Some Helpful Tips
When starting the low FODMAP diet it is first helpful to understand what FODMAPs actually are, the page What are FODMAPs? gives a rundown of the technical aspects of the diet. Once you have digested that page have a look at the FODMAP safe food list and either bookmark the page or print the page and familiarize yourself with the list so you have a good idea of what to consume as well as which ingredients you need to look out for.
Many people find it helpful to start a food diary when undertaking this diet, as well as other diets that can help with IBS. To do so simply write down each food item you consume for each meal on a daily basis noting down the quantity of food and any possible symptoms you may have got from eating a particular food item. I find it best to also give a rating out of 10 how you feel each day with 1 being terrible and 10 being awesome! You can go to the IBS and Food Symptom Diary page to find a premade PDF and a spreadsheet to use.
Please note that I recommend you talk to your GP/Doctor and ask for a referral to see a dietitian as it is recommended to undertake this diet under the guidance of a registered dietitian.
After reading the FODMAP food list and looking at FODMAP friendly recipes it is helpful to follow the recommended FODMAP diet plan and then go shopping for the right foods needed on the diet.
Low FODMAP Diet Plan
It is recommended by Monash University that you follow the typical FODMAP diet plan. The plan is to eliminate or reduce all sources of FODMAPs as best you can for 6 – 8 weeks and then slowly add high FODMAP foods one at a time to help you identify any food that triggers your symptoms. Be sure to use a food and symptom diary to help you keep track of what foods may be causing any symptoms.
Trawling the Supermarket
When you go to the supermarket you will need to be constantly checking the ingredients on food items. Any items with onion or garlic products you will need to leave behind as they can be big contributors to feeling unwell. Another easy thing to check is any items with wheat – often companies list allergy advice and specify if there is any gluten present. Head for the free from food aisle if your supermarket has one as that helps a great deal and buy lots of gluten free bread and other gluten free items. A favourite of mine is genius bread as they have changed the recipe recently and it actually tastes nice. In the free from aisle be sure to avoid any foods with soya in them as they are quite a common dairy free product. Be wary of seemingly safe items such as chicken stock cubes as they often have gluten and/or onion and/or garlic.
Back at Home
After you have returned from the supermarket it may help to get rid of any items you had before that contain any of the bad foods in your cupboards and fridge/freezer. You may find it helpful to work out your meals in advance as often repeating meals or making big batches and freezing helps ease the planning stage.
Breakfasts can be gluten free porridge, gluten free bread toasted with a serving of low FODMAP fruit. Or perhaps rice crispies with chocolate oat milk which makes a very tasty cocopops substitute.
For lunches I tend to make gluten free bread sandwiches with sandwich meat (be sure there’s no gluten or onion!), lettuce, mayo (check the label, some mayonnaise is not suitable) and sometimes I put tortilla chips in them. Yum.
Dinners can be a variety of things from stir-frys to rice dishes like risotto. Jacket potatoes with butter served with a nice steak goes down lovely. Drinks don’t just have to be water, you are allowed the odd beer or wine and also any of the “full fat” soda drinks like coca-cola and pepsi are OK (assuming they do not contain HFCS like they do not here in the UK) in small dosages.
Hopefully this guide helps you to get a grasp on how to undertake the FODMAP diet. If things are still not clear please contact me and I will try my best to help you.