Does having IBS seem like it’s your new personality trait? Well, it doesn’t have to be! Like many people who struggle with gastrointestinal disorders, your day-to-day life can seem all consumed by symptom flare-ups. Every day can seem like a battle with your body’s own digestive system. Let’s break down how you can get rid of this indigestible personality trait.
The low FODMAP diet has become more and more popular as people have become increasingly aware of their digestive abnormalities. Are you constantly feeling like you have to change your social plans or plan your day around bathroom breaks? Then the low fodmap diet might be the answer to learning how you can live a symptom-free life.
Even though the list of low-fodmap foods can seem overwhelming with restrictions, the low-fodmap diet is actually not supposed to be life-long. In fact, you’re only supposed to be on a 100% low fodmap diet for approximately 2-8 weeks. It is recommended that you consult with a clinician or nutritionist to identify the low FODMAP diet that is right for you.
The first step of the low fodmap diet is known as the “Elimination phase”. During the elimination diet, you will remove all high FODMAP foods from your diet for 2-8 weeks depending on how your body responds. A few simple tips:
- The diet can seem overwhelming. Just remember, we learn from our own mistakes! No one is perfect.
- You don’t need to restart if a high FODMAP food is accidentally consumed. Just take note of how you felt after you ate the item, teachable moment!
- You still need a balanced diet. Luckily low FODMAP foods are included in every food group.
- Meal planning makes life easier. Epicured is an ideal way to help reduce food-induced stress during this phase (all foods on the Epicured menu are 100% low FODMAP and are perfect for completing the elimination phase!)
The second step of the fodmap diet is known as the “Reintroduction phase”. During this phase, you will systematically reintroduce high-FODMAP foods. It is highly recommended that you consult with a clinician or nutritionist during this phase and DEFINITELY keep a journal! This phase lasts for 6-8 weeks. Here’s how:
- Test one high FODMAP subtype at a time. Continue to eat all other low FODMAP foods besides the one you are “testing”.
- Each week reintroduce a subtype for three days and then give your body a week to reset before the next subtype test. You could consider a one week on one week off scenario.
- Increase quantities of the tested food over the three days in realistic amounts.
- Take note of how your body reacts to each reintroduced food. A food journal is key!
- Once you have identified all the subtypes that you can tolerate, combine them in one meal to test how interactions affect your symptoms in the last weeks of this phase. Eating the items separately may be more easily tolerated than when you eat them together.
The third step of the FODMAP diet is known as the “Personalization phase”. This is continuous and does not have a set number of weeks.
- Bring back into your diet all the high FODMAP foods that you tolerated well in phase two. Include them freely in your diet.
- Foods that you tested and resulted in “moderate” or “manageable” symptoms can be consumed occasionally.
- Foods that were not tolerated well, avoid them for now. Eventually, you can retest these foods in your diet. Our bodies are constantly changing so down the line you might be able to enjoy these foods once again without any symptoms!
Essentially, a 100% low FODMAP diet should only last up to 8 weeks or as little as 2 weeks. The reintroduction phase should last 6-8 weeks. So, how long is the low FODMAP diet? At the most, 16 weeks or as little as 8 weeks!
The effort is worth it once you have your very own personalized diet and return to your normal life, not dictated by bathroom breaks!
While the weeks you spend focused on implementing these phases are challenging, Epicured is a great tool to make your efforts easier! Sign up for a Membership to kick-start your Elimination phase and have low FODMAP meals delivered right to your door. Move one step closer to your very own personalized, gut-happy diet!