FODMAP FOODS: Making sense of it

IBS? So what do I do about it?

Happy Coach

Coach Nancy

If you’ve been told you have IBS, but not given much else to go on — this might be a great answer for you.  If you’ve been told you have some kind of digestive malfunction, this still may be a good start for you. Why?  All I can say is we’ve tried nearly everything including the Mediterranean Diet, the Anti Inflammatory Diet, the BALi diet, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free…there are too many to list — and all of them have major highlights as to why we like them. The FODMAP is something we fell upon by accident, but it seemed to fit.  

I can’t eat WHAT? 

Think about this: Asparagus bad for you? Avocado? Cauliflower?  For these two summer vegetable loving creatures, that just mystified us. And yet,every year it happens. Just as our favorite produce came into season in May, my husband’s mystery illness hit again. About this time, we’d gorge on asparagus, raw cauliflower, avocados in salads, salad dressing and quacamole. We might eat more fruit. And I was the  queen of green juices, with a key ingredient that we all consider rabbit food.  CELERY? That’s the key to most of my green juices.  Apples? Thats one ingredient that goes into every juice I was making.  Here’s the kicker: Just like any food intolerance (not allergy, but sensitivity) it accumulates. And when its in combination with several other food sensitivities, all combine to a powerful attack of whatever symptoms your body wants to present.  Medical Mayhem reigns internally in your belly. 

FODMAPS ? What a funny word!

What the heck is a FODMAP and why would you care?  FODMAP is an acronym for certain foods. It is a diet developed in Australia for people with IBS.  Fermentable, Oglio-, di-, Mono-Sacharides, and Polyols, And Sugar Alcohol  — FODMAPS.   Here’s the quick description on Wikipedia – but the bottom line is FODMAPS are foods that react in the body and those suffering with IBS do not absorb these foods as they break down. In my mind, the foods pretty much all end up as a sugar type. They all end in -ose. Fructose, Glucose, Galactose — or they become a sugar alcohol from some of the polyols.  

Why Try the Low FODMAPs Plan?

We had nothing to lose and nothing else worked! 

With all the misinformation about what to eat, when, and how — people have come to question most experts and spew opinions as if they are experts.  The bottom line is not all diets work for everyone. And at the same time, most diets have some merit.  The FODMAP sure does. When you look at that list, you can be assured that most of those scientific terms are talking about foods you eat thinking they are really good for you. And they are — unless you are one that can’t absorb them as the body digests it.    I’m a health coach with 18 months intensive study on current foods and lifestyle behaviors. I’m also a dedicated healthy life guru who has practiced for over 30 years.  And I ROLL MY EYES at each new food trend.   I’ve become the anti excess coach who calls bunk on a lot of new trends. When we saw this diet on a TV show, my husband and I both thought it might make sense. His symptoms kind of fit. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I was so confused, my brain hurt. The results? We made some changes to an already vegetable laden diet. It made a difference, but what was most notable was that some foods were bad but not always bad… AND not all the FODMAPs affected people equally. And for my husband, not all the foods affected him the same on the same day. So crazy making!!! In the long run, the plan makes sense. It’s just not an over night thing.  So what’s this FODMAP thing?  First, let me tell you I’ve lived through hell with my husband who has some kind of complex digestive issues. This last 8 years has been the worst and ever countless doctors giving up, blowing him off, or giving a cookie cutter diagnosis that – if it doesn’t fit gave the doctor reason to give up.  It’s almost a blame the patient if the doctor can’t figure it out kind of thing.   The FODMAP diet that is the rage amongst those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  We have documented statements by several doctors who told my husband: “It’s not really IBS,  but we don’t know what it is so let’s just treat it as if it is.”   Followed by: Here’s a pill. Go Home.  Not one doctor recommended anything beyond try this pill, take this pill, take a laxative, take immodium.  By the time a doctor recommended FODMAPS, we’d been living on it for 6 months to a year and knew this: Some of it helped but there was something else going on too.  

Try It – You’ll Like It (Or you won’t but you’ll rule out one more thing)

I’m a health coach. I made a life studying healthy living. It’s who I am. So when I heard about this FODMAP business, I knew it was worth a try. You might too. And if you are like us, you’ve got nothing to lose. It’s just food, it’s a bit complicated, but if it helps you restore your life — it’s worth everything!  Here’s the best FODMAP CHOICES chart to guide you.  I recommend you download that to your iPhone as a PDF. We keep it in our Evernote. 

Want Some Help? 

I help people like you restore your vibrant life. I’m an expert in Diet, Nutrition, Energy, and Stress Management. There is nothing harder than living with a chronic illness and feeling the isolation that comes from being homebound.  It’s an ongoing battle when one has IBS, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, or other ongoing chronic illness.  I know. I’ve dealt with my own issues and I’ve helped others for 20 years now.  I offer a free initial consultation and if we agree to work together, I become your crutch until you decide you don’t need it. I help you find your happy path. Simple to say, but nothing happens overnight, there are no one trick ponies, and even when you figure it out, sometimes it changes.  I offer the support you are not getting from the doctors who mean well, but can’t give you more than 15 minutes and no real guidance. 

Resources:  Monash University Low FODMAP Diet for IBS: Monash University Low / High Fodmap Chart: UNC talks on digestive health, IBS, Pelvic Floor Dyssenergia, and FODMAPS   2014: 2012 talks: The Pelvic Disorder talks are in Section 3.