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The low FODMAP diet
Do you ever think that an issue going on in your life is something small but then becomes huge and impacts your entire lifestyle? That what has happened in our household. In the past couple of years, my husband has had stomach issues. I won’t go into much detail but let’s just say that if he ate certain foods we had to go home early. This year something changed. It went from a few foods to almost every meal he ate made him feel sick. He finally went to the doctor and they suggested that he change his diet to a low FODMAP diet. You are probably thinking, what in the world does that even mean? Yeah, that was my reaction too.
Below you will find what the low fodmap diet is, the health benefits, and ways to carry out the diet in your household.
***Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. I am only speaking about the small amounts of information that I know, and what my husband has experienced. Research for more information on IBS or talk to your doctor.
What does FODMAP mean?
According to aboutibs.org, FODMAP is an acronym for:
There are different types of carbohydrates. Some foods contain high levels and other low levels of fodmaps. Some people absorb these carbohydrates well and others do not. If a person’s body does not absorb the molecules well, then they have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms may be abdominal bloating, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc. By cutting out foods that are high in FODMAPs your symptoms may be reduced or possibly disappear.
What is the low FODMAP diet?
The low FODMAP diet is when you substitute foods that contain high levels of FODMAP for foods with lower FODMAP for six to eight weeks. After the 6-8 weeks, you slowly start to reintroduce high FODMAP foods to see how your body reacts.
For example, my husband is cutting out all foods that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). After 6 weeks, he will eat foods that have HFCS and if it aggravates his stomach he knows that HFCS is a trigger. During the time of reintroduction, he is going to keep a record of all the foods that were a trigger and which ones did not affect him. Hopefully, that will help broaden the diet in the future.
What Can You Eat?
As you can imagine, I went into panic mode when he told me he had to be on a strict diet. What in the world was I going to cook?! The doctor gave us some guidance to follow and encouraged us to do research and conduct the first few weeks of the diet as an elimination diet. If you don’t know what an elimination diet is, you can read my blog post about it HERE.
Below is a summary of what you can and cannot eat.
- Foods you CANNOT eat include, anything with high fructose corn syrup(HFCS), the majority of dairy, foods high in soy, garlic, and onions. You should also, read the ingredients of your condiments.
- The food you CAN eat include, gluten-free foods, organic all-natural meat, hard cheese, fruits, and veggies.
For a detailed list of foods, check out THIS blog post. You will find a list of high and low fodmap foods and foods you can eat in moderation. There is also, a FREE printable you can put on your fridge to help you stay on track.
How do I start the low FODMAP Diet?
Starting any diet is hard, especially when it’s not a short-term plan. When we started the low fodmap diet, we cleaned out our pantry and refrigerator. It’s time-consuming but make sure you read all ingredient lists. *Instead of throwing away the food, donate it to a food bank or a family you know in need.
Once your pantry is cleaned out, create a schedule of when you will reintroduce foods. Then create a meal plan. Creating a weekly meal plan is the only thing that kept us on track. The weeks that I forgot to plan were the weeks that we cheated on the diet. You can find hundreds of low fodmap recipes on Pinterest.
If you struggle with meal planning and need accountability check out ibscoach.org. It’s a program that gives you a free consultation and then provides you with a meal plan, symptom tracking, motivation, and accountability to help you stay on track. You can also find articles on IBS and the low fodmap diet.
I’ll be totally honest with you, the journey has been hard. Some weeks, we stick to the diet and my husband sees improvement in his symptoms. Other weeks just suck. So please don’t get discouraged if you get off track. It happens to the best of us.
Please leave a comment below and let me know if you have been on the low FODMAP diet!