Low FODMAP for Passover

Following a special diet like the low FODMAP diet can be difficult in and of itself. However, it can be even more challenging for those that celebrate occasions like Passover in which the diet is even more restricted for a short time. From April 19th to April 27th of this year, those who follow Judaism will celebrate Passover, an eight-day festival that commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. During this time, any foods that are leavened are to be avoided. Let’s learn a little more about the foods allowed during Passover and how someone can follow the low FODMAP diet at the same time.

Foods allowed during Passover

Since the Israelites consumed unleavened bread when they left Egypt, those celebrating Passover don’t eat or possess any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the end of the eight-day festival. Chametz refers to any leavened grain or any food or drink that contains wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, or any fermented foods. This includes baked goods, cereal, pasta, and most alcoholic beverages as well as many processed foods.

Foods that are ok to consume during Passover include:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Eggs, and fresh fish, meat, or poultry
  • Pure tea or coffee without cereal-based additives
  • Sugar or honey
  • Cottage cheese, cream cheese, or milk
  • Butter

It’s important to focus on consuming fresh foods that are not consumed with any leavened grains. This means you should only purchase foods that have not been processed with sweeteners or preservatives that may be derived from any grains such as foods containing corn syrup, maltodextrin, or other grain-based ingredients.

In addition to the foods listed above, Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern European origin may also restrict kitniot or legumes during Passover. This means that these individuals will not eat vegetables like beans, rice, corn, or peas during Passover since they can be ground into a kind of flour and made into foods that might appear to be chametz.

Low FODMAP basics

The low FODMAP diet is an eating regimen designed to reduce intake of compounds known as FODMAPs, or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Consuming foods high in such compounds may trigger symptoms like abdominal cramps, gas, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea in those with IBS. Some common foods that should be avoided on the low FODMAP diet include:

  • Wheat, barley, and rye
  • Certain vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, Brussels sprouts, celery, leek, button mushrooms, or onions
  • Cow’s milk and related milk products
  • High fructose fruits like apples, cherries, mangoes, pears, or peaches
  • Products containing sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, or xylitol
  • Products containing high amounts of high fructose corn syrup

Low FODMAP Passover foods

From looking at the two sets of restrictions, there are a lot of similarities. They both avoid wheat, barley, and rye as well as processed foods made with such grains in any way. Also, both eating plans strive to avoid processed foods whenever possible and instead focus on many whole, fresh foods. Here is a short list of foods that fit the bill for both restrictions.

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables that are low FODMAP
    • Vegetables like arugula, bean sprouts, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, collard greens, cucumber, Daikon white radishes, eggplant, kale, salad greens, okra, pitted olives, parsnips, sweet potato, spaghetti squash, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, and yams.
    • Fruits like banana (1 medium unripe or ½ ripe), cantaloupe (3/4 cup), clementines, grapes, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, mandarin or navel oranges, pineapple (1 cup), or strawberries.
  • Eggs, and fresh fish, meat, or poultry
  • Pure tea or coffee without cereal-based additives; stick to eight ounces of weak Chai, black, or dandelion tea or strong rooibos or green tea; six ounces of strong black tea
  • Sugar or honey
  • Lactose-free cottage cheese, cream cheese, or milk
  • Almond milk
  • Nuts or seeds, excluding cashews or pistachios; limit almonds as well as pecan and walnut halves to 10 pieces
  • Cheese (2 ounces/day)
  • Butter

Traditional Passover foods like matzo ball soup and matzo crackers contain wheat, so would not be allowed on the low FODMAP diet.

This is just a short list of foods that may be allowed on this combined eating regimen. For more information on what you can eat on the low FODMAP diet, be sure to visit the Casa de Sante website resources.

Take home message

The low FODMAP diet combined with the Passover restrictions may appear to be challenging at first. However, there are still plenty of delicious foods to enjoy on this combined diet during the eight-day festival of Passover. For recipes on how to enjoy low FODMAP foods during Passover and any time of year, be sure to visit the Casa de Sante website.

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