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My story ...

My story ...

by Carmelina Manzo

A week ago


I know first hand how frustrating and debilitating gut issues can be. Having been diagnosed with fructose malabsorption around 12 years ago, I totally understand the frustration and pain associated with IBS.

My symptoms weren't so much gut specific ... Yes, I had bloating and gut pain but when I was at my absolute worst, I had really gritty eyes, extreme muscle fatigue and pain and exhaustion. I was just so so tired.

If you have been through multiple visits to GP's with no definite answer, you will understand how frustrating this can be. I remember one GP giving me a pile of paperwork for a specialist and saying to me "maybe this will make you realise that this is all in your head". I never went back to that GP again.

It's at this point that a lot of us seek out help from holistic practitioners. This is what I did. I was so desperate that I went to a Naturopath. She put me on a anti candida diet. What this meant was no sugar, fruit, wheat, dairy, or processed foods. You get the gist, I practically ate air. (Not really, that's an exaggeration, I ate very clean for eight weeks). But during that time, I started to feel absolutely amazing. I had energy again, the gritty eyes disappeared, by tummy flattened right out, I had no stomach pains and I was waking up at the crack of dawn which is really unusual for me.

During this cleanse, I had gone to another GP for a second opinion. This GP was amazing and in fact, he is still our family GP. He referred me to a Physician. I took up the courage to tell the Physician the results of the anti candida diet. When I told him I had removed sugar and fruit, he said "I was playing golf with my gastroenterologist friend on the weekend, and he was telling me about fructose malabsorption... I think that's what you've got". He sent me off to have a breath test and the results confirmed I had fructose malabsorption. I will mention here though that the reliability of breath testing to diagnose fructose malabsorption is now questionable, however knowing all the foods that I react to the most; garlic, onion and wheat are high in fructans, I have no doubt that my results were correct.

The meal that I struggled with the most was breakfast. I love granola but couldn't tolerate oats. Store bought granola's were always very high in sugar and contained honey, so I experimented with making my own. I was very fussy with nuts (I really dislike bitter nuts like brazil nuts) so I included nuts and seeds that I love, like almonds and macadamia's. I developed this granola to suit my dietary and nutrition needs. I made sure the recipe had safe serving sizes of these ingredients and added quinoa as a replacement for oats. I then had my Original blend. 

Friends and family started asking me to make it for them, and then a friend suggested I start selling it. I thought "why not"? I must admit I really had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Throughout this journey, I have met some really amazing people, some via instagram, who have become friends including some amazing Nutritionists and Dieticians who have helped me a lot. One of these very clever Nutritionists suggested I have the Original certified as Fodmap Friendly. I worked very closely with the team of FODMAP expert Dieticians from the Fodmap Friendly Food Program to fine tune the granola to ensure it passed the rigorous testing process.

If there is any advice that I can give to someone following a low FODMAP diet, is to remain up-to-date with new foods that you consume. Ensure that you are checking the various apps available to check approved limits, as it can be easy to become complacent and have a flare-up of symptoms.

I now have four different granola blends available. The Original and the newly launched Fig and Walnut are both Fodmap Friendly Certified. I also have a Grain free blend which is great for people following a low carb high fat (LCHF) or Paleo diet and the Cranberry and Coconut blend. All are gluten and dairy free and refined sugar free as they are lightly sweetened with maple syrup or rice malt syrup.

If you are unsure which granola would best suit your dietary needs, don't hesitate to get in contact. I would love to hear from you!

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