When I go to Sprouts and Trader Joe’s (my local supermarkets), I like to stock up on healthy snack foods. I’m a grazer eater (in my case because I hate to cook) so snacks are the staples of my diet.
I loooove apples!!
Although the apples we get in America are nowhere as tasty as the ones I grew up on in Jamaica, I’m still a huge apple lover, and they’ve been my go-to meal replacement for a long time. If they’re on sale, I’ll get (and eat) extra.
Little did I realize that apples, widely considered to be one of the healthiest foods ever, could be triggering my IBS symptoms. I only figured this out after, at the suggestion of a friend, I looked into a low Fodmap diet.
Color me shocked when I learned that eating apples can be terrible for people with IBS, Crohn’s, ulcers, and other chronic digestive illnesses and conditions.
I would never have guessed that apples could have been causing the bloat and distention I had been trying to beat. But after 3 apple-free days and my symptoms went away, I had to call my friend and thank her.
Learning about and working on the low-fodmap eating plan, has been a revelation. So here I am, passing on one of the best IBS diet tips out there: try a low-fodmap diet!
So, what the heck are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs is short for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates found in foods that cause liquid and gas in the small and large intestines.
The main food groups of FODMAPs are:
Oligosaccharides: Wheat, rye, legumes, and various fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and onions.
Disaccharides: Milk, yogurt, and soft cheese. Lactose is the main carb.
Monosaccharides: Various fruit including figs and mangoes, and sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. Fructose is the main carb.
Polyols: Certain fruits and vegetables including blackberries and lychee, as well as some low-calorie sweeteners like those in sugar-free gum.
The FODMAP diet
They’ve done over 30 studies and found that IBS sufferers do better on a low-FODMAP diet. When you go on a “low-FODMAP” diet you eliminate the most irritating foods and then add certain foods back gradually.
It’s highly recommended that you work with a nutritionist or another pro to help you personalize your diet. In my case, for example, I learned that even some safe foods like oranges can be problematic for my stomach.
Low-FODMAP food list
According to HealthLine, these foods are usually safe for most people to eat.
Protein: Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, prawns, and tofu
Whole grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats, and quinoa
Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, kiwi, limes, mandarins, oranges, papaya, pineapple, rhubarb, and strawberries
Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, choy sum, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, spinach, and zucchini
Nuts: Almonds (no more than 10 per sitting), macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts
Seeds: Linseeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower
Dairy: Cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk, and Parmesan cheese
Oils: Coconut oil and olive oil
Beverages: Black tea, coffee, green tea, peppermint tea, water, and white tea
Condiments: Basil, chili, ginger, mustard, pepper, salt, white rice vinegar, and wasabi powder
And here's a handy shopping list you can save as your guide.
I’m still learning about FODMAPs myself so I’m no expert, but there are quite a few resources out there if you want to learn more.
Start with these:
Low FODMAP Diet Apps (for Android)