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The low-FODMAP diet is not something I have addressed on the blog in the past, but it is a diet that, much like Paleo, has helped thousands of people find health. Specifically, a low-FODMAP diet is often recommended for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and similar digestive disorders.
My first question when I learned of the low-FODMAP diet was “what in the world is a FODMAP”? You are probably wondering the same thing. 🙂 FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols” (now you can see why they just call them FODMAPs). What this really boils down to is FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that can be poorly absorbed by certain individuals and left to be fermented by bacteria in the gut. These bacteria produce gas as a byproduct of the fermentation process, which can lead to serious digestive symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. We all experience occasional digestive distress, but when you experience these symptoms on a daily basis it can seriously effect your quality of life.
Luckily, as we are learning about many other health conditions, drugs and medical interventions are not the only treatment for these disorders. Recent research has shown that upwards of 70% of people involved in a low-FODMAP diet study saw improvement in their symptoms. To treat these disorders, you need to investigate (with the help of a practitioner) the underlying cause of your symptoms. A low-FODMAP diet doesn’t necessarily treat IBS, but it does help to relieve symptoms. Foods that are high in FODMAPs can contribute to symptoms, while foods that are low in FODMAPs can often provide relief. What’s more, you may only be sensitive to certain FODMAPs and see no ill effects from others, so it can take some trial and error to determine which foods to load up on and which to steer clear of. If you are suffering from IBS or a similar digestive disorder, discuss the potential benefits of following a low-FODMAP diet with your practitioner.
A low-FODMAP diet can be difficult to navigate on your own. There are extensive food lists and if you are unfamiliar with which foods to avoid and which are beneficial, it can be tough to figure out what to eat and how to adapt your favorite recipes.
That brings me to the reason for today’s post – there is a wonderful new resource for people following this diet, The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet! This book is packed full of information that will help you to adopt this highly-personalized diet plan and walk you through the process of identifying your individualized sensitivities. This book also gives you practical tips for integrating a low FODMAP diet into your lifestyle with pantry items you should always have on hand and over 150 recipes.
The low-FODMAP diet is not a strict Paleo diet, but it is gluten-free and many people who suffer from IBS symptoms adopt a low-FODMAP diet on top of their Paleo diet. There are many resources, including the food lists in the book, that can help you determine which low-FODMAP foods are also Paleo if you are following a Paleo diet.
The authors of the book, Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC (pictured above), have created a useful website to supplement their book, EverythingLowFODMAP.com. The site has recipes, food lists and more!
On their site, they are featuring a holiday resource with an Everything® series book for everyone on your list, including my book, The Everything® Paleo Pregnancy Book! You can see all the books on their list here. In addition, they have put together a low-FODMAP Thanksgiving recipe Pinterest board!
Speaking of recipes, I also wanted to share this tasty Carrot + Ginger Soup recipe from The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet with you today. This soup is both low-FODMAP and Paleo. It is nutrient-dense, great for digestion and delicious! Enjoy!
Carrot + Ginger Soup
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
4 cups Basic Roast Chicken Stock
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1 whole orange)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Toast pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet under broiler for 3 minutes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add carrots and ginger and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add stock. Turn heat to high and bring just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until carrots are soft.
Purée the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to pot.
Stir in orange juice, zest, salt, and pepper.
Serve soup in bowls garnished with pumpkin seeds.
*Always check labels on all packaged goods used in the context of any low-FODMAP recipe prior to recipe preparation or consumption to be sure they do not contain high-FODMAP ingredients.