Author Archives: boncalme

  1. Low-FODMAP Sources of Fiber

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    As a Certified Nutritionist I can tell you about the food you can eat while you are on the elimination portion of the low-FODMAP diet – and that you may consider consuming foods rich in fiber and low in FODMAPs instead of taking a fiber supplement.  This way you may actually receive a more accurate reading on what’s causing your symptoms, as fiber supplements could be the culprit.

    Eat Your Fiber!

    Getting enough fiber could help prevent obesity, lowering your risk of diabetes (helps control blood sugar levels) and heart disease (lower cholesterol levels) and help with constipation.  And –  we have learned from our mothers that fiber is very important to help keep things “moving” and it’s true – but only for some.  The problem, is that for people with digestive issues, sometimes fiber or too much, even from supplements can cause painful symptoms.Woman Having Abdominal Pain
    Fiber is exclusively a plant nutrient and plants need fiber in order to stand up tall or keep their shape.  And simply put, whenever we eat more plant-based foods, we increase our fiber!  Eating low-FODMAP fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans (green) will help to naturally increase fiber, as well as give us phytonutrients and antioxidants which have been said to prevent disease and keep your body working properly.

    Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

    Soluble fiber dissolves in water.  It attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. The emptying of your stomach is delayed and soluble fiber makes you feel full.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with soluble fiber are: blueberries, oranges, eggplant, carrots, grapefruit, potatoes; oatmeal, oat bran, brown rice, tofu, flax and sunflower seeds, cooked chickpeas and lentils.

    Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Insoluble fibers are considered beneficial fiber for the gut because of the laxative effect and they add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with insoluble fiber are: wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

    What Types of Supplements May Help Constipation?

    If you absolutely have to take a supplement look for those made with Psyllium husk.  It has shown to be effective in treating constipation and IBS symptoms.  Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD, Medical Nutrition Therapist and FODMAP expert says: “I tend to recommend those (fiber supplements) made of psyllium husk, starting with a very small serving and increasing slowly over time. Supplements made of cellulose are also worth trying, since cellulose is not fermentable.”

    Fiber Supplements HIGH in FODMAPs

    If you have IBS or another FGID (functional gastrointestinal disorder) and are currently taking a fiber supplement, chances are it may be made with functional fibers like inulin or oligofructose.  These prebiotic ingredients can influence beneficial bacteria to grow and can improve immunity or gastrointestinal health for some, but for people like you and me, it could mean the train has stopped and is not leaving the station…So what should you look out for?
    Fiber supplements made with the following or any packaged food that boasts “High in Fiber” may have these ingredients:
    • Inulin – mostly obtained from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke; chicory root extract.  Inulin is a HIGH FODMAP.
    • Beet fiber, corn fiber, soy fiber, citrus fiber
    • Carrageenan is a water-soluble fiber found in certain types of seaweed.
    • Guar Gum guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum.  It is used as a thickener and a binder.  Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools.  Don’t take guar gum if you have a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.
      • Some of our fans of Fodmap Life and experts of IBS have said that carrageenan, guar gum and other gums such as acacia, xanthan, and locust bean have caused them symptoms.  You’ll find these in non-dairy milks, snack bars, yogurts and ice cream.  *These have not been analyzed for FODMAPs yet so please do not be confused, as they are not currently on the HIGH FODMAPs list.
    • Other functional fibers that you will find in foods are: pectin, chitosan, cellulose, methylcellulose, beta-gucans, polydextrose, resistant dextrins, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) used as an alternative sweetener, and acacia fibers.
    • In the article “Functional Fibers — Research Shows They Provide Health Benefits Similar to Intact Fibers in Whole Foods” by Constance Brown-Riggs, she says that “research suggests that when added fibers, such as soluble corn fiber, polydextrose, and soluble fiber dextrin (also known as resistant dextrin), are added to foods, they can help consumers increase their fiber intake without concerns about GI distress and, at the same time, confer health benefits associated with naturally occurring intact fiber sources.”  Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD recommends not consuming corn fiber while on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet.



    Some Low-FODMAP Fiber Sources:Oranges Raspberries Blackberries And Bananas On White

    • Oranges, raspberries, blackberries, ripe bananas
    • Corn, potatoes (with skin), carrots, spinach
    • Brown rice and brown rice products
    • Rice bran (2 tablespoons)
    • Oatmeal (1/2 cup cooked)
    • Oat bran (2 tablespoons)
    • Quinoa
    • Nuts and nut butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons–no cashews or pistachios)
    • Seeds and seed butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons)
    • Canned, drained, lentils (1/2 cup)
    • Chia seeds, whole or ground (2 tablespoons)
    • Tempeh (3 ounces)

    Tips for Getting More Fiber

    • Eat whole low-FODMAP fruits instead of drinking fruit juices (high in FODMAPs).
    • Replace white rice with brown rice products
    • When buying gluten-free cereal keep in mind many options are low in fiber, so be sure you have a serving of low-FODMAP fruits with your cereal
    • When you’re bored at work, running around with the kids or on the go, snack on low-FODMAP veggies like carrots.  1 large carrot has 2 grams of dietary fiber.

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    Sources: WebMD , Monash University, Patsy Catsos, WebMD (soluble fiber)
    The information in this post is not to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.
  2. An All-time Favourite recipe…low-FODMAP Flapjacks Puffs!

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    First post – exciting! It also marks a year since I started my blog (time flies!), so, to celebrate, I’ve picked one of my all-time favourite recipes from the past year. Oh so simple, but oh so delicious…FLAPJACKS.

    I must start by saying; I’m not a big baker. I’m actually very lazy when it comes to cooking – I want quick and simple meals which are tasty and varied, not asking too much, right?! I would love to be one of those people who take pleasure in creating and perfecting an array of culinary delights, however, other than cooking for a special occasion, I’m an in-and-out-the-kitchen kinda gal. How long did these take? About 30 minutes – my kind of timing! They are FAR cheaper to make yourself than to buy, you get far more flapjack for your money, you can freeze them, and, best of all, you can make them with 4 easy ingredients.

    Low FODMAP flapjacks - grab 'em while they last!

    Low FODMAP flapjacks – grab ’em while they last!

    There are endless recipe websites for these, but I followed this one from Baking Mad. The joy of these simple recipes is that you can adapt and tailor them to suit your tastes by adding and experimenting with an endless variety of extra ingredients – lots of great FODMAP-friendly ingredients to choose from! In these ones I added gluten-free puffed rice and dried cranberries. (Limit dried fruit to 25g per serving).

    The ingredients:
    Oats (gluten-free) 225g
    Golden syrup 55g
    Sugar 110g
    Butter (unsalted) 170g – or alternative if you don’t tolerate

    Puffed rice
    Dried cranberries

    Here goes the easy peasy method…Line and grease a baking tray, pre-heat the oven (190C), melt the butter in a pan, then add the sugar and golden syrup to this, take off the heat, add the oats, add any extras, all into the baking tray, oven for 20/30 or until light golden brown (careful not to overcook!), and….TA-DAH!  You’ve got low-FODMAP Flapjacks Puffs!  Mark the slices with a knife and allow to cool – for as long as you can wait!!

    Well, that brings my first post to an end! Until next week…xo

  3. All About Fiber and the Low-FODMAP Diet

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    Healthy Homemade Oatmeal With BerriesAs a Certified Nutritionist I can tell you about the food you can eat while you are on the elimination portion of the low-FODMAP diet – and that you may consider consuming foods rich in fiber and low in FODMAPs instead of taking a fiber supplement.  This way you may actually receive a more accurate reading on what’s causing your symptoms, as fiber supplements could be the culprit.

    Do We Need Extra Fiber?

    Fiber is exclusively a plant nutrient and plants need fiber in order to stand up tall or keep their shape.  And simply put, whenever we eat more plant-based foods, we increase our fiber!  Eating low-FODMAP fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans (green) will help to naturally increase fiber, as well as give us phytonutrients and antioxidants which have been said to prevent disease and keep your body working properly.

    We have learned from our mothers that fiber is very important to help keep things “moving” and it’s true – but only for some.  The problem, is that for people with digestive issues, sometimes fiber or too much, even from supplements can cause painful symptoms.  
    Getting enough fiber could help prevent obesity, lower your risk of diabetes (helps control blood sugar levels) and heart disease (lower cholesterol levels) and help with constipation.  Be wary of what you hear from the media, doctors or The Whole Grains Council – like this statement “a high intake of cereal fiber (the fiber from grain foods) was associated with a 19% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 25-34% lower risk of disease specific deaths.”  Wow what a statement to make!  Good thing for you if you are following the low-FODMAP diet because if you didn’t before, you’re now learning to eat more veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and wheat-free foods – far more beneficial than eating the types of cereal and other grains that are most consumed and familiar to the general public and unfortunately don’t have the nutritional profile that they once did.
    If you have the need to feel FULL you can go for low-FODMAP (choose NON-GMO) carbs like these:
    • Quinoa which is low-FODMAP, a seed (not a grain) and it’s a complete protein.  1 cup cooked = 12 grams of dietary fiber!
    • Brown rice – 1 cup cooked = 3.5 grams of dietary fiber
    • Cooked oats (quick dry).  Stick to a 1/4 cup serving = 4 grams of dietary fiber
    • Polenta –  1 cup cooked = 7.3 grams of dietary fiber
    • Buckwheat Kernels – Stick to a 1/8 cup serving = 2.1 grams of dietary fiber
    • Flakes of Corn (gluten free) – 3/4 cup = 4 grams of dietary fiber
    I believe the most important step anyone can take is to drink plenty of water and eat foods high in vitamins and nutrients like fruits and veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats.  And if you have IBS, make sure you have both raw and cooked veggies, as just consuming raw could trigger symptoms.Woman Having Abdominal Pain

    Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

    Fruits and vegetables are the best ways to get your soluble (and insoluble) fiber.  There are benefits to both soluble and insoluble fiber, but keep in mind, most HIGH FODMAP foods are made of soluble fiber.

    Soluble fiber dissolves in water.  It attracts water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. The emptying of your stomach is delayed and soluble fiber makes you feel full.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with soluble fiber are: blueberries, oranges, eggplant, carrots, grapefruit (1/4 or less), potatoes; oatmeal (1/4 cup), oat bran, brown rice, tofu, flax and sunflower seeds (2 tablespoons), canned chickpeas (1/4 cup) and canned lentils (1/2 cup).

    Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. These are great for people with IBS-C.  Insoluble fibers are considered beneficial fiber for the gut because of the laxative effect and they add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation.  Low-FODMAP examples of foods with insoluble fiber are: seeds (2 tablespoons), nuts (no cashews or pistachios), brown rice, zucchini, celery (1/4 stalk), broccoli (1/2 cup), cabbage (common), tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, grapes, and potato skins.

    What Types of Supplements May Help Constipation?

    If you absolutely have to take a supplement look for those made with Psyllium husk.  It has shown to be effective in treating constipation and IBS symptoms.  Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD, Medical Nutrition Therapist and FODMAP expert says: “I tend to recommend those (fiber supplements) made of psyllium husk, starting with a very small serving and increasing slowly over time. Supplements made of cellulose are also worth trying, since cellulose is not fermentable.”

    Fiber Supplements HIGH in FODMAPs

    If you have IBS or another FGID (functional gastrointestinal disorder) and are currently taking a fiber supplement, chances are it may be made with functional fibers like inulin or oligofructose.  These prebiotic ingredients can influence beneficial bacteria to grow and can improve immunity or gastrointestinal health for some, but for people like you and me, it could mean the train has stopped and is not leaving the station…So what should you look out for?
    Fiber supplements made with the following or any packaged food that boasts “High in Fiber” may have these ingredients:
    • Inulin – mostly obtained from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke; chicory root extract.  Inulin is a HIGH FODMAP.
    • Beet fiber, corn fiber, soy fiber, citrus fiber
    • Carrageenan is a water-soluble fiber found in certain types of seaweed.
    • Guar Gum guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum.  It is used as a thickener and a binder.  Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools.  Don’t take/use guar gumifyouhave a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.
      • Some of our fans of Fodmap Life and experts of IBS have said that carrageenan, guar gum and other gums such as acacia, xanthan, and locust bean have caused them symptoms.  You’ll find these in non-dairy milks, snack bars, yogurts and ice cream.  *These have not been analyzed for FODMAPs yet so please do not be confused, as they are not currently on the HIGH FODMAPs list.
    • Other functional fibers that you will find in foods are: pectin, chitosan, cellulose, methylcellulose, beta-gucans, polydextrose, resistant dextrins, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) used as an alternative sweetener, and acacia fibers.
    • In the article “Functional Fibers — Research Shows They Provide Health Benefits Similar to Intact Fibers in Whole Foods” by Constance Brown-Riggs, she says that “research suggests that when added fibers, such as soluble corn fiber, polydextrose, and soluble fiber dextrin (also known as resistant dextrin), are added to foods, they can help consumers increase their fiber intake without concerns about GI distress and, at the same time, confer health benefits associated with naturally occurring intact fiber sources.”  **Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD recommends not consuming corn fiber while on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet.

    Ingredient Label for Linex, a Fiber Supplement

    Some Low-FODMAP Fiber Sources:Oranges Raspberries Blackberries And Bananas On White

    • Oranges, raspberries, blackberries, ripe bananas
    • Corn, potatoes (with skin), carrots, spinach
    • Brown rice and brown rice products
    • Rice bran (2 tablespoons)
    • Oatmeal (1/2 cup cooked)
    • Oat bran (2 tablespoons)
    • Quinoa
    • Nuts and nut butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons–no cashews or pistachios)
    • Seeds and seed butters (one handful or 2 tablespoons)
    • Canned, drained, lentils (1/2 cup)
    • Chia seeds, whole or ground (2 tablespoons)
    • Tempeh (3 ounces)

    Tips for Getting More Fiber

    • Eat whole low-FODMAP fruits instead of drinking fruit juices (high in FODMAPs).
    • Replace white rice with brown rice products when ever possible
    • When buying gluten-free cereal keep in mind many options are low in fiber, so be sure you have a serving of low-FODMAP fruits with your cereal
    • When you’re bored at work, running around with the kids or on the go, snack on low-FODMAP veggies like carrots.  1 large carrot has 2 grams of dietary fiber.

    Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

    Sources: WebMD , Monash University, Patsy Catsos, WebMD (soluble fiber)
    The information in this post is not to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.
  4. #IBSAwarenessMonth Low-FODMAP Book Giveaway!

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    There’s still time left for you to spread awareness about #IBSAwarenessMonth !  We are currently holding a contest on Facebook and Instagram (one winner will win from each).  All you have to do is comment with your biggest Low-FODMAP challenge and a winner will be selected at random to win The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.  U.S. residents only please.  

    I am so excited to be working with Dr. Bolen and Kathleen to help spread awareness for their book and put it into good hands for the people who need it most.  With this book you can learn how to:

    • Understand food allergies and intolerance
    • Identify high- and low-FODMAP foods
    • Eliminate FODMAP sources from your diet
    • Stock your pantry for success
    • Create your own personalized diet based on your unique needs
    • Re-create favorite recipes using low-FODMAP ingredients

    Learn MORE bout the book below!

    How to Spread the Word About IBS

    • Take part in our giveaway and share it with friends and family asking them to enter as well!
    • In 1997, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) designated April as IBS Awareness Month. During this time, they work to focus their attention on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.  They ask you to get involved by doing things like:
    • Get involved on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr) and use these hashtags to find other people just like you! #ibsawarenessmonth #IBS #lowfodmap #lowfodmapdiet #tummytroubles
    • Share our social pages and blog with people you know who have IBS so they can learn about the low-FODMAP diet
    • If you think you have IBS, become your own health advocate and empower yourself!  Ask your doctor to:
      1. To get blood work to rule out celiac disease
      2. To take an HBT test (hydrogen breath test) – to check for a fructose, lactose or polyol absorption problem and to rule out SIBO
      3. To give you a proper diagnosis to utilize the low-FODMAP diet

    Facts About IBS

    iBS AWARENESS FODMAPSDid you know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects over 58 million (1 in 7) Americans and in developed countries, it may affect up to 1 in 5 adults(1)!  The cause of IBS is still unknown, but experts believe symptoms of IBS are brought on by a disruption to the interaction between brain, nervous system and gut and that food, stress and/or a person’s environment can act as “triggers” for symptoms.

    IBS is more common in Western style diets where there’s more refined foods, GMOs and additives.  These crappy food choices play a role in inflammation and gut health and our bodies were never meant to try and decode them for digestion.  If your body could speak it probably would say: “What the &%$# is that?  Are you trying to trick me?”

    Why do these crappy foods potentially trigger disease and gives us all sorts of reactions and complications?  It’s because 70% of the body’s immune system (your first line of defense) is connected to the digestive tract.  So throwing garbage food into your digestive system makes it even harder for your body to do the rest of its job – like fight off free radicals and foreign invaders.  Eat as many nutrient-rich foods as possible and remember that crappy food choices tend to make IBS symptoms worse and the rest of the population – sick, tired and moody!

    IBS is more common in women then men

    Many people are too embarrassed to get treatment or ask for help

    There is no “cure” for IBS, however, it can be treated and symptoms can improve if an IBS patient works with their doctor.  A gastroenterologist, family doctor, or general practitioner can help to rule out possible causes from the patient’s past and current health history, and there are different blood and breath tests to try.  The next step is to work with a qualified professional trained in digestive health issues to carefully plan and manage the patient’s diet and lifestyle.  Examples of people who can help are: Certified Nutritionists or others trained in nutrition (like a Holistic Health Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, etc.) or a Registered Dietitian.  If stress seems to be playing a large role in IBS symptoms, opt for cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis, yoga and/or meditation.

    Remember to enter our giveaway to win this helpful book!



    The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders

    by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC.

    BUY this book now!  Just click here.

    Here’s a description of the book as told by the authors:

    If you suffer with symptoms of IBS, you know that digestive troubles and pain can disrupt your day-to-day life. Fortunately, researchers have come up with a new treatment plan to help you control symptoms: a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and found in many common foods, like wheat, milk, beans, and some vegetables, fruits, and sweeteners. The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet walks you through the step-by-step process for identifying your individual sensitivities–and gives you options and substitutions so you can enjoy your favorite foods again.

    AuthorsPrintDr. Barbara Bolen, an IBS specialist, provides advice and tips for developing a personalized and realistic healthy eating plan. And with 150 low-FODMAP and gluten-free recipes, you can reduce digestive distress and feel great while enjoying satisfying and nutritious meals!

    Thank you again to Dr. Bolen and Kathleen for writing this book and running a giveaway with me!

    Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

    Sources:,, (1) McFarland LV. State-of-the-art of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease research in 2008. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(17):2625-9. Hungin APS, Whorwell PJ, Tack J, Mearin F. The prevalence, patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome: an international survey of 40 000 subjects. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003; 17(5):643-50.

  5. Happy Easter! Low-FODMAP Carrot Cake Recipe

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    Happy Easter! Try my Low-FODMAP Carrot Cake Recipe!

    How to Make: Low-FODMAP Carrot Cake

    Wheat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and delicious!

    WATCH the video!


    This recipe is very easy to make and it’s low in FODMAPs.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

    CAKE Ingredients:

    1 cup Coconut Oil
    1 1/3 cups Brown Sugar
    3 Eggs
    2 TBS Almond Meal
    3 Cups Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Flour
    1 cup chopped Walnuts
    4 cups Shredded Carrots
    1 tsp Gluten-Free Baking Soda
    1 1/2 tsp Allspice

    FROSTING Ingredients:

    4 TBS Butter (Butter contains a mere 0.01 gram of lactose per tablespoon)
    2/3 cup of Lactose-free Cream Cheese
    Zest of 1 lemon & juice of 1/2 lemon
    4 cups confectioners’ sugar

    CAKE Directions:

    1. Using a large bowl, beat together oil,
    sugar and eggs.
    2. Fold in the rest of the ingredients
    3. Pour batter into cake pan and bake
    on middle shelf for 1 hour 10 minutes
    4. Remove from oven and cool on a
    wire rack for 20 minutes.

    FROSTING Directions:

    1. Use an electric mixer and beat
    together butter, cream cheese, lemon
    zest and juice.
    2. Gradually add the confectioners’
    sugar, little by little.
    3. Spread on top of the cooled carrot

    Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did – be sure to SHARE with your friends!

    Love Us, Follow Us and Subscribe!

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    (c) BonCalme LLC All Rights Reserved

  6. Feeling Frustrated? Learn the Differences of Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free for the Low-FODMAP Diet

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    fodmap diet gluten free wheat freePeople with celiac disease avoid far more foods than people on the low-FODMAP diet.  Celiacs have to stay away from the gluten protein which is found in a wide variety of foods and ingredients.  Celiacs need to avoid gluten because the protein can cause serious intestinal damage and could mean a trip to the hospital- exposure to gluten results in inflammation of the small intestine when any gluten is ingested. Cross-contamination is also a big deal and it’s harder for celiacs to eat out but thankfully gluten-free products made at 100% gluten-free facilities are more widely available.

    *Also note that I have IBS as well as the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s disease.  People like me have been told to also avoid gluten as many people that have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism also have gluten-sensitivity.  The book Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter says that whole grains “can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression” and by avoiding these wheat-based carbs and grains (that have gluten) he says more people might be able to avoid these problems that affect the brain, also including, but not limited to Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.  Do your research to learn more about grains and how they may affect your digestive and brain health.  

    FODMAP – Fructans

    Wheat has been said to be the largest source of fructans in food here in the U.S.  I believe it as I can name so many of these foods in a heartbeat!  The middle aisles of your grocery stores are filled with wheat products as well as highly processed foods and soy…I am very passionate about those topics and could go on forever but let’s stick to today’s topic.

    On the low-FODMAP diet, wheat, barley and rye (which have gluten) contain the carbohydrate FODMAP fructans, so you are essentially negating a specific kind of carbohydrate in the wheat – you are not negating the gluten protein like celiacs need to. Not all gluten-free products are low-FODMAP either.  High FODMAP ingredients that you will see in gluten-free foods are:

    • onions
    • garlic
    • pear juice – or other high FODMAP juices often found in jellies and jams
    • honey
    • chicory, root chicory, chicory root fiber contain inulin (a carbohydrate fiber) – found in chocolate bars, breakfast bars, yogurt, ice cream, salad dressings and margarine
    • dried fruits and more.

    Young Woman With OatsAn example of a food that contains gluten but is low in FODMAPs is spelt bread – it is suitable on the diet in low servings.  Oats are often times cross contaminated with gluten. They can be in a celiac’s diet if they are selected from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley.

    Where is Gluten Found?

    For celiacs, gluten can be found in ingredients like barley malt, malt vinegar, wheat starch, wheat thickeners and more. Gluten is found in some salad dressings, soy sauce, mustard (like wheat flour), mayonnaise, candy (like wheat flour), yogurt, spice mixes and seasonings. So these food items are dangerous for celiacs but they are not high in fructans and are suitable to include in a low-FODMAP diet.

    If you have any questions please comment below!

    Stay Connected! 

    • Check out my Books/Resources tab for the books I personally use.
    • Join our Facebook community to meet over 35,000 people across the world
    • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
    • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
    • Tweet with us on Twitter!

    Here’s to your health!

    Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

  7. NEW FODMAP Life T-Shirt On Sale -Proceeds to Benefit Research

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    We are so excited to launch our first product for FODMAP Life!

    FODMAP Life T-Shirt "I'm Not Pregnant..."

    FODMAP Life T-Shirt “I’m Not Pregnant…”

    A portion of the proceeds will benefit research on new foods for the low-FODMAP diet!  What does that mean for you and me?  That more foods will be analyzed for their FODMAP content, which is excellent considering the low-FODMAP foods list can feel limiting at times!


    Our first t-shirt was designed by Katie Foerster.  She’s not only an amazing artist but she’s also my dear friend from college.  On top of designing our first shirt, she has designed our beautiful logo, all of our social media channel art, as well as a few other surprises (coming soon).

    katie foersterKatie has worked with the Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels, the Boston Bruins, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and many others.  Katie is a Rhode Island School of Design certificate student in Graphic Design, a professional in Project Management, a successful Set & Product Stylist and efficient Photo Producer.  Katie understands all that is creative and has proven her talents in her work. She currently resides on Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she grew up.  Check out her work here:

    Stay Connected! 

    • Check out my Books/Resources tab for the books I personally use.
    • Join our Facebook community to meet over 35,000 people across the world
    • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
    • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
    • Tweet with us on Twitter!

    Here’s to your health!

    Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

  8. Feeling Gassy? Foods and Other Causes of Gas

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    FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods

    FODMAP Life Gas-Causing Foods

    Have you been feeling gassy? Do you know which foods cause gas?  There are many foods that can cause gas but there are also many ways in which a person can get gassy.  Through my own trial and error and sometimes learning the hard way, I’ve become numb to certain foods that cause even the slightest gas (or wind as they say over in Europe and elsewhere).  I have also included foods below that can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

    Whether you are following the low-FODMAP diet or not, learn this list to for the sake of yourself and those that are near :)

    • Beer
    • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage (savoy), onions, leeks, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower,  mushrooms, shallots
    • Carbonated drinks and drinks made with artificial sweeteners or fructose
    • Dried fruits
    • Fruits, such as apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, cherries, lychee, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, tamarillo, watermelon
    • Lettuce
    • Legumes – Most beans and peas as well as pistachios and cashews
    • Milk and milk products – the problem is the lactose content
    • Sugar alcohols found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, anything ending with -ol)
    • Whole-grain foods or wheat-based foods/products

    Things You Might Do to Produce More Gas

    • Not exercise, or even go for a walk
    • Chew gum
    • Use a straw to drink
    • Have or create distractions while eating (which makes you eat more or maybe faster) watching TV, checking your phone, or doing both at once; working on a project, etc.
    • Getting too much fiber in your diet by way of supplements or foods
    • Stressful lifestyle

    Other Causes of Gas

    • Food intolerances
    • Auto-immune conditions
    • Celiac Disease
    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) which can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    • Diverticulitis or an inflammatory bowel disease (BD) like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
    • Peptic ulcer disease
    • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine from diabetes
    • Menstruation
    • Panic disorder, anxiety, depression

    Whatever the reason is for gas or other digestive symptoms in your life, don’t forget to get in some meditation everyday or stress-relieving activities.  Having a digestive disorder, food allergy or auto-immune condition can cause physical discomfort, but one of the first things you can do is relieve mental discomfort and treat your mind kindly.  Then be more aware of the foods you eat, and how you eat them.  If you’ve sought out health advice and feel you’re getting nowhere, keep researching to find a system and a health professional that works for you.  Treat your whole self – mind, body and soul.

    • Join our Facebook community to meet over 35,000 people across the world
    • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
    • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
    • Tweet with us on Twitter!

    Here’s to your health!

    Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder



  9. Top Posts for Low-FODMAP Diet, Great for Newbies!


    Top Posts for Low-FODMAP Diet, Great for Newbies!

    The low-FODMAP diet can be tricky, especially if you do not have the means to work with a Certified Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian familiar with the diet.  If you are working on your own, I have listed some of my most popular posts here to help answer your questions.

    Designed by

    Designed by


    As always if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with me!  Send me a private message on Facebook:

    First – you’ll need our Low-FODMAP Grocery List on this page: and if you want a printable version, sign up to our email newsletter in the month of March: 

    Now read up on these!

    What are other ways you can become oh-so brilliant when following this diet?  

    • Check out my Books/Resources tab for the books I personally use.
    • Join our Facebook community to meet over 35,000 people across the world
    • Check out Instagram where I post photos almost daily, mostly of food, products and recipes!
    • Watch our YouTube Channel for inspiring videos and our famous recipe for Pão de Queijo (a.k.a. Cheese Bread)
    • Tweet with us on Twitter!

    Here’s to your health!

    Colleen Francioli, Certified Nutritionist & Founder

    colleen frnacioli

  10. Fermented Foods and Fermentation in the Gut -Low-FODMAP


    Learn about the difference between Fermented Foods and Fermentation in the Gut and the Low-FODMAP diet for your health!

    Dear fans with IBS and FGIDs – yes you can consider adding fermented foods to your diet!  For those following the low-FODMAP diet the word “fermented” might cause some confusion but here’s what you need to know:Red Sauerkraut

    Fermentable FODMAPs vs. Fermented Foods

    “Fermentable” in the low-FODMAP diet for people with IBS and FGIDs refers to foods that contain sugars like Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols which are short-chain carbohydrates that are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily “fermented” by gut bacteria, causing gas, bloating, distention, diarrhea and constipation.  This family of sugars increase fluid movement into the large bowel. You can find a list of foods that are high in FODMAPs here.  FODMAPs are foods that you drastically reduce during Phase 1/Elimination Phase of the low-FODMAP diet so you can then Reintroduce in Phase 2 (one FODMAP group at a time, a few foods from each group).

    Fermented Foods nourish the good bacteria in the gut and some experts say they boost the immune system.  For someone that has IBS or other FGIDs, this is a good thing as 70-80% of your immune cells reside in the gut!  Popping up in supermarkets and farmers markets everywhere are many delicious fermented foods that have been fermented, packaged and refrigerated.  You’ll find RAW sauerkraut and kimchi (both contain cabbage) as well as sauerruben and cortido.

    kraut-blueThe Process?

    This is how Farmhouse Culture makes their sauerkraut – and it’s exactly what you should look for – raw, organic vegetables fermented with sea salt:

    “Finely shredded cabbage and chunky vegetables are layered with salt and packed into barrels. Over the first couple of days, the salt draws out excess liquid from the vegetables, making them tender and pliable. As the vegetables subside into this natural brine, nature takes over and the process of lacto-fermentation begins. Over the next week, a sharp, earthy scent envelops the room–a little like fresh apple cider, with a dash of vinegar and a hint of pickle.

    “After a few weeks those bulky, crunchy vegetables have relaxed into tangy shreds of long-lasting, delicious sauerkraut.

    “Lactic acid fermentation, also known as “culturing”, is a time-honored tradition that has been used for centuries to preserve and extend the harvest. Modern cultures have largely abandoned this food craft in favor of canning and refrigeration.”

    Tell Me More!

    Though sauerkraut and kimchi both contain cabbage which is a FODMAP(polyol-sorbitol) and an insoluble fiber, the fermentation process actually breaks down the sugars so it’s easier to digest.

    Kimchi Making Festival, Seoul, Korea

    Kimchi Making Festival, Seoul, Korea. Copyright: robert cicchetti

    If you’re big into Korean food then chances are you’ve already had kimchi.  And if you love Irish and German foods, you’ve had sauerkraut –  but if it was at a store and found sitting on a shelf, it’s been pasteurized and won’t have the same beneficial effect as raw sauerkraut.  Make sure you go find the refrigerated brands!

    Tips on Buying & Eating Fermented Foods

    1. Look for this on the label: “raw”, “live food”, “unpasteurized” or “contains live cultures”
    2. Look for simple ingredients like  “water, vegetables, salt”
    3. For kombucha, look for “water, sugar, tea, culture.”  Be mindful of additional sweeteners which could be high FODMAPs but also it means the Kombucha was sweetened after the fermentation process.
    4. Start out slow – try a 1/4 cup of fermented foods or a 1/4 cup of Kombucha per day
    5. Pair your fermented foods with other foods to help aid in digestion
    6. As an extra precaution, you can check the labels to make sure onions, garlic or other high FODMAPs have not been added.  It’s just an extra precaution and according to Dr. Barbara Bolen, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Expert: “if you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you may find that you can tolerate some fermented foods, as the fermenting process gets rid of the problematic FODMAP elements.”  Keep in mind too much garlic will make the kimchi bitter but it may not bother you -everyone is different.

    Other types of fermented foods which may be beneficial to your gut include:

    • Fermented carrots – carrots are shredded or cut and then packed into an airtight container with some salt water.
    • Lactose-free Kefir or yogurt is made when a culture is added.  Look for live cultures.
    • Low-FODMAP cheese –milk is weighed, heat treated or pasteurized then starter cultures, or good bacteria, are added.  Then begins the process of separating the liquid (whey) from the milk solids (curds).  Read more.
    • Vinegar – made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of harmless microorganisms (yeast and “Acetobacter”) that turn sugars (carbohydrates) into acetic acid (source below).
    • Kombucha – made when a culture is added to a sweetened tea.  This sugary tea is then fermented with the help of a scoby. “SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”  Read more.
    • Tempeh – made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.


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  11. How to Make: Pão de Queijo – Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Low in Lactose


    How to Make: Pão de Queijo – BonCalme & FODMAP Life
    This recipe is low-FODMAP, gluten-free and low in lactose because we use lactose-free milk and Parmesan cheese.  Get the printable recipe card here.

    Chef Marcos, my dear friend joins me in this film. He was born in São Paulo and is of Lebanese and Italian decent. Being influenced by those two cultures in one of the most awesome countries in the world, he makes the most delicious foods! In this video he shows you how to make my low-FODMAP and healthier version of Pão de Queijo.

    So what is Pão de Queijo? A.k.a. “cheese balls” to Americans they are cheese-flavored breads which are a very popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil. You can also find similar versions in Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay. We made them with tapioca flour but they can also be made with cassava flour if you can find it. We also used unrefined organic coconut oil instead of a highly-processed vegetable oil. Also, lactose-free milk instead of regular milk makes this recipe low-FODMAP as well as Parmesan cheese which is low in lactose. You can also experiment with different cheeses.

    My husband is Brazilian and every time I go to Brazil I just NEED to have some of these! You can find them easily in airports and bus stations, usually sold by the franchise Casa do Pão de Queijo, but the best are usually made in local bakeries or at truck stops and you’ll also see them in supermarkets. The best Pão de Queijo I ever had was at a truck stop between the city of Londrina and Curitiba.

    Learn to speak Portuguese:
    Thank you! = Obrigada (f) Obrigado (m)
    Have a nice day! = Tenha um bom dia!
    I love Pão de Queijo = Eu amo Pão de Queijo :)

    Want to learn how to say Pão de Queijo? This is the best way I can show you! Powm-gee-kay-joo or Click this link:

    FODMAP Life : Sign Up to Stay in Touch
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  12. Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Cause Symptoms of IBS


    Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Cause Symptoms of IBS

    Instead of resulting to pharma drugs, this elimination diet uses “food as medicine” to help people discover which foods may be triggering symptoms.  Many people think foods cause IBS, but they are actually more triggers.  A group of sugars called FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and research suggests they contribute to IBS and FGID symptoms.  Learn more and read on!

    Wheat FreeWheat, barley and rye as well as onions and garlic contain fructans which are part of the FODMAPs family.  Fructans are malabsorbed in the small intestine which means they aren’t digested properly and then ferment in the small intestine causing bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.  Of all the FODMAPs, fructans are the greatest contributor to IBS as humans were not made to have the enzymes to break down fructans and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides).

    “What are FODMAPs?”

    The low-FODMAP diet has been instrumental in helping relieve common symptoms of IBS and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.  FODMAPs stand for Fermentable, Oligo-saccarides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose, excess fructose and polyols are found in natural and processed foods.

    When FODMAPs are malabsorbed they can cause more water to be delivered through the bowel which can contribute to diarrhea in some people.  Sugars from FODMAPs make their way to the large intestine and are then fermented by bacteria, producing gases.  Gas can be produced in the small or large intestine, and which we all know so well, then comes symptoms of bloating, distention, abdominal pain and even back pain.  For some, this gas production can slow movement through the bowel and mean constipation.  Sometimes it can take days or weeks for these symptoms to ease up.  It wasn’t until I found the low-FODMAP diet that I began to notice a difference in how my body began to digest the right foods.  Keep in mind, everyone’s body chemistry, environment and stress level is different, so following the low-FODMAP diet is very individualized.

    HONEY FODMAP LIFE“Which Foods Should I Avoid?”

    Along with wheat, barley, rye, garlic and onions, honey, lactose, sugar alcohols, certain veggies, fruits and certain legumes are avoided.  The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet, however you will see us mention gluten-free foods as most are wheat-free.  Not all gluten-free foods are free of FODMAPs so you’ll need to read all the labels of products (example: Udi’s White Sandwich Bread is low-FODMAP but Rudi’s Original sandwich bread has high FODMAPs like inulin and honey).

    Take a look at this page to learn more about the foods to avoid and this page to see our grocery list of all the foods you can safely enjoy on the diet.  And finally visit this page to learn How to Start the Low-FODMAP Diet.

    If you have already taken hydrogen breath tests and know you can either completely absorb fructose or lactose, you do not have to completely negate either from the diet, but can as an extra precaution during the first and second phase.

    There’s a lot to learn, so you’ll want to follow us on social media as we share new content, tips, advice and recipes often.  Plus you’ll meet people who feel your pain and know what it’s like to have painful, uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms.  We are here for you!  Comment below with any questions.

    facebook iconinstagram30x30 youtubetwitter-icon-30x30

    Welcome to FODMAP Life! ~ Colleen


  13. Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Blueberry Muffins


    fodmap life gluten free lactose free muffinsI adapted this recipe from the Food Network and was very happy with the results!  To make these Blueberry Muffins I swapped out agave nectar for maple syrup and canola oil for coconut oil.  This is a low-FODMAP recipe and also lactose-free as rice milk is used.

    2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I used the Bob’s Red Mill brand)
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup unrefined organic coconut oil
    2/3 cup Grade A organic maple syrup
    2/3 cup rice milk
    1 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
    1 cup fresh organic blueberries

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. You can line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or I use Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Muffin pan without liners.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and cinnamon. Add the oil, maple syrup, rice milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the blueberries just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

    Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each prepared cup, almost filling the cup. Bake the muffins on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The muffin will bounce slightly when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

    Let the muffins stand for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

    You can see the original recipe here.

    Have a healthy day!  ~ Colleen

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  14. Low-FODMAP, Wheat-Free Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

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    Low-FODMAP Greek Pasta Salad Recipe
    Low-FODMAP Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

    Low-FODMAP, Wheat-Free Greek Pasta Salad Recipe

    If you’re looking for something delicious to spice up lunch or need something to bring to a party, this recipe is your answer.  It’s easy to make, flavorful, low-FODMAP, gluten-free and wheat-free.

    1 (12 to 16 ounce) Gluten-free, wheat-free rice spiral pasta
    1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach, rinsed, drained, coarsely chopped
    1/2 pound (8 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled (Bulgarian or French, if you can find them!)
    1 medium tomato sliced in quarters
    1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained

    1/4 cup garlic-infused oil
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 lemon, juiced
    1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    1. Cook pasta according to the package directions; drain and rinse.
    2. Make the dressing – whisk all dressing ingredients together in a large bowl
    3. Use the same large bowl and add in remaining ingredients
    4. Add pasta and toss gently until evenly coated.

    Serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Have a healthy day!  ~ Colleen

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  15. Valentine’s Day Low-FODMAP Chocolate Coconut Balls

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    Happy Valentine’s Day!  In celebration of Valentine’s Day I wanted to share my gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free recipe with you for Low-FODMAP Chocolate Coconut Balls.  They are very easy to make and won’t take much of your time.  They are great to enjoy with your sweetie or for kids!

     © C. Francioli

    © C. Francioli FODMAP Life


    • 2 cups light shredded coconut
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (30 secs – 45 secs in microwave)
    • 1/3 cup egg whites (2 egg whites)
    • 1/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
    • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
    • tablespoons rice flour
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon organic Grade A maple syrup
    • 30 grams melted semi-sweet chocolate bar (1 oz. bar).


    1. Mix the coconut shreds, coconut oil and rice flour on high speed in a mixer.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
    3. In a small pan, melt the bar of chocolate on medium heat.  I recommend breaking the bar up into pieces before you begin.  The chocolate will melt quickly.  Stir consistently until completely melted then add immediately to the coconut and flour mixture and mix until the chocolate is spread throughout evenly.
    4. Next add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the coconut/flour mixture on high speed for 30-45 seconds.
    5. Add in the maple syrup
    6. Shape the mixture into 15 (1-inch) balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour.

    Option: Add a fine drizzle of melted dark chocolate to the top of the coconut balls or lightly sprinkle with cinnamon or confectioner’s sugar.

    Have a sweet day!  ~ Colleen

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  16. What’s the Best Diet for IBS?

    Me in 2013

    That’s me a few years ago!

    I’ve been there…not wanting to leave the house, horrified at the thought of being in public, not wanting to even think about which clothes would fit for the night.  For a while I bought long shirts and sweaters or dresses without waistlines, anything to take the pressure off and hide my bloated belly.

    It was in 2010, when my IBS symptoms were sudden and came out of the blue.  I went from competing in triathlons and road races to feeling so uncomfortable, that even walking was painful.  I became less and less active and my IBS didn’t really improve until I found the low-FODMAP diet in 2013.  Once I tried out this elimination diet, and then began to reintroduce foods, everything started to get easier and make more sense.

    Food sensitivities/allergies and bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, lack of digestive enzymes, parasites –  these and many others can all lead to IBS.  Since there are so many factors that can contribute to IBS and various others factors that can make symptoms worse (diet, stress, pollution, environment) no one can truly pin one definitive cause or solution for IBS.  However, the good news, is that the low-FODMAP diet has worked for many people so far and it’s also a safer way to treat symptoms versus getting prescriptions for drugs.  Drugs come with side affects and they don’t all necessarily “cure” us.  Using “food as medicine” is something I feel very strongly about.

    Young Woman Looking Out From Cutting Board And Looking On VegetaSo What’s the Best Diet for IBS?  The low-FODMAP diet doesn’t work for everyone but it does provide “good relief of symptoms in about 75% of patients” according to research in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology by Peter R Gibson and Susan J Shepherd titled Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms: The FODMAP approach.  

    Of all the recommendations I have seen about the best foods for IBS, the low-FODMAP diet seems to be the most calculated and scientifically-backed approach.  Many people visit my Facebook page and have discussions with each other are surprised as to why some can handle certain FODMAPs and others cannot.  I always tell our reactions or non-reactions are due to our distinct digestive systems, our environments and individual life situations.  Everyone is different!

    Don’t get discouraged if you can’t handle one food or a group of specific foods – there are plenty of very healthy options out there, and life will be better once you know your gut!  Do your research, get several opinions and be aware of what you’re eating, how you’re eating and living.  Meditate on a daily basis, drink more water, follow the grocery list and think positively about all the good foods (and less sugar) you’re putting into your body!

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  17. Happy Valentines on the Low-FODMAP Diet

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    Fretting about whether or not you can enjoy Valentine’s Day with your sweetie this year?  Don’t fret, just be prepared ahead of time and check out the list below for servings sizes and types of chocolates, cookies, hot and cold chocolate drinks, wine and other alcohol you can enjoy!  I have also included a few sparkling wine suggestions from my dear friend Bridget Cheslock.  She’s a Certified Sommelier, WSET Diploma student, French Wine Scholar, and lover of Champagne and gourmet foods.

    Before we begin, please keep these tips to keep in mind:

    1. Remember chocolate is high in fat which is another reason to not go cray cray and jump head first into a box!  High fat content in foods tend to affect gut motility.
    2. Alcohol can irritate your gut, so it’s advised to limit intake and do always try to have some food with your drinks!
    3. Carob powder is a no-no because it is HIGH in oligos (fructans), and much higher than cocoa powder.
    4. Include low-FODMAP fruits like raspberries, strawberries and blueberries along with your chocolate so you can healthfully fulfill your sweet tooth!

    Young couple kissing behind pralines heart on valentines dayChocolate Bars and Cookies

    For chocolate bars Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD, medical nutritionist, FODMAP expert and author recommends reading the label for lowest % cacao, the lowest number of grams of fiber, and not a milk chocolate, as that would add lactose.  She suggests these brands in one of her past posts:

    • Newman’s Own Organics Orange Dark Chocolate (1 g fiber/ounce)
    • Dagoba Organic Chocolate Semisweet for Baking (2 g fiber/ounce)
    • Ghirardelli Mini Chocolate Chips (2 g fiber/ounce)
    • Nestle’s Toll House semi-sweet morsels
    • Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chips

    Dark chocolate – up to 5 squares or 30 grams is low in FODMAPs and most people with IBS should be able to tolerate this amount.  Up to 90 grams or more are HIGH in FODMAPs and also contain moderate amounts of lactose, so intake should be limited.

    Milk Chocolate – 1 fun-size bar is LOW but 5 squares or 30 grams or more has MODERATE amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.

    White Chocolate – Same as above – 1 fun-size bar is LOW but 5 squares or 30 grams or more has MODERATE amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.

    Chocolate Chip Cookies, Biscuits – 1 cookie is LOW in FODMAPs.  Just make sure you buy a wheat-free version.  2 or more cookies contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans so intake should be avoided.

    Cookies/Biscuits Cream-filled and Chocolate coated – 1 cookie is LOW in FODMAPs.  Again buy a wheat-free version.  2 cookies contains MODERATE amounts of the Oligos-fructans so intake should be limited.  3 cookies or more contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be avoided.

    Hot/Cold Chocolate Drinks

    Drinking Chocolate 23% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain HIGH amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

    Drinking Chocolate 60% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain MODERATE amounts of lactose and HIGH amounts of Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

    Drinking Chocolate 70% cocoa powder – 1 – 2 heaped teaspoons is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  Larger servings of 100 grams or more contain MODERATE amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.

    Malted, Chocolate Flavored Beverage – 1/2 teaspoon or 10 grams is LOW and should be tolerated by most people with IBS.  3 heaping teaspoons contains moderate amounts of lactose.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb lactose.  Large servings (or 50 grams, 2 heaped teaspoons) contain HIGH amounts of lactose and Oligos-fructans.  Intake should be avoided.


    FODMAP Life Valentine's Day


    Wine – Red, Sparkling, Sweet, White, Dry – 1/2 glass (75 ml) to 1 glass (150 ml) is low in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

    My friend Bridget Cheslock, Certified Sommelier suggests the following delightful sparkling wines for our friends in the U.S., U.K. and Australia:

    Check out Bridget’s blog Glamorous Gourmet!

    Wine – Sticky or Dessert – 1/2 glass (75 ml) to 1 glass (150 ml) is HIGH in FODMAPs.  Both of these servings contain HIGH amounts of excess fructose.  Intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose. Some examples of dessert wines are fortified wines such as port, marsala, muscat and tokay as well as non-fortified wines such as rice wine, sauternes and botrytis affected dessert wines like Monbazillac, Cadillac, sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume and Vouvray.  Other non-fortified wines include Beerenauslese, Eiswein, Trockenbeerenauslese, Champagne Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux, Moscato d’Asti and Vin Santo.

    Beer – 1/2 can (188 ml) or 1 can (375 ml) is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

    Gin – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml) is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

    Rum – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml) has excess amounts of fructose which makes it HIGH in FODMAPs and should be avoided.

    Vodka – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml)  is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

    Whiskey – 1/2 serving (15 ml) or 1 serving (30 ml)  is LOW in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most with IBS.

    Ice Cream

    Vanilla Ice Cream – Both 1 and 2 scoops contains MODERATE amounts of lactose. Intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose.

    Sources: Monash University, Musings on the Vine.

  18. Gluten-Free, low-FODMAP Breads in Australia

    DEEK'S Quinoa Loaf

    DEEK’S Quinoa Loaf

    Here in the U.S. it seems as though we have plenty more to choose from when it comes to foods that are wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free – free of many things!  So when I heard some of our FODMAP Life fans in Australia say they were having trouble finding some decent brands of wheat free, gluten free breads, I started asking around.  Here is what I found – click on the links for more information about where to buy and find these breads.

    If you are an Aussie reading this, I’d love your comments below for any additional brands that you like.  Thanks!

    Naturis Organic Rice Loaf – Ingredients: Whole brown rice, rice flour, rice leaven, cold pressed sunflower oil, sea salt and purified water added.  Free of: Gluten, wheat, yeast sugar and dairy.

    Healthybake Organic Gluten Free Bread – Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Flour, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Vegetable Gum (E464), Organic Soy Flour, Yeast, Sea Salt.

    Deek’s Quinoa Loaf – water, tapioca, quinoa (21%), soy flour, sunflower oil, vinegar, yeast, sugar (to activate the yeast), salt , guar gum.  Free of: Gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, artificial flavors.  Fructose friendly :)

    Zehnder Wholemeal BreadI had to reach out to them to get the ingredients as I couldn’t find it on their website.  Ingredients: Water, Modified Tapioca Starch, Rice Bran, Whole Rice Flour, Maize Starch, Tapioca Starch, Whole Soy Flour, Canola Oil, Glucona Delta Lactone, Bicarbonate Soda, Linseed Meal, Sugar, Dry Yeast, Salt, Cellulose (464), Xanthan Gum (415), Guar Gum (412).  Free of gluten, dairy, yeast, soy, corn and eggs.  May Be Present: Sesame

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  19. 12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet

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    If you are new to the low-FODMAP diet or you just need a refresher, take a look at these 12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet to help you along in your journey!

    1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!

    1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!

    1) The acronym FODMAPs stands for:

    Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), Disaccharides (Lactose), Monosaccharides (excess Fructose) and Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

    2) The low-FODMAP diet is not meant to be a forever thing – it’s meant to be an investigative tool:

    • 1st phase – follow this elimination period by strictly negating all FODMAPs for up to two months.
    • 2nd phase or re-introduction/challenge phase – detect personal triggers by reintroducing one FODMAP category at a time, one food at a time.

    After the 2nd phase, FODMAPs that do not trigger symptoms can be a part of a regular diet, and some may still be limited but far better tolerated.  It is important for all to enjoy a varied diet in order to reap the benefits of various nutrients and minerals.

    3) The low-FODMAP diet has been proven to help ease IBS symptoms by way of food as

    Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas

    Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas

    medicine.  If a patient decides to take medications, they run the risk of side effects and might only cure some symptoms.  The low-FODMAP diet does not work for everyone, however, taking the natural route with food first may be the healthiest option for most IBS sufferers.

    4) Fructans are seen as the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS and they are found in several different types of foods, both natural and processed.

    5) The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet but it does list gluten-free foods, as most are wheat-free.  And, just because something is free of gluten and wheat, does not mean it is free of FODMAPs!  Wheat is only a problem when consumed as a wheat-based carbohydrate food (like breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries etc.).

    6) Fructose malabsorption is defined as the incomplete absorption of fructose in the small intestine, followed by the delivery of fructose to the distal small bowel and colon, where it contributes to rapid fermentation and resultant abdominal bloating.  A hydrogen breath test can detect fructose malabsorption.

    7) Firm, less-ripe fruit tends to contain more fructose.  In order to not overload the GI tract with

    Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles

    Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles

    sugar, it is suggested to have one serving of fruit per meal.  Some fruits like avocados and cherries are OK on the low-FODMAP diet but also come with limitations.

    8)  Properly reading food labels will help to ensure success with the low-FODMAP diet.  Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight with the highest amounts listed first.  FODMAPs can be an issue only when consumed regularly and in significant amounts.  If a high FODMAP food is listed on an ingredient list but present in small amounts (such as less than 5%) then there probably shouldn’t be an issue and would be “suitable” to consume.

    9) If you love garlic or onions eating out can be hard but at home, you don’t have to suffer without the taste.  You can sauté onions or garlic for about two minutes -be sure to remove either or before you eat your dish.  Garlic-infused oil is a very easy way to add some garlic flavor and Asafoetida powder can be used as a replacement for onions or garlic.  Use it sparingly as it is very strong in smell and taste.

    10) Adding too much fiber can aggravate IBS symptoms and sometimes a person may need to increase or decrease fiber intake for the best symptom management.  The low-FODMAP diet does exclude many high-fiber foods, however the following are low-FODMAP and can be a great daily natural boost of fiber: oat bran, rice bran, oatmeal, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, 1/4 cup canned lentils or chickpeas (rinsed), baked potatoes, quinoa flakes or brown rice cereals (check labels).  Consider not having too much fiber at any one time and slowly increase as you aim to improve your digestive health.  A fiber intake of 25-30g per day is recommended for people with IBS.

    Grilled Chicken Breasts

    Choose lean meats when ever possible and stick to about 3 oz. servings (about the size of a deck of cards)

    11) It is strongly advised to keep a food and drink journal while on the low-FODMAP diet.  This will help you to better understand your food triggers and work through the re-introduction phase with a Certified Nutritional Consultant or Registered Dietitian.

    12) Fats and oils are generally low in FODMAPs, however, fatty foods can actually slow down and inhibit digestion and gut motility.  Choose leaner proteins like fish, chicken or turkey, stay away from heavy sauces, and limit oils or fats like butter and olive oil to one tablespoon.

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    Evidence-based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach Peter R Gibson, Susan J Shepherd/ J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;25(2):252-258; The FODMAPs Approach — Minimize Consumption of Fermentable Carbs to Manage Functional Gut Disorder Symptoms  By Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 12 No. 8 P. 30




  20. Low-FODMAP Chicken Parmesan Recipe!

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    snow 2015  fodmap life

    Friends in Waltham, MA

    As I scroll through Facebook and look at pictures posted by my friends and family on the East coast, I can’t help but remember what it was like to grow up with snow.  The good –  making snowmen and sledding down the nearby golf course.  The bad – remembering how hard it was for our parents to get out of the steep driveway and instead rocking back and forth on ice.  The ugly – being in my senior year of high school, already late and de-icing the locks on my old ugly car – I’m so embarrassed – it was a half brown, half peach colored Ford Zephyr!  I thought that car was so ugly so I made it uglier with stickers all over the rusty bumper.

    If I were to be inside now, cold and bored, I’d want a rendition of my Mother’s Chicken Parmesan.   It’s definitely one of my most favorite meals she ever made.  I can still enjoy it now and have it low-FODMAP, wheat-free and gluten-free (it’s naturally soy-free and nut-free of course!).

    IMG_2563 I hope you enjoy this recipe and I wish a safe next couple of days for all friends and family braving the cold!  With love from California, Colleen.


    Chicken Parmesan – Recipe based on 4 servings

    • 2 pounds of chicken (preferably organic, and with all the fat trimmed off)
    • 2 cups of fresh organic baby spinach
    • Rao’s Sensitive Formula Marina Sauce
    • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup Ian’s Gluten-Free Original Panko Breadcrumbs
    • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
    • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
    • 1 TBS Organic oregano
    • 1-2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 TBS butter

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.


    1. Slice the mozzarella into thin circular pieces.IMG_2860
    2. Place two shallow bowls to the left of a  plate which should be nearest to the stove
    3. In your first bowl, lightly beat two eggs
    4. Place cup of bread crumbs in the other shallow bowl and mix in salt, pepper and oregano
    5. Put a wide skillet on the stove with a pat of butter or 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Don’t turn on the stove until you’re done with step 6.
    6. Take each piece of chicken and dip it into the egg mixture, allowing any excess egg to drip off, then dip the chicken in the breadcrumbs and make sure every piece of the chicken is coated
    7. Turn on the skillet to medium-high heat and place all of the chicken in the pan.  Fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, only turning once.
    8. As the chicken is cooking, lightly grease a glass casserole dish and ladle some tomato sauce to the bottom.
    9. Once the chicken is ready, place it in the casserole dish.  Lightly ladle the chicken with sauce and then place mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken breasts and sprinkle on parmesan cheese.
    10. Sprinkle spinach on top, ladle with more sauce and the rest of the cheese.
    11. Measure one tablespoon of olive oil and spread across the top of everything.
    12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Just look to see when the sauce and cheese is bubbly!

    Serve with gluten-free rice pasta shells.  After I boil the rice pasta I like to put it into a pan on low heat for a couple minutes and toss it with butter, 3-4 fresh, chopped Roma tomatoes and cracked black pepper.  Delizioso!

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  21. Low-FODMAP Servings for Legumes


    Most legumes are HIGH in FODMAPs, but there are still some you can enjoy as long as you stick to recommended serving sizes.  In order to protect our immune system and reap the benefits of much needed nutrients, antioxidants and minerals, it’s important to include legumes in your diet along with vegetables and fruits.  Certain nutrients, antioxidants and minerals can help lessen the damage done to our bodies by chemical pollutants, radiation hazards, free-radical damage, bacteria, viruses, the use of alcohol or nicotine, pharmaceutical drugs and even stress.  I could list the benefits of legumes, veggies and fruits all day, but for now, let’s get you educated on legumes specifically for the Low-FODMAP diet.

    low fodmap diet legumesThe following serving sizes are recommended by Monash University. Below, if you see a HIGH rating it means that you are to avoid that food.  Otherwise “safe” servings have been listed next to the legume foods below.  Additional tips are listed.

    If there’s a legume you are looking for (examples: fava beans, mung beans or adzuki beans) and you do not see it in the list below it’s because they have not been analyzed by Monash University.  So whenever that’s the case, it’s best to just avoid the food entirely.


    • Baked Beans – HIGH
    • Borlotti beans, canned – HIGH
    • Broad beans – HIGH
    • Butter beans, canned – HIGH
    • Haricot beans, boiled -HIGH
    • Lima beans, boiled – HIGH
    • Four bean mixed, canned – HIGH
    • Red kidney beans, boiled – HIGH
    • Soya beans, boiled – HIGH
    • Bean sprouts -1/2 cup to 1/4 cup – LOW
    • Green beans – 6 to 12 beans – LOW.  17 beans contains high amounts of the polyol sorbitol.  Intake should be limited if you malabsorb sorbitol.
    • Lentils, canned – 1/2 & 1/4 cup – LOW.  Canned legumes/pulses have lower FODMAP content because the water soluble Oligos-GOS and fructrans leach out of the bean.
    • Lentils, green, boiled – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOD and fructans, intake should be limited.
    • Lentils, red, boiled – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOD and fructans, intake should be limited.
    • Lentil burger – HIGH


    • Chickpeas, canned – 1/4 cup LOW, 1/2 cup has moderate amounts of Oligos-GOS intake should be limited. Larger servings (100 g) contain HIGH amounts of GOS, this intake should be avoided.
    • Snow peas – 5 pods – LOW, 10 pods has HIGH amounts of Oligos (fructans and GOS) and high amounts of the Polyol mannitol; intake should be avoided.
    • Sugar snap peas -HIGH
    • Thawed peas – 1/4 cup – LOW, 1/2 cup contains HIGH amounts of Oligos-GOS, intake should be avoided.
    • Split peas, boiled – HIGH

    fodmap life hazelnuts walnuts almondsNUTS

    • Cashews – HIGH
    • Pistachios – HIGH
    • Hazelnuts – 10 nuts – LOW, 20 nuts has MODERATE amounts of Oligos-GOS and fructans, intake should be limited.
    • Almonds – 10 nuts – LOW, 20 nuts has HIGH amounts of Oligos-GOS, intake should be avoided.
    • Mixed nuts – 9 to 18 assorted -LOW.  Depending on the nuts used, large servings of mixed nuts may contain Oligos-GOS and fructans.
    • Peanuts -16 to 32 nuts – LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.
    • Pine nuts – up to 1 TB – LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.  Larger servings (8 TBS, 100 gm) contains HIGH amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be avoided.
    • Walnuts – 10 nuts – LOW LOW and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS.  Larger servings (100 gm) contains MODERATE amounts of the Oligos-fructans and intake should be limited.

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  22. Organic, Vegan, Dairy Free Low FODMAP Chocolate Chip Cookies

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    I really love chocolate and I love cookies, and on the Low-FODMAP Diet I don’t need to suffer as there are plenty of ways to eat wheat-free, gluten-free cookies, cakes, chocolates and sweets!  Try this recipe for this weekend

    Organic, Vegan, Dairy-Free Low-FODMAP Chocolate Chip Cookies


    For this recipe, you will need:

    • 1/2 C Organic vegetable oil
    • 1/4 C Unsweetened almond milk (I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Almond Milk Unsweetened)
    • 1 1/4 TB Organic vanilla extract
    • 1 C Organic brown sugar
    • 1 TB Organic maple syrup
    • 2 C  Gluten-Free Flour (like King Arthur’s)
    • 1 tsp Baking soda
    • 1 tsp Baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
    • 1 C Vegan chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand for all my vegan chocolate chip needs)


    *Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

    1. In a bowl combine the vegetable oil with the brown sugar, along with the maple syrup, almond milk & vanilla.
    2. Use a separate bowl to mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
    3. Combine everything into one bowl, then mix until smooth.  Slowly add in the chocolate chips.
    4. On a non-stick cookie sheet (I love Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® pans) drop rounded tablespoons of the dough.  This mixture is a little wet.
    5. The longer you bake these, the crispier they will be.  Bake anywhere from 12-14 minutes.


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  23. Do’s and Don’ts of Sushi and the Low-FODMAP Diet

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    For anyone who is gluten intolerant, eating out for sushi can be tricky as you run the risk for cross-contamination from traces of gluten-containing ingredients like tempura.  Consider asking your server to speak to the chef and see if they can make your rolls on a clean cutting board and with a clean knife.  Hopefully they will be kind and patient to you and fulfill your desire!

    sushi do's and don'ts for the low-fodmap dietFor those who are not gluten intolerant, you will still benefit from the tips below if you are following the low-FODMAP diet!

    Tips for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Sushi

    • Rice is gluten-free and wheat-free and is sometimes mixed with vinegar and/or sugar.  No worries here!
    • The seaweed found in sushi rolls is naturally gluten-free and wheat-free.  Seaweed can be nutritious, depending upon how many servings you have.  One of the most noted benefits is its iodine content, and consuming healthy levels of iodine is beneficial to the thyroid gland, which regulates our hormones.  According to the National  “seaweed is rich in some health-promoting molecules and materials such as, dietary fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.”
    • If you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or Hashimoto’s disease, you need to be particularly wary of dipping sauces for sushi.  Most soy sauces or teriyaki contain gluten.  For instance, the second ingredient in All-purpose Kikkoman Soy Sauce is wheat.  They do make a gluten-free version where the ingredients are water, soybeans, rice and salt.  Ask for gluten-free Japanese tamari soy sauce.  There’s also rolls that are made with eel and you’ve probably noticed the barbecue sauce that comes with those rolls – many times the sauce contains gluten.
    • The fish used to fill sushi rolls is gluten-free and wheat-free as are the vegetables and mayonnaise (mayo is also lactose free).  Just be wary of two things: 1) how many rolls you have with avocado and keep in mind that a 1/4 serving of avocado is allowed on the low-FODMAP diet; 2) whether or not crab is in the roll.  Fresh crab is fine but imitation crab has gluten in it from the wheat starch.  Imitation crab is OK for people that are not gluten intolerant, however, consider limiting it because it is processed and also contains various artificial ingredients.
    • Believe it or not some wasabi actually contains gluten.  Some types of wasabi that have been commercially prepared may have been cross-contaminated or made with coloring agents that contain wheat starch.  “Although processing often removes the gluten protein (from wheat starch), some residual gluten can remain so wheat starch is not considered gluten free in the U.S.” Gluten-Free Living.  It is best to stay away wasabi unless you go to a sushi restaurant that prepares it fresh, otherwise you might be enjoying a mix of mustard, European horseradish, and food coloring. Wasabi is basically Japanese horseradish but to make it fresh, the Wasabia japonica rhizome, or root of the plant would be grated fresh, or a 100% authentic, all natural dried ground wasabi powder can be used, which is then mixed with water to become the paste.
    • Sorry guys, but tempura is made from wheat flour.  I know, I know shrimp tempura rolls taste SO good but anything with tempura does not fit with the wheat-free low-FODMAP diet or a strict gluten-free diet.

    And I leave you with this inspirational quote loves!

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  Buddha.

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    Sources:  Steamy Kitchen, All About Real Wasabi;

  24. Why I Don’t Drink Coffee – Low-FODMAP Diet

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    The Low-FODMAP diet has cast a bright ray of light on the woes of many who suffer from a myriad of digestive disorders.  As you might have learned already, everyone’s digestive system is different when it comes to what types of foods or drinks that can be tolerated.  Not everyone following the low-FODMAP diet has the same reactions to foods.  High-Fructan foods might be the only cause of one person’s pain but high-lactose might the culprit for another.

    After researching the low-FODMAP diet for almost two years and speaking with thousands of people, I have seen complaints across the board for what works and what does not work.  Even though coffee is allowed on the low-FODMAP diet, I’d like to focus today on why I don’t drink it.  If you or someone you know has IBS, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis and ulcers, this post is for you.

    No Coffee Low Fodmap DietNo Coffee For Me

    Let it be known that you can have coffee on the low-FODMAP diet but just stay away from chicory-based coffee substitutes which are a source of HIGH fructans.

    By giving up coffee, I have less OH MY GOD WHERE’S THE BATHROOM moments, and believe me I am much more at ease now and don’t have to worry about what hour I leave the house.  My body is also calmer and relaxed.  I don’t need coffee for energy (I once thought I NEEDED it to get by) and the first fluid to enter my body everyday is water – and a lot of it.  Believe me, I do miss my beloved Peet’s French Roast coffee or trying coffee in different countries.  The smell now is the only thing I miss the most!

    Here are some things to know about coffee for those of us with digestive disorders:

    • Caffeine in coffee is just as bad for the body because it speeds up every system in the body, and it has a stimulating effect on the intestines and can increase diarrhea – like very rapidly – that’s all I have to say about that.
    • When you drink coffee first thing, you are actually throwing acid on acid.  Your stomach produces large amounts of hydrochloric acid (HCl) after you’ve drank coffee, which can lead to irritation of your stomach and lining.
    • “De-caffeinated coffee does away with the caffeine, but it still contains acids that can increase stomach acid production.” Amber J. Tresca, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Expert.
    • “In 2007, Consumer Reports tested 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee from six coffee standbys, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Compared to the caffeine found in a regular cup (generally around 100 milligrams), the decaf samples had less, but some packed in over 20.” 12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine,
    • Coffee can cause heartburn -who likes that?
    • “Coffee produces a laxative effect in susceptible people through stimulation of rectosigmoid motor activity, as soon as four minutes after drinking. Even modest doses of coffee can have this effect, whether or not the body is ready to dispose of the
      feces, resulting in loose stools. Studies show that decaffeinated coffee has a similar stimulant effect on the GI tract proving that the laxative effect is not only due to caffeine.” Effects of Caffeine and Coffee on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, & Colitis Reviewed by Meri Rafetto, RD, Theresa Grumet, RD, and Gerri French, RD, MS, CDE.
    • If you have a damaged GI tract, the acid in coffee can prevent healing, and, regular or decaffeinated makes no difference!
    • Caffeine has a diuretic affect, which often dehydrates the body.  You know how your always told to get enough water?  You need it especially if you drink coffee.  Dehydrating the body can mean hard stools that are difficult to pass…and who wants to be constipated?

    Where else can you find caffeine?  In much-loved chocolate (stick to low-FODMAP recommendations), coffee-flavored ice cream or frozen yogurt (try a different flavored lactose-free ice cream or yogurt), energy drinks (these also tend to have high fructose), tea, and some medications like painkillers.

    Please share your comments below and tell me what works for you.  Everyone is different and we all handle foods and drinks in various ways.  However, it never hurts to consider cutting out coffee for a while to see if there’s any difference in your symptoms. Life has been wonderful for me without coffee!

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    Other Sources: International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

  25. Your Story: Joana – Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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    jo pinterestFODMAP Life is about bringing people together and supporting one another.  We aim to educate our readers all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it’s like for anyone to have digestive and inflammatory health issues, food allergies or auto-immune diseases.  The section on our website called “Your Story” is where you’ll find real, helpful stories of people just like you.

    If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

    Your Story: Joana – Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    I have been recently diagnosed with Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome (PI-IBS) as the result of a nasty gastroenteritis I got in the spring of 2013. Before this date I have never had any major health problems and my eating habits were quite balanced and healthy. I’ve been through a lot before doctors could find an answer to my poor health condition. By sharing my story on FODMAP Life in detail, I hope to help out others who have been through a similar situation and hopefully give some insights to a still unclear condition such as PI-IBS and how to manage it with the low FODMAP diet.

    Joana’s Story in Detail

    In the end of April 2013 I was working in a fair in Germany and had a business dinner where I ate a hamburger. After half an hour I started feeling very sick, throwing up, with constant bowel emergency and flu like symptoms that continued throughout the night and during the following days. Because I had a very important event the next day, I just went to the pharmacy and took some anti-vomiting meds. I was feeling weak and my belly was sore but kept working for two days before going back home. I finally went to the doctor in the public clinic where I live who told me to rest, drink fluids and eat diet food and that it would eventually pass. I was in bed for a week and things were just never the same again. My belly was all swallowed and cramping, I had constant diarrhea, I was losing weight and feeling very weak. I went back to work and continued my restricted diet of white meat, rice, carrots and boiled apples (a diet poor in essential nutrients that I now believe to have made things even worst).

    I remember being on autopilot, going to work in pain, tired and arriving home completely exhausted and incapable of doing anything else than sleep. I went back to the clinic half a dozen times where doctors kept saying it was probably stress related and to continue the diet… Three months after the rotten hamburger I just couldn´t take it anymore and asked for an appointment with a specialist, who ran a bunch of exams: endoscopy, blood, urine and stool test, all negative except for gastritis. I also quit my job and found a quieter half time job that did not involve traveling or such a big workload. Unfortunately it was not the answer as I was hospitalized seven months after the gastroenteritis episode. I was extremely thin (lost 10kg, 1/5 of my weight) and weak (my blood pressure was very low: 8-4). In the hospital they performed a colonoscopy, a lactose breathing test and other exams; all negative except for a slightly hight CRP (blood inflammation levels common in PI-IBS) and a high calprotectine (a marker for intestinal bowel disease). According to the specialists, these results still didn’t explain my poor general state so they pointed anorexia as the probable cause (!). At this point my companion argued with the doctor and asked him to monitor what I was eating – I was always hungry and eating so much that I even had family and friends bring food over, as the hospital food was not enough! Was sent back home with no clear diagnosis. Then other results arrived and showed I had some minor lesions in the small intestine confirmed by a special MRI and the capsule endoscopy. I was called back to the hospital where they diagnosed me with Crohn´s disease. They prescribed Budesonide, a corticosteroid drug and I got back to work. I was feeling great the first two weeks but then suddenly I started to feel so tired I could not walk anymore… I was even worse than before! – I know now that this drug increases intestinal permeability in PI-IBS patients who already have a malabsorption condition. I was hospitalized again, did another colonoscopy and endoscopy and the only relevant results were vitamine B12 deficiency and some lesions in the colon consistent with celiac disease (diagnosis not confirmed by the biopsy nor blood tests). They wanted me to drink supplements with lactose, which I refused as I was not able to digest dairy products since the problem started.

    Ultimately I was sent back home again with another unclear diagnosis. Desperate, I consulted with a functional medicine doctor who ran a food sensitivities test. The results said I was sensitive to gluten, dairy and a lot of high FODMAP foods (didn’t know that at the time)! After just 3 days of eating with these food restrictions I had energy again and was able to climb stairs without any effort! It was an amazing recovery and I was feeling great! The only downside was that I was still bloated. This encouraged me to research deeper and find the low FODMAP diet. I started the diet in April 2014 (a year after the gastroenteritis) and the bloating, cramps and diarrhea were finally under control. I went back to see the gastroenterologist who confirmed the diagnosis of Post-Infectious IBS and referred me to one of the two Belgian nutritionists specialized on the low FODMAP diet. Thanks to it I have gained weight and strength back and am able to manage my IBS.


    A gastroenteritis and the consequent late diagnosis of IBS inhibited me from having a normal life for more that a year. I have been very ill mainly due to malabsorption and diarrhea that led to huge weight and energy loss. Doctors couldn´t find the cause or proper treatment. I finally started to get better with the help of the low FODMAP diet. It worked wonders on my sensitive gut and was literally a lifesaver for me! Since then I am focused on helping others suffering from the same condition by sharing my story and low FODMAP cooking tips. You can find me here: Thank you for reading.


    My name is Joana and I´m a Portuguese cultural manager and a passionate foodie living in Belgium. I have been recently diagnosed with Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I now follow the low FODMAP diet. As a result of this experience I have created the blog My Gut Feeling ( where I share my story and low FODMAP friendly recipes.

  26. My Pregnancy, Low Fodmap and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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    IBS lends its mark on many pregnant women, and yes, one of those fortunate ladies is me!  I am halfway through my second trimester and my IBS is starting to kick up a notch.

    My FODMAP Life and Pregnancy

    Says an article on “Upwards to a third of pregnant women experience increased constipation, particularly during the last trimester” well it’s already happening to me now at week 19!  Metamucil is listed as safe by my doctor to use and it is making a slight difference. The article goes on to note that “Changes in the ovarian hormones, which are elevated during pregnancy, and the physical pressure the growing baby places on the bowel wall, may both contribute to GI symptoms.”  I believe it!

    I am abiding by the Low Fodmap Diet and it’s still helping my overall health, and I think the second part to my success is eating slowly, uninterrupted and having VERY small quantities at a time.  I say this because when I do, my gut stays quiet and calm, and when I haven’t followed my own rules, I look like I’m much further along in my pregnancy and food comes back up my throat.  Who likes that?!

    A typical day for me starts out with an egg white omelet with spinach, maybe some Low Fodmap cheese and Low Fodmap herbs.  For snacks I like Low Fodmap veggies and fruits, gluten-free crackers, popcorn, a rice cake with almond butter, lactose-free yogurt, Jay Robb’s egg white protein to add in my shakes, Low Fodmap cheese and sometimes I get a nice protein boost from one of my favorite brands Applegate Farms turkey breast (no antibiotics and hormones, no nitrates or nitrites).  For dinner there’s again always protein (very important for pregnancy), greens and a smaller serving of brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles or other gluten-free and wheat-free pasta, or polenta.

    I am supposed to be drinking loads of water everyday but I have to drink slowly, otherwise I feel as though a bout with vomiting is coming on.  My goal is to finish 8 oz. of water every hour and sometimes success finds me, and sometimes it does not.  Migraine headaches have been creeping around and I think they are neck pain, pregnancy and Hashimoto’s Disease related.  I can only speculate that one of the best ways to keep migraines quiet and calm is to again DRINK LOADS OF WATER.

    Want to see my Baby Reveal?

    Non-Drug Therapies for IBS and Pregnancy

    From the several notable sources regarding how to manage IBS and pregnancy, many dole out the same information we have all been learning about according to the Low Fodmap Diet:

    • Relaxation therapy – or meditation for digestion.  And specifically some slow (prenatal) yoga.
    • Fiber – and of course picking the right type of fiber that won’t increase symptoms.
    • Reduction of gas-producing foods – like the cruciferous HIGH FODMAP vegetables (that I once enjoyed long ago) that slowly come to plague you later on: beans, cabbage, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, len­tils, and Brussels sprouts.
    • Keep sugary foods to a limit (of course!) and have drinks with electrolytes (make sure those drinks aren’t high in FODMAPs like fructose or sugar alcohols).
    • My naturopathic doctor has me on probiotics that are not as well known as Align, but they are certainly doing the trick.

    Sources: info was adapted from IFFGD Publication #183 by Margaret Heitkemper, RN, PhD, Professor of Nursing and Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

  27. Onion and Garlic Replacements for the low-FODMAP diet!

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    Onions and garlic definitely seem to be one of THE hardest things for everyone to live without OR to live without accidentally eating in your next meal. Many of you are not aware of Asafoetida or asafetida powder. This can be used in place of onions, and it’s very strong so use it sparingly.

    What is Asafoetida Powder?-Asafoetida  low fodmap diet

    Asafoetida powder, which is also known as Hing, is used in a wide variety of Indian dishes.  It’s derived from a species of giant fennel, and has a very unique and pungent smell and flavor. In Indian cooking, it’s used often times with legumes and vegetable dishes like those that use cauliflower. Cooking mellows out this spice, and you’ll think you’re tasting onion and/or garlic.  Make sure you buy a wheat-free version!

    Here is where you can buy a wheat-free version.

    Also – Asafoetida is said to reduce the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, thereby reducing flatulence! (see sources below).

    Try Garlic-Infused Oilgarlic

    The other item you can use (if you miss garlic like me!) is garlic-infused oil. I wrote a post on it some time ago:

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    Sources: Definition – The Spice House; On reduction of flatulenceThe Hindu; S. K. Garg, A. C. Banerjea, J. Verma and M. J. Abraham, “Effect of Various Treatments of Pulses on in Vitro Gas Production by Selected Intestinal Clostridia”. Journal of Food Science, Volume 45, Issue 6 (p. 1601–1602).

  28. Foods to Avoid and Eat for Ulcerative Colitis


    What is Ulcerative Colitis?

    Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease which disturbs the digestive tract, resulting in significant damage to the large intestine.  Foods do not cure or cause Ulcerative Colitis, but they can trigger symptoms.  Also, neither Crohn’s disease nor ulcerative colitis is related to food allergies.  According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America: “People with IBD may think they are allergic to foods because they associate the symptoms of IBD with eating.”

    This is one of the more easier photos to get a sense of the damage from ulcerative colitis.  UC does incredible damage to the colon.

    This photo gives you a sense of the damage from ulcerative colitis. UC does incredible damage to the colon and you can ‘Google’ photos to see for yourself.

    Just like with the Low Fodmap Diet, keep a food journal to document everything you eat and drink on a daily basis.  You may know someone who has UC and does not experience symptoms after eating a certain food that happens to cause you utter pain.  Keeping a food diary will help your healthcare professional to determine the most suitable foods for your individual needs.  For instance, I have IBS, and though cucumbers are allowed on the Low Fodmap Diet, they cause me trouble, but that’s not the case for everyone else.  When it comes to digestive issues we are all different, however taking certain tried and true precautions may help you.

    Foods & Drinks to Avoid for Ulcerative Colitis

    • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can out you at risk for flaring or a relapse in the form of a severe and acute attack.  Some health professionals suggest limiting alcohol intake during social situations and completely avoiding it at home.
    • Caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks can stimulate the colon to contract which promotes more bowel movements.  Also be aware of energy drinks made with the stimulant guarana.
    • Carbonated drinks – caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners can increase gas and the carbonation can cause cramping –ouch.  I wish everyone would just give up soda – it’s the worst drink on the planet!
    • Milk or milks products – not everyone with UC has trouble, but take note in your diary if you experience symptoms. If you do have trouble it could be because you cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar present in milk and other milk products.  Make an appointment to get a lactose tolerance test.
    • Onions are difficult to digest as they contain a natural type of sugar called fructose that causes gas – yet they can be found in so many foods!  Read menus and labels carefully so you can avoid this stinky culprit!
    • Beans & Legumes – try smaller portions.  Another example – instead of eating whole chickpeas, try a little hummus.
    • Raw fruits and vegetables might bother you, so try steaming, baking or stewing them.
    • Cruciferous vegetables can cause gas, bloating and cramping for most with UC (cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts).
    • Whole seeds and tiny seeds (found in strawberries and raspberries) can cause problems.  Ground flaxseed and tamari (sesame seed paste) might be a better option.
    • Dried fruits have moderate amounts of sulfate (and are dense in sugar).  The more sulfate you ingest, the more of it’s available for colon bacteria to make sulfide gases.
    • Corn and mushrooms (as well as broccoli and cabbage) are often times avoided during a flare up as they cannot be completed digested and can cause irritation in the gut as well as diarrhea.
    • Fatty meats – stick to leaner meats or ground up meat and remember to chew everything slowly and thoroughly.  Tough meats like steaks can be very hard on the GI tract.
    • Whole nuts or crunchy nut butters as well as popcorn can cause irritation (and literally get caught) during digestion and bowel movements. Stick to smooth nut butters.
    • Rich foods (condiments, sauces) like carbonara sauce, Alfredo sauce, gravies, heavy desserts or mayonnaise can trigger symptoms.
    • Chocolate has both caffeine and sugar which can irritate the gut.  Try consuming one small square of dark chocolate (has less sugar) to keep your insides relaxed.
    • Sugar alcohols found in sugar-free sweets and candies (like sorbitol or anything ending in ‘ol’) can cause gas, diarrhea, cramping -you name it!

    Foods to Help Prevent Ulcerative Colitis Flare-ups

    • Bread, cereal, and whole grains
    • Fruits and vegetables not listed above
    • Lean meat, fish, and poultry (remember no tough meat like steaks)
    • Low-fat dairy products (consider getting the lactose tolerance test)
    • Healthy fats such as cold pressed, unrefined vegetable oils

    More Tips!

    • Have your blood levels checked to ensure you are not deficient in folate, potassium, vitamin D, B Vitamins, calcium or iron.
    • Try some Curcumin, a substance in Turmeric spice – According to the University of Maryland Medical Center: “Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission.  In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a relapse rate much lower than those who took placebo.”
    • Remember to eat slowly and have smaller meals and drink plenty of water.
    • When you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods for ulcerative colitis, make sure you are taking enough of the nutritional supplements you need if you’re unable to eat a balanced diet due to certain food group restrictions.  An example would be to make sure to get enough calcium if you have lactose intolerance.
    • Vitamins, minerals, fish, fish oils and the right amount or type of fiber are key to helping you succeed.
    • A Certified Nutritional Consultant can help you with a food and supplement plan.

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    Sources: The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America; Frank W. Jackson, M.D. Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology (on sulfate); Healthline Ulcerative Colitis and Alcohol by Michael Sapko reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA; Turmeric | University of Maryland Medical Center;

  29. The Low Fodmap Diet and Celiac Disease

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    Intestinal Damage Of GlutenWhat is Celiac Disease?

    Celiac disease is a chronic condition that affects the body for its lifetime.  Whenever someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, an abnormal immune system response is triggered, damaging the small intestine.

    People with celiac disease need to avoid ALL gluten.  The same goes for people with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Hashimoto’s Disease, an auto-immune condition (learn more here).  Tiny villi tissues line our small intestines.  They help us to absorb vitamins, nutrients and sugars from foods.  When a celiac patient ingests gluten, the villi of their small intestine flatten out, causing damage and the inability to absorb vital nutrients.  Sometimes someone with celiac who ingests gluten doesn’t feel or experience symptoms, but at the same time, they are slowly damaging the small intestine.  I thought that people with celiac are diagnosed at birth, but in actuality, more and more people are experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed in their 20s, 30s and 40s.  If you have abnormal liver blood tests, anemia or an  autoimmune diseases like diabetes or thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s makes the cut), get yourself checked for celiac disease.

    According to the Celiac Support Association® common symptoms of celiac disease include:

    • Abdominal cramping/bloating
    • Anemia
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Energy loss
    • Fatigue
    • Difficult to concentrate / foggy brain
    • Infertility
    • Irritable bowel
    • Joint pain
    • Menorrhagia
    • Mouth sores or cracks in the corners
    • Osteopenia or osteoporosis
    • Tooth enamel defects
    • Weakness
    • Weight loss

    Gluten Free & Low Fodmap Diets

    A gluten free diet must be adhered to at all times for people with celiac disease.  I have IBS and Hashimoto’s disease and have been instructed by my endocrinologist (who also has Hashimoto’s -except not as bad) to avoid all gluten, and it’s definitely made a difference in my life.  Though my health has improved, it’s still difficult at times to know all sources of gluten found in foods. Working with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutritional Consultant can help uncover all the hidden sources of gluten and possibly help to identify the cause of symptoms.

    If consumed, low FODMAP foods should not cause damage to the small intestine.  Most gluten-free foods are almost always wheat-free, but not all gluten-free foods are low FODMAP (example, Rudi’s gluten free breads are delicious but contain HIGH FODMAP ingredients).

    Patsy Catsos MS, RDN, LD suggests that if you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms to “ask your doctor if you should be tested for celiac disease before starting a low-FODMAP diet,” and that “once you’ve cut out wheat, barley and rye from your diet for a while, celiac tests are no longer accurate.”  Another interesting fact she shared:

    • “If you have celiac disease and already eat gluten-free, but still suffer from gastrointestinal complaints, FODMAPs may be to blame. Especially early in your diagnosis, before intestinal healing is complete on your gluten-free diet, you may be prone to poor absorption of lactose, fructose and sorbitol. Once you have been gluten-free for a long time, your ability to tolerate foods containing these carbohydrates may improve a good deal.”

    Bread groupWheat Derived Ingredients

    Be aware of wheat-derived ingredients that have gluten!  People with Hashimoto’s won’t feel the severity or threatening symptoms from gluten the way celiacs do, but sources say that gluten can stay in the body for up to six months, so do the absolute best you can to avoid gluten.  Here are some examples:

    • Barley is a grain that contains gluten.  You’ll find it in soups or malt flavoring.
    • Buckwheat is gluten-free but don’t assume all buckwheat products are gluten free.  Buckwheat can sometimes be combined with wheat flour in pancake and baking mixes.
    • Dextrin is gluten-free be wary, though rare, its sometimes made from wheat.
    • Gluten containing grains bulgur, durum, einkorn, farina, graham, kamut, semolina, and spelt are all forms of wheat.
    • Hydrolyzed wheat protein is not gluten-free.
    • Malt flavoring is usually made from barley and is not gluten free.  Malt extract, malt syrup and malt flour are made from barley and are not gluten free.
    • Modified food starch is gluten free unless it is made from wheat.
    • Oats – only those that are grown in such a way to eliminate cross-contamination can be labeled gluten-free.
    • Rice is gluten free but can sometimes come packaged as a rice mix with seasonings that contains wheat.
    • Seasonings can be gluten-free or not if they contain wheat starch or wheat flour.
    • Seitan is made from wheat gluten so it contains gluten.  There are some recipes out there for gluten-free seitan but consider ignoring those!
    • Soba Japanese noodles made from buckwheat are gluten-free, however always check to make sure they’ve not been made with wheat flour.
    • Several soy sauces are made with wheat.  If you’re out dining at a Japanese restaurant ask for tamari.  If at home try Bragg’s Amino Acids.
    • Spelt is not gluten-free.
    • Teriyaki sauces are usually made with wheat though you can still find gluten-free brands.
    • Tofu when plain and not flavored with soy sauce (made from wheat) is gluten-free.
    • Triticale is a cross bred hybrid of wheat and rye that contains gluten.  It was first “bred in laboratories during the late 19th century in Scotland and Sweden.” {source USDA}
    • Wheat starch is a starch made from wheat.  Even after processing some residual gluten can remain so it’s not considered gluten-free.

    Gluten-Free Labeling

    According to Food Safety Magazine: “Gluten-free” counts towards gluten-free foods or gluten-free ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined “gluten-free” as less than 20 ppm (mg/kg) of gluten. Other countries use this definition as well (and some countries have established a category of low-gluten foods that are defined as less than 100 ppm gluten). Here is the U.S., our regulations (at this time) don’t recognize low-gluten foods. Our gluten-free regulations also establishes other conditions that must be met by any U.S. food labeled gluten-free:
    •    The food must not contain any ingredient that is a gluten-containing grain.
    •    The food may only contain an ingredient derived from a gluten-containing source, if that ingredient has been processed in a manner to remove gluten residues to a level of less than 20 ppm.

    Food Safety magazine goes on to say that from a clinical perspective “ingesting gluten-free foods containing less than 20 ppm gluten appears to be safe for celiac sufferers.”

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    Additional Sources for this post: – Ingredients Index

  30. What about Coconut for the Low Fodmap Diet?

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    Fresh Organic Coconut WaterI receive many questions from our fans about coconut – and for good reason!  Coconut is de-licious and provides some nourishment and essential fatty acids.

    Coconut has some carbohydrate and fiber as well as traces of B vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.  It has some minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper and iron (the best).  Phytonutrients include galactomannan, pectin, shikimic acid, squalene and vanillin.

    Coconut is also used in cooking, baking as well as in beauty products!

    Suitable Quantities and Types of Coconut

    Coconut Water – a serving size of 100 ml (3.4 fluid oz) is low FODMAP. A serving of 250 ml (8.45 fluid oz) is HIGH FODMAP.

    Coconut Milk – it is a good milk alternative but keep in mind some cannot tolerate coconut or rice milk made with brown rice. Stick to a 1/2 cup serving.

    Shredded dried coconut (also known as dessicated) – is allowed in a 1/4 cup per meal or snack.

    Coconut Oil – All oils like coconut, flax, soybean, nut oils, and seed oils are low in FODMAPs.  Buy cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil.

    Coconut is high in fat, but it’s good fat.  Some who experience digestive issues and who are especially sensitive to fat intake should go lightly on coconut oil or any oil for that matter.  Consume anywhere from 165 calories per day of low FODMAP oils, nuts and seeds (1.33 TB oil or 1 oz. nuts/seeds for a 1,800 calorie program) to 200 calories per day (1.7 TB oil or 1 ¼ oz. nuts/seeds for a 2,000 calorie program).

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  31. Low Fodmap Peanut Butter Cookies!


    These cookies are so delicious!  They work with the low fodmap diet, are wheat free, gluten free, soy free and lactose free!  It’s an especially helpful recipe for celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive disorders as well as those with auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

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    The cookies are very easy and quick to make.  Bake them for your kids, have them as a snack to enjoy at work or while on the run. Enjoy!

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

    Ingredientslow fodmap wheat free gluten free peanut butter cookies

    • 1 C organic peanut butter
    • 1 C organic sugar
    • 1 tsp organic pure vanilla extract
    • 1 TB organic maple syrup
    • 1 large egg
    • Coarse Himalayan sea salt (optional)


    • Use a medium-sized bowl and mix together the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and egg.  Spoon out about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and place on an un-greased cookie sheet, about one inch apart.  Use the prongs of a fork to gently press down and flatten the cookie.  Press down again about a quarter clockwise to make what’s called a crosshatch pattern.  Optional – lightly sprinkle salt on top of the cookies.
    • Bake for five minutes, then turn the cookie sheet 180 degrees and continue baking.  Check on your cookies about five minutes later – they should be golden brown around the edges.

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  32. Low FODMAP Flours and Breads!

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    The Low Fodmap Diet can be tricky to follow especially if you are not careful enough with what products you buy.  There are gluten-free breads that are wheat free but have FODMAPs.  Ingredients with FODMAPs found in bread and/or flours are:honey, agave, chicory root extract (inulin), soybean or other bean flours (like garbanzo), apple or pear juice concentrate, dates, figs.

    To make your journey with the Low Fodmap Diet a bit easier, I asked Registered Dietitians and other FODMAPs experts from the U.S. and the U.K. what kind of bread and flours they like most – have a look!

    Breads with Low Fodmap Ingredients

    EA Stewart, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, of Del Mar (San Diego) CA likes Udi’s White Sandwich Bread which consists of: Water, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, canola oil, egg whites, potato starch, modified food starch, tapioca maltodextrin, dried cane syrup, tapioca syrup, yeast, gum (xanthan gum, sodium alginate, guar gum), salt, locust bean gum, cultured corn syrup solids and citric acid (mold inhibitor), enzymes. Contains egg.

    Flours with Low Fodmap Ingredients

    Kate Scarlata Registered and Licensed Dietitian in Boston, MA likes:

    Mel Rendall and Lee Martin, two Registered Dietitians (RD)  from London like to make gluten-free flatbread using Dove’s Farm. This gluten-free white bread flour is a flour blend (rice, potato and tapioca) and xanthan gum.

    Low Fodmap Bread Recipe

    Gluten-free and low FODMAP Bread – by Suzanne Perazzini, author of the Low Fodmap Menus cookbook and the creator of the Inspired Life Low Fodmap Coaching program
    • 1.5 cups white rice flour
    • ½ cup brown rice flour
    • ½ cup potato starch
    • ¾ cup tapioca flour
    • 2 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp fresh yeast granules
    1. Place everything in a breadmaker and put it on the dough setting.
    2. I wanted it to rise more than the breadmaker allowed so I removed it when it was mixed, placed it in an oiled loaf tin and placed it in the drawer under the oven to stay warm for 1 hour.
    3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
    4. Bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you knock the top with a knuckle.
    5. Let sit in the loaf tin for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
    6. Let cool completely before slicing.

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  33. Gluten-Free Does Not Always Mean FODMAP Free

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    Gluten-free does not always mean FODMAP free and Gluten is not a FODMAP!  You’ll find gluten-free foods that work well on a low-FODMAP diet, but not all of them are FODMAP free!


    FODMAPs Expert: Patsy Catsos

    FODMAPs Expert: Patsy Catsos

    According to Registered Dietitian Patsy Catsos, “Sometimes people have bad reactions to one of the many proteins in wheat. Examples? Gluten is the wheat protein that causes the symptoms of celiac disease. Celiac disease can cause gas, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, but symptoms aren’t necessarily limited to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

    “Wheat, barley and rye also contain certain carbohydrates, fructans, which can cause IBS symptoms for some people. Fructans are a type of dietary fiber, one of the FODMAP carbohydrates. Because the US diet revolves around wheat, it’s by far the biggest food source of fructans for Americans. It’s not hard to see how much overlap there is between a gluten-free diet and a lower-FODMAP diet.

    “If you have celiac disease and already eat gluten-free, but still suffer from gastrointestinal complaints, FODMAPs may be to blame. Especially early in your diagnosis, before intestinal healing is complete on your gluten-free diet, you may be prone to poor absorption of lactose, fructose and sorbitol. Once you have been gluten-free for a long time, your ability to tolerate foods containing these carbohydrates may improve a good deal.


    As an example, if you are trying out the Low Fodmap Diet and want to buy some gluten free bread – just make sure it doesn’t have FODMAPs ingredients like these: honey, agave, chicory root extract (inulin), soybean or other bean flours (like garbanzo), apple or pear juice concentrate, dates, figs.

    What else? Check out our list of FOODS TO AVOID to understand where else you may find wheat, and learn about the foods you CAN eat from our GROCERY LIST.


  34. Low Fodmap Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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    brussels-sproutsA delicious recipe for this holiday season!

    *Brussels Sprouts are a moderate fructan food so when serving this recipe with family and friends, make sure YOU only have a 1/2 C serving.  If you feel you’ll want to eat more (and won’t be able to control yourself), you can also substitute cauliflower for brussels sprouts as those are low-fructan foods.

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts

    1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
    1/2 TBS Garlic-infused oil
    5-7 slices bacon, chopped
    Sea Salt (or Himalayan Crystal Salt) & Pepper
    Cayenne pepper (optional)

    Chop the brussels sprouts in half
    Place chopped bacon in the frying pan and saute on medium heat
    Add the garlic-infused oil and the brussels sprouts
    Add a pinch of salt, and a pinch or two of pepper, as well as a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want a spicier dish
    Continue cooking everything over medium heat until the brussels sprouts are cooked through. Enjoy!

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  35. San Diego’s Greenbee – So Delicious!

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    IMG_1710Have you ever tried a healthy green juice but it literally left you feeling green?  There are many awesome, delicious, vibrant green juices out there, and many that well, just didn’t do it for me.  However recently I was contacted by San Diego’s Greenbee to try their Greenbee Super Smoothie and Super Soup and both were delicious!


    I loved the bottle with strainer that they gave me. Very convenient!


    Greenbee Super Smoothie is an unpasteurized, fresh, nutrient-rich juice loaded with high levels of delicious, organic super foods.  This juice includes royal jelly (possibly helps balance hormones, increase fertility and deliver anti-aging benefits), GREENS kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, parsley and SUPER FOODS flaxseeds, spirulina, chlorella, ginger root, acerola cherry, lemon juice, banana, raw honey and apple.  

    I know what some of you FODMAPers are saying!  There’s definitely some HIGH Fodmap foods in this juice, however, being the experimental person that I am, I had to see how this juice would hold up with my guts.  Did I have symptoms?  Nope.  I felt excellent.  The amount of any high fodmap ingredients was minimal.  I actually drank the juice in the morning before going to the gym, and it was the first thing to enter my digestive system.  I don’t drink coffee anymore because of both my IBS and Hashimoto’s disease, so this juice was a wonderful pick me up.

    I highly suggest that if you have IBS, Hashimoto’s or any other auto-immune disease that you consider getting a local delivery service like Greenbee to ensure you have fresh juice everyday. If you already have a juicer and make great use of it and live in San Diego, CA, I still think you’ll find this juice will be one of the best you’ve ever had.

    greenbee detox soupDETOX SOUP, YUM!

    I also had the Super Cleanse (Detox) Super Soup, which was designed to kick-start the metabolism and detoxify the body.  It was SO luscious, creamy and no overpowering flavors.  It had me thinking that I’d love to have a little bit of it every week!  A renowned San Diego Chef helped to develop this nutritious recipe which includes: daikon radish, leeks, paprika, cayenne, curry, carrots, cauliflower, coconut oil, kale and just a tad of garlic.  I did not have any IBS symptoms from the garlic or any other ingredient.

    If you are in the San Diego, California area I would definitely recommend signing up for their delivery service!  If need be, you can cancel at any time.  Right now they are offering 50% off the first week, check it out:  They have weekly, monthly and six month plans.

    Read more about Co-Founders Dave and Kent here:

  36. A Review of Bioterra Herbs for Digestion

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    For your digestion needs, are you taking any supplements to help with gas and bloating?  I recently came across BioTerra Herbs – drug-free, eco friendly, gluten free, GMO free, vegan supplements.  They do not have any HIGH Fodmap ingredients.  BioTerra Herbs makes a product they call “belch” to help relieve stomach discomfort.  The picture on the packaging alone makes you want to belch (girl with strange make-up eating a greasy ham pizza).

    digestion-belch-bloating-gas-stomach-bioterraI usually try and stay away from “heavy” meals (definition – too much food at once OR meals with too much fat in one sitting) because they tend to make me sick or bring on the IBS symptoms (you guys know the deal!).  I gave the Belch supplements a whirl after a recent client dinner – a situation where I obviously have no control over the menu.  It was at a gorgeous house where the host graciously made everything herself – all very French.  If you’ve had French food before, you would know that it is indeed heavy!  Luckily she had added in some leafy greens and chilled seafood, but I was afraid of how’d I feel after the meat course.

    BioTerra suggests to take 2 capsules 10 minutes after a heavy meal.  I pranced off to the bathroom when I got the chance and took the supplements.  I did feel good the next day but I am not sure if it was BioTerra or not that helped.  BioTerra suggests using this product for at least one to two weeks because that’s when “most people feel the difference in their health herbal supplements.”  I think the true test for this supplement will come in handy (those following the Low Fodmap Diet, those with digestive disorders) during the holiday season.  Why?  That’s the only time when I can think that a week or two goes by when most might have had too much food.  Otherwise this product is just really good for people who on a daily basis, choose to eat poorly, eat heavily and do not care for their symptoms.  People like us with digestive disorders that want to make a difference in how we feel are a bit more careful (at least you try most of the time – it’s a constant learning process).

    Belch is a proprietary blend of Chinese Rhubarb (root & rhizome), Sparganium (rhizome), Betelnut Palm (seed), Zedoary (rhizome), and Orange (young fruit).

    If you’d like to try Belch over the holidays,  you can try a 30 day supply for $19.99.  Buy them here.  Let me know how you do!

  37. Primal Pit Paste Review and Giveaway!

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    primal pit pasteOn FODMAP Life I talk about different natural foods and food products that are safer for us to eat.  We can’t forget about what we put on our skin, in our hair or on our nails.  That’s why I am slowly making the transition to KNOCK OUT the products on my shelves that have harmful chemicals and/or synthetic ingredients.  What’s my new go-to everyday product?

    Ever since I tried a sample of Primal Pit Paste at Expo East last year I have been hooked!  It’s totally changed my view of deodorants.  I know there has been a lot of research about the correlation of breast cancer to the use of antiperspirants.

    What’s the Deal with Aluminum?

    Aluminum is a common ingredient in deodorant and antiperspirants, and is often linked to Alzheimer’s and brain disorders. It also poses a possible risk factor in breast cancer.  Aluminum compounds or aluminum salts, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. (source: Victoria Anisman-Reiner).

    fodmap life primal pit pasteBack in the Day & Now

    Back in the early 2000s I had tried other natural deodorants and they did not work very well – at all.  Not enough to convince me to stop using the regular junk on the shelves at drug stores.  Then I took Primal Pit Paste Sticks for a real test-drive.  I went to the sweltering hot temperatures of Nicaragua to photograph my husband surfing in April.  I was using Primal Pit Paste in Thyme & Lemongrass and left the beaches smelling fabulous.  Next stop was Hawaii in May for my birthday, and still I frolicked on land and sea and felt confident and pretty as Primal Pit Paste in Lavender guarded my pits. Then I went to an entrepreneurial event called  Awesomeness Fest in Thailand for a few weeks and tried both scents again in weather that was humid, hot or sometimes came with rainfall – still no complaints.  I felt better knowing that I was using a safe, natural product in an area that is so close to my precious boobies!

    The Scoop

    • Primal Pit Paste is a truly organic, all-natural deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS!
    • Primal Pit Paste is available in Regular, light, Strong and Kids varieties. My favorites are the Primal Pit Paste Sticks in Thyme & Lemongrass, Lavender and Jasmine.  You can SHOP for them here.amy cazin
    • Founder Amy Cazin’s turned her passion of concern and love into finding a way to protect her daughter and provide the world with a safe alternative to harmful products. She turned her energy into research, and that research into Primal Pit Paste. She believes that through Primal Pit Paste, she’s succeeded in making a healthy, organic deodorant that actually works for all types of moms, dads, kids and athletes alike.
    • Her mission: is to “provide you with a truly natural and organic deodorant that not only works but is actually good for you! lav_Stick__27583.1415811144.1280.1280By spreading awareness of the known harmful chemicals and potential dangers in personal care products we hope you will Go Primal and spread Primal Pit Paste on your Pits!”
    • All products are handcrafted and made in smaller batches, so please allow up to 5 business days for your order to be prepared and fulfilled.

    The Giveaway

    • It’s simple!  Just go to our page at 5p.m. PST on Thursday November 20th and you will see a brand new post.  Just comment underneath with your answer!
    • Three winners will be chosen to receive $25 gift certificates to go shopping at
    • This contest is open to everyone, worldwide!

    See you on Thursday! ~ Colleen

  38. Recipe: Low Fodmap Rosemary Chicken Salad

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    This delicious Rosemary Chicken Salad recipe uses only seven ingredients.  It’s lactose-free, soy-free and gluten-free! Great for picnics and parties, this make-ahead recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed larger crowds. If not serving immediately, make extra dressing and toss it in just before plating.  Delicious!

    • Rosemary Chicken Salad1/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons lactose-free plain yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
    • 2 cups cubed grilled chicken
    • 2 cups sliced, seedless grapes
    • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

    Serves 4

    In a small bowl, make dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, and rosemary. In a large bowl, combine dressing with chicken and grapes and toss until combined. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

    Source: The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC .  Dr. Bolen has been actively covering the low-FODMAP diet since the first research articles started coming out of Australia. Every day she hears heartbreaking stories about what it’s like to live with IBS.  Kathleen Bradley was diagnosed with IBS in 2011 and has studied the FODMAP diet extensively in an effort to ease her own symptoms. She has real-life experience in putting low-FODMAP recipes on the table.

    Always check labels on all packaged goods used in the context of any low-FODMAP recipe prior to recipe preparation or consumption to be sure they do not contain high-FODMAP ingredients.



  39. How to NOT Derail Your Diet this Holiday Season

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    santa holidays fodmap lifeHalloween is almost here, followed by Thanksgiving next month and Christmas after that. While many people find joy in the holiday season, for those trying to lose weight it can be the most miserable time of the year. Is it possible to not derail your diet this time of year?  These tips pertain to YOU on the Low Fodmap Diet or anyone with a digestive disorder.  Remember the Low Fodmap Diet is not a fad diet, and it’s not meant to be used to lose weight.  However, if you have a digestive disorder or food allergy and ALSO need to shed a few pounds, read Colin Christopher’s healthy tips for how to stay on track!

    Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, and author of Success Through Manipulation:


    –          Don’t skip meals this holiday season: Some people skip meals thinking they will be able to consume more goodies at Halloween, more turkey and stuffing at Thanksgiving and more of Christmas dinner.  This will guarantee your failure as it leads to increased hunger, binge eating and depriving your body of necessary calories to convert to energy.

    –          Have a plan: Bad food choices are going to be in abundance this time of year.  Have a plan in place so you don’t succumb to these negative choices (especially when you need Low Fodmap variations).  Choose healthier options, drink plenty of water which is good for you and will fill you up, and stop eating when your body feels satisfied.


    Colin Christopher

    –          Don’t compare yourself to others: Just because Aunt Mildred shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and she’s 100 pounds heavier than you, doesn’t give you permission to go on an eating spree.  Instead, compare yourself to people more fit than you or people whose body you aspire to look like.  This will keep you on course.

    –          You are responsible: If you gain five pounds at Thanksgiving, it’s your fault.  Stop blaming the holiday, the Halloween candy, the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  It’s very possible to control what you eat this time of year but it’s ultimately your responsibility.

    –          Learn to say no: When Aunt Mildred insists that you try her world famous pecan pie, politely decline.  Explain to her that you are on a specific diet and very serious about getting your body healthy.  She will understand. Same goes for the kids or the neighbors with candy on Halloween.

    –          Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat poorly: Many people think they can go for a long bike ride or hit the gym a few times during the holidays so they can indulge in the holiday feast.  Working out and exercise is great, but it’s never a pass to load up on bad food at the holidays.

    –          Let your clothes be a reminder: Don’t wear something that fits loosely and hides any excess fat.  Wear something that just fits your body and may not be the most flattering.  Let this be a reminder when you grab for that dessert, second serving or the Halloween bowl. This is also a great way to reinforce the idea in your subconscious mind that it’s time to get healthy.

    –          Traveling for the holidays is no excuse: A lot of patients tell me they indulged in fast food or a bag of chips because it was the only option at the airport.  When traveling, pack a healthy meal (with Low Fodmap snacks like veggies, fruit and nuts) before you board your flight or hit the road this holiday season.

    –          Dig deep: Whether the temptation is Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies or other holiday season food, dig deep and ask yourself how bad you want to see results.  If you really commit to the process, you can lose weight (and get your digestive system) healthy – even at the holidays.  Being partially committed never works.

  40. Love Feijoas? They are HIGH in FODMAPs

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    feijoas fodmap lifeAs recently reported by the researchers at the Monash University FODMAP laboratory, the team recently completed the testing of feijoas which contain high amounts of excess fructose!

    “Our team has received many requests from dietitians in New Zealand about the FODMAP content of the popular fruit, otherwise known as the pineapple guava”.

    The feijoa fruit is green, and around the size of an egg. It is sweet, and aromatic in flavor and has a juicy flesh. It can be found in southern Brazil (where my husband grew up!), areas of Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay as well as northern Argentina. Feijoas are also grown throughout Azerbaijan , Georgia, Russia (Sochi) and New Zealand.

     An overall rating of RED FODMAP RATING
    Feijoa  – 1 serve (2 small feijoas) 100grams ( 3.5 ounces) HIGH
    Feijoa – ½ serve (1 small feijoa) 50 grams  ( 1.7 ounces) HIGH

    “The serving sizes specified here contain high amounts of excess fructose and intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose.  Avoid large servings (> 3 small feijoas, 150gm) which also contain high amounts of the Oligos -fructans. Feijoas should be avoided by people with IBS if they malabsorb fructose.  Large quantities of feijoas should be avoided by all individuals with IBS.”

    Additional information from:

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  41. Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health?

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    john young m.d. fodmap lifeIt’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.

    “There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,”

    “The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”

    While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.

    Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.”

    It’s basic biochemistry, he says.

    “We eat a lot more refined sugar, for instance, which is a carbohydrate that’s been stripped of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that make up a complete carbohydrate,” he says. “Our bodies can’t use that, so the cells in our digestive organs work overtime, burning up a lot of energy, vitamins and minerals to digest it, and they get nothing back. So, eventually, they grow weak.”

    So – can we have a little sugar, and good health, too? Dr. Young says we can.

    “The occasional slice of pumpkin pie is fine as long as you’re also feeding your cells with the nutrients they need – the minerals, vitamins, good quality protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids – to stay healthy.”  He offers these tips for staying healthy through the holidays and throughout the year.

    Get your vitamin D!

    Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and one of our best sources for it is sunshine. Unfortunately, many people work indoors all day, so they get little sun exposure. When they do go outside, they wear long sleeves and sunblock to protect against skin cancer. And, of course, in the wintertime, people in cold climes tend to stay inside. As a result, many of us are vitamin D deficient, and should be taking supplements.

    “Vitamin D is crucial to many physiological systems, including our immune defenses,” Dr. Young says. “It helps fight bacterial and viral infections, including the flu. It supports our cardiovascular system; optimal vitamin D levels can reduce hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

    “If I feel I’m coming down with a cold, I’ll take 40,000 units of vitamin D at bedtime,” he says. “The next morning, I usually feel like a new person.”

    Eat your protein – 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily

    In this country, we think a healthy diet means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We’ve forgotten protein, Dr. Young says.

    “Our immune system is made up of proteins – our bones are 40 percent protein,” he says. “We need protein.”

    When calculating your protein intake, consider: an egg has about 8 grams, and 8 ounces of fish, chicken, beef or pork have about 30 grams.

    Dr. Young does not give any of his patients more than 100 grams of protein a day.

    Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and manage your stress

    Rest, exercise and finding effective, healthy ways to cope with stress are simple ways to pamper your cells.

     “One of the many cellular benefits of exercise is that it increases the oxygen in our bloodstream. Every cell in our body requires oxygen, so consider exercise another means of feeding your cells.”

    It’s also important to manage stress during the holidays. With unchecked stress, our body releases large amounts of cortisol which, among other things, suppresses the immune system.

    “Take time out to meditate, listen to music, or take a walk in the woods,” Dr. Young says. “It feels good – and it’s good for you!”

    Written by: Penny Carnathan

    About John Young, M.D.

    Dr. John Young, (, is a medical doctor with more than 15 years’ experience working in emergency rooms and pediatric burn units. He’s the medical director of Young Foundational Health Center, specializing in treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes by addressing the physiological issues and not just the symptoms. 

  42. Review: RW Garcia’s Tortilla Chips

    photo: C. Francioli

    photo: C. Francioli

    I recently tried RW Garcia’s  MixtBag Yellow/Blue corn tortilla chips.  So delicious, crunchy and not oily!  There are many other tortilla chips that can make my stomach upset but these were very mild and easy going on my gut.  RW Garcia’s chips are also all natural, gluten-free, and verified by the Non-GMO Project as meeting or exceeding GMO avoidance standards.

    Ingredients:  Stone ground yellow corn, stone ground blue corn, sunflower oil or corn oil, sea salt, water, trace of lime.

    My husband had family visiting so I decided to use RW Garcia’s tortilla chips in one of my favorite breakfast recipes.  Try this next time you need to make food for a few hungry people!  For a vegetarian option, just negate the meat.


    • 2 C RW Garcia’s MixtBag Yellow/Blue corn tortilla chips
    • 5 whole eggs, 6 additional egg whites (cage-free)
    • 1 package (about 20 ounces) lean ground turkey meat (grass fed preferable!)rw garcia mixtbag tortilla chips
    • 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder (without onion or garlic)
    • 1 TB garlic oil
    • 1 C monterey jack cheese (Low Fodmap lactose-free cheese for those following a lacto-ovo vegetarian low FODMAP diet – otherwise use monterey jack cheese)
    • 1/2 C diced organic Roma tomatoes
    • 1/2 C canned lentils
    • 1 medium organic avocado, diced


    1. Mix paprika and chili powder together, and then fold into turkey meat
    2. Place garlic oil in a pan and cook turkey meat half way through, dicing into little chunks
    3. Spray a glass casserole dish with organic olive oil spray
    4. Gently pour in the tortilla chips, and lay them out as evenly as you can
    5. Take all your eggs and scramble them, then pour eggs over tortilla chips
    6. Sprinkle half of your cheese over the chips
    7. Spread the turkey meat over the cheese
    8. Spread the lentils over the meat
    9. Sprinkle over the rest of your cheese
    10. Sprinkle in the diced tomatoes
    11. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Check the outer edges of the egg mixture and use a fork to ensure the egg has cooked all the way through. The egg should feel firm. Depending on your oven, you might need another 5-10 minutes of baking.
    12. Once done, add your diced tomato on top – serve immediately!

    Serves 4-6

    Here’s RW Garcia’s website where you can learn more about their other products and where to buy their MixtBag tortilla chips.  My husband tried the Tortatos which he said were awesome (it’s a potato chip and tortilla chip in one) however, this product is not suitable for the Low Fodmap diet.

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  43. GoodBelly Review and Giveaway!

    photo: Colleen Francioli

    photo: Colleen Francioli

    By the banks of the Ganges River, Steve Demos had an epiphany on how he could positively impact the health of people everywhere.  He soon connected with Todd Beckman, a group of pioneering veterans from the natural products industry and a new company “NextFoods” was born, the makers of GoodBelly.

    I have tried GoodBelly products before but wanted to give them a good run, especially for FODMAP Life fans.  Below is a bit of education, a review and how you can take part in a giveaway to win some delicious GoodBelly for yourself!  Check back as I will continue to write about GoodBelly in the weeks ahead.

    Quick Facts on GoodBelly

    1. Organic drinks
    2. Contains live & active probiotic cultures
    3. Dairy-free, Soy-free and Vegan, with Gluten-free versions as well
    4. Live and active probiotic cultures of Lactobacillus plantarum299v

    But First, Your Immune System

    Your immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues and organs which defend your body against invasion from harmful bacteria, germs, infections and diseases.  The protein, carbohydrate and fat composition of our foods affect the way in which our digestive tract moves food and the secretions it produces.  70% of our body’s immune system dwells in the digestive tract.  Our immune system is designed in away that it defends the body against foreign invaders including, bacteria, parasites and fungus.  If someone continuously consumes processed foods (refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and pasteurized dairy feeds) she or he will experience distress when trying to digest foods.  The other invaders to our immune system, digestive tract and overall health is STRESS and POLLUTION.  That’s why it’s important to seek out probiotics to see which ones work best with your body, to help keep you strong.

    Reports on Lactobacillus plantarum299v

    GoodBelly’s claims about Lactobacillus plantarum299v interested me, so I did some digging.  On GoodBelly’s website they state that “a probiotic that has over 17 research trials and almost 2 decades of demonstrated safe and effective use behind it.”

    So I saw mixed reviews on how well Lactobacillus plantarum299v actually helps with IBS symptoms, but I have seen more positive than negative.  The report Randomized clinical trial: Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum299 v on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome it was concluded that in “An 8-wk treatment with L. plantarum 299 v did not provide symptomatic relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in patients fulfilling the Rome II criteria.”  However, in a research report from the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it was found that Lactobacillus plantarum299v “is effective in correcting long-term IBS motility defects.”  Also as reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the report Clinical trial: Lactobacillus plantarum299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome stated that “a 4-wk treatment with L. plantarum299v (DSM 9843) provided effective symptom relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in IBS patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria.”

    GoodBelly Ingredients

    I tried the Blueberry Acai and the only questionable ingredients that were up high in the ingredients list (as they pertain to the Low Fodmap diet only) were

    GoodBelly Blueberry Acai Ingredients photo: Colleen Francioli

    GoodBelly Blueberry Acai Ingredients
    photo: Colleen Francioli

    ORGANIC OAT FLOUR and PEAR JUICE CONCENTRATE.  The organic oat flour is not gluten-free and we all know pears are on the list of foods to avoid.    The gluten-free GoodBelly quarts (noted by their green caps) are made with gluten-free oat flour. All other GoodBelly products are not certified gluten-free. The gluten-free quarts come in Fermented Coconut Water, Tropical Orange and Carrot Ginger flavors.

    GoodBelly-Quarts-Carrot-Gingergoodbelly gluten free productsSo if you try GoodBelly products try the gluten-free versions that are low in FODMAPs.  Also, if anyone has worked their way through the Low Fodmap diet and has completed the elimination phase (working with one food group at a time, one food at a time) and they know that neither pears or oat flour will have an adverse affect on them, then regular GoodBelly products might work just fine.  At this time, they do for me.


    To take part in our first GoodBelly giveaway, head over to our Facebook page on  October 2nd at 11a.m. EST. You will see a post regarding the giveaway -just follow the directions to win! One winner (from the U.S. only) will be randomly selected to win three vouchers for FREE GoodBelly products.  GOOD LUCK!

    Subscribe to our blog, email newsletter: and Youtube!



    Steve Demos, NextFoods- GoodBelly

    Steve Demos, NextFoods- GoodBelly

  44. Carageenan and the Low Fodmap Diet

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    Cornucopia Institute

    Cornucopia Institute

    For anyone who has a digestive issue like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, bloating, colitis, or chronic diarrhea, there’s more and more research that cites how carrageenan can cause gas and bloating and should be avoided.  Let’s first talk about what carrageenan is.

    Carrageenan is a product derived from certain types of red algae, which is a seaweed found on the coasts of North America and Europe.  Several food manufacturers use this indigestible polysaccharide to keep ingredients in beverages from separating or its used for gelling, thickening, and its stabilizing properties. Carrageenan can be found in yogurt, chocolate, nutritional shakes, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, soymilk, ice cream and other products.  Seaweed seems harmless right? Not to people who’ve had a history of gas and bloating or other digestive issues.

    All in all, carrageenan has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation (gas, bloating) as well as higher rates of colon cancer in laboratory animals.  Several animal studies suggest carrageenan as “potentially carcinogenic and that is also may promote the formation of inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”  Chris Kresser L. Ac

    carrageenan fodmap life sietCharlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy at the Cornucopia Institute says: “What’s striking to me is that carrageenan has no nutritional value.”  On the website for the Cornucopia Institute they mention how “many individuals experience significant improvements in their gastrointestinal health after cutting carrageenan out of their diet.”

    According to Prevention Magazine, although “derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.”

    In a research article Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments by Joanne Tobacman, MD, she said the data she reviewed had demonstrated that “exposure to undegraded  as well as to degraded(poligeenan) carrageenan was associated with the occurrence of intestinal ulcerations and neoplasms,” and “Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.”


    Some of the articles I’ve researched stated that when certain studies tried to prove why/how carrageenan is potentially harmful, the amounts of carrageenan being used were at much higher doses than what a human would ingest or be exposed to from say, a cup of almond milk.  However we need to keep a few things in perspective: 1) the cleaner the foods {no additives, nothing packaged or processed} that we eat (digestive problems or not), the better 2) If anything is questionable, why even take the risk? 3) We don’t really to buy products that have carrageenan in them because carrageenan does not do anything to improve our health 4) Making our own products at home can be much safer and healthier!

    Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan

    Here is an excellent list provided by the Cornucopia Institute which provides both products that have carrageenan and those that do not.  Pay attention to the rest of the ingredients as well, as oftentimes you’ll find inulin, xanthan gum and other gums that can also cause distress in people with digestive issues.

  45. 5 Garlic Oils to Buy – Low Fodmap Diet


    scott's garlic oil fodmap life-AVOID GARLIC & ONIONS

    If you’ve been trying out the Low Fodmap diet you know that garlic and onions are a no-no as they can cause unwanted IBS symptoms.  They are HIGH in FODMAPs – fructans being the issue.  You can sauté garlic or onions in oil for a few minutes in a pan by themselves, but you do need to remove the garlic or onion before you continue cooking.  Since everyone who experiences digestive issues differently, this method works for some and not others.

    One of the easier methods to getting the taste of garlic is to use garlic-infused oil.  It’s delicious and much easier than cutting up garlic and getting the smell all over your fingers – however, I will be truthful here, I grew up with most dishes being full of garlic!  My Mother Rita especially loved when we’d go to a restaurant called Emilio’s in Commack New York and there’d be whole cloves of garlic in her linguini with clam sauce…the memories are the best.

    So in order to make your shopping experience easier, I’ve scouted out a few brands for you below.  You can buy them online today or go to your nearest natural foods store.


    Scott’s Garlic Oil – this is the one I tried and I loved it.  You can buy it online for $8.95, or try Whole Foods where I bought it.

    Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Oil BUY – $9.95

    WILLIAMS-SONOMA Garlic Olio Santo Extra Virgin Olive Oil BUY $19.95

    Grand’aroma Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 3) (gets GREAT reviews) BUY $18.33

    DEAN & DELUCA Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil BUY $12.00

  46. Low Fodmap Chia Seed Pudding!


    FODMAP Life Chia Seed Pudding

    This pudding was SO delicious!  Very easy to make, and another husband-approved dish here at the Francioli household.  Before I give you the recipe, I want to teach you about the benefits of chia seeds.  My hope is that you’ll make them a part of your regular diet.  After all, food is medicine!

    • Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and they don’t have to be ground up (like flax seeds) in order to receive their nutrients.
    • Chia seeds are HIGH in fiber – depending on your IBS symptoms and if fiber has been nice to you in the past, and you are constipated often, I’d highly recommend them to help with gut motility.
    • Chia seeds also contain calcium (read: Benefits of Calcium), phosphorus (is frequently used in the homoeopathic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome), magnesium (helps relieve constipation, relaxes the nervous system, loosens tight muscles), manganese (helps with collagen production, blood sugar control, prevents free radical damage), copper (helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract and in the release from its primary storage sites like the liver; anti-inflammatory for arthritis), iron (people with gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and crohns are usually deficient in iron), molybdenum (act as a catalyst for enzymes and to help facilitate the breakdown of certain amino acids in the body), niacin, and zinc.
    photo (1)

    After one hour in the refrigerator – needed more stirring!

    Low Fodmap Chia Seed Pudding by FODMAP Life


    • In a blender, mix together the almond milk, maple syrup, extract and sea salt.
    • Put your chia seeds into a bowl and then add the ingredients from the blender.  Use an electric hand mixer on low or preferably a whisk to blend everything together.
    • Store in the refrigerator covered, then stir once every hour to ensure the chia seeds don’t lump up together, and that they are evenly distributed.
    • Stir one more time after you’ve removed the bowl from the refrigerator after about three hours.
    • Top with cinnamon, light coconut shreds, slivered almonds or sliced banana.  Enjoy!

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  47. Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

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    FODMAP Life - Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

    FODMAP Life – Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

    Last night I wanted something light and easy and very nutrient dense.  So, I paired a few of my favorite foods together and voilà!  Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon.  This is man-approved as my husband really liked it, so go ahead and make it for the guy you love!  I’ll definitely make it for my Brother next time he visits.

    INGREDIENTS (Serving for 2)

    • 2 fresh (organic if possible) Roma tomatoes, sliced medium thickness
    • 1 – 2 ounces of light greek style feta cheese crumbled (there’s about 75 cal, 6 g fat/4.2 saturated, 1.2 carb, 4 g of high quality protein per ounce in regular feta)
    • 2 pieces of wild caught Alaskan salmon (a filet serving is 2 to 3 ounces; salmon steak is usually between 4 and 6 ounces)
    • 1 C of fresh organic spinach, shredded (I like to buy it by the bunch)
    • Organic oregano
    • Organic black pepper
    • 1 TB organic capers
    • organic olive oil spray


    Preheat over to 350 degrees F

    1. Use a glass casserole dish and spray lightly with organic olive oil spray
    2. Place salmon side to side in the casserole dish
    3. Sprinkle black pepper and oregano over the fish
    4. Lay the tomatoes on, completely covering the fish
    5. Top with shredded spinach leaves
    6. Sprinkle more black pepper and oregano
    7. Sprinkle on capers
    8. Sprinkle crumbled greek style feta cheese on top
    9. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
    10. Serve with a salad, summer squash or potatoes.


    Spinachvitamin K, vitamin A,vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper.  It’s also a great source of dietary fiber,vitamin B1, phosphorus, zinc, protein, and choline.

    Salmon -high in Omega3; vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B12 -also there’s lower risk of contamination from wild-caught Alaskan salmon (mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS)).

    Tomatoes – provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a good amount of manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E.  Phytonutrients: Flavonones, Flavonols, Hydroxycinnamic acids, Carotenoids, Glycosides, Fatty acid derivatives.

    Feta cheese – One oz. of feta provides 14 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for calcium, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. It has vitamin B12, phosphorus, vitamin B6, selenium and zinc.

    Enjoy!  Try out this recipe and leave a comment below to show us how you did.



  48. What is Non-Celiac Gluten-Sensitivity?

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    If you have been suffering symptoms that seem related to gluten, it may be possible that you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  In my case, its likely I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity and I also have Hashimoto’s disease which again means -no gluten for me!


    Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a reaction in the digestive tract that causes gastrointestinal symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  When a person cannot tolerate gluten, they experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease, but they lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity might be an “innate immune response, as opposed to an adaptive immune response (such as autoimmune) or allergic reaction.”  As of right now, there is no diagnostic test available (that’s why I said it’s likely I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity).


    An innate immune response is not antigen specific, meaning that it is nonspecific as to the type of organism it fights. Although its response is immediate against invading organisms,  the innate immune system does not have an immunological memory to invading organisms. Its response is not directed towards self tissue, which would result in autoimmune disease.

    As described by Davidson College: “The most basic aspect of the human innate immune system is the epithelium, which is the tissue that makes up the skin and the linings of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urogenital tracts. Using the tight junctions that bind the individual cells tightly together, the epithelium provides a strong physical barrier against invasion of pathogens. Internal epithelium, such as those lining the respiratory tract, also secrete mucus as another physical barrier; the mucus prevents many pathogens from being able to live on the surface of the epithelial cells. Epithelial cells mount a non-specific chemical attack against pathogens; for example, the extremely acidic environment of the stomach prevents many infections. Also, certain cells in the intestines secrete molecules called α-defensins that have antimicrobial properties, and similar molecules called β-defensins, are found in the mouth, urogenital and respiratory tracts, and on the skin.”


    A person will experience these symptoms hours or days after they’ve ingested gluten: Extraintestinal (non-GI symptoms), such as: headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers.


    Through a process of exclusion, I first got tested at a hospital in San Diego (Scripps) for a wheat allergy and for celiac disease. Both were negative, but it wasn’t until I met with a Hashimoto’s expert, that a gluten elimination diet was recommended.  All of my symptoms (IBS distention and bloating, Hashimoto’s dizziness, lack of sleep, nausea) have improved on a gluten-free diet.


    Accept that this is part of your life and don’t get upset if there’s a food you can no longer eat.  Sure it can be hard when I am sitting with my family and they are all eating pizza and there’s no gluten free foods in site, however, I’d much rather feel better that night and several days after!  Plus, I end up eliminating a lot of junk food anyhow.  The Low Fodmap diet has helped me, as well as a gluten free diet and the fact that I naturally love fruits, veggies and lean meat (mostly fish).

    other resources: //

    If you have any comments, please share them below!  Thanks!

    ~ Colleen

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  49. The FODMAP Content of Coconut Water


    As with any product that suddenly becomes popular, coconut water has received both positive and negative press.  For me, coconut water has been a great way to rehydrate after a workout, a healing massage or after hours in the sun.  I give it a big thumbs up, and for those following the Low Fodmap Diet, you CAN drink coconut water but you have to be wary of the serving size.


    • Coconut water has less sugar than fruit juices
    • It contains minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium
    • It contains easily digested carbohydrates (sugar and electrolytes)
    • It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink.


    According to testing (May 2014) by the Translational Nutrition research group of Monash University, a standard serving size of 250 ml (8.45 fluid oz), is high in FODMAPs.  This serving size contains high amounts of the Polyol- sorbitol and moderate amounts of the Oligos-fructans.  It is recommended that you AVOID drinking this much.  A serving size with LOW FODMAPs is 100 ml (3.4 fluid oz) is recommended as it is low in oligosaccharides, excess fructose, polyols and lactose.

    As you can see by the by the containers in the photo above, the serving sizes are too big.  There are smaller bottles/containers of coconut water available at your local supermarket, but just be sure to measure out 3.4 fluid oz. in order to avoid having any symptoms.  I like to add water with my coconut water to add a bit more hydration and trick myself into feeling I’m drinking more coconut water!


    “It’s important to read the label for added sugars,” says Stacy Rothschild, MPH, RD, dietitian and founder of New Leaf Nutrition in Paramus, New Jersey. “Choose the unflavored, natural varieties; otherwise, you might be consuming all that added sugar that you would get from fruit juice or a soda.”

    Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS, a NYC-based nutritionist and registered pharmacist says: “Fresh coconut water has not been pasteurized, therefore it contains enzymes that help to detoxify and repair the body,” she explains. Most of what you’ll find in stores is pasteurized or from concentrate. Healthy Or Hype? The Skinny On Coconut Water


    Other resources: WebMD // Huffington Post UK


  50. More Answers – the Low Fodmap Diet

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    I have been pairing up with EA Stewart, Registered Dietician and nutritionist  here in San Diego, California where we both live.  She specializes in wellness nutrition, weight management, FODMAPs diets for IBS, and celiac disease.

    We’ve completed two videos so far and have a few more coming.  If you have any questions about the Low Fodmap Diet, leave a comment below so we can answer it on a future episode and be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive video updates!

  51. Are You Stressed When You Eat?

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    It’s no longer just the high calorie foods that could be contributing to people’s weight gain, it could be stress itself that is throwing off our metabolism and causing those unnecessary pounds. In new study from The Ohio State University (OSU), researchers found that women who experienced stress in the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in the time after eating a high-fat meal— which adds up to the equivalent of 11 pounds gained annually.

    According to Dr. Perlman:

    • Everyone knows that we tend to reach for junk food to comfort ourselves when we feel stressed. Here’s another reason not to do that.
    • Not only is the food not healthy for you, but the stress affects your body in such a away that you burn less calories when you are stressed.
    • In essence, eating unhealthfully when stressed is a double whammy when it comes to weight gain.
    • As an alternative to eating, try relieving your stress by going to the gym or taking a walk to help ease your mind.

    Dr. Perlman is a doctor for the stress reducing app meQuilibrium, he completed a residency in Preventive Medicine and is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Medicine and respected researcher and educator in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and wellness.

    According to Me and the rest of the Digestive Disorder Community

    Studies have shown that stress and anxiety tend to co-exist with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  In a WebMD article, Edward Blanchard, PhD, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany said the “most common mental ailment suffered by people with IBS is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).”  I know that when I am stressed my IBS gets worse – and I am sure if you get IBS and are reading this you can relate.  So if you do not want to gain extra pounds or experience additional pain and suffering from IBS, what can you do?  MEDITATE. According to a study published inThe American Journal of Gastroenterology, practicing mindfulness meditation over an 8-week period reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in women.

    Here are some of my tips for peaceful MEDITATION:

    Colleen’s Meditation for Belly Peace

    1. Sit yourself in a quiet place where you will be free of interruption.
    2. Inhale a nice long deep breath, and then exhale nice and slow.  Do this three times.
    3. Next, keep this slow and controlled breathing going and start to relax from the top of your head all the way down to your toes.  Relax every single muscle.  Be aware if the muscles in your face, neck, and chest are tense -release the tenseness.
    4. Be aware of any pain you feel in your gut – send peace to the areas of your body that are giving you pain.  Peace could be visualizing sending flowers or a soft yellow light to your gut, or imagining no distention, bloating or inflammation. Surround your gut with lightness and softness.
    5. Now imagine how you want the rest of your day to unfold, pain-free, symptom-free and positively charged.
    6. Imagine taking care of yourself, drinking enough water, getting in exercise, taking your supplements, getting to bed early.
    7. Imagine taking care of your mind – no negative talk, only positive affirmations, and a positive outlook on your body, your feelings, and your life.
    8. Think about five things or people you are grateful for – think about the feelings these people or things bring into your life.  Ask the universe (or your god – whatever or whomever you believe in) to bring you these wonderful experiences and feelings over and over again.  Say why you are grateful for each of the five things.
    9. Once you are done practicing gratefulness, think about three things you will do today to feel good.
    10. Now count slowly to the number thirty and gently open your eyes and smile.
    * Try and meditate for at least 20 minutes per day.  You can set an alarm on your phone (choose a soft ring) to alert you once twenty minutes is up.  Stay tuned for the video version of this meditation.
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    That's me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.

    That’s me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.

  52. Aaron’s Story – Coping with Crohn’s Disease

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    Here is a Aaron Blocker in the hospital on Fe. 9th: "At the hospital. Crohn's flaring and possible appendicitis. Just living the #IBD life that we all know so well."

    Here is a Aaron Blocker in the hospital on Feb. 9th: “At the hospital. Crohn’s flaring and possible appendicitis. Just living the #IBD life that we all know so well.”

    FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, what it’s like for anyone to have digestive disorders and how they cope through various means.  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

    Coping with Crohn’s Disease

    In September 2009 I had just started college and I was in between classes when I received a call from my grandmother telling me the doctor had called and had the results from some tests I had run on me to see why I was so sick, I had been waiting almost 3 weeks for any kind of news on what was going on. My grandma told me that the doctor had confirmed what she expected; I had Crohn’s Disease. I really did not know much about it and only months before had I ever even heard of the word Crohn’s Disease, so when I was diagnosed it was kind of a shock but it was also a relief to know why I was so sick. It has been almost 5 years since my diagnosis and I have been hospitalized 12 times, developed osteoporosis and broke multiple bones, Developed OsteoNecrosis of the hips and had both of my hips totally replaced almost 2 years ago when I was 20 years old and live in the doctor’s office. Going through all of that at such a young age has had a huge impact on my life, and on my friends and families lives.

    I have had to learn how to cope with all of it and not let it get me down and depressed so that I can still lead a very normal life. Right after I was diagnosed I was desperate to meet people who had the same illness as me, so of course I started looking online and for any resources that might connect me with similar people. I found very few resources at the time and only came across a few little message boards and things. So I decided to start a facebook page where people could like the page and discuss what was going on and it would give me an opportunity to meet people as well. So I started the page named Support Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. This page has been the biggest coping mechanism for me! I get to meet people and discuss our diseases and the similarities, get tips on how to handle things and also give tips. It has opened many doors for me to go speak at conferences and do posts for websites such as this one and even driven me to continue my college education to pursue a degree in immunology to research Crohn’s Disease. My page now has over 15,000 likes and I am looking to turn it into a non-profit foundation to help people who have this disease.

    I also have a really good support system that helps me deal with this illness. I have an amazing wife who is the most supportive person I could have in my life and looks past my disease to be with me and take care of me.

    I also have some really great friends and family members that come stay with me every time I am hospitalized and keep up with how I am doing and help me in any way possible. I am very grateful for everyone in my life and the support I get, because I know some people are not so lucky when it comes to this.

    I currently do not utilize the Low Fodmap Diet but I actually made a food diary of what foods I can and cannot eat and I use that as my reference for eating and managing my symptoms. I do not eat anything that has a lot of sugar in it such as candy or sweets, I have cut all of that out of my diet. I do not eat any fried foods, I bake or grill all of my  meats such as chicken or steak etc. I stay away from dairy, I use almond milk or lactose free milk when I need to use any milk products, I also do not eat eggs. Keeping to a pretty basic set of rules like this helps me maintain a good balance and helps with my disease symptoms. I am currently looking into transitioning into the Low Fodmap Diet to see how that will help me better my dieting and issues that come along with eating the wrong foods.

    If I was never diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease I would not be where I am today, it turned my life upside down and has beaten me down sometimes, but I have always and will continue to get back up and continue pursuing my dreams and trying to raise awareness for this disease and to try and make a difference for people who also suffer from this condition. it takes guts facebookIf you would like to check out my page or blog you can find me at: Aaron Blocker   Please leave comments or questions below for Aaron! And Don’t forget to… Subscribe to the Fodmap Life newsletter: And subscribe to our Youtube page:

  53. RD Tamara Duker Answers Questions about the Low Fodmap Diet


    I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Duker, a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition.  She knows a thing or two when it comes to food and nutrition, cooking and eating, recipes and healthy living. She is a cake lover challenged with gluten intolerance (like so many other ladies!).  Her practice is based in New York City and she has expertise in helping people with:

    • Soft diets for dysphagia
    • Gluten-free diets
    • Low-FODMAP diets for IBS and SIBO
    • Lactose-free or low-fructose diet for digestive intolerances
    • Medically-supervised elimination diets for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

    Here is Part One of our interview – please read and then check back next week for Part Two:

    tamara dukerCF – What would you say is the average age of people coming to see you for the first time?  Are they a mix of male and female or mostly female?  Do you find that they’ve come to see you because someone else has recommended they see an RD, or do you find you’re receiving more e-patients?

    TD – While I see patients of all ages– from 11 at youngest to 80-somethings at the higher end, my “typical” patient is a woman in her 20s-40s.  Commonly she reports having had a “sensitive stomach” or “stomachaches” since childhood that has recently gotten worse, but in other cases I hear she was totally fine until one time she got sick when traveling, and then her bowels have never been the same since.  They come to see me out of desperation– either they find me via google (my name comes up a lot when you google “bloating” or FODMAP-related search terms, as I write extensively on these topics for US News), or their gastroenterologist referred them to me.

    CF -What are the lactose-based products they are most unhappiest to part with?

    TD – My lactose intolerant patients are unhappiest to part with pizza, ice cream and yogurt.  Often, they part with the yogurt and then suffer through the pizza and ice cream.  The problem with pizza/ice cream is that often its the high fat content that triggers IBS symptoms rather than the lactose per se–so even if they take a lactase supplement, they still may not tolerate these foods well.  They are beyond ecstatic to learn that there is a lactose-free, low fat  real dairy yogurt available, as soy yogurt tastes awful, coconut milk yogurt is a FODMAP bomb and almond milk yogurt is a sugary, carb bomb.  Healthy snacking is much more convenient when yogurt is an option.

    CF – Can you please describe Medical Nutrition Therapy?

    TD – Medical nutrition therapy is different from nutrition counseling or education in that diet is a prescription to treat or improve a medical condition.  Some examples of this would be: gluten-free diet for celiac disease, using soluble fiber therapy to improve IBS-D, using the low FODMAP diet to manage symptoms of chronic bloating in IBS, etc.  Medical nutrition therapy, importantly, is evidence-based and employed by credentialed clinicians, often in close collaboration with a medical doctor.

    CF – Can you provide other tips for the lactose intolerant crowd/FODMAP fans?

    TD –

    • Watch out for protein powders, drinks or bars that use whey protein concentrate or milk protein concentrate.  These can be very high in lactose.
    • If you use lactase supplements to help digest conventional dairy, use chewables, not tablets.  Chewables are much more effective.Take with the first bite.  Take additional dose mid-way through the meal/snack if there’s a lot of lactose.
    • Green Valley Lactose Free yogurts are the most FODMAP-friendly yogurts I have ever encountered.  If Green Valley Organics yogurt is not available in your market, look for Redwood Hill Farm goat’s milk yogurt instead– its about 40% lower in lactose than conventional yogurt, which is comparable to your typical Greek yogurt.  To reduce its lactose content even further, you can strain it for 2 hours in a paper-towel lined seive/strainer over a pot, which yields a thicker greek-style texture (lactose is water soluble, so it leaches out with the excess liquid).  I have a recipe for “Goat’s Milk Labne” here which I absolutely love.

    If you have any comments, please share them below!  Thanks!  Check back next week for Part Two.

    ~ Colleen

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  54. Happy 4th of July! Take it Easy Today

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    photo credit:

    photo credit:

    Happy Friday!  It’s my favorite day of the year!

    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!

    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 lean!
    • Stick to mustard, mayonnaise, and hot sauce for condiments
    • Be careful of how much fat you consume as too much fat can disrupt your gut motility (preventing normal bowel movements)
    • If you absolutely HAVE to drink, stick to clear alcohol like vodka or gin (and please only have one drink ladies, and two max for men)
    • If you are gluten-free, many store-made potato salads contain wheat flour (I figured this out while at a BBQ recently!)
    • Watermelon, popular at BBQs, is high in FODMAPs (I know, darn!)
    • Opt for low Fodmap fruits for dessert instead of cakes, cupcakes and other desserts

    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 :)



  55. Contest – Torie and Howard® Hard Candy!

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    While visiting the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA, an event that drew around 100,000 people and rows upon rows of booths with natural product brands, I was lucky enough to meet the founders of Torie & Howard organic hard candy.  WOW these candies were so delicious and I was happy to find that they were low in FODMAPs.  This is excellent for those that are looking for a little sweet kick – but I don’t recommend eating a ton of them – everything in moderation AND sugar is sugar after all.  I love this brand and am excited to host a contest where three U.S. winners will win one tin of each of Torie & Howard’s four flavors!  ENTER THE CONTEST HERE:

    Made with: Organic Sugar, Organic Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Colored with: Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots.

    Made with: Organic Sugar, Organic Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Colored with: Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots.

    Aside from loving the delicious flavors of d’anjou pear & cinnamon, pomegranate & nectarine, blood orange & honey, pink grapefruit & tupelo honey, I also enjoyed the Torie & Howard story.  It’s always moving to meet entrepreneurs that started a business based off of personal circumstance. Both Torie & Howard experienced a health related event that had a significant impact on their lives. As shared on their website: For Howard, losing over a hundred pounds led to a renewed focus on eating as healthy and nutritionally conscious as possible. On his new lifestyle regimen, it became paramount to Howard that he optimize his consumption by eating only the most delicious and healthful foods and ensuring that every single calorie consumed had earned its pleasure quotient. For Torie, it was the onset of severe food allergies that forced her to make serious changes in her life and in her diet. These new restrictions made finding satisfying snacks all the more difficult, and all the more important.


    With a new dedication to nutrition in their lives and the relative lack of healthy, indulgent snacks on the market, it became apparent that the time was right to fulfill their dream of starting their own snack food company. And so Torie & Howard was born, out of a mutual love of delicious & all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body.

    Some Quick Facts:

    • Blood Orange & Honey and Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey if you are finished with the Low Fodmap Diet and know which foods to avoid but still need to avoid honey, these flavors do not have any honey. They are sweetened with organic sugar and organic rice syrup. Torie & Howard uses an all natural and organic compliant honey flavoring.
    • Torie & Howard can be found in many  stores throughout US and Canada, as well as internationally. Big retailers include Barnes & Noble Cafes, Whole Foods, and many fine food grocers, natural food stores, duty free shops, online retailers,, Dean & Deluca, candy shoppes and emporiums in the U.S and around the world, airport, coffee shops, and with  many sellers on – just to name a few. Torie & Howard are always finding new shops to carry their products. They keep a Pinterest board of some of their retailers as they find them, and a Twitter list, too. As Torie & Howard’s Kami Bacon, Social Media Marketing Manager said: “It’s so hard to keep up as our candy is spreading out across the globe as the new hard candy classic in healthy snacking!”

    **Torie & Howard products have not been analyzed for FODMAPs, however they are low in FODMAPs.

  56. How to Prevent Bloating When Traveling – FODMAP Life


    Recently one of FODMAP Life’s fans Laura Cooper asked: “Any tips on how to combat bloating for traveling to the USA next week? I am genuinely so stressed about the plane journey and I love flying.. the pain I endure in the air is awful!”  Thanks for the question Laura!

    laura cooper

    Laura Cooper (at left) with friend

    Of course I have tips!  I always loved traveling but in the last couple of years as I began to experience IBS symptoms, I started doing my homework.

    Food & Drink:

    “What would you like to drink?”  Oh so exciting to have choices when the flight attendants come around, but guess what – you need to limit those choices.  Don’t have anything carbonated because it can make bloating MUCH worse!  Carbonated drinks can lead to gas buildup in your intestinal tract = the blowfish look.

    Limit how many fatty foods you eat.  When people travel together, they tend to eat foods higher in fat and fatty foods in your diet can actually delay the emptying of the stomach and cause bloating, because it causes food to move slowly through the digestive tract.

    During flight, the tissue in your middle ear can get swollen from the change in cabin pressure, thus restricting the flow of air to equalize the pressure in your ear cavities.  Some people like to use chewing gum to help deal with the change in pressure (I haven’t touched Trident in years), but as you may or may not know, chewing gum can cause gas and bloating.  If you can do without gum, try drinking water and swallowing or yawning.

    Limit salty foods – they can cause fluid retention.

    DRINK plenty of water.  Keep yourself hydrated and help keep the “train” moving!

    Remember to eat and drink slllloooowwwwllllyyyyy!  “Each time you take a breath, oxygen in the air enters your digestive tract. Normally, this oxygen gas is absorbed by your digestive tract, but when you take in too much air, some of the gas remains in the digestive tract, which can lead to bloating.”  Thank you for that explanation Johns Hopkins!  

    travel quoteOther Foods to Avoid While Traveling:

    If you follow the Low FODMAP diet then you should be in good shape to travel!  Take a look at these gas-causing foods – all high in FODMAPs!

    • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts, as well as onions, garlic, mushrooms, artichokes, and asparagus.  Fruits like pears, apples, and peaches
    • Milk and milk products – cheese, ice cream, and yogurt
    • Packaged and processed foods
    • Whole grains – whole wheat and bran
    • Sugar-free candies and gums with sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol)


    Have some time to kill?  Instead of sitting in the airport waiting for your plane, you can help to stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract by going for a walk. And, instead of sitting in your seat for the entire trip, walk up and down the aisle of the plane (who cares if people are looking at you – you’re beautiful and people are easily distracted) :) Traveling or not, I find exercise always helps to lessen gas.

    What to Pack:

    • To help prevent and ward off bloating, bring a probiotic with you or digestive enzymes.
    • Often times it can be very hard to find healthy, clean, low FODMAP foods at the airport or on the plane.  Most everything is packaged, greasy or filled with sugar and chemicals.  You can bring your own salad, a bag of baby carrots and sliced zucchini, rice cakes, or take a look at my other snack ideas here.

    One Last Thing:

    I don’t know about you, but my feet, ankles and legs swell when I travel (looks pretty scary!).  So I use mild compression stockings (15–20 mmHg) and I have to say, it’s just one more thing that helps me feel better when traveling.

    Bon Voyage!

    Pssst!!  Did you sign up for our email newsletter yet?  Do it now!  Tips, giveaways, coupons, interviews and more.

  57. 3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion


    Since I have a digestive issue, more often than not I am thinking about every bite I take. I often think Will this make me sick?  Will this slow me down?  Will this hinder or help my ability to go to the bathroom?   

    All exciting things to think about!  Eating should be a time when you can enjoy, not have anxiety.  Meditation can help ease the nerves and relax the body, but as some of my friends with IBS, IBD and other digestive issues, we are well aware that sometimes we are limited to controlling what happens after we eat or experience stress.

    fodmap life vitamins 2There are many things you can do to prevent from feeling sick or having an accident like following the Low FODMAP diet, meditating, and practicing mindful eating.  More importantly, you can help your body by supporting it with essential vitamins.

    Your digestive system is one of the largest group of organs in your body.  These organs derive energy from the food you eat and allow your body to absorb essential nutrients and help eliminate waste products that you don’t need. Like they say “you are what you eat” so it’s important to help protect your digestive system with these vitamins:

    Vitamin D

    If you live in an area of the world where you cannot get at least fifteen minutes of sunshine everyday, if you are obese or have digestive troubles, you might be deficient in vitamin D (people who are obese {have a BMI of 30 or greater} may have lower levels of vitamin D because fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD).

    I have mentioned before in my blog that after a few blood tests my doctor determined I was deficient in vitamin D.   Some gastrointestinal diseases can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from foods, so if you haven’t done so already, ask your doctor for a blood test.  I have read from a few doctors that vitamin D deficiency was almost always the case with their gastro patients.

    So what does Vitamin D do for your digestion?

    Having enough vitamin D in the body can support healthy digestion. A large network of nerves send signals within your digestive tract to regulate your digestion. Remember growing up and knowing calcium was really important for your bones?  Well its also important along with vitamin D and digestion because the nerves in your digestive tract rely on calcium to transmit signals.  If there is a loss of calcium, a breakdown occurs when your nerves try to communicate.  Vitamin D regulates the levels of calcium in your system, giving your nerve cells the calcium they need to function.

    Where Can You Get Vitamin D?

    Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods, but you can find it in cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, mackerel and eggs (also milk, yogurt, margarine and cheese for those who are not lactose intolerant).  The other way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is by taking a daily supplement.


    All the B vitamins which are collectively referred to as vitamin B complex are essential for digestion.  These vitamins aid in the process of digestion and play different roles in helping the body digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins may lead to digestive problems with rather unpleasant symptoms and can even affect the absorption of other nutrients. 

    So What Does Vitamin B do for your digestion?

    The role of B vitamins are mainly to get energy from the food you eat and send it into your cells.  B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they cannot be stored away in fat cells to use later; so they need to be a regular part of your diet!

    Where Can You Get Vitamin B?

    Vitamin B foods for the Low FODMAP diet can be found in whole grains (quinoa, rice), seafood, eggs, leafy green veggies and dairy products for those not intolerant to lactose. Through my holistic nutrition school and from reading several sources over the years, I have learned that most people do not get enough vitamin B in their diet.  So aside from eating the foods above, it would be wise to take a daily multivitamin with B supplements!

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is the cleansing vitamin and helps stimulate immune functions.   Vitamin C is water soluble so it can’t be stored in our bodies.  That means that any excess present in our blood is released through our urine.

    So what does Vitamin C do for your digestion?

    Vitamin C is important for digestion as it helps the body to absorb iron and it also helps your body to make enough collagen. You have heard of collagen before in beauty and cosmetic commercials when brands describe how products “boost” collagen for better looking skin.  Collagen is also important  for your digestive system as it helps hold your tissues together within your fragile digestive tract.   Your body needs to makes new collagen molecules in order to keep your tissues strong.  New collagen production is essential to help heal tissue damage.

    Where Can You Get Vitamin C?

    If (like me) you love fruits and veggies you are in luck as many do contain vitamin C.  Strawberries and red peppers are low in FODMAPs and among the foods highest in natural vitamin C.  Other low FODMAP sources include: cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, oranges and other citrus fruits.

    If you are currently not taking any vitamins and you suffer from digestive problems like me, I definitely suggest having blood tests administered to see where you may be deficient.  I also suggest working along with a Holistic Health Practitioner, as holistic medicine focuses on the whole person – to find balance in your body, mind, spirit, and emotions.  I believe this type of care is the best for people with digestive and inflammatory issues.  



  58. Hashimoto’s Confession

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    2010 with my husband in Hawaii

    I was very excited to do our first giveaway for FODMAP Life and everything looks great.  The “WIN!” tab on our Facebook page, the artwork, the products, Heather’s Tummy Teas are wonderful and have a great story.  The only problem is that I sent out two emails to our amazing list of email subscribers and there were a couple typos I did not see (even though I re-read the email as I always do) and plus, a link did not work.  This is all due to my Hashimoto’s today.  I have good days and bad days, a few good hours and a few dreary hours.

    If you have Hashimoto’s, then you know what it’s like to feel dizzy, sometimes sick to your stomach, have trouble focusing, remembering things and sleeping.  Click here if you are curious about the symptoms.  It’s no fun to have anything hold you back from being your best or slowing you down.  I don’t deal well with “just accepting” that at all.  It’s interesting my little email hiccup happened today because I was on the phone just hours before with my friend who is a professor at Keene State and also completed a fellowship with Harvard University School of Public Health.  She’s on her second pregnancy, and it’s the second time now she is living through gestational diabetes.  She’s also having problems with her liver, which if left untreated could be toxic to her and the baby.  She told me she and her husband decided to stay low for a bit and buy a house, and that she would put some of her career aspirations aside to take care of her health.  She was giving herself a shot while we chatted.  We both agreed we were strong women and would get through our health problems, and we are lucky for the people who support and love us.

    So for any of you reading this, who have been my loyal email subscribers, thanks for understanding, supporting me and being a part of our community.  I have been through the ringer over the last couple years with IBS, two back surgeries, a cycling accident and Hashimoto’s – but the community we have all built together drives me everyday to provide information and advice that will help you. You all mean the world to me!

    Side note- For those of you who do not know, if you see me using gluten-free products or mentioning them it’s because I cannot have any gluten, due to that ol’ Hashimoto’s.  For those following the Low FODMAP diet don’t get “wheat-free” and “gluten-free” confused.  Learn more here.

    If you are not on our email list (I promise no typos next time my loves) please subscribe here.

    xo! Colleen


    ara Delevingne

  59. May Peppermint Tea Giveaway! Ends 5/9

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    I am so excited to share Heather’s Tummy Teas with you, not only because the teas help with IBS, but also because there’s a personal story connected to the brand.

    May Peppermint Tea Giveaway!  Ends 5/9 heather von vorous

    Heather Von Vorous had her first IBS attack when she was only nine years old.  She went to see a pediatrician and then several doctors thereafter kept misdiagnosing and improperly testing her.  She was finally diagnosed with IBS twenty years later. Heather has written a couple books and in 2003 she founded the Heather’s Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS symptoms.  Today’s Dietitian has featured her IBS dietary guidelines, and she regularly exhibits at the international Digestive Disease Week conference to reach gastroenterologists and internists.

    Heather’s Tummy Care currently offers extensive information, products and services for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Heather’s company “is committed to caring for the environment and society.” Her facility is organic and certified with cruelty-free organic certified products in re-fillable / re-useable containers. They do not use pesticides, synthetic or sewage fertilizers, herbicides, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), preservatives, chemical additives, irradiation or animal testing.

    FODMAP Life Giveaway

    photo: Colleen Francioli

    May Peppermint Tea Giveaway – Heather’s Tummy Tea™

    ENTER NOW ON FACEBOOK!  CLICK THIS LINK Good luck!  Ends May 9, 2014.

    I used Heather’s Tummy Teas the week before I went away to Nicaragua and have to say they were very soothing and calming.  I believe they also helped to “tame” my stomach leading up to my trip.  

    Instead of using these teas only after you have symptoms from IBS, I recommend using them on a daily basis after every meal and definitely after dinner.  If your days are usually very stressful, you may want to consider having the tea during the day, and taking out a couple of minutes for yourself to sit and slowly sip Heather’s Tummy Teas.

    Peppermint is great for people with IBS and other digestive issues.  It is classified as a carminative herb which means it helps to tone the digestive tract and relax the surrounding muscles to eliminate gas. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Peppermint “relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass,” and in test tubes “peppermint kills some types of bacteria, fungus, and viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.”  Heather describes peppermint as “a cooling, calming herb that, through dietary management, helps relieve the symptoms of IBS.” She notes that “clinical studies have shown that peppermint is exceptionally beneficial for IBS abdominal pain and spasms, diarrhea, and urgency (it will not cause or worsen constipation).” 

    More Information about Heather’s Tummy Tea™ ~ Organic Peppermint is unique because it is specially formulated to contain a very large leaf size and the highest possible volatile oil content (both factors are integral to the quality and potency of peppermint). We carefully select our peppermint from the most recent possible harvest date, it is processed for minimal volatile oil dissipation, and it is packed to stay as fresh as possible. It is the volatile oils in peppermint that make it so effective for the dietary management of IBS symptoms. Menthol and methyl salicylate are the main active ingredients of peppermint. Internally, they have anti-spasmodic actions, with calming effects on the muscles of the stomach, intestinal tract, and uterus. They also have powerful analgesic (pain-killing) properties.

  60. “I Don’t let GERD Control My Life” Angela’s Story

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    FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it is like for anyone to have digestive or inflammatory health issues. There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” where you can read about others’ experiences with different digestive and inflammatory issues.  Today we welcome Angela Kinder, Angela Kinder is from Central Texas and is the owner of Edge of Insanity a frugal living blog where she often talks about her life with GERD.

    Angela Kinder

    Angela Kinder

    In the Spring of 2008, I was rushed to the emergency room one morning because I had what I thought were chest pains. I was immediately whisked into a room where I was handed the terrible news – I had GERD. I had heard of it, but never thought I would get it.

    So that afternoon, I decided to do some research on it. What I found out is that a small cluster of people who had their gallbladders removed can develop GERD because their bodies aren’t producing what they need to digest things that cause acid reflux. Since I had my gallbladder removed in the 5th grade, I knew I was part of that small cluster.

    I tried taking Nexium, but the side effects were worse than having GERD! So I stopped taking them (with my doctor’s permission) and decided to change my diet and use liquid Maalox to control flare-ups. I stopped eating anything too spicy, salty, greasy, fatty, and even stopped eating raw onions. For a while, I would hardly have any symptoms, unless I messed up and ate something I wasn’t supposed to.

    Now that it is years later, I still have my GERD. I haven’t eaten a jalapeno since that diagnosis and only eat cooked onions. I occasionally have the foods I’m not “supposed” to, but I control my GERD by cleansing my body regularly.

    At first, I thought GERD was like a death sentence for me and my love of food. I even let it control how I ate or what I drank. But now, I control it with a somewhat balanced diet, exercise, and determination to not let it get the best of me. I may never eat jalapenos again, but that’s okay.

    *Check back on again for more of Angela’s story.

  61. Low FODMAP Breakfast for Three

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    My Mom is visiting and I wanted to make something for her and my husband that I could enjoy too. This recipe is easy, quick and healthy!

    For this recipe you’ll need:
    1 glass casserole dish, greased with olive oil spray
    Whole eggs and egg whites – I use 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites for each person
    1/2 C tomatoes, diced
    3/4 C thawed frozen spinach
    1 TBS fresh rosemary
    1 TSP parsley
    Cracked black pepper to taste
    1/8 avocado per person for garnish

    Whisk all the eggs together then pour into the casserole dish.
    Take the spinach and spread out in the egg mixture, then add tomatoes, rosemary, parsley and black pepper.

    Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. You may need to bake longer – just watch the eggs to see when they become thick around the edges of the casserole dish. Use a fork to test and make sure the eggs are formed and no longer runny.


    low fodmap breakfast

    low fodmap breakfast recipe

  62. 10 Facts About FODMAPs



    n the 90’s, Dr. Sue Shepherd developed a form of fructose malabsorption diet. Subsequently a team at Monash University, led by Professor Peter Gibson and including Dr Shepherd and others, developed the low FODMAP diet.

    Through their research, they found that limiting dietary FODMAPs can be an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS.   Other researchers and Registered Dietitians across the world have also been able to prove the effectiveness of this diet.  Aside from IBS (which I suffer from) there are other gastrointestinal, and inflammatory disorders and diseases that can also be treated naturally whilst sticking to a low-FODMAP diet.  The facts below are what I have learned from Dr. Shepherd, Monash University and several other FODMAPs experts.

    1) FODMAPs are…

    • Fermentable – rapidly broken down by bacteria in the bowel
    • Oligosaccharides – fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
    • Disaccharides – lactose
    • Monosaccharides – fructose and…
    • Polyols – sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, polydextrose, and isomalt

    stomach_pain_b&w2) FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small bowel.

    3) Multiple types of FODMAPs are usually present in most meals.

    4) Fructans are most likely the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS (Dr. Sue Shepherd).

    5) If your symptoms improve after following the Low FODMAP diet for two months, it is recommended to slowly reintroduce one FODMAP group at a time to see how well you can tolerate them.

    6) On the Low FODMAP diet, wheat is only a problem ingredient when consumed as a wheat-based carbohydrate food like cereal, breads, or pasta.

    7) A low FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet.  When you are on the low FODMAP diet you can have oats and small amounts of wheat, barley and rye.

    8) A fructan is a polymer of fructose molecules. Fructans with a short chain length are known as fructooligosaccharides. Fructans can be found in foods such as agave, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions (including spring onions), yacon, jícama, and wheat.

    9) When bacteria in the large intestine receive molecules not absorbed in the small bowel, they break these molecules down quickly.  This produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane gases – otherwise known as unpleasant times for people like us!

    10) A lactose-free diet is not a dairy-free diet.  Lactose is present in most dairy products.  The Low FODMAP diet can benefit those who suffer from lactose intolerance by helping them to reduce lactose intake.

    SIGN UP for our newsletter today by clicking here.  You’ll receive more tips about the Low FODMAP diet and learn more about IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, GERD, gastroparesis and other digestive and inflammatory conditions.  We also send out notifications about monthly giveaways of FODMAP-friendly products, plus interviews with Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, Holistic Health Practitioners and more.

  63. What is Gastroparesis? Melissa’s Story

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    melissa's gp fightFODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it is like for anyone to have digestive or inflammatory health issues.  There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” and I am so happy to welcome Melissa to our community as she will continue to share her story about living with Gastroparesis, a condition that reduces the ability of the stomach to empty its contents. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5 million Americans live with Gastroparesis.  John Clarke, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

    “I owe it all to the desire for self preservation and listening to my body’s needs.”

    Melissa’s Story

    I go by Melissa “GP Fight” McElfresh in the GP Community. What is GP? It is the shortened version of the medical term Gastroparesis; which basically means Stomach Paralyzed. This is what I have. It is unknown how I got GP, but my best guess is from the extensive whiplash.

    For several years (post-whiplash) I experienced pain when drinking water, abdominal pain when bending over and nausea. The nausea was worse during my period, so my doctor would change the birth control pill every six months. She would have other reasons of ‘common’ reasons why I had the other issues.

    During the third year I started to have chest pain. Again, the Dr without testing, told me it was Acid Reflux and gave me GERD medication. The fourth year the chest pain got to the point that I thought I had cracked a rib and the nausea was so intense I was trying not to vomit. This was 24-7, for the past few months! I went to the ER, where they ran a lot of tests, didn’t find anything and gave me a higher GERD Rx. The next day I went to my doctor and she ran a few more tests, which all came back clean. She didn’t know what was wrong and decided to send me to a Gastroenterologist who started off with ordering an Endoscope (yep, clean again).

    The specialist then wanted to do a Gastric Emptying Study (GES). I told my husband I am DONE spending money on tests that come back fine, I was not going. This was going to cost us close to $2,000!! He convinced me to go. Good thing I did. This was when I was diagnosed with GP. The GI doctor put me on a low-fat and low-fiber diet (common) for six months and asked that I come back if I was not better. She lacked the GP knowledge I needed, so after one year of gaining no ground, I found a new one.

    At this point I was vomiting every morning, couldn’t make it full days at work anymore, hair was falling out, I was blacking out, had no energy and in so much pain (felt like a cracked rib). This lasted for 18 months! The new doctor ran some blood work and I was able to add some supplements to what I was trying to ‘eat’. I could only consume 1 cup of food (soft or liquid) every 3 – 4 hrs. We even tried low dose antidepressant; which is believed to numb the stomach nerve endings, reducing pain and nausea. Six different Rxs later, nothing helped.

    I ended up loosing my 15 year-old job and unemployment would not take me. Shortly after, we lost our house on the 5.5 acres. Later I filed for disability and lost that too. Even my GI didn’t have anything left for me, until I needed a feeding tube. I was lost and alone with trying to fight gastroparesis.

    One day I decided this was not how I wanted to live my life and began to change. Starting with finding my trigger foods (very hard I must say) and then going Gluten and Dairy Free. I don’t follow FODMAP 100%, but fairly close and I can honestly say that I am much better. The pain and nausea are tolerable, no black-outs, no vomiting, energy is better and the dizzy spells are a sign I need protein. I am working two days a week, I set up an on-line store for GP awareness items, and manage several FB Pages.  I volunteer for a few non-profits and blog on my website. I owe it all to the desire for self preservation and listening to my body’s needs.

    If you have a GI Track issue, I fully recommend you look at the food you eat and try a low-FODMAP Diet in stages. Please explore my blog at if you want to know more about GP. Thank you for your time!

  64. Amanda’s Crohn’s Story

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    Amanda Preston

    Amanda Preston

    FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it’s like for anyone to have digestive and inflammatory health issues.  There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” and Amanda is the first to share her story with Crohn’s disease.  I am so happy she has decided to tell her story and help others on their journey.  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

    Amanda’s Story

    Health Background: I was born with a heart valve deformity, kidney deformity, reflux esophagitis, and anemia. As a child I developed asthma and osteopenia. Moving into teen years, I gained kidney stones (we found four when I was fourteen but I have made a total of eight as of today) and IBS. My last known diagnosis was Crohn’s in August of 2013. I have lived at doctors’ offices my whole life and have checkups often with every doctor to monitor my conditions.

    My Journey: My junior year of high school I began having stomach pains, unusual bowel movements, and nausea on and off. My doctor blamed it on stress and possibly IBS since it ran in my family. So, I continued my days as best as I could by managing my other health problems along the way. My doctor had added b-12 on top of my iron supplements to take every day and I had surgery to remove a kidney stone that got stuck on the way out. Senior year is when it started getting worse for me. It seemed like anytime I ate, my stomach would get upset and I would have stomach bloating so bad I felt like I was a balloon about to pop and it made it look like I was pregnant.

    After I graduated, I made a sick appointment with my doctor for intense pain that seemed to fill my whole mid-section. He sent me home with pain medication and told me to see my Urologist but by the time I saw him, the pain was gone. Going to the doctors and not getting answers seemed to be my life and I was miserable. November 2012, I ended up in the hospital because I had severe stomach pain and could not keep anything down (through both ends). I ended up staying in the hospital for a week with what seemed to be a bacterial infection with no known cause at the time. After getting out of the hospital, I felt amazing for the first two weeks, I assume because they had me on so much medication it was a temporary fix. As the weeks moved on, it felt as if my condition (we weren’t aware of what it was yet) was getting worse and worse. I was calling off of work, missing days of school, and my social life was non-existent. I was the definition of miserable. The only things that didn’t make me sick to eat were rice and mashed potatoes and if I had too much of them, I would get sick anyway. I woke up bloated, ran to bathroom all the time, and felt like I was going to be sick if I moved too much. My doctor told me to take it easy, start probiotics, and that I felt this way because it was just the way that my body healed. It has always taken me a lot longer to heal, a paper cut should be gone in a couple days and it takes at least two weeks to heal for me. I kept listening to him because he was the doctor and he knew what was best, so I thought. The next time that I went into the doctor I saw somebody different and it was the best choice I have ever made. He found blood in my stools so he referred me to a Gastroenterologist and gave me dissolvable Zofran so I could hopefully start keeping things down. They work so much better than the suppositories!!! After months of every testing imaginable, I got married and went on my honeymoon knowing that when we got back, my new doctor would finally be able to give us some answers.

    Unfortunately, we ended up coming home a day early because I was too sick for us to enjoy ourselves. So August 8th 2013, I walked into the doctor’s office scared but excited that I would finally have answers and ultimately a cure. I ended up walking out crying because I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and there is no cure for that. It was devastating for me at first knowing that I would have to go my whole life with a sickness but it now made sense why my Iron and B-12 levels were so low and my white cells were high. The first medicine we tried was Pentasa four times a day but after the first day, I felt like I was going to die. My muscles hurt so bad and were so sensitive I bumped into the couch and almost got a Charlie horse. My beta blockers couldn’t stop my heart palpitations and my heart rate was high. She had me the stop the medicine right away and I was so disappointed. The next thing we tried was a daily journal of what I ate and how I felt along with Lialda and I was excited because even though it was more expensive, it had a better rate of lower side effects. After the first couple days, I felt the way that I did when I was on Pantasa. My doctor stopped that medicine and began Xifaxan for bacterial overgrowth which worked wonders!!! I have not felt this good in a very long time.

    During my checkup we looked through my journal and she recommended the FODMAP diet which is where I am now. It was very hard at first because a lot of the alternatives in the FODMAP diet are nut related and I am severely allergic to all nuts. We found out that I have a very big sensitivity to the FODMAPS and I have almost completely eliminated every one from my diet. I cannot even express how hard it was at first but it was the best thing I could ever do for myself. I have never felt this “normal” in years and it is amazing. I am still new to this diet but my family has been so supportive and it is better than any medicine could ever do, without all of the nasty side effects. Between this diet, exercise (swimming, biking, and toning muscles), and lots of vitamins/probiotics I honestly feel amazing and I finally have my life back now. We are still adjusting vitamins and I will be starting shots soon but I am proud to say that after four months of being on this diet, my intestines are now healthy enough to eat salads and some raw fruit and veggies (in very small amounts). I now only have to go to the doctor once a year unless something changes and I have control of life, my body doesn’t. If I could have one bit of advice for anybody, it would be to not give up! You know your body more than anybody else does and voice to your doctor if you don’t agree with something. If I had spoken up earlier, it might not have taken years for me to get to this point. Take control of your health and don’t let your health control you!

  65. Which Foods Contain Gluten?


    no wheatIf you have Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1 Diabetes and cannot have any gluten and are following the low FODMAP diet, this post is for you.

    Says expert, Expert Patsy Catsos, MS, RD: “Gluten-free diets are very popular right now for a wide variety of conditions. When you eliminate gluten, you also eliminate wheat products that contain fructans, one of the FODMAPS carbohydrates.”

    For everyone else not needing to watch gluten intake – fructans and other FODMAPs, but NOT gluten are restricted on the Low FODMAP diet. You should aim to buy gluten free grains (wheat free). Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center say you “do not need to follow a 100% gluten free diet as the focus is on FODMAPs, not gluten.” You can buy gluten free grains made with low FODMAPs: potato, quinoa, rice or corn and avoid gluten free grains made with high FODMAPs.  Also, gluten free products are wheat free and suitable for fructose malabsorption. Please still pay attention to possible fructose ingredients such as onion, honey and fruit.

    So, back to the crowd of Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease (me) and Type 1 Diabetes: Read this list to make sure you know which foods contain gluten.

    As a refresher – what is gluten?  It is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and some with Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1  Diabetes should speak with their doctor about avoiding all foods that are made with these grains.

    Here is where you will find GLUTEN:

    All wheat-based flours and ingredients

    • Wheat Bran
    • Wheat Germ
    • White Flour
    • Whole Wheat Flour
    • Durum Wheat
    • Graham Flour
    • Kamut
    • Semolina
    • Spelt
    • Triticale

    Bread groupCommon foods with gluten and alternatives:

    • Bread – instead try: gluten free breads.  Check out this article from the Huffington Post: The Best Gluten-Free Breads: Our Taste Test Results
    • Cereals – instead try: gluten free cereals, cornflakes, wheat free muesli, porridge
    • Cookies, cakes – instead try: gluten free cakes and mixes and flour-less cakes
    • Condiments, gravies, sauces – instead: make your own
    • Couscous – instead try: buckwheat, polenta, millet, sorghum
    • Flour Tortillas – instead try: corn tortillas
    • Muffins, pastries – there are some gluten free versions but make sure you know all of the ingredients!
    • Pasta – instead try: gluten free pasta, rice or pasta made from quinoa


    • Beer – opt for wine or clear alcohols instead.  Yes there are gluten-free beers, but beer should be avoided in general for anyone with digestive or inflammatory conditions.
    • Broth in soups and bouillon cubes
    • Candy – some more brands have been popping up lately, offering gluten-free candy.  Read the labels as always!
    • Fried foods – I stay away from fried foods anyhow.  Fried foods can cause IBS symptoms and are also full of saturated fat, and buildup from saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats can cause hard deposits (plaque) to form in your arteries.  Many fried foods are made with Canola Oil, a GMO product. “In it’s hybridized and modified state (Canola Oil) it can cause a large number of health issues.”
    • Imitation fish
    • Licorice – choose brands that do not contain wheat flour!
    • Matzo has gluten, but there is hope for gluten-free brands like this one or this one.
    • Meat – many lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages contain wheat gluten.  As always when buying meat, buy organic!  I happen to like the Applegate Farms brand.
    • Modified Food Starch – ANYTHING modified should always be an automatic RED FLAG for you.
    • Oats – buy gluten-free oats as most commercially grown oats can become contaminated during growing, harvesting or processing.
    • Potato Chips (flavored) – some processed flavorings for potato chips contain wheat, barley or rye.  Stay on track with a clean diet and avoid potato chips.
    • Pickles – be wary of any pickles with malt vinegar or corn-based vinegar.
    • Salad Dressing – for those following the Low Fodmap Diet, it’s best to make your own dressing with olive oil, low fodmap herbs and vinegar.  If you find a dressing on the shelves that is not high in FODMAPs, make sure the dressing does not contain a thickening agent like modified food starch.
    • Soy sauce – many contain wheat.  If you’re going out for some sushi, keep a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in your purse/bag!
    • Veggie Burgers – I love veggie burgers but many contain wheat gluten.  I checked out this recipe, it looks good but she does not list gluten-free oats or gluten-free soy sauce, so make the necessary changes: veggie burger recipe

    Here’s to your health FODMAPers!

  66. Delicious Gluten-Free Cookie Review!

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    If you are looking for foods low in FODMAPs it can be a little tricky.  The best policy is to make food at home, but in some cases you might stumble upon products that will do the trick!

    While looking at products online, I stumbled across Among Friends® Hand-crafted Baking Mixes and took a look at their line of baking mixes.  I found Shane’s Sweet-n-Spicy cookie mix and decided to give it a try.  Let’s first take a look at the tasty ingredients:


    Certified gluten-free oat flour, natural brown sugar, organic cane sugar, molasses, organic ground flax seed, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove, lemon peel, star anise and anise seed.  All LOW in FODMAPs! So I got to baking and when finished, my house smelled lovely from the molasses – such a nice, comforting smell!  Then my husband and I tried them with decaf lemon tea – so good!  You can taste the molasses, cinnamon, ginger, clove and lemon in this satisfying and light cookie.  I am definitely making these again!  *I had to leave them in the oven for a couple minutes longer than specified on the package.  *If you are lactose-intolerant, you can swap out the butter for coconut oil.

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  67. Low FODMAP Juice for Hypothyroidism

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    I just had this 4 oz. organic juice of lemon, orange, carrot and ginger and it’s so good. You see, I suffer from digestive issues and I have trouble with energy because of my hypothyroidism.  Some raw and organic fruits and veggies really help as they give me natural energy (not processed foods) and because they are organic, they have fewer chemicals and pesticides which can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland.

    I had a visit to the the doctor today and we are trying to get an accurate analysis of my thyroid. I’ve been dealing with hypothyroidism for the last couple years and it was not discovered until my Mother suggested I get a few blood tests done (she also has Hypothyroidism).  This is now the second doctor, but Dr. Margot J Aiken (endocrinolgy, fertility) is a specialist so I believe this go around will be better than the general doctor I first saw.

    My hypothyroidism affects my energy levels, my sleep, mood, makes me dizzy, and I get cold easily. It can make my skin itchy, my fingernails brittle, and lately it’s been getting worse with palpitations and tremors. So much fun! I sometimes look like a zombie when working out but I give it my best. Ahhh I miss the days when I could workout forever!

    So what’s the connection between Hypothyroidism and IBS?

    “Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce a sufficient amount of hormones necessary for the cells throughout the body to work properly.” (re: ).  Hypothyroidism affects the digestive system and can trigger bloating and constipation.  You can also get diarrhea which is a result of someone who has SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome.  On a recent visit to a gastroenterologist, he was certain I had SIBO – but we are still testing.  Today Dr. Aiken asked if the first doctor I saw (the general doc) said whether or not I had Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition which is one of the most common causes for Hypothyroidism.  I said I asked and the doc said no – but was I accurately tested? After testing now (see below for some of the blood tests I am taking tomorrow) we will figure out what is going on, but it’s important to note that people with Hashimoto’s disease are at a greater risk for Celiac disease – hence why the Low FODMAP diet is a great consideration for people with Hypothyroidism.

    Taking thyroid medication has sometimes helped with my IBS but I still get many of the IBS symptoms here and there. It’s a long process learning and narrowing down all the possibilities for my symptoms.  Before thyroid medication I would have IBS so severe that distention would last for weeks to months on end. Having a stomach comparable to a woman six months pregnant sends various signals to the brain like: “What the hell? I’m working out but I feel like I’m not losing weight.” “I have to go out? What am I going to wear to cover up my belly?” “I think I should come up with a name for ‘it’!” “Nope, not going to eat that, or that, or umm that.” “I’m not buying new clothes for a while!”


    I have learned that when you are a patient, you cannot rely completely on what the doctors say, and not all doctors are organized so you have to sometimes remind them what you need.  I am not suggesting self-diagnosing by way of “Googling”, I simply mean that it’s important to do your research and understand all the tests that exist for your individual health condition and which doctor or specialist is the right choice.

    If you have IBS symptoms, very low energy and symptoms typical to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (see below) it won’t hurt you to go see an Endocrinologist and have some tests ordered.

    Other Takeaways:

    • Ask around to see if anyone in your family has thyroid issues. Remember, it runs in my family!
    • Have your thyroid levels monitored in a timely manner, as suggested by your doctor
    • Take your medication on time, everyday, and wait 30 mins before eating
    • Eat clean foods that will give you natural energy and not slow you down
    • If you are getting a lot of fiber from vegetables, learn about goitrogenic foods and how they can act like antithyroid drugs – here’s a great article from a lady I follow on Twitter, Mary Shomon @ThyroidMary
    • When you go and see an Endocrinologist or hormonal specialist, ask about getting the following tested: TSH, Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine, Thyroid antibodies, and Vitamin B12 and Iron

    Symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

    I have more to share about the thyroid gland and will post about it in the future – there is much to share like what foods to eat or avoid, how much carbohydrates you should have (to prevent blood sugar swings), how to alkalize your body and other tips to keep your thyroid healthy and your IBS under control.

    Here’s to you!

  68. Spices and Herbs for Your FODMAP!



    Need to spice things up? Here is a list of Low FODMAP herbs & spices and how they are used around the world:

    • Allspice (Jamaica pepper, English pepper) – Used to flavor stews, meat dishes, desserts, BBQ sauces.
    • Asafetida (or ‘hing’)- “Some vegetarians in India are required, for religious reasons, to shun onions and garlic. They have come to rely on {Asafetida} a potent resin as a replacement.”  This spice smells foul to most but once you drop some in hot oil, you will enjoy a similar taste to onions and garlic.
    • Basil – the main ingredient in pesto, it also tastes lovely with mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil (insalata caprese), mixed in to pasta at the last moment, and soups or Thai dishes.
    • Bay leaves – are a fixture in European, Mediterranean and American meals.  Leaves are used whole and then often removed before serving stews, braises, pâtés, sauces, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes.  There are several different types of bay leaves (bay leaf) which have mild to strong flavors.
    • Caraway – the fruits have a pungent, anise-like flavor.  It’s used in breads, added to sauerkraut, and used in desserts, liquors, casseroles and Indian dishes.
    • Cardamom – (black and green) has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance.  It is used as a spice in sweet dishes, in savoury dishes and used as a garnish in basmati rice.
    • Cayenne/chili pepper – a hot chili pepper used in hot sauce, buffalo wing sauce or other spicy dishes.  It is high in vitamin A. It contains several other vitamins.
    • Celery seeds – used when making pickles, potato salad, BBQ sauce and in spice rubs for meat.  *Celery oil and celery seeds have been noted by several sources as unsafe during pregnancy.
    • Chervil – has a faint taste of liquorice or aniseed and is used to season poultry, seafood, vegetables, omelettes, salads, and soups.
    • Chives –used on top of baked potatoes, in omelettes, pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches.
    • Cinnamon –used in or on top of desserts, in oatmeal, in cakes, in preparation of chocolate, in spicy candies, coffee, tea and more.  It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to help with digestion.
    • Cloves –are used to flavor meats, curries, and marinades.
    • Coriander – the seeds have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed and are used in chutneys, salads, salsa, guacamole and used as a garnish in other dishes.
    • Cumin (ground or whole seeds)has a distinctive flavor and aroma and is used in cheese, breads, stews, soups, chili, pickles and pastries.
    • Curry – is a mix of complex combinations of spices and/or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chillies.  Used in meat, fish, lentils, rice and vegetable dishes.  Curries are used all over the world and vary depending on cultural, religious and familial tradition.  I use curry with quinoa, spinach, as well as eggs, stir-fry, in soup and sometimes in gluten-free oats.
    • Dill – Fresh and dried dill leaves are are aromatic and are used to flavor fish, soups, pickles and more in Europe, Central Asia and the U.S.
    • Elderflower –used in beverages and syrups.  In Greece if it is used in yogurt, it’s safe for the FODMAP diet as long as you are not lactose intolerant.
    • Fenugreek –is included as an ingredient in spice blends and also used as a flavoring agent in imitation maple syrup, foods, beverages, and tobacco.  It can be used to help constipation, and inflammation of the stomach. It is often used to increase milk supply in lactating mothers and has helped reduce serum glucose and improve glucose tolerance in some people with diabetes.
    • Galangal –In its raw form, galangals have a stronger taste than common ginger.
    • Ginger – is an herb that is aromatic, pungent and spicy and used in stir fries and many fruit, vegetable dishes and in fresh green juices.  It is used as a spice and also as a medicine. It can be used fresh, dried and powdered, or as a juice or oil.  It can help with gas and diarrhea.
    • Juniper berries – can be compared to rosemary for their piney taste.  They are used to flavor lamb, wild boar, pork, chili and marinades.
    • Kaffir lime leaves- from the Kaffir lime tree, the leaves are highly aromatic and used or dried, depending on the recipe or usage.  Used in curries, soups, fish cakes, salads, in rice and marinades.
    • Lavender –flowers and leaves can be used fresh or dried.  Used in salads, breads, cakes or use as a garnish on top of lactose-free ice cream.  It is used for skin care, sunburn or for aromatherapy.
    • Lemon basil – should be used fresh and added during the last moments of cooking.  Use in pesto, insalata caprese, bruschetta, seafood, soups and sauces, vegetables, with Low FODMAP cheeses and more.
    • Lemongrass -a stalky plant with a lemony scent, it provides a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to many Thai dishes.  Look for firm stalks with the lower stalk being pale yellow in color, and the upper stalks green in color.
    • Lemon myrtle –has a beautiful fragrance and a calming effect when used as a tea.  It is a powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal agent.  Use in fish, cake and chicken recipes.
    • Lemon thyme –is a hybrid thyme that has a citrusy, flowery aroma that blends well with chicken, fish, salad dressings and a variety of sauces and vegetables.
    • Liquorice – made into liqueur, candies and sweets.  Used as a flavoring in soft drinks, and in some herbal infusions where it provides a sweet aftertaste. Italians like to eat unsweetened liquorice in small black pieces made only from 100% pure liquorice extract; the taste is bitter and intense.
    • Mace -from the nutmeg tree, two spices are derived from the fruit: nutmeg and mace.  Both are a little similar in smell and taste.  Nutmeg is slightly sweeter and mace has a more delicate flavor. Mace is used in light dishes for its bright orange, saffron-like color.  Mace is used in potato dishes, meats, stews, sauces, baked goods and more.
    • Marjoram -has sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle-Eastern cuisines, marjoram is synonymous with oregano.  Used green or dry to season soups, stews, dressings and sauce.  This herb herb contains many notable phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins.  Some of its compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  When fresh it has high levels of Vitamin C, it also has high levels of Vitamin A, an ample amount of Vitamin K and iron.
    • Mustard (seeds/condiment) – This is such a great go-to spice for people following the FODMAP diet, looking for some flavor to add to sandwiches, meats, salads, dressings, sauces, soups, marinades and BBQ sauce and gluten-free pretzels.  It is very low in calories and contains selenium and omega 3 fatty acids.  Mustard has iron, calcium, Vitamins A & C.
    • Nutmeg –used in dessert and savoury dishes as well as with pasta and spinach.  The nutmeg tree originates in Banda, the largest of the Molucca spice islands of Indonesia. “Ingestion of small amounts of nutmeg is harmless to the body, however the consumption of 1 to 3 whole nutmegs (in excess of 1 teaspoon ground) can cause wild hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, and/or circulatory collapse within 1 to 6 hours after ingestion. Very large doses can be fatal.‘”
    • Oregano – I grew up on oregano!  My Italian Father liked to cook family recipes and my Irish Mother also knew how to cook Italian so oregano was found in our sauces, salads, sausage dishes, other meats and pizza.  Depending on the climate and region where oregano is grown, it can have a robust, full flavor with a slightly bitter and peppery taste or a more delicate aroma and sweeter taste.
    • Paprika –a spice made from ground, dried fruits of Capsicum annuum (bell pepper or chili pepper varieties or mixtures so color varies from bright orange-red to deep red). It is high in Vitamin A, and 1 TB provides 7% iron, 5% Vitamin B-6 and 3% magnesium.  Use it with chicken, crab, fish, goulash, lamb, potatoes, rice noodles, shellfish, stroganoff, veal.  Gluten-free goulash recipe
    • Parsley –  is a very nutritious herb and has high amounts of Vitamin K and A and also has Vitamin C, folate and iron, volatile oil components and flavonoids. Choose Italian flat leaf parsley for hot dishes.  Use on grilled fish, in sauces, salads, soups and sautés and combine with lemon and salt to use as a rub on meat.
    • Peppermint –it is used in tea and for flavoring desserts, gum, and toothpaste but it also is powerful in helping with abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and bloating (or wind).  Italian investigators indicated that people who used peppermint oil over a four week period reported a major reduction in IBS.
    • Poppy seeds –seeds are used, whole or ground, as an ingredient in many foods like bread, and cake, sprinkled on top of pasta, sauces and used as a thickener.
    • Rosemary –has a bitter, astringent taste, is highly aromatic and used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings, sauces, breads and roast meats.  Used fresh and dried. Rosemary is high in iron, calcium and Vitamin B6.
    • Saffron –is an expensive spice, derived from the flower of Crocus sativus.  It has been described as “metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes.”  It has been used medicinally for several years.  Use it your next Low FODMAP seafood, soup, stew or rice noodle recipe.
    • Sage –used in butter, olive oil, sausage, and several dishes.  This was also another herb my family used often.  Pair sage with eggs, chicken, lamb, polenta or pineapple!  Sage can be used to reduce gas and it’s also an antispasmodic, used to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating.  The essential oil of sage contains alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole, which are antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. The volatile oils in sage kill bacteria, making the herb useful for all types of bacterial infections.
    • Sesame seeds – “Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known to humanity.”  Sesame seeds are used whole for its delicious, rich nutty flavor.  You’ll find them mostly in baked items like bagels, crackers and breads.  The Japanese use them in sushi, salads and baked snacks.  They are also found in Chinese dishes like dim sum and sesame seed balls.  Sesame seeds are also popular in India, Korea, Vietnam and Africa.
    • Spearmint – leaves can be used fresh, dried or frozen.  Spearmint is used to season lamb in Indian cuisine.  It is also used in alcoholic drinks, candies and gum.  You can use spearmint tea to help with a stomach ache.  I have seen spearmint used in many High FODMAP recipes unfortunately, so you might just use it with lamb or other meats.
    • Star anise – is the fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China.  If you do not know what star anise is, chances are you’ve probably seen these eight-pointed, star-shaped fruits.  Star anise is used in five-spice powder, braising sauces and stews and dipping sauces and tea.  It’s used with pork, beef, chicken, eggs and shirt ribs.
    • Sumac – these plants grow in North America and Africa.  As a child growing up in Long Island, I remember sumac for its bright reddish drupes that would easily rub off on skin.  The sumac fruits are ground into a powder and used in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to meats, kabobs and salads.  Sumac is also used is Arabian, Iranian and Jordanian cuisine.
    • Szechuan pepper – can be used whole or ground into a powder and mostly used in Szechuan cuisine.  It has slight lemony overtones and is not as hot as other peppers. It’s also one of the blended ingredients use for five-spice powder.
    • Thyme – used fresh and dry and also retains its flavor after drying more so than other herbs.  I love to sprinkle thyme in eggs, on top of chicken, and in soups or chowders.  Check out this recipe using thyme.
    • Vanilla – is a flavor derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla.  Three majors species of vanilla exist globally and all derive from Mesoamerica, including Mexico.  It’s the second most expensive spice (saffron first), and can have a mild, delicate, spicy or strong aroma.  We use either the whole pod, powder, extract or vanilla sugar (vanilla mixed with sugar).
    Photo: Larry Hoffman

    Sweet Marjoram Photo: Larry Hoffman

    *Buy organic, fair trade whenever possible
    *Look into growing your own herbs and spices
    *Use spices and herbs to bring life and excitement to your meals!

    *Some spices and herbs will help you to benefit from vitamins, minerals, compounds as well as phytonutrients, like:

    • Parsley: Lutein
    • Chili peppers: Capsaicin
    • Tea: Polyphenols

    *If you have IBS and do not handle spicy foods very well, use the above spices according to your individual tolerance.

    Sources for this post:

  69. 6 FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas



    Thanks for visiting!  If you are new to our community and do not know about FODMAPs, read this post to learn more: 10 Facts About FODMAPs

    Try any of these 6 FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas:

    1. Water – Drink plenty of it to help “flush” out your system (eh-hemm, get the train moving as my Mother would say)
    2. Peppermint – The University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.”  Try enteric coated peppermint capsules, peppermint leaves and organic peppermints (not made with sugar alcohols).
    3. Cinnamon – In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is used to balance digestion and help restore the stomach to a balanced state.  Sprinkle it on lactose-free yogurt, kefir, in gluten-free oats or use it after you eat to aid in digestion by adding a teaspoon to decaf green tea.  If you have diabetes, sprinkle cinnamon on high carb foods to lower the impact on your blood sugar levels.
    4. Fresh, raw Pineapple – Bromelain, found in pineapple, is an enzyme that aids pineapple chunksin digestion and helps prevent inflammation and swelling. I have found many sources that say you should consider eating pineapple alone so the bromelain isn’t used up digesting other food.
    5. Flax seeds – Making a smoothie?  Need a topping for your lactose-free yogurt?  Add some flax seeds as they can prevent excessive gas and fend off constipation.
    6. Green juice – made with kale, spinach, lemon, ginger and carrots. Green juice can help alkalize the body and reduce gas. (source -Ravi Raman#FODMAPLifeTip – plan on drinking this fresh juice only if you will have access to a toilet for a couple of hours as it may help flush you out – quickly!

    SIGN UP for our newsletter today by clicking here.  You’ll receive more tips about the Low FODMAP diet and learn more about IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, GERD, gastroparesis and other digestive and inflammatory conditions.  We also send out notifications about monthly giveaways of FODMAP-friendly products, plus interviews with Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, Holistic Health Practitioners and more.

    Share this post!  Thanks and be well – Colleen

  70. Low-FODMAP Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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    If you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD), you know what it’s like to have to run to the bathroom on a moment’s notice. You know how scary it is to be in a situation where there is no bathroom in sight – the fear of not finding one in time.  The fear of most any social situation.  It’s not something that’s easy to talk to people about.  I have friends that battle with IBD and I can relate to their bathroom troubles.  Though I do not have IBD (I might have SIBO – still waiting on a diagnosis) I have come pretty close to not making it, a few times, in public no less.  My husband has been VERY supportive, patient and helpful.


    IBD is a chronic condition with irregular intervals of active disease (flare-ups) or with little or no disease activity.  It involves chronic inflammation in all or part of the digestive tract. Symptoms can develop over time, and there are many theories about what causes IBD, but none have been proven thus far.

    According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD including 140,000 children under the age of 18.


    For those with inactive IBD, dietary options are limited, however, the Low-FODMAP diet may help one to better navigate a daily routine.  It is not a cure as unfortunately no cure exists yet.

    As compared to most of the general population, fructose and lactose malabsorption are more common in those with IBD (source).  Also a small amount of people with IBD cannot tolerate gluten.  Researchers have suggested that there could be links between IBD and a diet high in fats and sugars. With that being said, reducing high FODMAPs may help those with an inactive IBD who also experience IBS symptoms.

    A liquid diet, often referred to as ‘enteral nutrition’ may be prescribed to some people with IBD.  This treatment can last for less than a month to two months. It provides all necessary nutrients to patients and then a solid food diet can be re-introduced, like the Low-FODMAP diet.  There are other means suggested to help with symptoms like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the use of herbal remedies.

    If you know someone that has IBD, tell them about the Low-FODMAP diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and ask them to speak to their doctor about it! 

    Live the FODMAP Life!  Don’t forget to join us on Facebook


  71. How to Start the Low-FODMAP Diet


    GoogleImageIt all seems a bit confusing right?  Learning about FODMAPs, what they stand for, what they potentially do to our digestive system, which foods you can have, need to limit or completely avoid.  There’s also conflicting information from Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.  At the end of the day, it’s your body and you need to take control and carefully monitor what works and what does not work for you.  Have patience because decoding the intricacies of your digestive system might take some time. The exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is still unknown, and there is no medical cure for Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.  However, if you have any of these issues you may be able to benefit greatly from the Low FODMAP diet.  It’s a natural approach to easing symptoms and during the process, you will also learn more about your body and how to treat physical and mental symptoms.  Here are some basic tips to How to Start the Low-FODMAP Diet:


    1. Once you start your journey, keep a food diary.  Write down everything you eat and drink.  Make note if you were eating fast, watching TV, using the computer or playing with your phone at the same time. Make note of any exercise and any stressful situations you had each day.  You’ll want to keep your food diary going for the entire length of the Low Fodmap Diet (at least two months).  The food diary will help you to keep an accurate account and get you closer to knowing your “triggers.”

    2. Eliminate all FODMAPs for two months – fructans, GOS, lactose, excess fructose and polyols.  According to Dr. Sue Shepherd, if you know you can completely absorb fructose or lactose “you need not restrict your intake.”

    3. Know your portions –

    • a) Do not eat more than one serving of fruit per meal or sitting (1 serving = 1 C or one whole piece of fruit).
    • b) Avoid eating these wheat products in large quantities -wheat, rye, barley (breads, cereals, pasta and cookies).  You can still enjoy small amounts like pieces of cookies in low fodmap ice cream or bread crumb coatings.
    • c) Soft cheeses are allowed but only up to 2 ounces
    • d) If you have fructose malabsorption you do not need to avoid fructose completely, just as long as there is more glucose than fructose, you can then eat moderate amounts.  If you have IBS, foods can be considered a problem if they contain more than 0.2 grams fructose in excess of glucose per serving –some fruits have the most amount of excess fructose over other foods.
    • e) Use low fructose sweeteners, but in moderation like: maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, brown sugar.
    • f) Watch out for anything listed as “sugar-free” or having sugar alcohols (these ingredients often end in “ol”).  These Polyols can cause symptoms for people with digestive disorders if they contain more than 0.5 grams total polyols per serving.

    Check out my Low Fodmap Grocery List for more foods and portions

    4. Timing is everything so get testing done as soon as possible.  I had to wait weeks for mine to be scheduled.  So as you’ve begun to avoid all FODMAPs, go and see a gastroenterologist and ask for blood and breath tests.  Hydrogen breath tests can help you to determine if you are fructose and/or lactose intolerant (malabsorption), have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome (SIBO) or rapid passage of food through the small intestine.  Blood tests can help you determine if you need to avoid gluten.  These types of tests though have not all been extremely efficient, so in some cases, by keeping an ongoing food and activity journal you might get a better sense of the real food and stress triggers.  If you are used to getting your Vitamin D from milk products, you may want to introduce Vitamin D2 and D3 vitamins into your diet.  Consult with your doctor to ensure you are not or do not become Vitamin D deficient.  Learn more about the 3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion.

    5. Whenever possible, put together FODMAP-free snacks so you will always have something on hand to enjoy. Vegetables, fruit, wheat-free bread and crackers (gluten-free for Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease), rice cakes, nuts (no pistachios or cashews), decaf green tea.  Stay hydrated!

    6. Read food labels – make sure to always read a food label to see if the food is Low in FODMAPs.  Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so the first couple of ingredients will make up most of the food product.  If a food product contains high FODMAPS, but they are in small amounts and listed towards the end of the list of ingredients, it should not cause you symptoms or be of concern.

    7. Exercise – I have found that exercise always helps me with IBS symptoms (except running, that can make it worse).   Even if you do not have a regular workout routine, try to at least walk everyday for 30 minutes.  You might get rid of a lot of gas and cramps that way.


    1. There will be times when you might be unprepared or simply cannot find suitable foods while on the Low FODMAP diet.  You are not going to starve, so take those opportunities to drink more water or decaf green tea until your able to find nutritious food again.  If you were unprepared take note if it brought on any anxiety.  Remind yourself to have a plan of action to be prepared next time.
    2. Learn how to meditate.  Sit in a quiet place without distractions for at least ten minutes and close your eyes.  With long slow breaths, breathe in and out and think about all the reasons you are so grateful to be taking care of your body.  Visualize your body as light as a feather; your tummy no longer distended, your clothes fitting the way they should.  See yourself smiling and waking up feeling energized.  See yourself feeling better with no cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and/or constipation.  No feelings of sadness or frustrations.  Only lightness, only positivity.  Only normal bowel activity :)
    3. People are going to be nosy.  I recommend not mentioning the diet you are on.  If you are in a social setting and everyone is sharing an appetizer you cannot have, or you need to ask the server to negate some ingredients, just simply say with enthusiasm “I don’t want {insert FODMAP food here} today, I’d rather have something else” or “that looks really good, enjoy!  I’m having the xxxx instead.”  Remember, your FODMAP Life is no one’s business unless it’s someone close to you that will support you no matter what.  Anyone who is going to make a big deal out of it will only make it worse for you.

    Once your symptoms have improved over the two month period, you can start by re-introducing one FODMAP sub-group at a time, one food at a time, in a normal portion size. Have a healthy day! ~Colleen subscribe-now

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  72. 5 Healthy Steps for FODMAP

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    IMG_5118Since 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 Certified Nutritionist Consultant like myself, or a Registered Dietitian.  If for some reason you cannot afford an expert (meeting with one should not be a problem as more of us offer Skype consults), here are 5 Healthy Steps you can take to eat healthy right now.

    1. 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 and founder of the Fodmap Diet 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 negatibe 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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!
    4. 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.
    5. 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.  Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

  73. Breath Test Round 1!

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    So I haven’t been able to eat or drink since last night and I’m at UCSD’s gastroenterology department. What’s on the TV? Dozens of food commercials. The latest being a sultry woman’s voice talking about cookies covered in “riiiich dark chohhhhclate.” Ha! I’ll be fine but this is torture! 😉

    Today I’ll be taking a breath test. I will drink something, then burp into a blue bag a few times over a period of three hours. They will measure the type of and amount of gas coming through to see if I’m intolerant to fructose. I have done research and found that this type of test is not fool-proof so I may not know what to do about my diet! I’ll work with my doctor after and see what he says. The next test is in January for lactose.
    Just hoping for answers!


  74. Bloated Yoga! And Yoga for IBS


    Yoga for IBSTonight I took a hot yoga class. Though I like to relax and be in the flow during yoga, it’s hard to connect when I’m so BLOATED from IBS. I have no idea why I got it so bad today. My husband remarked that I have a bigger belly than our pregnant friend!

    My plans were to go running tomorrow morning but if I’m still the same way, running will be very painful. Everything across my abdomen is tight feeling, yet stretched out. I feel like my entire mid-section is a balloon but I’m surely not floating!

    I found a great article with yoga poses for IBS (with pictures). Take a look:

    There are a couple videos out there if you just Google “yoga for IBS.” I found this one and liked it. It’s pretty simple – take a look and tell me how you do! yoga for IBS

  75. I LOVE Cheese! What Can I eat on Low-Fodmap?

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    Lactose is on the high FODMAP list and if you malabsorb lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products, you should limit cheese that contains lactose, like:

    • Cream Cheese
    • Ricotta
    • Haloumi
    Perfecta Cheese

    Perfecta Cheese

    Most hard cheeses and other matured or ‘ripened’ cheeses (brie, feta, camembert) are low in lactose or lactose-free.  When lactose is not completely digested, it contributes to abdominal
    bloating, pain, gas, and diarrhea, often occurring 30 minutes to two hours following the consumption of milk and milk

    So again, where is Lactose found?

    Cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk

    “What Should I Limit?”
    Limit foods high in lactose such as yogurt, ice cream, milk, and ricotta and cottage cheeses.

    If you feel you might be lactose intolerant, make an appointment with a Gastroenterologist to see which test she/he suggests -a Lactose tolerance blood test or a Hydrogen breath test. Lactose tolerance tests measure the ability of your intestines to break down lactose.

  76. Out to Eat – Brazil Style!

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    Being married to a Brazilian, I have the wonderful opportunity to enjoy an exciting culture – the people, music, food, dancing the samba – it’s a carefree way of living!  One thing I like about Brazilian culture compared to my own is that when families get together and have dinner or a holiday party, they spend hours together, and it never feels rushed.  That’s what its like at Fogo de Chão®.

    brazilian food

    Our friend Pat, working away at his dinner! It’s definitely a manly experience!

    Fogo de Chão is a franchise with restaurants across the U.S. and Brazil.   The founders are from the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil. The brothers were influenced by the “centuries-old Gaucho culture, a rich blend of traditions from European immigrants and Brazilian natives.”  The main attraction of this chain of restaurants is the meat; how it is prepared and how it comes out to your table in droves.  This style of preparing and eating meat is better known as the churrasco, or the Gaucho way of roasting meats over pits of open fire.  Whenever I have been to a churrasco, whether here in the states with our Brazilian friends or in Brazil itself, the meat is served in small pieces and passed around.  It’s typical to be standing around, chatting it up, eating slow and just enjoying the company of everyone.

    Eating at Fogo de Chão could be somewhat difficult for someone with IBS like myself, but the other night I was able to navigate the salad bar and the meat.  I chose items at the salad bar that were stand alone and not mixed with anything else. For the meat, I ate slow, had small pieces (all low FODMAP), but knowing my body, meat doesn’t always digest very well.  So I chose meat that didn’t have thick bands of fat on the edges, and I also had chicken.  I had very slight symptoms today and that is to be expected when I am not cooking for myself.

    It’s not always easy eating out when you have IBS, and when you are trying to follow a low FODMAP diet.  It’s nice to know more menus include gluten-free items now,  but remember many of those are not FODMAP friendly.  The cleaner you eat, the better – but get to know the low FODMAP veggies and fruits.

    The more you work at FODMAP, the more you will remember of what you should avoid eating, as well as how much you should limit for low FODMAP.  If you ever feel frustrated, reach out to me!  I’m right there with you.

  77. Oh Really? FODMAP Facts to Know


    These are a couple of things I have learned along the way with my own day-to-day life with FODMAP:

    fomdap FB timeline factsJust because a food is gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s FODMAP friendly.  Remember you need to reference HIGH FODMAP foods against whatever gluten-free food you’re thinking of eating.  Ex: All fresh vegetables are gluten-free but veggies like Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Onions, Garlic are HIGH FODMAP foods.

    Medications can contain FODMAPs, so be sure to read labels. (Source: The National Center for Biotechnology and Kate Scarlata, RD).

    As you might have noticed, Gluten restriction has become “popular” in our society as a fad.  However there are those who truly need to restrict gluten, like for the management of Celiac Disease, IBS, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome and others.

    Need to sweeten something up?  You can use Sugar, Glucose, Sucrose or Pure maple syrup.  Stay away from Agave, Honey, High fructose corn syrup, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Maltitol.  Also to be avoided is Splenda.  I personally do not use Splenda, but this product is said to alter friendly gut flora which consists of a complex of microorganism species that live in your digestive tracts.  You need healthy bacteria to protect against sickness and disease, to regulate your stomach and intestines, and prevent the growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria.  I highly suggest taking probiotics everyday as extra precautionary measure for your health!  I like the brand Udo’s.

    Individual reactions to utilizing the FODMAP do vary, so the diet involves an initial elimination phase followed by trials of various foods to determine your sensitivities.  So it may not be the “end of the world” for you – there might be some HIGH FODMAP foods that you can have, but you’ll need to try the elimination phase first.

    If you are thinking about starting the elimination phase, the low-FODMAP diet requires close dietetic supervision.  Search for local Registered Dietitians in your area!  You can try your search here: 13903_466511523403048_1138574333_n

    This applies to me right now: In clinical trials, three-quarters of affected adults who reduced their intake of FODMAPs, also saw improvement in their IBS symptoms (Book: The Complete Low-fodmap Diet by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson, creators of the FODMAP diet).  So far I have had little symptoms and I can attribute any to an oversight on my part.  Getting used LOW FODMAP life means being super careful.  The more food you can make on your own, the better!

    As you can see, I also have dietitians, clinical nutritionists and doctors to thank for information above and Monash University.  I recently downloaded their app and will let you know what I think in another post!

  78. Gluten Free Product Review: Jovial Organic Cookies or Enjoy Life?


    I like cookies.  No, I LOVE cookies!  I pretty much like any sweet or dessert aside from strawberries in my dessert – I would rather have strawberries on their own.  So, while searching for cookies to have as snacks, I came across Jovial Organic Chocolate Vanilla Cream Filled Cookies Gluten Free.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.  The vanilla cream inside tasted very good but the cookie itself was dry and crumbly.  In two cookies there are 160 calories and 7 grams of fat (2.5 saturated), 10 g sugar, which I was surprised because the cookies are literally so light.  I would try these again if the cookie itself was soft or chewy.


    My favorite cookies are still Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I am satisfied after eating two of these cookies.  They are soft, chewy, have a bit more mass to them and they taste really good.  Plus, 2 cookies are only 140 calories, 4 g fat, o g saturated fat and 9 g sugar.  These cookies have white rice flour and light buckwheat flour – both FODMAP friendly (as are the rest of the tasty ingredients)!  I have found these cookies in all my local health food stores.  If you do not see the Enjoy Life brand in your local market, just ask the store manager if they’ll consider stocking the shelves or you can always order online here.

    I have tried a few other gluten-free, fodmap friendly cookies but if you have a few you like, please comment below!

  79. FODMAP Grocery List: Vegetables


    Here’s a quick and dirty list of LOW FODMAP vegetables you can access from your mobile phone while you shop:



    • Alfalfa Sprouts
    • Arugula
    • Avocado – 1/8
    • Bean Sprouts
    • Bell Peppers (Red)
    • Bok Choy
    • Butternut Squash
    • Carrots
    • Celeraic (also called turnip-rooted celery or knob celery, is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots, hypocotyl, and shoots – wiki)
    • Celery – 1/4 stalk
    • Cucumber (can cause gas so eat in small quantities)
    • Eggplant
    • Endive
    • Kale (in Ireland, kale is mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional dish colcannon)
    • Lettuce
    • Olives
    • Parsnips
    • Potatoes (white & sweet – 1/2 cup)
    • Radishes
    • Spinach (check out this spinach and ham frittata recipe)
    • Summer Squash
    • Swiss Chard
    • Tomatoes
    • Water Chestnuts
    • Zucchini
  80. I Survived the Weekend on the FODMAP diet!

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    Well that’s not entirely true!  This is an honest blog after all!

    IMG_96392I did have some beer.  I was invited to the Tour de Fat Tire Beer Fest of all things.  It was a beautiful day, full of cyclists with strange costumes, circus acts, my wonderful friends and $5 beers.  I did fine and I think it’s because I had a small cup.  I have noticed in the past that having a pint or more definitely brings on a lot of symptoms and headaches.  In general when it comes to alcohol, less is always better, and especially when followed up with water or coconut juice.

    After the festival my friends asked me where I wanted to go and eat.  My limited diet made its way into the conversation, though I usually try not to bring it up at all and just pick my way through the menu or my plate.  However, my friend’s husband loves heavy foods so I had to speak up.  They said the place they wanted to go had salads (but not the kind of salads that a salad lover like me would like).  I didn’t want to put a damper on the party so I said “no problem.”  Guess what -it worked out in the end for me!  As I was walking to my car, the text came through “ughhh there’s no parking by The Station.  See you at URBN?”  So I met them at URBN and had a small salad with grilled chicken, gorgonzola, walnuts and asked them to put the dressing on the side and hold the pears which are ALERT – HIGH FODMAP.

    US-Shreds-Pepperjack_0What about the rest of the weekend?  I worked out everyday.  I stretched. Drank lots of water.  I ate carrots and celery for snacks, drank coffee when I needed it, but had it decaf.  Before the fest on Saturday I went for a run and then had my favorite chocolate vegan shake by Vega One.

    On Sunday for breakfast I had a Rudi’s gluten-free spinach wrap with egg whites and dairy-free, soy-free cheese (and gluten-free) by Daiya (love this brand) and a chicken burger with spinach quinoa for Sunday dinner.

    Since I have been (mostly) adhering to the LOW FODMAP diet, I have been feeling very good.  I am human and might not follow this diet 100% and I feel if you can handle a little beer, wine or spirits here and there, you’re human too!  It does take patience to follow the diet, plus a lot of knowledge of what is or is not a low FODMAP food.  It’s too bad how many recipes in my favorite magazines or even pre-made healthy foods at my local health food market have HIGH FODMAP foods, but I think there will be more products available to our small group of friends (hmm…only about 55,000,000 IBS sufferers in the U.S.) soon enough.


  81. The Bad Guys: Sorbitol, Malitol

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    Sometimes I just need a mint to hold me over when I am working or for obvious reasons, to have fresh breath.

    Unfortunately for us IBS sufferers there are too many products made with sorbitol, malitol or other sugar alcohols ending in “ol.” Sometimes its just not worth it to pop a couple in my mouth because I can have bloating that carries on for days!

    Trader Joe's Mints!

    Trader Joe’s Mints!

    So I came across Trader Joe’s Organic Peppermints.  The ingredients are: organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, water, peppermint oil, organic maple syrup, organic peppermint leaves, agar, and gum tragacanth.

    I have not experienced any problems so far, and, as the University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.  According to the center, “Several studies have shown that enteric coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.”  Enteric is a coating that lets capsules pass through the stomach intact and dissolve in the intestines.  “Enteric coated capsules keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.”  I have not had any problems with the peppermint oil in these Trader Joe’s mints, but if you do, try Altoids or look for gluten-free mints for sale online.  I’ve seen some of these in my local Sprout’s, Jimbo’s and Whole Foods stores:

    peppermint leavesI have also heard that chewing peppermint leaves helps freshen breath, but who wants to carry them around in a purse/pocket? :)

    By the way, you must be wondering what agar and gum tragacanth must be?  I looked them up (I like to know every single ingredient if I buy anything in a package):

    Agar – “is a gelatinous substance derived by boiling a polysaccharide in red algae, where it accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte and serves as the primary structural support for the algae’s cell walls.” “Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work. It can be used as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in fruit preserves,ice cream, and other desserts, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing paper and fabrics.”

    Gum tragacanth – a white or reddish plant gum used in the food, textile, and pharmaceutical industries. Wiki: “Gum tragacanth is a viscous, odorless, tasteless, water-soluble mixture ofpolysaccharides obtained from sap which is drained from the root of the plant and dried.”

    All sound safe and natural to me.  Have a great weekend!

  82. Causes of IBS

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    How IBS can start

    bloatedfish2There are many ways to which symptoms from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can start.  For me it has been a certain type of food, or lack of exercising, sitting for long periods of time for work and definitely stress.  IBS has caused severe pain, social and emotional agony.  It’s no fun at all!  

    I have always been very passionate and health and wellness and for the last seven years I have ate mostly clean foods – but some foods, even in little portions have caused symptoms, some of them lasting for weeks.  So here is a list of possible causes for IBS :

    • If who suffer from IBS you may have a colon that is super sensitive to certain foods or stressful situations, which cause the many unfavorable symptoms
    • Food or liquids in your intestines may move rather slowly, which means extra fluids are absorbed, resulting in constipation; or it’s the opposite – the contents move too fast, and its diarrhea :(
    • You could experience sudden contractions that come and go, or stop working temporarily
    • You could have a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract
    • And problems with bowel movements could be due to abnormal serotonin levels in the gastrointestinal tract.

    gastrointestinal tract

    Like I mentioned above, stress can play a role in IBS.  It can worsen symptoms (it does).  And what are other ways that symptoms can intensify?

    • Eating heavy or fatty meals (fried food, mayo, whole milk, ice cream, pasta sauces, meat)
    • Eating a lot of different foods at one (think Thanksgiving, a wedding, party)
    • Consuming dairy products (try products with almond or rice milk)
    • Foods with gluten like wheat, rye and barley or other breads and baked goods
    • Beer (it’s hard to give up completely so I just go for a small glass or I sip someone else’s beer)
    • Carbonated drinks (soda is bad for you anyway!)
    • Caffeine (just give it up for a week – you will feel better)
    • And ladies if you’re on your period, that can also cause extra sensitivity

    So what can you do about IBS?  Exercising everyday will help, even if you just go for a walk.  Avoid the trigger foods mentioned above.  Learn how to meditate when you are experiencing stressful situations – your gut depends on it!  And if you have not already heard, the LOW FODMAP diet has helped me and it could help you!  Try this video for meditation at home or at work! [youtube=]

  83. What Does FODMAP Stand For?

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    FODMAPs are:

    All are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They include short chain (oligo) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol.


    I have had many problems throughout the years, first starting with digestion and the last few years I have had bloating so bad, I look pregnant and the pain from the distention is hard to live with.  I have to wear certain types of clothes just so I can be comfortable (dresses, leggings).  I say no to social gatherings because I am so uncomfortable and have low energy.  Sometimes just working out is no fun because I feel like a huge balloon – from head to toe I feel utterly gross!

    Since learning about the FODMAP diet, it has totally made sense why I have such horrible pain some days and not others.  The pain and bloating I experience can last for weeks on end or almost cause embarrassing situations.

    dairy freeThere are foods that I love and I eat a lot of them (like garlic) but they are on the HIGH FODMAP list.  Just cutting them out so far has made a difference.  So far the only symptoms I have felt were after eating one HIGH FODMAP food – yogurt.  Other than that I have been eating only LOW FODMAP foods (which I will list in another blog post).

    If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Celiac Disease I hope you will check out this blog every so often and share your own story too!

  84. Understanding FODMAP

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    The term FODMAP is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di , Mono-saccharides And Polyols“.  It comes with a list of vegetables that are to be AVOIDED which puts a damper on my next night out at an Italian restaurant…no garlic!  No artichokes!  And of course, no pasta (unless it’s gluten-free).

    As I have been researching, I have found that restricting these FODMAPs has helped sufferers of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome and other fun gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs).   

    History: In the 90’s, Dr. Sue Shepherd developed a form of fructose malabsorption diet. Subsequently a team at Monash University, led by Professor Peter Gibson and including Dr Shepherd and others, developed the low FODMAP diet.

    Through their research, they found that limiting dietary FODMAPs can be an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS.   Other researchers and Registered Dietitians across the world have also been able to prove the effectiveness of this diet.  Aside from IBS (which I suffer from) there are other gastrointestinal, and inflammatory disorders and diseases that can also be treated naturally whilst sticking to a low-FODMAP diet.  The facts below are what I have learned from Dr. Shepherd, Monash University and several other FODMAPs experts.

    I am looking forward to finding more people who have benefited from this diet.  I have decided to make myself a guinea pig for at least one month.  If I am symptom free – then I will keep at it for the rest of my life.  No one should have to endure what the IBS community has gone through.  Let’s see Sue and Peter!


  85. Giving FODMAP a Try!

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    Broccoli?  Yes- limit to 1/2 cup.  Cauliflower? No.   Red capsicum bell pepper?  Yes. Carrot?  Yes.  Zucchini?  Yes!

    Broccoli? Yes- limit to 1/2 cup. Cauliflower? No. Red capsicum bell pepper? Yes. Carrot? Yes. Zucchini? Yes!

    I am going to give FODMAP  a try.  I have been living in digestive hell now for too long and I have also cut out the foods I was told to lessen symptoms for IBS.  Saying so long to onions and garlic and others fruits and vegetables will be hard.  If it means I will feel better – than I am ready to go!

    Stick with me as I share my journey!