Eating organic is not required as part of the low FODMAP diet. However, for those of us who experience chronic digestive issues, we already know that we have a sensitive digestive system. Choosing to eat organically grown foods minimizes intake of potentially harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. I like to shop at farmers’ markets and whole food markets for local food as much as possible. Locally grown foods are typically healthier than conventionally grown foods as small farms often use significantly fewer chemicals and rely on traditional farming techniques such as rotating and diversifying their crops. I also like to take advantage of our warm summers to grow as many different types of organic vegetables and herbs in planters and pots in our backyard.
Although sugar in some of its variations is allowed on the low FODMAP diet, I don’t recommend that you eat it freely. In fact, you really won’t see sugar used as an ingredient in most of my recipes. Overconsumption of sugar has contributed to the obesity epidemic in our society as well as the rising rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Your overall health will benefit if you keep your sugar consumption to a minimum.
One of the benefits of the low FODMAP diet is that you will actually be greatly reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates in the form of processed wheat. To your body, refined carbohydrates are no different than simple sugar, and because of this, have also added to the rising rates of obesity and chronic disease. You will be doing your body a great service as you swap out refined carbohydrates for the low FODMAP whole grains that are allowed on this diet.
Besides keeping us from fitting into our favorite skinny jeans, fatty and fried foods are hard to digest. The body uses something called bile to break down fats so that our bodies can digest them more easily. However, in people with sensitive bowels, too much bile can irritate the colon causing pain, spasms and diarrhea. Try choosing meats that are lower in fat such as chicken and turkey and choose lean cuts of pork and beef. Switch from lactose free whole yogurt to lactose free reduced fat yogurt and be careful with how much cheese, oil and butter you consume. Coconut oil is a better choice because it is easier to digest in that it does not require bile to be broken down.
Don’t Rush Eating
Digestion begins in the mouth so it is important to chew your food until it is near liquid consistency. Slow down and chew each bite at least 20 times. This allows your body and brain to tell you when you’ve had enough and gives your stomach plenty of time to prepare to properly digest the nutrients you are giving it. The digestive juices secreted from the stomach and pancreas flow more freely in a calm environment so try to slow down at mealtimes. Set the dining room table and perhaps even listen to soothing music. At the very least, make sure you aren’t eating in front of the TV, computer or while on the go.
Eat at Regular Intervals and Don’t Overeat
The body produces only a limited amount of digestive juices. For this reason, large meals are poorly digested and can stress the digestive system. With a regular schedule, your digestive organs have time to rest between meals.