26 Nov

Reintroducing Fodmap foods


Beef stew with peas and chickpeas

Beef stew with peas and chickpeas

Reintroducing Fodmap Foods slowly but surely 

I am reintroducing fodmaps foods back in this week. I am trying very hard to do this in a controlled way so I know if there are possible foods that exacerbate but I admit this is not easy. There were so many foods cut out with fodmap that I had to admit I am in a hurry to restore my normal eating. However I decided that this week I would mainly concentrate on the fructans – this is  the vegetable part of fodmaps so foods like onions, garlic, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. Slowly I have started to eat these foods and so far so good, no adverse reactions, thank goodness. Today I tried a slice of rye bread, rye is a fructan and contains gluten so this is my wait and see observation for today. It is advised to re-challenge foods three days in a row, only then can you bring them back into your diet if you have no symptoms. I can’t say I have been so rigid I am afraid as food has crept in……

In too much of a hurry

Xylitol crept in as I used it to make my son’s Birthday cake (recipe to come). Xylitol is part of the polyol fodmap group a long with apples, peaches, blackberries and plums. I also had some mushrooms which I thought was part of the fructan family but they are polyols. Certainly for now I am not seeing much signs of problems with these foods. So if all ok I will try the Galactins in the next few days – lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans.

Gut microbiome

My concern with fodmaps and elimination diets are that you are not getting the right amount of nutrients, also many fodmap foods contain prebioitics, so this is not something I would want to embark on for a long time – 3 weeks for me is enough. Prebiotics feed your good bacteria in your gut, the more good bacteria you have the more you crowd out the bad creating a healthier environment in your digestive system.

Why is this so important?

Probiotics may have many roles, studies have indicated that they may help with the following:

  1. Digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
  2. They may help with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  3. Some strains have been shown to stop diarrhoea such as Lactobaccillus GG
  4. They may reduce intestinal inflammation
  5. They help manufacture B vitamins, essential fatty acids and short-chain fatty acids
  6. They help convert substances into a more useable form in the body
  7. They may help reduce side effects of antibiotics
  8. First line of defence against pathogens
  9. They may help protect and balance the immune system
  10. And much more…….

Not Forever

However any kind of elimination diet is not forever and it may be an integral part of finding out the route cause of symptoms.If I find there is a food I am reacting to then I will make sure I replace it with foods that contain the same nutrients I may be missing out on. If you eliminate for a period and do some other gut healing work you may be able to tolerate these foods be it in smaller amounts.

In summary so far….

  • Pick a fodmap group of food and reintroduce a small amount for 3 days
  • Observe
  • If you have no symptoms then you can bring it back
  • Pick the next food group
  • If you have symptoms depending on severity, cut out the food again and do not reintroduce others until symptoms subside
  • If symptoms are not severe you may want to tolerate a little of that food, if severe then you may want to avoid
  • A good book to read is Rechallenging Fodmaps




13 Nov

Fodmap so far…..

I am nearly two weeks in to the fodmap diet and honestly it is tough. However it has been enjoyable as well.

So what has been tough:

  1. Missing foods that I love: broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, apples, chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas, mango chutney, raisins and rye bread.
  2. I don’t eat white sugar and white sugar is allowed so I have missed out on sweetness – especially at breakfast.
  3. Not being organised enough at times.
  4. Finding good protein sources at lunch and dinner, plant proteins are an easy way to incorporate protein into meals. Lentils can be added to casseroles and curries.
  5. Eating a food in error: Bart’s curry powder has onions in it, organic sausages had garlic in them, protein powder was fermented, going out to eat , someone else cooking and adding almonds to the salad.
  6. Going out to eat – I am happy to tell restaurants I am wheat and dairy free but don’t feel comfortable asking them to cut out garlic and onions from food.

What I have enjoyed:

  1. Using new ingredients to cook such as asafoetida powder and turnips to flavour foods.
  2. Thinking outside the box in cooking and food actually tasting good without ingredients like garlic and onions. I made a meat casserole yesterday with turnips, parsnips and a sweet potato, home-made chicken stock without onions and it was delicous.
  3. Digestively I feel pretty good, no bloating or wind for about a week now.
  4. Maple syrup  is rather yummy – its quite expensive though so its my treat to use sparingly, I am adding a little to porridge instead of dried fruit.
  5. More energy.
  6. Clearer thinking.
  7. Being part of a group, makes you feel supported.
  8. Learning a lot about fodmaps and other topics on digestion.
  9. Being more organised about meals has made it easier.

Foods I am typically avoiding:

Apples, avocado, blackberries, dates, mango, nectarine, pear, persimmon, dried fruit, fruit juice, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, celery, fennel, garlic, leek, mushrooms, onions, peas, various dairy products due to lactose content, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils,rye, wheat, spelt, almonds, cashews, honey, xylitol, chamomile tea, fennel tea and more.

Foods I can eat:

Banana, blueberries, coconut, clementine, cranberry, grape, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, raspberry, stawberry, beetroot, carrot, courgette, cucumber, ginger, kale, cavalo nero, olives, parsnips, potato, red chilli, rocket, spinach, squash, swede, turnip, tomato, sweet potato, coconut milk, rice milk, some kind of cheeses like mozzarella, millet, quinoa, rice, psyllium, chicken, fish, eggs, beef, lamb, maple syrup, most seeds, green tea and more.

Have you tried fodmap diet to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome? I would love to hear from you.



02 Nov

Fodmap journey

I started my first day on an FODMAP elimination diet today. The plan is to eliminated FODMAP foods for the first 21 days and then slowly reintroduce. At the same time I am taking supplements that will support my gut health (more on these another time).

Elimination diets

I do ask clients to cut out certain foods for short period of time to see if they feel better without the food and also to see how they feel when they bring the food back in. I realise this  can be an undertaking for some . It is not easy to do, I have done it myself. There are always obstacles that will make it a challenging task however with the right approach you can see wonderful results in your health. I was not relishing the fact I was taking foods like garlic, onions, broccoli, avocados, beans and pulses out my diet for 3 weeks. However I decided to embrace the challenge. In fact I see it as a positive experience because it starts to make you think about your food and how you can swap the foods you normally love for alternatives, increasing variety into your diet.

Obstacles When Cutting Out a Food and How to Overcome

  • Eating out in restaurants – phone ahead and explain your dietary requirements and say again when the waiter/waitress takes your order.
  • Stuck somewhere there is not much choice of food – this could be travelling or at a work meeting – be prepared, have snacks handy, make your own lunches.
  • Work/social buffets/lunches dinners only have all the foods you are trying to avoid – eat beforehand, or again phone ahead and explain so that they can prepare something especially for you.
  • Seek help of a nutritional therapist or dietician – do not cut out foods on your own. If you do this you may lack vital nutrients that your body needs. Nutritional therapists will give you lists of foods to avoid and what to replace. As part of our training and ongoing development we try a lot of diets ourselves so we can relate to your experiences and help you through it a long the way.
  • Don’t think what I can’t eat – think what I CAN eat!
  • If avoiding gluten or wheat many restaurants fill you up on bread and sometimes you still feel hungry because you are not eating it, order extra vegetables to make you feel satisfied.
  • Similarly it can be hard to order a sweet if dairy free – sorbets are a good choice but again fill up on vegetables to avoid being starving at the end of the night.
  • Remember this at times is just an elimination for a period of time, foods can be brought back in if appropriate.

Useful FODMAP Cooking Tips I Have Learnt So Far

  • Use asafoetida powder instead of garlic and onions – this is an indian spice that actually gives a similar taste to garlic and onions – you don’t need a lot, 1/4 teaspoon in some olive or coconut oil, sauté as you would normally and then add the rest of your ingredients. Make sure it is gluten free.
  • Sauté garlic and onions in some oil and then take them out, this flavours the oil. The fructans that may cause people trouble are not released in oil so this makes them low FODMAP. Do not add other foods because as they cook the carbohydrates that cause problem will be released into the dish.
  • Use your imagination – swap avocado for turnip, courgette, carrot or aubergine.
  • Use spices to add flavour – cinnamon for sweet, turmeric, cumin powder for spice and flavour.

Low Fodmap lunch – tomatoes, steamed salmon and salad greens with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and black pepper.