Q and A Sunday October 11, 2015

It’s Sunday!  What does that mean?  Brunch with friends, relaxing with a book, sitting down with family for dinner, taking a walk with your dog or petting your cat, getting in some much needed yoga, being grateful for all the good in your life.  That sounds like a perfect Sunday to me :)  Sunday also means that it’s Q & A Sunday, a great time to learn from other great #FODMAPer questions.

When ever you see the image below on my social media channels, just ask your question below the image and check my blog every Sunday to see if I’ve answered your question.  Take this opportunity to read other fans’ questions as you will learn much about the low-FODMAP diet!

Here are today’s questions:

low fodmap q and a

Crystal Tan- Question:  “Is coffee suitable in a low fodmap diet?”  

Answer: The answer to your question is yes but please consider learning more about coffee and how disruptive it can be to your gut.  You can read a post of mine covering this topic!  “Why I Don’t Drink Coffee.”  I do want to note that not everyone responds to coffee the same way.  Some may find that just limiting the amount of coffee they consume or switching to decaf helps, or by limiting HIGH FODMAPs like regular milk or cream along with their coffee improves symptoms.  Here is a list of coffee suitable for the low-FODMAP diet:

  • Espresso, decaf with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Espresso, decaf, black
  • Espresso, regular, black
  • Espresso, regular with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, decaf with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, decaf, black
  • Instant, regular with low-FODMAP milk alternatives
  • Instant, regular, black

Angie Benson Harmon- Question: “Garlic and onions. How toxic are they to someone with IBS?”

Answer:  I would not say that garlic and onions are not toxic for people with IBS, but they certainly do cause unwanted symptoms and many health experts agree they may be the biggest contributor to gut symptoms in the Western diet since they’re found in so many foods.  For me, garlic and onions are the worst FODMAP culprit (followed by excess fructose).  These fructans are a type of oligosaccharide, the “O” in FODMAPs.  This carbohydrate as well as GOS are poorly digested by every human being because we lack the enzymes that help to break down and absorb the components of them into our bloodstream.  With garlic and onions I would say the thing you have to be cautious about is being proactive about knowing what’s in your food should you choose to eat out and understand the symptoms you might endure.

And more HELP for you #FODMAPers…

If you are diligent and become your own patient advocate, this diet may very well work for you.  Some quick tips:

  • Keep a notebook to take notes and write down questions
  • Bring my grocery list with you to the supermarket and out to restaurants
  • Use my food and symptom diary to keep track of all the foods and drinks you consume, as well as any symptoms. Whether you are working on the diet solo or with someone trained in the low-FODMAP diet, this diary will help you to better (and more swiftly) understand your triggers.
  • Download the Low-FODMAP Diet app from Monash University and please take the time to learn about using the traffic light system.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter!  Follow/like/comment on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter and Pinterest.

Have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to your questions!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Posted in IBS, Low FODMAP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Q and A Sunday October 4th – Low-FODMAP Diet

I remember when I first started the low-FODMAP diet and how confusing it was.  There was so much conflicting information online and in books about different foods, whether they were LOW or HIGH in FODMAPs, and the same went for servings.  So many others shared their frustration online about food, the diet, their symptoms, the social consequences, the doctors that told them IBS was “all in your head”, the medications or the wrong supplements they were taking.  Amid all the chaos I also found many of those same people later rejoicing about how well the diet worked for them, once they understood all the “ins and outs.”

On a daily basis I receive dozens of questions, and they are really good questions!  I really enjoy answering as many questions as I can and thought sharing them would be so helpful to you. Welcome to Q & A Sunday, with this post being the second installment (read last week’s post if you didn’t, you’ll find some great questions).

When ever you see the image below on my social media channels, just ask your question below the image and check my blog every Sunday to see if I’ve answered your question.  Take this opportunity to read other fans’ questions as you will learn much about the low-FODMAP diet!

So without further ado, here are two REALLY GOOD questions to which I’ve got great answers:

low fodmap q and a

Question –  Alexandra Ware: “Why does the Monash university app say that u can have soy sauce, one slice of white and wholemeal bread, biscuits etc when these things contain wheat?”

Answer:  The overall goal of during the Elimination Phase of the low-FODMAP diet is to reduce the load of HIGH FODMAPs consumed at each meal or across the day.  Then during the Challenge Phase, as advised by a FODMAP trained nutritionist or dietician, small amounts of FODMAP-containing foods are re-introduced through a series of “challenges.”  You can have the items you mentioned on the low-FODMAP diet but in specific servings. Having them in their specified servings ensures that you do not consume high amounts of FODMAPs.  Also do not get wheat confused with gluten.  This is a diet that negates high amounts of wheat, but it’s not a gluten-free diet, and the only people who need to absolutely stay away from wheat and gluten are people with celiac disease or other people who’ve been instructed by their doctors due to an auto-immune disease.

If you haven’t downloaded the Monash University’s Low FODMAP Diet app, I highly suggest doing so.  It’s great to have handy while you’re eating at a restaurant, shopping for foods or cooking at home.  With respect to wholemeal bread, take a look at this screenshot from the Monash app:

monash low fodmap

If you had pulled up wholemeal bread under the “Breads” list you would have just seen the red traffic light.  Don’t let the red traffic lights deter you.  Not all foods listed with red traffic lights are completely off-limits.  In this case, wholemeal bread is LOW in FODMAPs (Oligos-fructans and GOS) as long as you stick to one slice.

Amanda Leighton LaPointe- Question: “What do you do when stress, not food, sets off an attack?”  

Answer: This is a great question.  I’ve personally endured a few life events that have set me back emotionally, physically and mentally.  From a bike accident, to no longer competing in endurance sports, to IBS, two back surgeries and a family member who caused me great anxiety, I had my share of pain.  But then I had great pain and loss.  It was the hardest time in my life and it felt like someone threw a brick at my chest – that was when I lost my Mother in July of 2014.  She was my calm, my rock.  Not too long after she passed, I found out I was expecting our baby boy – a beautiful gift from my Mother I am sure.

The point of me sharing my own personal story is that life is hard and it’s like a roller coaster for everyone.  And if you have a digestive disorder it’s extra important to take care of your body, especially in times of great stress, pain or loss.  Your body needs you then the most as stress and anxiety can trigger symptoms.  Learn more about the Brain-Gut connection by downloading an infographic here.  Consider these tips for when stress sets off an attack:

*When you have to ‘go’, don’t delay! Get to “the john” ASAP.
*Avoid straining during a bowel movement; relax, take your time and try breathing long slow breaths like you would at yoga class.  Some call this “poop breathing.”

*Practice meditation.  Pick a time everyday that will work for you and give yourself 10-20 minutes of quiet time to breathe and think about all the things you are grateful for – and picture yourself healing your gut and IBS.  Picture yourself happy and comfortable.
*Make sure to do at least some physical activity (a short walk, workout at the gym, clean the house, park farther away from the store/work). Just moving can help relieve anxiety and help your bowels to function healthfully.
*Try peppermint or ginger tea and take a look at these foods to help relieve gas: 

And more…

If you are diligent and become your own patient advocate, this diet may very well work for you.  Some quick tips:

  • Keep a notebook to take notes and write down questions
  • Bring my grocery list with you to the supermarket and out to restaurants
  • Use my food and symptom diary to keep track of all the foods and drinks you consume, as well as any symptoms. Whether you are working on the diet solo or with someone trained in the low-FODMAP diet, this diary will help you to better (and more swiftly) understand your triggers.
  • Download the Low-FODMAP Diet app from Monash University and please take the time to learn about using the traffic light system.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter!  Follow/like/comment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to your questions!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Posted in IBS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low-FODMAP, Nut-Free Cranberry Bars!

I like doing things on my own especially if in the long run it will save me money, make me healthier and help me avoid a headache.  That’s where the term “Make-Ahead” comes into play with the low-FODMAP diet!  “Convenience bars” can be bought at the store, but you’ll find that by standing there for minutes on end, reading the tiny little print on the wrappers, that many of them are not low in FODMAPs.  Plus some cost way too much money (if you think about how many you may have in one week, it adds up!).

So making food ahead of time is probably one of the best things you can do to have a successful run with the low-FODMAP diet, and it also means less stress (which is good for your gut).  The recipe I am sharing today is very easy to make and it’s also good for anyone with a nut allergy or for kids needing nut-free snacks for school.

Bring these bars to school, to work, out shopping, traveling, to have before a workout, or to an event – sometimes you never really know if an event/party/get-together will have low-FODMAP food options.


low fodmap nut free cranberry bars


  • 2 cups old fashioned oats* (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats)
  • 1/2 cup rice krispie or organic rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ground and milled flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, preferably without added sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper
  3. Use the large bowl of your mixer to combine all of the dry ingredients and then a smaller bowl to combine the wet ingredients
  4. Combine the wet ingredients into the mixer and mix well
  5. Take the mixture and slowly use a spatula to spread it out evenly in the pan.
  6. Use a separate piece of parchment paper over top of the mixture and get a heavy book or other heavy flat object to press down evenly and firmly. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 16-18 minutes (don’t throw the top layer of parchment paper away).
  7. Once done, use the parchment paper and heavy object to squish down on the bars again.
  8. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet and find a spot in the refrigerator to let the pan cool for about 15-20 minutes.  This will allow you to easily cut the bars into any length and width you like and it will give the bars a slightly more chewy texture.  Leaving the pan to cool outside instead of the refrigerator is not recommended.

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Posted in FODMAP Diet, IBS, IBS Diet, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Vitamin D and Other Vitamins and Minerals

Great Vitamins for your guts!

Great Vitamins for your guts!

Did you know if you have IBS or IBD that you may be deficient in Vitamin D?  Vitamin D is a game-changer, or at least it was for me.  As soon as I started taking Vitamin D3, I started feeling better and had more energy!  There are a few steps you need to take in order to feel better when you have a digestive disorder, and Vitamin D is one very important step.

As we experience changes or abnormalities in our digestive patterns, our bodies cannot fully absorb dietary vitamin D.  Vitamin D strengthens our immune system and boosts immunity.  It also helps with depression.  Are you still listening dear FODMAP Life friend? :)

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: “Vitamin D supplementation could play a therapeutic role in the control of IBS...Vitamin D supplementation should be considered as a part of the therapeutic protocol in patients with IBS.”  If you aren’t taking Vitamin D, please keep reading!

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D serves several purposes which can help with IBS symptoms, here are just a few with regard to IBS and digestion:

  • Enhances the immune system and stimulates the development of white blood cells (remember 70%+ of our immune system lies in our gut!)
  • Helps reduce inflammation in the body
  • Increases calcium absorption

What are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?

If you don’t have enough Vitamin D and you suffer from IBD, you risk intestinal damage. The digestive tract of people with Crohn’s disease as well as Celiac disease cannot adequately absorb vitamin D.  If you have IBS and do not take Vitamin D, symptoms would not be as severe as the type of intestinal damage from Crohn’s or Celiac, but it could mean ongoing discomfort, pain, and some of the other symptoms you unfortunately know too well.

How to Test

Consider having your blood levels checked for any deficiencies in Vitamin D or other vitamins and nutrients (this goes for children as well).  You can ask your doctor for blood tests or order them online. These tests can help determine which vitamins a person lacks and those of which they are receiving enough naturally.  Vitamin and nutrition blood tests can also detect gluten, mineral, iron, calcium and other deficiencies.  Also, taking supplements without having blood levels checked isn’t recommended as one never knows exactly how much of a vitamin they are getting from food, and also in this case from the sun (see below).

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

If you have IBS and are trying out the low-FODMAP diet, try to have your blood levels checked and consider using Vitamin D3 instead of synthetic vitamin D2.  You will want to reach steady levels, so make time to see your doctor every three months to ensure you do.  An optimal range is 40-55 ng/ml.  Also depending on where you live and how much sun you receive, your doctor may ask you to take less in the summer and more in the winter.  If you live in Juneau, AK with the least amount of sun in the U.S. or in Iceland, you’ll need a good dose of Vitamin D year-round!

Your doctor may have you take up to 50,000 IUs per week to start.  Here is a more holistic approach to taking Vitamin D:

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 15 mcg (600 IU) per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease):60-80 mcg (2,400 IU – 3,200 IU), depending on your weekly dose of sunshine; use lower does plus 1/2 hour sunshine, 4 times/week. Over age 50: 100-150 mcg (4,000-6,000 IU per day, again depending on your weekly dose of sinshine)
  • Therapy for specific problems: 125 mg -200 mcg (5,000 – 8,000 IU) per day.  At this level of supplementation, blood levels should be tested and not exceed 80 ng/ml.

Getting Some Sun

Our skin makes Vitamin D after exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (so cool, right?).  In order to synthesize Vitamin D in the skin, sun exposure is suggested for at least a ½ hour before sunscreen is applied (unless a doctor has suggested otherwise).

A blurb image of a yellow catfish with its mouth wide open awaiting food. The catfish is surrounded by ripples on the water.

Natural, Low-FODMAP Sources of Vitamin D

  • Catfish – Super food source
  • Salmon (canned or pink, coho, sockeye cooked by dry heat) – great food sources
  • Flounder/sole (cooked by dry heat) – good food source
  • Herring (fresh), sardines (canned in oil), eggs (yolks or whole) – support food sources
  • Regular milk – as long as you do not malabsorb lactose you can have milk during the elimination and challenge phase of the low-FODMAP diet.


Vitamin D levels exceeding 100 ng/mL can be dangerous because the extra vitamin D triggers extra calcium absorption.  Symptoms include muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones. It may also increase risk for heart attack and stroke. That’s why it’s super important you don’t take too much Vitamin D.

Other Vitamins and Minerals

Having enough magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C are also vital to a healthy gut. Here the low-FODMAP foods that are natural sources to consider adding to your low-FODMAP regimen:

Magnesium – Green leafy vegetables like (spinach and Swiss chard), nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds). Avocados. Low-FODMAP foods:

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 420 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 750 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 1,000 mg per day

*If you increase your calcium without increasing magnesium, your body might not absorb enough magnesium.  It’s recommended to take magnesium at a different time than calcium.  If you have kidney disease you would need to be careful about not getting an excess of magnesium.

Zinc – Has been cited as helping those with leaky gut and Crohn’s disease and “that zinc supplementation can resolve permeability alterations in patients with Crohn’s disease in remission. Improving intestinal barrier function may contribute to reduce the risk of relapse in Crohn’s disease.  A deficiency in zinc can lead to diarrhea, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity.  Low-FODMAP foods: Oysters, Crab (Alaska King, Dungeness, Blue), braised/ground/top sirloin beef.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 11 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 24 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: 50-80 mg per day

*Calcium will interfere with zinc absorption if there’s an excess amount in diet/supplements.  High levels of iron supplementation can also interfere.  Loss of zinc can occur from heavy sweating, surgery, alcohol use and stress.

Calcium – If you know you do not malabsorb lactose, fat-free organic Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium.  Calcium will interfere with the absorption of zinc if there is excess in food or supplemental intake. 1,000-1,200 mg per day (chelated) is suggested before bedtime and between meals as there will be more acid in the stomach. Taking Vitamin A, C and D and magnesium are important in order to maximize calcium absorption.  Low-FODMAP foods: mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 800-1,000 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 1,000-1,200 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 1,400 mg per day

*In order to maximize absorption of calcium, an adequate amount of Vitamin D, A & C are needed, as well as magnesium.  Chelated calcium (calcium citrate) also helps.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A works as an antioxidant and also increases the production of cells which increase resistance to infection in your immune system, helping to keep your system functioning normally.  It’s needed for growth within the intestinal tract and for the absorption of calcium.  Too much Vitamin A can also be toxic so take no more than 5,000 international units (IU) per day.  Low-FODMAP foods: carrots, sweet potatoes (up to 1/2 cup), squash, dark green and leafy low-FODMAP veggies as well as egg yolks.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): DRI of 900 RAE per day (RAE value -retinol activity equivalent)
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 30,000 IU from carotenoids
  • Therapy for specific problems: 50,000 IU for chronic problems and 100,000 IU for 2 weeks for an acute issue 

*Alcohol use, a vitamin E deficiency, cortisone medications and a high iron intake can all decrease absorption of vitamin A.  Also when the body is ill or stressed to the max, it won’t store as much vitamin A.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful immune booster and increases whit blood cell activity in the immune system.  It can also cause gas, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.  It is a natural laxative so do not take more than what your doctor recommends (or generally more than 2,000 mg).  Take between breakfast and lunch on an empty stomach.  Take in the form of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate.  Low-FODMAP foods: red and yellow bell peppers, raw chopped kale, raw kiwis, raw strawberries cut in halves, raw chopped broccoli, raw navel oranges, berries, fresh raw pineapple, tomatoes.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 200 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 600 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 5,000 mg per day  

*Since Vitamin C moves fast throughout the body, consider taking it every four hours to maximize absorption.  Aging, alcohol, allergies, antibiotics, aspirin, birth control pills, cortisone, diabetes, environmental toxins, fever, estrogen, illness, smoking and stress can all decrease absorption or increase the need for Vitamin C.


US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8., Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease. Sturniolo GC1, Di Leo V, Ferronato A, D’Odorico A, D’Incà R.

Are You Taking Too Much Calcium, A or D? 

The Power of Nutrient Dense Food Patti Weller, C.C.N.

The information presented on this blog post is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Should you have any health care-related questions, call or see your physician or other health care provider promptly. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

Posted in IBS, IBS Diet, Uncategorized, Vitamins | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Your Facebook Questions Answered, Q and A Sunday – Low-FODMAP Diet

This post is dedicated to our Facebook fans!  A couple weeks ago I asked on Facebook:

“Tell me one thing you’d like to learn more about (the low-FODMAP diet) and I’ll choose ten comments to respond to via a blog post.”  There was a huge response, and many of the ten questions I chose did not come with simple explanations (as you all know perfectly well, this is certainly not a simple diet!).  Also, everyday I receive dozens of questions about the diet via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email.  So I felt it was a great opportunity to do something different and bring you the Low-FODMAP Diet Q & A Sunday.

low fodmap q and aWhen ever you see the image above on my social media channels, just ask your question below the image and check my blog every Sunday to see if I’ve answered your question.  Take this opportunity to read other fans’ questions as you will learn much about the low-FODMAP diet!

So without further ado, here are two REALLY GOOD questions to which I’ve got great answers:

Question 1: Rachel Wittman Cox- Question: “What is a good filling easy fodmap breakfast and how long do most people stay on it before noticing improvements?”

Answer:  I tend to go with eggs whites in the morning for some nice filling protein.  I’ll then add a low-FODMAP cheese like mozzarella, a low-FODMAP veggie like spinach and a piece of gluten-free toast with coconut oil or butter.  Other ideas are:

  • Gluten-free oats with 1 tbsp slivered almonds and 10-20 blueberries
  • Quinoa flakes with rice milk, 3/4 cup strawberries and 10 macadamia nut halves or other low-FODMAP nut.
  • Lactose-free yogurt with 10 raspberries, 1o walnut halves and a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • Gluten-free toast with 1 tablespoon sunflower, peanut or almond butter and two small, peeled kiwis.

To answer the other question, some people feel results in a couple days, some a couple of weeks.  Everyone is different, and it also depends how diligent you are about following the diet.  Thankfully up to 70% of people following the diet can find an improvement in symptoms (per research by Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Australia’s Monash University).

Gut health word cloud on a white background.

Question 2: Karen Hazlett – Question: “I know I can’t digest high fodmap foods but I have no idea why, medically speaking. Is there a known reason?”

Answer: Some people have trouble digesting FODMAPs due to the fact that FODMAPs ferment, causing gas/wind, bloating, diarrhea, distention and/or constipation. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine (your small intestine is supposed to absorb nutrients and minerals from food) and then are rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. The bacteria produces gas which plays a large role in the onslaught of symptoms.  The bacteria are basically eating FODMAP carbohydrates and then fermenting the sugar molecules.

Since fermentation causes gas it can make diarrhea worse or contribute to constipation. The methane gas that is produced can cause constipation while the hydrogen can increase GI motility.  What is GI motility?  It is defined by the movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it. When nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract do not function with their normal strength and coordination, a person develops symptoms related to motility problems.

These FODMAPs or small undigested remnants of oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols accumulate gases and cause what is called an osmotic effect.

FODMAPs are “osmotic” which means they cause water to be drawn into the intestines, leading to diarrhea.  Stool stays more watery than usual which leads to bloating, gas, diarrhea, and pain.

The food we eat is broken down by one or more enzymes which are chemicals that digest foods into energy for your cells.  In order for carbohydrate digestion to take place we need amylase.  Amylase is produced in the pancreas and the glands that make saliva.  As you chew, the amylase continues to break down carbohydrates throughout your digestive system. Amylase breaks down carbs into their individual sugars as they pass from the mouth to the stomach and the gut. The cells lining your gut can absorb them and distribute them to other parts of your body for energy.

Since FODMAPs aren’t completely digested in the small intestine like other carbs, they manage to pass through to the large intestine intact, instead of being absorbed in the gut and used for energy. Why does this happen?  It’s because we can’t break down FODMAPs (a) or we can’t absorb them in the small intestine (b):

(a) Amylase is the main enzyme responsible for starch digestion, and if the quantity of starch consumed is so high that not enough amylase is available to keep up with it, your gut may not digest everything. Some FODMAPs reach the large intestine intact because a person does not have the enzymes necessary to digest them. People who have lactose (the disaccharide “D”) intolerance have a deficiency of the enzyme lactase (needed to break down lactose down into simple sugars). Everyone reacts to raffinose (one of the oligosaccharides, the “O” in FODMAPs), because humans lack the enzyme to completely break it down.  Raffinose is a sugar present in sugar beet, cotton seed, and many grains. It is a trisaccharide containing glucose, galactose, and fructose units.

(b) Fructose (the monosaccharide “M” in FODMAPs) is a simple sugar and doesn’t need to be broken down further.  It is difficult to absorb, so it stays in the intestine instead of getting transported through the intestinal wall into the body.  So for instance, with fructose malabsorption there is an increased concentration of fructose in the entire intestine.  In order for fructose to be absorbed in healthy people, only about 25–50 g can be consumed per sitting. People with fructose malabsorption absorb less than 25 g per sitting.

Humans can produce small amounts of the enzymes needed to break up galacto-oligosaccharides and fructans into their individual subunits.  One person to the next may handle galacto-oligosaccharides and fructans differently.  As an example, you might be able to enjoy hummus and break down the galacto-oligosaccharides in it, but you may not be able to break down the fructans in the bread you used to dip in the hummus.  It might be the opposite for someone sitting next to you with IBS.  Our immune systems (for people with and people without IBS) handle food, outside pathogens and stress differently.  And to be very scientific:

Humans have a limited absorptive capacity for fructose since its absorption is an energy independent process and this capacity is quite variable [9, 10].

“Malabsorption of fructose generates an osmotic force which increases water influx into the lumen and then leads to rapid propulsion of bowel contents into the colon, which is then fermented and leads to production of gas.

Stomach / Guts / Small Intestine - Male anatomy of human organs - x-ray view

“The most common structural forms of fructan are inulin, levanare and geraminan. The human body has limited ability to break down these oligo- or polysaccharides in the small bowel and only absorbs 5 – 15% of fructan [22, 23]. The mechanism for malabsorption and intolerance is related to the lack of enzymes to fully hydrolyze glycosidic linkages in the complex polysaccharide, and therefore results in the malabsorbed fructans to be delivered to the colon, which are then fermented [24]. Furthermore, the small molecule of fructans draws more water into the intestine which can result in bloating and diarrhea [24].

“At least 70% of polyols are not absorbed in healthy individuals [29].

In our gastrointestinal tract, we have two primary types of bacteria called bacteroidetes and firmicutes. Bacteriodetes are good because they will eat carbs, protein and fat, but firmicutes eat mostly carbs and fiber. Research has found that people with IBS, (which is often a SIBO related condition) tend to have more firmicutes than bacteriodetes.  The more firmicutes one has in the gut, the more there is to ferment FODMAPS.  “Approximately 100 trillion bacterial cells live in the GI tract, mostly in the large intestine.  While colonic bacteria predominantly are from two bacterial phyla, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, there are about 400 species represented and the gut flora profile (type of bacteria and amounts of each type) is highly variable from one individual to another and even within individuals over time. Family members, however, share more similar gut flora than unrelated individuals.”

Then there is STRESS and did you know that stress can affect bacteria?  When you are going through a rough time like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or the ending of a relationship, the emotional stress you experience releases adrenal stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. Your brain gets worked over by these stress hormones as your vagus nerve gets stimulated. The brain-gut connection is this same vagus nerve that is involved with stress.  Your blood supply is reduced and therefore it’s harder for your body to properly digest foods and manage the balance of bacteria (a balance is essential for your gut-microbiome). Stress hurts your digestion, and poor digestion makes you feel more stressed.

And finally, please read this response from Jane G. Muir, PhD and Peter R. Gibson, MD in Gastroenterology and Hepatology July, 2013, The Low FODMAP Diet for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Other Gastrointestinal Disorders: “The topic of food intolerance is a challenging area of research, and more quality research is required. The success of the low FODMAP diet for control of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with IBS and the controversy surrounding gluten sensitivity have stimulated greater interest in dietary research. Besides carbohydrates, there are many other food components worthy of study. For example, dietary fat has been shown in acute studies to change visceral hypersensitivity. Naturally occurring chemicals are widespread in foods and can interact with receptors in the gut or have direct, possibly pharmacologic actions on the enteric nervous system and mast cells. Although dietary approaches that restrict natural salicylates, glutamates, and amines are currently in practice, few well-designed studies investigating the potential role of food chemicals in patients with functional gut disorders have been performed. Clearly, more work is required in this area.”

That’s it for this Sunday.  Don’t forget to follow me on social media an sign up for my newsletter!

Have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to your questions!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant


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10 Things FODMAPers Can Relate To…

That look of fear/confusion when starting the diet - ha ha!

That look of fear/confusion when starting the diet – ha ha!

Hi again all!

A change from recipes today…

A little while after learning about the low-FODMAP diet I wrote the below, ’10 Things FODMAPers Can Relate To’. In case you missed it, and because the FODMAP diet is receiving more and more awareness all the time, I thought I’d share it once again.

So, if you’ve followed, or are currently following the diet, you may be able to relate to some or all of the below (and hopefully have a giggle at them too!)

10 Things FODMAPers Can Relate To:

1. Starting out on the diet, looking at the list of ‘no’ foods and wondering what on earth you CAN eat.

2. Furiously Googling ‘(insert food)… fodmap?’ into your phone at a supermarket, hoping it will be in the ‘yes’ list and doing a mini celebration upon realising it is!*
*Or instead using the Monash University Low-FODMAP App, which makes life easy!

3. Proudly producing a meal to others and saying “it’s low-FODMAP you know” – only to receive blank/”yeah, so what?” expressions.

4. Being asked what FODMAP stands for umpteen times, and responding with…”errr really long and complicated words – to do with fibres”.

5. Going to a restaurant and looking for the meal with least FODMAPs, only to end up opting for the meal with the most…somehow.

6. Be impressed by the ‘free-from’ aisle in the supermarket, only to realise that a large proportion of the gluten-free foods still contain bloomin’ FODMAPS – ARRRRRR!

7. Going for an all you can eat knowing full well you will regret it and not caring one bit (until afterwards…).

8. Seeing high-FODMAP foods as the enemy  *boooooo hissssss*

9. Becoming a food-version of ‘Mr/Ms Gadget’ carrying around weird and wonderful foods with you ‘just in case’.

10. Having a far happier tum/knowing your body much better since becoming a low-FODMAPer (hopefully…) and all the meal planning/change of lifestyle being completely worth it :)

Feel free to add to the list! Anna. xo

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Some Last Minute Low-FODMAP Labor Day Tips!

Illustration composition Patriotic graphics for Labor day holiday, 3D text, American flag and balloons on white background

Quick Last Minute Low-FODMAP Labor Day Tips!

Are you going to a BBQ this Labor Day?  Here are some tips to help you through:

Having hamburgers or hot dogs?  Buy some gluten-free Udi’s hamburger buns or hot dog buns and bring them with you to all your weekend events.

These toppings for hamburgers and hot dogs are low in FODMAPs: ketchup (see below), mustard, chutney (1 tablespoon is LOW), relish (1 tablespoon is LOW), BBQ sauce (2 tablespoons – make sure it’s free of FODMAPs like onions and garlic), cheddar cheese, colby cheese and swiss cheese (all 2 slices).

Here are the serving amounts for ketchup:

Ketchup – (USA)- 1 serve sweetened with sucrose OR sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (2 sachets, 0.90 ounces or 26 grams) is HIGH.  1 sachet, 0.45 ounces or 13 grams of either kind is LOW. Tomato sauce (AUS) 1/2 serve to 1 serve is LOW.  Large quantities of tomato sauce (26 grams or 4 sachets) contains moderate amounts of Oligos-fructans, intake should be limited.

All meat is considered low in FODMAPs, unless the meat contains HIGH FODMAPs (ex: meatballs containing raisins or breadcrumbs – sausages can have breadcrumbs too).

Bored of water?  Freeze some strawberries and mint into an ice cube tray and add to your water!

Sweet corn is OK if you stick to a 1/2 of a cob.

Need to bring a dish?  Try this delicious BLT and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette by The Spicy RD!  *Scroll to the bottom for her notes on how to make it low-FODMAP.

Wanna have a drink?  Remember one drink for women and two drinks for men are the recommended safe limits.  You can enjoy some alcohol on the diet, so check out an older post of mine here to learn more.  Drink responsibly!

Make sure you check out my list of HIGH FODMAP Foods to Avoid and remember, if you end up having a food HIGH in FODMAPs, don’t beat yourself up about it, but don’t continue eating all HIGH FODMAP foods either.  Make note in your Food & Symptom Diary if you do experience any symptoms.  Do the best you can this weekend and focus on all the delicious LOW FODMAP foods life has to offer!





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Low-FODMAP Snacks for Back to School!

It’s back to school time and if you’re a mom or a dad with a child following the low-FODMAP diet, I have quite a few snack ideas for your little one!

Also my FODMAP Life Starter box is for sale and includes full and sample size products from some of the brands below (GoMacro, Justin’s, Glutino, Green Valley Organics plus Ian’s, Chebe, Uncle Harry’s).  It also includes my grocery list to make it super easy to go shopping or dine out, plus a Food & Symtpom Diary so you can keep track of everything your child eats/feels/experiences (very helpful when working with a doctor or FODMAP expert when you’re trying to understand food or environmental triggers) plus the box includes tips, recipes and coupons.

Get your box today for some awesome snacks for your little girl or guy!  Buy your FODMAP Life Starter Box here.  SORRY, SOLD OUT!

If your school has a ban on nuts, use the nut butter and nut cracker ideas for home, the weekends or family trips!  Here are your low-FODMAP snacks!

Smart Tips

Make sure your child stays hydrated with water and doesn’t go for a can of soda or fruit juice.  One glass (250 ml) of cranberry juice is LOW in FODMAPs, but apple, orange, fruit blends and tropical juices are HIGH in FODMAPs.

Let your child’s teacher or any child care provider know about the diet and discuss any upcoming class parties or events to make sure there are options.

If your child is old enough, let him or her put some the above snacks together!  This will help them to learn more about which foods are low-FODMAP.

Give your child a copy of my Grocery List to keep in their bag at all times.

Gastrointestinal issues can stunt growth in children, so be sure to work with a pediatric dietitian who is trained in the low-FODMAP diet. They can help you with the diet and work with your pediatrician to ensure there’s no other gastrointestinal issues or other health issues.

Happy Back to School!


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Low-FODMAP Recipes with Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs!

If you recently purchased my FODMAP Life Starter Box then you would be enjoying Ian’s Allergy-Friendly Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs right about now!  If you want to be a part of the next box, make sure to sign up for my email newsletter!

ian's gluten free panko

So getting back to Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs – my my these are so delicious.  I’ve used them in low-FODMAP dishes on fish and for chicken parmesan but there’s so many more things you can do with them!  Here’s some low-FODMAP ideas you can try for your next meal!

Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs do not have wheat or gluten, milk or casein, eggs or nuts!

Be sure to check out Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs on their website, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram!


Zucchini is low in FODMAPs.  Cut up a zucchini into quarters.  Scramble an egg and dip zucchini into the egg and then into a shallow bowl filled with Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs, black pepper and oregano.  Lightly fry in a pan with olive oil.  Pair with a lactose-free ranch dressing recipe (be sure to omit the garlic!).

Parmesan Crusted Chicken is so easy to make.  Try this recipe I found on Yummly and use Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs.  I would use a natural brand of mayonnaise like Sir Kensington instead of Hellmann’s (you don’t need soybean oil and modified corn starch in your mayo) but that’s just how I roll :)

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese is one of my favorites.  Try out my recipe and then sprinkle Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs on top!

Salmon Cakes – salmon like most proteins is low in FODMAPs (an example of a protein not low in FODMAPs would be sausage that has added FODMAPs like apples, raisins or meatballs with added breadcrumbs that are not wheat-free, gluten-free).  Salmon cakes are very easy to make and Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs make a great compliment.

salmon cakes FODMAP Life copy2

For the salmon cakes you will need:

  • 1/4 cup Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • green tips of two scallions
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 7 ounces lactose-free sour cream
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill

For the salmon cakes:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the salmon, green tips of scallions, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until coarsely chopped.
  2. Mix in the bread crumbs and form into 7-8 patties.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until opaque throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Top with a dollop of sour cream and finely chopped scallions. Serve with a side salad.

For the topping:

In your food processor combine dill, sour cream, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.  Pulse until blended and dollop onto salmon cakes.  Serve alone or with a side salad.

This recipe was originally written by Lauren Hendrickson and adapted to be low-FODMAP.

Buy Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs at your local natural foods store or here on Amazon!

Enjoy and let me know what you’ve made with your Ian’s Panko Breadcrumbs! ~Colleen


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The FODMAP Life Starter Box is Here!

fodmap friends review

@FODMAPFriends Shoshana was pretty happy to get her FODMAP Life Starter Box!

Check out the FODMAP Life Starter Box!

My email subscribers were the first to know about this box, and we’re already 50% sold out!  So if you are still not an email subscriber, sign up to get notified when our next box is ready!

SORRY, we are now SOLD OUT!

This box is perfect for anyone following the low-FODMAP diet because it has full and sample size products that have low-FODMAP ingredients, coupons for low-FODMAP products, my Grocery List and Food & Symptom Diary as well as recipes from medical nutrition therapist and FODMAP expert Patsy Catsos’ new co-authored book IBS-Free Recipes for the Whole Family (Available September 1, 2015 at major online retailers).


Quantities are Limited!

Shipping is free 

Thank you to @FODMAPFriends and to Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD for these awesome reviews!

“SOOOO STOKED to receive my FODMAPlife starter kit today from a super inspiring fellow fodmapper friend who I’ve met thru Instagram!!  I personally know how hard it was to get started and learn everything about this lifestyle. I wish I had this when I first started my diet to help me get started but better late than never😂 I am eating my @glutinofoods pretzels with@justins almond butter right now lol👏👏👏 Thank u Colleen for making fodmap awareness more accessible!!!”  @FODMAPFriends Shoshana Tuszer

“This thoughtfully assembled collection of products will get you off to a quick start, with great-tasting, lower-FODMAP alternatives to high-FODMAP staples such as bread, snacks and seasonings. Love the little booklet, with low-FODMAP food lists and tips–this will fit nicely in your purse or briefcase so you can bring it with you wherever you go.” Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, Co-author of 100 IBS-Free Recipes for the Whole Family (Available September 1, 2015 at major online retailers).

Be an Influencer and Help Others!

When you buy the FODMAP Life Starter Box you can help us by taking a survey (link to online survey included in the box).  Your feedback will be shared with our product sponsors and will help influence future boxes to provide you with more of the products and diet tools you love and need!

Here’s where you can find all the brands that have partnered with us!  Be sure to follow/like/love them on social media!

Website & Facebook Links

Thanks again for being a loyal fan of FODMAP Life.  Please let me know how I can be of more help to you in the future.  Please SHARE this email with friends and family who have IBS!

~ Colleen

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Udi’s Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Pizza Crust! Low-FODMAP

udi's GF pizza low fodmapOne of my favorites is Udi’s Pizza Crust!  You can find these in the freezer aisle, two to a pack.  Now there’s no reason to say you can’t find a FODMAP-friendly pizza when you can easily make your own!  Start off each pizza with a light drizzle of garlic-infused oil.  Here’s one recipe you can try this weekend or next week for dinner!

Find Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza Crusts (2 Pack) here

The Healthy Greek – cut up two fresh Roma tomatoes, spread them over the oiled crust (use garlic-infused oil if you have it or olive oil). Add at least 1 cup or more of fresh spinach.  Spread out a 1/4 cup of diced black olives.  Sprinkle a 1/2 TSP of dried oregano.  Sprinkle equal amounts of crumbled feta cheese and diced pieces of mozzarella cheese.  Bake according to directions on package.  

*If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, use canned, organic, with low or no sodium.  I like Muir Glen, Diced Tomatoes, no salt added.


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Low-FODMAP Smoothie Recipes

Mmm mm mmmm I just love smoothies.  They make you feel so good and they’re easy if you’re on the run.  Some quick tips before I go into recipes:

1) With smoothies you’ll be drinking from a straw.  Know that sometimes drinking from a straw can cause symptoms of gas or bloating.

2) If you’re consuming a smoothie because it’s easy and you’re on the run to get somewhere fast you still need to slowwww down and drink it slowly.

3) It’s best you make your own smoothie so as to avoid a fruit bomb – meaning too many servings of fruit at once.  When you want to make a smoothie low-FODMAP,  just add the equivalent of one fruit serving.

Keep in mind some smoothie shops add different types of sweeteners (remember avoid honey and agave and HIGH FODMAP fruit and fruit juices), unhealthy processed ingredients as well as milk products which can cause trouble if you malabsorb lactose.  Make sure you know exactly what’s in your smoothie!  Trust me, I’ve had a smoothie before (before I knew about the low-FODMAP diet) and I was far from home – don’t you know that I just made it to a restroom.

low-fodmap smoothie recipesLow-FODMAP Smoothie Recipes

When ever you want to add a protein source, I like to use Jay Robb’s Unflavored Protein Powder.  Buy it on Amazon here and have it ready at home for your next smoothie.

Lactose-free alternatives that you can swap in/out are: coconut milk (1/2 cup), lactose-free milk (up to 1 cup), soy milk (from soy protein, up to 1 cup), or lactose-free yogurt (one serving).  Hemp milk is another lactose-free alternative that was recently analyzed by Monash University for its FODMAP content!  You can enjoy up to one cup.

Take any of the combos below and simply blend all together until smooth:

Banana-Nut – 1/2 medium ripe banana, 5 frozen strawberries, walnuts -10 nut halves, ½ cup soy milk, 1 cup crushed ice.

Strawberry Morning -1/2 ripe banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup soy or coconut milk, 1/4 cup oats (quick, dry), 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract.

Blue Moon – 10 frozen blueberries, 1/2 medium ripe banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 cup soy or coconut milk, 1 cup crushed ice.

Peanut Butter Lover – 1/2 frozen ripe banana, 1/8 of an avocado, 2 tablespoons peanut butter (could also use other low-FODMAP nut or seed butters), ½ cup lactose-free yogurt (like Green Valley Organic’s), 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup crushed ice.

Shamrock Shake – 1/2 frozen ripe banana, 1/8 of an avocado, 1 to 2 romaine lettuce leaves or a handful of baby spinach, ½ cup lactose-free milk, ¼ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon alcohol-free peppermint extract.

Enjoy!  xo Colleen

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*These smoothie recipes have not been formerly analyzed for FODMAPs, however the servings used are low-FODMAP and the overall recipe should be low in FODMAPs.

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Beef Tacos: Low-FODMAP Recipe

Tasty Tacos - low-FODMAP style

Low-FODMAP tasty tacos!

Many Mexican dishes are automatically off the menu for FODMAPers; flour tortillas, enchiladas, burritos – but tacos, now they were made for us!! Yes, we can enjoy a good taco and that’s exactly what the following recipe is all about – taco time, in no time:

Ingredients (serves 2):
6 corn taco shells
250g mince beef
Spices – 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, pinch of chilli powder
1 bay leaf
2 handfuls of spinach
To top:
Cottage cheese 

Okay – let’s begin. In under 30 mins you’ll be sat crunching your way through some de-licious tacos.

1. Brown the mince. Once browned, add the spices and bay leaf, allowing the flavours to absorb into the mince. When cooked, have a quick taste to check that it’s to your spice-factor liking, adapting if necessary.
2. Line your taco shells with some spinach, add your beef taco mix, and finally, top with cottage cheese.
3. Crunch crunch crunch!

If you made the above for one person, rather than two, you might have some leftovers. Another great meal using the remaining mince is to bulk it out with wilted spinach – again, topped with cottage cheese when serving. THUMBS UP!

Happy crunching! xo

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Bunless Burgers: Low-FODMAP Recipe

Mmm mm homemade burgers – simple to make, delicious, extremely versatile, and the best bit? You know exactly what’s gone into them. I have to admit I was shocked by the ingredients in shop bought versions – flour, additives, more additives…GAH! Why?! No thanks, none of that – just the good stuff. I used ingredients that I already had in – the result…paprika burgers topped with feta, tomato and chives – all the best recipes are random ones after all! ;)

FullSizeRender (2)Ingredients (makes 4 good sized burgers):
500g beef mince (or alternative mince)
Smoked paprika (or alternative seasoning)
1 tomato, sliced
Crumbled feta cheese
Drizzle of olive oil

1. Break up the mince meat and add any desired extras – in my case, paprika. Mix together well, and then divide into four equal portions. Create ‘burger’ shapes.
2. Pop the burgers on a baking tray in a foil parcel – drizzle with olive oil, and add any extras – in my case, sliced tomato. Into the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked.
3. Pop the grill on, and add the burgers with the feta and chives – place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the feta has browned slightly.
4. Serve up with of sides choice – a side salad with some polenta chips, or potato salad, maybe? :)

Here’s some alternative low-FODMAP ingredients you could add…
Seasonings: Herbs (basil, mint, etc.), cumin, chilli.
Toppings: Sliced aubergine, pepper, mozzarella, camembert, cottage cheese, halloumi, olives.
Sauces: Mustard, mayonnaise.

Or you could always just have it as a conventional burger with a gluten-free bun – the options are endless!

How do you like yours? xo

Posted in FODMAP Diet, Gluten-Free, IBS, IBS Diet, Recipes, Weekend Eating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aubergine With Mozzarella And Tomato: Low-FODMAP Recipe

Aubergine With Mozzerella And Tomato

Aubergine With Mozzerella And Tomato

…Or ‘Aubergine Melts’ as BBC Good Food calls them… and melt in the mouth they do! Five ingredients (well, six actually – I added one more), with an approximate cooking time of 30 minutes…the perfect post-work dinner, especially in the summer months.

All you need (serves 1):
1 aubergine
A drizzle of olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices of mozzarella
Fresh basil
A drizzle of lemon juice

I adapted the recipe for one, and my method slightly varies from the original – see what suits!

Topped with crispy bacon

Topped with crispy bacon

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
2. Meanwhile, halve the aubergine lengthways and score with a knife so that you can drizzle the lemon juice and oil into the gaps.
3. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, or as long as possible so that the aubergine has softened nicely.
4. Finally, add the sliced tomato, mozzarella, and basil and pop back in the oven – finish off under the grill for that extra touch.
5. Serve with sides of choice.

If you’d like to include meat in the dish, adding grilled bacon works a treat.

I love aubergine cooked this way – so simple, so healthy…

and so delicious! xo

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Sabrina’s Story – IBS

I have met many people who have blogs and several more that do not.  No matter what, I wanted to make it easy for people to share their story, help spread awareness and give support for people living with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), celiac disease, diverticulitis, dysmotility, gastroparesis, intestinal lymphangiectasia, small bowel obstruction, whipple’s disease, and many more.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please send me at least 200 words, plus a photo and a short bio: colleen @ boncalme . com

Your Story: Sabrina Khan

sabrina khan fodmap lifeI’m not sure if it was the bulimia that led me to having IBS or if it was just something I developed over the years, but as far as I can remember I have had severe stomach issues, cramps, spams, altered bowel movement. The thing about ‘tummy troubles’ it is not severe enough to warrant sympathy, it’s just a case of here she goes again, but the reality for those of us that deal with it regularly is it really does reduce the quality of your life!!

Now the want for that ‘perfect’ body led me being a yo yo dieter all my life, this also led to the chronic bulimia, it just seemed that I was in a constant battle with self harm, pain and food.

Being from an Asian family where spicy heavy foods, fried samosas and pakoras, wheat laden chapattis late at night, and regular sugary treats are a way of life, it became a normal way of eating and living, no wander I soon started to pile on the pounds!!

When I became a student and went to university, my IBS, (though I didn’t know what it was at the time) and eating habits and as a result the bulimia became worse. Students are after all notorious for doing all nighters, then finishing of with a greasy laden chip shop/donner meal and just generally indulging on anything and everything!!

I am pretty sure (though I haven’t read any reports to formalize this) that the constant bouts of bulimia is what lead to led to the constant acid reflux and digestive issues I had. Eventually my pains got so bad, I had to go through the various tests the medical profession put you through, when they suspect something serious and nasty, thank god anything more serious wasn’t detected, however I was placed on some really heavy antacid tablets which I later found out were not so good for me either as they literally do suppress acid, but stomach acid is good as it is one of our main defenses against harmful bacteria that enter the body!! (ref Gutbliss – Dr Robynne Chutkan)

This really was a destructive way of living, I was eating, then panicking that the foods I was eating were going to make me fat, then I’d go into bulimia mode, it was constant, both psychological and emotional trauma, and my stomach flare ups, cramps, acid, Diarrhea got worse, I was just on a path of total destruction!!

Sabrina now

Sabrina now

Years later I was also advised I had high cholesterol and I was also at risk of getting diabetes as it ran in the family, could my health get even worse? Well it seems it could as I also went through a really scary time recently thinking on top of all this I had the cancer!!

This king of self-destructive body battle, carried on until the day I decided I was going to start weight training and work out with a personal trainer. I have to say this was one of the best decisions of my life in terms of health, feeling good in every sense of the word and becoming aware about how eating clean, carrying out a truly mind focusing exercise could change your life!!

When you are focused on getting your body to look a certain way then you have to learn to eat a certain way!!

I started eating a high protein, low carb diet (which I later realized was really the kind of approach to a FODMAP diet) eliminating lots of various carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress.

I started to eliminate the foods that do on a global scale create problems for lots of people, foods such as dairy, gluten, processed foods and sugars, I stopped eating foods with ingredients lists, my whole thinking and approach around food changed completely!!

I even became knowledgeable around the fact that some of the so-called ‘healthy’ foods were not so good for you after all, they were full of sugars, cheap oils and cheap processed fillers, this kind of knowledge and working so closely with a nutritional expert really made me into one and really did expand my thinking!

This kind of discipline became addictive, the more I worked out and ate clean, the better I looked & felt, the more I wanted to carry on eating and living this way!!

I became aware and focused on putting real foods in to my body…

I became aware of having to eat regular meals…

I became aware of eating little and often, and eating 4-5 times a day….

I became aware of not skipping meals…

I became aware of how to listen to my body and what it was telling me!!

This whole way of eating and living eventually became a ‘lifestyle’ change for me. I managed not only to lose weight and keep IT OFF. The WHOLE time I was training I wasn’t having the need to throw my food up as I knew the food I was putting in my body was good for me.

Also, after 20 years of constant IBS and digestive issues, my stomach healed too, I was not getting the constant cramps, the diarrhea. For the first time in along time I really did have a truly happy belly!!

Not only that, but I got rid of my cholesterol and have managed to ward off diabetes which is prevalent in Asian families and runs in mine!  In fact this whole experience changed my life so much I want to share it with others, I really am a big advocate of weights and eating clean I set up a web TV platform where I interview experts in the areas of health and wellness and listeners are free to come and ask live questions. You may want to check it out here: http://fuelyourselffabulous.tv

Or you can check my FB site: https://www.facebook.com/FuelYourselfFabulousTV

Or my Twitter site: https://twitter.com/sabrinakhan111

Please leave comments for Sabrina, thanks!  ~ Colleen

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Feta, Strawberry, And Spinach Toast: Low-FODMAP Recipe

A short but SWEET recipe using…

STRAWBERRIES! A real ‘treat’ food in my eyes as they can be on the expensive side and don’t tend to last long (well, definitely not when I’m around!) I picked up a lovely fresh punnet of strawberries the other day from my local greengrocers and, well, they were delicious! Other than enjoying them as they come (which, let’s face it, there’s nothing better), I found a new way of enjoying them as part of a light summer lunch or snack…

FullSizeRender - Copy (5)All you need:
2 slices of gluten-free bread
A handful of spinach
Feta cheese, crumbled
4-6 strawberries (depending on size), sliced
Lemon juice (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

1. Toast the bread.
2. Layer the toast with spinach and feta, followed by the sliced strawberries – drizzle with lemon juice.
3. Pop under the grill for a couple of minutes, until the feta and strawberries have softened slightly.
4. Season with black pepper and enjoy.

I really enjoyed the combination of the sweet juicy strawberries with the mild taste of the feta – oh, and it’s easypeasylemonsqueezy to make and on your plate in a matter of minutes! See what you think :)

Strawberry love. xo

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Baked Eggs: Low-FODMAP Recipe

There are endless way to eat eggs – and here’s another to add to the list – baked! I saw this recipe on BBC Good Food and couldn’t wait to try! Oh, but wait right there…the recipe has onion, oh dear, and garlic, big oh dear. Cue the Monash University low-FODMAP app to help me adapt away (at this point I have a pretty good idea of the FODMAP-friendly foods, but having the app on hand is so very helpful to check portions, and for those forgetful moments!)

Baked Eggs: Low-FODMAP

Baked Eggs: Low-FODMAP

So, here’s what you’ll need to enjoy a FODMAP-friendly version (serves 2) of some de-licious baked eggs:
1 tbsp oil
1 chilli, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes*
2 tsp paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp cumin
Fresh basil
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
*I recommend buying better quality tins of tomatoes for a thicker sauce – the cheaper tomatoes are more watery (I used one can of each and noticed the difference)

These ingredients are just a guide – the joy of this recipe is that you can add to the tomato sauce whichever flavourings take your fancy.

1. Heat the oil in the pan. Then add the chopped chilli, red pepper and a few sprigs of fresh basil.
2. When softened, add the chopped tomatoes, paprika, cumin, and black pepper. When the flavours have mixed together, give it a taste (without burning your mouth!) and check that it is to your tastes, altering if necessary.
3. When you’re happy with the flavour, make four dips in the sauce using the back of a wooden spoon. Crack the eggs into each dip, adding a sprinkling of paprika and some more basil leaves. Don’t worry if it looks a bit messy – it’s not meant to be neat and tidy!
4. Now cover for 6-8 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking*
5. Serve up and enjoy with some gluten-free toast or potatoes, for brunch, or dinner.

*Make sure you have a frying pan with a lid, or some foil to cover the pan at step 4 – I was lid-less and wondering why the eggs weren’t cooking properly on top – duh! Foil to the rescue.

I really enjoyed this quick, healthy, and tasty dish – will definitely be making again! Just eggsellent (sorry!!) Hope you enjoy…

How do you like your eggs? xo

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Banana Bread: The Sequel. Low-FODMAP Banana-Carrot Bread

By Anna Lewin, FODMAP Journey

I promise I don’t make banana bread ALL the time! But the Banana-Sultana Bread I made was pretty delicious (if I do say so myself!) so there was only one thing to do – make it again! But this time…Banana-Carrot Bread. Warning: More-ish…

Low-FODMAP Banana-Carrot Bread - makes you go 'mmm'

Low-FODMAP Banana-Carrot Bread – makes you go ‘mmm’

This is my adapted version of a recipe from one of the booklets I received from the dietitian when I first started on the diet, courtesy of King’s College London. Their recipes ‘keep it simple’ – now that sounds familiar… very much my approach! :)

Time to cool off...

Time to cool off…

250g gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
125g grated carrot
4 bananas
2 eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml vegetable oil
Scattering of pumpkin seeds

Sliced and ready to eat/freeze!

Sliced and ready to eat/freeze!

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mash the bananas, then mix with the golden syrup.
2. Add to this the eggs (already whisked) and the oil. Mix everything together.
3. Add the flour and baking powder, mixing well. Finally, add the carrots and mixed spice.
4. Then pop the mixture into a lined/greased loaf tin, scattering the pumpkin seeds on top. Into the oven it goes…
5. 40 minutes later (or until cooked), take out the oven. Then allow the bread to cool – taking out of the tin after a couple of minutes of cooling.
6. When cool enough to slice (or for as long as you can wait), enjoy a taste while it’s still warm (nothing beats it!).
7. Store in an airtight tin or freeze, to enjoy again and again – I sliced before freezing for an easier life, as with the Nana-Sultana Bread!

You can see the orange tint that the bread has – and it’s all natural! The banana/carrot/mixed spice combo is a good’un. A minimal-prep, maximum flavour recipe – oh and your kitchen will smell divine!

Enjoy! xo

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TRAVELING on the Low FODMAP diet: Tips to keep the belly happy (and a simple recipe)

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Hi friends!! I am beyond STOKED to contribute to this blog :) and I want to thank Colleen for welcoming me! I hope to be able to inspire others on this FODMAP journey, maybe making life a little easier!!! Since MEMORIAL DAY is around … Continue reading

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Banana-Sultana Bread: Low-FODMAP Recipe

By Anna Lewin, FODMAP Journey

*Before I begin, please note: This recipe contains sultanas – there is differing information about the FODMAP content of sultanas, and further investigation is yet to be carried out. If in doubt, replace with dried cranberries, or another suitable FODMAP-friendly fruit.

This banana bread is everything banana bread should be: BANANA-TASTIC!

Get in my tum!

Get in my tum!

The recipe is from one of the booklets I received from the dietitian when I first started on the diet, courtesy of King’s College London, and one I have to share as it’s just so yum! It ticks all the boxes; adaptable,  low-FODMAP, simple, quick to make, inexpensive, freezable, and very more-ish! I added my own little touch with the lemon juice and poppy seeds…

With added lemon juice and poppy seeds...

With added lemon juice and poppy seeds…

250g gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g sultanas*
4 bananas
2 eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml vegetable oil

To add after cooking (optional):
A healthy dash of lemon juice
A sprinkling of poppy seeds

Sliced and ready to freeze, or eat...

Sliced and ready to freeze, or eat…

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mash the bananas, then mix with the golden syrup.
2. Add to this the eggs (already whisked) and the oil. Mix everything together.
3. Add the dry ingredients, mixing well.
4. Then pop the mixture into a lined/greased loaf tin. Into the oven it goes…
5. 40 minutes  later (or until cooked), take out the oven. Add the lemon juice and poppy seeds at this point. Then allow the bread to cool – taking out of the tin after a couple of minutes of cooling.
6. When cool enough to slice (or for as long as you can wait), enjoy a taste while it’s still warm (nothing beats it!) I had a slice (or two) with peanut butter and sliced fresh strawberries (with a nice cuppa, of course).
7. Store in an airtight tin or freeze, to enjoy again and again – I sliced before freezing for an easier life!

Homemade low-FODMAP banana bread with peanut butter and strawberries - delicious!

Homemade low-FODMAP banana bread with peanut butter and strawberries – delicious!

Something tells me I’ll be making more of this…
Happy Banana-Breading! xo

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SUGAR Could Be the Reason for Your GAS – FODMAP Life

Sugars make up the simplest form of carbohydrates.  There is a classification of these carbs called FODMAPs which have been proven to cause gastrointestinal discomfort because they are poorly broken down and fermented in the small intestine.  These FODMAPs are found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, candy, table sugar, sugar alcohols and food additives.

Learn more about FODMAPs here.


Sugar intolerances can cause different symptoms, depending on the particular type of sugar.  Gas-producing bacteria in the GI tract love sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup.  If you’re not careful enough, you might be ingesting high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by way of sodas, candies, breads, cakes, dairy, crackers, cough syrups, relish, bakes beans, ice cream, jams, jellies, syrups, salad dressings, sauces and more.  HFCS is a FODMAP and one of many sugars to cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Candida is a yeast specie that also loves to chow down on sugar, and too much can lead to dysbiosis, which is a bacterial imbalance and a major cause of bloating. Dysbiosis has been associated with illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, cancer and colitis.  According to an article in the Huffington Post by Corrie Pikul, quoting Robynne Chutkan MD, a Maryland-based gastroenterologist and the author of Gutbliss: A 10-Day Plan to Ban Bloat, Flush Toxins, and Dump Your Digestive Baggage, “the amount (of sugar) that most of us can comfortably process in a day is only about 50 grams (a 12-ounce can of cola has 33 grams; a drinkable low-fat yogurt could have 22 grams). Chutkan says that about one-third of the population has something called fructose malabsorption, which means that an excess of about 25 grams of sugar is fermented by colonic bacteria — and results in lots of stinky gas.”

Those with fructose malabsorption can benefit from an elimination diet like the low-FODMAP diet because the diet eliminates fructose as well as other sugars in addition to fructose.  If you have fructose malabsorption it means you have trouble completely absorbing fructose in your small intestine, and the undigested fructose is then carried to the colon where normal bacteria rapidly devour it.  The bacteria then produce gases which cause the intestine to swell.  The most common symptoms are distention, bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea and some people may also experience fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and mood changes.  The undigested particles of fructose may also be the cause for diarrhea.

To learn more about Fructose Malabsorption, download my free and informative Infographic on this page!


If you have diarrhea, read food labels so that you can avoid sorbitol which is a Polyol and FODMAP.  This artificial sweetener causes digestive problems and is also a hard-to-digest sugar found naturally in some fruits, including prunes, apples, and peaches, and its also used to sweeten gum and diet foods. Once sorbitol reaches the large intestine, it often creates gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  Other sugar alcohols and FODMAPs that can be hard to digest are mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt.


When people with lactose intolerance ingest the sugar lactose found in milk and other dairy products, it isn’t digested properly and causes symptoms of gas and bloating. Consuming too much lactose (a FODMAP), sends it into the large intestine, where diarrhea can develop or worsen.  Lactose intolerance is also called lactose malabsorption, and its where a person has a deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced in your small intestine.  Symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating and gas can occur within 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting lactose.


Having digestive problems and love chocolate?  It’s time to be more selective with your beloved chocolate treats.  Chocolate can cause different types of digestive issues, including heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Know What Sugar is Called

Common names for sugar include brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, glucose, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar maltose, lactose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, polyols, raw sugar, sorghum, sucrose, sorbitol, turbinado sugar, and xylitol.


  • Do you always get dessert when out to dinner or always have it at home at night?  Start out by only having dessert on odd days of the week, then make it down to once a week, and cut down more if you can. Opt to slowly sip some decaf tea.
  • Skip energy bars and drinks.  Buy water with electrolytes, and eat natural foods with natural energy boosters.
  • Opt for low-sugar breakfast cereals and oatmeals.
  • If you get a craving, get up and grab a glass of water, then go for a walk or complete a task!
  • Don’t keep any ice cream, cookies or other desserts at home.  Someone offering you birthday cake leftovers to take home?  Kindly refuse the offer.
  • You don’t need extra sugar.  Read food labels for hidden sugars in cough syrups, dressings, spreads, peanut butter, breakfast cereals, soda, chewing gum, mints, tomato sauce, ketchup, baked beans, and lunch meats.
  • Don’t deprive yourself – if you really need to feed your sugar fix, have half of what you would normally and stick to it.  Buy smaller squares of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.  Have some delicious low-FODMAP fruits.
  • You may know Mark Hyman, MD.  These are some of his very helpful tips for balancing your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:
    • Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
    • Also, have smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).
    • Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.

Choosing Chocolate per Monash University

  • Dark chocolate (low-fodmap) 1 serving = 5 squares or 30 g
  • Milk chocolate (moderate fodmap) 1 serving = 5 squares or 30 g – Lactose is the fodmap
  • White chocolate (moderate fodmap) 1 serving = 5 squares or 30 g – Lactose is the fodmap
  • Avoid large servings of chocolate. Chocolate is high in fat, and when consumed in excess can affect gut motility and may trigger symptoms.
  • Avoid carob chocolate. Carob powder is high in oligos (fructans), and much higher than cocoa powder (as reported by Monash University).

Make an appointment with your doctor if you frequently have any of the symptoms listed above and ask to be tested for lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, sorbitol intolerance, celiac disease and also ask for your doctor to rule out small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).   Then contact me so we can work on an approach together to help you with your diet and lifestyle!

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Recipe: Low-FODMAP and Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken with Spinach over Jasmine Rice

Fresh from the kitchen of Life and Thymez check out Zlata’s low-FODMAP recipe!  If you have a recipe or personal story you’d like to share about the low-FODMAP diet, please contact me for consideration to become a contributor!

Low-FODMAP and Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken with Spinach over Jasmine Rice

3 cups spinach
1 cup Jasmine Rice
2 cups water or Low-FODMAP chicken broth

1 cup Low-FODMAP chicken broth (Progresso Tuscany)
2 TBSP gluten-free tamari
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP garlic olive oil
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP sesame oil

1lb chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 TBSP gluten free flour
Olive oil for the frying pan


1. Cook rice according to package, replacing water with Low FODMAP chicken broth if desired.
2. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, brown sugar, tamari sauce, garlic olive oil, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
3. Wash and cut chicken into equal sized pieces.
4. Season with salt and pepper and place into a Ziploc® bag.
5. Add flour and shake around to coat.
6. Heat olive oil in pan and place chicken until it’s browned, about 5-7 minutes.Turn over and cook more, also about 5-7 minutes.
7. Add brown sauce and turn heat to medium-low to continue cooking chicken. The sauce will begin to thicken or alternately, you can also use cornstarch to thicken.
8. Add spinach and mix until wilted.

Top with sesame seeds. (Optional). Scoop chicken out onto rice and serve.

Learn more about Zlata here.

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#IBSAwarenessMonth Low-FODMAP Book Giveaway!


There’s still time left for you to spread awareness about #IBSAwarenessMonth !  We are currently holding a contest on Facebook and Instagram (one winner will win from each).  All you have to do is comment with your biggest Low-FODMAP challenge and a winner will be selected at random to win The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.  U.S. residents only please.  

I am so excited to be working with Dr. Bolen and Kathleen to help spread awareness for their book and put it into good hands for the people who need it most.  With this book you can learn how to:

  • Understand food allergies and intolerance
  • Identify high- and low-FODMAP foods
  • Eliminate FODMAP sources from your diet
  • Stock your pantry for success
  • Create your own personalized diet based on your unique needs
  • Re-create favorite recipes using low-FODMAP ingredients

Learn MORE bout the book below!

How to Spread the Word About IBS

  • Take part in our giveaway and share it with friends and family asking them to enter as well!
  • In 1997, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) designated April as IBS Awareness Month. During this time, they work to focus their attention on important health messagesaboutIBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.  They ask you to get involved by doing things like:
  • Get involved on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr) and use these hashtags to find other people just like you! #ibsawarenessmonth #IBS #lowfodmap #lowfodmapdiet #tummytroubles
  • Share our social pages and blog with people you know who have IBS so they can learn about the low-FODMAP diet
  • If you think you have IBS, become your own health advocate and empower yourself!  Ask your doctor to:
    1. To get blood work to rule out celiac disease
    2. To take an HBT test (hydrogen breath test) – to check for a fructose, lactose or polyol absorption problem and to rule out SIBO
    3. To give you a proper diagnosis to utilize the low-FODMAP diet

Facts About IBS

iBS AWARENESS FODMAPSDid you know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects over 58 million (1 in 7) Americans and in developed countries, it may affect up to 1 in 5 adults(1)!  The cause of IBS is still unknown, but experts believe symptoms of IBS are brought on by a disruption to the interaction between brain, nervous system and gut and that food, stress and/or a person’s environment can act as “triggers” for symptoms.

IBS is more common in Western style diets where there’s more refined foods, GMOs and additives.  These crappy food choices play a role in inflammation and gut health and our bodies were never meant to try and decode them for digestion.  If your body could speak it probably would say: “What the &%$# is that?  Are you trying to trick me?”

Why do these crappy foods potentially trigger disease and gives us all sorts of reactions and complications?  It’s because 70% of the body’s immune system (your first line of defense) is connected to the digestive tract.  So throwing garbage food into your digestive system makes it even harder for your body to do the rest of its job – like fight off free radicals and foreign invaders.  Eat as many nutrient-rich foods as possible and remember that crappy food choices tend to make IBS symptoms worse and the rest of the population – sick, tired and moody!

IBS is more common in women then men

Many people are too embarrassed to get treatment or ask for help

There is no “cure” for IBS, however, it can be treated and symptoms can improve if an IBS patient works with their doctor.  A gastroenterologist, family doctor, or general practitioner can help to rule out possible causes from the patient’s past and current health history, and there are different blood and breath tests to try.  The next step is to work with a qualified professional trained in digestive health issues to carefully plan and manage the patient’s diet and lifestyle.  Examples of people who can help are: Certified Nutritionists or others trained in nutrition (like a Holistic Health Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, etc.) or a Registered Dietitian.  If stress seems to be playing a large role in IBS symptoms, opt for cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis, yoga and/or meditation.

Remember to enter our giveaway to win this helpful book!


The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders

by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.

BUY this book now!  Just click here.

Here’s a description of the book as told by the authors:

If you suffer with symptoms of IBS, you know that digestive troubles and pain can disrupt your day-to-day life. Fortunately, researchers have come up with a new treatment plan to help you control symptoms: a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and found in many common foods, like wheat, milk, beans, and some vegetables, fruits, and sweeteners. The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet walks you through the step-by-step process for identifying your individual sensitivities–and gives you options and substitutions so you can enjoy your favorite foods again.

AuthorsPrintDr. Barbara Bolen, an IBS specialist, provides advice and tips for developing a personalized and realistic healthy eating plan. And with 150 low-FODMAP and gluten-free recipes, you can reduce digestive distress and feel great while enjoying satisfying and nutritious meals!

Thank you again to Dr. Bolen and Kathleen for writing this book and running a giveaway with me!

Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

Sources: IBS.org, IFFGD.org, (1) McFarland LV. State-of-the-art of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease research in 2008. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(17):2625-9. Hungin APS, Whorwell PJ, Tack J, Mearin F. The prevalence, patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome: an international survey of 40 000 subjects. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003; 17(5):643-50.

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All About Fiber and the Low-FODMAP Diet

Healthy Homemade Oatmeal With BerriesAs a Certified Nutritionist I can tell you about the food you can eat while you are on the Elimination Phase of the low-FODMAP diet – and that you may consider consuming foods rich in fiber and low in FODMAPs instead of taking a fiber supplement.  This way you may actually receive a more accurate reading on what’s causing your symptoms, as fiber supplements could be the culprit.

Do We Need Extra Fiber?

Fiber is exclusively a plant nutrient and plants need fiber in order to stand up tall or keep their shape.  And simply put, whenever we eat more plant-based foods, we increase our fiber!  Eating low-FODMAP fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans (green) will help to naturally increase fiber, as well as give us phytonutrients and antioxidants which have been said to prevent disease and keep your body working properly.

We have learned from our mothers that fiber is very important to help keep things “moving” and it’s true – but only for some.  The problem, is that for people with digestive issues, sometimes fiber or too much, even from supplements can cause painful symptoms.  
Getting enough fiber could help prevent obesity, lower your risk of diabetes (helps control blood sugar levels) and heart disease (lower cholesterol levels) and help with constipation.  Be wary of what you hear from the media, doctors or The Whole Grains Council – like this statement “a high intake of cereal fiber (the fiber from grain foods) was associated with a 19% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 25-34% lower risk of disease specific deaths.”  Good thing if you are following the low-FODMAP diet because you won’t need to rely on cereal for fiber or any packaged food for that matter.  Eating more veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and wheat-free foods are far more beneficial than eating the types of cereal and other grains that are most consumed and familiar to the general public and unfortunately don’t have the nutritional profile they once did.
If you have the need to feel FULL you can go for low-FODMAP (choose NON-GMO) carbs like these:
  • Quinoa which is low-FODMAP, a seed (not a grain) and it’s a complete protein.  1 cup cooked = 12 grams of dietary fiber!
  • Brown rice – 1 cup cooked = 3.5 grams of dietary fiber
  • Cooked oats (quick dry).  Stick to a 1/4 cup serving = 4 grams of dietary fiber
  • Polenta –  1 cup cooked = 7.3 grams of dietary fiber
  • Buckwheat Kernels – Stick to a 1/8 cup serving = 2.1 grams of dietary fiber
  • Flakes of Corn (gluten free) – 3/4 cup = 4 grams of dietary fiber
I believe the most important step anyone can take is to drink plenty of water and eat foods high in vitamins and nutrients like fruits and veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats.  And if you have IBS, make sure you have both raw and cooked veggies, as just consuming raw could trigger symptoms.Woman Having Abdominal Pain

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

Fruits and vegetables are the best ways to get your soluble (and insoluble) fiber.  There are benefits to both soluble and insoluble fiber, but keep in mind, most HIGH FODMAP foods are made of soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water.  It attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. The emptying of your stomach is delayed and soluble fiber makes you feel full.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with soluble fiber are: blueberries, oranges, eggplant, carrots, grapefruit (1/4 or less), potatoes; oatmeal (1/4 cup), oat bran, brown rice, tofu, flax and sunflower seeds (2 tablespoons), canned chickpeas (1/4 cup) and canned lentils (1/2 cup).

Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. These are great for people with IBS-C.  Insoluble fibers are considered beneficial fiber for the gut because of the laxative effect and they add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with insoluble fiber are: seeds (2 tablespoons), nuts (no cashews or pistachios), brown rice, zucchini, celery (1/4 stalk), broccoli (1/2 cup), cabbage (common), tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, grapes, and potato skins.

What Types of Supplements May Help Constipation?

If you absolutely have to take a supplement look for those made with Psyllium husk.  It has shown to be effective in treating constipation and IBS symptoms.  Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD, Medical Nutrition Therapist and FODMAP expert says: “I tend to recommend those (fiber supplements) made of psyllium husk, starting with a very small serving and increasing slowly over time. Supplements made of cellulose are also worth trying, since cellulose is not fermentable.”  Citrucel  is a good fiber supplement for the low-FODMAP diet because it is non-fermentable.  *I am not a fan of aspartame or maltodextrin (and other synthetic or processed ingredients in Citrucel) so even though it helps IBS, I’d just like to point out that it is not all-natural like organic whole psyllium husk.

Fiber Supplements HIGH in FODMAPs

If you have IBS or another FGID (functional gastrointestinal disorder) and are currently taking a fiber supplement, chances are it may be made with functional fibers like inulin or oligofructose.  These prebiotic ingredients can influence beneficial bacteria to grow and can improve immunity or gastrointestinal health for some, but for people like you and me, it could mean the train has stopped and is not leaving the station…Be aware of fiber supplements made with the following or any packaged food that boasts “High in Fiber” with these ingredients:
  • Inulin – mostly obtained from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke; chicory root extract.  Inulin is a HIGH FODMAP.
  • Beet fiber, corn fiber, soy fiber, citrus fiber
  • Carrageenan is a water-soluble fiber found in certain types of seaweed.
  • Guar Gum guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum.  It is used as a thickener and a binder.  Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools.  Don’t take/useguargumifyouhave a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.
    • Some of our fans of Fodmap Life and experts of IBS have said that carrageenan, guar gum and other gums such as acacia, xanthan, and locust bean have caused them symptoms.  You’ll find these in non-dairy milks, snack bars, yogurts and ice cream.  *These have not been analyzed for FODMAPs yet so please do not be confused, as they are not currently on the HIGH FODMAPs list.
  • Other functional fibers that you will find in foods are: pectin, chitosan, cellulose, methylcellulose, beta-gucans, polydextrose, resistant dextrins, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) used as an alternative sweetener, and acacia fibers.
  • In the article “Functional Fibers — Research Shows They Provide Health Benefits Similar to Intact Fibers in Whole Foods” by Constance Brown-Riggs, she says that “research suggests that when added fibers, such as soluble corn fiber, polydextrose, and soluble fiber dextrin (also known as resistant dextrin), are added to foods, they can help consumers increase their fiber intake without concerns about GI distress and, at the same time, confer health benefits associated with naturally occurring intact fiber sources.”  **Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD recommends not consuming corn fiber while on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet.

Ingredient Label for Linex, a Fiber Supplement

Some Low-FODMAP Fiber Sources:Oranges Raspberries Blackberries And Bananas On White

  • Oranges, raspberries, ripe bananas.  Everything pictured above is low-FODMAP BUT the blackberries – just 5 are HIGH in FODMAPs
  • Corn, potatoes (with skin), carrots, spinach
  • Brown rice and brown rice products
  • Rice bran (2 tablespoons)
  • Oatmeal (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Oat bran (2 tablespoons)
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts and nut butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons–no cashews or pistachios)
  • Seeds and seed butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons)
  • Canned, drained, lentils (1/2 cup)
  • Chia seeds, whole or ground (2 tablespoons)
  • Tempeh (3 ounces)

Tips for Getting More Fiber

  • Eat whole low-FODMAP fruits instead of drinking fruit juices (high in FODMAPs).
  • Replace white rice with brown rice products when ever possible
  • When buying gluten-free cereal keep in mind many options are low in fiber, so be sure you have a serving of low-FODMAP fruits with your cereal
  • When you’re bored at work, running around with the kids or on the go, snack on low-FODMAP veggies like carrots.  1 large carrot has 2 grams of dietary fiber.

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Sources: WebMD , Monash University, Patsy Catsos, WebMD (soluble fiber)
The information in this post is not to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.
Posted in FODMAP Diet, FODMAP How To, IBS, Supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Easter! Low-FODMAP Carrot Cake Recipe

How to Make: Low-FODMAP Carrot Cake

Wheat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and delicious!

WATCH the video!

This recipe is very easy to make and it’s low in FODMAPs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

CAKE Ingredients:

1 cup Coconut Oil
1 1/3 cups Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
2 TBS Almond Meal
3 Cups Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Flour
1 cup chopped Walnuts
4 cups Shredded Carrots
1 tsp Gluten-Free Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Allspice

FROSTING Ingredients:

4 TBS Butter
2/3 cup of Lactose-free Cream Cheese
Zest of 1 lemon & juice of 1/2 lemon
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

CAKE Directions:

1. Using a large bowl, beat together oil,
sugar and eggs.
2. Fold in the rest of the ingredients
3. Pour batter into cake pan and bake
on middle shelf for 1 hour 10 minutes
4. Remove from oven and cool on a
wire rack for 20 minutes.

FROSTING Directions:

1. Use an electric mixer and beat
together butter, cream cheese, lemon
zest and juice.
2. Gradually add the confectioners’
sugar, little by little.
3. Spread on top of the cooled carrot

Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did – be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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(c) BonCalme LLC All Rights Reserved

Posted in FODMAP Diet, FODMAP How To, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Frustrated? Learn the Differences of Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free for the Low-FODMAP Diet

fodmap diet gluten free wheat freePeople with celiac disease avoid far more foods than people on the low-FODMAP diet.  Celiacs have to stay away from the gluten protein which is found in a wide variety of foods and ingredients.  Celiacs need to avoid gluten because the protein can cause serious intestinal damage and could mean a trip to the hospital- exposure to gluten results in inflammation of the small intestine when any gluten is ingested. Cross-contamination is also a big deal and it’s harder for celiacs to eat out but thankfully gluten-free products made at 100% gluten-free facilities are more widely available.

*Also note that I have IBS as well as the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s disease.  People like me have been told to also avoid gluten as many people that have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism also have gluten-sensitivity.  The book Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter says that whole grains “can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression” and by avoiding these wheat-based carbs and grains (that have gluten) he says more people might be able to avoid these problems that affect the brain, also including, but not limited to Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.  Do your research to learn more about grains and how they may affect your digestive and brain health.  

FODMAP – Fructans

Wheat has been said to be the largest source of fructans in food here in the U.S.  I believe it as I can name so many of these foods in a heartbeat!  The middle aisles of your grocery stores are filled with wheat products as well as highly processed foods and soy…I am very passionate about those topics and could go on forever but let’s stick to today’s topic.

On the low-FODMAP diet, wheat, barley and rye (which have gluten) contain the carbohydrate FODMAP fructans, so you are essentially negating a specific kind of carbohydrate in the wheat – you are not negating the gluten protein like celiacs need to. Not all gluten-free products are low-FODMAP either.  High FODMAP ingredients that you will see in gluten-free foods are:

  • onions
  • garlic
  • pear juice – or other high FODMAP juices often found in jellies and jams
  • honey
  • chicory, root chicory, chicory root fiber contain inulin (a carbohydrate fiber) – found in chocolate bars, breakfast bars, yogurt, ice cream, salad dressings and margarine
  • dried fruits and more.

Young Woman With OatsAn example of a food that contains gluten but is low in FODMAPs is spelt bread – it is suitable on the diet in low servings.  Oats are often times cross contaminated with gluten. They can be in a celiac’s diet if they are selected from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley.

Where is Gluten Found?

For celiacs, gluten can be found in ingredients like barley malt, malt vinegar, wheat starch, wheat thickeners and more. Gluten is found in some salad dressings, soy sauce, mustard (like wheat flour), mayonnaise, candy (like wheat flour), yogurt, spice mixes and seasonings. So these food items are dangerous for celiacs but they are not high in fructans and are suitable to include in a low-FODMAP diet.

If you have any questions please comment below!

Stay Connected! 

Here’s to your health!

Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

Posted in FODMAP Diet, FODMAP Facts, FODMAP How To, Gluten-Free, WHEAT | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

NEW FODMAP Life T-Shirt On Sale -Proceeds to Benefit Research

We are so excited to launch our first product for FODMAP Life!

FODMAP Life T-Shirt "I'm Not Pregnant..."

FODMAP Life T-Shirt “I’m Not Pregnant…”

A portion of the proceeds will benefit research on new foods for the low-FODMAP diet!  What does that mean for you and me?  That more foods will be analyzed for their FODMAP content, which is excellent considering the low-FODMAP foods list can feel limiting at times!


Our first t-shirt was designed by Katie Foerster.  She’s not only an amazing artist but she’s also my dear friend from college.  On top of designing our first shirt, she has designed our beautiful logo, all of our social media channel art, as well as a few other surprises (coming soon).

katie foersterKatie has worked with the Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, the Boston Bruins, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and many others.  Katie is a Rhode Island School of Design certificate student in Graphic Design, a professional in Project Management, a successful Set & Product Stylist and efficient Photo Producer.  Katie understands all that is creative and has proven her talents in her work. She currently resides on Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she grew up.  Check out her work here: http://www.designkf.com/category/designs/

Stay Connected! 

Here’s to your health!

Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

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Feeling Gassy? Foods and Other Causes of Gas

FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods

FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods

There are many foods that can cause gas but there are also many ways in which a person can get gassy.  Through my own trial and error and sometimes learning the hard way, I’ve become numb to certain foods that cause even the slightest gas (or wind as they say over in Europe and elsewhere).  I have also included foods below that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Whether you are following the low-FODMAP diet or not, learn this list to for the sake of yourself and those that are near :)

  • Beer
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage (savoy), onions, leeks, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower,  mushrooms, shallots
  • Carbonated drinks and drinks made with artificial sweeteners or fructose
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruits, such as apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, cherries, lychee, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, tamarillo, watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Legumes – Most beans and peas as well as pistachios and cashews
  • Milk and milk products – the problem is the lactose content
  • Sugar alcohols found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, anything ending with -ol)
  • Whole-grain foods or wheat-based foods/products

FODMAP LIFE foods that cause gas

Things You Might Do to Produce More Gas

  • Not exercise, or even go for a walk
  • Chew gum
  • Use a straw to drink
  • Have or create distractions while eating (which makes you eat more or maybe faster) watching TV, checking your phone, or doing both at once; working on a project, etc.
  • Getting too much fiber in your diet by way of supplements or foods
  • Stressful lifestyle

Other Causes of Gas

  • Food intolerances
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Celiac Disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) which can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Diverticulitis or an inflammatory bowel disease (BD) like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine from diabetes
  • Menstruation
  • Panic disorder, anxiety, depression

Whatever the reason is for gas or other digestive symptoms in your life, don’t forget to get in some meditation everyday or stress-relieving activities.  Having a digestive disorder, food allergy or auto-immune condition can cause physical discomfort, but one of the first things you can do is relieve mental discomfort and treat your mind kindly.  Then be more aware of the foods you eat, and how you eat them.  If you’ve sought out health advice and feel you’re getting nowhere, keep researching to find a system and a health professional that works for you.  Treat your whole self – mind, body and soul.

  • Sign up for our Newsletter
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  • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
  • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
  • Tweet with us on Twitter!

Here’s to your health!

Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder


Posted in IBD, IBS, Mindful Eating | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top Posts for the Low-FODMAP Diet, Great for Newbies!

The low-FODMAP diet can be tricky, especially if you do not have the means to work with a Certified Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian familiar with the diet.  If you are working on your own, I have listed some of my most popular posts here to help answer your questions.


As always if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with me!  Send me a private message on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fodmaplife

First – you’ll need our Low-FODMAP Grocery List on this page: http://fodmaplife.com/fodmap-grocery-list/ and if you want a printable version, sign up to our email newsletter in the month of March: http://ow.ly/KfnXu 

Now read up on these!

What are other ways you can become oh-so brilliant when following this diet?  

Here’s to your health!

Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

colleen frnacioli

Posted in FODMAP Diet, FODMAP Facts, FODMAP How To | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fermented Foods and Fermentation in the Gut -Low-FODMAP

Dear fans with IBS and FGIDs – yes you can consider adding fermented foods to your diet!  For those following the low-FODMAP diet the word “fermented” might cause some confusion but here’s what you need to know:Red Sauerkraut

Fermentable FODMAPs vs. Fermented Foods

“Fermentable” in the low-FODMAP diet for people with IBS and FGIDs refers to foods that contain sugars like Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols which are short-chain carbohydrates that are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily “fermented” by gut bacteria, causing gas, bloating, distention, diarrhea and constipation.  This family of sugars increase fluid movement into the large bowel. You can find a list of foods that are high in FODMAPs here.  FODMAPs are foods that you drastically reduce during Phase 1/Elimination Phase of the low-FODMAP diet so you can then Reintroduce in Phase 2 (one FODMAP group at a time, a few foods from each group).

Fermented Foods nourish the good bacteria in the gut and some experts say they boost the immune system.  For someone that has IBS or other FGIDs, this is a good thing as 70-80% of your immune cells reside in the gut!  Popping up in supermarkets and farmers markets everywhere are many delicious fermented foods that have been fermented, packaged and refrigerated.  You’ll find RAW sauerkraut and kimchi (both contain cabbage) as well as sauerruben and cortido.

kraut-blueThe Process?

This is how Farmhouse Culture makes their sauerkraut – and it’s exactly what you should look for – raw, organic vegetables fermented with sea salt:

“Finely shredded cabbage and chunky vegetables are layered with salt and packed into barrels. Over the first couple of days, the salt draws out excess liquid from the vegetables, making them tender and pliable. As the vegetables subside into this natural brine, nature takes over and the process of lacto-fermentation begins. Over the next week, a sharp, earthy scent envelops the room–a little like fresh apple cider, with a dash of vinegar and a hint of pickle.

“After a few weeks those bulky, crunchy vegetables have relaxed into tangy shreds of long-lasting, delicious sauerkraut.

“Lactic acid fermentation, also known as “culturing”, is a time-honored tradition that has been used for centuries to preserve and extend the harvest. Modern cultures have largely abandoned this food craft in favor of canning and refrigeration.”

Tell Me More!

Though sauerkraut and kimchi both contain cabbage which is a FODMAP(polyol-sorbitol) and an insoluble fiber, the fermentation process actually breaks down the sugars so it’s easier to digest.

Kimchi Making Festival, Seoul, Korea

Kimchi Making Festival, Seoul, Korea. Copyright: robert cicchetti

If you’re big into Korean food then chances are you’ve already had kimchi.  And if you love Irish and German foods, you’ve had sauerkraut –  but if it was at a store and found sitting on a shelf, it’s been pasteurized and won’t have the same beneficial effect as raw sauerkraut.  Make sure you go find the refrigerated brands!

Tips on Buying & Eating Fermented Foods

  1. Look for this on the label: “raw”, “live food”, “unpasteurized” or “contains live cultures”
  2. Look for simple ingredients like  “water, vegetables, salt”
  3. For kombucha, look for “water, sugar, tea, culture.”  Be mindful of additional sweeteners which could be high FODMAPs but also it means the Kombucha was sweetened after the fermentation process.
  4. Start out slow – try a 1/4 cup of fermented foods or a 1/4 cup of Kombucha per day
  5. Pair your fermented foods with other foods to help aid in digestion
  6. As an extra precaution, you can check the labels to make sure onions, garlic or other high FODMAPs have not been added.  It’s just an extra precaution and according to Dr. Barbara Bolen, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Expert: “if you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you may find that you can tolerate some fermented foods, as the fermenting process gets rid of the problematic FODMAP elements.”  Keep in mind too much garlic will make the kimchi bitter but it may not bother you -everyone is different.

Other types of fermented foods which may be beneficial to your gut include:

  • Fermented carrots – carrots are shredded or cut and then packed into an airtight container with some salt water.
  • Lactose-free Kefir or yogurt is made when a culture is added.  Look for live cultures.
  • Low-FODMAP cheese –milk is weighed, heat treated or pasteurized then starter cultures, or good bacteria, are added.  Then begins the process of separating the liquid (whey) from the milk solids (curds).  Read more.
  • Vinegar – made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of harmless microorganisms (yeast and “Acetobacter”) that turn sugars (carbohydrates) into acetic acid (source below).
  • Kombucha – made when a culture is added to a sweetened tea.  This sugary tea is then fermented with the help of a scoby. “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”  Read more.
  • Tempeh – made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.


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More Sources:

Posted in Fermented Foods, Probiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How to Make: Pão de Queijo – Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Low in Lactose

How to Make: Pão de Queijo – BonCalme & FODMAP Life
This recipe is low-FODMAP, gluten-free and low in lactose because we use lactose-free milk and Parmesan cheese.  Get a printable version of the recipe here.

Chef Marcos, my dear friend joins me in this film. He was born in São Paulo and is of Lebanese and Italian decent. Being influenced by those two cultures in one of the most awesome countries in the world, he makes the most delicious foods! In this video he shows you how to make my low-FODMAP and healthier version of Pão de Queijo.

So what is Pão de Queijo? A.k.a. “cheese balls” to Americans they are cheese-flavored breads which are a very popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil. You can also find similar versions in Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay. We made them with tapioca flour but they can also be made with cassava flour if you can find it. We also used unrefined organic coconut oil instead of a highly-processed vegetable oil. Also, lactose-free milk instead of regular milk makes this recipe low-FODMAP as well as Parmesan cheese which is low in lactose. You can also experiment with different cheeses.

My husband is Brazilian and every time I go to Brazil I just NEED to have some of these! You can find them easily in airports and bus stations, usually sold by the franchise Casa do Pão de Queijo, but the best are usually made in local bakeries or at truck stops and you’ll also see them in supermarkets. The best Pão de Queijo I ever had was at a truck stop between the city of Londrina and Curitiba.

Learn to speak Portuguese:
Thank you! = Obrigada (f) Obrigado (m)
Have a nice day! = Tenha um bom dia!
I love Pão de Queijo = Eu amo Pão de Queijo :)

Want to learn how to say Pão de Queijo? This is the best way I can show you! Powm-gee-kay-joo or Click this link: http://www.forvo.com/word/p%C3%A3o_de_queijo/

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Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Cause Symptoms of IBS

Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Cause Symptoms of IBS

Instead of resulting to pharma drugs, this elimination diet uses “food as medicine” to help people discover which foods may be triggering symptoms.  A group of sugars called FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and research suggests they contribute to IBS and FGID symptoms.  Learn more and read on!

Wheat FreeWheat, barley and rye as well as onions and garlic contain fructans which are part of the FODMAPs family.  Fructans are malabsorbed in the small intestine which means they aren’t digested properly and then ferment in the small intestine causing bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.  Of all the FODMAPs, fructans are the greatest contributor to IBS as humans were not made to have the enzymes to break down fructans and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides).

“What are FODMAPs?”

The low-FODMAP diet has been instrumental in helping relieve common symptoms of IBS and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.  FODMAPs stand for Fermentable, Oligo-saccarides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose, excess fructose and polyols are found in natural and processed foods.

When FODMAPs are malabsorbed they can cause more water to be delivered through the bowel which can contribute to diarrhea in some people.  Sugars from FODMAPs make their way to the large intestine and are then fermented by bacteria, producing gases.  Gas can be produced in the small or large intestine, and which we all know so well, then comes symptoms of bloating, distention, abdominal pain and even back pain.  For some, this gas production can slow movement through the bowel and mean constipation.  Sometimes it can take days or weeks for these symptoms to ease up.  It wasn’t until I found the low-FODMAP diet that I began to notice a difference in how my body began to digest the right foods.  Keep in mind, everyone’s body chemistry, environment and stress level is different, so following the low-FODMAP diet is very individualized.

HONEY FODMAP LIFE“Which Foods Should I Avoid?”

Along with wheat, barley, rye, garlic and onions, honey, lactose, sugar alcohols, certain veggies, fruits and certain legumes are avoided.  The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet, however you will see us mention gluten-free foods as most are wheat-free.  Not all gluten-free foods are free of FODMAPs so you’ll need to read all the labels of products (example: Udi’s White Sandwich Bread is low-FODMAP but Rudi’s Original sandwich bread has high FODMAPs like inulin and honey).

Take a look at this page to learn more about the foods to avoid and this page to see our grocery list of all the foods you can safely enjoy on the diet.  And finally visit this page to learn How to Start the Low-FODMAP Diet.

If you have already taken hydrogen breath tests and know you can either completely absorb fructose or lactose, you do not have to completely negate either from the diet, but can as an extra precaution during the first and second phase.

There’s a lot to learn, so you’ll want to follow us on social media as we share new content, tips, advice and recipes often.  Plus you’ll meet people who feel your pain and know what it’s like to have painful, uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms.  We are here for you!  Comment below with any questions.

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Welcome to FODMAP Life! ~ Colleen


Posted in Celiac Disease, Crohn's Disease, FODMAP Diet, FODMAP Facts, FODMAP How To, IBD, IBS | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Blueberry Muffins

fodmap life gluten free lactose free muffinsI adapted this recipe from the Food Network and was very happy with the results!  To make these Blueberry Muffins I swapped out agave nectar for maple syrup and canola oil for coconut oil.  This is a low-FODMAP recipe and also lactose-free as rice milk is used.

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I used the Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unrefined organic coconut oil
2/3 cup Grade A organic maple syrup
2/3 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
1 cup fresh organic blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. You can line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or I use Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Muffin pan without liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and cinnamon. Add the oil, maple syrup, rice milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the blueberries just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each prepared cup, almost filling the cup. Bake the muffins on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The muffin will bounce slightly when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Let the muffins stand for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

You can see the original recipe here.

Have a healthy day!  ~ Colleen

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Posted in Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Low-FODMAP, Wheat-Free Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

Low-FODMAP Greek Pasta Salad Recipe
Low-FODMAP Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

Low-FODMAP, Wheat-Free Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for something delicious to spice up lunch or need something to bring to a party, this recipe is your answer.  It’s easy to make, flavorful, low-FODMAP, gluten-free and wheat-free.

1 (12 to 16 ounce) Gluten-free, wheat-free rice spiral pasta
1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach, rinsed, drained, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (8 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled (Bulgarian or French, if you can find them!)
1 medium tomato sliced in quarters
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained

1/4 cup garlic-infused oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions; drain and rinse.
2. Make the dressing – whisk all dressing ingredients together in a large bowl
3. Use the same large bowl and add in remaining ingredients
4. Add pasta and toss gently until evenly coated.

Serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have a healthy day!  ~ Colleen

Don’t forget to…

Subscribe to the Fodmap Life Newsletter

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Posted in FODMAP Diet, Gluten-Free, IBS, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Low-FODMAP Chocolate Coconut Balls

Happy Valentine’s Day!  In celebration of Valentine’s Day I wanted to share my gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free recipe with you for Low-FODMAP Chocolate Coconut Balls.  They are very easy to make and won’t take much of your time.  They are great to enjoy with your sweetie or for kids!

 © C. Francioli

© C. Francioli FODMAP Life


  • 2 cups light shredded coconut
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (30 secs – 45 secs in microwave)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon organic Grade A maple syrup
  • 30 grams melted semi-sweet chocolate bar (1 oz. bar).


  1. Mix the coconut shreds, coconut oil and rice flour on high speed in a mixer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
  3. In a small pan, melt the bar of chocolate on medium heat.  I recommend breaking the bar up into pieces before you begin.  The chocolate will melt quickly.  Stir consistently until completely melted then add immediately to the coconut and flour mixture and mix until the chocolate is spread throughout evenly.
  4. Next add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the coconut/flour mixture on high speed for 30-45 seconds.
  5. Add in the maple syrup
  6. Shape the mixture into 15 (1-inch) balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour.

Option: Add a fine drizzle of melted dark chocolate to the top of the coconut balls or lightly sprinkle with cinnamon or confectioner’s sugar.

Have a sweet day!  ~ Colleen

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What’s the Best Diet for IBS?

Me in 2013

That’s me a few years ago!

I’ve been there…not wanting to leave the house, horrified at the thought of being in public, not wanting to even think about which clothes would fit for the night.  For a while I bought long shirts and sweaters or dresses without waistlines, anything to take the pressure off and hide my bloated belly.

It was in 2010, when my IBS symptoms were sudden and came out of the blue.  I went from competing in triathlons and road races to feeling so uncomfortable, that even walking was painful.  I became less and less active and my IBS didn’t really improve until I found the low-FODMAP diet in 2013.  Once I tried out this elimination diet, and then began to reintroduce foods, everything started to get easier and make more sense.

Food sensitivities/allergies and bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, lack of digestive enzymes, parasites –  these and many others can all lead to IBS.  Since there are so many factors that can contribute to IBS and various others factors that can make symptoms worse (diet, stress, pollution, environment) no one can truly pin one definitive cause or solution for IBS.  However, the good news, is that the low-FODMAP diet has worked for many people so far and it’s also a safer way to treat symptoms versus getting prescriptions for drugs.  Drugs come with side affects and they don’t all necessarily “cure” us.  Using “food as medicine” is something I feel very strongly about.

Young Woman Looking Out From Cutting Board And Looking On VegetaSo What’s the Best Diet for IBS?  The low-FODMAP diet doesn’t work for everyone but it does provide “good relief of symptoms in about 75% of patients” according to research in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology by Peter R Gibson and Susan J Shepherd titled Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms: The FODMAP approach.  

Of all the recommendations I have seen about the best foods for IBS, the low-FODMAP diet seems to be the most calculated and scientifically-backed approach.  Many people visit my Facebook page and have discussions with each other are surprised as to why some can handle certain FODMAPs and others cannot.  I always tell our reactions or non-reactions are due to our distinct digestive systems, our environments and individual life situations.  Everyone is different!

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t handle one food or a group of specific foods – there are plenty of very healthy options out there, and life will be better once you know your gut!  Do your research, get several opinions and be aware of what you’re eating, how you’re eating and living.  Meditate on a daily basis, drink more water, follow the grocery list and think positively about all the good foods (and less sugar) you’re putting into your body!

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Happy Valentines on the Low-FODMAP Diet

Fretting about whether or not you can enjoy Valentine’s Day with your sweetie this year?  Don’t fret, just be prepared ahead of time and check out the list below for servings sizes and types of chocolates, cookies, hot and cold chocolate drinks, wine and other alcohol you can enjoy!  I have also included a few sparkling wine suggestions from my dear friend Bridget Cheslock.  She’s a Certified Sommelier, WSET Diploma student, French Wine Scholar, and lover of Champagne and gourmet foods.

Before we begin, please keep these tips to keep in mind:

  1. Remember chocolate is high in fat which is another reason to not go cray cray and jump head first into a box!  High fat content in foods tend to affect gut motility.
  2. Alcohol can irritate your gut, so it’s advised to limit intake and do always try to have some food with your drinks!
  3. Carob powder is a no-no because it is HIGH in oligos (fructans), and much higher than cocoa powder.
  4. Include low-FODMAP fruits like raspberries, strawberries and blueberries along with your chocolate so you can healthfully fulfill your sweet tooth!

Young couple kissing behind pralines heart on valentines dayChocolate Bars and Cookies

For chocolate bars Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD, medical nutritionist, FODMAP expert and author recommends reading the label for lowest % cacao, the lowest number of grams of fiber, and not a milk chocolate, as that would add lactose.  She suggests these brands in one of her past posts:

  • Newman’s Own Organics Orange Dark Chocolate (1 g fiber/ounce)
  • Dagoba Organic Chocolate Semisweet for Baking (2 g fiber/ounce)
  • Ghirardelli Mini Chocolate Chips (2 g fiber/ounce)
  • Nestle’s Toll House semi-sweet morsels
  • Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chips

Dark chocolate – up to 5 squares or 30 grams is low in FODMAPs and most people with IBS should be able to tolerate this amount.  Up to 90 grams or more are HIGH in FODMAPs and also contain moderate amounts of lactose, so intake should be limited.

Milk Chocolate – 1 fun-size bar is LOW but 5 squares or 30 grams or more has MODERATE amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.

White Chocolate – Same as above – 1 fun-size bar is LOW but 5 squares or 30 grams or more has MODERATE amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Biscuits – 1 cookie is LOW in FODMAPs.  Just make sure you buy a wheat-free version.  2 or more cookies contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans so intake should be avoided.

Cookies/Biscuits Cream-filled and Chocolate coated – 1 cookie is LOW in FODMAPs.  Again buy a wheat-free version.  2 cookies contains MODERATE amounts of the Oligos-fructans so intake should be limited.  3 cookies or more contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be avoided.

Hot/Cold Chocolate Drinks

Drinking Chocolate 23% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain HIGH amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

Drinking Chocolate 60% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain MODERATE amounts of lactose and HIGH amounts of Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

Drinking Chocolate 70% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain MODERATE amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

Malted, Chocolate Flavored Beverage – 1/2 teaspoon or 10 grams is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  3 heaping teaspoons contains moderate amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.  Large servings (or 50 grams, 2 heaped teaspoons) contain HIGH amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.


FODMAP Life Valentine's Day


Wine – Red, Sparkling, Sweet, White, Dry – 1/2 glass (75 ml) to 1 glass (150 ml) is low in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

My friend Bridget Cheslock, Certified Sommelier suggests the following delightful sparkling wines for our friends in the U.S., U.K. and Australia:

Check out Bridget’s blog Glamorous Gourmet!

Wine – Sticky or Dessert – 1/2 glass (75 ml) to 1 glass (150 ml) is HIGH in FODMAPs.  Both of these servings contain HIGH amounts of excess fructose.  Intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose. Some examples of dessert wines are fortified wines such as port, marsala, muscat and tokay as well as non-fortified wines such as rice wine, sauternes and botrytis affected dessert wines like Monbazillac, Cadillac, sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume and Vouvray.  Other non-fortified wines include Beerenauslese, Eiswein, Trockenbeerenauslese, Champagne Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux, Moscato d’Asti and Vin Santo.

Beer – 1/2 can (188 ml) or 1 can (375 ml) is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

Gin – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml) is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

Rum – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml) has excess amounts of fructose which makes it HIGH in FODMAPs and should be avoided.

Vodka – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml)  is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

Whiskey – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml)  is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream – Both 1 and 2 scoops contains MODERATE amounts of lactose. Intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose.

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Sources: Monash University, Musings on the Vine.

Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gluten-Free, low-FODMAP Breads in Australia

DEEK'S Quinoa Loaf

DEEK’S Quinoa Loaf

Here in the U.S. it seems as though we have plenty more to choose from when it comes to foods that are wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free – free of many things!  So when I heard some of our FODMAP Life fans in Australia say they were having trouble finding some decent brands of wheat free, gluten free breads, I started asking around.  Here is what I found – click on the links for more information about where to buy and find these breads.

If you are an Aussie reading this, I’d love your comments below for any additional brands that you like.  Thanks!

Naturis Organic Rice Loaf – Ingredients: Whole brown rice, rice flour, rice leaven, cold pressed sunflower oil, sea salt and purified water added.  Free of: Gluten, wheat, yeast sugar and dairy.

Healthybake Organic Gluten Free Bread – Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Flour, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Vegetable Gum (E464), Organic Soy Flour, Yeast, Sea Salt.

Deek’s Quinoa Loaf – water, tapioca, quinoa (21%), soy flour, sunflower oil, vinegar, yeast, sugar (to activate the yeast), salt , guar gum.  Free of: Gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, artificial flavors.  Fructose friendly :)

Zehnder Wholemeal BreadI had to reach out to them to get the ingredients as I couldn’t find it on their website.  Ingredients: Water, Modified Tapioca Starch, Rice Bran, Whole Rice Flour, Maize Starch, Tapioca Starch, Whole Soy Flour, Canola Oil, Glucona Delta Lactone, Bicarbonate Soda, Linseed Meal, Sugar, Dry Yeast, Salt, Cellulose (464), Xanthan Gum (415), Guar Gum (412).  Free of gluten, dairy, yeast, soy, corn and eggs.  May Be Present: Sesame

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Posted in baking, Breads, Breads & Flours, FODMAP Diet | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet

If you are new to the low-FODMAP diet or you just need a refresher, take a look at these 12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet to help you along in your journey!

1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!

1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!

1) The acronym FODMAPs stands for:

Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), Disaccharides (Lactose), Monosaccharides (excess Fructose) and Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

2) The low-FODMAP diet is not meant to be a forever thing – it’s meant to be an investigative tool:

  • 1st phase – follow this elimination period by strictly negating all FODMAPs for up to two months.
  • 2nd phase or re-introduction/challenge phase – detect personal triggers by reintroducing one FODMAP category at a time, one food at a time.

After the 2nd phase, FODMAPs that do not trigger symptoms can be a part of a regular diet, and some may still be limited but far better tolerated.  It is important for all to enjoy a varied diet in order to reap the benefits of various nutrients and minerals.

3) The low-FODMAP diet has been proven to help ease IBS symptoms by way of food as

Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas

Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas

medicine.  If a patient decides to take medications, they run the risk of side effects and might only cure some symptoms.  The low-FODMAP diet does not work for everyone, however, taking the natural route with food first may be the healthiest option for most IBS sufferers.

4) Fructans are seen as the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS and they are found in several different types of foods, both natural and processed.

5) The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet but it does list gluten-free foods, as most are wheat-free.  And, just because something is free of gluten and wheat, does not mean it is free of FODMAPs!  Wheat is only a problem when consumed as a wheat-based carbohydrate food (like breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries etc.).

6) Fructose malabsorption is defined as the incomplete absorption of fructose in the small intestine, followed by the delivery of fructose to the distal small bowel and colon, where it contributes to rapid fermentation and resultant abdominal bloating.  A hydrogen breath test can detect fructose malabsorption.

7) Firm, less-ripe fruit tends to contain more fructose.  In order to not overload the GI tract with

Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles

Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles

sugar, it is suggested to have one serving of fruit per meal.  Some fruits like avocados and cherries are OK on the low-FODMAP diet but also come with limitations.

8)  Properly reading food labels will help to ensure success with the low-FODMAP diet.  Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight with the highest amounts listed first.  FODMAPs can be an issue only when consumed regularly and in significant amounts.  If a high FODMAP food is listed on an ingredient list but present in small amounts (such as less than 5%) then there probably shouldn’t be an issue and would be “suitable” to consume.

9) If you love garlic or onions eating out can be hard but at home, you don’t have to suffer without the taste.  You can sauté onions or garlic for about two minutes -be sure to remove either or before you eat your dish.  Garlic-infused oil is a very easy way to add some garlic flavor and Asafoetida powder can be used as a replacement for onions or garlic.  Use it sparingly as it is very strong in smell and taste.

10) Adding too much fiber can aggravate IBS symptoms and sometimes a person may need to increase or decrease fiber intake for the best symptom management.  The low-FODMAP diet does exclude many high-fiber foods, however the following are low-FODMAP and can be a great daily natural boost of fiber: oat bran, rice bran, oatmeal, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, 1/4 cup canned lentils or chickpeas (rinsed), baked potatoes, quinoa flakes or brown rice cereals (check labels).  Consider not having too much fiber at any one time and slowly increase as you aim to improve your digestive health.  A fiber intake of 25-30g per day is recommended for people with IBS.

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Choose lean meats when ever possible and stick to about 3 oz. servings (about the size of a deck of cards)

11) It is strongly advised to keep a food and drink journal while on the low-FODMAP diet.  This will help you to better understand your food triggers and work through the re-introduction phase with a Certified Nutritional Consultant or Registered Dietitian.

12) Fats and oils are generally low in FODMAPs, however, fatty foods can actually slow down and inhibit digestion and gut motility.  Choose leaner proteins like fish, chicken or turkey, stay away from heavy sauces, and limit oils or fats like butter and olive oil to one tablespoon.

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Evidence-based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach Peter R Gibson, Susan J Shepherd/ J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;25(2):252-258; The FODMAPs Approach — Minimize Consumption of Fermentable Carbs to Manage Functional Gut Disorder Symptoms  By Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 12 No. 8 P. 30




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Low-FODMAP Chicken Parmesan Recipe!

snow 2015  fodmap life

Friends in Waltham, MA

As I scroll through Facebook and look at pictures posted by my friends and family on the East coast, I can’t help but remember what it was like to grow up with snow.  The good –  making snowmen and sledding down the nearby golf course.  The bad – remembering how hard it was for our parents to get out of the steep driveway and instead rocking back and forth on ice.  The ugly – being in my senior year of high school, already late and de-icing the locks on my old ugly car – I’m so embarrassed – it was a half brown, half peach colored Ford Zephyr!  I thought that car was so ugly so I made it uglier with stickers all over the rusty bumper.

If I were to be inside now, cold and bored, I’d want a rendition of my Mother’s Chicken Parmesan.   It’s definitely one of my most favorite meals she ever made.  I can still enjoy it now and have it low-FODMAP, wheat-free and gluten-free (it’s naturally soy-free and nut-free of course!).

IMG_2563 I hope you enjoy this recipe and I wish a safe next couple of days for all friends and family braving the cold!  With love from California, Colleen.


Chicken Parmesan – Recipe based on 4 servings

  • 2 pounds of chicken (preferably organic, and with all the fat trimmed off)
  • 2 cups of fresh organic baby spinach
  • Rao’s Sensitive Formula Marina Sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Ian’s Gluten-Free Original Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 TBS Organic oregano
  • 1-2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.


  1. Slice the mozzarella into thin circular pieces.IMG_2860
  2. Place two shallow bowls to the left of a  plate which should be nearest to the stove
  3. In your first bowl, lightly beat two eggs
  4. Place cup of bread crumbs in the other shallow bowl and mix in salt, pepper and oregano
  5. Put a wide skillet on the stove with a pat of butter or 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Don’t turn on the stove until you’re done with step 6.
  6. Take each piece of chicken and dip it into the egg mixture, allowing any excess egg to drip off, then dip the chicken in the breadcrumbs and make sure every piece of the chicken is coated
  7. Turn on the skillet to medium-high heat and place all of the chicken in the pan.  Fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, only turning once.
  8. As the chicken is cooking, lightly grease a glass casserole dish and ladle some tomato sauce to the bottom.
  9. Once the chicken is ready, place it in the casserole dish.  Lightly ladle the chicken with sauce and then place mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken breasts and sprinkle on parmesan cheese.
  10. Sprinkle spinach on top, ladle with more sauce and the rest of the cheese.
  11. Measure one tablespoon of olive oil and spread across the top of everything.
  12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Just look to see when the sauce and cheese is bubbly!

Serve with gluten-free rice pasta shells.  After I boil the rice pasta I like to put it into a pan on low heat for a couple minutes and toss it with butter, 3-4 fresh, chopped Roma tomatoes and cracked black pepper.  Delizioso!

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Low-FODMAP Servings for Legumes

Most legumes are HIGH in FODMAPs, but there are still some you can enjoy as long as you stick to recommended serving sizes.  In order to protect our immune system and reap the benefits of much needed nutrients, antioxidants and minerals, it’s important to include legumes in your diet along with vegetables and fruits.  Certain nutrients, antioxidants and minerals can help lessen the damage done to our bodies by chemical pollutants, radiation hazards, free-radical damage, bacteria, viruses, the use of alcohol or nicotine, pharmaceutical drugs and even stress.  I could list the benefits of legumes, veggies and fruits all day, but for now, let’s get you educated on legumes specifically for the Low-FODMAP diet.

low fodmap diet legumesThe following serving sizes are recommended by Monash University. Below, if you see a HIGH rating it means that you are to avoid that food.  Otherwise “safe” servings have been listed next to the legume foods below.  Additional tips are listed.

If there’s a legume you are looking for (examples: fava beans, mung beans or adzuki beans) and you do not see it in the list below it’s because they have not been analyzed by Monash University.  So whenever that’s the case, it’s best to just avoid the food entirely.


  • Baked Beans – HIGH
  • Borlotti beans, canned – HIGH
  • Broad beans – HIGH
  • Butter beans, canned – HIGH
  • Haricot beans, boiled -HIGH
  • Lima beans, boiled – HIGH
  • Four bean mixed, canned – HIGH
  • Red kidney beans, boiled – HIGH
  • Soya beans, boiled – HIGH
  • Bean sprouts -1/2 cup to 1/4 cup – LOW
  • Green beans – 6 to 12 beans – LOW.  17 beans contains high amounts of the polyol sorbitol.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb sorbitol.
  • Lentils, canned – 1/2 & 1/4 cup – LOW.  Canned legumes/pulses have lower FODMAP content because the water soluble Oligos-GOS and fructrans leach out of the bean.
  • Lentils, green, boiled – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOD and fructans, intake should be limited.
  • Lentils, red, boiled – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOD and fructans, intake should be limited.
  • Lentil burger – HIGH


  • Chickpeas, canned – 1/4 cup LOW, 1/2 cup has moderate amounts of Oligos-GOS intake should be limited. Larger servings (100 g) contain HIGH amounts of GOS, this intake should be avoided.
  • Snow peas – 5 pods – LOW, 10 pods has HIGH amounts of Oligos (fructans and GOS) and high amounts of the Polyol mannitol; intake should be avoided.
  • Sugar snap peas -HIGH
  • Thawed peas – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup contains HIGH amounts of Oligos-GOS, intake should be avoided.
  • Split peas, boiled – HIGH

fodmap life hazelnuts walnuts almondsNUTS

  • Cashews – HIGH
  • Pistachios – HIGH
  • Hazelnuts – 10 nuts – LOW, 20 nuts has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOS and fructans, intake should be limited.
  • Almonds – 10 nuts – LOW, 20 nuts has HIGH amounts of Oligos-GOS, intake should be avoided.
  • Mixed nuts – 9 to 18 assorted -LOW.  Depending on the nuts used, large servings of mixed nuts may contain Oligos-GOS and fructans.
  • Peanuts -16 to 32 nuts – LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.
  • Pine nuts – up to 1 TB – LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.  Larger servings (8 TBS, 100 gm) contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be avoided.
  • Walnuts – 10 nuts – LOW LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.  Larger servings (100 gm) contains MODERATE amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be limited.

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Organic, Vegan, Dairy Free Low FODMAP Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really love chocolate and I love cookies, and on the Low-FODMAP Diet I don’t need to suffer as there are plenty of ways to eat wheat-free, gluten-free cookies, cakes, chocolates and sweets!  Try this recipe for this weekend

Organic, Vegan, Dairy-Free Low-FODMAP Chocolate Chip Cookies


For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1/2 C Organic vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C Unsweetened almond milk (I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Almond Milk Unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 TB Organic vanilla extract
  • 1 C Organic brown sugar
  • 1 TB Organic maple syrup
  • 2 C  Gluten-Free Flour (like King Arthur’s)
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 C Vegan chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand for all my vegan chocolate chip needs)


*Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a bowl combine the vegetable oil with the brown sugar, along with the maple syrup, almond milk & vanilla.
  2. Use a separate bowl to mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine everything into one bowl, then mix until smooth.  Slowly add in the chocolate chips.
  4. On a non-stick cookie sheet (I love Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® pans) drop rounded tablespoons of the dough.  This mixture is a little wet.
  5. The longer you bake these, the crispier they will be.  Bake anywhere from 12-14 minutes.


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Do’s and Don’ts of Sushi and the Low-FODMAP Diet

For anyone who is gluten intolerant, eating out for sushi can be tricky as you run the risk for cross-contamination from traces of gluten-containing ingredients like tempura.  Consider asking your server to speak to the chef and see if they can make your rolls on a clean cutting board and with a clean knife.  Hopefully they will be kind and patient to you and fulfill your desire!

sushi do's and don'ts for the low-fodmap dietFor those who are not gluten intolerant, you will still benefit from the tips below if you are following the low-FODMAP diet!

Tips for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Sushi

  • Rice is gluten-free and wheat-free and is sometimes mixed with vinegar and/or sugar.  No worries here!
  • The seaweed found in sushi rolls is naturally gluten-free and wheat-free.  Seaweed can be nutritious, depending upon how many servings you have.  One of the most noted benefits is its iodine content, and consuming healthy levels of iodine is beneficial to the thyroid gland, which regulates our hormones.  According to the National  “seaweed is rich in some health-promoting molecules and materials such as, dietary fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.”
  • If you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or Hashimoto’s disease, you need to be particularly wary of dipping sauces for sushi.  Most soy sauces or teriyaki contain gluten.  For instance, the second ingredient in All-purpose Kikkoman Soy Sauce is wheat.  They do make a gluten-free version where the ingredients are water, soybeans, rice and salt.  Ask for gluten-free Japanese tamari soy sauce.  There’s also rolls that are made with eel and you’ve probably noticed the barbecue sauce that comes with those rolls – many times the sauce contains gluten.
  • The fish used to fill sushi rolls is gluten-free and wheat-free as are the vegetables and mayonnaise (mayo is also lactose free).  Just be wary of two things: 1) how many rolls you have with avocado and keep in mind that a 1/8 serving of avocado is allowed on the low-FODMAP diet; 2) whether or not crab is in the roll.  Fresh crab is fine but imitation crab has gluten in it from the wheat starch.  Imitation crab is OK for people that are not gluten intolerant, however, consider limiting it because it is processed and also contains various artificial ingredients.
  • Believe it or not some wasabi actually contains gluten.  Some types of wasabi that have been commercially prepared may have been cross-contaminated or made with coloring agents that contain wheat starch.  “Although processing often removes the gluten protein (from wheat starch), some residual gluten can remain so wheat starch is not considered gluten free in the U.S.” Gluten-Free Living.  It is best to stay away wasabi unless you go to a sushi restaurant that prepares it fresh, otherwise you might be enjoying a mix of mustard, European horseradish, and food coloring. Wasabi is basically Japanese horseradish but to make it fresh, the Wasabia japonica rhizome, or root of the plant would be grated fresh, or a 100% authentic, all natural dried ground wasabi powder can be used, which is then mixed with water to become the paste.
  • Sorry guys, but tempura is made from wheat flour.  I know, I know shrimp tempura rolls taste SO good but anything with tempura does not fit with the wheat-free low-FODMAP diet or a strict gluten-free diet.

And I leave you with this inspirational quote loves!

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  Buddha.

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Sources:  Steamy Kitchen, All About Real Wasabi

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Why I Don’t Drink Coffee – Low-FODMAP Diet

The Low-FODMAP diet has cast a bright ray of light on the woes of many who suffer from a myriad of digestive disorders.  As you might have learned already, everyone’s digestive system is different when it comes to what types of foods or drinks that can be tolerated.  Not everyone following the low-FODMAP diet has the same reactions to foods.  High-Fructan foods might be the only cause of one person’s pain but high-lactose might the culprit for another.

After researching the low-FODMAP diet for almost two years and speaking with thousands of people, I have seen complaints across the board for what works and what does not work.  Even though coffee is allowed on the low-FODMAP diet, I’d like to focus today on why I don’t drink it.  If you or someone you know has IBS, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis and ulcers, this post is for you.

No Coffee Low Fodmap DietNo Coffee For Me

Let it be known that you can have coffee on the low-FODMAP diet but just stay away from chicory-based coffee substitutes which are a source of HIGH fructans.

By giving up coffee, I have less OH MY GOD WHERE’S THE BATHROOM moments, and believe me I am much more at ease now and don’t have to worry about what hour I leave the house.  My body is also calmer and relaxed.  I don’t need coffee for energy (I once thought I NEEDED it to get by) and the first fluid to enter my body everyday is water – and a lot of it.  Believe me, I do miss my beloved Peet’s French Roast coffee or trying coffee in different countries.  The smell now is the only thing I miss the most!

Here are some things to know about coffee for those of us with digestive disorders:

  • Caffeine in coffee is just as bad for the body because it speeds up every system in the body, and it has a stimulating effect on the intestines and can increase diarrhea – like very rapidly – that’s all I have to say about that.
  • When you drink coffee first thing, you are actually throwing acid on acid.  Your stomach produces large amounts of hydrochloric acid (HCl) after you’ve drank coffee, which can lead to irritation of your stomach and lining.
  • “De-caffeinated coffee does away with the caffeine, but it still contains acids that can increase stomach acid production.” Amber J. Tresca, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Expert.
  • “In 2007, Consumer Reports tested 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee from six coffee standbys, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Compared to the caffeine found in a regular cup (generally around 100 milligrams), the decaf samples had less, but some packed in over 20.” 12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine, Health.com
  • Coffee can cause heartburn -who likes that?
  • “Coffee produces a laxative effect in susceptible people through stimulation of rectosigmoid motor activity, as soon as four minutes after drinking. Even modest doses of coffee can have this effect, whether or not the body is ready to dispose of the
    feces, resulting in loose stools. Studies show that decaffeinated coffee has a similar stimulant effect on the GI tract proving that the laxative effect is not only due to caffeine.” Effects of Caffeine and Coffee on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, & Colitis Reviewed by Meri Rafetto, RD, Theresa Grumet, RD, and Gerri French, RD, MS, CDE.
  • If you have a damaged GI tract, the acid in coffee can prevent healing, and, regular or decaffeinated makes no difference!
  • Caffeine has a diuretic affect, which often dehydrates the body.  You know how your always told to get enough water?  You need it especially if you drink coffee.  Dehydrating the body can mean hard stools that are difficult to pass…and who wants to be constipated?

Where else can you find caffeine?  In much-loved chocolate (stick to low-FODMAP recommendations), coffee-flavored ice cream or frozen yogurt (try a different flavored lactose-free ice cream or yogurt), energy drinks (these also tend to have high fructose), tea, and some medications like painkillers.

Please share your comments below and tell me what works for you.  Everyone is different and we all handle foods and drinks in various ways.  However, it never hurts to consider cutting out coffee for a while to see if there’s any difference in your symptoms. Life has been wonderful for me without coffee!

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Other Sources: International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

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My Pregnancy, Low Fodmap and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS lends its mark on many pregnant women, and yes, one of those fortunate ladies is me!  I am halfway through my second trimester and my IBS is starting to kick up a notch.

My FODMAP Life and Pregnancy

Says an article on IBS.org: “Upwards to a third of pregnant women experience increased constipation, particularly during the last trimester” well it’s already happening to me now at week 19!  Metamucil is listed as safe by my doctor to use and it is making a slight difference. The article goes on to note that “Changes in the ovarian hormones, which are elevated during pregnancy, and the physical pressure the growing baby places on the bowel wall, may both contribute to GI symptoms.”  I believe it!

I am abiding by the Low-Fodmap Diet and it’s still helping my overall health, and I think the second part to my success is eating slowly, uninterrupted and having VERY small quantities at a time.  I say this because when I do, my gut stays quiet and calm, and when I haven’t followed my own rules, I look like I’m much further along in my pregnancy and food comes back up my throat.  Who likes that?!

A typical day for me starts out with an egg white omelet with spinach, maybe some Low-Fodmap cheese and Low Fodmap herbs.  For snacks I like Low-Fodmap veggies and fruits, gluten-free crackers, popcorn, a rice cake with almond butter, lactose-free yogurt, Jay Robb’s egg white protein to add in my shakes, Low-Fodmap cheese and sometimes I get a nice protein boost from one of my favorite brands Applegate Farms turkey breast (no antibiotics and hormones, no nitrates or nitrites).  For dinner there’s again always protein (very important for pregnancy), greens and a smaller serving of brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles or other gluten-free and wheat-free pasta, or polenta.

I am supposed to be drinking loads of water everyday but I have to drink slowly, otherwise I feel as though a bout with vomiting is coming on.  My goal is to finish 8 oz. of water every hour and sometimes success finds me, and sometimes it does not.  Migraine headaches have been creeping in and I think they are neck pain, pregnancy and Hashimoto’s Disease related.  I can only speculate that one of the best ways to keep migraines quiet and calm is to again DRINK LOADS OF WATER and get sleep when I need it.

Want to see my Baby Reveal?

Non-Drug Therapies for IBS and Pregnancy

From the several notable sources regarding how to manage IBS and pregnancy, many dole out the same information we have all been learning about according to the Low Fodmap Diet:

  • Relaxation therapy – or meditation for digestion.  And specifically some slow (prenatal) yoga.
  • Fiber – and of course picking the right type of fiber that won’t increase symptoms.
  • Reduction of gas-producing foods – like the cruciferous HIGH FODMAP vegetables (that I once enjoyed long ago) that slowly come to plague you later on: beans, cabbage, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, len­tils, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Keep sugary foods to a limit (of course!) and have drinks with electrolytes (make sure those drinks aren’t high in FODMAPs like fructose or sugar alcohols).
  • My naturopathic doctor has me on probiotics that are not as well known as Align, but they are certainly doing the trick.

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Sources: IBS.org info was adapted from IFFGD Publication #183 by Margaret Heitkemper, RN, PhD, Professor of Nursing and Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

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Onion and Garlic Replacements for the low-FODMAP diet!

Onions and garlic definitely seem to be one of THE hardest things for everyone to live without OR to live without accidentally eating in your next meal. Many of you are not aware of Asafoetida or asafetida powder. This can be used in place of onions, and it’s very strong so use it sparingly.

What is Asafoetida Powder?-Asafoetida  low fodmap diet

Asafoetida powder, which is also known as Hing, is used in a wide variety of Indian dishes.  It’s derived from a species of giant fennel, and has a very unique and pungent smell and flavor. In Indian cooking, it’s used often times with legumes and vegetable dishes like those that use cauliflower. Cooking mellows out this spice, and you’ll think you’re tasting onion and/or garlic.  Make sure you buy a wheat-free version!

Here is where you can buy wheat-free, gluten-free versions:

One more health tip – Asafoetida is said to reduce the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, thereby reducing flatulence! (see sources below).

Try Garlic-Infused Oilgarlic

The other item you can use (if you miss garlic like me!) is garlic-infused oil. I wrote a post on it some time ago: fodmaplife.com/2014/09/23/5-garlic-oils-to-buy-low-fodmap-diet

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Sources: Definition – The Spice House; On reduction of flatulenceThe Hindu; S. K. Garg, A. C. Banerjea, J. Verma and M. J. Abraham, “Effect of Various Treatments of Pulses on in Vitro Gas Production by Selected Intestinal Clostridia”. Journal of Food Science, Volume 45, Issue 6 (p. 1601–1602).

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The Low-Fodmap Diet and Celiac Disease

Intestinal Damage Of GlutenWhat is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a chronic condition that affects the body for its lifetime.  Whenever someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, an abnormal immune system response is triggered, damaging the small intestine.

People with celiac disease need to avoid ALL gluten.  The same goes for people with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto-immune condition (learn more here).  Tiny villi tissues line our small intestines.  They help us to absorb vitamins, nutrients and sugars from foods.  When a celiac patient ingests gluten, the villi of their small intestine flatten out, causing damage and the inability to absorb vital nutrients.  Sometimes someone with celiac who ingests gluten doesn’t feel or experience symptoms, but at the same time, they are slowly damaging the small intestine.  I thought that people with celiac are diagnosed at birth, but in actuality, more and more people are experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed in their 20s, 30s and 40s.  If you have abnormal liver blood tests, a digestive disorder, anemia or an  autoimmune diseases like diabetes or thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s makes the cut), get yourself checked for celiac disease.

According to the Celiac Support Association® common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Abdominal cramping/bloating
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Energy loss
  • Fatigue
  • Difficult to concentrate / foggy brain
  • Infertility
  • Irritable bowel
  • Joint pain
  • Menorrhagia
  • Mouth sores or cracks in the corners
  • Osteopenia or osteoporosis
  • Tooth enamel defects
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

Gluten Free & Low-Fodmap Diets

A gluten free diet must be adhered to at all times for people with celiac disease.  I have IBS and Hashimoto’s disease and have been instructed by my endocrinologist (who also has Hashimoto’s -except not as bad) to avoid all gluten, and it’s definitely made a difference in my life.  Though my health has improved, it’s still difficult at times to know all sources of gluten found in foods. Working with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutritional Consultant can help uncover all the hidden sources of gluten and possibly help to identify the cause of symptoms.

If consumed, low FODMAP foods should not cause damage to the small intestine.  Most gluten-free foods are almost always wheat-free, but not all gluten-free foods are low FODMAP (example, Rudi’s gluten free breads are delicious but contain HIGH FODMAP ingredients).

Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD suggests that if you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms to “ask your doctor if you should be tested for celiac disease before starting a low-FODMAP diet,” and that “once you’ve cut out wheat, barley and rye from your diet for a while, celiac tests are no longer accurate.”  Another interesting fact she shared:

  • “If you have celiac disease and already eat gluten-free, but still suffer from gastrointestinal complaints, FODMAPs may be to blame. Especially early in your diagnosis, before intestinal healing is complete on your gluten-free diet, you may be prone to poor absorption of lactose, fructose and sorbitol. Once you have been gluten-free for a long time, your ability to tolerate foods containing these carbohydrates may improve a good deal.”

Bread groupWheat Derived Ingredients

Be aware of wheat-derived ingredients that have gluten!  People with Hashimoto’s won’t feel the severity or threatening symptoms from gluten the way celiacs do, but sources say that gluten can stay in the body for up to six months, so do the absolute best you can to avoid gluten.  Here are some examples:

  • Barley is a grain that contains gluten.  You’ll find it in soups or malt flavoring.
  • Buckwheat is gluten-free but don’t assume all buckwheat products are gluten free.  Buckwheat can sometimes be combined with wheat flour in pancake and baking mixes.
  • Dextrin is gluten-free be wary, though rare, its sometimes made from wheat.
  • Gluten containing grains bulgur, durum, einkorn, farina, graham, kamut, semolina, and spelt are all forms of wheat.
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein is not gluten-free.
  • Malt flavoring is usually made from barley and is not gluten free.  Malt extract, malt syrup and malt flour are made from barley and are not gluten free.
  • Modified food starch is gluten free unless it is made from wheat.
  • Oats – only those that are grown in such a way to eliminate cross-contamination can be labeled gluten-free.
  • Rice is gluten free but can sometimes come packaged as a rice mix with seasonings that contains wheat.
  • Seasonings can be gluten-free or not if they contain wheat starch or wheat flour.
  • Seitan is made from wheat gluten so it contains gluten.  There are some recipes out there for gluten-free seitan but consider ignoring those!
  • Soba Japanese noodles made from buckwheat are gluten-free, however always check to make sure they’ve not been made with wheat flour.
  • Several soy sauces are made with wheat.  If you’re out dining at a Japanese restaurant ask for tamari.  If at home try Bragg’s Amino Acids.
  • Spelt is not gluten-free.
  • Teriyaki sauces are usually made with wheat though you can still find gluten-free brands.
  • Tofu when plain and not flavored with soy sauce (made from wheat) is gluten-free.
  • Triticale is a cross bred hybrid of wheat and rye that contains gluten.  It was first “bred in laboratories during the late 19th century in Scotland and Sweden.” {source USDA}
  • Wheat starch is a starch made from wheat.  Even after processing some residual gluten can remain so it’s not considered gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Labeling

According to Food Safety Magazine: “Gluten-free” counts towards gluten-free foods or gluten-free ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined “gluten-free” as less than 20 ppm (mg/kg) of gluten. Other countries use this definition as well (and some countries have established a category of low-gluten foods that are defined as less than 100 ppm gluten). Here is the U.S., our regulations (at this time) don’t recognize low-gluten foods. Our gluten-free regulations also establishes other conditions that must be met by any U.S. food labeled gluten-free:
•    The food must not contain any ingredient that is a gluten-containing grain.
•    The food may only contain an ingredient derived from a gluten-containing source, if that ingredient has been processed in a manner to remove gluten residues to a level of less than 20 ppm.

Food Safety magazine goes on to say that from a clinical perspective “ingesting gluten-free foods containing less than 20 ppm gluten appears to be safe for celiac sufferers.”

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Additional Sources for this post: GlutenFreeLiving.com – Ingredients Index

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The Bad Guys: Sorbitol, Maltitol

Sometimes I just need a mint to hold me over when I am working or for obvious reasons, to have fresh breath.

Unfortunately for us IBS sufferers there are too many products made with sorbitol, maltitol or other sugar alcohols ending in “ol.” Sometimes its just not worth it to pop a couple in my mouth because I can have bloating that carries on for days!

Trader Joe's Mints!

Trader Joe’s Mints!

So I came across Trader Joe’s Organic Peppermints.  The ingredients are: organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, water, peppermint oil, organic maple syrup, organic peppermint leaves, agar, and gum tragacanth.

I have not experienced any problems so far, and, as the University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.  According to the center, “Several studies have shown that enteric coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.”  Enteric is a coating that lets capsules pass through the stomach intact and dissolve in the intestines.  “Enteric coated capsules keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.”  I have not had any problems with the peppermint oil in these Trader Joe’s mints, but if you do, try Altoids or look for gluten-free mints for sale online.  I’ve seen some of these in my local Sprout’s, Jimbo’s and Whole Foods stores: naturalcandystore.com

peppermint leavesI have also heard that chewing peppermint leaves helps freshen breath, but who wants to carry them around in a purse/pocket? :)

By the way, you must be wondering what agar and gum tragacanth must be?  I looked them up (I like to know every single ingredient if I buy anything in a package):

Agar – “is a gelatinous substance derived by boiling a polysaccharide in red algae, where it accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte and serves as the primary structural support for the algae’s cell walls.” “Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work. It can be used as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in fruit preserves,ice cream, and other desserts, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing paper and fabrics.”

Gum tragacanth – a white or reddish plant gum used in the food, textile, and pharmaceutical industries. Wiki: “Gum tragacanth is a viscous, odorless, tasteless, water-soluble mixture ofpolysaccharides obtained from sap which is drained from the root of the plant and dried.”

All sound safe and natural to me.  Have a great weekend!

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Low-FODMAP Banana Chocolate Walnut Bread and Giveaway!

Recipe Time! Low-FODMAP Banana Chocolate Walnut Bread

This recipe was so, so delicious!  The taste, consistency and of course the decadent smell wafting through my kitchen!  I can’t wait to make it again.  If you’re on my email newsletter list you’ve already received a copy a few months ago.  Make sure to sign up if you’re not a part of our community!

fodmap life banana chocolate walnut bread 5
GIVEAWAY:  The first person to bake this Banana Chocolate Walnut Bread and share a photo on our Facebook page will receive a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour!  Get baking!
Ingredients ~
2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill rice flour
1 ¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour (wheat & gluten free)
1 teaspoon Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum
2 tablespoons baking powder (gluten-free if you are Celiac or have Hashimoto’s)
3 RIPE organic bananas, mashed
1 cup organic granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted (I love Kerrygold)
2 cage-free eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
½ cup chopped organic walnuts
1 cup Dark Chocolate Morsels
Directions ~
Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit
  1. I used mini-loaf pans for this recipe but you can also make just one large loaf with a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. Use a medium-sized bowl to sift the flours, xanthan gum and baking powder together.
  3. In another medium-sized bowl, add three ripe bananas and mash them with a fork.  Then use a spatula and mix in the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, walnuts and chocolate morsels.  Add the flour/xanthan gum mixture and use the spatula again to fold all the ingredients together.
  4. Put the batter into the loaf pan (or small mini-loaf pans) and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Some ovens vary so just use a toothpick, fork or other thin utensil and insert into the loaf to check to see if your loaf is ready (utensil should be clean).
  5. Carefully lift up the parchment paper and remove the loaf to transfer to a cooling rack.  Serve with a pat of unsalted butter!Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!
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Baked Sweet Potato Fries



Originally posted on RunningYourBody:

These little dandies are gluten free, and surprisingly low on the FODMAP diet plan. They are also delicious, so win-win-win!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries


1 large sweet potato

1 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit

Cut the sweet potato into small 1/4 inch by 2 inch strips. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt with cut sweet potato. Use your hands to thoroughly cover each fry with the ingredients.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a flat cooking sheet. Then place the fries evenly spaced onto the parchment paper.

Baked sweet potato fries2

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven and flip each fry over and place back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. This creates a nice little crisp quality to the fries, instead of a soggy oily pile of…

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X MARKS THE SPOT: How I Healed My Body


Read this great story about her personal struggles with IBS and acid reflux – and how she also experience anxiety – because of her diet! Apples and honey were partly to blame…

Originally posted on Genevieve Angelique:


For 15 years I suffered from moderate to severe stomach problems: bloating, acid reflux, IBS(D), nausea, and vomiting.

Over time, my symptoms worsened. I saw lots of doctors and specialists–all of whom said I was perfectly healthy (on paper). I was told to take Imodium for the rest of my life, to spend more time on stress-management activities, and to avoid fatty and greasy foods.

Eventually, my symptoms expanded from my GI to other body systems. I developed an autoimmune blood disorder that makes me more susceptible to bleeding, bruising, & slow healing, a skin condition called perioral dermatitis that looks much like acne (but isn’t), and muscle spasms in my fingers, legs, and shoulders.

Despite trying a gamut of dermatologist-prescribed creams and pills, my dermatitis melted into an angry red patch around my nose, mouth, and chin. I was embarrassed to show my face in public, and I dreaded face-to-face conversations. All the reclusive tendencies I had adopted as a…

View original 1,593 more words

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