When googling lifestyle changes and IBS, the first result you will see is an elimination diet. There are loads to choose from, but a Low FODMAP protocol was the best fit for my food symptoms and reactions. I do want to make a disclaimer that this diet isn’t for everyone. I recommend writing down your symptoms, doing a food journal, and working with a practitioner.
However, the biggest recommendation for discovering and healing from IBS is to figure out what is causing the reactions. There are so many forms of IBS from IBS with diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of both. This is where journaling comes in handy! For a while, I was treating the symptoms to prevent flare-ups, which you can read more about here.
The only way to really get to the root of the problem is to make sure there aren’t any other issues. This can be associated with SIBO, leaky gut, unknown autoimmune conditions, and lifestyle choices. I don’t want to give all of my tests results away, but so far, everything is looking good (which I have mixed feelings about).
What exactly are FODMAPS?
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:
- Fermentable: This is through the process of the gut bacteria fermenting undigested carbohydrates, causing gas production.
- Oligosaccharides: This is fructans and GOS common in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, and legumes.
- Disaccharides: This is a type of lactose that is found in dairy products.
- Monosaccharides: This is fructose, common in fruits such as apples and sweeteners like honey and high fructose corn syrup.
- Polyols: This is sorbitol and mannitol, which can be found in some fruits and vegetables, but it is mainly used as an artificial sweetener.
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 it through your diet.
How long do I do a Low FODMAP protocol for?
As for doing this elimination diet, it is recommended to do it for 4-6 weeks and is reintroducing. When people begin the reintroduction phase, they often find that only one type of sugar triggers all their systems.
The biggest tip in reintroducing is focusing on one type of FODMAP for a period of time. When you reintroduce a FODMAP, so is every 3 days as it takes up to 3 days for your body to react. It is a long process, but you will know your triggers and be able to make lifestyle changes around it by the end.
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!
Some great tools to use during this period:
I truly hope this helps you in deciding if the Low FODMAP method is best for you! Please share with anyone who has IBS, GI upset, or who is considering this diet.
**This information is not meant as medical or nutritional advice and should not be taken as such. Always check with your qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements or nutritional changes into your routine. A Primal Health Coach (PHC) is trained to evaluate nutritional needs and make recommendations of dietary changes and nutritional supplements. A PHC is unable to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition. I cannot guarantee any specific result from recommendations as we are all bio-individually different. If you are under the care of a healthcare provider, it is important that you contact them and alert them to any changes in your lifestyle in regards to nutrition and supplements.