What even is FODMAP?
You guys may have seen me posting about FODMAP on my instagram story. I'll start by saying it is not really a "diet"and it is not some kind of a fad weight-loss scheme, but it is more of an experiment. I WOULD NOT recommend doing this unless under the guidance of a dietitian or nutritionist.
I have always eaten a fairly clean diet. I am pescatarian (no white or red meat) and I don't have any dairy in my diet (besides the occasional cheese and chocolate!) I have always been fairly consistent with tracking my macros and I eat the same types of foods (simply swapping fats, carbs and protein in the same quantities between meals). However, over the last few years I have been dealing with bloating and abdominal pains - despite my healthy diet. I've had blood tests to check for coeliac and other common food intolerances but they all came back showing nothing. Super frustrating!
I wanted to write about this becauseeeee... it actually doesn't matter how healthy we 'think' we are, there is always room for improvement! Self-diagnosing is the worst thing you can do, and all diets should be prescribed or looked at by a dietician or nutritionist. A lot of the time we only think about the end goal and our outer shell, without thinking of the damage we might be doing to our insides! A diet that works for your favourite fitness model while they are prepping to compete may not be healthy, sustainable or right for you personally! This last year my symptoms have been worse, and I have been bloated pretty much all the time - I thought this was just weight gain and an inability to lose those extra kilos on my stomach. But booyyyyy was I wrong!
I saw a dietician just over a week ago and she suggested FODMAP. Here is some info about FODMAP and my results so far!
WHAT EVEN IS FODMAP?
1 in 7 adults suffer from varying degrees and symptoms of IBS (so my bloating and abdominal cramps for example). Some short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) cannot be absorbed properly in gut, particularly in those with IBS, and can fire up those symptoms!
There are 4 different types of these short-chain carbohydrates, but the individual may only be intolerant to one. Avoiding this group of foods can significantly reduce all those unpleasant symptoms, so what do we do? We eliminate all four and slowly re-introduce to see what the culprit is!
WHAT DOES FODMAP STAND FOR? Fermentable (Process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrate to produce gases)
Oligosaccharides (Fructans & GOS - found in foods such as wheat, rye, onions, garlic and legumes/pulses)
Disaccharides (Lactose - found in dairy products like milk, soft cheeses and yogurts)
Monosaccharides (Fructose - found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups, etc.)
Polyols (Sorbitol & Mannitol - Found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners).
These things occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, but also appear in artificial sweeteners and cheeses etc. This can make it quite confusing during the elimination phase (4 weeks) where you must avoid all of these foods. For example, during this phase you must eliminate things like apples, avocado, sweet potato, honey, onion, garlic etc - things that ARE healthy foods. When I first saw the list I nearly cried haha. You can check it out (and have a laugh) here: https://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/
CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS
I have a history with eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food. The feeling of walking into the supermarket and not being able to eat a lot of the things in there, despite really wanting them, did make me feel like I was back in those days. This was a little scary if I'm honest.
Tracking my meals on my MyFitnessPal is super critical, because I can make sure I am still hitting my macros and taking in the same amount of calories as I was before - so my body still has the fuel it needs and my training/energy levels don't take a hit!
Again, I wouldn't recommend trying the FODMAP diet without instruction by a dietician.
It has been a bit of struggle when I am caught in a situation without appropriate food - ie. at work or out with friends. The key is to be prepared with FODMAP-friendly snacks that can tie you over to your next meal!
WHAT CAN I EAT?
Avoiding gluten means I can still eat gluten-free breads and pastas, though I am trying to avoid processed foods as much as possible, purely because reading ingredient lists in the supermarket is just tedious. I have actually found myself getting more creative and using more vegetables than I usually would. A lot of sauces etc are high FODMAP - so salads help to add a little flavour to my meals. I created a simple dressing that I am using on pretty much everything and will probably continue to do so after the diet. I'll include that with my meals down below.
THANK GOD I can have potatoes haha. I have really only had to make a few tweaks and get a bit more creative when I have certain food cravings. The other night I really needed French fries, so off I went to Coles and bought some potatoes to slice up and bake with a little olive oil, sea salt and rosemary.
EASY FODMAP DRESSING 1 Tbsp Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Kikkoman) 1 Tbsp 100% Pure Maple Syrup
TZATZIKI STYLE SAUCE 4 Tbsp Lactose Free Greek Yoghurt 1 Squeeze of Lemon Dill (keep adding till your are happy with flavour)
I have posted this recipe on my blog before, I just swapped the coconut for peanuts, and the honey for maple syrup. Get the recipe here: YUMM
RESULTS SO FAR...
I didn't realise how bloated I have been all year! My stomach is flat again and I just feel lighter. I have lost 2 kilos so far, though I haven't really been indulging in any cheat meals that exceed my macros. I would normally drink carbonated drinks and kombucha but I have replaced this with SO much water (usually with lemon and cucumber) and my skin looks great too.
I am excited to start reintroducing things so I can add a little more variety to my diet. The first week has been a struggle but like any big change, it just takes a little getting used to!
I'll do a wrap up blog when I have finished the month - please let me know via instagram if you have any questions or feedback :)