Meet Angi Ruoss, the Intolerant Wanderer
Angela Ruoss (Angi Ruoss) of theintolerantwanderer and intolerant.me (check her out on Instagram) is joining the FODMAP Everyday® crew and will be bringing us monthly international travel based articles – all with a FODMAP focus.
Angi Ruoss follows the diet herself and we love that personal point of view. Here we interview her so that you can all get to know her a bit better.
Dédé Wilson: Angi, we are so thrilled you are joining us. Our intent has always been to serve the global FODMAP community and we first “met” you online with your engaging Instagram feeds. The fact that you follow the low FODMAP diet and are a global adventurer made you the perfect match for us. Let’s talk a little background so that everyone can get to know you.
When did you first realize that you had IBS?
Angi: Actually I think I’ve had it for quite some time but I started running tests about 2.5 years ago. That was when I got diagnosed with lactose and fructose malabsorption. And I found out that I most likely have IBS, too.
How were you diagnosed? Did you find out about the low FODMAP diet fairly quickly after diagnosis?
The IBS-part was a self-diagnosis to be honest as my symptoms remained even after cutting out fructose and lactose. I then started my own research and read about onion and garlic being problematic for many. That’s how I came across the low FODMAP diet and thought I’d just give it a go.
What resources did you initially use, and were they helpful?
I found a cook book for fructose malabsorption which also omitted wheat, onion and garlic. Besides that I looked up everything online and I got myself the Monash FODMAP app after a while, which was actually very helpful.
At what point in your diagnosis did you start to travel so often? Give us your top 3 (or 5, or whatever you think) tips for traveling while following the low FODMAP diet.
I already had my mind set on travelling before I got the diagnosis – and if I think back, that may have been one of the reasons, why I did all the tests in the first place. A year later I then quit my job; that was 1.5 years ago.
My three tips would be: 1. Be Prepared, 2. Speak the Language and 3. Enjoy Yourself. I’ve actually written a blogpost about that here.
Any specific tips for plane travel?
Yes! Choose yourself a special meal. Some airlines offer a bland meal option, which so far I found to be the best one because it mainly consists of light and easily digestible foods. It usually doesn’t contain fried or fatty foods, nuts, garlic, onions, strong scented spice, pickles and mustard. So I suppose it is pretty good for a low FODMAP diet. If that’s not available you can go for jain (without onion and garlic, but often with wheat), gluten-free or lactose-free. But still, ALWAYS bring enough snacks to keep you full in case you can’t eat much of the main meals. And drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated. It’s best to start hydrating a day or two before flying. That actually helped me a lot with my IBS-C.
That’s so interesting! I’ve never heard anyone talk about starting a few days ahead – but it makes sense!
Are there any countries or specific stores or restaurants that you have found particularly helpful while following the diet? How about places that were really difficult?
Australia, UK and the USA have been pretty easy places to go to. Mostly, they are well aware of food intolerances and you can get your meals adapted. In Asia it’s a bit trickier. Especially Indonesia and Malaysia. They were tough as they seem to cook everything with onion and garlic. Vietnam on the other hand was much better for my tummy, because they use more fresh herbs instead.
But probably the best thing I found in terms of my diet, was a 100% FODMAP friendly restaurant in Melbourne. It’s called Fox in the Box and it was truly amazing to eat there!
We need them everywhere!
What has been the most surprising positive outcome of your diagnosis?
It’s completely changed my life and at the same time opened up whole new perspectives. I see that very positively (nowadays – it took a while), because it’s made me very passionate about this topic and showed me what I want to do with my life. Also work-wise. That’s why I’m starting my own business together with my partner Philip, and it will be a next step of @intolerant.me
How did you decide to form your Instagram presence? Tell us about your intent for your followers. And also explain a little bit about the differences between your two feeds, theintolerantwanderer and intolerant.me.
I first started with @theintolerantwanderer about 5 months into my travels because I followed some other travel and food / free-from bloggers and realized how helpful it can be and how good it feels to actually have someone who can relate to what you’re going through. That’s when I decided to get myself out there too, with the intention to hopefully also help someone. And to show that it’s still possible to travel with food-intolerances, even long-term.
So @theintolerantwanderer covers my personal journey. And while it helped me a lot I still thought that it would be nice to have some kind of a directory where to eat and what to buy worldwide. This was mainly because I couldn’t find the information I was looking for in one place. And that’s how the idea of @intolerant.me – a platform sharing recommendations for places, products and plates worldwide – was born.
We are looking forward to having you bring us monthly articles about your travels. First up was your Instagram takeover on July 5th when you were posting live from the Allergy & Free From Show in London. What were your favorite discoveries at the show?
I wrote about that in my article actually (see Low FODMAP in London). So I’ll answer the question a bit more generally, if that’s okay. Because my absolute favorite discovery was to see so many new low FODMAP options coming out. It made me truly happy that this topic gains more and more popularity and people like us hopefully soon don’t have to feel like aliens all the time anymore, when we talk about our diet.
Did you meet up with any other FODMAP bloggers? Tell us!
Yes, I did. With quite a few actually. I met Becky Excell at the show for a quick chat and she later joined us for the first edition of our “Free From Feast”. This is an event series in different cities which Philip and I are organizing through @intolerant.me with the intention of raising awareness for food intolerances.
Can you give us a sneak peek at what you might be bringing us next?
I have another few shorter trips planned this year, which I could write about or places I’ve recently been to, like Australia, Vietnam, Bali, etc. But I’d also love to give tips about how to stick to a low FODMAP diet when travelling and how to eat when you’re on the road and not able to cook yourself. Anyway, if anyone has specific questions for me or a topic they’d be really interested in, please let me know.
Angi, we are so excited about this new partnership. Can’t wait to see where you take us next.