What is a fodmap-breaking it down
The low fodmap diet is getting a lot of press lately and for good reason!
It is a scientifically based diet that can help people determine what foods contribute to embarrassing gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Now, it is perfectly normal to have gas, and we can produce up to 3 pints of gas a day. Also, having our bellies flip flop and not be so regular is going to happen from time to time...but if it becomes uncomfortable and causes you to cancel plans - you need to take action and find the root cause.
Many people with a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) will have these symptoms on a regular basis. IBS is a reoccurring disorder of the GI tract involving abdominal pain and is usually accompanied by gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation or in any combination. Up to 10-15% of the adult population or 25-45 million people are affected by IBS and its symptoms, and it can have a significant impact on the work force as many sick days are a result of IBS. (Of course, visiting with a gastroenterologist is always suggested if you feel that you have new and unusual symptoms that are impacting your quality of life.)
There are factors that can contribute to the onset of IBS such as genetics, gut hypersensitivity and stress. Dietary factors also play a large role in IBS and we can also take a look at our diets to see some patterns that may occur. Do you feel a bloating after eating a bean burrito? Do you find that after eating ice cream you have to run to the nearest restroom? Do you get belly pain after eating an apple in the afternoon? So maybe you need to do some digestive detective work with your food!
Whether it is processed or natural, food can contain components that increase these symptoms which are called FODMAPs. A FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates in foods, that when digested in the gut, rapidly ferment and give off excess gas and in some cases can change the motility of your bowels. They are also poorly absorbed and can cause excess water to be pulled into the intestines and result in diarrhea. The foods that are highest in FODMAPs are: garlic, onions, wheat, honey, peaches, beans, mushrooms and foods made with high fructose corn syrup, to name a few. If you want to know if these types of foods bother your stomach, trying the Low FODMAP diet will be a great tool to find out.
It consists of three phases :
When you start the Low FODMAP diet, the Elimination phase will consist of eating low FODMAP containing foods for a recommended 2-6 weeks.
Here are some examples of low fodmap foods that you would be recommended to eat during the elimination phase:
Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, papaya, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, clementine, dragon fruit, lemon, lime, pineapple, rhubarb, passion fruit
Spinach, kale, arugula, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, olives, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, green beans
All animal proteins are allowable, as well as firm tofu, walnuts, chestnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, pecan, chia seed, flax seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, pea protein powder, OWYN (chocolate, vanilla, coffee flavored)
Some plant based proteins need attention to quantity at meals such as chickpeas (1/2 cup), lentils (½ cup), almonds (10 nuts)
Oatmeal, rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, 100% corn tortillas, spelt sourdough bread, wheat/white sourdough, gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta
Plain lactose-free yogurt, lactose-free milk, cheeses such as mozzarella, goat, feta, cheddar, brie, camembert, swiss, parmesan, colby
All oils including coconut oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, garlic infused olive oil, butter, mayo
100% cranberry juice, black espresso, tea (black, green, white, peppermint), unsweetened plant-based milks: almond, rice, soy, hemp
Gin, vodka, wine, beer, whiskey
Here is an example of a low fodmap day: (and free of the top 8 allergens)
Overnight oats made with ½ cup of cooked oatmeal and 1 cup of Vanilla OWYN, and top with 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, ½ cup of raspberries
Arugula salad with sliced cucumbers, peppers, shredded carrots and 2 ounces sliced chicken, ½ cup of chick peas with olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped herbs, ½ cup cooked quinoa
Rice cake and 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter, ½ sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup, cup of peppermint tea
Baked turkey breast with lemon and rosemary, brown rice, sautéed spinach with garlic infused olive oil, sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice
It is advisable to work with a registered dietitian who specializes in the Low FODMAP diet for the most nutritious approach and to guide you through the process. Check out the Monash University Low FODMAP app for the most up to date listing of food and guidance as well.