Eating Strategies

Looking for FODMAP Recipes? Making Your Favorite Foods Low-FODMAP

Ultimate Guide to Making Your Favorite Recipes Low-FODMAP

I’m laying out every tip, trick, strategy and substitution I know to make crave-able, drool-worthy recipes that happen to be low-FODMAP. Click through to read the epic list of makeover strategies that starts with simple swaps and progresses to mini recipes (Blue Cheese Dressing! Citrus-Herb Marinade! Flavorful Tomato Sauce!) and creative flavor tactics. You can still eat the food you love and control your IBS on the fodmap diet!

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I love a good makeover (any What Not To Wear fans in here?), but even more than the fashion and style stuff, I love a recipe makeover. 

Want proof? Here you go…


Yup, for over 3 years I wrote a monthly column for Clean Eating magazine where I revamped classic recipes to make them healthy and (obviously) clean. I loved this gig. But just because a recipe’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s IBS-friendly.

Lucky for you, making over your favorite foods into FODMAP recipes is NOT as hard as it seems. And you don’t need any ninja-chef skills to do it.

Psst >>> If you want to start the FODMAP Diet but feel overwhelmed, I created a FREE email course to ease you into it and give you the tools you need to succeed.

Click to sign up for the Free 7-Day FODMAP Jumpstart Challenge!

Why Recipe Makeovers?

It’s absolutely essential that you learn to make some of your favorite dishes low-FODMAP. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons people stumble in the first phase of the FODMAP Diet - the Elimination Phase - is the fear and sadness over giving up the food they love.

(I know this from experience - I wasted months before I finally did the Elimination Phase because giving up food was too sad.)

In this post, I’m laying out the best tips, tricks, strategies and substitutions I know to develop crave-able, drool-worthy FODMAP recipes. It's the foundation of the Calm Belly Kitchen Cookbook. And it’s how I got myself through the FODMAP Diet with zero deprivation.

This epic list of makeover strategies starts with simple swaps and progresses to mini recipes and creative flavor tactics.

Before you dive in, watch the video to see some of my personal favorite recipe makeover strategies and substitutions (If you love Italian and Mexican food, it's a must-see.). Then read the post with YOUR favorite recipes in mind.

If you remember one thing, make it this: Eating great food that you love is so do-able on the FODMAP Diet, and you’re not being sentenced to food prison without parole.

1) Replace Onion With Leek Tops: The green part is low-FODMAP, while the white part is high. Leeks have more flavor than onions, and you won’t cry when you cut them. Scallion tops are great too. The picture below show what part of the scallion or leek to use. Watch this video to learn how to wash leeks!

2) Replace Garlic With Garlic-Infused Oil: FODMAPs are water soluble, which means they soak out into liquids, but NOT fats. That’s why garlic oil is low-FODMAP. For the boldest flavor, add it at the end of the cooking process.

3) Build Flavor With Anchovies: At the start of the cooking process (when you’d normally sauté onion or garlic), sauté 1 tbsp anchovy paste or 2 to 3 oil-packed anchovies on medium heat in some olive oil.

4) Use Miso: Do the same thing as above with 1 to 2 tbsp of miso paste (especially good in soups and stews)

>>> This blog post has even more ways to replace onion and garlic and add big flavor to your recipes: The Ultimate Guide to Flavor Without Onion and Garlic

5) Add Bacon: It's the time-honored method for making any recipe irresistible.

6) Replace Mushrooms With Eggplant: The texture is similar, and it’s great sautéed, roasted or grilled.

7) Buy Chile Powders With 1 Ingredient: Some products called “chile powder” are blends that often include onion and garlic, which are high-FODMAP. Instead make sure yours only contains chiles. Ancho chile powder is mild and incredibly flavorful.

8) Substitute lactose-free milk anywhere you’d use regular milk: This is real cow’s milk treated with an enzyme to remove the lactose so it works just like regular milk in recipes.

9) Swap Your Veggies: Replace onion and celery with diced or grated carrot, celery root, leek, and/or red bell pepper (works great in recipes that call for the “holy trinity” of onion/celery/carrot)

10) Replace Ketchup: Many commercial ketchups contains high-fructose corn syrup and occasionally honey (both high-FODMAP)...but you've got options.

  • Here’s an easy recipe to DIY

  • Instead of ketchup, toss your oven fries with lemon zest, chopped parsley and garlic-infused oil - delish!

  • Do as the English do and dip fries in mayo (get fancy and mix in Dijon mustard, hot sauce, parsley, or lemon zest)

11) For Mexican Food

What low-FODMAP really looks like! Polenta Lasagna, Cobb Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing (both from    CBK Cookbook   ) and Huevos Rancheros.

What low-FODMAP really looks like! Polenta Lasagna, Cobb Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing (both from CBK Cookbook) and Huevos Rancheros.

12) Replace Chicken Broth: The store-bought stuff is SO convenient, but have you ever tasted it straight? Not all that flavorful. Instead, use water and add some of these flavor boosting ingredients:

Miso paste
Anchovy paste
Dried herbs and spices
Lemon juice and soy sauce (a killer combo)
Fish sauce

> But wait! Massels brand is onion/garlic-free. 

Or make homemade broth

13) For Marinades: Omit the onion and/or garlic - it will still do the job! Try this easy favorite of mine:                                           

Citrus-Herb Marinade

3 green scallion tops
Handful parsley leaves and stems (about 1/2 packed cup)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional) - here’s my fave low-FODMAP brand
1/2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp rice or red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Put all ingredients through vinegar in food processor and blitz. With processor on, slowly pour oil through feed tube. This marinade is great with just about anything, especially chicken and fish.

14) Make Your Own Spice Blends - Most store-bought blends contain onion and/or garlic powder. You can play with the amounts or add other spices you like. I promise, you can’t mess this up. Here’s a simple blend to start with (great for chicken and pork):            

Mild Mexican Spice Blend

1 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp coriander
1⁄2 tsp dried oregano

For Italian Recipes

15) Make Your Own Tomato Sauce:

  1. Sauté chopped leek tops (the green part) in olive oil

  2. Add dried herbs and/or chile flakes

  3. Add ½ cup red wine and reduce (optional)

  4. Then add 1 can tomato sauce and 1 can diced tomatoes

  5. Simmer until slightly thickened

  6. Turn off heat and add fresh basil and garlic-infused oil to taste

Tip: A low-FODMAP serving of canned tomatoes is 1/2 cup.

16) Replace Pasta With Polenta or Risotto: There are some great gluten-free pastas out there too! My favorites are Jovial and Trader Joe’s brand.

17) For Pizza: Buy or make a low-FODMAP crust and top it with your homemade sauce (or do a white pizza with béchamel sauce - see the third idea below)

Three of my favorite topping ideas:

  • Mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted eggplant, goat cheese

  • Mozzarella, ground turkey, sautéed spinach, feta

  • Mozzarella, parmesan, sliced scallops, topped with arugula when it comes out of the oven (great with béchamel sauce)

18) Replace Cream Sauce With Low-FODMAP Béchamel: Here’s my easy recipe, and you can scale it up:

Low-FODMAP Béchamel Recipe

  1. Heat 1 tbsp butter or oil in a small saucepan on medium-low

  2. Add 1 tbsp gluten-free flour blend (must be free of gums, such as this one) or rice flour and stir until combined, about 1 minute

  3. Add 1 cup lactose-free milk and raise heat to medium high

  4. Whisk constantly, breaking up any flour clumps until milk comes to a simmer and sauce thickens

  5. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper plus any herbs and spices you want

Use it for:

  • Cream soups like chowder

  • Cream sauces like Alfredo

  • Creamed greens

  • White pizza

  • Any recipe that calls for béchamel

19) Replace Creamy Dressings: It’s crazy-easy to make your own with lactose-free plain yogurt or kefir - the amounts are flexible, you can’t mess this up. Here’s an example:

Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe
Tip: Make it a Ranch dressing by swapping the blue cheese for parmesan and adding fresh chives and/or scallions.

3⁄4 cup lactose-free yogurt
3 tbsp lactose-free milk, plus more as needed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1⁄3 cup (about 1 1⁄2 oz) crumbled blue cheese
2 scallion tops, finely chopped

Stir together all ingredients. Add extra milk if you want a thinner consistency.

20) Learn the Cheese Trick! 

Plenty of cheeses are low-FODMAP, but not every possible variety has been tested by Monash yet. Here’s how to tell if a cheese is low in lactose:

1) Check the ingredients: If added sugars or high-FOMDAP ingredients like honey or garlic (this is common in cheese products or flavored cheeses, not so much in natural cheese). If it’s got ingredients added, this trick doesn’t apply.

Natural cheese DOES include things like: milk (or pasteurized milk), salt, cultures, enzymes, and possibly preservatives or natural colors.

2) Look at the Nutrition Facts. Go to the “sugars” line (lactose, the FODMAP you want to avoid is a sugar). If it contains 0 grams sugar, the cheese is either lactose-free or so very low in lactose that only an extremely sensitive person would have issues (in the US, if the sugar totals < 0.5 gram, manufacturers can round down to zero)

And that's a wrap! 20 cool, creative, delicious ways to makeover your favorite recipes. You don't have to give up everything yummy to do the FODMAP Diet, so don't let fear of missing out on great food hold you back from a calm belly.

What recipes are you going to makeover? Have questions? Leave a comment and let me help!

This post contains affiliate links.

Top 3 Mistakes When Reintroducing FODMAPs

Top 3 Mistakes When Reintroducing FODMAPs

The Reintroduction Phase is when you test FODMAPs to learn what you can eat and what you should avoid to get IBS relief! As a health coach, I've seen all the mistakes that can happen in this crucial, phase. Click through to read the top 3 mistakes and how you can test FODMAP foods without making them!

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Most of my health coaching clients are fearful of mistakes when they first get started with the FODMAP Diet and take food away (aka the Elimination Phase or FODMAP Challenge Phase).

While this first part of the diet takes some getting used to, I see more mistakes happen in the crucial testing process (bringing foods back in to find out what you can eat and still keep your IBS in check). 

If you've come up against any of the snafus listed below during your elimination, don't feel bad! This FODMAP challenge phase has a learning curve, but it shouldn't take a PhD in food science and the steely resolve of a navy S.E.A.L. to get your FODMAP situation sorted.

So to de-mystify this whole process, I want to dig into the biggest mistakes I've seen and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Getting hung up on the details 

Sure, it’s okay to have questions (I guarantee you’ll have questions!) about the testing FODMAPs, but don’t spend too much time thinking about every little thing you could do wrong. 

Common worries:

Not eating the correct amount of a test food - The amounts are guidelines, so you don’t have to measure down to the gram. If you’re testing ¼ cup of onion, yes it’s okay to use 1 cup of onion in a big ‘ol stir fry and eat about one-fourth of it.

Raw or cooked? Canned or fresh? - It depends on the food, but whatever you choose to test with, be consistent. If you’re testing lactose, don’t have yogurt one day and drink milk the next.

What if I don’t like the test food? - You’ve never eaten a mango in your life and you don’t plan to start now. That’s okay, but you’re not testing mango, you’re testing fructose. (If that just blew your mind, stick with me.) Mango is a great test food because it contains high levels of fructose and no other FODMAPs. Your reaction tells you if your belly gives fructose the thumbs up - or not so much.

Mistake #2: Giving up too soon 

What happens if you test a high-FODMAP food and the results don’t make sense? There are lots of possible reasons for this (work stress, anxiety about symptoms, your period, other foods...). If this happens, you haven’t hit a brick wall - you can just retest it. 

This is a part of the testing process that doesn’t get talked about much! Don’t worry, most of my clients don’t test foods multiple times. But once in awhile your symptoms go wonky - maybe your belly rumbled like crazy after a smidge of garlic, but you had no issues when you indulged in a big scoop of garlic-y marinara sauce. 

If the data doesn’t add up, it’s not a danger sign that you should give up and abandon garlic forever. You either test again right away, wait till later, or even try another test food in the same FODMAP group. Easy!

Ready for FODMAP Reintroduction? Grab your free checklist and tracker!

Mistake #3: Expecting an instant reaction

You might have symptoms within a couple hours of eating a test food.

Bloating can happen relatively quickly. But diarrhea or constipation may not hit you for 24 to 48 hours, since gut transit times are different for everyone.

If you test honey and feel great the rest of the day, you’re in the clear, right? Maybe. You may have read that it’s wise to test a high-FODMAP food on consecutive days, but I've seen better results for my clients when you give it more time and keep track of how YOUR unique IBS symptoms tend to play out. Moral of the story: Listen to your body.

BONUS Mistake!

This happens BEFORE you even get started, so I'm calling it a "bonus," and this is it: Waiting until you’re symptom-free to start finding your IBS triggers. This might turn out to be the most important thing you take away:

It’s okay to test FODMAPs even if you have IBS issues occasionally. Most people do NOT have all their symptoms disappear completely even when they avoid FODMAP foods 24/7. So how do you know if the food you’re testing is causing symptoms or if it’s something else entirely? 

The answer is that you’ll figure it out as you go. Just like you identified IBS culprits and learned to manage them when you first got started, you’ll see how your body reacts when high-FODMAP foods set you off.

The only way to learn to ride a bike is to hop on and pedal. Same’s true for testing FODMAPs. 

The effort is worth it because of what you get in the end: You know what you CAN eat and what to avoid so you can stop policing every bite and start enjoying food again!

How FODMAP Changes Your Life - Client Success Story!

How FODMAP Changes Your Life - Client Success Story!

Click through to read how the FODMAP diet works in real life! Kate was a busy teacher who wanted to enjoy social meals without the anxiety of IBS symptoms. Read her Behind the Belly Story of how the FODMAP diet helped her reach her goals, including eating Mexican food again!

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The whole point of the FODMAP diet (the proven diet for managing IBS) is to give up food and feel better, right? Wrong.

Nope, the point of the FODMAP diet isn’t just having a calm belly. It’s about having the freedom to do anything you want:

  • You hike through Yellowstone for a week
  • You watch the Mets play the Yankees and stay for extra innings
  • You go to your best friend’s destination wedding with zero diet stress

I know most of you don’t need to spend a week in a national park to feel freedom from food (But if that’s you, it’s totally do-able!). Most of you just want to go to a fun friend meal (preferably Mexican) without anxiety.

That’s what my client Kate wanted. She knew just eliminating every possible IBS trigger wasn’t going to solve her problem - being able to eat and enjoy social meals. Read her Behind the Belly Story!

The Before

Before Kate came to me, she eliminated FODMAPs and felt amazing, totally symptom free. But she knew she was in food prison (living on rice and rotisserie chicken and seriously missing her favorite Mexican food) and that had to end fast.

As a crazy-busy high school math teacher taking on extra classes, she had zero time to become a FODMAP expert.

Meet Kate!

Kate Sneed did 1-on-1 coaching with me starting in January. She lives in Denver, CO and in our first session this Denver Broncos super fan realized she’d signed on to work with a New England Patriots fan. Luckily, we hit it off anyway and got straight to business!

Kate’s “Screw this!” moment happened at a tailgate party when some tasty chips and salsa sent her belly into a tailspin and she had to do the mad port-a-potty dash.

She had no clue if it was A) the onions, B) the garlic, C) the tomatoes, or D) something else going on in her gut that triggered this awkward moment. She knew she needed to learn more about her body before she’d be free to eat without fear.

Key results Kate was looking for:

  • Learn which FODMAPs set off her IBS instead of just guessing
  • Be able to go to a meal with friends without anxiety about what to eat
  • Get a lot more food variety back into her life because packing the same lunch everyday was making the snacks in the teacher’s break room way too tempting

Kate not only tested all the FODMAP groups, she also satisfied her food cravings for pulled pork and homemade brownies by trying the new recipes I gave her. She even had a great time on a girls’ wine tasting weekend without any major symptoms.

Let’s hear the scoop from Kate!

Julie: Where were you in the FODMAP diet process when you started working with me?

Kate: I had been doing elimination for a little over a month. I was not having any symptoms and ready to figure out what was causing issues a month earlier.

Julie: What made you decide to work with a FODMAP coach?

Kate: Your blog and website provided me with so much information when I was researching FODMAPs. Also that it didn’t matter that you were not in my town!

Julie: What are one or two surprising things you learned?

Kate: That honey is not my trigger but that onion and garlic could have such a nasty effect on people- who knew! Also that sugar can be stored in so many different types and that my body can react differently to each one!

Julie: Did coaching make the FODMAP Diet easier? Tell us how.

Kate: So much easier- I was overwhelmed by how to reintroduce and the portion size and how to increase the amount of something, etc. The weekly plans made it so easy to just pick up a certain food at the store and know how much of it to try and what to do based on what happened! I didn’t have the time to spend hours researching or figuring it out from different books or websites.

Julie: Now that you're done with coaching, how is your life different?

Kate: I feel so much more confident about eating out or with friends. I know what to expect- before I had no idea what meal would set me off and what wouldn’t- it was an experiment every time. Now I know if I decide to eat something at a meal that is a trigger that I will have a reaction and I can make the choice instead of waiting to find out!

Kate got the results she wanted from her time together with me and you can too!

When I followed up with Kate a few months after working together, this is what she said:

“Things have been great! I am so happy I did this!”


5 Things No One Tells You About FODMAP

5 Things No One Tells You About FODMAP

Don't do the FODMAP diet until you read this! When you're learning to eat for IBS, so many questions come up. It's east to get overwhelmed and lost in the details. Click through to find out what you can stop stressing over so you can start feeling better fast!

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Pssst! Follow me into this dark alley…

Just kidding. I’m not going to whisper wacky conspiracy theories in your ear. But I do need to shed light on a few things about FODMAP - the gray areas that don’t get talked about much.

I’m here to make sure you don’t lose sleep stressing over things that don’t matter AND that you stay focused on the positive. (You’re NOT settling for a flavorless life of deprivation!)

Click below to watch the video or keep reading!


#1 It’s okay to guess

If a food hasn’t been tested for FODMAP content, make an educated guess - a quick google will give you an idea of what you’re dealing with. If it’s not related to another high-FODMAP food (say it’s an exotic cousin of peaches for example), or it’s buried far down in a long ingredient list, it’s unlikely to throw you off your game.

#2 It’s okay to mess up

Don’t wait for the perfect time to start the Elimination Phase. If you can’t resist empanadas on your trip to Miami, it’s all good. Get back to FODMAP as soon as you can. The goal is consistent improvement for your belly, not obsessing over every bite.

#3 How you eat is just as important as the individual foods you eat

Big meals, too many processed foods, eating when stressed (or stressing about eating), hormone fluctuations, sleep, exercise, high-fat food, salty food...all of it affects how flat or calm your belly feels on any given day. This is true even for people who DON’T have IBS. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Just know that the slice of onion you accidentally ate for lunch might not be solely to blame for your bloat.

#4 Sometimes when you eat a high-FODMAP meal, nothing happens

You decide to treat yourself to a curry and naan at the Indian restaurant even though you’ll probably feel gassy afterwards. So you nosh your naan and feel totally peachy the next day. What the heck?! Maybe it’s because you weren’t stressed about the meal; maybe you ate smaller portions than you would have in the past. Like I said in #3, your gut is a complicated piece of work. The best way to duplicate these good belly days? Track what you eat, and jot down other health factors (i.e. stress level) too.

#5 It’s not for life

FODMAP  is a temporary “learning diet.” As in learn what foods are better or worse for maintaining that flat-belly feeling. Then go forth and embrace life’s deliciousness (with a few modifications). 

Now that you're FODMAP-savvy, it's time to take AWAY those pesky high-FODMAP foods.

Since the easiest way to do this is to focus on what you CAN eat, I created a handy shopping list, complete with links to some of my most-mouthwatering recipes.  

Click here to get your FREE Shopping List!

5 Signs You're Ready to Reintroduce FODMAPs

5 Signs You're Ready to Reintroduce FODMAPs

If you aren't sure whether it's time to do the reintroduction phase, of the FODMAP diet, look for these 5 signs! Testing FODMAPs is can be an overwhelming process but you don't need to go through it alone. Find out how I did and still traveled, ate and restaurants and enjoyed great food. Learning your FODMAP triggers is so worth it. Click through to see if you should take the leap!

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Last week, I busted myths about reintroducing FODMAPs, and now it's time go deeper on this topic.

The only way to find out what foods trigger your IBS is careful reintroduction. But how do you REALLY know you're ready?

It’s essential to figure this out so you’ll know when to take the leap.

The most important sign you're ready to reintroduce FODMAPs is that you've experienced consistent improvement in your symptoms by doing the elimination phase.

But sometimes you need a little more info to go on! So I came up with 5 signs that show it's time to test FODMAPs. 

Eating croissants in Paris when I was there celebrating my 10-year anniversary in May made one thing crystal clear about reintroducing FODMAPs, and it’s why I’m writing this post:

Knowing what foods trigger your IBS and which ones don't makes life so much more delicious.

5 Signs That You’re Ready to Reintroduce FODMAPs

  1. Your belly feels good, but you’re not happy (spending 8 months in the elimination phase has officially sucked the joy out of your life).

  2. You’re mad at yourself for spending a small fortune on low-FODMAP crackers and bars again because you suspect that a little bit of wheat (or milk/honey/onion powder) will NOT actually turn your belly into an angry, raging fire.

  3. You went to a new restaurant with a really creative menu and spent $24 on a plain grilled chicken salad (special request, of course).

  4. You just booked a week in Mexico and feel stuck between A) Totally depriving yourself on the elimination phase, and B) Eating ALL THE THINGS and getting diarrhea at the beach.

  5. You really miss fresh figs or [insert food of YOUR dreams here].

You owe it to yourself to find out if you and your dream food can kiss and make up.

If these signs sound oddly specific, that’s because I experienced them all myself.  The biggest thing I found? Traveling and eating low-FODMAP can be excruciatingly hard, especially if you're a foodie.

Luckily, I’ve got something that will help you put pizza and pad thai and tapas back on your radar, not banished for all time.

Introducing the Free To Eat Program

Trying to piece together your own reintroduction plan feels like swinging at a piñata blindfolded-- you're just stumbling around in the dark.

Different websites have different rules...Which ones are actually important?

If you want to do this phase at your own pace and a done-for-you plan to find your IBS triggers, Free To Eat is the solution you've been looking for.

Our Free To Eat program, plus monthly trainings, Q&A calls, and community support are available to all members of Calm Belly Club. Join today for only $12.99 per month, cancel anytime.

Click to learn more about Calm Belly Club!



5 Destructive Myths About Finding Your IBS Triggers

5 Destructive Myths About Finding Your IBS Triggers

When you know your unique IBS triggers you don't have to restrict every high-FODMAP food that crosses your path - but common myths about testing FODMAPs are based in fear, not fact and they could be holding you back. I'm here to bust the top 5 myths I hear all the time, and show you how much better life can be if you learn your unique IBS triggers! Click through to to read the whole post.

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I love busting myths about the FODMAP Diet because knowledge is power! In last week's post, I explained why "less FODMAPs = less symptoms" isn't the full story.

The end goal isn't to restrict all high-FODMAP foods forever - It's finding your unique IBS triggers so you can bring back foods that don't cause your stomach issues.

Whenever I talk about finding IBS triggers with friends or the CBK Facebook community, I see lots of hesitation around bringing FODMAP foods back into your diet.

I get it! It's nerve-wracking to start eating foods that might make you feel bad again, and the whole thing can seem overwhelming and complicated. But that's because you've heard myths that are based in 100% fear and 0% fact - and that's just plain destructive!

So let's bust these myths that are holding you back from seeing how capable you are of getting control your IBS triggers and confidently enjoying food again!

Ready to challenge and reintroduce high-FODMAP foods?

Click to get your FREE Reintroduction Checklist!

Myth #1: You’ll be better off removing FODMAPs from your diet forever

This myth is false because I read emails and Facebook posts like this everyday:

  • "I'm struggling with everything about this diet."

  • "I hate missing out on all the foods I love."

  • "I'm tired of eating the same four things."

I understand how comforting it is when avoiding all FODMAPs 24/7 brings relief, but there's no need to eliminate so many foods forever. You can have the same freedom from symptoms AND so much more freedom in what you eat.

When they reintroduce high-FODMAP foods, my Free To Eat members love discovering the old favorites they can eat and remain symptom free.

Personally, I learned that having wheat occasionally doesn't have negative effects. I'm absolutely thrilled that I can whip up my favorite pizza and enjoy every bite!

And even if you do learn that garlic triggers your symptoms in larger servings, you might learn that a small amount is just fine. It makes it a lot easier to eat out when you're not worried about every possible smidgen!

Myth #2: You need to clear your schedule of vacations, parties, and fun in general

You don't have to cancel your social or travel plans to reintroduce FODMAPs. If you go out to dinner every Wednesday with your girlfriends, you don't have to stand them up. If you go to your cousin's birthday party you don't have to awkwardly avoid food all night.

It's possible to fit the FODMAP testing around YOUR calendar. Don't let the urge to be perfect keep you from ever getting started. It's so easy to fall into this trap. I know because I did it too.

In order to finally get going with the reintroduction process, I had to accept that there was no "perfect" time to do it. But once I actually started, it was easier to fit into my life than I imagined. I could take a break from testing if I needed to, and I didn't have to cancel any vacations or birthday dinners.

Myth #3: You need to test every high-FODMAP food

Not even close! That would intimidate even the biggest foodie! Instead, we strategically test every FODMAP category:

  1. Fructose (monosaccharides)

  2. Oligos (you'll do 5 tests within that group)

  3. Lactose (disaccharides)

  4. Polyols (you'll test 2 individual polyols).

If you dig the science-y aspect of FODMAPs and can't wait to get started, great!

And if all that lingo makes your head swim, you're still in the right place. All this means is that there's a strategic, easy to follow method that's designed to get you answers without complicating your life or sending you down a google rabbit hole.

How do you test strategically? By testing foods that contain only 1 type of FODMAP. Since apples contain both fructose and polyols, they wouldn't be a good test food - It would be impossible to tell which FODMAP in that apple is responsible for your symptoms.

Once you've learned which FODMAP categories are triggers for your body, you'll be able to determine your tolerance for other foods in those categories. If you choose, you can continue doing individualized experiments to your heart's content (more on that in #5).

Myth #4: If results aren't crystal clear, you've wasted your time

Here's how it works: You test a FODMAP group and learn how well you tolerate it. But what if your results aren't so black and white?

What if 1 Tbsp of a food gives you some mild symptoms, but when you test 2 Tbsp you strangely have no symptoms at all? What the heck!?

Is your body highly predictable, always reacting the same way all the time? For the majority of us, the answer is no.

Yes, it's frustrating, but the trick is to treat every test as an experiment that gives you more and more info to work with.

So what do you do next? You have a lot of options because the testing process is flexible and adaptable.

You can do the test again. You can wait and repeat it later. You can use a different test food. The important thing is to be patient with your body and not give up.

Your first try doesn't have to be a perfect slam dunk to be useful. Gathering more data over time WILL help you see the important patterns for your symptoms.

Myth #5: Your diet won't change much after you find your triggers

The fact is, your diet can change as much as you want it to. When testing is done and you feel satisfied with the data you've collected, the real fun begins.

You take what you learned and use it to design a personalized eating style that puts you 100% in control of your symptoms, now and for the future!

You have no more mystery symptoms, no more anxiously flipping back through your day and wondering what caused your discomfort. You can have a calm belly, and eat your perfect mix of high and low FODMAP foods that keeps your IBS in check.

And let's be real: This isn't about eating perfectly, it's about having the knowledge to make the right choices for you. Even if you're certain it will give you symptoms, you can choose to eat ice cream when you really want it! If some symptoms is worth the joy of ice cream, you get to choose that.

Either way, you have less anxiety and are finally in control of your symptoms.

Can I get a YES! FINALLY!!!

See, those myths aren't so scary once they've been busted. And they definitely don't have to hold you back!

The Ultimate Low-FODMAP Guide to Flavor without Onion and Garlic

The Ultimate Low-FODMAP Guide to Flavor without Onion and Garlic


When you eliminate onion and garlic for the FODMAP diet, you are NOT stuck with eating bland food. I created the Ultimate Low-FODMAP Guide to Flavor to show you all the delicious ways that you HAVEN'T heard before to cook without these belly-irritating ingredients. Click through to learn multiple ways to replace onion and garlic AND how to boost flavor in other genius ways, including the use of umami ingredients!

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If you've read tips on replacing onion and garlic before, rest-assured that I'm not here to repeat the conventional wisdom. For example, I won't tell you to just use scallion tops for everything, or rush out and buy asafoetida, the pungent Indian spice. 

There's nothing wrong with the usual cooking advice aimed at FODMAPers, I just don't think it tells the whole story. There are other ways to cook incredibly flavorful food besides replacements that don't quite measure up to the real thing. 

And when it comes to asafoetida as a substitute for onion flavor, I'll bust that myth right now:

Skip it. It's not worth it.

Years before I learned about the FODMAP diet, I had a jar of asafoetida that I played with alongside all my other traditional Indian spices. (Remember, I'm a foodie who used to do recipe development for a living.)

Always used together with other spices, and at only 1/4 tsp for a recipe that serves 4, it mingles with the other ingredients to add a savory background funk.

But add a little too much to your spaghetti sauce for example, and suddenly your lovely sauce stinks like over-cooked cabbage. Unless you're cooking traditional Indian food, I say leave it on the shelf.

How to Replace Onion and Garlic (and it's only temporary!)

So where does that leave us? Actually, it leaves us smack in the middle of a flavor tornado. In other words, you have a LOT of options to boost the flavor of just about any recipe. I'll still tell you my best strategies for replacing onion and garlic, but I'll also explain how to build flavor in other ways.

It's scary, I totally get. I was devastated to think that I couldn't cook with onion and garlic when I first learned about the FODMAP diet. We are taught to believe that these ingredients are our saviors from bland, flavorless food. But I swear on my pug's fuzzy head that giving them up is not a big deal.

And know this: Many people, including me and the clients I've worked with, learn that they can eat garlic, onion or both in moderation after testing them in the reintroduction phase of the FODMAP diet. That's why it's crucial to go through the testing process.

>>> Just getting started? Click here to download your FREE Shopping List complete with links to some of my favorite low-FODMAP recipes!

How to Replace Garlic

Let's start with this pesky little minx. There's nothing else that tastes quite like garlic, and that's why garlic-infused oil is so fabulous. FODMAPs are water soluble, but not fat soluble. So when garlic cloves are cooked in olive oil on low heat, the flavor transfers over, but the FODMAPs don't.

Here's the trick for maximum flavor:

Use garlic oil at the very end of the cooking process, or as a finishing oil at the table. If you use it to sautee or roast, the high heat can damage the oil, diminishing the flavor. But drizzle it on that spaghetti bolognese right before you dig in, and you've got an instant garlic infusion!

Try Fresh Ginger

Clearly it's not the same thing, but since it measures about the same and is often used together with garlic (think Asian and Indian dishes), it can give a lot of recipes that sharp, aromatic boost.

Pesto is a perfect example, and I made a version for the CBK cookbook where I essentially swapped ginger for the garlic. It won't fool anyone, but that's not the point--the pesto tastes great.

How to Replace Onion

1) Leek Tops: They take some effort to clean (more on that in a second). However. They're absolutely delicious and a better onion sub than scallions, especially when you need to add them at the beginning of the cooking process. They have a slightly sweeter, slightly more herbaceous flavor than onions.

Like scallions, the white part has high FODMAP content, but the green part is low. You'll want to trim off a few inches of the green part because they're tougher at the top. I personally eat a little of the light green part, but everyone should decide how much to eat based on personal sensitivity.

Leeks are grown in the ground and dirt gets trapped inside all those layers. I have an easy system for washing them, so I made a video showing you exactly how to do it. I also show you what part of the leek to eat!



2) Scallion Tops: Yes, they're great, but the flavor doesn't really come through unless you add them raw at the end of cooking, or as a garnish. Just like leeks, you'll want to eat the dark and possibility some of the light green part. Here's what I mean:

Since it's difficult to make up the volume of an onion with scallions, I recommend using leeks if your recipe calls for 1 cup of onion or more. Or you could get a little more creative...

3) Grated Carrots and Parsnips: Whether you use them together or separately, these veggies are perfect when recipes call for a LOT of onions, especially soups and stews. Grate them in a food processor and saute them until lightly browned, just like onions. 

4) Thinly Sliced Cabbage: Stir-fried or sauteed cabbage is sweet and delicious. Cook it in a hot skillet for about 10 minutes, and you can add it to soups, braises or casseroles in place of the onion.

5) Nutritional Yeast: Weird but effective! This form of deactivated yeast has a cheesy, nutty quality that vegans love as a replacement for cheese. To my tastebuds, it's just plain savory, and slightly funky in a good way.

Because the texture is similar to a ground spice, I like adding it to creamy dressings, sauces, and soups. When I use it to make low-FODMAP ranch dressing (with lactose-free yogurt, lemon juice, chives, and scallions) it adds an extra layer of flavor that you might mistake for onion powder.

6) The Trinity, FODMAP-Style: In Cajun and Creole cooking, the trinity is onion, celery and bell pepper. In French cooking, it's called mirepoix and consists of onion, carrot and celery. These combinations of ingredients are used as a flavor base in countless recipes. 

My FODMAP version can be used to replace the trinity in any recipe, but you can also use it to replace the typical onion/garlic base. Here it is:

1 part chopped leek
1 part finely chopped or grated carrot
1/2 part chopped celery

Celery is moderately high in mannitol. But if you use 1/2 cup chopped celery in a recipe serving at least 4, your serving size will be in the low-FODMAP range. If celery is a problem food for you, replace it with red bell pepper or fennel. The FODMAP Trinity is flexible! And of course, you may find that mannitol is not a trigger at all when you do the reintroduction process.

How to Create Incredible Flavor with Umami (a.k.a., never eat bland food again) 

If you want the food you cook to be crave-worthy and lip-smackingly delicious, umami is your ticket. This goes for any type of cooking, whether you have a dozen different dietary restrictions or you can eat anything you like.

Umami is the fifth taste (along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), but it's the one to rule them all. It's an almost-addictive savory flavor that occurs naturally in foods that are slow-cooked, caramelized, aged, or fermented, but also in cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, and mushrooms.

The flavor comes from glutamate, an amino acid, which usually requires some form of cooking or aging to release it. Adding umami-rich foods or enhancing umami with your cooking techniques will build that savory flavor whether or not you use onion and garlic in your recipe.

Umami Packed Low-FODMAP Foods

  • Parmesan and other aged cheeses

  • Truffle-infused oil

  • Miso paste

  • Soy sauce and tamari

  • Oil-packed anchovies

  • Fish sauce

  • Oyster sauce

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Sun-dried tomatoes

  • Oven-roasted tomatoes

  • Ketchup (This brand is low-FODMAP!)

  • Cured meat (prosciutto, serrano ham, speck)

  • A good stock made with caramelized and slow cooked meat and vegetables

  • Dashi, the Japanese stock made from kombu (dried kelp)

  • Seaweed

For some of these flavor-bombs, you'll want to stick to the low-FODMAP serving sizes as listed on the Monash App. For example a low-FODMAP serving of sun-dried tomatoes is 8 grams (or about 2 halves), but that is plenty if you chop it up and add it to a salad, quinoa bowl, or pasta.

Glutamate naturally found in foods is different from MSG, the processed flavor additive that causes allergy-like reactions in some people. Keep in mind that glutamate is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. In other words, healthy stuff! While some food makers might add MSG to soy sauce or other condiments, you can easily find MSG-free versions of everything on this list.

How to Release Umami in Cooking

Raw meat and shellfish is full of glutamate, but you need to cook it to release the umami flavor. The same goes for many vegetables. Here's how to make the most of it:

1) Roast It - Roasting is amazing because not only does it let you cook, say a pork shoulder, simply and efficiently, it takes long enough to release those amino acids and slowly brown the meat.

The same goes for veggies: Roasted zucchini is about 100 times tastier than steamed, right? It's the caramelization. To make beautiful, deep-golden veggies, be sure to dry them well after washing--excess water will prevent browning.

Pro Tip: The type of cookware you use matters too. Choose dark-colored baking sheet and roasting pans. They absorb more heat, encouraging browning.

2) Caramelize It - Roasting isn't the only way to create caramelization. Instead of sauteeing veggies on high heat until just tender, take a few extra minutes and turn the heat to medium.

Use a cast iron or stainless steel pan (nonstick pans don't caramelize well because food needs to stick a bit to build that color and flavor) and add a thin layer of oil. Cooking veggies this way allows them to brown slowly and releases the natural sugars and umami. 

3) Don't move it or crowd it - This is the golden rule when you're cooking protein in a skillet. If you want it to brown, don't crowd the pan, even it means cooking your food in two batches. Crowding produces steam, which is the enemy of browning. Resist the urge to push and stir foods like shrimp and scallops. Let them cook until the bottom side is deep golden, then flip and repeat.

4) Braise It - This applies to stocks and stews. The goal of braising is to partially cover your protein with liquid and slowly cook it so the flavor can build before the texture becomes tough or chewy. 

Pro Tip: Never let the braising liquid come to a boil--this will cook the meat too fast. Fuss over your braise and adjust the heat until the liquid maintains a slow to moderate simmer. That means a few bubbles every 1 to 2 seconds.

I hope you got a bunch of new ideas from this post, but remember these key takeaways:

1) It is so do-able to leave yourself and anyone else drooling over your low-FODMAP meals with onion and garlic nowhere in sight. 

2) You probably don't need to permanently eliminate onion and garlic from your life. It's crucial to test both of these foods (members of the Oligosaccharide group, the "O" in FODMAP) by doing the reintroduction process.

If you want to explore more about starting the FODMAP Diet, there's a post for that: What are FODMAPs? The Complete Non-Techy Guide