When it comes to any elimination diet, it can feel confusing & overwhelming. I will break down how to start a low fodmap diet as everyone and their mother does it for IBS.
The thing to keep in mind is that this diet is temporary, not permanent. It is important to work with a practitioner that understands its purpose.
The low fodmap diet has been known to help reduce inflammation in the body and remove any food irritants. This protocol is usually used for healing leaky gut after eradicating a pathogen (usually SIBO).
This diet will get your results as it removes the triggers that cause your IBS flare-ups, but it won’t heal the root cause.
FODMAPS are short-chain carbohydrates, aka sugar, that the gut struggles to absorb, triggering IBS symptoms. The FODMAPS can be naturally occurring in food products or can be additives as well.
What the acronym stands for is:
Each of these represents a different sugar that can cause digestive issues. Before we get too far ahead, this doesn’t mean you can never eat these foods again. It is a matter of reintroducing and finding which foods trigger a flare-up for you. You’re pretty much figuring out your body’s needs and optimizing them through your diet.
What I mean by this is having some time of structure for the protocol. These are some questions to ask yourself and your practitioner about:
This will give you a sense of control over the process. Plus, it will help you understand what to do if your body reacts in a way you don’t expect.
As for doing this elimination diet, it is recommended to do it for 4-6 weeks and is reintroducing.
To remind you, it is low fodmap, not no fodmap. So it is really about adjusting portion sizes and seeing how your body responds. There may be some you completely remove and others you don’t.
This is usually when you may do a leaky gut protocol as you are reducing the inflammation in your gut.
It can be very intimidating with an elimination diet, but the biggest thing to remember is this is an opportunity to try maybe new foods that you wouldn’t before or get crafty when going out to eat. Remember, an elimination diet all about mindset. If you think of this as a positive experience, it will be a positive experience!
I went deeper into the reintroduction plan in another post, but generally, you have two options: a 1 day or 3-day reintroduction. The 1 day is more aggressive compared to the 3-day. However, the goal is to reintroduce as many foods as possible.
If you find you still can’t tolerate any foods, it is time to look into root causes and co-infections. The Fodmaps aren’t the cause of your symptoms. What they do is bring awareness to pathogens that are munching on them.
This is important so you can keep track of what foods work or don’t work for you. Usually, practitioners recommend you keep one so they can see what could be going on. What I look for in a journal is the following.
This will make it 10x easier to see what the trigger could be, as it could be the food, your mental state, or something else.
All elimination diets can be done DIY, but it is best to work with a practitioner/coach. The reason is they can help you through the process in providing substitution, managing symptoms if they arise, navigating going out to eat, etc.
They are in your corner to support you and help you understand the signals your body is sending you. Feel free to explore my IBS coaching package if you would like some support!
I truly hope this helps you feel more confident in knowing how to start a low fodmap diet.
Thank you so much for reading!