Natasha Diddee: The Inspiring Journey Of The ‘Gutless Foodie’

Embracing her love for food and channeling her passion for cooking, Natasha Diddee started her Instagram account and chose the username ‘The Gutless Foodie’. Natasha’s Instagram bios give an entry point to her story — “Lost my entire stomach to stress” and “I don’t have a stomach, but I do eat out!” It was in 2012 when the classically trained cook lost her entire stomach to a tumor. She decided to rebuild her life and inspired thousands of people on Instagram to follow her motto of living and not just existing. 

On March 26, Diddee’s husband, Bengt Johansson, broke the heartbreaking announcement of her passing. While the cause of her death is not disclosed, it’s a moment of profound sorrow for her family, friends, and followers.

Sharing a picture of Natasha and her book ‘Foursome’, her husband wrote in the caption, “That Heartbreaking Announcement…It is with great pain and sorrow that I am forced to announce the sad and heartbreaking passing of my wife Natasha Diddee, aka The Gutless Foodie. We lost her in the early morning of March 24th, 2024, in Pune, India.”

“The Instagram account @thegutlessfoodie will be kept alive and open since I know her posts and stories inspire a lot of people, and many of her followers frequently come back for her recipes, and the published content continues to serve as a source of inspiration for many.”

“I also know she loved the direct interaction with her followers, and she always found it important to try and respond to anyone who contacted her. She also greatly enjoyed meeting her followers throughout the years at different events and during our various travels.”

“Her ‘Foofoo’ recipes contributed to spicing up the almost 20 years I got to have her as the love of my life and partner,” the announcement concluded.

Several chefs and followers on Instagram shared their condolences in the comments section:

Chef Vicky Ratnani wrote, “No way. Am devastated to hear the news. My deepest condolences to the family. This is sad. We go back 30 years. Om Shanti Nuts. Always in my heart.”

“My sincere sympathies. The foofoo tales were such a signature,” Deepa Chauhan from ‘MasterChef India’ wrote.

A social media follower wrote, “She was one of the very first good accounts I followed when I joined Instagram back when it wasn’t such a big thing. After knowing her story of struggling with the condition, I was even more inspired. It is so heartbreaking.” Appreciating her courage, another said, “This is so sad to hear. I’m just an ordinary follower, and she always made me smile. Shown such Courage and authenticity as she dealt with all the challenges in her.”

A follower of her recipes added, “Oh no, this is so sad! I’ve made so many of Natasha’s recipes, and I would never miss reading her captions because she poured her heart into them. I’m so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.”

Why Was Her Stomach Removed?

In 2012, Diddee found that she had developed tumors in her stomach due to prolonged stress. Her entire stomach had to be surgically removed. “Every single day, we face stress in some way or another. We are taught a lot of things, but nobody teaches us about life. Plans happen, but they fall through, and because there is no backup, half of the people are flailing,” she told Hindustan Times in a 2018 interview.

Turning Her Life Around Post-Surgery

In a 2020 interview with Soulveda, Natasha shared how she shifted her perspective towards life after losing her stomach. “Over time, a lot of people told me about their family members who underwent the same surgery but couldn’t make it. This reality brought a perspective shift that was missing in my life. I started counting my blessings and began to keep a positive attitude. But if there was anything that empowered me the most in those days, it was my love for cooking. It was therapeutic for me.”

“I lived a very shallow life [like most people] till then. I had a choice: I can either choose to move on to the next event in my life, or I can choose to make my life into something where I can help people,” the Pune-based home chef told Hindustan Times.

Eating Food Without A Stomach

Natasha explained how she managed to eat her food after the removal of her stomach. She ate several mini-meals throughout the day. Whatever she ate went straight to her intestines. “I don’t have gastric juices anymore. My intestines have to do the breaking down and digestion. My entire stomach, and the bends, were removed. So what I eat, goes directly into my intestine,” she told Hindustan Times.

“After the surgery, I was under a rigid and monitored diet. I ate astro-food (food meant for astronauts in space) for the time I was at the hospital. Slowly, I shifted to a high-protein diet-life was becoming normal once again. But even after 8 years of the operation, there were days when I felt low and dejected. Especially, when I missed my shots or check-ups,” she added in the Soulveda interview.

‘The Gutless Foodie’ Instagram Handle

Talking about choosing the name ‘Gutless Foodie’ for her Instagram handle, Natasha shared that a great thought was put behind it. “You can only draw strengths from yourself. You are the only person who can change a negative thing into something positive if you choose to. There was a reason I chose the term gutless foodie; I could have chosen something like gutsy foodie or anything. But I chose this, and for the longest time, people didn’t understand it. There was a great thought put behind it,” she told Hindustan Times.

As for her posts, you will notice that the name of each dish she cooks begins with “that” or “those” — ‘That North Meats South India Meal’, ‘Those stuffed chicken breasts’, and so on. This was also a conscious decision. “There are lots of experts in our field; everybody is a foodie. And then there are the purists who think that there’s only one way to make something. So I decided that instead of giving them names, I will keep it ambiguous,” she told Hindustan Times.
Also Read: Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, Padma Shri Recipient, Dies At 93

Natasha’s Message To People Looking For Hope And Inspiration

Natasha’s journey has been incredibly inspiring for her Instagram followers. Here is her message on how to live a fulfilling life full of inspiration and hard work, as shared in the Soulveda interview, “Don’t dwell in the past. It will ruin your today. And don’t let others define you or judge you for who you are. Live life on your terms and create your own rules. Once you start living life for yourself, you will see how beautiful it is. Remember, inspiration alone will not take you too far if you don’t work hard every day. As long as you work on your inspiration, you are good. I was inspired to write, so I wrote and published. Likewise, act on your inspiration and the rest will follow.”

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