What the FODMAP?

by Sarah on July 17, 2016 · 2 comments

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I am currently following a low FODMAP diet. If you are anything like me prior to a few weeks ago, you might have thought, “What the FODMAP is she talking about?”

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Well, FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols and is a collection of short chain carbohydrates that some people have issues digesting, including lactose and fructose (when it is in a higher proportion to glucose in a food). There is a lot of scientific research (thank you, Google Scholar) to back up following a low FODMAP diet to help reduce symptoms of IBS, and I encourage you to seek out more knowledgeable sources than I if you are curious. And yes, while I do recognize and appreciate the irony of having just had a paper about self-diagnosis of GI symptoms been accepted for publication and currently participating in the practice myself–when I read about it I thought, “Oh my goodness, I think that’s me.” Never knowing what food has caused you problems, or why one day you feel bad and the next day you don’t when you’ve been eating pretty much the same thing, following a healthy diet and wondering why you can’t digest like normal people…

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See, FODMAPs are in really healthy foods that you (I) might be/should be/are eating all the time: apples, peaches (all stone fruits), wheat (essentially no gluten, but it’s not the gluten–and not everything that is GF is “safe), many dairy products (not hard cheeses), certain nuts (cashews!), beans, certain vegetables (cauliflower, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, artichokes, sweet potatoes), and onions (!) and garlic (!). Many of the foods that are moderate FODMAP can be eaten in small quantities, but if you overdo it, you have issues. [And remember how much watermelon and/or veggies I can consume in one sitting if allowed?]

This is why I have downloaded and been using the Monash University App, because they are the leading researchers in this area and give you a break down of just what is in each tested food and how much is considered “safe.”

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FODMAPs are sugars/carbs, and so they are NOT in any straight protein or fat/oil, which, as a predominant vegetarian, would mean I could have been potentially overloading on fructose, fructans, galactans, etc. and not balancing appropriately.

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What I DO know is that I’ve been trying the elimination diet for a little over a week, and while it hasn’t been perfect, no one has asked me if I’m pregnant recently (no bloating)…so that’s good. I’m eating more meat than I did before, and spending more money on the humane or locally raised goodies, but it has also been a bit of fun learning how to experiment and cook with new items or rethink old recipes.*

*All of the photos of my meals on this page are low FODMAP creations.IMG_6983 (1280x853)

Granted, if I wasn’t already a pretty good cook and knew how to work around not being able to use garlic and onions, it would be a bit trickier I think…

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The best thing about this, though, is that it’s not about getting rid of these foods forever, because, as I said before, a lot of them are invaluable sources of fiber and other nutrients that you need. But after elimination (2 or more weeks, generally) you reintroduce different categories and items in different amounts so you can have some control over what you WANT to eat, not what you “can’t” and know what the effects may or may not be. I could find out I’m not lactose intolerant at all, and never fear ice cream again! [I doubt that one based on personal experience, but you never know.]

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So while it is a confusing diet to follow–you can’t just tell friends “I don’t eat [insert blanket category here]” and expect them to be able to easil manipulate dinner for you. It’s also a bit scary to go out to eat because, I mean, garlic and onion. BUT I’m hoping that in the end I’ll be able to have a bit more clarity on the best way for me to eat and hopefully have less tummy troubles. :)

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