It’s summer again, and you know what that means. No, I’m not talking about lake days, cookouts or campfires. I’m talking about the weekly visits to the doctor’s office and hours spent in waiting rooms. It’s been four years now since my stomach has turned on itself, and no one seems to have the solution. I’m now off of gluten (okay okay, as much as possible, you try giving up pizza and beer) and lactose, don’t drink caffeine, and honestly, eating has become a pain in the ass. It’s come to the point where I wish I didn’t ever get hungry, because finding something that’s not going to tie my intestines into knots is so difficult.
The doctor’s now want me to try what is called the “low FODMAP” diet. In other words, the “don’t eat anything besides meat and vegetables but not even every vegetable, you just have to be careful” diet. What exactly is a low FODMAP diet? Well FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Take me back to high school chemistry much? Basically, I have to be careful of the different kinds of sugars found in foods. This isn’t just added sugars, we’re talking sugars found naturally. For whatever reason, I’m unable to digest these foods well, and that causes the severe pain that I find myself in. Every. Single. Day. Sooo, eliminate these foods, eliminate the pain. Sounds easy enough right?
I’ve never been one to meal prep, so following this diet has proven more difficult than I had anticipated. Instead of running across the street on my lunch break to Varsity (all hail the buff chick wraps and cheese fries), I have to make sure I bring lunch with me every day, and make sure that the foods that I’m packing meet the criteria. And the hardest part of the whole thing is that foods you’ve always learned are healthy and good for you (fruits and veggies) are actually causing some of the problem. I’m exhausted. Who knew eating could be so much work.
So I’ve been spending a lot of time online lately looking for low FODMAP lunch and snack ideas, and decided to pull together some of my favorites for anyone else looking to follow a strict diet, or anyone who has similar problems to my own. I would love to help you find relief!!
Below are two of the outlines I received from my doctor’s including some of the both good and bad foods based on the low FODMAP diet:
Other favorite foods of mine that I was curious about that were not on these lists:
- MOST CHEESES (THANK GOD) including: Brie, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan
- Lactose free milk (I drink unsweetened Almond Breeze)
- Bananas, kiwi, strawberries, coconut, oranges, raspberries, pomegranate
- Broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, squash, spinach
- GF breads and pastas
- Rice cakes
Not FODMAP Approved
- Cottage cheese
- Ice Cream
- Asparagus, edamame, snap peas, artichokes
- Watermelon (this one still makes me angry- it’s WATER!! )
I also link to this site for my own reference quite a bit: http://www.katescarlata.com/lowfodmapdietchecklists/. Kate is a registered dietitian specializing in FODMAP and IBS (plus her handouts are super creative and easy to read, she includes a shopping list, and now even has her own app!)
Another disclaimer that I often forget, so I’m sure others do too, is to be careful of your *~booze~* ! Rum is the primary FODMAP-heavy alcohol, but drinking any alcohol in excess is sure to have the same effect, as they all contain sugars. I’ve noticed I don’t feel great after drinking wine, for example. Really play around with it and see what works for you.
I did some meal-prepping and planned out a few of this week’s meals based on the above. I’m sure every single day I won’t follow the diet to a t, I personally don’t think it’s realistic, but I’m curious to track what I eat each day and see when/if I do feel any better. Here are some of my favorites!
Meal 1: Chicken Tacos
Ingredients: corn tortillas (naturally gluten free), grilled chicken, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, lettuce/spring mix, fresh salsa (I like the mild Jack’s Special Salsa from Wegs)
Meal 2: GF Pasta w/ Chicken
Ingredients: gluten free pasta (rinse a few times in a strainer with cold water after boiling, I’ve found the gf pasta has a gooey, glue-like texture right after cooking) , feta cheese, basil, crushed red pepper, grilled chicken
Meal 3: GF Pepperoni Pizza
Ingredients: Schar gluten free pizza crusts (these are my FAVORITE!! It took my mom and I so long to find a brand that doesn’t taste like cardboard and/or birdseed), pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni (or any other toppings you’d like- pineapple, ham, sausage, bell peppers, eggplant, spinach and olives are all FODMAP approved!)
Meal 4: Lunch Meat Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients: Fresh romaine hearts, lunch meat of your choosing (tuna salad, ham, turkey are all great options), sliced cheddar/swiss/provolone/muenster/monterey jack cheese (low-lactose but high in protein), 1/2
Meal 5: Oatmeal
Ingredients: Oatmeal of your choice (if you’re following a struct gluten free diet, make sure to choose steel cut oats!), slivered almonds, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
Meal 6: Rice bowl
Ingredients: brown rice, lettuce, diced cherry tomatoes, scallion, shredded cheddar cheese, grilled chicken or fish, lemon juice (for a drizzle on top!)
Meal 7: Stuffed Peppers (good for lunch or dinner!)
Ingredients: ground turkey (cooked until brown), brown rice, feta cheese, potatoes, red or yellow peppers
Meal 8: Pesto salmon on quinoa bed
Ingredients: salmon filet, salt and pepper, pesto, lemon juice (for a drizzle on top!), cooked spinach, 1 cup cooked quinoa
Since these are clearly only a few of the many meal ideas that exist following the low FODMAP plan, I’d love to learn how to make more! If you have any favorites of your own, or would like to learn how to tweak a certain recipe to make it FODMAP-friendly, drop your ideas in the comments below 🙂