Last time I wrote about all the things that are high FODMAP that get restricted during the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I usually like to talk more about things TO do as opposed to what you shouldn't but I just couldn't fit everything into one post! Today we're talking about what is included on the low-FODMAP diet!
There are lots of foods that are low-FODMAP so you can certainly have a balanced diet even during the elimination phase but please remember this diet is not meant to be long-term!! Once your symptoms significantly decrease, then you will start challenging or re-introducing the FODMAP sub-groups to find out which foods you can tolerate and how much. Being on the elimination part of the low-FODMAP diet long-term is associated with a change in gut bacteria so even though the idea of trialling foods that might cause symptoms is daunting, it's important for your gut health!
Below I have put together a low FODMAP list- you'll notice there is a variety of foods from the food groups that you can include! Meat and eggs are low-FODMAP so you don't have to worry about these for this diet, although you do need to watch what they are seasoned with as garlic and onions are high FODMAP.
Low FODMAP Food List
As you can see from the chart above, there are lots of foods that you can eat on the low-FODMAP diet! This is not an all-inclusive list so if you are looking into the low-FODMAP diet and you don't have the Monash University FODMAP App, it is well worth the $10 investment! That money goes towards testing more foods for their FODMAP content.
The low-FODMAP diet is quite complicated so I decided the only way for me to really help clients through this was to try it for myself! I don't have an IBS diagnosis so I did the elimination phase for two weeks more to find some of the struggles with this diet and how to address them. I'm going to be discussing strategies for still enjoying your food on the low-FODMAP diet below!
Tips for flavouring your food:
Instead of onions: When you don't have onions, cooking seems a bit tricky! In dishes like salads, you can use the green part of green onions or leeks (not the bulb!) or if you're wanting to use something for flavour building in a hot dish, you can use fennel! I hate the licorice flavour of raw fennel but when it's caramelized, you don't taste it!
Instead of garlic: since FODMAPs are water soluble, not fat soluble, you can use garlic infused olive oil! You can buy it, or you can sauté slices of garlic in oil, then remove the garlic before adding other ingredients. You can also make it yourself!
If you've never done Indian cooking you might not be familiar with Asafoetida, also known as hing. When it's cooked, it gives a similar flavour to garlic and onions so I used it in tomato sauce along with fennel and garlic olive oil since I'm a garlic lover! It is very pungent smelling but it mellows when it cooks.
Fresh and dried herbs including basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, sage, etc. are all low-FODMAP and are a great way to boost the flavour of your dishes!
Lemon and lime juice are low FODMAP so you can continue to use these in your dishes. Other acids like rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar can still be used but balsamic vinegar should be limited to 1 tbsp due to fructose content.
Vegetables and Fruit
There are lots of options for vegetables on the low FODMAP diet including greens, carrots, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash! Broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage are low FODMAP but if these sulfurous veggies bother you it's probably a good idea to exclude them.
For fruit, bananas, oranges, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe are all low FODMAP. This time of year berries are expensive but remember that frozen is also a great option.
Starches and breads:
For bread, there are two options: you can go with a wheat or spelt sourdough since the fermentation process uses up the FODMAP (fructans) in the bread, or you can go with a gluten-free bread. Check the ingredients though, as some brands use pear juice concentrate for example to sweeten them, which is high FODMAP. Also be careful with the sourdough as sometimes in the grocery store, sourdough is just regular bread with added acid to make it taste sour so it hasn't undergone fermentation. Rye sourdough is still high in fructans so avoid this one.
For other starches, there are so many options! Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, oats, corn, and potatoes can be included on the low FODMAP diet. You can include rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, and gluten-free pasta. You can include up to 1/2 cup regular pasta and 1/2 cup sweet potato as well as these portions are considered low FODMAP.
Meats and Dairy
Meats are low FODMAP so you don't have to worry about these and you can also include lactose-free milk, lactose-free yogurt, hard cheeses, and eggs!
As I was eating the low FODMAP diet, I went to a few different parties including a Halloween party! The biggest piece of advice I can give is to bring something you can enjoy- I brought salad rolls to one party with peanut sauce where I omitted the garlic and they were great! I would recommend not making them full sized though as they were a bit messy for a party....
There are alcoholic beverages that are low FODMAP including wine, beer, vodka, whiskey, and gin. Rum is high in fructose and many mixes used in drinks may be high FODMAP as well. Alcohol is an irritant to the gut, however; so you may not want to have very much of this.
Eating out is what I found to be the most difficult but you can order a la carte at many restaurants and ask for the sauces with garlic and onions omitted, for example.
I hope this helps you to figure out what you can eat on a low FODMAP diet! In my coming posts I'll be showing you how to swap ingredients in a recipe to make it low FODMAP and I'll be discussing meal ideas and recipes with a focus on vegetarian and vegan diets since they are more difficult than general omnivore diets!