Since the year began I have seen a tremendous amount of people on Facebook and Twitter say that they’ve started the Low-FODMAP Diet. This is great news! I’ve seen a few people asking for advice or tips on how to navigate the diet and honestly the best and safest approach is to work with a Registered Dietitian. If for some reason you cannot afford one (meeting with one should not be a problem as many more RDs offer Skype consults), here are 5 Healthy Steps you can take to eat healthy right now.
- Get a Breath Test. I had one of two breath hydrogen tests. The first was to see if I am fructose intolerant (still awaiting the results) and the second is to check for lactose intolerance. Dr. Sue Shepherd, PhD says that if you discover that neither fructose or lactose are causing you symptoms you’ll be able to include them in your Low-FODMAP diet, “although a negative breath test for fructose and lactose does not mean you won’t benefit from restricting the other remaining FODMAPs.” She also recommends that if you do not have a breath test that you should “avoid all FODMAPs for the initial two months” of the diet.
- Reduce your intake of red meat. Red meat is a trigger food for people with IBS. It’s high in saturated fat and animal protein which is difficult to digest for most people. If you are going to have it, make sure the portion is no larger than the palm of your hand, or what is considered a serving. Also, cut it into smaller pieces to help with digestion. For an extra healthy you – eat certified organic meats (no growth hormones, drugs or antibiotics). If your doctor says you can avoid red meat altogether -great! For your protein needs try skinless chicken, seafood (careful of salmon and other oily fishes), egg whites, nuts, and non-dairy milk.
- Just say no to another glass. Alcohol can greatly increase symptoms. While you are following the Low-FODMAP diet it’s recommended by FODMAP experts to avoid it completely so you can get a better sense of what affects your gut once you start to slowly introduce food back into your diet. If you’re going to drink, one glass max is recommended for women and up to two for men. If you can, opt for clear alcohol like a vodka with ice, water and lemon (soda water can cause gas). Remember alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, cause irritability, limit a person’s tolerance for stress and it increases the risk for several diseases. And we all know it also puts on the pounds!
- Stop eating when you are full. Be aware of your eating. Eat slowly. When you eat slowly you will have a better chance of not over-eating. You will give your gut and brain enough chance to catch up with each other and say “thanks, that was great! I’m full!” Also, eating too fast can cause excess amounts of air to be trapped in your stomach which can cause belching and more gas. Avoid disruptions like watching TV, working on your computer or using your phone. When possible, eat with a friend, co-worker or with family. Be aware if the person sitting next to you is eating fast and don’t follow their lead. Take the opportunity to ask them nicely and calmly to slow down and enjoy the meal with you.
- Forget about what you can’t eat. Remember, while you are trying the Low-FODMAP diet, you are bringing yourself closer to possibly understanding what causes your symptoms – and if you truly follow the diet, you might be able to avoid medications and create a new, healthy lifestyle for yourself. There are several foods that are low in FODMAPs and by doing this diet you will also negate several more foods that are very unhealthy for you anyhow. My motto – the cleaner the foods, the better your life.
Good luck and let me know if you need any referrals for a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist like me. I offer nutritional coaching – learn more here. Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
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