Anyone who has been doing GAPS, or paleo/primal, for a while and still is having gas/burping/bloating or other digestive issues should seriously take a look at FODMAPs.  I just discovered this protocol for treating IBS recently and over the past couple weeks have been eliminating the newly-found “avoid” foods from my diet, and I have seen some remarkable improvements, altho technically I’ve never been officially diagnosed with IBS … or, frankly, any other intestinal disorder, despite several doctors’ valiant (or maybe not so valiant) attempts.  I just know things are pretty disorderly down there.

FODMAPs (which stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols – no there will not be a quiz) are a list of foods which have been clinically proven to aggravate IBS symptoms.  You can find a pretty comprehensive list of the foods to avoid here.  As far as I can tell, the thinking behind the FODMAPs schema is very similar to parts of the thinking behind GAPS – avoid particular foods which can be difficult to process intestinally and therefore are more susceptible to fermentation on the part of unfriendly yeasts and bacteria – thereby producing irritation, gas, and the accompanying bloat.  Or bloatation, as I like to call it, ‘cuz sometimes it feels like my belly is just going to lift me up off the ground!

There’s a lot of stuff on the FODMAPs avoid list which I’ve already been avoidinggrains, unfermented milk, HFCS, “prebiotics” like inulin, fake sweeteners like xylitol, and, for the most part, brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.  The one thing that really clicked in my brain when I read this list was the avoidance of galactans (which are part of the oligosaccharides group of the acronymic name) – which can be found in almost all legumes.  Something that never made sense for my body with GAPS was the allowance of a few supposedly “safe” legumes like peanuts, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, and peas.  Even these beans (even fresh green peas!) my body most definitely DOES NOT LIKE, and has made this clear to me on no uncertain terms.  Given those restrictions already, here’s my new list to learn of avoids / seek outs:

Avoid

Seek out

HoneyApples, Pears

Blackberries

Mandarins

Peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums

Cherries

Watermelon

Honeydew

Coconut cream/milk

Dried fruits – esp. dates and figs

Onion, leek, garlic

Artichokes

Zucchini

Green Beans

Asparagus

Beets

Button Mushrooms

Maple SyrupBerries (except blackberries)

Lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangelo

Cantaloupe, Cucumbers

Bananas (Ripe ones)

Grapes, Pineapple, Persimmons

Rhubarb

Bamboo

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants

Avocados (maybe)

Carrots, Celery, Parsnips

Fennel

Lettuce

Olives

Pumpkin, Hard Squash

Mushrooms (except button)

Spinach

 

However, there were plenty of foods on the FODMAPs list that I hadn’t been avoiding – actually, that I’d been eating pretty abundantly.  Onions, garlic, peaches, plums, coconut milk and cream, dried fruits (especially dates), beets, cherries … and HONEY.  I had been eating a lot of honey.  Those were all pretty standard staples in my diet, especially when I decided to just chill and eat what I wanted for a while.  But a consequence of this decision ended up being a lot of bloatation, and then I started having much worse symptoms, which I won’t gross you out with.  But no matter how much activated charcoal I took (and I took a lot—because that had helped slow things down, so to speak, when I had had similar past episodes) I ended up, after about 10 days of getting progressively worse, totally drained of energy and having a hard time making it up stairs without having to stop halfway from exhaustion.  And I don’t have a bathroom on the first floor of my house.  Which meant climbing the stairs was kind of urgent despite my exhaustion!

So I started cutting out those “avoid” foods.  And I started feeling better.  It’s taken a week or so, but things are finally back to normal, and my energy has skyrocketed.  I’m still eating fruit—bananas, blueberries, and raspberries (yay!) mostly, just not the FODMAPs fruits.  And I haven’t had any sweetener.  The FODMAPs chart suggests using maple syrup for a sweetener.  I haven’t tried this yet, tho, since maple syrup is supposed to be an avoid substance on GAPS, and frankly, I’m probably best off without sweetener anyway, since I can get sucked into the sweet tooth trap so easily.

I’m not entirely clear why the FODMAPs avoid list and the GAPS/SCD avoid list (a summary of which can be found at the bottom of this page, with a more complete list in the book) are so different on so many foods, because like I said before, the rationale behind what should be avoided on the two diets seems, from my non-nutritionist standpoint, to be pretty similar, yet the conclusions so dramatically different.  Regardless of rationale, the results have been pretty clear for me – and a couple of other bloggers in the paleo community as well, who have very similar stories to my own (also, there’s a good overview here).  And frankly, when it comes down to it, I want something that works for my body, and if I don’t fully understand why, I’m ok with that.  If someone has a better understanding of the differences between these diets, I’d definitely be interested in reading it.

I definitely don’t regret taking some time off from being a slave to my diet to come to terms with my love of sweets, because it taught me some new and important lessons about my body.  Issues surfaced with much more intensity than otherwise would have, and I was able to pay attention to them because I wasn’t worrying about other things that had previously been intensely occupying my thoughts–moderation being one of them!   And with avoiding FODMAPs, I can have my raspberries and still eat them without bloatation too!

 

Photo Credits:  another sergio and publicenergy.

 

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday, and Paleo Rodeo.

 

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13 Responses to Fighting Blotation with FODMAPs

  1. Genevieve says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been on full GAPS now for 2 months (I’m nursing a ten week old so no intro for me) and I have never been so bloated in my life. I started doing GAPS because I wanted to avoid colic with my little one (My oldest had colic but I’ve been eating WAPF style for 2 years now and don’t have any dietary issues) but I’m seriously starting to doubt that this diet is good for me considering all my digestive discomfort. I’ve never had issues like this before! I just want to feel good and have a happy baby, it doesn’t matter what the diet is so I’m thinking of making a change. Maybe things would be better if I could do intro first but I’m at my breaking point with the gastric issues from this diet.

    There is just so much to think about and so many variables when it comes to diets! I often think that if a lot of the digestive issues we have are from straying from our traditional diets then why as an Irish/Scottish person am I eating all this coconut? Also, Asian cultures have been eating rice for centuries and East Indians love their Naan so all grains can’t be bad or obviously they wouldn’t be surviving right?

    And this is the stuff I think about at night as I lay in bed with my stomach cramping :(

    • Megh says:

      I know what you mean!!! I’m definitely hoping that eventually we’ll move back to WAPF-friendly foods that aren’t necessarily paleo- or GAPS-friendly. But for now we’re sticking to the more strict no grains guidelines — I’m just adding in the FODMAPS restrictions as well (J doesn’t have the problems with bloat like I do, so he’s still enjoying coconut product — tho we do try to moderate them — I’ve had those same thoughts as you!) for the time being. I’ve found that being on GAPS seems allow issues to surface that hadn’t been obvious before; I have had belching problems for years, but they seemed to subside quite a bit when I was first on GAPS, I think in large part because I was dealing with resolving GERD. I think my body was doing some really good healing then, and once it had dealt with certain issues, the belching came back with a vengeance, so then I had to learn how to deal with that issue! Good luck with your healing journey — the funny, and frustrating, and also nice thing is we’re all unique, we all have our own distinctive ecology, and we all have to choose what makes us feel the best!

  2. Rachel says:

    I am still getting familar with all these kinds of ways of eating. Not exactly sure I understand it all but I think in any diet, avoiding certain foods would help with bloating. As far as our family is concerned, we concentrate on eat whole real foods.

    Thanks for linking up at Healthy 2day Wednesdays last week! This was a VERY interesting post! Hope to see you add a post this week!

    • Megh says:

      Yeah, it’s a whole lot to wrap one’s mind around — and since each person is different, it’s an incredible challenge figuring out which things work specifically for you! Best of luck figuring it all out — I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Hi! I’ve also been on the low FODMAPs diet for the past few months. I was similar to you having had many doctors check me out but not being able to find anything other than the fact I’m a coeliac. The FODMAPs diet has been a god send and I feel a lot better being on it. I really enjoy cooking but found there was not many recipes out there to suit a low FODMAPs diet so I decided to make a website. Feel free to check it out.
    http://www.missfodmapsfree.com
    Best of luck :)

  4. Joseph says:

    I’ve looked at three lists for the FODMAPS diet, including the one linked to in this article, and none of them say anything about zuchinni, while one of them lists green beans as ‘FODMAPS friendly’. Where did you get your own list of foods to avoid?

    • Megh says:

      Hmm … I don’t remember now where I saw the zucchini thing! But the green beans, in my experience, are not friendly at least to my gut — along with green peas. But my own personal list to avoid came from a lot of self-experimentation — eliminating all of the stuff that could possibly be FODMAPs related — with particular attention to things related to legumes, since I’ve had such problems with them.
      I hope that helps! Good luck with your journey!

      • Joseph says:

        I’m going crazy trying to figure out what vegetables to eat and what is causing my bloating. I’m on the GAPS and ACD, and I tried adding the FODMAPS diet this week but it went horribly awry and now I have a lot MORE gas plus increased CFS muscle and joint pain. Could it be fiber? Nightshades? Green beans? I don’t know what I’m eating wrong and I’m afraid to eat any vegetables except turnip and celery root. It doesn’t help that there are so many different ACD and FODMAPS lists, never mind trying to figure out what is a low or high fiber vegetable. I never knew vegetables could be so confusing and problematic.

        • Megh says:

          I KNOW!!! :)
          We have had quite a bit of frustrations with this in my house as well — as it is, my husband doesn’t tolerate any cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, radishes, arugula … the list seems endless) and I don’t deal well with legumes, alliums, nightshades, and then a few of the FODMAPs veggies … it can be extremely frustrating figuring out what to eat!! Some days I don’t eat hardly any plants at all, aside from a few seasonings.
          The fiber may definitely be a part of it — that has been a real issue for me. Do you eat any of the veggies raw? Aside from an occasional cucumber, I generally don’t eat any veggies raw for that reason.
          Also, do you take any supplements? Especially ones that have cellulose in them? There are a number of additives that are put into supplements that can be problematic, I’ve found that lately I’ve developed a particular sensitivity to cellulose …
          There are so many things to figure out — and I’ve found that they change with time, as the populations of gut flora change and adapt. I’m sorry that things are feeling so frustrating right now, and I hope that you get some relief soon.

  5. Joseph says:

    I don’t eat raw vegetables and I’m only taking one supplement (an enzyme) right now, so it can’t be that. Oh well, I’m sure things will work out over time. Lots of time. I think I just need to be very patient and accept things as they are right now, and only make slow, careful changes.

    • Megh says:

      You are the best person to know what to do for your body — you’re the expert!! :) Keep up the good listening, it will lead you where you need to go.

  6. Trish says:

    I have been following GAPS for over a year (but not 100%), yet was still having issues. I have also tried to gear it towards the FODMAPS, but like many say, it takes time to figure out what foods are best. What is finally helping me is from a book titled, Fiber Menace. Check out the website, gutsense.org. Low fiber, and drinking water appropriately may make all the difference.

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