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Low-FODMAP diet for IBS

I'd like first-hand advice from anyone with this condition who has been on a Rick Steves tour in Greece (or Turkey). I booked the tour before I was diagnosed. Researching food in Greece has lead me to believe that it will be difficult to avoid my trigger foods.

Posted by
14288 posts

I do not have experience with Low-Fodmap on a Rick Steves tour. On a Road Scholar tour to Cornwall one of the participants was Low-Fodmap and the group meals were just unable to cope with the restrictiveness of this plan. I'd suspect that will be the same on a Rick Steves tour.

What she wound up doing was just picking one of the items on the diet and asking for her meals to be dairy free to avoid the lactose. I think she generally tried to stay gluten free as well.

I am vegan and am usually able to get vegan meals but that is more mainstream and restaurants generally understand it. I've traveled with a number of people who were Gluten Free and also able to have that restriction met. I also always have back up food with me - either something like nuts and dried fruit or Clif bars - which I can sub in if a group meal doesn't work for me.

Good luck! I hope it helps to clear your IBS!

Posted by
7078 posts

Just what are your trigger foods? Without knowing that I doubt if anyone here can give you advice. If you can eat seafood, you're good. If you can eat vegetables, you're good. Greece is big on dairy (yogurt and cheeses) but you can eat well while avoiding those.

Posted by
2924 posts

I can't speak for the Greece tour but last year I did South of Italy. Cow diary, nitrates/nitrites, nuts (small amount OK), more than one glass of wine set off my IBS, plus I am allergic to chocolate. I was careful with what I ate. If I ate cheese at one meal because I couldn't pass up the bufalo mozzarello, I wouldn't eat cheese the rest of the day. Restaurants and hotel breakfasts had soy milk for my coffee.

Before going to Italy I learned how to ask in Italian for coffee with soy milk, no chocolate, sorbetto instead of gelato and no cheese. It was not difficult to avoid my trigger foods. Either on your translator app or on an index card in phonetic Greek and written Greek make notes how to request what you can eat and what you can't eat. You can show the card to the waiter when eating on your own. Let your Rick Steves guide know of your food limitations so she/he can help you.

Most of all, don't make a big issue out of being served something you can't eat. If served, don't eat it or politely decline. You may need to order something on your own but I doubt it. There is so much food served at meals that you won't go hungry.

Also, I was concerned about potty stops on bus days. Not an issue since we stopped every 1 1/2 hours.

Posted by
16932 posts

Here is a chart of what is allowed and not allowed on a low FODMAP diet:

It is certain sugars that need to be avoided, such as lactose and the sugars in wheat and many fruits and vegetables. Meat, eggs, fish, and hard cheeses are all OK as protein sources, as are most nuts. Rice, oats, and potatoes are all OK for carbs. Fruits and vegetables are a mixed bag; the main ones to avoid are stone fruits ( peaches, plums, etc.) and pome fruits (apples and pears).

I have not done a RS tour but we do hiking tours with REI Adventures and MT Sobek. I believe it would be difficult or impossible for the restaurants and hotels to cater to a low-FODMAP diet. But I do fine by simply requesting "gluten free". I do not ask for dairy-free as that would eliminate too many foods like hard cheeses which are OK. I carry Lactaid pills for those few occasions where I cannot resist ice cream or mozzarella di bufalo, , and I carry instant oatment packets to make for breakfast just in case. ( Gluten-free breakfast bread can be hard to find in small villages, as I learned on the Tour du Mont Blanc hike). Then I just avoid the other no-nos like apples, etc. by declining them.

Posted by
14288 posts

I'll just add something else I do on my Rick Steves tours. I put vegan on my personal information but then right after the first meet up I talk with the guide 1:1 to touch base. I also ask them to let me know if there will be a restaurant that won't be able to do a vegan meal because I can always forage on my own if I know ahead of time. There has been a time or two that a restaurant has not been able to come up with a salad or something and I'm fine striking out on my own to be fed.

I feel like this takes a bit of the pressure off the guide if they know I'm capable of tending to my own needs. Once a guide told me ahead of time he was not sure what kind of food I was going to be served for a pub lunch in a remote-ish area so it might be a good idea to have something for back up. They wound up serving me a huge wonderful salad which was perfect but appreciated that he warned me he wasn't sure what I'd get.

Posted by
3961 posts

As Pam mentioned I too have had a good response for diet requests. I prefer Vegetarian and have always had delicious choices on the RS Tours. Usually the guides ask me if I've had enough to eat! I tend to eat small frequent meals so it works well for me. Looking at the Low-FODMAP chart I would think you might find what you require in Greece. I ate a lot of Greek Salads which are also considered Low FODMAP. Your healthcare provider is another resource as well. All the best.