about FODMAPs

Why Less FODMAPs = Less Symptoms Is Wrong (Also, pizza!)

When someone asked me a question about low FODMAP pizza, I realized that no one ever talks about life after the FODMAP Diet. It's not about avoiding ever potential problem food; it's about finding your unique IBS triggers so you can have more freedom and get back to enjoying food again. Click through to get the free Test Food Tracker to help you find your triggers.

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During a group coaching session recently, one of my awesome clients asked if I had a great low-FODMAP pizza recipe. I said no because I only use ONE recipe: my favorite classic, chewy-crispy, stone-fired pizza dough.

“So what gluten-free flour do you use?” Another client asked.

When I clarified that I use regular all-purpose wheat flour for my pizza, minds were blown.

In that moment a light-bulb went on in my head: No one talks about life AFTER the FODMAP Diet. 

You might not know you can bring certain high-FODMAP foods back into your life because nobody bothered to explain it.

You might know about avoiding high-FODMAP food and  testing FODMAPs (i.e. the Reintroduction Phase), but what about the end goal of this process?

To put it plainly, less FODMAPs = less symptoms isn’t the full story. The end goal is to eat some pizza, or crisp apples, or ice cream - or whatever food you’ve loved and lost!

The end goal isn’t to restrict all high-FODMAP foods forever. The goal is learning your unique IBS triggers.

When you know your personal triggers and tolerance levels, you can... 

  • Bring back high-FODMAP foods that don’t cause your stomach issues
  • Know what portions of high-FODMAP foods trigger your symptoms, and eat smaller amounts of those
  • Stop avoiding “natural flavors” in foods that might have a tiny amount of onion or garlic
  • Go to restaurants and not shy away from every bit of wheat and lactose on the menu
  • Choose what you’ll eat based on solid knowledge of how food affects your body, instead of guessing and fearing the consequences

For me, this means my favorite pizza is back in my life - I learned wheat doesn’t trigger my IBS symptoms. Here’s what it means for some of my clients…

Testing FODMAPs and learning their personal triggers is how these ladies went from anxiety and restriction to having fun eating again.

And it doesn’t take tons of time or willpower to test FODMAPs. The key is to create your testing plan, set a date, and track your results.

In case you missed it, I designed a tool to make this quick and simple. Click here to get the FREE Test Food Tracker!

Avoiding every high-FODMAP food 24/7 is good when you use it for a purpose: Learning about your body and giving it a clean slate. Kind of like hitting the reset button.

But if you’re doing it with no purpose or end goal, you’re depriving yourself of a huge variety of food when it’s not necessary.

Going through the process and testing the different FODMAP categories is worth it because of what you get in the end: You know what triggers your IBS and what doesn’t so you’re free to eat without fear.

It can feel like discovering the FODMAP diet is what changes your life, but it’s not. 

Knowing your triggers is what changes your life - It breaks you out of food jail and leads you to freedom. And if freedom looks like pizza to you, you owe it to yourself to find out.

Leave a comment and tell me what you want your life to look like after FODMAP! Is the thought of eating high-FODMAP foods again blowing your mind? (and if you just want my pizza recipe, don’t hesitate to ask!)

Free To Eat is open for registrations NOW!

Join me and one group of fearless women on one transformational adventure.

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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!

3 Ways To Deal with Constipation from IBS (and 1 thing not to do)

Eating a low FODMAP diet may not be enough to manage constipation when you have IBS. Luckily there lots of strategies that really work to manage constipation so you can feel great, beat the bloat and have calm belly life. Click through to read the post and watch the video!

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When it comes to managing IBS symptoms, smart eating is your first line of defense. Doing the low-FODMAP Diet is an amazing way to learn what foods trigger your symptoms AND what portion sizes keep your belly calm.

But sometimes supporting strategies are needed, which is why I'm doing a 3-part series on Calm Belly TV to help you deal with the 3 major symptoms of IBS: 

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloating

Fun topics, right!? Okay, they may not be fun, but there's a lot you can do to deal with these symptoms besides just watching your intake of high-FODMAP foods. That's what I'll be covering in the series. 

If you're not familiar with Calm Belly TV, it's my weekly live video chat on Facebook every Wednesday at 5:45 PM central time. I cover a topic that's usually a frequently asked question about FODMAP and IBS, and then I always take time to answer your questions.

Click here to follow Calm Belly Kitchen on Facebook so you don't miss the next episode of Calm Belly TV.

Want to get even more support from people who know what you're going through? Click here and request to join the Calm Belly Kitchen Crew, our private Facebook group!

Not on Facebook? No problem, I always upload CBTV episodes to my YouTube channel! Now onto Part 1 of the series:

3 Ways to Deal with Constipation (and 1 thing not to do)

Watch the video to go deep on this topic, or keep reading to get the main points.

Just the key points:

First thing's first: Calm Belly Kitchen is an educational resource and doesn't replace personalized medical advice. Check with a doctor before starting any new dietary treatment or supplement.

Let's recap: A low-FODMAP diet can help decrease constipation a lot, but additional treatments and strategies are often needed.

Why? FODMAPs are one of the major causes of IBS symptoms, but many other factors play a role in your digestion:

- The food you eat (fiber, fat, etc)
- Your hormones
- Bowel motility (how fast food goes through your system)
- Life stress 

In my experience and in my work with clients, I've seen that learning your personal trigger foods makes a huge difference. Still most people need supporting strategies to deal with constipation.

3 Strategies to Manage Constipation with IBS

1) The food you DO eat is important, so include a variety of fiber: 

  • Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk, pushes stool through the bowels; found in fruit and vegetable skins and whole grains 
  • Soluble fiber: Softens stool; found in fruit, veg, legumes, nuts and seeds (flax and chia are especially good for constipation)
  • Resistant starch: Feeds the good bacteria in your gut with prebiotic fiber; found in under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, and legumes (canned, rinsed lentils and chickpeas are great low-FODMAP options)

>>> Water: Acts as a stool softener; important if you're taking soluble fiber products such as Metamucil

2) Fiber supplements

  • Metamucil and similar products contain soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Ground psyllium contains soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Heather's Acacia Fiber contains only soluble fiber, which is thought to promote optimal bowel motility >>> works for both constipation AND diarrhea

3) Magnesium Citrate

  • Helps relax bowel spasms so it does not cause a sense of urgency unless you take a very large does 
  • Has a gentle osmotic effect...so it pulls water into the bowel, softening stool so it's easier to pass
  • Recommended not to exceed 900 mg/day
  • Experiment to find a dosage that works for you
  • Non-addictive

Solaray tablets and Natural Calm drink mix are two good options.

One Thing NOT To Do To Manage Constipation

Stimulant Laxatives (such as ExLax)

  • Only use for a limited time and exactly as directed
  • Stimulant laxatives are addictive because they reduce your natural bowel contractions and train your body to be dependent on their irritant effect 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration

Be sure to join the CBK Facebook group so you get reminders before each episode of Calm Belly TV!

How to Take Control of IBS with the FODMAP Diet

How to Take Control of IBS with the FODMAP Diet

Get a full overview of how the FODMAP Diet works to manage IBS, so you can minimize your digestive symptoms and love your life! Learn the biggest FODMAP myth and the two things that lead people to quit too soon. Click through to read more and sign up for my FREE 10-day email program to get started fast.

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Today I'm bringing you Part 1 in a series to help you take control of IBS in 2017. We're starting with an overview of what the FODMAP diet is really for and how it improves your life.

In Part 2, we're going to talk about how you can make any recipe - well not ANY recipe, that would be a little crazy - but make SO MANY of your favorite recipes low-FODMAP using my tips, strategies, and substitutions.

Finally, I'm going to show you how to use portion control to make the FODMAP diet work. You hear so often that eating the correct portion sizes is really important, but how does that actually look in your life and in your daily menu plan?

Psst >>> Are you ready to test FODMAPs and learn your unique IBS triggers (a.k.a. the Reintroduction Phase)? I've created a FREE Test Food Tracker to make it simple!

Are you totally new to the FODMAP Diet? Read my post What are FODMAPs? The Non-Techy Guide for Regular Chicks

Ready to do this? Watch the video below!

If you prefer text, then keep reading for a full transcript of the video. (Watch if you can, it's more fun. But I'm all about options!)              

How to Take Control of IBS with the FODMAP Diet

Video Transcript:

Over the next few days, I'm going to be giving you some new resources to help you get started on the FODMAP diet no matter where you are now. Maybe you've been trying for awhile, and it never quite came together for you. I want you to forget all that...we're going to get rid of all that confusion and overwhelm and you'll get it done so you're confident about what to eat to have a calm belly.

If you're new to me, I'm Julie O'Hara, a health coach who specializes in helping women manage IBS using the FODMAP diet. It's all about managing IBS with delicious food and NOT deprivation.

I'm also a nutrition writer whose work has been published in Prevention, Shape and Clean Eating magazine among others. Through my website, I offer one-on-one and group coaching programs to help you get through every phase of the FODMAP diet and apply it to your real life.

By the way, my group coaching program to help you do the first part, the hardest part, of the FODMAP diet - the Elimination Phase - is starting up in just a couple of weeks. It's called Flat Belly Kitchen. Keep your eyes open because it's coming soon!


Okay, back to today's topic. We're going to talk about the big picture of the FODMAP diet. First I need to start by busting a huge myth: that you have to deprive yourself of food for life, that the FODMAP diet is all about a life of taking food away. That's really not the case! 

This diet starts with the Elimination Phase, and that's when you take away high-FODMAP food. So yes, you do have to take away food for a set period of time BUT IT’S NOT FOREVER. 

The whole purpose of the Elimination Phase is to see if FODMAPs are actually causing your problems. So if you take them away and you start to feel a whole lot better, you know that you're sensitive to FODMAPs. 

In doing this diet myself and working with clients, I’ve found two main areas where people really get tripped up when they're first starting out. Sometimes it's enough to make you just quit or spend months and months in a holding pattern - I call it “elimination phase limbo."

You're sort of cutting out food, but not all the time and it just goes on and on and on. And you never feel like you've actually done it right, and you feel like you can't move forward.  

Two Things to Avoid When You're Starting FODMAP

The first thing that seems to trip people up is having a really hard time mourning the food that they have to give up. It feels really unfair. I’ve been in your shoes. It can be paralyzing, and I know exactly what you're going through. 

This is really the main thing that kept me from fully diving into the FODMAP diet for months and months. Granted, to give myself a little credit it takes time to actually learn the foods that you're supposed to eat and not eat, and the portion sizes, and how to change recipes.

I studied all that, but then I would think of these excuses...like it was summertime, and I can't possibly give up fresh peaches and figs and plums and nectarines...I used to eat that stuff constantly and I loved it so that was my first excuse.

Then it was my birthday, and there's no way I was going to NOT go out to eat at my favorite Italian restaurant or make a cake. And then it was the holidays, and on and on and on...

Months went by before I fully did the Elimination Phase because I just didn't want to give up the food I love. I absolutely love to eat, so I finally used my knowledge about food to get over these excuses. I was a food writer and recipe developer after all!

I also used my taste buds, and I started changing the recipes that I loved, and changing all my favorite things to make them low-FODMAP. Soon, I realized that this food wasn't bad. Low-FODMAP food could actually be delicious and drool-worthy - yes, I said drool-worthy - I wanted my meals to be that good, and they absolutely can be.

You don't have to have super-professional cooking skills or chef's knowledge to adapt your recipes to make them low-FODMAP. But that's coming in the next the next training in this series.

Once I actually figured out that I could make low-FODMAP food that I loved and was happy to cook for myself and for my husband, I managed to do the Elimination Phase. In the end, I wondered what took me so long.

The Power of Portion Control

Now the other thing that really trips people up with the Elimination Phase is figuring out this whole portion control thing. The way to do that is to really dive into the Monash FODMAP app. If you don't have that app already, you have to download it! It's just so essential and so reliable. This is the university that's done all the research on the FODMAP diet and they test foods continuously and update their app. 

Click into different foods and see what the low-FODMAP portion sizes are. If there's an upper limit serving amount - that’s where a low-FODMAP food becomes high-FODMAP if you eat enough of it. It may seem complicated at first, but once you start familiarizing yourself with it you'll see how it works.

I have a free training coming up soon where I'm going to help you actually apply this to your real life.

You'll get worksheets and menu templates so you can actually see what this looks like in a day of eating and how to balance out all these portions. So yes, it can seem a little bit crazy but it doesn't have to trip you up and stop you from actually starting the Elimination Phase.

Moving on to Phase 2: Reintroduction

Now that you're done with the Elimination Phase it's time to actually start bringing food back and that's what we call the Reintroduction Phase. You reintroduce high-FODMAP foods from each individual FODMAP group. You bring them back one by one to see how you react to them. What you're trying to find out is the foods that actually trigger your symptoms. 

Now, here's the thing that’s so important to remember: it might not be all of them!

You might be able to eat modest amounts of garlic and onion, and it's not something you'll have to give up for life. But you never know this until you go through the testing process. That's why it's so crucial. Every client I've ever worked with has found something out during the testing process that has surprised them.

I guarantee, you might think you know what you're sensitive to, but you don't know for sure until you test it in a very organized, systematic way. That's the Reintroduction Phase. 

The Real-Life Phase

After that...well what happens after that? You've collected all this information, you've learned about your body's unique tolerances and trigger foods and portion sizes and all your needs, but how does that actually let you go live a life where you can eat like a normal person? That’s really what we want right? To not have IBS symptoms. 

This is what I call the real-life phase. It's part of the Calm Belly Method, and as far as I know, I am the only person who teaches this. I’m definitely the only health coach in the Northern Hemisphere who specializes in FODMAP! 

Here's how it works: I show you how to actually take the data you've gathered and see not just what test foods (you only need to test 9 foods in the Reintroduction Phase) you can eat, but how to relate it to ALL the high-FODMAP foods.

I also show you how to figure out the portion sizes that are likely to work for you, and figure out how to put it together in your day-to-day life. That’s getting ahead of ourselves, but now you know the big picture:

At the end of this whole learning process you've figured out a unique eating style that works just for you where you can keep your symptoms under control and still eat food you love.

You have balance, you can still go to restaurants and travel and know what to expect. You know where you can indulge and where you should cut back. That is how the FODMAP Diet can really improve your life. 

Okay guys, remember it doesn't matter what you've struggled with in the past. Even if you fell off the wagon, or you just didn't quite make it work, this is the time for a fresh start! 

Take Action

Your action step for today is to dig into that Monash app and start making a list of the foods you CAN eat. Make a list of everything that you actually like that you can imagine incorporating into your diet and dream up new ways to use it. 

Your other action step - and this is gonna be fun - is to have in the back of your mind or written down somewhere two or three of your favorite recipes that you think you can't eat anymore.

In a few days, I'm going to show how you can make your favorite recipes low-FODMAP. I love a recipe makeover, and I think we're going to be able to bring at least one of your favorite recipes back into your life with some of these strategies!

Don't forget to grab the FREE Test Food Tracker and get on your way to loving food again!

Alright guys, that's it for today. I will talk to you soon!

What do you think? What do you still have questions about? Leave a comment and let me know!

25 Things I Wish I'd Known About the FODMAP Diet When I Started

25 Things I Wish I'd Known About the FODMAP Diet When I Started

If you're new to the FODMAP Diet, this post is a must-read! I asked my community what they wish someone had told them when they just got diagnosed with IBS and were trying to figure out FODMAP. It can feel totally overwhelming, lonely and confusing, but that ends now! Click through to get real-life advice from women who know what you're going through (and survived to tell about it!).

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If you're just starting out on the FODMAP Diet and feeling lost or overwhelmed, this blog post is dedicated to YOU.

I've been building the Calm Belly Kitchen Community for about a year and half, and it's full of wise, supportive, strong, funny people who've been in your shoes and lived to tell the tale.

I asked them this question: What's the one thing you wish someone had told you when you first started FODMAP?

What follows are their answers. I hope their words of wisdom feel like a big, comforting hug. Especially if you've been hopelessly searching for help with FODMAP and feeling even more confused and hopeless than when you started.

That confusion and overwhelm ends here! Everyone who contributed to this post knows what you're going through, and they've got the advice you need to hear right now.

It truly does get easier. But don't take my word for it...keep reading!

Psst >>> Are you ready to test FODMAPs and learn your unique IBS triggers (a.k.a. the Reintroduction Phase)? I've created a FREE Test Food Tracker to make it simple!

25 Things I Wish I'd Known About the FODMAP Diet

"First, don't freak out!!! It is not nearly as hard/restrictive as it may seem. Make a shopping list - try to find as much variety as you can at your local stores and check online too if thats an option - you don't want to get bored."


"Find groups to check out and join to make the research much easier."
-Barbara Ann

What this means for you: There are online groups for FODMAPers where you can get support and help. Sure I'm biased, but the Calm Belly Kitchen Facebook group is one of the best! Click here to join my email crew, and I'll send you a bonus cheat sheet and an invite to the Facebook group.


"It gets easier as time goes on."





"Food is for nourishment....your body talks to you...listen. It may feel like a struggle at first, but eventually you'll find foods that you will love AND your body will love!"


"Readjust your thinking on eating unlimited fruits and vegetables. Many times they are triggers to digestive problems.  Watch portion sizes and carefully monitor which ones you eat.  Until you know your tolerance be careful eating fruit late in the day."



"I wish I had realized that portion size was so important during my elimination days. This has been one of the most important  things I have learned and has contributed greatly to my success."


"Portion size is critical - I jumped right into the low FODMAP diet but I was clueless to the fact many low-FODMAP foods become high-FODMAP beyond a certain serving size. I also wish I had been told to purchase the Monash App ASAP as there is nothing as useful and it is worth every penny."


"It's not going to be a diet you can follow overnight. You will find some conflicting information, have to weed some of it out, and research more information. Try to find some Facebook groups. You will find others that are having similar experiences and will discover some good ideas. Take it one day at a time."

"Take a deep breathe and clear your mind of all you just read. Then take it one baby step at a time and you will reach your goals."

"It seems completely hopeless and overwhelming at first. It feels like there's absolutely nothing you can eat. But none of this is true! You can eat so much better than you even did before!  Get the Monash app, join a support group, and you'll be feeling in control in no time."


"Meal prep is even more important than it used to be, and carry a snack because you can't just grab something if you're out and get hungry."



"You're not alone. And it does get easier  the longer you do it. So don't give up."


"Go easy on yourself."

"How to survive without garlic and bread."

This blog post will help with that: Ultimate Guide to Flavor Without Onion & Garlic

"Without a doubt, the need to pay attention to quantities using the Monash app & the art of combining higher FODMAP foods with lower FODMAP foods (the bucket or threshold concept)."


"Three things:  Take it easy, it does confuse you until you get used to the FODMAP groups and what foods are in them; stick at it as it takes some people a week or two to feel a bit better but can take others longer to feel the benefits; remember you are a unique individual and what is working for some not be for you.  Hang in there, it will be better soon."

"That it would get easier. I really had a hard time for months. It got better after I found you guys."


"You will be continuously surprised at how adaptable you are and how flavorful your food can STILL be when doing the Elimination Phase."


"Start by eliminating high-FODMAP foods. Meal planning is then modified for you personally once re-introductions [testing your tolerance levels for each FODMAP group] are complete. Listen to your body and go at your own pace.  Meal planning is essential for your continued successful health!"

"When I began the FODMAP elimination I thought that I would never be able to eat these foods again.  what I've learned is that you eliminate FODMAPs for a short period of time, then slowly introduce them back into your diet to see which ones are definite triggers, and which ones are ok in small quantities."

"That FODMAPs are water soluble."

What this means for you: If you simmer onions, garlic or other high-FODMAP food in water or broth, the FODMAPs will soak into the liquid even if you remove the solid food. But you can flavor oil with onion or garlic because FODMAPs are NOT fat soluble.



"That there are many great foods in the world that I have been ignoring and can help me get healthier."


"Portion sizes are important, but a bigger issue is that you have to eat less overall in one sitting to let your body process food and give it time between meals. Thus, an eating schedule is beneficial."

"I wish I would have known about Julie, her Facebook page, and her blog. It would have made things a lot easier to have support."

[Aw thanks, Lisa!]

Katie Porter.jpg



"Don't be afraid to start.  You'll feel so much better."



Don't forget to grab the FREE Test Food Tracker so you can stop policing every bite and start loving food again!