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

Conclusion

The FODMAP Diet is a learning process. That’s great news, because it means you don’t need to worry about success or failure, only learning what you want to know or not.

Once you’ve learned the information you’re seeking about FODMAPs and your unique body, you can create new eating habits, new routines…in other words YOUR new normal.

The end goal, then, is to eat and make food choices based on knowledge about your body. It’s a pretty great goal to strive for, don’t you think?

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 program Free To Eat, which guides you through the FODMAP reintroduction phase (Become a member of Calm Belly Club to get access to this program!).

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 IBS-D (when diarrhea is your main symptom). 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!

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 Challenge 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!

Click the box below to get my free cheat sheet sent straight to your inbox!

 

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 2: Easy Lunches for Work

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 2: Easy Lunches for Work

Get the answer the most asked question about the low FODMAP diet: What can I eat for a quick workday lunch? Packing an easy, no fuss lunch when you're doing the fodmap elimination diet can be a challenge. Click through to watch the video and read my simple, easy strategies.

Click here to save on Pinterest! 

Welcome to Part Two 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 Three: How Long Until I'm Symptom-Free?

Today in Part Two, I'm answering the question I get asked the MOST from the Calm Belly Kitchen Community:

  • What I can eat for lunch at when I'm at work?

You can hear my thoughts in the 5-minute video, or read the key points below.

FAQ #2: "What can I make for a quick, easy workday lunch?"

Figuring out food on the go is definitely a challenge. I have to admit, I eat the same lunch probably 5 days a week. It works for me because I can keep the ingredients on hand, I don't have to think about it, and it's really delicious.

I get asked about my lunch bowls a lot so here's how I make them:

  • I include either brown rice (my favorite), quinoa, sorghum, canned lentils or a combo of two of those. I always make big batches that last me through the week.

  • Then I add either grilled chicken (again, I cook big batches), or salmon or tuna from a pouch.

  • I always add sauteed spinach and at least one cooked veggie that I make ahead of time: roasted zucchini, yellow squash or eggplant; or matchstick-cut carrots that I could in a skillet with a little water until they soften up.

  • I heat all the above ingredients up in the microwave. Then, other add-ons could be feta, olives, or a couple slices of chopped avocado.

  • Finally, I put lactose-free yogurt on it like a sauce. Maybe that's a little weird, but I love it. A simple vinaigrette or nothing at all would be good too.

You could also make a simpler version of my bowl with rotisserie chicken, salad greens, quinoa and vinaigrette (this would be great cold, straight out of the fridge). Or just chicken, roasted/steamed veggies and rice that you could quickly heat up; add some soy sauce and you've got a nice Asian-style rice bowl.

A hearty soup would reheat easily too, and you could make one big batch at the beginning of the week.

If you just want a simple sandwich, use gluten-free bread (I like it better toasted) and instead of deli meat, use a rotisserie chicken or cook a chicken or whole turkey breast in the crockpot. That will give you enough meat for sandwiches all week plus extra for other meals. Then add your mayo, mustard, lettuce or spinach, slices of roasted eggplant or zucchini, cheese...whatever you like!

Click to grab our Free FODMAP Diet Shopping List!

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 1: Tips for Eating at Restaurants

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 1: Tips for Eating at Restaurants

Get the facts about the low FODMAP diet. I'll answer 2 of the most frequently asked questions I get: "How can I eat in restaurants and will one dinner out ruin the elimination phase?" And, "Should I be eating a No-FODMAP or a Low-FODMAP diet?" Click through to read the answers to these key questions or watch the video I made with even more info!

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Trying to find information about the low FODMAP diet is frustrating, and you're not alone. Do a search and the results are pretty sparse. Not only that, but you might find outdated food lists or conflicting info.

To cleanse the confusion, I'm creating a series of 3 blog posts to answer the questions I get asked most often about the FODMAP diet. Each post will include a video, as well as the key points so you can either watch or read...whatever works for you!

In Part One, I'll be answering the following FAQs:

  • How do I eat at restaurants on the low FODMAP diet?

  • Should I be eating no-FODMAP or low-FODMAP during the elimination phase?

I sent these videos to my email crew in the Calm Belly Kitchen newsletter (Click here to join now--it's like getting an extra blog post every Friday!) throughout the month of February. The response I got from the community was great, so it seemed silly to keep the videos hidden away on YouTube.

Here are the other parts of the FODMAP FAQ series:

Part Two: Easy Workday Lunches

Part Three: How Long Until I'm Symptom-Free?

FAQ #1: I get overwhelmed when I'm at a restaurant and end up ordering the worst thing on the menu. Does one bad meal ruin everything?

A: It's so hard not to slip up, especially when you're at a good restaurant. Please don't beat yourself up! It's not easy to completely change the way you eat and cook, even if it is for a short time. The important thing to remember is that you really only need to do strict elimination for a few weeks. When you can clearly see an improvement in your symptoms, you can start testing FODMAP foods.

The goal of the elimination is to prove that reducing FODMAPs actually helps you. It's true that testing foods can take a long time (and it's good to be as methodical as possible to get the most knowledge out of it). But if you go out to eat and slip up, you haven't ruined things. You just get back on track and keep going.

If you are planning to eat out, here are some strategies to make it easier:

  • Scout out menus online. Choose a restaurant that uses a lot of simple, fresh ingredients and features some dishes that seem easy to modify.

  • Don't hesitate to call ahead and ask questions.

  • Steakhouses are great because they'll give you a nice piece of meat and cook it exactly the way you want it. They often have simple side dishes too. The same goes for "seafood grill"-type restaurants. Sushi is another great option.

  • Consider chain restaurants. They often have procedures in place to help people with food sensitivites. Some chains that I've heard great things about are Red Robin, P.F. Chang's, Outback Steakhouse, and Maggiano's Little Italy.

FAQ #2: During the elimination phase, should I be FODMAP-free or low-FODMAP? If I am FODMAP-free, what do I eat?

A: It can be really confusing, but the short answer is that you should be eating low-FODMAP during the elimination phase.

Technically, it's nearly impossible to eat no FODMAPs at all. Many foods that are made up of carbohydrates will contain some FODMAPs. But if those foods are "green light" on the Monash app, the FODMAP content is low enough that they shouldn't cause digestive symptoms.

Plain proteins and fats do not contain any FODMAPs because no carbohydrates are present. So that was a quick little scientific explanation!

As long as you're following the recommended low-FODMAP serving sizes of the green light foods during elimination, you are doing great. 

Got a question that you think I should answer in a future FAQ video? I plan to do more, so leave a comment below.