I have a plethora of social media accounts. I tweet, I Facebook, I 'connect' on LinkedIn. I blog, I log, I carry around people's wardrobes in my pocket...Fitocracy, What I Wore Today and I'm considering becoming a Platter-er, oh how I love it all.
So when I got 'invited' to a Twitter chat about FODMAPs I was immediately on board.
I imagined this to be technology's take on networking events! But instead of toddling your way to a London bar and mingling with names badges all the evening, you sat down to your computer at 8pm, wrapped up in your dressing gown with a bevvie in hand!! ...Or where ever your evening slob attire and snack routine takes you!
So what is it?
Well the website explains it all, but I've copied it below so you can see:
How does #RDUK work?
#RDUK is a monthly moderated Twitter conversation related to the latest headlines, new studies or controversial topics, in collaboration with the British Dietetic Association. Anyone with a twitter account can participate!
First Monday of each month at 8-9pm UK time. Each month we cover a different topic
Search Twitter for #RDUK for news and views, or come back to this page for updates.
The chat happens live on Twitter and you can join in or just watch at any time during the hour. Simply tag your tweets with #RDUK.
Sasha Watkins RD (@TheFoodCoachRD)
Azmina Govindji RD (@AzminaNutrition)
Emma Carder RD (@EmmaCarderRD)
So the chat titled: Can FODMAP diet help IBS? Had a 5 question structure:
- Q1: FODMAP's are receiving a lot of media attention in the UK. What should we be advising people who enquire about trying a low FODMAP diet?
- Q2: Eating out or takeaway meals can prove tricky on the low FODMAP diet. How can we raise awareness with chefs, restaurants, cafes etc?
- Q3: Many people miss their onions and garlic on the low FODMAP diet. Any top tips for FODMAP friendly ways to flavour meals instead?
- Q4: Reintroducing FODMAP's after the initial trial is a key stage in the process. Why is this important? Any experiences to share?
- Q5: It can be hard to remember all the FODMAP foods while shopping. Any top tips or personal experiences to share?
The moderators would tweet out the question (each question had 10 minutes) and if you had a response you would start your tweet A1, A2 and so on, and let your opinions flow!
By tagging each tweet #RDUK (and Emma Carder tweeted on the night to use #FODMAP too) you could follow the 'stream' of conversation.
The main people answering seemed to be Dieticians. But there were quite a few patients out there who tweeted out, that whilst they wouldn't be tweeting, they would be 'listening in' to learn more.
What I loved was how some patients piped up that they were very interested to read what was going on but had their: "15 year old daughter by my side to explain the Twitter bit".
So clearly there is some way to go in explaining the use of such Twitter conversations so they are easier to understand and accessible to all.
We were told the archive of the chat will be posted on Sasha Watkins RD BSc website in a couple of days. This is a fab idea in my opinion and I'm really looking forward to reading it! It will be interesting to read back to see if I missed any tweets, and delve more into the links that people posted offering advice.
But below is my summary, and what I personally gained and learnt from the chat.
Q1: FODMAP 's are receiving a lot of media attention in the UK. What should we be advising people who enquire about trying a low FODMAP diet?
So in summary...GET YOURSELF A QUALIFIED DIETITIAN!
This is will mean your diet is not too restrictive and you will be able to work with the diet, as you properly understand it. The diet is individualised to each patient taking into consideration usual dietary intake and symptom profile. Careful implementation is needed to ensure the diet is effective and nutritionally adequate. Sasha Watkins RD (@TheFoodCoachRD) tweeted out the King's College London link which is well worth a read.
Q2: Eating out or takeaway meals can prove tricky on the low FODMAP diet. How can we raise awareness with chefs, restaurants, cafes etc?
You can't just expect to turn up to a restaurant and send them into a frenzy whirlwind as they try to clobber something to suit your diet whilst trying to give you an equally enjoyable customer experience.
Food takes preparation, so give restaurants time. Simply be organised! Check the menu online before you go, ring the restaurant, let them know what you would like to order *insert yummy food dish here*, and ask is there any way it could be tailored to meet your dietary requirements! I've found this to provide an amazing response. After all, restaurants business survive on providing for their customers, so spread the FODMAP word!
Emma Carder RD (@EmmaCarderRD) made an important point however:"Not always possible to avoid FODMAP's completely when eating out, won’t do u any harm but their effects may b felt after the meal"
SO TRUE. If you're tempting to 'cheat', expect a food hangover.
Q3: Many people miss their onions and garlic on the low FODMAP diet. Any top tips for FODMAP friendly ways to flavour meals instead?
Asafoetida came out top here. But also popular were: fresh herbs; garlic, basil & chilli infused oils; the green part of spring onions and making batches of stock to freeze and use as needed.
Q4: Reintroducing FODMAP's after the initial trial is a key stage in the process. Why is this important? Any experiences to share?
Now I kept quiet on this one as I am not a trained Dietician but just a patient! So I wanted to let the professional advice get seen and not let my anecdotal tales get in the way!
What this question highlighted was the importance of the guidance and monitoring of your Dietician
As was wisely advised:
- Emma Carder (@EmmaCarderRD): Everyone’s gut is different & reintroductions will vary person by person!
- Azmina (@AzminaNutrition): Fear of eating needs to be addressed. Re-introduce foods when calm, not stressed out!
- Kate Scarlata (@KateScarlata_RD): Go slow with re-introduction to isolate foods that are particularly problematic. This varies from person to person.
Q5: It can be hard to remember all the FODMAP foods while shopping. Any top tips or personal experiences to share?
FODMAPfree A5: I typed a chart up, laminated it & it lived in my hand bag & came shopping with me! Would also make a weekly menu!
I got a re-tweet (RT) for that answer! *gold star for me*
On one side of a piece of paper I put all the foods in red that I needed to avoid, and then in green on the other side, all the foods I could eat!
And voila! A little aide-mémoire for when I'm out and about to make sure I don't slip up!
And that was it! Everyone politely thanked one another and wished each other goodnight! It was a really informative exercise and great to connect with other patients and Dieticians. I hope it will help raise awareness of the diet, and place it prominently on Dieticians' and Gastroenterologists' agenda.
p.s. What do you think of Twitter conversations? Are they the way to an informative future or a technological fad?