The Low FODMAP Diet

Now that exams are over and I have a little more time on my hands, I thought it might be a good time to talk a bit about my diet. I have gone through SO many different changes to my diet in the last few years it’s a little crazy but I think I’ve finally got on the right track with it, which is really exciting!

After cutting out gluten first, and then dairy a year or so later, the main concern I had left was my gas. Every afternoon I would start getting bad cramping pains and it would progressively get worse throughout the rest of the day. By the evening, I would have quite a lot of uncomfortable, bad-smelling gas. This is kind of embarrassing to talk about and I have debated over and over again how to say I have gas without really saying it….but I realized that’s pretty much impossible. Also, if I’m going to be an ND and ask others to be honest about their health issues, I need to start being more open and honest about mine. Gas is a difficult issue to have because it is hard to hide and there is so much stigma around how “gross” it is or how rude you are if you pass gas around others, but sometimes it’s impossible to control. It is also really uncomfortable!! So anyways, it is something I have been struggling with for a long time and I was ready to do anything to get rid of it!

I talked to my ND a lot about this and we decided I should give the FODMAP diet a try! What is FODMAP you say? It stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are all short-chain fermentable carbohydrates that may lead to sensitivities in some people, just like lactose or gluten intolerance. In a healthy gut, they shouldn’t cause any problems because they can be digested completely and properly. However, somebody who has IBS, Celiac, or any other digestive issue, might be sensitive to FODMAPs and, therefore, they might not be adequately broken down. Then, as they continue through the digestive tract, the bacteria in the colon can feed on these undigested fragments. This produces excess gas within the digestive tract, leading to the symptoms of gas, bloating, and cramping.

If you’re interested, this link is a great website to get tons of information on the FODMAP diet, and here is a great list that I used to help me figure out what I could eat and what I should avoid. Thanks Aglaee the Paleo Dietician : )

A big part of this diet is cutting out gluten and lactose, which I have already done for a few years now. This made it slightly easier for me but there was still a lot of stuff to cut out that I found very challenging! Some of the tough ones for me were almonds, coconut, apples, avocado, honey, corn, soy, onions, and garlic. That’s a lot of the main foods that I eat on a regular basis!!

At the beginning of the summer, I cut all these foods out and I noticed a slight improvement right away! It’s always the best when something makes a difference right away because it makes it so much easier to stick with it. Although I saw some improvements immediately, I wasn’t totally convinced and it still took close to two months before I started to see really drastic improvements. And now in the last few weeks I’ve finally seen big improvements and I’m even gas-free on some days! I can’t say this is all due to the FODMAP diet because I’ve been making some other changes too, but I know the changes started happening when I started this diet. I’ve also noticed a more clear correlation between my symptoms and any high-FODMAP foods that I may consume if they are unavoidable.

Overall, I now consider myself a fan of the FODMAP diet! The next challenge is making a plan for adding things back in a systematic way so I can figure out exactly which group of FODMAPs was the biggest challenge for my digestive system (because for most people it isn’t going to be ALL the FODMAPs that are a problem, but just one or two groups within the overall category). So that’s my goal for the coming months!

My main goal of this post was to help you understand a little bit more about the FODMAP diet so I hope I’ve accomplished that : ) and maybe if you’re ever going through a really gassy period in your life you can give it a try!

I’ll leave you with one of my current favourite muffin/bread recipes: the low-FODMAP Zucchini Bread!! My mom and I have both made this bread a number of times with a few different variations and it always tastes great! So don’t be afraid to play around with it and adjust it to your liking. I’m going to give you the variation that I made most recently and absolutely loved!

Low- FODMAP Zucchini and Carrot Muffins/Loaf

Ingredients:

–       1.5 Cups Grated Zucchini

–       1.5 Cups Grated Carrot

–       3 Eggs

–       1 Cup Demerara Sugar (I’ve been trying to experiment with different sugars and my usual go-to sugar substitute is maple syrup but most recently I gave Demerara Sugar a try and really liked it! http://www.nativealimentos.com.br/en/produtos/demerara-sugar/ )

–       1 Cup Oil (I’ve tried it both with olive oil and coconut oil and both worked well)

–       3 Cups Brown Rice Flour

–       3 teaspoons Xanthan Gum

–       1 teaspoon Salt

–       2 teaspoons Cinnamon

–       1 teaspoon Baking Powder

–       1 teaspoon Baking Soda

–       Pecan pieces (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add together the sugar, eggs, and oil.
  3. Next, add the zucchini and carrot and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (Flour, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda).
  5. If adding the pecan pieces, either add them into the batter now, or sprinkle them on top once you have poured the batter into the pans.
  6. This recipe makes TWO loaves of bread. I have been using it to make 1 loaf of bread and 12 muffins.
  7. Grease the muffin tin/bread pan or use muffin tin liners/parchment paper.
  8. Pour mixture into pans (try to divide it in half as best as possible but it doesn’t have to be perfect).
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (for the muffins) and 1 hour (for the loaf).

And the best part of this recipe is you can freeze half of it and it’s enough food for snacks for a few weeks! I love being efficient with my baking ; )

Adapted from: http://livinghappywithibs.com/2013/07/01/low-fodmap-zucchini-bread-recipe/

Have a wonderful week!