Adventures in Croatia and holidaying on the low FODMAP diet

Since being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome I’d spent a lot of time worrying about my summer holiday. “What if the food has garlic/onions?”, “what if there is not dairy/gluten free breakfast option?”, “what am I supposed to eat for lunch if I can’t get a sandwich?” There was a whole host of questions and stress, all ultimately leading to the fear that this years holiday would be like the last where I was unwell for days.

So when we finally arrived in the outstandingly beautiful Poreč in Croatia earlier this month, I could have never anticipated just how much of a eating adventure it would be…

There I am on day one, all excited about the sunshine (and damn I am seeing some good gains there)!

As it turns out the hotel was very good on the non-dairy front, I had a whole host of meats for my morning protein fix and lactose free and rice milk (turns out I rather like rice milk) to choose from at breakfast. So everyday started with a bowl of oats and fruit and then some rice crackers with meat. While my milk was strictly non dairy most days, dairy is where the first discovery lies in this trip. Through some cautious sampling I learned that (after avoiding it for 13 years) I can eat cheese and ice cream! Granted it’s only hard cheeses and 1 scoop portion wise for ice but this is an astronomical discovery of pure joy for me, two of my favourite treats are back on the menu!

CHEESE!!!!! 😀
Oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, fresh fruit and rice milk

In fact I discovered that there are plenty of awesome options on a low FODMAP diet, over the week I sampled some awesome risottos (cuttlefish was my favourite) and tucked into plenty of fresh fish, meats and veggies. I strongly suspect that I ate some disallowed food as pretty much everything is made with garlic &/or onions and one of the rissotos did have mushrooms but I seemed to survive as long as I stayed sensible and kept portions small.

Oh look more polenta and cheese!
Octopus, polenta and ice cream were firm daily favourites and also note the breadcrumbs (that one was not a clever choice)

Aside from the occasional naughty choices (breadcrumbs, mushrooms) the only real issues I faced were 1. Under ripe bananas (I love them, my stomach does not) and one evening when we went to the hotel grill restaurant. The grill restaurant was a preset menu and in reality was all FODMAP friendly food however, I am a child of the “you can’t leave till you finish all of your dinner” generation. So this meant I attempted to consume the overly generous offering of food (there were enough fries to feed 6 people), had the food confiscated by my partner and spent the next 2-3 days in significant discomfort. Honestly when it comes to controlling my willpower, I doubt I’ll ever learn…

I’m not sure why but it was a whole tray of pork (note I devoured the park ribs before I took the photo). It was soooo good though!
Is that not a thing of beauty? Oh the yum!

So in short I worried a lot for nothing, FODMAP is tough in some aspects (mainly no Bread) but there are so many alternative options that I actually barely noticed that I was on a restricted diet. I’ve come home inspired and ready to make the most of what I’ve learned, namely with the desire to up my polenta and risotto game and get cheese and ice cream back into my life!

For now though it’s back home to a rather chilly feeling Scotland, oh well at least I have this memory to keep me warm!

Till next year Croatia! Dovidenja from my creepy wee toes!
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