Fodmaps are food particles that can irritate the gut lining in some people with sensitive guts. Foods high in fodmaps like Wine, Cows Milk, Cream, Icecream, Chocolate, Coffee, Beans, Legumes, highly fibrous brocolli stalks or brassica veg like cauliflower eaten all together in one meal can cause IBS and running to the loo on a day or night out! My best advice is to stick to either a started or a dessert, leave as long a gap as possible between courses to help digestion and avoid wine and coffee like the plague! Stick to Gin or spirits or liquers. Most people can eat the above foods but not with other foods. Leaving a gap to digest each thing is KEY. This is called selective fodmap stacking. Doing the above will really help you enjoy a night out.
At home when youve time Download a list of Low Fodmap and High Fodmap food items from the internet. Then start paying attention to what foods causes you IBS. Remember it may take 4+ hours for food to reach your intestines. Example: You might tolerate a ripe banana but you may find 1/2 of a unripe banana causes you bloating and pain. The best way is to watch your reaction once you eat them. For example eat 2 typical high fodmap foods in a single meal and watch do you experience any symptoms that evening?. Try one high fodmap item in your breakfast along with low fodmap items and see does this one high fodmap item cause you a problem?. You are the only one that is going to know. Overtime you are going to be able to workout just what fodmaps you can eat in one day.
You don’t have to eliminate all fodmaps. You just have to figure out what is your threshold or commonly known as fodmap stacking. It is individual for each person. Many foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower are particularly important to your health. They are the detoxification vegetables. But they are a fodmap group that causes a lot of digestive distress and bloating because of the high fiber content. So initially it is best to remove the fodmap foods that maybe the most problematic and for a lot of people raw apples, unripe pears, raw onions and raw garlic and raw broccoli can cause distress but for a lot of people stewed apples, ripe pears and a certain amount of cooked onions and garlic and brocolli won’t cause any issues.
Let’s talk about drinks now and coffee. Caffeinated coffee particularly is a gastric irritant and increases irritable bowel symptoms such as diarrhea so I recommend a coffee retreat or reduce the amount of caffeinated coffee to one mug per day away from food. You can substitute for a cup of green or fruit tea which is full of antioxidants or a cup of normal tea for a few days to lower your coffee consumption.
Alcohol-each of us has a special response to metabolising alcohol, everybody is different. Beer, wine, and spirits are known irritants to the gastrointestinal tract and therefore they are prohibited on the low fodmap diet, if you are someone who enjoys one or two alcoholic beverages daily this would mean a major change in your habits.
I do recommend if you are under a lot of stress and have difficulty sleeping that having one alcoholic drink a few nights a week “as a nightcap” like one drink, one small dose of a spirit with some sparkling water with a squeeze of a lemon or a lime or a little bit of fruit juice before bed can often help us feel relaxed and help us destress before bed and this can be useful for some people’s recovery.
I do not recommend that you drink beer or wine on the low fodmap diet because they contain sugar which lead to yeasts, Beer and wine are full of sugar which cause yeast overgrowth which could be the cause of your SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth). I personally stopped drinking wine once I knew this. They are fermented products and as part of the low fodmap diet we’re usually trying to starve these out and replace them with a probiotic yeast called saccharomyces boulardi which is a special probiotic given by gut health practitioners to clients.
I also recommend you avoid diet drinks, fizzy drinks and sugar laden beverages because they are detrimental to your health and we know that sugar is one of the biggest causes of leaky got and compromising your gut barrier function. If buying orange juice opt for the “not from concentrate” carton. The made from concentrate one is full of sugar. Or go for smoothie drinks. Add a dash of a smoothie to a glass of cold water. Remember water is the best for your body and gut. Try to drink 2L per day with lemon which helps flush out your liver.
However when you do a low fodmap diet for a short period of time and starve out the bacteria that are causing the problem and reintroduce some probiotics to your diet to change your microbial diversity it is often possible to reintroduce a lot of the foods that you previously found intolerable as long as you know and keep track of your trigger foods and don’t eat too big of a portion.
Eating ripe fruit it is usually much less problematic then raw fruit. Consider the preparation method of foods, salads, raw broccoli, raw leaves tend to be more problematic than cooked foods. Even simply lightly steamed broccoli or blanching spinach leaves prior to putting them in a meal might make a huge difference for you.
It takes time to starve out the bacteria and get your symptoms under control with the fodmap diet method it can take six months a year to two years to get better but stick with it and overtime you will figure out what your fodmap threshold is and the individual fodmaps that you are sensitive to. My best advice is put the sheet of low fodmap items and high fodmap items on your fridge and look at it every day, prior to planning your meals, prior to cooking your meals, prior to doing your food shop and overtime you will memorize whether each and every item is low or high fodmap and you will be able to prep your meals based on this knowledge. It took me 28 months in total to get better and eliminate SIBO. When I took the chronic stress out of my life and put my mum in care, went on medication that actually worked for my anxiety my digestion normalized over a year and I was able to tell what foods were problematic for me or should i say my fodmap triggers and then I got better in 18 months because i was able to space out the trigger foods out because i could recognise them at last. So managing stress and removing big stress from your life is KEY is to good gut health.