1. FODMAPs are carbohydrates that some people’s bodies can’t digest very well.
Not all carbohydrates are FODMAPs. FODMAP is an acronym for the science-y names of certain carbohydrates people are sensitive to: Fermentable, Oligosacchardies, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. When FODMAPs aren’t absorbed correctly in the small intestine, they “continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally,” states Shepherd Works, a website from Dr. Sue Shepherd who developed the low-FODMAP diet.
2. If your body can’t absorb FODMAPs correctly it can cause gas, bloating, cramping, and/or diarrhea.
“FODMAPs may not be digested or absorbed well and can be fermented by bacteria in the intestinal tract when eaten in excess amounts,” says Lauren Elkins, RDN and director of nutrition for the Marina Del Rey Hospital. And then: PAIN. “The fermentation and osmosis caused by these undigested sugars are a cause of major IBS symptoms such as gas, pain, and diarrhea,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a Medical Advisory Board Member of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association.
3. A low-FODMAP diet is therefore used to treat people with symptoms of IBS or similar to IBS. But you should not try a low-FODMAP diet without consulting a doctor because that might lead to nutrient deficiency.
“The low-FODMAP diet is very restrictive and only for people diagnosed with a digestive disorder,” says Karen Kafer, an RDN and VP of Health & Wellness Partnerships with the National Dairy Council. “In working with an RDN, [people who are FODMAP sensitive] will find they can likely enjoy varying levels of FODMAP foods or build diets that include versions of their favorite foods which are lower in FODMAPs.”
4. If you are following a low-FODMAP diet with help of a doctor, these are foods to avoid:
5. And these are foods that are OK to eat:
This is in no way a complete list of foods that should be avoided or embraced. Many helpful lists available online differ slightly, which is why speaking with a doctor or dietician is important. Everyone’s elimination diet will work differently, as will the reintroduction period.
6. Here are some recipes for low-FODMAP meals and snack ideas based on the suggestions from Stanford University:
Rolled Oats with Bananas, Blueberries, Coconut, Pomegranate, and Almond Butter
As long as your oats are gluten-free, top them with any low-FODMAP fruit for a yummy breakfast.
Soft Gluten-Free Tapioca Wraps (filled with turkey, basil, and hummus)
In case you’d like to make your own savory tortilla-style wraps! Feel free to fill with the sandwich-fixins of your choice.
These days, you should be able to find gluten-free tortillas in some grocery or specialty grocery stores.
7. Gluten-Free Ham (or anything!) Sandwich
Basically, grab yourself some gluten-free bread and go to town. Keep a handy list of low-FODMAP and high-FODMAP veggies with you when you go grocery shopping to make sure you’re only buying the right stuff. That way, there’s no mix-up at your house!
Red Roasted Asian Beef Stew
This stew is stick-to-your-ribs hearty.
** Limit mushrooms and daikon, potentially, based on your personal FODMAP needs. Watch and make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free. While you’re at it, double check all of your other vinegars, to be safe. Generally, if it’s made from rice, you should be fine.)
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