Amy Agur of Toronto, Canada remembers waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. She’s been so accustomed to the daily complaints coming from her GI tract that she worried her health issues had finally gotten worse because she couldn’t feel any pain.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt like my intestines were on fire and my guts were being eaten by a T-Rex with barb wire for braces,” said Amy. “I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. This type of pain was normal for me. So when I didn’t feel anything that night, I was scared. I thought I was experiencing some form of nerve damage.”
Until she was diagnosed with IBS-M and began her path to recovery, her GI pain was a constant reminder of what she couldn’t do. There were events she couldn’t attend, places she couldn’t travel to, or and foods she dared not eat. Amy realizes that her GI issues may have begun at birth.
“I was born with an infection, but doctors couldn’t figure out what type,” she recalled. “They immediately placed me in the intensive care unit for infants and was treated with multiple broad-spectrum antibiotics. I know now that this was probably what sparked my GI health issues.”
Years later, a knee injury and an attentive physician led to a conversation about her symptoms and an eventual IBS diagnosis. Her doctor recommended following a low FODMAP diet and Amy’s journey to recovery began. Soon after that, the middle-of-the-night panic of not feeling her GI pain.
“I was so worried, I actually woke my husband up in tears,” she recalled. “After he reassured me it’s ‘normal’ for people to not feel their insides at all times, I realized that following a low FODMAP diet might mean a life without pain. I decided then and there, this was something I wanted for myself and for everyone in my community with IBS!”
Amy is the founder of The FODMAP Formula, a website dedicated to explaining IBS and the low FODMAP diet simply. The site, which began as an opportunity to share low FODMAP recipes with her friends, has evolved to include resource articles, personal experiences, and ebooks. Known among her friends as a great baker, Amy began experimenting with foods, converting favorite recipes to low FODMAP alternatives.
“I started bringing low FODMAP foods to events and gatherings and the crowd loved them!” she said. “Most people don’t realize that low FODMAP and gluten-free foods can also taste delicious. I started posting recipes online and people began asking questions about IBS and the FODMAP program. Today, FODMAPformula.com has hundreds of recipes and articles to help people with IBS live their best lives.”
In a few short years, the website has built a loyal following of 70,000 people thirsty for information about food, GI health, and FODMAP friendly recipes. When asked what types of recipes her community gravitates toward, she indicated it’s usually comfort foods.
“The essence of comfort food is its ability to cheer us up,” said Amy. “We find solace in them when we’re stressed or depressed. They remind us of past memories when we felt happy or comforted.”
While it’s fine to consume something with chocolate once in a while, Amy says one of her goals is to create recipes that feed the soul without irritating the guts. In this issue of IBSLife, Amy was kind enough to share her delicious Chicken Wings recipe. (Visit the Recipes section for details.)
Nowadays, Amy keeps busy talking with community viewers, blogging, and completing her FODMAP certification to serve her community better.
In her spare time, she she’s also training as a private health coach. She hopes to launch her private coaching practice in September with the goal of helping her community feel more at home in their bodies. Those T-Rex pains she used to experience? They’re now a distant memory.
For more information about Amy Agur and her tasty recipes, visit fodmapformula.com.