When I was an a dietetic intern in 2013 and first encountered the FODMAP diet, I was stupefied by a) how anyone would ever follow this diet and b) how it ACTUALLY worked. Here’s the rub: if you’ve got IBS; you need a MULTI-disciplinary approach to cope with it. Not just a dietitian. Not just your GI doctor. A TEAM. Your gut is sacred and sensitive, and if it’s off – kilter, avoiding these FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols) is only a piece of your disturbed gut puzzle.
So ensure you’ve also got:
A psychologist and perhaps even a mindfuless-meditation coach; to reduce stress and anxiety
A supplement plan (that comes from us RDs!)
A GI (duh)
An RD (duh)
A physical fitness plan
… and a lot of patience.
We’re not going to attempt to explain the FODMAP diet’s theories; if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been surfing the web about it for at least 20 minutes. If you want to learn more about FODMAPs, we love these resources:
Katescarlata.com (she’s an RD!)
We’re going to explain how we, at Essence, implement a low FODMAP protocol and how we measure success. And how we officially give you a WIDE caution here – it is NOT easy, it is NOT fun, and it MAY NOT even work. IBS/IBD are SO vastly complicated that even eliminating LIKELY offenders may not result in relief – you may have SIBO, Celiac’s, fructose intolerance, or lactose intolerance. Your gastroenterologist is steering the ship here, we are but the humble ship staff. After your GI has determined that you are likely to benefit from a FODMAP diet, here’s what we do:
We urge you to set aside 6 weeks where you REALLY can commit to this. The whole point of this is to use yourself as a scientific experiment; and if you aren’t a diligent test subject, your experiment will be in shambles.
We like to set a bland baseline for 6 weeks, where we take you off all FODMAPs, yes, but also all processed foods (there are lots of FODMAP treats!), all dairy proteins, all soy, all sauces and dressings, caffeine, alcohol, most teas, most spices, most fruits / veggies, many nuts/seeds, and are very strict with portions. Yeah. It’s not pretty. But this is when people who are devastated with sickness begin to usually see improvement – so they’re motivated to continue! After that ‘washout’ period, we begin to to reintroduce, slowly, potential offenders, rather systematically according to if they are an F – O – D.. etc. We like to say that we lock up a whole neighborhood, and then release prisoners one by one to see who actually commits a crime. It’s a perverse system of justice. We progress you, slowly, to a true FODMAP diet outlined by our friends in the above links and monitor tolerance over time / try to liberalize your diet as much as possible (in fact, the FODMAP diet is not meant to be permanent, as it can alter gut microflora unfavorably. The FODMAP diet cuts out a LOT of wholesome, healthful foods!). As you can tell, this process can take months. And we as the RDs are as constant resource to make sure you do everything according to protocol and are feeling fine! But when you finally live a life free of tummy trouble, you know it’s worth it, and we all live bloat-lessly / blissfully ever after.
The Essence RD Team