My Experiments in Health: Living With The Low FODMAP Diet

Following a low FODMAP diet is challenging. Having a life while following a low FODMAPs diet is an art form. I have a few tips for those who are trying to coexist with a new low FODMAP life.

Read more about my first month on a low FODMAP diet here.

When people commit to making a big change like going on a diet, ditching cigarettes, or starting an exercise program, they put a lot of energy and focus behind that objective. But, eventually, they need to spend some of that time and energy on other areas of their lives.

Making the transition from a narrow focus on one behavior to a more balanced life is difficult. This is sometimes referred to as “maintenance” because you’re focused less upon making the change and more upon maintaining it. Often people are very successful with changes until they enter this “maintenance phase.”

What makes maintenance different from initial behavior changes is that you generally stop avoiding tempting situations. For example, people who quit smoking will avoid other smokers, bars, and break rooms while they are initiating a behavior change. Once they hit maintenance they might go back to the pub they frequented, but without the old urge to smoke the night away.

In my case with the low FODMAP diet, making the change was challenging, but totally manageable. I had complete control of my food supply. I do all the cooking; Colin’s talents don’t lie in the kitchen and our town does not offer much in the way of restaurants or fast food. There’s one pizza place but to be honest,  pizza they make tastes strange to our American taste buds.  Oh well! Less FODMAPs for us!

In about a month, I was the master of my low FODMAPs universe. It felt amazing. My IBS symptoms had gone down from a 10 to a 2 and I had tons more energy! It was time to focus on a new project.

So as part of my series on Cooking Less American, I decided to explore Italian cuisine for September. This proved to be a true test of my commitment to the low FODMAP lifestyle. Many on the ingredients most common to Italian food are high FODMAP like onions, garlic, and pasta.

Instead of giving up on the low FODMAP lifestyle, I decided to learn how to cook Italian without high FODMAP ingredients. Below are a few of my favorite tricks. They are practical, easy to do and can be applied to any type of cuisine.

My low FODMAP diet tips

Replace Onions with green onions.

Green Onions low FODMAP

It’s hard to find a recipe that does not call for onions. Green onions are a low FODMAP MVP! They can boost a dish’s flavor without irritating your gut.

  • Do not use the white part of the green onion.
  • Wash them well before use.
  • Use kitchen shears to slice them thinly.
  • Green onions do not need as much sautéing time as white or red onions.
  • Always have them on hand because many recipes call for onions.

Infuse your oil with garlic

garlic

I miss garlic, but I don’t miss all the indigestion that comes with eating it! Here is a simple way to get flavor instead of FODMAPs into your dish.

  • If a recipe calls for cloves of fresh garlic, you can infuse them into your cooking oil without adding any FODMAPs.
  • Pour the recipe’s recommended amount of oil into your skillet.
  • Add whole, peeled garlic cloves to the oil.
  • You can use the amount of garlic suggested by the recipe or more if you love garlic.
  • Let the garlic sauté in the oil until fragrant, then remove.

Replace bland high FODMAP pasta with flavorful roasted veggies.

Low FODMAP diet
Low FODMAP Grilled Chicken Alfredo.

I love this trick! Dry, boxed pasta is nearly flavorless. So why not replace it with some delicious roasted veggies? This tasty swap will lower the calorie count of your meal while adding nutrients – I love that!

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Clean your choice of veggies and chop into pasta-sized bites. You’ll need about 1 cup per serving.
  • In a large bowl, add 1/2 TBS olive oil for every cup of veggies.
  • Season to taste with Italian spices. Toss veggies until coated.
  • Spread out on to a pan. Don’t crowd the veggies. If the pan is overcrowded, the veggies will come out mushy.
  • Roast for 35-45 minutes. Turn veggies with a spatula every 15 minutes.
  • Treat the veggies like cooked pasta: toss in sauce, top with cheese, chicken, or shrimp.

Give up on prepared, processed foods.

Choc_Dipped_Coconut_Luna_Bar

Most refined or pre-made foods contain FODMAPs. Even packaged “health foods” like nutrition bars can be high in FODMAPs. There are exceptions to the rule, but even after a very careful inspection of a label you still might end up eating a FODMAP. Frankly, I’d rather not waste time researching labels. Instead, I focus my mental energy on cooking homemade low FODMAP meals. It’s a much more rewarding endeavor :)

Download this app

low FODMAP diet app

The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App is a lifesaver. When you’re grocery shopping or eating out you can quickly use this app to identify high FODMAP foods. It also has a handy symptom tracker and recipes. To be honest, I was not at all impressed by the recipes. Nonetheless, this app can quickly give you the information you need to avoid high FODMAP foods.

Do you have any questions about the low FODMAP diet?

Please leave a comment and I will do my best to give you an answer!

Do you have any low FOMAP diet tips of your own?

Please share them! Leave a  comment :)