As a wellness professional, it’s likely you have heard of the Low FODMAP Diet. Maybe you’re aware of how it can help clients with digestive concerns like irritable bowel syndrome. Maybe you have used it with success. Or maybe, it’s a fairly new concept to you.
Whatever boat you’re in, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
Consider this your crash course on how to use a low FODMAP diet for your clients. We’ll define FODMAPs and where they are found, the benefits of exploring a Low FODMAP diet, and whether or not it can be practical and delicious (hint: the answer is obviously yes) for your clients to follow.
So, what is a FODMAP?
The term FODMAP is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates:
Common even in very healthy foods, high sources of FODMAPs include:
- Lactose: all dairy products containing lactose, such as yogurts, milk, soft cheeses and ice cream.
- Fructose: problematic levels of fructose can be found in apples, pears, mango, figs, watermelon, honey, and agave nectar.
- Fructans: high in garlic, onions, the gluten-containing grains (wheat/barley/rye/spelt), dried fruit, artichokes, and extracts like chicory and inulin fibre.
- Galacto-Oligosaccharides: contained in all legumes as well as pistachios and cashews (sometimes known as “honorary legumes”).
- Sugar Alcohols: added to processed items like sugar-free candies, gums and chocolates but also naturally found in whole foods like cauliflower, mushrooms and stone fruits.
When these carbohydrates are not broken down, they travel intact through the small intestine, where they attract water and act as a food source for gut bacteria.
Drawing of excess water into the digestive tract can contribute to diarrhea or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness/heaviness in the abdomen. In addition, the bi-product of gut bacteria consuming these carbohydrates is hydrogen gas, which can further fill and stretch the intestine.
This combination of excess fluid and gas in the GI tract can cause extreme discomfort, irregular bowl movements, and of course lead to stress and insecurity!
Who needs the Low FODMAP Diet?
Low FODMAP diets are commonly recommended for people diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Those suffering with IBS commonly experience symptoms such as abdominal bloating, gas, cramping, constipation and diarrhea.
In 75% of IBS sufferers who try a low FODMAP diet, there is a reduction or elimination of symptoms. So if you’re not already using this diet for IBS cases, you should consider integrating it into your practice. The results can be truly life changing.
It is of course important to remember that bloating, gas, and changes in bowel habits should be investigated by a medical professional to rule out more serious causes and ensure that a Low FODMAP Diet is and appropriate option.
How to use it.
Like the Elimination Diet, the Low FODMAP Diet is an exploratory diet, which means that it is followed strictly for a short period (usually around 3 weeks) until symptoms resolve. This period is followed by careful reintroduction of one food at a time to test different types of potentially problematic carbohydrates until trigger foods are identified.
Some clients may only be sensitive to certain FODMAPs, like Polyols in sugar-free products. Others may find that they can tolerate high FODMAP foods as long as they keep the quantity low, like a tablespoon of hummus.
This arms clients with the knowledge of exactly which foods should be avoided to keep symptoms at bay, and what to expect if they choose to indulge on occasion. That means less surprise bloating, feelings of helplessness and confusion about symptoms - talk about nutritional empowerment!
How to make it simple.
Obviously we are all about making healthy eating ridiculously simple and fun! So we have created a 7-Day Low FODMAP Diet Program that makes it easier than ever for our business members to give their clients all the resources they need to get started.
The program maps out meals and snacks for each day of the week. It also includes an itemized grocery list and even prep notes to remove all guesswork.
We understand what it takes to make a great meal plan that factors in busy lifestyles and the need for both simple and exciting recipes, so this plan focuses on dinners that create leftovers for lunches along with some delicious slow-cooker options. Unlike many Low FODMAP meal plans, all recipes are composed completely of whole foods that are actually healthy. Packed with anti-oxidant rich smoothies, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and healthy treats like Pumpkin Loaf... this is food your clients will truly thrive on!
The Low FODMAP meal plan is available to That Clean Life for Business Members.
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