FAQ

What is the end goal of the FODMAP Diet?

 The goal of the FODMAP Diet is not to eliminate certain foods forever. Learn how to use the diet as a tool to have more variety and more control over how your body feels. Click through to read the full post (or watch the video!).

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The FODMAP diet is sometimes called a journey, yet the end goal of this "journey" is a vague and shadowy place. 

It's a lot easier to explain things that are black and white, like taking FODMAPs away. But since life AFTER the FODMAP Diet looks different for everyone, it's a lot less clear cut.

You wouldn't start off on a journey without a destination (or at the very least, a certain transformation) in mind. So today we're looking at the big picture of the FODMAP Diet, or the true end goal.

Knowing what you get in the end makes it a whole lot easier to work hard and persevere.

Hint: the end goal is NOT to give up all high FODMAP foods forever.

Watch the video to go deep on this topic, or read the key points below!

KEY POINTS:

The FODMAP diet is not a lifetime diet.

You shouldn't stay on it indefinitely because:

  • It's nutritionally restrictive
  • It's socially restrictive
  • And (most importantly) it's not necessary

So what's the end goal?

To put it simply, it's to have control over your symptoms, NOT to eat as few FODMAPs as possible.

Less FODMAP = less symptoms isn't the whole story.

If you're taking away food with no specific purpose, you're causing yourself more work and more deprivation.

The goal of the elimination phase is to:

  1. Confirm you're sensitive to FODMAPs
  2. Hit the reset button on your body
  3. Learn what other factors play a role in your digestive symptoms

Once you've done that it's time to move to the next phase which to test your personal tolerance to specific FODMAP categories. From there you take all the awesome knowledge you've gained and create a lifetime eating style.

Still not convinced? At this point you've taken away all FODMAPs and felt better but until you test each category, you don't really know why you felt better - wouldn't that be great to know!?

What does a lifetime eating style look like?

  • You're confident about your food choices because they're based on real knowledge about your body
  • You don't feel "sick" or like you have to police every bite because you have some flexibility - For example, there's no need to avoid every possible instance of garlic in your chicken broth 

On November 7th, I'm offering a free online workshop to help you get started with the reintroduction phase so you can find your personal IBS triggers and eat without stress.

Click here to sign up for the free workshop!

You’re Missing Out on Delicious Food (here’s how to enjoy eating - even with IBS)

You’re Missing Out on Delicious Food (here’s how to enjoy eating - even with IBS)

  With the FREE Test Food Tracker, you’ll have the #1 tool you need to test FODMAPs and learn your unique IBS triggers.   Imagine going to a restaurant and NOT experiencing that sinking feeling of anxiety as you read the menu. Click through and sign up to get the Free Tracker instantly! www.calmbellykitchen.com

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When you take away high-FODMAP foods and get relief from your IBS symptoms, it feels pretty amazing.

You work hard to eliminate every possible FODMAP ingredient from your plate so you can keep feeling good. 

You avoid going to restaurants whenever possible and turn down social meals.

You’re good at planning and cooking your own food, but the effort is exhausting and you wish you could just pick up pizza once in awhile.

It seems like you can count your “safe” foods on two hands, and stressing over every bite is wearing you down (or making you want to binge on Mexican).

Right now you’re missing out on delicious food, and you don’t need to be.

There’s a way out of this lonely, hungry place and it’s all about finding your unique IBS triggers.  

I’m here to tell you finding your triggers isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s even a little fun, especially with this handy tool I created to help you along the way!

 

Ready to challenge and reintroduce high-FODMAP foods?

Click to get your FREE Reintroduction Checklist!

Why Test High-FODMAP Foods?

You need to test FODMAPs for three reasons:

  1. Right now you know you’re sensitive to FODMAPs, but you don’t know which ones
  2. There’s a very good chance you can eat some high-FODMAP foods and still keep your symptoms in check - one study found only 33% of people with IBS are sensitive to fructose
  3. You’ll be able to have much more variety in your diet which is important for gut health...but also important for living life and enjoying eating again

Who Should Test FODMAPs?

You're ready to start the testing process (a.k.a. the Reintroduction Phase) if…

  • You saw an improvement in your symptoms when you eliminated FODMAPS
  • You discovered the other factors that contribute to your IBS symptoms (stress, sleep, hormones, etc.) during the elimination process - and learned how to handle them

If those statements describe you, you’re ready to bring back FODMAPs and learn your unique triggers!

Through the Elimination Phase you gave your body a clean slate. Now it’s time to learn what FODMAPs are the culprits for YOU specifically - and which ones can be part of your life again. 

The #1 Tool You Need to Test FODMAPs

When I coach people through FODMAP testing, we approach it like an experiment - You’re collecting data about your body in an organized process. 

In the end, you use all this awesome info to create your unique lifetime eating style so you can stop policing every bite and start enjoying food again.

Having a simple tool to track your food testing results is essential. Why? 

  • It lets you see patterns in how your body reacts to different FODMAPs. 
  • It clearly shows you how long it takes for symptoms to pop up - many people notice that it takes 1 to 2 days. This info is gold!

For every FODMAP category you test, you’ll start with a very small serving (so you’re never blindsided by major symptoms) and work your way up to a large serving.

As you go through the process you need to track the following:

  1. The test food and its FODMAP category
  2. Serving size
  3. Any symptoms you experience up to 48 hours (depending on your body) after testing 

You already know that FODMAP testing is the way to more food freedom - but it can be overwhelming, so I created a free Test Food Tracker that you can download and get started as soon as today!

It’s the same tool I use in my coaching program Free To Eat.

This Tracker is a workbook that you can fill out on your computer (just save it to your device and you’ll be able to type into it), or print it out and write on it!

As an extra bonus, I added a cover page that helps you design your personalized testing plan. There’s also a place to fill in your start date - Put it on your calendar and commit to it. 

Remember, it’s not healthy (for your body or your social life) to stay in a strict elimination diet for more than a few weeks. More importantly, it’s not necessary!

Download the free Test Food Tracker and start planning. If I’d never learned my unique IBS triggers, I wouldn’t have known it was okay to eat my favorite pizza dough again - wheat is NOT one of my trigger foods.

Having more freedom and less stress in my diet was totally worth the effort, and that’s what I want for you too!

 

How To Deal with IBS-D (Try these 4 strategies in this order!)

Learn 4 strategies to help when diarrhea is your main symptom (IBS-D). These tips go in order from adjustments to the low FODMAP diet to exploring new options like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. You'll also learn the specific type of fiber that's most helpful for IBS-D. Click through to get the strategies!

How to Eat Out on the FODMAP Diet: Italian Restaurants

 You can eat out on the FODMAP diet whether you're in the elimination or reintroduction phase! It's possible to enjoy great meals and socialize with friends and family even when you have IBS. Click to watch videos walking you through real Italian restaurant menus for traditional Italian cuisine AND modern, creative Italian cooking. Learn how to go out without depriving yourself while keeping your belly happy.

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Eating out on the FODMAP diet is a challenge. You want to avoid a major belly blow up, but that can leave you with precious few options on a typical Italian menu, unless you know how to order. 

And that's exactly what I'll show today in fun video format!

Whether you end up at a classic red sauce place or a farm-to-table trattoria that specializes in Tuscan fare, you've probably run into these problems:

  • The menu doesn't go into enough detail
  • You just know there's onion and garlic in everything
  • You don't even know where to begin asking questions, so you play it safe with a Caprese salad and go home starving

Fortunately I've got the help you need because I don't want anything to come between you and a good meal, even on FODMAP.

How to Order Like a Pro

In the video below (from my weekly Wednesday Facebook Live broadcasts!), I walk you through the menu at Maggiano's Little Italy, an upscale chain in the U.S. They serve the kind of classic Italian-American dishes you'll find at countless Italian restaurants, so this applies no matter where you go.

You might be surprised to learn what some of your options actually are (flatbread pizza anyone?)

>>>But that's not all: I have two bonus videos for you on how I'd order at a non-traditional Italian restaurant--let's do this!

3 Keys to Smart Ordering

  • Ask for help and let the server be your ally. They can do more than you think, and are usually delighted to be your hero (I speak from years of restaurant work experience!)
  • Know the facts about what constitutes a low-FODMAP (not NO-FODMAP) diet. For example, it's okay to eat small portions of high-FODMAP foods like white bread.
  • Learn the basics of how common dishes are prepared (I'll help you with that right now!)

Of course, different restaurants won't always cook a dish the same way, and asking questions (and ordering what YOU are comfortable with) is the biggest key of all.

If you like this, check out the other posts in my Dining Out Series:

Chinese Restaurants

What to order at a traditional Italian restaurant

Bonus Videos

I've got two more bonus videos talking about what I'd actually order at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Chicago. Their menu features more modern/creative Italian cooking, if that's more your style.

Video #1 is all about what I would have ordered when I was eating low-FODMAP (so, during the elimination and reintro phases). 

Video #2 reveals how I order now that I'm post-FODMAP diet. If you're wondering just how much easier/better/delicious life can be after you learn your trigger foods, this video shows you the difference!

Modern Creative Italian: My Low-FODMAP Order

Modern Creative Italian: My Post-FODMAP Diet Order

Eating Out Post-FODMAP

Learning your specific trigger foods (and the portion sizes of those triggers foods that you can tolerate) is the key to restaurant freedom. 

When you're not always avoiding every single FODMAP food, you don't have to feel like an alien creature with a bizarre, hard-to-explain diet. Check out my Health Coaching programs to bust out of food prison!

To learn even more, click to read Top 5 Myths About Reintroducing FODMAPs!

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 3: How long until I'm symptom-free?

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 3: How long until I'm symptom-free?

 In part 3 of the FODMAP Diet Frequently Asked Questions series, I'll answer the common concern, "When will I start feeling better on the FODMAP diet?" If you're in the elimination phase, this can be a real struggle, and the answer might surprise you. I'll also explain the related problem of feeling even worse when you first begin doing the FODMAP elimination diet. Click through to watch the video or read the key points now!

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Welcome to Part 3 of the FODMAP Diet Frequently Asked Questions Series!

Here are the other parts of the FODMAP FAQ series:

Part One: Eating at Restaurants and No-FODMAP vs. Low-FODMAP

Part Two: Easy Workday Lunches

Today in Part Three, I'm answering a two-part question that comes up a lot, especially when you're just getting started with the FODMAP diet:

  • How long does it take until I'm symptom free?
  • I feel worse on the low-FODMAP diet...what is going on?

You can hear my thoughts in the 5.5-minute video, or read the key points below.

FAQ Part 1: How long does it take until I'm symptom free?

Short answer: It takes as long as it takes (to put it bluntly!). But what I hear most often is that it takes 2 to 4 weeks before people see a noticeable improvement.

I often hear that people with IBS-D (diarrhea) get symptom relief faster than those with IBS-C (constipation), so that may be a factor in how long it takes for you.

If you've done the elimination phase for 2 to 4 weeks, with no changes, here are some possible explanations:

  • You're overlooking high-FODMAP foods and/or serving sizes in your diet. I recommend using the Monash app as the easiest, most reliable source for keeping track of this stuff.
  • I often say that one restaurant meal won't ruin everything, but when you're doing the elimination phase you want to minimize FODMAPs in your diet as much as possible. So, if you're "cheating," or going out to eat, or having cake for dinner (It's been quite a few years, but I have definitely done this.) every 3 or 4 days, your body won't have a chance to experience life without FODMAPs. This is important because your goal is to find out if eating low-FODMAP truly improves our symptoms or not.
  • It might take a few weeks to get into the groove. The FODMAP diet is really complicated and for a lot of us, me included, it's going to take some time to change our whole way of eating, cooking and shopping for food. You might need to spend a couple weeks learning what to buy at the supermarket and coming up with those go-to meals (My Free 7-Day FODMAP Cleanse is great for that!). So, if the elimination phase takes you 8 weeks instead of 4 because you eased into it, that's more than okay.

If you've done the elimination phase as efficiently as possible for at least 4 weeks and you're not seeing improvements, you might have an issue that's not related to FODMAPs.

FAQ Part 2: I feel worse on the low-FODMAP diet...what is going on?

Some people feel worse in the beginning, and there could be a lot of different reasons for this. All the things mentioned above could be factors.

Another big one is stress. You might be stressed about whether or not you're eating the right foods. It doesn't matter where the stress comes from; it can have a real effect on our digestion.

It could be a small thing like drinking a diet soda everyday. It might not contain FODMAPs, but the carbonation can cause bloating and mess with your gut.

People often ask if fiber is a factor--it might be. The low-FODMAP diet is very healthy, so you might be getting more fiber than your system is used to. Whether you're getting too much or not enough, try to add it in slowly so your body doesn't get overwhelmed.

Whatever you're experiencing, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or the medical pro advising you. If something doesn't seem right, it's better to figure it out sooner rather than later!

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