Emma Hatcher - She Can't Eat What


Emma is a cook, author, recipe developer and food styling assistant based in Brighton, UK.

I realised that although the science behind the low FODMAP diet was brilliant and empowering, nobody knew about it! When a dietician suggested I try the diet (7 or so years ago) there were a huge lack of recipes available that were both delicious and low FODMAP – and recipes that felt ‘normal’. I created my website/blog, with the aim to share my story, raise awareness of the low FODMAP diet and to help others in the same position. IBS is not a sexy subject – which means a lot of us sure are suffering in silence and I really want to change that.

I was 14 when I was diagnosed with IBS – really young. On one hand it felt quite liberating to be given a diagnosis but on the other it was embarrassing and quite isolating. You always felt a bit different from everybody else and I was only just starting the journey of understanding my triggers.
I’d spent years cutting out various different food groups from my diet as suggested by my doctor – gluten and dairy for example – but each time symptoms would subside for a short time, before gradually coming back. It wasn’t until age 21, when I was suffering from really bad symptoms again (probably exacerbated by stress) that I went into hospital for more tests and it was then that I was told to try the low FODMAP diet. I wasn’t overly hopeful, but I was so ready to try anything that might help. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt within just the first few weeks. The diet didn’t only decrease my symptoms, but completely changed my life. I don’t think I’d realised how much my day to day life was affected until I started to feel such massive improvements.
Absolutely. I think because it’s not as clear-cut as other diets, it can make it difficult to understand – and everyone has individual tolerances etc. The fact that sleep and stress and movement all play a part in managing IBS too – it’s a complicated one! But it really has improved my way of life so much, along with so many others. If by shouting about it and creating recipes I can help even just a handful of people, I’ll be happy. And huge love to you and companies like Fodilicious, who are working so hard to get the message out there and help others too.
The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen is my debut cookbook, published with Yellow Kite. I really wanted it to be like the book I wish I’d been given when I’d first been told to try the diet and to take some of that frustration and confusion away. It has over 100 healthy(ish) recipes, from sea salt brownies to a cheats buckwheat pizza base, along with lots of hints and tips about how to look after your gut in our crazy busy 24/7 world, that really helped – and still do help – me. It’s available on Amazon and in all bookstores.
Then Spring is the low FODMAP recipe e-book, that I launched earlier this year. It’s filled with 30 simple, delicious and seasonal recipes for spring and early summer, all reviewed by Dietician Kaitlin Colucci. Gluten free fresh pasta and Almond, passionfruit & lime cheesecake are two of my favourite recipes in there! Where suitable, lots of the recipes have higher FODMAP suggestions for later in your gut health journey too, so that they can work for the low FODMAP diet and beyond. It’s really important to me that recipes are flexible and adaptable – they should work for wherever you’re at. Plus, from every sale 99p goes to charity, split between The Trussell Trust, who are working to end UK hunger and poverty and The IBS Network.

I love that message and couldn’t agree more. It’s tough to pick, but I think I’m going to have to settle on ginger!

Interview by Lauren Leisk, Founder of Fodilicious Limited