If you’re wondering what “low-FODMAP” means, you’re not alone. FODMAP is an acronym for different types of small carbohydrates in various foods that can cause gas, bloating, pain, etc. The acronym stands for these different types of carbohydrates:
According to a really helpful blog by runner and dietician, Kate Scarlata ,”FODMAPs are a group of small chain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) that are commonly malabsorbed in the small intestine. Up to 75% of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) will benefit from dietary restriction of FODMAPs. Research has shown the low FODMAP diet improves gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms (gas, bloating, pain, change in bowel habits) related to IBS.”
So foods higher in these types of carbohydrates can affect your gut and digestion significantly. I personally had never heard of FODMAP’s until a few months ago when I stumbled upon an elite triathlete’s blog talking about her journey to cure her digestive and IBS issues. It might be TMI…but all throughout college and even after, I dealt with constant GI issues on my runs, after my hard workouts and sometimes after eating anything at all.
I went gluten free for awhile as an experiment to see if it would help me. It seemed like some of my symptoms got better, but I also just got pretty overtrained after a few months because I naively didn’t find good ways to get enough carbohydrates without traditional bread, pasta and pizza (the runner’s diet…).
Long story short, I finally decided to try the “low-FODMAP” diet, a 3-week period of eliminating foods that are high in FODMAP’s, then slowly re-introduce them one at a time to see what foods affect you most.
Here’s what I eliminated:
Onion, garlic, kale, broccoli, cabbage, wheat, dairy (well, I already didn’t do much dairy), brussels sprouts, avocado, chewing gum, cauliflower and a few others from a long list of high-FODMAP foods.
When I did the controlled experiment of reintroducing these foods one at a time, I learned that all of the foods I listed above cause immediate gas, bloating, IBS and discomfort for the rest of the day. It was such a huge realization and amazing discovery. Although I’m sad that I have to avoid a lot of things I love, it’s amazing to finally have answers about the issues I dealt with for over 5 years.
If you deal with IBS, GI distress, or any other dietary problem, doing a low-FODMAP experiment is definitely worth a try. It’s a short and easy way to find out what causes discomfort so you can know what to avoid, if anything. Everyone is different, so while I really need to avoid cauliflower and kale, other people might be totally fine with them.
Regardless, I’ve found some amazing replacements for things I would have normally eaten, and I never feel like I’m missing out on something delicious. Instead of kale, I’ll use spinach or arugula. Instead of garlic or onion, I’ll use the green tops of leeks or garlic-infused olive oil (this is safe somehow).
This brunch is one of my new staple meals. It’s savory, tahini-y, and is once you smash it all together, makes the best mashed-up bowl of stuff. That’s my eloquent description. 🙂
How I made it:
- Leftover roasted sweet potatoes: roasted at 400 degrees F for 40 min, flipped halfway, then broiled in this toaster oven this morning.
- Leftover acorn squash: roasted at 400 degrees F for 50 min the night before, also broiled this morning in the toast oven.
- Two over easy eggs: crack two eggs into a greased small pan over low-heat. Let the eggs cook until your yolk is at your desired runny-ness. I like them totally hard so I cooked for about 8 minutes on low.
- Massage a handful of arugula with a bit of tahini or olive oil.
- Place the arugula in a bowl, top with sweet potatoes, acorn squash and eggs. Drizzle with tahini and a shake of cayenne pepper if that’s what you’re into.
This makes for a delicious recovery brunch after a run or workout because it has a good mix of protein (about 13-14 grams), carbohydrates (about 30 grams) and is high in micronutrients too. If you need some extra carbs, consider adding some toast or a waffle. Not that I have to tell you runners to add a waffle to anything, you already know this.
Need more info on FODMAPS? Watch this Low FODMAP for Dummy’s video 🙂