Behind The Spoonie Society

From IBS Struggles to CEO Triumph: Vanessa Hutchinson Shares How Fodbods Became a Thriving Business

From IBS Struggles to CEO Triumph: Vanessa Hutchinson Shares How Fodbods Became a Thriving Business

How I turned my IBS struggles into a thriving business

I’ve had gut issues for as long as I can remember – uncomfortable bloating, crippling stomach pains, days of constipation. It’s fair to say that they really held me back from enjoying life. For many years I chose to ignore the symptoms, pretending I was fine smashing garlic-rich foods and inhaling fruity drinks, hiding my bloated tummy with floaty clothes then rushing home to lie on the couch with a hot water bottle. But as I got older, the symptoms got worse and I knew I had to do something about it.

I went to see my GP who told me I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which didn’t sound very attractive. She ran a blood test to rule out Coeliac disease then sent me off for a hydrogen breath test. Whilst this correctly determined that I’m intolerant to fructose, I wouldn’t recommend this test and nor do dietitian's. I cut out high fructose foods but was still getting symptoms.

Finally, a friend told me about the FODMAP diet and everything started making sense. I worked with a dietitian to determine that I’m also intolerant to fructans (onion, garlic, wheat, dates) and GOS (beans, chickpeas, cashews). Once I’d successfully eliminated these foods from my diet, my symptoms disappeared (yay!).

Unfortunately, FODMAPs are found in a lot of foods so avoiding them was quite challenging! I had a busy job at the time – lots of meetings, work events and travel meant I was frequently having to eat on the go. I’d often have to choose between eating something I knew would make me feel sick, or not eating anything at all. It made me really anxious.

After a fruitless (pardon the pun) search for a healthy low FODMAP snack, I started making my own protein bars and taking them with me everywhere. Even if I didn’t eat them, just knowing I had something on me gave me peace of mind.

I assumed that I wasn’t alone in this struggle so I started doing market research – I spoke to dietitian's, Monash University and a lot of potential customers. This confirmed it was a really big problem that a lot of people were experiencing... yet no one was trying to solve it.

So I created Fodbods – to help people live their best lives, without worrying about gut issues.

Fodbods are made in Australia from 100% natural ingredients, they’re plant based and gluten free. We formulate our products with dietitian's to ensure they have a fantastic nutritional profile. We also include a range of ingredients that actually promote digestion and support gut health – because gut health is important for everyone! We also have a range of allergy friendly bars called Buddies that are great for kids.

Many of our customers have no idea what FODMAPs are and they simply love Fodbods because they’re convenient, healthy and incredibly delicious. But for other customers, Fodbods are life changing. Finally, something they can trust, that makes them feel good, that they can take everywhere so they always have something to eat. It’s just a bonus that they taste amazing!

Vanessa Hutchinson

CEO, Fodbods

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