5 Tips for Getting Started on the Low FODMAP Diet
Getting started on the low FODMAP diet can be very overwhelming especially if you do not have the right support. Not only is it hard enough getting through each day with uncomfortable and often distressing gut symptoms, but then you have the added stress of trying to learn all about FODMAP’s and what foods you can actually eat. I hope with these 5 tips I can help take some of the stress away and make starting the low FODMAP diet easier for you.
1. Talk to your doctor
The first step before starting the low FODMAP diet is to consult with your doctor if you have not done so already. It is really important to screen for any underlying conditions which could be the root cause of your gut symptoms. Several conditions present with similar symptoms including coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer and endometriosis. I would also highly recommend booking an appointment with a Monash University FODMAP trained dietitian as they will be able to assess whether the low FODMAP diet is right for you and give you more personalised support to ensure the diet does not compromise your nutritional status and overall health.
2. Consider the IBS basics before starting the low FODMAP diet
For some people basic IBS dietary strategies can help to minimise gut symptoms without the need for the low FODMAP diet. The basics include focusing on a more regular eating pattern, avoiding large meals, eating slowly, modifying fibre intake (both the amount and type of fibre), limiting fatty foods and potentially spicy foods, increasing fluids and reducing caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
3. Understand the 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet
The low FODMAP diet is a 3 step process to help you work out your IBS triggers. It is not designed to be a long-term diet. The first step is the low FODMAP diet where you substitute high FODMAP foods for low FODMAP alternatives for 2-6 weeks. The second step is FODMAP reintroduction were you complete structured food challenges to determine which foods and FODMAP groups are triggering your symptoms. This step normally takes around 6-8 weeks to complete. The third step is FODMAP personalisation where you reintroduce FODMAP foods which were well tolerated and only avoid those that trigger symptoms.
4. Learn what foods including serving sizes are suitable to eat on the low FODMAP diet
Initially the hardest part of the low FODMAP diet is trying to wrap your head around what foods are suitable to eat. It is also important to note that several foods that do contain FODMAPs will have safe serving sizes e.g. 10 almonds are considered low FODMAP, whilst 20 almonds are considered high FODMAP. My low FODMAP shopping guide has been designed to help you feel more confident in knowing what foods are suitable to eat during the first step of the low FODMAP diet. I would also highly recommend downloading the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App.
5. Start meal planning and make a shopping list
To make it easier to follow the low FODMAP diet it is helpful to spend some time before you start planning out a basic meal plan with suitable meal and snack options. Once you have done this write a shopping list with all your low FODMAP staples and get shopping. If you are struggling with meal and snack ideas check out Monash University, FODMAP Friendly and FODMAP Everyday for some recipe inspiration.
If you would like more personalised support to help you navigate the low FODMAP diet for either yourself or your child please give us a call on 0403 742 842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org