I’ve been in India for the past two weeks hence the lack of posts. Now that I’m back I would like to share my experience and a few things I learnt to still eat low FODMAP IBS friendly food, have a happy tummy and enjoy your holiday. India is definitely a tough one! Almost every item will contain onion and garlic making it almost impossible to eat out! But we did find a way… I did get an upset stomach on a few days but I was mostly symptom free. The upset stomach usually resulted due to me eating some unsafe foods during some wedding celebrations I was invited to. I think this was the hardest as the bride and groom’s families seemed to get offended if you didn’t eat anything.
Moving on to the tips..
1. Stay in a 5 star hotel or dine at 5 star hotels. Most 5 star hotels in India are quite affordable and the service is fantastic! However if you want to stay somewhere cheaper you can still go dine at 5 star hotel restaurants. I admit food prices will be higher but these hotels were willing to alter recipes and make food to suit my needs.
2. Butter chicken is usually made without onion and garlic! Who knew?! It is however high in fat and contains yoghurt and cream. I could tolerate it but most IBS sufferers would probably not.
4. Try Jain or South Indian food. In jain culture people are vegetarians and do not consume onion, garlic or root vegetables. Most meals are based on paneer or daal (lentils) however they do offer vegetable curries and rice dishes. In south indian cuisine many dishes are based on fermented rice and daal dishes. I had dosa which is a thin crispy pancake made out of a fermented rice and daal batter. The fermentation helps reduce the FODMAPs in foods making it more easy to digest and the amount of daal used in comparison to rice is minimal. I found dosas to be my safe go to food! These can be served plain with chutney or with a filling. I usually got mine filled with a potato masala which is made of potatoes and spices. The places I went to were willing to make a potato masala without onions. Dosa is usually served with chutney; a coconut chutney and a lentil chutney. The coconut chutney is usually onion and garlic free. Limit the intake of this as only a small amount is low FODMAP. Pictured below is a dosa stuffed with potato masala (the thin pancake), idli (the two ‘rice cakes’), tomato and chilli uttapam (at the back) and vadu (the doghnut shape ones) and coconut chutney on the side. The uttapam are made with the dosa batter. They are simply thicker. Idli are made of fermented rice and daal and they are steamed. The vadu are made of lentils therefore I avoided these and my boyfriend enjoyed them instead.
5. Know your triggers and limitations! This is crucial.
6. Always carry Loperamide if IBS-d and take some electrolyte sachets especially if visiting when the weather is hot.
7. Avoid tap water and salads.
8. Be aware of side effects of malaria tablets. The cheaper ones tend to cause more side effects which usually include diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.
9. When checking in on the flight choose seats close to the loo. I also like to pick an aisle seat for peace of mind.
10. Contact the airline about food choices in advance to ensure they can provide you with something you can eat. 8 hours is a long time to go without eating! Otherwise pack yourself some food to eat on the flight.
11. Have the Monash App handy. It is useful to check safe foods and the safe serving sizes.
12. Buy a Can’t wait card available at the IBS network. This is a card which shows you have a medical condition which requires you to use the toilet urgently. It comes with a pack in various language. Get it here.
I hope you find these tips helpful! If you have any tips to share leave a comment below 🙂