I can’t even explain how great it makes me feel to hear the positive feedback about this site from so many different people! I love that I can contribute to the health and wellness of someone who is in pain and suffering. I’m really grateful for all of the love and support on my my social media pages. It’s much easier to talk about tummy issues when you’re talking to – and with – other people who understand exactly what you go through.
Going back as far as when I was 14-years-old, I remember there were times I could eat something and be completely fine with absolutely no reaction to speak of. Other times I could eat that exact same meal and have a completely different reaction. I spent most of my life on edge around food. Not so much the actual meals (I absolutely never had an eating disorder of any kind), but hyperaware of my surroundings for the potential aftermath. I always knew where the closest restroom was at all times. On the nights that I was going out, I’d need to know the who, what, where and whens of the plans – and I’d usually drive – just in case I needed to leave early. The mental anxiety of not knowing when you just weren’t going to “feel well” contributed to the gut anxiety, and the cycle is vicious. So trust me, if any of this is resonating with you, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there.
How to start a low-FODMAP diet
A low-FODMAP diet is really not as hard as it seems at first. Yes, there are many rules and exclusions and that can be ridiculously overwhelming. I felt the exact same way, but it didn’t take me a long time to get the hang of it, so I’m going to help you out!
- First step is to educate yourself. If you haven’t yet, read this. You’ll also want to check out Sue Shephard and Dr. Barbara Bolen’s books as well. You should also definitely download the Monash app.
- I don’t like to focus on the foods that are high-FODMAP. In fact, that’s probably why I am so accepting of this diet. I don’t dwell on what I canNOT have, I embrace all of the foods I CAN have. So start by putting the foods that aren’t FODMAP-friendly aside. Maybe take them out into the garage or a make a separate area in the pantry. When I started, I took a cabinet for FODMAP-friendly foods. Now, after many months of this diet, my whole pantry is FODMAP-friendly. I don’t really cook with any foods I cannot have. (My husband is more than content with that, by the way.)
- Stock up on the foods that you CAN have! Take a look at my list of FODMAP friendly foods first. Then, take a look at this list of brands that you can buy in the grocery stores or on Amazon.
- Before you really get the hang of cooking low-FODMAP (in a way that it comes second nature to you), plan out your meals for at least two days ahead. In the beginning, I ate a lot of the same things for breakfast and lunch. My lunches are usually dinner from the night before. That definitely helps with meal planning. Personally, I wasn’t discouraged by this initial lack of variety. The point is to get back to basics and eliminate all foods that are high in FODMAPs so you can eventually figure out WHICH of those foods bother you. So be patient. In the beginning, you’ll keep it simple and repeat a lot of foods. Once I got the hang of it, I started getting more creative and coming up with low-FODMAP substitutions in recipes and making up my very many of my own. My website is a great resource for recipes because they’re easy to make. Check out my sample meal plan post too!
- Keep a food diary. If you’re technically-inclined like I am, use MyFitnessPal. It syncs with your mobile device so you can make updates on the go or at your desk. MyFitnessPal cares about the calorie counts to make sure you keep within a certain amount for weight loss, but you’re going to care about it because FODMAPs are cumulative. (Still haven’t read this post yet? Get there now.) You’ll keep track of what you’re eating and just how much of it, so it can be easier to pinpoint what causes you troubles.
- Consider getting tests done. A Hydrogen breath test (usually prescribed by a gastroenterologist) helps determine if you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or if you are fructose and/or lactose intolerant (malabsorption). While endoscopies and colonoscopies are definitely a necessity (just to discount anything), they cannot check the entire gastrointestinal tract. Read more about the Hydrogen breath test and its results.
Still have questions? PLEASE contact me! Comment below or email me directly. I’ll be so happy to help you!