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While we assume that food will always nourish us, some foods (even healthy ones) can have a destructive or damaging impact on the digestive tract. This can be due to food allergies or because of specific substances in food. In some cases, you can have a condition known as SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, where bacteria that belong in the large intestine migrate to the small intestine.
A Low FODMAP diet was created as a way to mitigate certain digestive problems. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are all types of carbohydrates that can exacerbate digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, and pain.
What Do You Eat on a Low FODMAP Diet?
A Low FODMAP diet is specifically designed to reduce the exposure to carbs that trigger painful digestive symptoms. It is commonly used for those who have SIBO, as mentioned above, or for anyone with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Foods commonly excluded from a Low FODMAP diet include:
- Wheat and any gluten-containing foods, along with most other grains
- Fruits high in FODMAPs like apples, apricots, mangoes, nectarines, plums, and peaches
- Vegetables high in FODMAPs like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, and leeks
- Most dairy products
These should be strictly avoided during the initial phase, but after symptoms have improved (typically over the course of 3 weeks to 3 months) you can start reintroducing high FODMAP foods back into the diet to see how you handle them. (If you want to learn more about the Low FODMAP diet, read our journal article here.)
You won’t go hungry on a Low FODMAP diet. Foods you’ll be able to eat include:
- Healthy fats like avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, salmon, and ghee
- Healthy proteins like beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and eggs
- Low FODMAP grains like brown rice, oats, and quinoa
- Low FODMAP vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, and spinach
- Low FODMAP fruits like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and oranges
- Nuts like almonds, macadamias, pecans, and walnuts
- Low FODMAP dairy products like Parmesan or cheddar cheese
- Seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame
Low FODMAP and Other Diets
You can follow a Low FODMAP diet in addition to other food plans. You can easily mix a Low FODMAP approach with a Paleo or primal diet. It can even be done with a ketogenic diet.
Ultimately, finding the food plan that works for you is not about just loyally following one specific diet plan, but combining dietary principles and approaches that address your personal nutritional needs.
If you would like to learn more about a Low FODMAP diet, you can check out these books:
Today’s Simple Step
Even if you don’t have issues with FODMAPs or gluten, having grain-free days in your diet is important. Even the healthiest grains contain antinutrients. While you can soak and sprout these to help make them more digestible, grains remain too much a primary staple in many diets. For today, just swap any grain-based item you’d normally eat for a vegetable, a nut or seed-based dish, or some extra servings of healthy fat. You’ll feel just as full, and your digestive system will thank you.
This Fresh Avocado Tomato Soup is grain-free and is Low FODMAP-friendly if you leave out the green onions. This fresh recipe is perfect for any season and works nicely as a main dish or as a precursor to a meat dish.