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FODMAP for beginners: beyond gluten free for everyday

When you’re under stress or eat something unusual, do you feel gassy, bloated, or plugged, or do you find yourself needing to dash for the rest room?

Here’s the scenario: You were tested for celiac, and it was negative. You tried going gluten-free anyway. It helped … sort of. You gave up milk too. It helped … maybe. But you still know every public bathroom in town, you’ve given up trying to eat in restaurants, and you’re unspeakably frustrated. With all the advances in medical science, why can’t they fix this?

And what’s this about a diet that claims a 75% improvement rate for people with symptoms like ours? Is this new FODMAP diet worth trying? Would it mean giving up comfort foods – fresh baked bread, blueberry waffles, meatloaf smothered in ketchup? What about … oh, please … barbecue sauce??

Or maybe you’re wondering what FODMAP even stands for. Okay, here it is: Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, And Polyols. It’s a group of short-chain molecules that are found in certain common foods. If you have touchy insides, these substances can work together in the dark, plotting your downfall or your next bathroom dash. By cutting your intake of the whole group, and then learning to balance the FODMAP foods that don’t bring back your symptoms, you might just get back a big part of your life.

I did.

Mind you, by “comfort foods” I don’t mean high-fat, high-calorie cholesterol bombs. It’s still mindful eating. It calls for tasty recipes that you’ll turn to again and again. This website won’t offer a complete, balanced diet, but a variety of essential foods you can enjoy in comfort. Also interviews, short FAQs, longer entries on a range of FODMAP and IBS-related topics, and links to other essential sites.

I have a background in science, education, and writing. More to the point, I’ve got a successful FODMAP year under my belt. Literally. I know how isolating it feels, having an irritable digestion. But we aren’t alone anymore.

Start with your doctor. Make sure there isn’t an underlying, treatable condition. Get help from a dietitian, if you can. But you’re among friends, so read on.

Or just skip to the recipe section and try something!