Our family has a new way of eating – at least for a few months, so I wanted to take a moment to give an introduction to the low FODMAP diet for digestive issues? Why bring it up here on Meaningful Mama? I have not only wanted to make Meaningful Mama a great resource for others, but I also want to share our story, in hopes that it will help others. There might be other families that read my blog that have digestive issues. I can actually pretty much guarantee that.
Maybe you can relate to our story. This might be a lightbulb to a solution to issues within your family. Perhaps the recipes begin to share on Meaningful Mama will become a great resource for you. I have no intention to become a full on food or low FODMAP food blogger. I just want to be able to not only share our stories but also our recipes that are helping us thrive in this new diet.
There are amazing low FODMAP resources, so I’m not going to go into great depths. I would say head over to A Little Bit Yummy for a more thorough look at the low FODMAP diet. My post is meant to share our store and give a brief look into the diet. Also, I want you to understand why you will see more low FODMAP recipes here on my site.
Our Story about Digestive Issues
My son has some pretty clear digestive issues. My husband and I only recently became aware of the extent of the problem, which made us seek out a pediatric GI specialist. We went through many hours of testing – stool sample, blood tests, a breath test, and a sweat test.
The results came back. My son’s small intestine was not processing fructose like it should. This results in constipation for him. I’ll explain that a bit more later.
Then there is my daughter. She has constant headaches and sometimes migraines. She is actually home today because she was up throwing up in the middle of the night because of a migraine. She also has had digestion and constipation issues from birth. Sensory processing issues are another component of her story as well as some explosive anger problems.
In my research and meeting with a naturopath, I have a deeper understanding of the gut and how it impacts behavior. We decided it would be a good idea to go through the same GI testing with my daughter. The results are not in yet.
Talking to the GI doctor, naturopath at that clinic as well as the nutritionist, we decided it would be best to put her on the low FODMAP diet even before we know the results.
I have my own issues. I am dealing with mild hyperthyroid problems. My own doctor has suggested going on a gluten free diet.
To avoid being a short order cook, we are all doing this diet together for three months – the suggested time before trying to re-introduce foods back into our system.
An Introduction to the Low FODMAP Diet for Digestive Issues
FODMAPs are a small chain of carbohydrates that the small intestine can have a hard time absorbing. They are found in a variety of foods – certain fruits, vegetables, beans, wheat, sweeteners and more. The hardest for us to cut out, I believe, will be onions and garlic. Yup, those contain FODMAPs too. Eek! FODMAPS pull water into the intestines like a a water balloon.
The low FODMAP diet is gluten free, and eliminates lactose but not all dairy. That said, everything that is labeled “gluten free” is not okay for this diet. Learning to read labels well becomes a must.
The goal of the low FODMAP 3 month elimination diet is intended to remove FODMAP rich foods in order to determine if those foods are the catalyst for personal GI symptoms.
Symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption
Know Your Foods!
I want to provide a quick look at foods within the low FODMAP diet. This is not an extensive list, but I thought I would give you an idea of how to eat. As you can see, there are things that are allowed and not allowed for each food category. Again – reading labels is a must! I keep a print out of all the hidden names to look for within labels.
For a more extensive list see here. Allowed portion sizes vary, so make sure to look that up as well.
What is Not Allowed on a Low FODMAP Diet?
Dairy Products (Lactose): milk, ice cream, cream cheese, milk powder, custard, yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, evaporated milk
Animal Proteins: Avoid most sausage and deli meat as it is often made with onions and garlic.
Fruits: apples, boysenberry, cherries, figs, mango, pears, tamarillo, watermelon
Vegetables: artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, peas, soybeans, kidney beans, celery, cauliflower, mushrooms
Grains: rye, wheat, barley, cous cous, bran, spelt flour
Nuts & Seeds: pistachios, cashews
Legumes: borlotti beans, mature soybeans (most soy milk & soy flour), baked beans, black beans, fava beans, kidney beans, navy beans, split peas
Sweeteners: honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, sobital, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol
Beverages: sodas, some teas (oolong, chamomile, fennel)
What is Allowed on a Low FODMAP Diet?
Dairy Products: lactose-free milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk a variety of hard and semi-soft cheeses, lactose free yogurt
Animal Proteins: beef, chicken, fish, egg, pork, lamb, tuna (canned), tofu (firm) – Two items were OK’d by my nutritionist: Applegate Chicken & Sage Breakfast Sausage – Hormel Natural Smoked Deli Turkey. Applegate might have other approved deli meats. Just read the label.
Fruits: banana (not ripe), blueberries, cantaloupe, coconut, clementine, dragonfruit, 10-15 grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, papaya, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, starfruit, strawberries
Vegetables: arugula, bamboo shoots, box choy, bean sprouts, butternut squash, chives, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, corn, eggplant, green beans, kale, ginger, potato, lettuces (most), lentils, olives, parsnips, pumpkin, spinach, swiss chard, tomato, zucchini
Grains: some gluten free bread, some gluten free pasta, millet, oats, rice, rice cakes, quinoa, quinoa flakes, slow leavened sourdough wheat or spelt bread, soba noodles, polenta, corn tortillas
Nuts & Seeds: almonds, brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, chia seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts
Legumes: drained and rinses canned chipeas, edamame, dried and rinsed canned lentils, firm tofu, tempeh
Sweeteners: white sugar, brown sugar, pure maple syrup, stevia, palm sugar, raw sugar, rice malt syrup, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla
Beverages: coffee, 100% cranberry juice, some teas (black, green, peppermint & white), water
Pitfalls and Tips for a Low FODMAP Diet
- The best advice I’ve been given for doing a special diet is to think of what your family would normally eat and figure out how to make it low FODMAP.
- Garlic & Onion are NOT allowed. However, garlic & onion infused into olive oil is allowed. You can buy garlic infused olive oil (affiliate link) that is fabulous or make your own. Just sauté garlic and/or onion in olive oil and then remove all the chunks prior to eating. This is a great way to get flavor into a recipe.
- AVOID anything with “natural flavors.” These foods often contain onion and garlic.
- Look for onion and garlic powder on labels. Avoid it!
- Other things to avoid on labels: agave syrup, all-puprose flour, bulgur wheat, chicory root extract, crystalline fructose, dry milk solids, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), fructose and fructose Solids, fruit juice concentrate, glycerin/glycerol, goat’s milk, high frructos ecorn syrup, honey, inulin, isomalt, lactitol, lactulose, kamut, maltitol, miso, molasses, natural flavors, polydextrose, sorbitol, textured begetable protein, tomato paste, wheat, wheat berries, xylitol
- Pay attention to portion sizes. These are important!
- A great place to buy low FODMAP products, especially sauces & dressings, is www.fodyfoods.com
- Be careful with condiments and sauce. Ketchup often contains onion and garlic powders. Dressings definitely have those things. Most mayo also has things to avoid. Taco seasoning is another thing I need to make homemade now. If you haven’t caught on yet, read the label! 🙂
An Introduction to the Low FODMAP Diet for Digestive Issues
You have now had an introduction to the low FODMAP diet for digestive issues. I’ll be creating some great recipes if you are also following this diet. If not, don’t shy away from my new recipes. There are easy ways to bring the gluten or seasonings back in to the food.
Thanks for letting me share bits and pieces of our lives with you. It’s quite a journey, isn’t it?