Out to Eat – Brazil Style!

Being married to a Brazilian, I have the wonderful opportunity to enjoy an exciting culture – the people, music, food, dancing the samba – it’s a carefree way of living!  One thing I like about Brazilian culture compared to my own is that when families get together and have dinner or a holiday party, they spend hours together, and it never feels rushed.  That’s what its like at Fogo de Chão®.

brazilian food
Our friend Pat, working away at his dinner! It’s definitely a manly experience!

Fogo de Chão is a franchise with restaurants across the U.S. and Brazil.   The founders are from the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil. The brothers were influenced by the “centuries-old Gaucho culture, a rich blend of traditions from European immigrants and Brazilian natives.”  The main attraction of this chain of restaurants is the meat; how it is prepared and how it comes out to your table in droves.  This style of preparing and eating meat is better known as the churrasco, or the Gaucho way of roasting meats over pits of open fire.  Whenever I have been to a churrasco, whether here in the states with our Brazilian friends or in Brazil itself, the meat is served in small pieces and passed around.  It’s typical to be standing around, chatting it up, eating slow and just enjoying the company of everyone.

Eating at Fogo de Chão could be somewhat difficult for someone with IBS like myself, but the other night I was able to navigate the salad bar and the meat.  I chose items at the salad bar that were stand alone and not mixed with anything else. For the meat, I ate slow, had small pieces (all low FODMAP), but knowing my body, meat doesn’t always digest very well.  So I chose meat that didn’t have thick bands of fat on the edges, and I also had chicken.  I had very slight symptoms today and that is to be expected when I am not cooking for myself.

It’s not always easy eating out when you have IBS, and when you are trying to follow a low FODMAP diet.  It’s nice to know more menus include gluten-free items now,  but remember many of those are not FODMAP friendly.  The cleaner you eat, the better – but get to know the low FODMAP veggies and fruits.

The more you work at FODMAP, the more you will remember of what you should avoid eating, as well as how much you should limit for low FODMAP.  If you ever feel frustrated, reach out to me!  I’m right there with you.

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I'm Colleen Francioli, a certified nutritionist and author with a focus on helping people with IBS, other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) and food intolerances. I once suffered from IBS and have since found life balance with the low-FODMAP diet, an elimination diet developed in Australia, proven to help relieve symptoms of IBS.

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