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I want to start low-fodmap diet but I'm very confused


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#21 Jennag

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:23 PM

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My sense, since Fodmaps tend to be compounds in the diet that can cause gas (or with the -itols can pull water into the stool), is that an occasional cheat meal would be a day or three of trouble, not weeks on end.Still, I'd err on the side of less when you do decide to cheat rather than a huge amount of a cheat food.I don't think Fodmaps cause long term damage (like you see in celiacs where the lining of the small intestine changes) but it can take awhile for the gut to settle into a new diet. A big change in diet can upset the GI tract in anyone for a few days.Diet sometimes isn't a complete control, so it may not be a 100% solution if you have other triggers that effect your IBS. However for a lot of people even 50% better can mean the difference between something that is annoying vs something that really interferes with functioning.

Thanks Kathleen.You're right. The improvements I am experiencing can eventually help me with work (referring to the times I've been late because I was in the bathroom with a stomach ache) and even with the freedom to do things like going to the movie theater which I hesitate to do now. The changes are still so new so that even the slightest discomfort makes me wary that things will get worse as the day or evening progresses, but I've been finding that it's not getting as bad as it was. This is a huge deal for me. It has been approximately three days in a row now that my stomach pain and gas stopped at a manageable level. I can't even verbalize what this means to me. This after only ten days on the diet and some trial and error as I acclimated. The diet is definitely hard to stick to but it is worth it.


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#22 plie

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:29 PM

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#23 plie

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:42 PM

I would be checking the spelt bread - its related to wheat and yes, may have yeast and preservatives that cause symptoms. Versions of the same food in the shepherd book found in other countries have different ingredients. Just look at the McDonald's websites for each country- Australian Maccas doesn't have hfcs or as many artificial additives.I can't have too much tomato in one setting and I've heard carrots are a sweet vegetable.Regarding weight, I've heard that dieticians recommend not worrying about that until after a certain time of being symptom free.

#24 Jennag

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:43 PM

Versions of the same food in the shepherd book found in other countries have different ingredients. Just look at the McDonald's websites for each country- Australian Maccas doesn't have hfcs or as many artificial additives.

That makes a lot of sense. I didn't think of that. Perhaps the Heinz ketchup and the Poweraid only contain those fodmaps in the US.

#25 Kathleen M.

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:19 PM

Country to country difference may make a big difference. HFCS is really cheap in the US and sugar relatively expensive.Anything processed you will probably need to double check the label.
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#26 Common Response

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 04:37 AM

The others beat me to it.The other reason why Sue Shepherd is liberal with her diet options is that she discovered that each of us will have different levels of tolerance.Her main thrust is to aim for an easily achievable well balanced diet with a low FODMAP load on the system.After decades of living with undiagnosed food intolerance/malabsorption I tend towards a position a little more strict by leaning towards natural unprocessed foods.My posted FODMAP food chart reflects my position.Unfortunately to many of our processed foods contain additives often not disclosed which can contribute to our symptoms.I avoid meats which are minced/cured/processed and prefer fruit, vegetables and other food groups in their natural unprocessed state wherever possible.If you can develop a list of tasty low FODMAP recipes you needn't do without and will eventually grow a liking for natural foods.I started the following thread to encourage sharing of recipes and food ideas:http://www.ibsgroup.org/forums/topic/135073-fodmap-free-foodstuffs-and-recipes/After a strict dieting period which will allow you to establish digestive stability, and give you a base from which to challenge yourself to fine tune your tolerance levels you can then explore cheating.You'll find that with time on low FODMAP your system will become more robust and be able to digest suitable foods you initially had trouble with.After this period you can cheat on special occasions from time to time.I'm personally lucky in that my symptoms don't include bloating and abdominal pain.I cheat from time to time, perhaps on a Friday night knowing I have time off the following day so I'm not so concerned about offending anyone.But realistically my future is reeducating my desires for healthy low FODMAP food as I have a great aversion to living with symptoms.I also associate previous favorite dishes with depression and social marginalization making it easy for me to say no.If you are lucky enough to experience no symptoms with spelt matzah then you can keep it in your diet.I personally won't have any wheat as my personal experience isn't so good.Unless you have a secondary condition which causes you to have an inability to digest fats, you'll find most oils are FODMAP free and should be fine.Rice Bubbles and Corn Fkes a good snacks and can also be used to crumb snitzels.

Hi,Thanks again for your response.Things are getting better. I guess when I first heard of this diet I thought it would be a quick fix. I thought I would work hard and it would solve all my problems. I soon realized that's not the way it works. I am seeing some improvement and I'm thrilled. I guess thirty some odd years of eating a diet full of fodmaps is not fixable in ten days.I am experimenting with baking with rice flour, using organic rice crispies (I think you call them rice bubbles) and corn flakes as quick snacks, and taking your advice about having a banana or orange on an empty stomach. Finding more foods I am able to safely eat is making this eating plan easier to live with. I am happy to say that I think I can do it long term. One confusion I'm having is that I purchased a book from Sue Sheperd's website: Food Shopping Guide 5th Edition. While looking through it I found several foods that seem to have fodmaps in them. For example: Heinz organic ketchup which has onion powder; cream cheese and ricotta cheese, which I thought were soft cheeses; Poweraid, which has high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient...this is just to name a few examples. Why is the book so liberal with the foods it allows? And is it really a tool I can use when following the diet?Another question I have, and I hope the answer is not obvious, is when looking at this diet as a long term way of life, what about cheating? For instance if I were to go out for someone's birthday to a restaurant, there is really no way to know if there are fodmaps in the food. It is so easily hidden in garlic or onion powder, etc. Even if I asked there could surely be a mistake. Or what if in a celebratory mood I were to throw caution to the wind and eat my full of onions and eggplant (I love eggplant parmesan), would it mean weeks to get back on track, or is one high fodmap meal once in a blue moon quickly eliminated from your system and would only cause one or two days of symptoms to recur?There are two more questions that I am curious about: I found a product called spelt matzah. It is a flat crispy bread made without yeast and seems to agree with me more than the spelt bread. Could it be the yeast in the spelt bread that is so hard on the stomach? I am curious about your opinion on that.Is canola oil okay to use? Thanks again for all your guidance. The improvements I am feeling are greatly due to all your help and I am so grateful.J



#27 Jennag

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:01 AM

I had a horrible night last night. Which really depressed me even though I know in the beginning of adhering to the diet this is absolutely normal. I can't figure out if the bad gas was caused by too much corn flakes (about two cups and about five corn cakes) eaten throughout the day, or if raw carrots were the cause. I also wonder if I should maybe avoid gouda cheese, which I have been eating about once a day. However, I have had some good days eating the gouda and yesterday was the first time since starting on the diet that I had so much corn or raw carrots.It's so frustrating trying to figure out the triggers. Having said that still not giving up.I know this is normal and I will persevere (very dramatic, I know)

#28 Kathleen M.

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:11 AM

My guess would be too much starch from the corn products.Some IBSers do well on a low starch (from any source) diet.
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#29 Common Response

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 08:58 AM

Hi J.Sorry to read that you had a horrible night.This might be the perfect opportunity to try challenging your system to isolate the trigger.From a stable situation try only one of the three (carrots, gouda, corn flakes) to see if you can isolate the offender.Doing this might isolate a trigger which will allow you to move forward with your allowable foods.The low FODMAP diet allows hard cheese, but only 1 to 2 thin slices, maximum, per day.I personally won't have any cheese, fearing its consequences.Calcium is extremely important to dieters, so for this reason, I'll include such things as lactose free yoghurt, and Caltrate Calcium supplements in my diet.Others on this forum have indicated that slightly cooked carrots are more forgiving to our system than raw.I'll cross my fingers and hope you're able to identify the culprit....Personally, I think it's the Corn Flakes.This is the stated ingredients:Ingredients: MILLED CORN, SUGAR, MALT FLAVORING, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, Different western countries will have unique primary food production which ends up in many processed foods.In Australia we have wheat, dairy & cane sugar.In the U.S. corn is a major crop, and finds its way in many processed foods such as corn syrup in Corn Flakes.Australian Corn Flakes will contain cane sugar instead.

I had a horrible night last night. Which really depressed me even though I know in the beginning of adhering to the diet this is absolutely normal. I can't figure out if the bad gas was caused by too much corn flakes (about two cups and about five corn cakes) eaten throughout the day, or if raw carrots were the cause. I also wonder if I should maybe avoid gouda cheese, which I have been eating about once a day. However, I have had some good days eating the gouda and yesterday was the first time since starting on the diet that I had so much corn or raw carrots.It's so frustrating trying to figure out the triggers. Having said that still not giving up.I know this is normal and I will persevere (very dramatic, I know)



#30 Bindser29

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 06:56 PM

What about Citrucil? That's the fiber supplement I was told to take.

#31 Pixna

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:35 AM

Jennag, if you have a sensitivity to gluten, the malt flavoring in the corn flakes might be the culprit (though I agree with Common Response's suggestion about isolating the trigger).Common Response, what is the reason that hard cheeses are so limited? I though they were free of lactose. What else in them might cause problems?

#32 Jennag

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:31 AM

What about Citrucil? That's the fiber supplement I was told to take.

I wanted to try Citrucil but I was unsure if all the ingredients were okay on the low-fodmap diet. Did the person who recommended it to you do so with the low-fodmap diet in mind? If so I would love to be able to take it as I have a whole bottle sitting around that I'm scared to use.

#33 Jennag

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:42 AM

Jennag, if you have a sensitivity to gluten, the malt flavoring in the corn flakes might be the culprit (though I agree with Common Response's suggestion about isolating the trigger).Common Response, what is the reason that hard cheeses are so limited? I though they were free of lactose. What else in them might cause problems?

Hi Pixna, I don't think it's the corn flake additives as the corn flakes I'm using are organic and the only ingredients are corn and sea salt. I find organic versions of these type of foods have a minimal of ingredients. I wonder if corn itself can be constipating. Do you know if they are?Unfortunately I haven't isolated the trigger yet. I am feeling much better though overall but I have my days. Maybe the constipation is the problem and I am not eating enough of the right fiber everyday. I noticed that on Saturday when I was a little slack in my fiber intake I had a terrible stomach ache that evening. First I examined what I ate on Saturday but now I wonder if it was more about what I didn't eat. Sometimes I feel like a food detective. Its all conjecture at this point. I still don't know what it is.Thanks,J

#34 Pixna

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:57 AM

Jennag, I think too much of anything could cause C or D, varying from individual to individual. Some people are very corn sensitive. Luckily, I'm not, and corn (in the form of polenta or corn cakes) has been a saving grace for me. But it sounds like you had a LOT of corn and that would probably do me in too. What did you put on the cornflakes and corn cakes?Raw carrots do cause some problems for me, so I usually just have a teeny amount of grated carrot on a salad. Other than that, I have my carrots cooked.Cheese can be extremely constipating (whether or not someone has IBS).I'd suggest cutting all of these out and then, when you're stabilized, adding back cornflakes for a few days to see how you feel. Then cutting them out again and adding back in corn cakes to see how you feel. Then, after a couple of days, stopping that and trying carrots again. Of course, if you feel awful immediately after eating any of these, don't continue eating them. You'll have your answer! I'd also suggest eliminating the cheese completely.In terms of fiber, everyone is so individual. I was taking psyllium supplements for years, and I actually think they were doing more harm than good. While I've been IBS/C and D, I've been mostly D lately (after being mostly C for many years). Since starting the low-FODMAP diet, I've stopped all fiber supplements and am doing better than ever. I still have D, but not as bad as I did before. I do think it's possible to achieve success via diet, without using fiber supplements. But it does take some trial and error, as with anything, and I don't think that fiber supplements are necessarily the answer for everyone.

#35 Jennag

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:56 PM

Jennag, I think too much of anything could cause C or D, varying from individual to individual. Some people are very corn sensitive. Luckily, I'm not, and corn (in the form of polenta or corn cakes) has been a saving grace for me. But it sounds like you had a LOT of corn and that would probably do me in too. What did you put on the cornflakes and corn cakes?Raw carrots do cause some problems for me, so I usually just have a teeny amount of grated carrot on a salad. Other than that, I have my carrots cooked.Cheese can be extremely constipating (whether or not someone has IBS).I'd suggest cutting all of these out and then, when you're stabilized, adding back cornflakes for a few days to see how you feel. Then cutting them out again and adding back in corn cakes to see how you feel. Then, after a couple of days, stopping that and trying carrots again. Of course, if you feel awful immediately after eating any of these, don't continue eating them. You'll have your answer! I'd also suggest eliminating the cheese completely.In terms of fiber, everyone is so individual. I was taking psyllium supplements for years, and I actually think they were doing more harm than good. While I've been IBS/C and D, I've been mostly D lately (after being mostly C for many years). Since starting the low-FODMAP diet, I've stopped all fiber supplements and am doing better than ever. I still have D, but not as bad as I did before. I do think it's possible to achieve success via diet, without using fiber supplements. But it does take some trial and error, as with anything, and I don't think that fiber supplements are necessarily the answer for everyone.

I might have been eating too much corn in the beginning, but I think I'm down to 1-2 servings a day at this point. Mainly either corn cakes which I have on their own and organic cornflakes which I make into crumbs to coat chicken with. I only eat the carrots cooked now. Perhaps I should cut out the cheese. I would say that right now my questionable foods are cheese, corn, spelt flat breads, oats which I have every morning and occasionally mayonnaise. I should take your advice and start cutting them out and then starting back on them one at a time. The pattern is that usually around 10am I feel bloated. Then I feel mostly better the rest of the day till the late evening. The problem is that most days I start work at 9am, so I can't afford to be bloated and sitting in the rest room at 10. I try to eat breakfast early, at around 7, so that my stomach has time to digest the food and use the restroom before 9 but it doesn't help. I also eat dinner by 6pm, latest 7, so I would think that dinner would have time to digest. I don't really know....Perhaps it's the oats in the morning. CR mentioned that they can be heavy for some. I don't know what else to eat though. I prefer a sweeter breakfast, although I do use only 2-3 teaspoons of sugar as directed. I used to have whole wheat toast and natural peanut butter for breakfast everyday, which is completely not an option now. I don't really like a savory breakfast.Or the worst possible scenario-the dreaded possibility that it's my once daily morning cup of decaf coffee. It's not even caffeinated. Please tell me it's not the coffee. I really don't want to give that up. I drink it black with half a teaspoon of sugar. Although if it is the coffee, I'll do what I need to do.Thanks Pixna. 'Talking' it out really helps. I don't think I could do this diet without this forum.

#36 Pixna

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:44 AM

Hi, Jennag. Here are few additional pointers that might help:1. Peanut butter can cause problems. It's a legume, after all, and a concentrated food. Natural almond butter would be a better choice, but even that should be eaten in moderation because it too is a concentrated food.2. Spelt is a relative of wheat and contains gluten. To get a clearer picture on what is causing your problems, I'd suggest eliminating it completely for now.3. Oats can be very heavy and difficult for some people to digest. That's another food to eliminate, at least for the time being. When you reintroduce it, you might want to have it in smaller portions and only a couple of times a week.4. Coffee is supposed to contain FODMAPS, and I imagine that's true of decaf as well as regular coffee. Also, even decaf contains caffeine and, for me at least, caffeine can really screw up the digestive system.For breakfast, you could try having a banana with a small amount of almond butter for breakfast. Or two corn thins with almond butter and a few currants or raisins on top (very few, but just enough to add some sweetness). What about crisped rice (rice bubbles) with a very small amount of acceptable fruit (such as one or two sliced strawberries or a tablespoon or two of blueberries)? You could also have a fruit smoothie made with one or two strawberries, a piece of pineapple, some acceptable rice milk, a frozen banana, a small spoonful of almond butter, and a small spoonful of maple syrup. You could even add a lettuce leaf or a small amount of spinach -- you won't taste them, but they'll add extra nutrition.Even though cane sugar is low-FODMAP, sugar, like caffeine, can screw up the digestive system.I hope that helps a little. I know how difficult it is to give up favorite foods and find ones that don't cause problems. It's a daily challenge, isn't it?!Hugs,Pixna

#37 Jennag

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 08:53 AM

I started today with intention of cutting out some of my questionable foods, but it all went horribly wrong.In my effort to get rid of my C, I gave myself D. You would think that when you are C you would welcome a bit of D but that is very much not the case. I was having half a grapefruit for the past several days and then decided yesterday to have a second half later in the day, in addition to THREE whole turnips roasted in extra virgin olive oil. That was a very very bad idea. Way to much turnip and maybe half a grapefruit a day is enough too. I did cut out coffee this morning. I also cut out the oats this morning, but who can tell what's going on now with this D. Instead of coffee I had decaf Nana tea with lemon. It is an herbal tea with spearment leaves, rose hip and lemon and orange peel. I hope that tea is okay. Maybe I should just get a plain tea. A lot going on in these herbal teas. How much almond butter is an acceptable serving? 1 tablespoon?A bit frustrated today, but feeling better than I did before I started, so no complaints.

#38 Pixna

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:20 AM

I'm sorry it isn't going well yet, Jennag. I used to be mostly C, then it was mostly D, and now it's alternating. I know what you mean when you say that D should seem like a relief after C, but it isn't. However, it could be that your system is starting to clear out the debris, so the D may not be a bad thing for a little while.For me, one of the keys is not overdoing any one food. A small amount is far, far better than a large amount, even of something that is (or should be, or seems to be) tolerable. I'm still trying to gauge how much almond butter I can safely have at a time. I would say 1 tablespoon is a good starting point, but less might be better.I've had a recent setback and I'm trying to pinpoint the cause. It's all a bit of a detective game, isn't it?

#39 Jennag

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 10:13 AM

Pixna, I believe you are right on all counts. The D might just be a result of prolonged C and if I keep up the fiber intake through fruits and veggies without such excesses perhaps I will find a balance. If overdoing any food is a problem that explains why sometimes a food agrees with me and other times it doesn't. I need to be more vigilant with that. And it absolutely is a detective game. But I am feeling so much better than I was before the diet. So I am definitely moving in the right direction. Thanks for your kind words. Good luck solving your mystery.J





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