Accidentally FODMAPPED? 9 Steps for a Quick Comeback!
This article was written by Accredited Practicing Dietitian Chelsea McCallum - find her on Instagram and learn more about her approach here.
Navigating the low FODMAP diet can be a challenging journey, and sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself accidentally 'FODMAPPED'. Don't worry; it happens to the best of us.
In this guide, we'll explore what to do if you slip up on the low FODMAP diet, offering practical tips and evidence-based advice to help you get back on track and continue your journey towards better digestive health.
1. Don't Panic: Be Kind to Yourself
First and foremost, take a deep breath and remember that everyone makes mistakes. Be kind to yourself and understand that one slip won't undo all your progress and it doesn’t mean that you need to back track to square one.
2. Identify the Culprit
Step number two is to try to pinpoint what caused the slip-up. Was it a particular food, social situation or change in routine? Understanding the source of the mistake will help you better understand your personal triggers and avoid it in the future.
3. Assess the Impact
Next, assess how your body is reacting to the slip-up. Are you experiencing symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, or diarrhea? Take note of the severity and duration of these symptoms. Is there anything in particular that helps you recover from the symptoms sooner? I always reach for peppermint tea, sweatpants and a hot water bottle (more in step #4).
4. Activate Your Symptom Management Plan
If you have a symptom management plan in place, now is the time to put it into action. This may include gentle activities like walking, limiting gut irritants (caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods) or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to calm your digestive system.
5. Stay Hydrated
Regardless of if you are IBS sub-type D or C, dehydration can exacerbate digestive symptoms. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Herbal teas like peppermint and ginger can also help soothe your stomach. You may find chamomile to be irritating as it is high FODMAP - who would have thought?!
6. Stick to Safe Foods: Let Your Gut Recover
For the next day or two, focus on eating known safe low FODMAP foods (like Fodbods
). This will give your digestive system a chance to recover without any additional FODMAP load.
7. Track and Learn
Consider keeping a food diary to track your symptoms. This can help you identify patterns and potential trigger foods, which will be useful for future reference. Mistakes are valuable learning experiences. Use this slip-up as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the low FODMAP diet. Double-check labels, ask questions when dining out, and always be mindful of portion sizes.
8. Seek Professional Guidance
If you're consistently struggling with accidental FODMAP exposures or if your symptoms are severe and persistent, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian
experienced in managing the low FODMAP diet. They can provide personalized guidance and support to help you navigate the diet more effectively.
9. Stay Positive: Your Journey Continues
Remember that the low FODMAP diet is a journey, and setbacks are normal. Stay positive and focused on your long-term goal of better digestive health. One slip-up doesn't define your success.
Making a mistake on the low FODMAP diet is entirely normal. It's how you respond to these slip-ups that truly matters. With patience, self-compassion, and a focus on learning from your experiences, you can continue to make progress in managing your IBS symptoms.