Chapter 2 - How it Works: The FODMAP Elimination and Reintroduction Phases Explained
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How the FODMAP Diet Works
The FODMAP diet is a temporary learning diet. The goal is NOT long-term restriction, but to learn what types of FODMAPs trigger your symptoms, and which ones don’t.
Most people are not sensitive to every type of FODMAP. And not only that, most people can tolerate a variety of high-FODMAP foods in small or moderate servings. By following the FODMAP Diet, you’ll learn your personal triggers and tolerance levels.
The FODMAP Diet is broken down into three phases:
Phase One: Elimination
In the FODMAP elimination phase, you spend 4-8 weeks avoiding all high-FODMAP foods. The main goal is to see if FODMAPs are actually causing your problems. So if you take them away and you start feeling a whole lot better, you know that FODMAPs are probably the reason.
Phase Two: Reintroduction
In the FODMAP reintroduction phase, also called the challenge phase, you begin to systematically test your personal tolerance to each FODMAP category, one by one, to see which ones are causing the problems.
For most people, it’s just a few FODMAPs that are causing most of the trouble. One person may have garlic and onion as a major trigger, while another person may be able to tolerate garlic and onion just fine, but get all twisted by peaches and plums. It varies from person to person.
Learn More: Watch our video, “The Complete Guide to FODMAP Reintroduction.”
Phase Three: Maintenance
Now it’s time to add back all the foods you can tolerate based on what you learned in the reintroduction phase. The overall goal is to live as unrestricted a life as you can, bringing back foods in the categories you tolerate, while avoiding the ones that specifically trigger your symptoms.
The maintenance phase can be done casually, according to your schedule and your body’s responses, and is much more relaxed than the first two phases.
By bringing back foods in the categories you tolerate, and experimenting with frequency and various combinations, you develop your new, personal lifetime eating style.
To see what I REALLY eat in a typical day in the FODMAP Maintenance Phase, check out this video.
Other Factors That Affect Your Results on the FODMAP Diet
As you dive into the FODMAP Diet and start feeling better, you’ll quickly become aware of other factors that affect your symptoms--for better or worse.
Take note of the following so you can change and tweak your habits and feel your absolute best:
Portion size: You may be able to tolerate a smaller portion of a high-FODMAP food, but have adverse reactions to too much of it.
Frequency of meals: Some people need smaller, more frequent meals, and others need three square meals a day. What works best for you?
Time of day: Do larger meals, or specific types of foods bother you, depending on when you consume them? It may be time to adjust your meals.
Stress: Not just the short-term stressors in our lives, but chronic stress can play a huge factor as well. Are you taking care of your whole body?
Exercise: Moving your body in gentle and thoughtful ways, or adding more regular exercise in a method that you love, can help regulate digestion.
Hormonal fluctuations: Tracking your symptoms throughout an entire month can help you pinpoint if your cycle may be to blame.
Hydration: Are you drinking enough water? Or are those cans of yummy bubbly water bothering your bloat?
Caffeine: Coffee and tea can affect different people in different ways. Is it contributing to your intestinal distress?
Low-FODMAP but still irritating foods: Cruciferous veggies, even if they’re low-FODMAP, can still cause gas and bloating. Same with greasy, heavy foods. Notice your own sensitivities.
Now that you’ve got the process down, we’re getting to the heart of the matter in Chapter 3: All the belly-loving foods you’ll be eating on the FODMAP Diet!
Click the image to continue on to Chapter Three!