Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well With IBS

One of my areas of special interest is IBS.   I authored the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS in 2010. In this book, I introduce the reader to FODMAPs, a group of fermentable (gas producing) sugars and fibers. This book is a very general, easy to read look at the IBS body. It is not an in depth view of the low FODMAP diet. For more up-to-date info on FODMAPs check out my FODMAPs check list or my low FODMAP grocery shopping list.

Minimizing FODMAPs in the diet has made a world of difference for many of my clients.  Yeah!

Available on Amazon: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well With IBS

50 thoughts on “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well With IBS

    1. Kerstin:
      There are several FODMAP-friendly recipes in the book and the majority can be tweaked slightly to make FODMAPs friendly. A few of the FODMAP-friendly recipes include: Strawberry Balsamic Salsa, Orange-chocolate chip muffins, Wheat-free Granola, Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Seared Scallops, Asian Sesame Noodles for starters. When I wrote the book, garlic and onion powders and salts were considered safe…SO being a huge lover of garlic and onion flavor, I added them to many recipes. GOOD NEWS…it’s easy to sub in chopped chives or a bit of garlic-infused oil into those recipes to make them FODMAP-friendly with little effort. If you don’t know how to make garlic-infused oil, check out my post here:http://blog.katescarlata.com/2012/01/21/garlic-infused-oil/
      Also there are many FODMAP-friendly recipes on the blog and I am working on a FODMAP friendly recipe booklet so stay tuned! Glad you stopped by the blog.

  1. I was recently diagnosed with IBS and knowing what I do now, have had symptoms most of my life. I very reluctantly eliminated many of my favourite foods and have been pleasantly surprised by the loss and/or reduction of most symptoms. I’m still learning and my biggest frustration has been the inconsistency of info. Your recent trip to Australia did help clarify…..I guess this is a relatively new field of research and thus constantly changing.

    Love your posted recipes! I would rather suffer than eat poorly or blandly!

    1. Yes Susan…the diet is relatively new! Monash University in Melbourne, Australia is where the bulk of the research is done and the analysis of food to assess FODMAP content is a time consuming job…I believe the researchers have tested over 450 foods, but there are so many more to evaluate. So….we are all learning together. Fortunately we know enough to make the diet interesting and delicious!

    1. Oh…Maui…how fun! Well…we enjoyed lots of grilled fish when I visited Maui. Rice dishes were popular as well–just ask about garlic and onion–and avoid dishes made with those ingredients. You want to feel well…so what I recommend on vacation is eat light for breakfast (oats and berries) and lunch (salad with chicken or fish)…and then relax with a nice dinner….and sometimes, you may just want to eat to your heart’s content. :)

  2. Hi Kate,

    Is Miso soup fodmap safe? Also soy milk is still a grey area for me… I’ve been drinking soy milk occasionally since I started on the low fodmap diet 4 weeks ago – then I saw that the brand that all baristas in NZ use (vitasoy) is unsafe – eek! Does this mean I need to start over?
    Thank you very much for your helpful blog :)

    1. Hi Emily
      I am in Auckland… and one of my biggest questions was drinking soy milk in coffees (since we are all such coffee addicts here!)

      I usually have normal milk but (because I can’t survive on no coffee) this week I switched to soy milk. But wasn’t sure if it was FODMAP friendly. Think I will have to avoid :(

      Let me know if you’ve found out anything interesting! Thanks

      kristieinauckland@yahoo.com

      1. Soy milks vary in FODMAPS. If ingredients are soy protein isolates than probably low FODMAP but if ingredients say whole soybean than probably a source of FODMAPS!

  3. Its been so great experimenting with the different foods allowed in the FODMAPS selections for those suffering from IBS. I have found that it is not just one particular food that bothers me but an over all selection of them. Now that I am listening to my body more I have discovered a lot about it. Now one thing I have noticed is that I get VERY sleepy after I eat. I litterly fall asleep at my desk in the afternoons if I am not careful. I understand that sometimes if you eat large meals then this would be normal but I am finding it with smaller ones as well. Any suggestions to what could be causing this? I have an appointment with my GP in the next couple weeks and will get him to test me for gluten intolerance but do you have any other suggestions? Or possible tests that I should get the doctor to run?
    I have just started reading your book and am really enjoying it! It is very informative. I would recommend it anyone who is just starting to discover about FODMAPS and dealing with IBS or any other stomach issues for that matter. Fantastic book!

    1. Perhaps have them check for reactive hypoglycemia and perhaps small intestinal bacterial overgrowth testing. Sorry I missed your comments–not sure they were posted to my inbox and I am just seeing them now.

  4. I just read about the scd diet. Can you help me decide which diet is right for me — fodmaps vs scd? I suffer from bouts of severe abdominal distension and some episodes of esophageal reflux during those bouts, but have no other symptoms like flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pain. Antibiotics like Flagyl have not helped, nor has metachlopramide or domperidone. Thank you very much, Kate.

  5. I forgot to mention that when I have these bouts of severe abdominal distension and some esophageal reflux, I also feel very tired all day and foggy-headed. This sounds like small intestine bacterial overgrowth and the scd diet is recommended. So, once again, which do I follow — fodmaps or scd — as they are very different?

    Thank you, Kate.

    1. Oh Esther, I am can’t provide individual medical advice on my blog. I am sorry you are experiencing discomfort. The SCD is a bit different from the low FODMAP diet as it doesn’t incorporate the notion of fructose malabsorption. In some ways the concept is similar–limiting fermentable sugars. Personally, I think the low FODMAP diet is more up to date with current research. You really should be working with a skilled digestive health dietitian and doctor to assess some of your symptoms…I have found some of my patients with fructose intolerance and/or SIBO have issues with feeling like they have a foggy head and I have read that gluten sensitivity may also contribute to that symptom as well. Motility testing will determine in your have gastroparesis, slowed emptying of your stomach–another concern given your reflux and distention.

      Kate

  6. Hi Kate, I have had endless gastro tests done by 3 different gastro docs. Nothing was found to explain my bouts of severe abdominal distention, coupled with fatigue and foggy head. They confirmed that I do have esophageal reflux. I have had motility testing done to see if I have gastroparesis. I don’t. What I like about the gaps diet, which is the same as far as what foods are legal/illegal as the scd diet, is that it gives clear directions on how to heal one’s gut at the beginning — homemade chicken broth, served with the its boiled chicken and boiled veggies. I am planning on buying the relevant ingredients and making that for myself. I have a ballroom dance competition coming up in one week, and I can’t participate if my abdomen is blown up like when I was 9 months pregnant.

    Also, I am mildly diabetic, so I think the gaps and scd diets are better for me than the fodmaps diet, since grains,potatoes,oats, and corn are all illegal on scd and gaps, and these are foods that are very high in carbs and always raise my blood glucose levels. Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution strongly advises against diabetics having any grains or potatoes or oats or corn, and Fodmaps does include them as a regular part of the diet. What do you advise diabetics who are on Fodmaps?

    Thanks, in advance.
    Esther

    1. Esther…you bring up some great points…I wish I had more time to go through in detail your many questions but I simply don’t. Again, I highly recommend you work with a skilled dietitian to help you manage your GI symptoms and diabetic nutrition concerns.

  7. I have Crohn’s Disease and a total Dairy Products problem. I have had a bad time of it since July 17th and my primary Dr. suggested I try to Low Fodmap Diet. I am trying it but wish I had more information. Would the book help me? Thanks for any help.

    1. Nancy, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS is a great overview of IBS with an introduction to the low FODMAP diet. If you are gearing up to try the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet try Patsy Catsos’ new book available on her site http://www.ibsfree.net or Sue Shephard and Peter Gibson’s book The Food Intolerance Management Plan –both great resources on the low FODMAP diet specifics. The checklist on my blog is up to date so check that out and I highly recommend you follow up with a knowledgable FODMAPs dietitian. Individuals with Crohn’s are more likely to have fructose intolerance so the low FODMAP diet may be very helpful for you. Best to you!!

  8. Hello. I have been doing loads of research on different gluten free/lowfodmaps recipes among which enclude desserts. In my research I came across the Healing Gourmet Guild Free Desserts recipe book. Now I was wondering what your thoughts were specifically on these sugers that are in their recipes. The book sounds so great but I would really like your input in regarding the lowfodmap aspect:
    Erythritol
    Stevia
    Luo Han Guo
    Xylitol
    Palm Suger
    Thank you in advance

    1. As the diet evolves there remain lots of unknowns…not all foods have been tested by the Monash team with their state of the art and up to date equipment so I will provide my best guesses for you from what I understand. Erythritol is one of the few well absorbed sugar alcohols so I believe should be okay, stevia appears to be well tolerated, I have no idea about Luo Han Guo, xylitol is a poorly absorbed poylol so avoid, and palm sugar has not been tested by the Monash researchers yet but I have spoken to them about perhaps testing it in the near future. Hope that helps.

  9. Do you know if Dandelion Root Tea is acceptable on a low fodmap diet? I was told to drink this by a health coach but not sure if it suitable with my IBS.

  10. Is Yerba Mate tea ok for those with IBS? I know it’s a personal thing, but wondering if you’ve had any feedback on it.
    Many thanks for your time.

  11. I have been looking for a list of Fodmap friendly Restraunts/Menu Items. If I dont want to cook every meal for myself or I accidently leave for work without lunch what are some of my options?

    1. Salad with tuna, or sliced chicken or cheddar cheese–I ask for vinegar and oil for dressing or sometimes ask for lemon wedges and squeeze over salad with oil and a dash of salt. Sushi might be an option. Some gluten free pizzas might work–ask for sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. A basic Asian stir fry with rice might work as well. Baked potato, grilled chicken or plain burger and a side of appropriate veggies or salad. You are inspiring me to write a new handout!

  12. A friend just told me about FODMAPS and I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on. I have had trouble for years with IBS and have voluntarily eliminated many FODMAPS from my diet. I am vegetarian, though, and I’d love your thoughts on the best sources of protein for me. I will eat eggs and hard cheeses, having discovered that soft cheeses are a problem. I also travel a lot for work and I’m already accustom to carrying food with me, so any ideas on that much appreciated. Thanks for the great work you are doing to help people like me.

    1. Great vegetarian low FODMAP protein sources are buckwheat, quinoa, tofu (firm), hard cheese,tempeh, acceptable nuts and seeds. I might try to make a granola bar or granola with nut butter and acceptable grains–quinoa, oats, oat bran and chia seeds for a quick snack on the run. Glad you stopped by my blog Connie. :)

  13. Hi Kate!
    I’m trying to figure out what FODMAPS bother me so I’m trying out the elimination phase. During this phase are you supposed to eat only foods with absolutely no FODMAPS or are recipes with “low” FODMAPS alright? I have your book and have read through lots of comments but I’m still not sure of what to do exactly!
    Thanks!

    1. Michelle-The first phase of the diet is the low FODMAP elimination phase. On this phase stick with the low FODMAP foods on the checklist–found at this link: http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-basics/fodmaps-checklist/ and avoid all the high FODMAP foods. You can follow this sample menu and snack idea as an overview. http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-basics/fodmaps-menu-and-snacks/
      Not all brand name foods have been tested for FODMAPs but my clients seem to tolerate the items on my list. http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-basics/fodmaps-menu-and-snacks/
      my book is simply an introduction about FODMAPs not a book about FODMAPs–it’s more of an overview on IBS. The items on my blog are more up to date (the diet is still evolving) so check out the resources right here to get your started. The diet should be followed with the help of a dietitian if at all possible to make sure you are doing it correctly and getting the nutrition your body needs!

  14. Hello. Thank you for all of your research and responses. I am looking forward to a comprehensive and all-inclusive list of foods to avoid and enjoy. I seem to find a lot of conflicting information on different sites. Dandelion tea is usually the root, I think, but the sites say avoid the leaves. As for chicory, is the tea unsafe? It’s not really being eaten, but steeped and drunk. And inulin is added to foods so it’s really being consumed. I haven’t found anything about carob, also in teas quite a bit. And coconut, another conflict. I used to drink the water often, so I’m not sure of the types of sugars it contains. I’m vegetarian too, so I’m really eating fish and eggs all the time now, since I’m finding all grains seem to bother me. Thanks!

    1. Dandelion tea is low FODMAP. Chicory leaves are low FODMAP but the root is not. I believe carob was just tested and found to be high FODMAP. Coconut milk and small amounts shredded are okay. OLD data had coconut milk as high fructose–but recent tests show otherwise. Try minimizing grains a bit and see if that helps–sometimes it’s the amount of grains that is a problem. Do potatoes bother you (white)? Bottom line, minimizing FODMAPs is often enough…Over thinking the diet and getting too caught up with the nuances can be stressful. The diet is designed as a ‘learning diet’ not life long. It’s important to find which foods bother your body and which ones you can add back.

      1. Thanks so much! I am definitely over thinking it, I know that’s not helping. Potatoes are definitely not good, I feel terrible after, always. I find that grains, even a small amount, give me instant reflux and then constipation the next day. So I try to avoid. I also try to follow food combining, since that seems to help a lot for my reflux. But I end up eating a lot of vegetables and protein at meals to make up for the calories in the grains. Right now, I’m trying to find a threshold for these, because I can eat 8 oz of salmon and a whole plate of salad at lunch, and I don’t know if that’s too much at once.
        Too bad about carob, I use it a lot because I also avoid chocolate.
        I’m having difficulty finding a rice protein powder that’s free of legumes as well as inulin, that stuff is everywhere! Otherwise, It’s been uncomplicated following your guidelines. Thanks!

  15. Thank you SO much for the wealth of information you provide. I am considering moving to the Boston area JUST to be able to call you MY dietitian :). Is there a database or listing to help us locate a dietitian who is familiar with FODMAP? I live in Philadelphia….you’d think I’d be able to find someone, but am not having success.

      1. Wow…thanks for your quick response! I discovered her website online. She’s about an hour from me. Kind of far, but a much quicker drive than to Boston!

  16. Hi there, I have just discovered your website and and books (that I am about to purchase) and I am so excited to try it out. I am 21 years old suffering from IBS and felt nothing was working but your information has given me a spark of hope! Thanks so much, the grocery list is also so great I will try it out this week.

  17. Hi. just wondering if you find the low FODMAP diet is helpful for constipation- IBS. Have read lots about it helping diarrhea symptoms and am so hoping it as effective for the constipation symptoms.

  18. Hi Kate,

    I’m new to Fodmaps and your websites. It’s been great to read all the questions/answers.

    I’ve noticed Monk Fruit is the new sweetner being promoted in the stores. Is Monk Fruit a low Fodmap?

    Also, I’ve been using Almond Milk as a dairy replacement for milk. After reading some of the entries and your replies I’m thinking of changing to Lactose free milk. If I’m sensitive to dairy would this still be ok? I’ve tried rice milk but don’t like it as much as almond milk.

    Thanks for the tips on soy products – I’ve been trying to cut back there as well and now I know what to look for when seeing a soy type ingredient.

    1. Welcome Judy, I am not sure Monk Fruit has been tested. And I am not a fan of these type of sweeteners as they often contain other ingredients or additives such as sugar alcohols. Almond milk is likely high GOS but we are waiting the definitive word from the Monash team. If you are sensitive to lactose in dairy then the lactose free would be okay–if there is something else in the dairy troubling you then it still could be a problem. hope that helps!

  19. Hi Kate,

    I am on day 6 of the low FODMAP diet and up until the evening of day 4 I was the best I’ve been in a LONG time! My only real symptom is severe bloating. For dinner on day 4 I had GF pasta with chicken, 4 cherry tomatoes (which I’d been fine with on previous days) chicken, and fodmap friendly homemade pesto. Afterwards I experienced the usual bloating and discomfort that I would have done before I started the diet. The next day I had a chicken and green bean risotto with homemade chicken stock, and had the same – a lot of discomfort and huge bloating. This evening I used the rest of the chicken stock and had a chicken stew with low fodmap veg and potatoes and I am now in a lot of discomfort. I cannot keep up seeing my nutritionist due to financial reasons but I emailed her and she said that several of her clients cannot tolerate chicken. This baffles me as chicken is not a carbohydrate!? What would your views on this be? I just feel so discouraged as this was my last hope and it seemed to be going so well at first and now I’m right back to how I used to be!

    I’d really appreciate any advice! Thank you

    1. Naomi, Unfortunately it’s hard for me to provide individual guidance in a blog format. Working with digestive health clients can be quite complex. I need all the pieces of the puzzle to help gain a better understanding of what may be troubling you. A couple thoughts do come to mind–1) are you constipated? It’s important to keep things moving in your bowel as this can lead to bloating –so be sure to work with your doctor on a good bowel regimen why your work on balancing your gut flora with the low FODMAP diet.2) Do you think you are eating too much fat–pesto and risotto depending on how it is prepared may up the fat load–fat can stimulate colonic motility but slug down the small intestine. 3)Could you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? This is typically tested with a breath test. FODMAPs may be only part of your picture. 4) have you had a gastric motility test–could food be staying too long in your stomach contributing to bloating sensation?

  20. Hi Kate,

    I completely understand – thank you so much for taking the time to reply with a few suggestions.
    1) I do get constipated from time to time but haven’t really been suffering since this bloating/discomfort has come back
    2) I’m not sure about the fat – I didn’t cook the risotto with butter, only a small amount of garlic infused oil..and I didn’t put a huge quantity of cheese or oil in the pesto..but it could still be that! What about the stew I had last night though? Does home-made chicken stock have a high fat content?
    3) I have read about SIBO and thought that I might fit the description, especially as I have been on long-term antibiotics due to reoccuring UTI’s and kidney infections and I read that this can be a cause of SIBO. However, I’m from the UK and from what I’ve read SIBO is not well diagnosed by GP’s and most people just send you away with the old ‘you just have IBS’ line! Do you know anything about testing for it in the UK?
    4) No I haven’t had a gastric motility test – how would I go about getting one of them?

    So you don’t think chicken could be a trigger? It would seem odd!

    Thank you so much again for your time.

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