photo credit: www.burpee.com

photo credit: www.burpee.com

*Updated July 2, 2016

July 4th is my favorite day of the year!  It always makes me think back to summers on Long Island, New York where I grew up.  There was always sparklers and fireworks (sometimes the oh-so-dangerous roman candles that you could buy in Chinatown in NYC) and great memories running around in my bathing suit, eating delicious food at my Uncle’s house.  I can almost smell the grill and hear the ice cream man’s music, the sound slowly making its way down the street.

If you’re American and celebrating America’s Birthday, July 4th weekend, please take it easy with food and don’t lose patience!  You might be going to a family or friend’s party, possibly out to eat, hanging out at a BBQ – and we all know that most of the time, these types of gatherings involve foods that can irritate and cause pain or discomfort – and no one wants to look like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon!  Also, it’s the amount of food that you need to be weary of too – most people with sensitive guts can’t handle too many different foods at one time.

Choose carefully and wisely and if possible, bring your own food!  If you can’t bring your own food, keep my grocery list handy on your smartphone.

Here are some tips!

  • Many sausages are made with onions and garlic – stick to chicken, turkey or fish which are also happen to be lean!
  • Hamburgers and hot dogs are OK.  Personally, I don’t like hot dogs for many reasons but if you like them, go ahead and enjoy!
  • Enjoy chicken, just not fried chicken
  • Seafood is always a great option!  Just take care to see if it was prepared with any high-FODMAPs and if you are dipping in butter don’t go overboard (see fat below)
  • Be careful of how much fat (butter, wheat-free fries, burgers and other red or processed meat, mayonnaise, oil in salads) you load up on as too much fat can disrupt your gut motility (preventing normal bowel movements).
  • If you can’t confirm whether or not a salad, a side or appetizer has not been made with high-FODMAPs, opt for a low-FODMAP green salad (avoid ready-made dressings unless you can read the label) and enjoy smaller portions of other salads like potato, macaroni (made with wheat-free pasta), or other traditional salads.  Remember, onion and garlic are in many dishes.
  • Bring your own gluten-free and low-FODMAP buns to the party or just have your burger on a plate.  Udi’s Classic Hamburger Buns appear to be low in FODMAPs.  You can also have 1 slice (low) of white wheat bread or 2 slices wheat wholemeal sourdough (if in the U.S.).  Learn more about sourdough bread here from Kate Scarlata, registered dietitian and low FODMAP diet educator.
  • For condiments, stick to mustard, mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon relish, up to 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce, 1 sachet ketchup (made in the U.S. sweetened with fructose or sucrose), 1 sachet tomato sauce (what our loves in OZ and other countries call ketchup), and hot sauce (if your gut doesn’t have trouble with it).
  • Many store-made potato salads contain wheat flour (I figured this out while at a BBQ a few years back!).  Ask your host what’s in the potato salad or make one yourself and use this delicious recipe omitting the shallots.
  • Watermelon, popular at BBQs, is high in FODMAPs (I know, darn!)
  • Steer clear of carbonated drinks (which can cause gas), soda or sports drinks which are usually made with high fructose corn syrup and avoid most juices which contain high amounts of excess fructose
  • Opt for low-Fodmap fruits for dessert instead of cakes, cupcakes and other desserts
  • If you absolutely HAVE to drink alcohol, you can have beer, gin, vodka, whiskey, (no rum) and wine (red, white, sparkling, dry –no sticky/dessert wine).  If you want my personal advice, avoid alcohol if you are on the low-FODMAP diet, because in essence right now you are doing an experiment on yourself.  Alcohol is a gut irritant, plus we often consume too much food during the holidays, so it would just be another thing to throw you off.  If decide to drink, consider sticking to clear alcohol like vodka with lemon or gin and please only have one drink ladies, and two max for men.  Drink responsibly and get a designated driver, Uber or Lyft – don’t chance it!
  • Remember, eat your food slowly to give your gut a chance to properly digest food. Stay hydrated!

Have a great time and don’t stress yourself out – but just make the best choices possible.  Whether you are in the elimination phase for the low-FODMAP diet or you already know which HIGH FODMAPs cause you problems – celebrations or parties are hard for anyone with a digestive disorder.  And eating several different types of foods during one occasion, OR fatty foods, OR alcohol, OR foods that are high in FODMAPs OR foods that have added condiments and sauces – eeeekkk!  I know, it’s hard for us!  Be good to your body this weekend 🙂

Best, Colleen

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