Our Guide to a Low FODMAP Diet

A Low FODMAP diet is often clinically recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). We’ve put together this short beginner’s guide as a tool to help you begin to navigate the diet.

FODMAP is an acronym for:

  • Fermentable
  • Oligo-
  • Di-
  • Mono-saccharides
  • And
  • Polyols

It is used to describe a group of carbohydrates found in certain foods that can trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

The low FODMAP diet involves restricting the number of FODMAP foods you eat, then reintroducing them one at a time into your diet to identify what your system can tolerate. The diet involves three phases that aim to help you systematically add foods back into your diet over time. 

Types of FODMAPs

Lactose: cheese, yogurt, milk

Fructans: gluten, garlic, onions

Fructose: honey, fruit (apples, watermelon, cherries, mangoes etc.)

Galactans: certain legumes (chickpeas, lentils), wax beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts

Mannitol: mushrooms, cauliflower, snow peas

Sorbitol: dried fruit, stone fruit, soda, sugar free gum, nutrition bars

Phase 1: Elimination

Restricting ALL FODMAP foods for 4 to 6 weeks and noting your bodies response. You may need to eliminate FODMAPs longer depending on severity of symptoms and stress levels. 

Phase 2: Challenge

Phase 2 gradually reintroduces the restricted FODMAP foods one at a time to determine the amount of food that can be tolerated before causing digestive discomfort. The goal is to create a long-term diet that is not entirely FODMAP restrictive, but lowers problematic foods. It is important to continue restricting all other FODMAPs while challenging a new food so you can determine if that food is an irritant. 

As hard as it may seem try cutting out coffee for at least 2 weeks while in the challenge phase, taking note of how you feel then reintroduce the coffee. Coffee is high in acidity which can affect the gut lining. Try a cup of green tea or golden milk as an alternative.

Example: A FODMAP challenge plan. How to Start Reintroducing FODMAP foods.

Start each challenge with a small serving. Then if you experience no symptoms proceed to a medium serving. If you still experience no symptoms proceed to a large serving by day 3. It is important to journal symptoms in this phase and be aware that symptoms may appear up to three days after you consume food. It may be best to journal all food intake during this time. 

Again it is important to continue restricting all other FODMAPs when challenging a new food so you can successfully identify the irritant.

Fructan: Pasta

  • Day 1: ½ cup 
  • Day 2: 1 cup
  • Day 3: 1.5 cups
  • Rest day (if symptoms occur, take 3 rest days before moving on with challenge)

Fructan: Garlic

  • Day 1: ½ clove
  • Day 2: 1 clove
  • Day 3: 2 cloves
  • Rest day

Fructan: Onion

  • Day 1: ⅛ onion
  • Day 2: ¼ onion
  • Day 3: Broth or soup containing onion
  • Rest day

Fructose: Honey

  • Day 1: 1 tsp 
  • Day 2: 1 TBSP
  • Day 3: 2 TBSP
  • Rest day

Galactans: Chickpeas or lentils

  • Day 1: ¼ cup
  • Day 2: ½ cup
  • Day 3: 1 cup
  • Rest Day

Sorbitol: Dried mango or apricot

  • Day 1: 1 slice
  • Day 2: 2 slices
  • Day 3: 4 slices
  • Rest Day 

Lactose: Yogurt

  • Day 1: ¼ cup
  • Day 2: ½ cup
  • Day 3: 1 cup
  • Rest Day

Mannitol: Mushrooms or cauliflower

  • Day 1: ¼ cup
  • Day 2: ½ cup
  • Day 3: 1 cup

Phase 3: Re-challenge

After your body is given a chance to reset, try re-challenging foods that your body may not have tolerated before. Things to keep in mind while testing foods are your current stress levels and physical activity, these are directly linked to our digestive health and overall well being. 

How do I keep food tasting good on a low FODMAP diet?

  1. How to replace garlic and onion, use a variety of spices! Try these:
    • Cumin
    • Coriander
    • Turmeric
    • Fenugreek
    • Madras curry powder (check ingredients for garlic or onion)
    • Smoked salt
  1. Use fresh herbs
    • Parsley
    • Cilantro
    • Basil
    • Thyme
    • Oregano
    • Dill
  1. Make your own dressings
    • Olive oil and vinegar 1:3 ratio
      1. Red wine vinegar
      2. Sherry vinegar
      3. Balsamic vinegar
      4. Lemon or lime juice
  1. Try replacing gluten with these alternatives:
    • Zucchini noodles 
    • Nut flours
    • Rice noodles
    • Gf pasta
    • Rice
  1. Replacing dairy
    • Coconut yogurt
    • Nut or seed milk
    • Nut or seed cheeses
    • Daiya cheese
    • Coconut oil

General Tips

  • Avoid all processed foods
  • Read ALL labels
  • Make everything yourself so you know exactly what is in the food.
  • When food is not settling try liquid meals: bone broth, tea, smoothies, soup.
  • Try adding collagen to your beverages or soups for added protein.
  • Discover your go-to foods: baked chicken/salmon, spinach, eggs etc. Meal prep these foods once a week to have them on hand.
  • Limit fruit, fruit is high in poly sugars which can irritate the gut. 
  • Have a sweet tooth? Try eating some dark chocolate or dairy free ice cream

Still have more questions? Ask our resident FODMAPs expert Mikaela, who successfully used the diet to heal her own gut issues. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or privately at admin@vitakitchen.com.

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