Your Gluten Free Recovery guide-Part 3: The low fodmap diet and why you may need to go on it

What is fodmap?

Fodmap stands for : “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols“. I know, quite a mouthful. But what does it mean?! They are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found naturally in food or added to food. It includes fructose, lactose, polyols (such as sorbitol and mannitol, xylitol).

These High Fodmap foods are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and pass through to the large intestine where they ferment and cause a buildup of gas. They then generate osmosis (attract water into the large intestine) which can result in affected bowel movements.

High Fodmap foods can cause excessive wind, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Basically all very unpleasant symptoms! 

restrict then reintroduce

The idea is to go on a Low Fodmap diet for a few weeks and only eat the foods listed as ‘safe’ on the low Fodmap diet. An app can be installed on your phone to help with this, created by Monash university. 
Green light foods are safe, red light foods are to be avoided, yellow light foods are to treated with caution. A lot of the foods require portion control. So for example blueberries are on the Low Fodmap list but it is recommended that one only have 20 at a time in one serving. In 3 hours or later during the day, you could have another serving of 20 if you like, but the idea is to limit serving sizes at any given time. After a few weeks of only eating Low Fodmap foods, the idea is to re introduce the foods on the High list. {More information can be found by searching “Low Fodmap reintroduction stage”.}
It is not a diet for life, but rather a diet that is supposed to help reduce the symptoms of IBS and discover which foods are triggers for you. Each person will be different. 

I started the Low Fodmap diet in August 2016. One of the first things I went off was garlic. Next was onion. Two things I cooked with almost everyday. It was very difficult. I was on the FODMAP diet for at least a year and a half in total -including reintroduction.

I’m still not 100% sure why some people still continue to have digestive issues even once being diagnosed with gluten intolerance /celiac and removing it from their diet. Some people, like myself, just have very sensitive guts and once removing gluten from my diet, I did find instant relief but after about a year I started to react to things I had never had a problem with before. Due to the damage caused by gluten, I developed a leaky gut which lead to multiple health issues and digestive issues. Anything that required a lot of time to digest or created fermentation (the Fodmap foods) affected me. It was only after a year and a half of going through EVERY single food and reintroducing them again one at a time, that I eventually discovered what foods affect me, and I also gave my gut the break it needed to heal.

The Fodmap diet helped heal my leaky gut

Going on the Fodmap diet gave my digestive system a chance to recover as cutting out all the foods that were causing digestive issues, it lessened the load and stress on my system. If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 of my “Your Gluten free guide to recovery”-I highly recommend you do to get a background story of how gluten, leaky gut and fodmap are all connected.

There are still foods to this day I react to and always will. All Grains (except oddly enough rice flour in baked goods), quinoa, all crusiferious vegetables( broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), legumes and beans and red bell pepper and butternut.

However, I am grateful for the fodmap diet, although it was a year and a half of hell and so very unpleasant, I can honestly say that NOW, I am so much healthier because I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

how do I know if I need to go onto the fodmap diet?

If you have gone off gluten and have been off for some time but are still having digestive issues, I would suggest you speak to your health care practitioner and get a recommendation to see someone who can assist you with starting on the Fodmap diet. I did not see anyone professionally, I did it on my own. But It is a very difficult diet and for some people, they may benefit more from a professional assisting them.

suggestions:

  • Keep a food diary of everything you eat during the day and write down your symptoms as they crop up. Yes, it is tedious, but it really helps to determine patterns and work out what could be causing your issues. Remember that what you ate 3 days ago might only affect you today. Some foods take a few hours to work through the digestive tract, others up to a day or even two days. So what symptoms you have today might not necessarily be from the food you ate today.
  • Avoid foods that cause triggers, no matter how much you enjoy them. In the end listen to your body, it is telling you that whatever you are reacting to, is not doing you any good.


Note: I am not qualified in medicine or nutrition. I speak from personal experience only in the aim of helping others. As always, consult the relevant healthcare practitioner regarding any health related issues/supplements/treatment. Please read my disclaimer on my blog should you want more information

Published by Bonnie

Hello. My name is Bonnie. Welcome to my page. I have been an avid baker for about 20 years. Of those years, seven have been gluten-free baking. I discovered I had a chronic intolerance to gluten and began experimenting with converting my all time favorite recipes into gluten-free ones. I also have developed my own recipe repertoire. I am married and have two children. My husband and son are not gluten intolerant but my daughter is. She has also been the motivation for persevering in creating recipes we both can enjoy. My journey has taught me so much and I know many others can benefit from my experience. My hope is that you will find something you can order that you have missed and longed for being gluten intolerant or celiac. Or perhaps you just want a healthier option as I also offer alternatives to some of my orders such as sugar free, grain free and low carb. I share my experience and story in more detail on my Instagram page. (@bonniesGFbakery) Please feel free to follow me there. Located in Somerset West, Western cape, South Africa. I deliver to the Helderberg basin area which includes Somerset West, Gordans Bay and Strand.

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