Can I Eat This? FODMAP = A Dose Of Confidence for Travelers
Eating new foods while traveling is one of life’s great pleasures…except when it makes you sick. It can be especially hard to find foods for travelers with special diets. There are already so many limitations to their diet at home that traveling to new places with unknown ingredients makes it extra tricky.
When you have a travel health consultation with us at Travel Clinic NOLA, we try to go over food safety and awareness while traveling. We also have a Travel Health kit with items such as anti-acid tablets to help you when it’s unavoidable and you need relief. And while we can talk about food and drink choices with our travelers before they travel, we can’t be with them when they are making food and drink choices during their trip.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could provide you with food and drink advice you could carry in your pocket? Well, we found a solution for you. FODMAP, a tech solution that can help our travelers make safer food and drink choices while traveling. This app that can be used anywhere in the world and provides medically appropriate food advice.
FODMAP—a Food Chemist in Your Pocket
FODMAP stands for stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols … aka certain carbs that some people don’t digest well. A low FODMAP diet is a great tool for your gut healing journey, those with digestive illnesses, those who want to be more aware of foods, and also travelers.
For patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), maintaining a low FODMAP diet can help to control gastrointestinal symptoms such as inflammation. However, choosing low FODMAP foods can be challenging and doing this while traveling is daunting. You have to eat something while you travel! And making low FODMAP food choices is difficult; simply choosing ‘lactose-free’ or ‘gluten-free’ does not eliminate all problematic foods. This is compounded by having to choose from unfamiliar foods when traveling. It’s impossible to guess which foods are OK. For example, who would think that cantaloupe and honeydew melons are safe bets, but watermelon can cause misery for affected individuals.
This is where the low FODMAP diet app (developed by Monash University, Australia) comes in handy. You can simply pull out the app on your phone and scroll through a list to discover if any of the four offending carbohydrate groups are present in the food they are considering.
How does it work?
The interface is straightforward. There is a section explaining what a FODMAP is, and why certain people should avoid them. This section helps you get to understand your gut a little more and can help you start to troubleshoot some of your worries. To check out a food, simply use the food guide, which is arranged by type (fruits, vegetables, grains, breads, meats, etc.)
The app uses a red-yellow-green light system to identify foods with oligofructose, fructose, polyols, and lactose. Each person’s sensitivity to FODMAP is variable so the app allows you to fine tune the recommendations using simple sliders for each of the four categories. You may also choose between English or German and select from 13 different countries for regional foods.
For example, let’s say you’re in Arusha, Tanzania and you’re wondering if you can eat a bowl of millet porridge. Simply open the app, search for millet and quickly discover green in all four categories. Yum, you can tuck into a delicious local treat. If, however, you think you might prefer rye toast, you can search for that instead (but when you find it highlighted in red you may decide to forego the croissant and the symptoms it might bring).
Why will the travelers like FODMAP?
This app is easy to use and informative. It’s easy to select food from the available options for daily use at home and also when traveling. It’s like having a food chemist in your pocket. Simply swipe, choose your food and enjoy your meal, without worrying about repercussions.
Low FODMAP diet
Created by Monash University, Australia, the app ‘Low FODMAP diet’ helps travelers with irritable bowel disease decide whether a particular food or beverage is low in FODMAPs