Low FODMAP: A non-restrictive eating plan to help the gut, SIBO, endo and bloating

Low FODMAP: A non-restrictive eating plan to help the gut, SIBO, endo and bloating

December was a rough month for me. My cycle was terribly painful and I took so much 800mg of motrin that it severely irritated my gut and digestion. I was getting ready to avoid foods high in histamine which felt so depressing because it is so restrictive and virtually impossible to eat anything. I ordered anti histamine supplements but it didn’t make much of a difference in the bloating. 

I reached out to Katie Edmonds, Certified Nutritional Therapist and author of the 4-Week Endometriosis Diet Plan @Heal.Endo and she recommended a low fodmap eating plan on January 5th. It’s been three weeks, I’m no longer as bloated, it helped the pain and fullness that I experience up until ovulation and I lost seven pounds. The funny part is that I’m eating more now than before. I start my day with a big breakfast- usually 2 sautéed baby potatoes, kale, broccoli and an egg white scrambled together with avocado oil. It is delicious!  For the most part, I keep nuts and coconut to the minimum, but I’m happy to say a little bit of peanut butter doesn’t affect me. I’m sharing this photo of the endo belly I've had off and on most of my life. I cried so much when I saw this image because I eat so healthy and couldn't understand why I continued to be so bloated. The picture of me in the red bathing suit was taken yesterday, January 28th. Both photos are unedited. Cutting out small things like onions, garlic, honey, ripe bananas, dried fruit, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts has tremendously helped the pain and bloating.

My friends and family know that I complain of the bloating daily, and this has been the first time in a long time that I feel good in a bathing suit without feeling bloated and stuffed. 

If you struggle with gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), then you might want to consider trying a Low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. The acronym is used to classify a group of short-chain carbohydrates that, if poorly digested, ferment in the lower part of the large intestine. The fermentation process draws in water and produces carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane gas, which causes the intestine to stretch and expand. This can result in uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as pain, bloating, constipation, gas and other related symptoms.

Following a low FODMAP diet can significantly reduce gastrointestinal symptoms. Numerous studies show that a low FODMAP diet has an overall average success rate with 68%-76% of patients. It can also be helpful in treating gut related histamine intolerance. By eliminating high FODMAP foods, which feed the bacteria that are producing histamine, as well as eliminating high histamine foods, histamine levels can be greatly reduced. In fact, a 2016 study on a low FODMAP diet for IBS patients, showed an improvement in digestive symptoms as well as an eightfold reduction in histamine levels in the low FODMAP group.

The low FODMAP diet consists of three phases.

The first phase involves eliminating all high FODMAP foods and lasts for three to eight weeks. This phase is extremely restrictive, so its important to note that it’s not meant to be followed long term.

During the second phase, high FODMAP foods are reintroduced one at a time to see which foods trigger symptoms. Every three days a new food can be introduced.

The third phase consists of an adapted FODMAP diet. Once trigger foods have been identified, you can personalize your diet to keep symptoms to a minimum.

Below is a list of some low and high FODMAP foods.

Low FODMAP Foods:

Fruits: Avocado, unripe bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, olives, oranges, papaya, plantains, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries

Protein: eggs, fresh grass fed organic meat and poultry, fish and shellfish 

Vegetables: Arugula, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, corn, eggplant, fennel, green beans, kale, lettuce, parsley, parsnip, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnut, zucchini

Grains: Amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet oats, quinoa and other gluten free grains

Dairy and Alternatives: Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, butter, hard or aged cheeses

Nuts, Seeds and Legumes: Almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Oils: Avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil

Herbs and Spices: Basil, chives, chili, cinnamon, cilantro, cumin, fennel, ginger, lemongrass, mustard, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, saffron, tarragon, turmeric, oregano and wasabi powder

Sweeteners: glucose, maple syrup, stevia

Beverages: Black tea, chamomile tea, coffee, green tea,, white tea, water

Note: while coffee and caffeinated teas are low FODMAP, caffeine itself can be a trigger for those with IBS.

Usually if I’m uncertain if something is low FODMAP I Google and ask. Three ounces or less of dark chocolate is considered low FODMAP. 

High FODMAP Foods To Avoid:

Wheat, garlic, onion, cow’s milk and apples are most triggering. Here is a more in depth list:

Fruits: Apples, ripe bananas, pineapple, apricots, figs, dates, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranate, watermelon, canned fruit, dried fruit

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots, snow peas, sugar snap peas

Grains: Barley, rye, spelt, wheat

Dairy and Alternatives: Cow’s milk, buttermilk, cream, custard, ice cream, margarine, soft cheeses, soy milk, yogurt

Nuts, Seeds and Legumes: Cashews, pistachios, baked beans, black-eyed peas, butter beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, split peas

Sweeteners: Agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt