I’m a strong believer that everyone requires different levels of nutrients or foods and to a point, some even need to eliminate specific food groups in order to function properly. I don’t trust that their is one diet that fits all, that sounds impossible to me. We weren’t made from cookie cuters and neither should our diets. Hence, we’re all different and require different nutritional needs.
Even though the Low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet for those who suffer with IBS, the aim is to remove certain foods and then reintroduce them. I have decided to stay on the low FODMAP diet permanently, but adjust it to suit my body’s needs. My case is this; I have IBS-C, colonic inertia due to low serotonin levels (slow bowel), which can also cause depression and I have reoccurring SIBO.
What’s My Take
I use the low FODMAP diet as a base to my overall diet. I completely avoid onions and garlic, these are murderous for me, I also follow the guideline for fruits and vegetables too. Below is the additional aspects of my diet and their reasons why.
Complex Carbohydrates – I am completely wheat free and mostly follow a gluten free diet, but rice gluten seems fine for me. I find if I eat too much bread or wheat based products I bloat out and it can also cause a severe IBS flare up. I also avoid starchy carbs as they wreck havoc on my digestion and seems to slow everything down. The biggest reason I avoid most carbohydrates is due to my reoccurring SIBO, the bad bacteria in the gut feeds off the carbs and in turn will multiply causing bloating and discomfort.
Simple Carbohydrates – Sugar to me is like a modern day drug and you may be thinking ‘What! are you mad?” (yes… probably) but hear me out. It’s addictive, promotes weight gain and can trigger cancer cells in the body among many other horrible symptoms. My intake of sugar is minimal, even down to how much milk I have in my tea, to the fruits I eat. I will always opt for berries as the sugar doesn’t need to be metabolized by the gut, which is great if you suffer with SIBO. I will even make sure there is no sugar in the medicine I take for the common cold or sore throat, I will always make sure it is sugar free. I lead a sugar free lifestyle and I’m proud of it!
So you must be thinking, “but Kate, where do you get your energy from?”, the answer is, my meals are ‘BIG’ and mostly consist of low FODMAP vegetables, proteins and most importantly fats. I make sure to consume a healthy amount of unsaturated fats, such as fish, unrefined nut butters, cheese, unsalted butter and unrefined coconut oil (saturated fat). Many people are too scared to go near fats as they believe it will promote weight gain, but hey people, we’re not in the 90’s anymore! The truth of the matter is your body needs fats to fight disease and function properly. I incorporate fats in my diet to help speed up my bowel. Fat triggers the gastrocolic reflex which can be hypoactive in people with chronic constipation.
Trust me you won’t get fat from fat, my example is I’m 151cm and 42kg, I used to weight 47kg with visible cellulite, but when I replace my sugar with fat, I lost weight (fat supresses cravings and make you feel fuller for longer) and my skin tone was much more even. Remember the key is healthy fats and should make up around 20% of your dietary intake, if you consume 2000 calories a day it’s recommend that 65-70g should be of good healthy fats. If you want to learn more about fats read my previous post ‘Sugar Vs Fats‘.
Even before the low FODMAP diet the only meat I used to eat was chicken. A couple of years back I visited the doctor complaining of severe menstruation cramps and pain in my ovaries. He performed an ultra sound and found I had one benign cyst but he also asked if I suffered from constipation and bloating. This really surprised me because this was a new hospital and I had no previous records from my gastroenterologist. He told me that the pain could also be due to a bacterial infection in my bowel, creating inflammation and lack of oxygen to the uterus. He told me this is not his field but advised I try to cut out meat as it creates methane gas in the gut causing inflammation, he then told me to go see a gastroenterologist, and this is where my journey began.
Now, the only animal I eat is fish. This change has had the biggest impact on my gut, I feel so much healthier cutting out meat. My digestion time is faster (no constipation), no bloating and I have zero menstrual cramps and I don’t even take pain killers.
Pre Packaged Food
A also avoid any pre-packaged food, period! I cook all of my meals from scratch and make in bulk because I have a pretty hectic life. This is why I document my recipes here on Balanced Grub, all of which are tummy friendly and low FODMAP.
This diet is pretty hard core but I would rather eliminate food that my body can’t handle than live a life in pain and discomfort. The first few weeks are hard but your body will adjust to functioning without sugars and carbs, just make sure you are getting enough micronutrients which will help heal and repair the gut.
Tailor Make Your Own Diet | Tips To Help You Get Started
If you want to get started tailor making your diet.
- I would first recommend a check up from the hospital. A good test would be to get your hormone levels checked. Hormones control most of the body’s functions. Also tell your doctor if you are embarking on any new diet plan.
- Try educating yourself on nutrition this is the most important. Knowing how your body works is always on step closer to reaching your goal. A great book to get you started is Solve It with Supplements.
- Take it slow, you don’t have to go full force with eliminating food from your diet and more often than not you will most likely relapse and cave into craving if you do. It took me 6 months to get to a point where I was knolagable about what I put in my body.
- Stick to your recommend calorie intake and exercise at least 3 times a week.
- Drink at least 2 litters of water a day.