Nobody’s perfect. There are going to be times in your life when you may be less than “perfect” on your low FODMAP lifestyle. The holidays or social events may provide temptations, or foods you eat outside the home may contain hidden FODMAP ingredients that you were unaware of. Sometimes you may not even realize you consumed a high FODMAP food until the symptoms set in. However, it is certainly not the end of the world, and there are ways to help deal with any symptoms you encounter. Read below on tips for what to do when you eat FODMAPs.
Deal with symptoms
Depending on what symptoms you are experiencing, your treatment will vary. Here are some tips on how to deal with certain symptoms.
- Constipation: Drink plenty of water and increase your fiber intake by adding more fruits, vegetables, safe grains like oats and brown rice or low FODMAP prebiotics to help bulk your stool and produce a bowel movement. Also, walking a bit can help stimulate your bowels and alleviate your constipation. Drinking a cup or two of coffee has been helpful to some to stimulate the bowels. If none of these methods work, visit your healthcare provider to see if a probiotic, magnesium supplement, or other medication treatment may work for you.
- Diarrhea: If you have loose stools, it will be especially important to ensure that you drink plenty of fluid and consume electrolytes naturally. A medium unripe banana (yellow-greenish color), a tablespoon of raisins, or ½ cup sweet potato are all foods that contain electrolytes (in their Monash-certified low FODMAP serving sizes). Also, avoid any spicy foods such as peppers or hot sauce as well as any acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits until symptoms pass. Stick to bland foods such as brown rice, potatoes, plain proteins, and bananas until you are feeling better.
- Abdominal Cramps: If you have cramping, try to take a light walk if you can to help relieve any cramps you may be experiencing. Walking helps to release any gas that may be contributing to your cramping. Also, a hot bath, heating pad on the abdomen, or gentle yoga may be helpful to reduce cramps. Relaxation breathing may also help to reduce the pain associated with abdominal cramps.
- Bloating/Gas: If you feel bloated or gassy, it will be helpful to move a bit, if you can, to release some of the gas built up in your digestive system. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and reduce any fluid retention. A heating pad, stretching, and massaging the area may also be helpful to help release gas and reduce bloating.
Get back on track
Once you have your symptoms under control, you can get back on track with your low FODMAP diet. It may be a good idea to go through an elimination phase again for a few days to help your body recover from any symptoms. If you need guidance on where to begin with this, try Casa de Sante’s meal plans or how-to tips.
Be prepared for the future
Sometimes when you experience symptoms, you may be disappointed in yourself for not being more careful. Instead of feeling this way, take this as an opportunity to learn even more about the low FODMAP diet and to be more prepared and knowledgeable than before. One way you can do this is to check out Casa de Sante’s Tip & Tricks. You can also download the Monash app to your phone to help you learn as you go about what foods and how much of certain foods are safe on the low FODMAP regimen.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.