend all day getting lost around the winding streets without the need to jump on and off the underground and battle through the crowds. There is everything on offer from designer shops, old ruins, museums and more beautiful fountains and squares then you can count. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking and tripping over the cobbles!
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks at Shreddies HQ! We’ve been getting press requests from all over the world, requesting information, samples or interviews.
Most of the interviews we do are done over the phone or on the radio, but we received an unusual request two weeks ago from a Spanish television programme called El Hormiguero.
They asked if it would be possible to appear live on their television programme to demonstrate Shreddies. We were delighted to be asked and quickly set about arranging the details of the trip.
Soon enough I was heading to Madrid, to meet Patricia of El Hormiguero. After a brief tour of the studio I was told filming wouldn’t take place until the following day. So I headed out on the metro to Santiago Bernabeu the home of the world famous Real Madrid. It had always been a dream of mine to visit the iconic stadium and I was lucky enough to go on a tour and it’s beyond magnificent.
Steeped in history with some of the best football players in the world gracing the pitch over the past 115 years it didn’t disappoint.
The following morning I decided to see another amazing football ground the Wanda Metropolitano - home of Atletico Madrid. A new stadium built on the site of the old olympic stadium in the East of the city it’s very easy to get to and equally as impressive.
I’d definitely like to go back to Madrid and watch a game in both grounds if possible.
Later that day it was back to the studio, I met the presenting team and was taken to my dressing room until I was needed for a rehearsal of the tests. After the rehearsal it was time for me to be mic’d up and go through things with the translator ahead of the final rehearsal. I had a few nerves at this point and was worried about tripping over or making a fool of myself.
But fortunately none of this happened. Another short break and it was time to get ready for the live show. Our segment was at the end of the show so I had to stand in the wings watching the majority of the show.
Then it was showtime, I was given a loud encouraging welcome by the live audience and presenters and with the aid of the lovely translator I was able to answer their questions and show how effective Shreddies are.
They conducted two experiments, the first was proving how effective the garments are at eliminating odours. They had a large jar of crushed garlic cloves which was very smelly, once they covered the jar with the undershort the guests could not smell any garlic odour and could place their noses close to the jar without smelling any odours.
The second experiment was more of a visual test to show how air passes through the underwear. Using a mannequin and tube they fed dry ice into the mannequin and passed it through some regular underwear. The air passed through the underwear without much resistance.
When the Shreddies underwear was put onto the mannequin it stopped all of the dry ice passing through and contained it within the underwear.
The producers of the show were very happy with the outcome of the tests and - Pablo Motos the main presenter called it “The best invention ever!”
Even though some might not like to admit it, Christmas is well and truly on it’s way! Whether you’re a lover of everything festive or a bit of a scrooge, there’s no escaping it so you may as well try and enjoy it! Why not escape the busy shopping centres and packed out department stores by shopping at a Christmas Market this year? They’re full of one off goodies and you’ll be helping many small businesses whilst enjoying a nice cup of mulled wine and maybe a cheeky mince pie! We have compiled a list of the best Christmas markets in the UK to get you in the festive spirit!
There are plenty of Christmas markets to choose from in London but Winter Wonderland is definitely the best! Admission is free and it’s open from Thursday 22nd of November to 6th January (exc. 25th December) 10am - 10pm so there is loads of time to visit! There are plenty of stalls, rides and you can even go ice skating and visit the ice bar but make sure to book any activities as they fill up quickly!
This Christmas market takes place at East Prince St Gardens and will run from 17th November - 5th January 10am - 10pm (exc. 25th December). Described as a ‘traditional and romantic christmas market’ you are offered a unique shopping experience with stalls selling crafts, art and yummy food! There is also a big wheel, Helter Skelter and other attractions, so it’s great to take the kids!
European Christmas Market, Edinburgh. (photo credit: blog.ryanair.com)
Soak up the festive atmosphere at this beautiful christmas market set in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, running from 23rd November - 16th December in the Great Court. It’s the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping with stalls selling ceramics, home ware, leather goods, jewellery, toys, bags and much more!
Soak up York’s medieval charm and enjoy a cup of mulled wine at the St Nicholas fair. Running from 15th November - 23rd December, opening times vary please see website for details. We’d recommend heading for some ice skating fun at the Ice Factor and watching some playful panto fun in the stalls!
St Nicholas Fair, York. (photo credit: www.yorkshire.com)
Boasting the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK, this isn’t one to be missed! Running from November 15th - December 23rd you have plenty of time to wander! The market takes place in Victoria Square and along New Street and will feature a whole host of stalls selling everything from Chrsitmas decorations to a traditional bratwurst sausage. On December 9th there will be a range of 1 day discounts to celebrate the annual Family Day.
This weekend my wife and I attended the Cake & Bake Show in London. My wife is a keen baker and we went to the show to see what inspiration we could find.
The show was enormous filled with every type of cake, chocolate, bread imaginable.
One of the first things we did at the show was visit the cake walk, an impressive display of cakes made by some very talented people.
Hard to believe this is entirely edible!
The theme for the cakes was based on travel and they we’re mindbogglingly impressive both creative and intricately detailed.
There were two cakes that impressed me more than the others the first being a globe on top of which sat a cake version of the author Jules Verne, famous for writing - Around The World In 80 Days. The detail on his face was beyond the capabilities of most bakers.
The other cake that caught my attention was a monsterously tall sculpture of flowers from around the world, each one of them painstakingly hand carved and detailed beyond belief.
Both colourful and beautiful.
The flowers alone must have taken this baker a crazy amount of hours to make then to careful attach each one. I don’t think I’d have the skill or patience to attempt something a quarter of the size of this cake.
The show also featured celebrity guests and a large proportion of the show was based around allergies and intolerance to ingredients as well as vegetarian and vegan diets. We watched Rosemary Shrager make a vegan carrot cake on the main stage and she was both funny and interesting to watch.
Rosemary Shrager - making her vegan carrot cake.
However it was at one of the individual stands that I saw the most unique thing at the show Charcoal Cheese! I was very skeptical when I first saw it, with my intial thoughts being how can they make cheese with Carbon? This is what we make our underwear with!!!
Carbon in cheese? Sounds a bit like a Peter Kay catchphrase doesn’t it!
I tried a small piece and quickly went in for a second piece. It was unbelievably creamy and delicious. So much so that I ended up buying some for home. If you’re brave enough to give it a try you can find it here from the clever people at Black’s Cheeses.
Most of the cheese went last night at supper but I’ll certainly be re-stocking soon!
Shreddies | A60, England, LE12 5TL, United Kingdom