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5 essential tips for FODMAP beginners
When you are just starting out with the low FODMAP diet, it can be very overwhelming. You suddenly have to avoid lots of foods, you have to read labels in the supermarket and sometimes you just don’t get it at all.
Therefore I would like to give you five things to keep in mind during the first phase of the low FODMAP diet.
1. Give yourself time to get used to the diet
Don’t expect that following the diet will go smoothly from the beginning. The low FODMAP diet is a difficult diet and you will need time to get used to it. Give yourself that time.
Take a moment to read about which products are low FODMAP and which aren’t, download the Monash FODMAP app, search for some simple low FODMAP recipes or learn to make your own low FODMAP recipes and go to the supermarket at a time that you are not in a hurry, so you can take your time reading the labels.
There will be moments when you accidentally eat something that is high in FODMAPs or when you think that you cooked a low FODMAP meal and it turned out to not be low FODMAP.
Simply because there are so many things to take into account. The longer you are following the diet, the better you will understand it and it will get easier over time.
2. Start with the guidance of a dietician
Because the low FODMAP diet is so difficult, it is important to get support from a professional. I always advise to start the low FODMAP diet under the guidance of a dietician.
A dietician who is specialised in the low FODMAP diet can answer your questions, can make sure that you are eating varied enough during the diet and don’t get any deficiencies.
When you try to do it by yourself, it is easy to make mistakes, a dietician can help you to follow the diet in the right way.
3. Ask questions and don’t do it all alone
Following the low FODMAP diet all by yourself is very difficult. You might experience that the people around you don’t understand the diet and find it difficult that you suddenly cannot eat a lot of things.
You need their support especially in the beginning and it is hard when they cannot give that to you. Apart from that, it helps when you can talk with people who understand what the low FODMAP diet it, ask them questions and share your story with them.
To create such a place, I have started the Karlijn’s Kitchen Facebook community. This is a closed Facebook group in which we share experiences, tips and answer each others questions.
A safe place where you can ask for help and share your story. Definitely join this community if you are not a member yet.
4. Make sure that you have the right information
On the internet you can find a lot of lists with low and high FODMAP products. I often hear from people that these lists contradict each other. There is still research being done about FODMAPs and because of that information changes regularly.
Unfortunately, not all lists on the internet are being updated when new research is done. Sometimes the FODMAP limit for a product changes after research or new products are being tested that get the label low FODMAP or high FODMAP.
For example: a few years ago, all mushrooms were on the red list. Normal button mushrooms are still high in FODMAPs, but new research has shown that canned mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are low FODMAP.
This is very valuable information to have because if you would have an old list that wasn’t updated, you would still avoid all mushrooms.
The main source for correct information about the low FODMAP diet is the Monash FODMAP app. This app is from the creators of the low FODMAP diet from Monash University in Australia.
This app is updated regularly, when new research has been conducted. With this app you can be sure that you always have the correct information. You pay for this app once, when you buy it, but you get new updates all the time and the money that you pay is used for more research.
Having the correct information is valuable, so buying this app is definitely worth it in my opinion.
5. Keep a food- and symptom diary
Especially in the first phase (but also in the testing phase) of the diet it is important to monitor what you eat and what your symptoms are.
Like that you can find out quickly if you made a mistake somewhere or if you still have foods in your diet that cause symptoms.
In a food- and symptom diary you write down what you eat for about one or two weeks. You write down at what time you ate, what you ate (very specifically), on which times you had symptoms and what these symptoms were. This gives you insight in your symptoms.
These were my five tips for FODMAP beginners. Good luck with the start of your FODMAP diet! If you have any questions, you can always ask them below or in the Karlijn’s Kitchen facebook community.
Together we go for a calm belly!
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