Meet Alana Scott from A Little Bit Yummy
Of all the sites out there, when I was first introduced to the low FODMAP diet, Alana Scott’s A Little Bit Yummy was filled with the kind of everyday information I was looking for, from articles to recipes to updates on the science of the low FODMAP diet.
Alana’s model for her site is to have at least one of her international dietitian team members review recipes and articles for accurate FODMAP information, so you can rest assured that her content is safe to follow. We wanted to bring Alana to you, with this exclusive interview, as she is one of our favorite resources.
Dédé Wilson: Alana, thank you so much for speaking with us. I know, that like me, you have IBS and are a fellow FODMAPer. Tell us about the early years for you, suffering with your IBS symptoms and how you coped before you were introduced to the low FODMAP diet.
Initially when I first started getting IBS symptoms, I didn’t think much of it and just thought I had a sensitive stomach. Then I ended up being the girl who would sneakily unzip her jeans in a lecture theatre to relieve the pressure of my bloating belly.
Oh my, this is such a great visual to point out. I cannot tell you how many times I had to do the same thing. And, very often, just chose to wear elastic waist pants and skirts! Extra roomy ones! You know, we make it sound funny now, but is just these kinds of everyday things that made living with IBS symptoms debilitating and hard to talk about. IBS might not be life threatening, but the symptoms can greatly affect how we are able to attend classes, or social functions. There is pain, embarrassment and a helpless feeling – this is all pre-FODMAP, of course!
I also spent a lot of time dashing to the loo and I got very good at the “I need to poop” two step dance. Then during my second and third year of university my symptoms got out of control and I started losing a lot of weight. I didn’t have any coping strategies and I knew the symptoms were getting serious so I decided it was time to get help.
How did you finally get diagnosed?
I had an awesome medical team who looked after me. My GP referred me straight to a gastroenterologist and a dietitian. I got a dual diagnosis of coeliac disease and IBS. A strict gluten-free diet was not enough to settle my gastrointestinal symptoms so I ended up on the low FODMAP diet. The low FODMAP diet helped me drastically reduce my symptoms and now I’m enjoying an adapted low FODMAP diet where I can enjoy some high FODMAP foods in moderation.
This is another fabulous point. I think that for so many people, when they first look at the diet, they fear that the restrictions will be forever. And of course we know that not only is that not true, but that the goal is actually to eventually help them eat as broadly as possible – and this cannot be re-stated enough. Not only to assuage fear, but also to promote what is actually going to be the healthier approach for them in the long run. And, that they will get to the point, as you just mentioned, where they can even sometimes eat higher FODMAP foods. You have mentioned on your site that at first glance that the list of high FODMAP foods was daunting. Tell us about your initial experience with the diet.
I had a lovely dietitian who walked me through the low FODMAP diet and sent me off with a list of high and low FODMAP foods. However, when I got into the supermarket the reality of the diet hit me. I didn’t know what I could make to eat. I remember walking around the supermarket crying and leaving with a bag of carrots and a chicken breast. It was at that stage I decided I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel like that, so I founded A Little Bit Yummy to provide delicious recipes and safe resources for the low FODMAP diet.
What are your favorite low FODMAP diet tips that you have developed for yourself? What makes it easier for you to follow this diet that others might learn from?
My top tip is to take some time and plan out your meals. This really helps to take the stress out of the diet (which can only be a good thing) and stops you getting hangry.
It makes me laugh but I still love that word!
Choose a couple of breakfast options, 6 easy snacks, 8 different lunches, and 10 dinners. That will give you a great base to help get you through the first few weeks. If you are stuck for ideas check out my low FODMAP meal planning service, we do the hard work for you and give you access to over 400+ low FODMAP recipes.
When you break it down like this, it makes it much more approachable, both psychologically as well as practically. Do you have a favorite low FODMAP meal that you make again and again?
My guilty pleasure is chicken wings! I absolutely love them and if I don’t know what to cook then these are my ‘go-to’. I love baking them in a maple soy glaze or in my special sweet orange sauce.
Oh, baby, we got wings too! It is very exciting when people realize that they can eat their pre-FODMAP favorites, like chicken wings.
One thing we have in common is that neither of us are dietitians, and yet we have entered this world of FODMAP education. How did you come up with the model for A Little Bit Yummy?
A Little Bit Yummy is based on the sort of resources and recipes I wished I had access to when I first started my low FODMAP journey. I also spend a lot of time listening to and helping newbies so I’m always thinking about new articles and recipes that can help them. If you have any topics for me then please let me know!
Tell us about your involvement with the Facebook group, Low FODMAP Recipes & Support. The platform is such a great way to reach many people. How many members do you have now in this closed group? And tell our readers how they can join!
I am part of the admin team and I love spending time answering FODMAP queries or just lending a bit of emotional support to members. If you are struggling then this group is a great place to start and we have over 19,700 members who can lend you a hand. You can find the group here.
What would you tell someone who is reading this and is still trying to decide if this diet is for them (assuming they have received an IBS diagnosis)?
If you have an IBS diagnosis or the diet has been recommended by your doctor then you have nothing to lose. Try it for a few weeks and see how it goes. You might find it gives you great symptom management and can help you feel normal again.
Alana, thank you so much for your time. Your website is a great resource and we encourage our readers to check it out – if they haven’t already! Like you, we want to help people thrive while on this diet. There is life after an IBS diagnosis and we are both living proof! Visit Alana at A Little Bit Yummy.