Once you have finished the initial elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, it’s really worth bearing in mind the cumulative effect of FODMAPs. Basically – the more foods you eat containing FODMAPs over a period of time, say a week, the more symptoms you may experience.
Many people can manage a bit of this and a bit of that, if they’re eating well the rest of the time. However, it really is about learning what works for you on an individual basis. I’ll probably write about something that you wouldn’t even consider eating and vice versa.
Finding out what you can manage will help allow more freedom in your diet and I find it prevents me going into panic zone when eating out! There will obviously be a bit of trial and error along the way, but as long as you try small amounts to start with, you shouldn’t feel too bad.
Planning ahead is the key to managing the amount of FODMAPs you eat over a week. If I know I’m going out for dinner at the weekend and planning to be a bit naughty, I’ll eat super clean for a few days beforehand.
Eating clean for me mostly means simple dishes without a sauce – things like salads, omelettes and jacket potatoes.
I’m lucky that there’s a fantastic salad bar where I work, where you can mix and match various ingredients. I have salad most days. This isn’t for weight loss reasons and I don’t find it boring – because I know that by eating clean most of the time, I’ll be able to push the boat out a bit more when I choose to.
Tuna, chicken, feta cheese, cheddar, smoked mackerel or salmon add some bulk to the salad and by eating protein with the salad, I find I’m full until the evening.
I now religiously eat a small fruit salad every day and I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before. Pineapple, kiwi and oranges have proved the most helpful in terms of moving things along on the inside. Too much information, I realise (red face!), but it’s really important to say.
(Unfortunately these fruits aren’t seasonal for the UK, but tropical fruits tend to be lower in FODMAPs for some reason).
The morning after
You will most probably end up with the occasional ‘FODMAP’ hangover, but again just try to eat really clean for a few days afterwards to balance things out.
The most important aspect is having the control to know what causes symptoms and what you can and can’t get away with. The power to make an educated decision adds a huge amount of freedom.
It’s about balance. Sometimes the balance will tip over and you’ll feel a bit rough, but hopefully you’ll quickly learn where your limits are.
It’s also not recommended to stay on a strict low FODMAP diet for too long, so it really is important to ensure you start the reintroduction phase. In my opinion, this is the hardest part – if you feel great not eating FODMAPs, it’s difficult to convince yourself to start eating them again.
I’ve been reluctant myself to try certain foods and still do eat fairly low FODMAP most of the time. I am determined to start a proper reintroduction phase soon and will let you know how I get on.
Keep in mind that I’m not a dietician or medical expert, so the above is just my own opinion. I wanted to simply share something I have found very helpful whilst implementing the diet.