When you are struggling with digestive issues, such as IBS, SIBO or IBD, an elimination diet is one of our best tools for providing symptomatic relief, identifying triggers of symptoms and giving your gut a break from hard to digest food.
We may use the low-FODMAP diet since it’s one of the most researched diets for IBS. Or we may use one of the variants such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet or the Fast Tract Diet. And while each approach may differ somewhat, they all reduce the amount of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet, which can be hard to digest.
The Paleo diet may also be used as a means to lower the carbohydrate load because it eliminates entire categories of fermentable carbohydrates including grains, legumes and dairy. If your stomach is still feeling cranky while on a Paleo diet, we may want to consider reducing the amount of FODMAP foods, as well.
Guys… as important as it is to eliminate foods that can cause digestive distress, it’s just as important to provide your body with a bounty of nutrient dense foods that will provide what your body needs to heal, fuel energy, boost metabolism and rebalance hormones. These foods provide tons of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats.
I’m not going to bore you with which nutrient does what. That would be a tedious and very long read. The net net is that micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) work together with your macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) to repair cells, to provide energy, and to support your immune system. Basically, these guys are building blocks to good health. Without them we feel like crap.
It’s also important to include as much variety of food as possible in order to meet your nutritional needs.
So with all of this being said, and knowing each client has different food preferences and food intolerances I am including the most important categories with a variety of options.
Leafy greens boast high amounts of vitamins A & K, and offers folate, B vitamins, vitamin C, and a nice assortment of minerals. Leafy greens can also support your body’s detoxification process. Opt for:
Arugula – good source of calcium
Bok choy – excellent source of vitamin C
Cabbage and Napa cabbage – yep, another excellent source of vitamin C
Swiss chard – move over kale, Swiss chard has way more vitamin A and K
Pick a green, any green. But don’t just stick to one, rotate a new one in each week.
1 serving = 1 cup raw. Aim for 2 cups per day.
Keep in mind that cooked vegetables may be easier to digest than raw. So if you have been avoiding salads because they cause bloating, gas or diarrhea, I encourage you to try steamed or sautéed greens.
The brighter the color, the better!
Not only do vegetables include numerous vitamins and minerals but colorful plant foods also include phytonutrients, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. You may have heard of beta-carotene, the phytonutrient found in carrots and other orange fruits and vegetables or perhaps you have heard of lycopene found in tomatoes.
So if you regularly eat red bell peppers, then try orange peppers one week and yellow peppers the next. You’ll provide your body with a wider array of phytonutrients.
These veggies are not just colorful but they are also nutrition superstars because they offer a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. And these are the low-FODMAP vegetables that you can eat more than 1 bite of (I’m looking at you avocado).
Bell Peppers – tons of vitamin C
Broccoli – provides over 100% of your vitamin C needs
Carrots – go for rainbow carrots so you get a variety of phytonutrients
Oyster mushrooms – the only low-FODMAP mushroom, which is packed with B vitamins and an array of minerals
1 serving = ½ cup raw
Pick 2 servings of different colored veggies per day
Low-FODMAP Starchy Vegetables
Too much starch can be hard to digest so these vegetables are low-FODMAP in smaller quantities. Even with smaller serving sizes, they are abundant in numerous vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Choose:
Sweet potato – even with a ½ cup serving size, sweet potatoes offers more vitamin A than any other veggie on this list and it has more potassium than a banana