Our guts can become very imbalanced due to a combination of many lifestyle and environmental factors. Chronic digestive symptoms can feel overwhelming and sometimes debilitating. When this happens, we need to have the tools to turn things around in order to feel better and function in life. The Low-FODMAP diet is a tool to help you get to the root of what is causing the digestive upset and give your system a break from potentially irritating food components.
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What is a Low-FODMAP Diet?
The low-FODMAP Diet—or Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols—is a diet that is low in fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates exert an osmotic effect and are poorly absorbed in the intestines, leading to an increased delivery of fermentable substrate for gut microbiota and water to the distal small intestine and proximal colon. The excess production of hydrogen and/or methane gas from microbial fermentation and excess fluid in the colon can lead to distention, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence. A low-FODMAP elimination diet removes these short-chain carbohydrates from the diet completely and then reintroduces each category, one by one, to test for a reaction and a return of symptoms during an elimination phase, and subsequent reintroduction phase.
FODMAP Reintroduction: After a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks on a Low-FODMAP diet (or as directed by your health care practitioner), begin by reintroducing each high FODMAP food category. Begin by adding back in Fructans (start with half of an onion or a few cloves of garlic in your food), then test GOS (add in 1 cup of soaked and cooked chickpeas), then test for Lactose intolerance by drinking a half cup of milk daily for 3 days, next test for Fructose intolerance by including a half of an apple daily for 3 days, and lastly test for Polyols by consuming a half of a peach (for sorbitol) and then include 3.5 ounces of button mushrooms (for mannitol).
Once you have figured out which food groups you cannot tolerate you can use the Search feature to find recipes that only remove one or more of these high FODMAP food groups. This way you can include more foods in your diet instead of removing all high FODMAP foods!
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS, THEN a Low-FODMAP Diet MAY BENEFIT YOU:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Food sensitivites
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Histamine intolerance
- Inability to fall asleep (due to gut imbalances)
- Joint pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Heartburn and nausea
What do I eat now?
There are so many delicious whole foods you can consume while on a Low-FODMAP elimination diet! It may take some time getting used to cooking without garlic, onions, and other common ingredients, but once you get the hang of it you'll realize how easy it is to prepare nourishing low-FODMAP meals.
Here is what you can eat:
- All gluten-free whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, amaranth, corn, and oats)
- All fresh meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
- Aged cheeses like parmesan and cheddar
- Yogurt that has been fermented for 24 hours (to minimize lactose content)
- Leafy green vegetables like lettuces, kale, collards, spinach, napa cabbage, and chard
- Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, and small amounts of sweet potatoes
- Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, hot chili peppers, and smaller amounts of eggplant
- Certain types of winter squash such as kabocha, delicata, and small amounts of sugar pie pumpkin
- Allium family vegetables like chives, and the green parts only of leeks and green onions
- Low-FODMAP fruits like pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, kiwis, small amounts of blueberries, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
- Seeds and some nuts such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, and small amounts of almonds
- All fats such as butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
- Sweeteners such as maple syrup, maple sugar, and cane sugar do not contain any FODMAPs, while coconut sugar is considered high-FODMAP in larger amounts, so don't overdo it!
What can I cook and bake that is Low-FODMAP?
Start thinking about creating nourishing low-FODMAP meals centered around the above list of foods you can eat. Think of a meal consisting of cooked Brown Rice, Roasted Chicken and Winter Squash, and Sautéed Kale. Or a classic meal consisting of a Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Baked Potatoes, and Steamed Green Beans! Low-FODMAP cooking doesn't need to be complicated!
For breakfast try Basic Scrambled Eggs or Hard Boiled Eggs and Oatmeal. These Blueberry Teff Waffles make a fun weekend low-FODMAP treat! Meal prep on the weekends and make a big batch of this Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad to take to school or work during the week. This low-FODMAP Chicken and Rice Soup is easy to make and creates a nourishing, gut-healing meal for a chilly evening. If you are wanting to include more vegan low-FODMAP meals in your diet, try these Brown Rice, Tofu, and Veggie Bowls! Prep grab and go foods on the weekend like this Low-FODMAP Ranch Dip or this Potato Crust Quiche.
Low-FODMAP baking is simply gluten-free baking without the addition of any high-FODMAP ingredients like apples or applesauce. Try these Grain-Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, or this Gluten-Free Pita Bread recipe. Try this easy grain-free Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake for a holiday treat or these Pumpkin Oat Muffins. Need a good low-FODMAP bread recipe? Try this Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread recipe!
Getting started on a Low-FODMAP Diet:
- If you are not yet a member on this site, you can join now.
- Choose the Low-FODMAP Diet when setting up your user profile. Add any additional food allergens you may have.
- Add some of our sample low-FODMAP meal plans to your user profile or create your own!
- Schedule your meal plans onto your meal plan calendar and create shopping lists.
- Get inspired with new low-FODMAP recipes added to this site weekly! Join our Nourishing Meals Community Facebook Group to get notified with new recipes and more! Everyone is welcome.