IBS can affect every area of your life. Whether it’s the emergency trips to the bathroom or painful bloating and constipation, IBS shows up every day.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably already know that what you eat can make a big difference in your IBS symptoms. You may need to eat according to your food sensitivities or you may be on the low FODMAP diet. Changing what you eat isn’t easy, but for most of my clients, it’s totally worth it. Dietary changes don’t necessarily address the root cause of your IBS, but they can go a long way towards helping you feel better.
So for the next few weeks we’re going to get super practical about eating with IBS. You probably already know that finding restaurant food that works for you can be a challenge. So this month we’re going to talk about how to cook with IBS. Whether you’re a newbie cook, feeding a picky family, or just don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’ll find some helpful tips, techniques and resources right here over the next few weeks. Let’s dive in!
We’re going to start this week with the basics — staple foods to keep on hand that you can use to build some simple meals.
My favorite therapeutic diet for IBS is the low FODMAP diet. After working with hundreds of clients to improve their IBS symptoms, this is my go-to. As always though, I have to start with a caveat. The low FODMAP diet is not safe to do on your own. It’s a complex plan that happens in stages. And giving up FODMAPs completely or for an extended amount of time can cause nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. So it’s important that you work with a knowledgeable practitioner when you go on the low FODMAP diet.
That being said, since eating low FODMAP is such an effective strategy for people with IBS, all the foods listed below are going to fit into the low FODMAP diet.
Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. You can certainly spend hours perusing recipe sites and creating masterpieces if you want to. But if you just want to get something flavorful and filling on the table without blowing your low FODMAP diet, you can use this basic meal formula night after night.
I am a fan of protein. Not only does it provide a variety of health benefits, but your body processes it slowly. This means you stay fuller longer and keep your blood sugar balanced. And I have good news! There are loads of protein-rich foods that are low FODMAP.
? Lactose-Free Dairy products
? Firm Tofu
Meat is an easy choice for your low FODMAP meal. And as long as you are choosing non-processed varieties, you don’t have to worry about FODMAPs. Plus, you can cook your meat any way you choose. This can be as simple as putting some frozen chicken breasts into your crock pot before you leave for work in the morning, or grilling a pork chop when you get home.
Adding a grain or starch to your meal will give you some quick energy and provide the carbohydrates and fiber your body needs. And again, there are lots of low FODMAP foods that fit into this category. So you don’t have to worry about eating the same thing over and over.
? Sourdough spelt bread
? Wheat/rye/barley free breads (gluten free)
Things get a little tricky when it comes to vegetables. Because veggies are carbohydrate-rich foods, many of them are high in FODMAPs (which are specific carbohydrates). So it’s important to be careful about which veggies you add to your plate. I’ll list some low FODMAP vegetables below. But you can also use a low FODMAP app to help you figure out which ones will work best for you. If you’re not sure which app to use, check out my free IBS Resource Guide.
? Green beans
? Bok choy
? Green bell pepper
You can prepare your veggies however you like as long as you’re careful not to add higher FODMAP ingredients like garlic and onion. You can steam or roast your zucchini or green beans. You can have baked potatoes (as long as you’re careful with toppings). Or you can roast them or even treat yourself with mashed potatoes made with lactose-free milk.
Pressed for time? Make a simple salad with lettuce, carrots, and cucumber. Just use a low FODMAP dressing like oil and vinegar. And be sure to measure your vinegar so you don’t turn this low FODMAP food into a high FODMAP food by consuming too much.
Be careful here. Using the wrong bottled sauce or seasoning can quickly turn a low FODMAP meal into a high FODMAP meal. Make sure and check the labels and avoid flavorings that are high in FODMAPs like garlic and onion powder, dried mushrooms, or any sauces that contain wheat or wheat flour. Safe bets are seasoning blends from companies like Fody Foods or Casa de Sante.
Using the low FODMAP diet to control your IBS symptoms isn’t about avoiding all FODMAPs forever. The low FODMAP diet is a specific therapeutic approach that your practitioner will help you navigate.
The meal suggestions above are not meant as a life-long way of eating. As you get further into the low FODMAP diet, you will be able to add FODMAP-rich foods back while still keeping your IBS symptoms at bay. But as you’re navigating the different stages of the diet, having a quick and easy way to create a plate of non-problematic food will be a lifesaver on those nights when life has gotten the best of you.
If you haven’t found the right practitioner to help you uncover the root cause of your IBS and guide you through your recovery, hit the button below. We can schedule a consultation to go over your symptoms and goals and talk about the best way to personalize your IBS treatment plan.