TRAVELING on the Low FODMAP diet: Tips to keep the belly happy (and a simple recipe)

Hi friends!! I am beyond STOKED to contribute to this blog 🙂 and I want to thank Colleen for welcoming me! I hope to be able to inspire others on this FODMAP journey, maybe making life a little easier!!!

Since MEMORIAL DAY is around the corner, which means Summer weekend getaways (woooohoooo)I thought what a better time than now to talk about traveling tips on the low FODMAP diet.  Lets face it, traveling can be super stressful when you are on a restrictive diet (and cause anxiety which is a BIGGGGG NO NO for us tummy issue folk). Here are few tips that work for me and keep me sane on my travels, since I refuse to let my dietary restrictions control MY LIFE ( I shall control them 😉 :


  • PEPPERMINT TEA BAGS: Perfect for taming an upset traveling tummy.
  • RICE CAKES: Lundberg brown rice are my fave.
  • JUSTINS ALMOND BUTTER PACKETS OR A JAR OF PEANUTBUTTER : I prefer PB since almond butter has a limit, 1 tbsp= about 12 almonds which is OVER the low FODMAP limit of 10 almonds. Nut butters are great to spread on your ricecakes with Banana coins for breakfast, snacks or whatev. Bananas are easy to find anywhere. Perfect airplane or train snack!
The perfect tummy friendly snack
The perfect tummy friendly snack
  • CINNAMON: for your bananas/ricecakes
  • OATMEAL: I bring gluten free Bobs Red Mill quick cooking oats in ziplock bags. Add boiling water in a paper cup, add chia seeds, bananas,peanutbutter, cinnamon: fiberfulBFAST!

    photo 3-2
  • CHIA SEEDS: Fiber when traveling!
  • ZIPLOCK BAGS/PLASTIC KNIVES/MEASURING CUPS: I pack these because you can easily carry your snacks around, use the knives to cut bananas, and measuring cups for your oats/chia seeds/nut butters.
  • PRE SOAKED NUTS : raw almonds,hazelnuts, walnuts (all limit 10), pumpkin seeds(2 tbsp), when soaked are easier for digestion.
  • DIY TRAILMIXES:  Throw in gluten free pretzels, nuts, any low fodmap cereal, ‘enjoy life’ choco chips.. etc, get creative here and know your limits..
  • HOMEMADE COOKIES: this is one of my FAV traveling items because they can keep well for a week in a mini fridge and it can work as a breakfast/snack/dessert when everyone else is indulging in ice-cream or whatever those non FODMAP people eat ;), take out a yummy cookie!

RECIPE: EASY Oatmeal Banana cookie

The easiest oatmeal cookie
The easiest oatmeal cookie
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Optional add-ins: 10 or so chopped almonds,hazelnuts or pecans ,1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, 1/4 c enjoy life chocolate chips..

Instructions: Mix ingredients together. Flatten about a tablespoon fof the mix on baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil. Bake at 350 c for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are golden.  Makes about 10-15 cookies.




P.S.: AWESOME TIP FOR DINING OUT: I always tell my server that I have ALLERGIES rather than intolerances. I always find this makes them take it more serious!




RD Tamara Duker Answers Questions about the Low Fodmap Diet

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Duker, a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition.  She knows a thing or two when it comes to food and nutrition, cooking and eating, recipes and healthy living. She is a cake lover challenged with gluten intolerance (like so many other ladies!).  Her practice is based in New York City and she has expertise in helping people with:

  • Soft diets for dysphagia
  • Gluten-free diets
  • Low-FODMAP diets for IBS and SIBO
  • Lactose-free or low-fructose diet for digestive intolerances
  • Medically-supervised elimination diets for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Here is Part One of our interview – please read and then check back next week for Part Two:

tamara dukerCF – What would you say is the average age of people coming to see you for the first time?  Are they a mix of male and female or mostly female?  Do you find that they’ve come to see you because someone else has recommended they see an RD, or do you find you’re receiving more e-patients?

TD – While I see patients of all ages– from 11 at youngest to 80-somethings at the higher end, my “typical” patient is a woman in her 20s-40s.  Commonly she reports having had a “sensitive stomach” or “stomachaches” since childhood that has recently gotten worse, but in other cases I hear she was totally fine until one time she got sick when traveling, and then her bowels have never been the same since.  They come to see me out of desperation– either they find me via google (my name comes up a lot when you google “bloating” or FODMAP-related search terms, as I write extensively on these topics for US News), or their gastroenterologist referred them to me.

CF -What are the lactose-based products they are most unhappiest to part with?

TD – My lactose intolerant patients are unhappiest to part with pizza, ice cream and yogurt.  Often, they part with the yogurt and then suffer through the pizza and ice cream.  The problem with pizza/ice cream is that often its the high fat content that triggers IBS symptoms rather than the lactose per se–so even if they take a lactase supplement, they still may not tolerate these foods well.  They are beyond ecstatic to learn that there is a lactose-free, low fat  real dairy yogurt available, as soy yogurt tastes awful, coconut milk yogurt is a FODMAP bomb and almond milk yogurt is a sugary, carb bomb.  Healthy snacking is much more convenient when yogurt is an option.

CF – Can you please describe Medical Nutrition Therapy?

TD – Medical nutrition therapy is different from nutrition counseling or education in that diet is a prescription to treat or improve a medical condition.  Some examples of this would be: gluten-free diet for celiac disease, using soluble fiber therapy to improve IBS-D, using the low FODMAP diet to manage symptoms of chronic bloating in IBS, etc.  Medical nutrition therapy, importantly, is evidence-based and employed by credentialed clinicians, often in close collaboration with a medical doctor.

CF – Can you provide other tips for the lactose intolerant crowd/FODMAP fans?

TD –

  • Watch out for protein powders, drinks or bars that use whey protein concentrate or milk protein concentrate.  These can be very high in lactose.
  • If you use lactase supplements to help digest conventional dairy, use chewables, not tablets.  Chewables are much more effective.Take with the first bite.  Take additional dose mid-way through the meal/snack if there’s a lot of lactose.
  • Green Valley Lactose Free yogurts are the most FODMAP-friendly yogurts I have ever encountered.  If Green Valley Organics yogurt is not available in your market, look for Redwood Hill Farm goat’s milk yogurt instead– its about 40% lower in lactose than conventional yogurt, which is comparable to your typical Greek yogurt.  To reduce its lactose content even further, you can strain it for 2 hours in a paper-towel lined seive/strainer over a pot, which yields a thicker greek-style texture (lactose is water soluble, so it leaches out with the excess liquid).  I have a recipe for “Goat’s Milk Labne” here which I absolutely love.

If you have any comments, please share them below!  Thanks!  Check back next week for Part Two.

~ Colleen

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6 FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas


Thanks for visiting!  If you are new to our community and do not know about FODMAPs, read this post to learn more: 10 Facts About FODMAPs

Try any of these FODMAP friendly foods to help relieve gas:

  1. Water – Drink plenty of it to help “flush” out your system (eh-hemm, get the train moving as my Mother would say)
  2. Peppermint – The University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.”  Try enteric coated peppermint capsules, peppermint leaves and organic peppermints (not made with sugar alcohols).
  3. Cinnamon – In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is used to balance digestion and help restore the stomach to a balanced state.  Sprinkle it on lactose-free yogurt, kefir, in gluten-free oats or use it after you eat to aid in digestion by adding a teaspoon to decaf green tea.  If you have diabetes, sprinkle cinnamon on high carb foods to lower the impact on your blood sugar levels.
  4. Fresh, raw Pineapple – Bromelain, found in pineapple, is an enzyme that aids pineapple chunksin digestion and helps prevent inflammation and swelling. I have found many sources that say you should consider eating pineapple alone so the bromelain isn’t used up digesting other food.
  5. Flax seeds – Making a smoothie?  Need a topping for your lactose-free yogurt?  Add some flax seeds as they can prevent excessive gas and fend off constipation.
  6. Green juice – made with kale, spinach, lemon, ginger and carrots. Green juice can help alkalize the body and reduce gas. (source -Ravi Raman#FODMAPLifeTip – plan on drinking this fresh juice only if you will have access to a toilet for a couple of hours as it may help flush you out – quickly!

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Share this post!  Thanks and be well – Colleen

FODMAP for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

GoogleImageIf you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD), you know what it’s like to have to run to the bathroom on a moment’s notice. You know how scary it is to be in a situation where there is no bathroom in sight – the fear of not finding one in time.  The fear of most any social situation.  It’s not something that’s easy to talk to people about.  I have friends that battle with IBD and I can relate to their bathroom troubles.  Though I do not have IBD (I might have SIBO – still waiting on a diagnosis) I have come pretty close to not making it, a few times, in public no less.  My husband has been VERY supportive, patient and helpful.


IBD is a chronic condition with irregular intervals of active disease (flare-ups) or with little or no disease activity.  It involves chronic inflammation in all or part of the digestive tract. Symptoms can develop over time, and there are many theories about what causes IBD, but none have been proven thus far.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD including 140,000 children under the age of 18.


For those with inactive IBD, dietary options are limited, however, the Low FODMAP diet may help one to better navigate a daily routine.  It is not a cure as unfortunately no cure exists yet.

As compared to most of the general population, fructose and lactose malabsorption are more common in those with IBD (source).  Also a small amount of people with IBD cannot tolerate gluten.  Researchers have suggested that there could be links between IBD and a diet high in fats and sugars. With that being said, reducing high FODMAPs may help those with an inactive IBD who also experience IBS symptoms.

A liquid diet, often referred to as ‘enteral nutrition’ may be prescribed to some people with IBD.  This treatment can last for less than a month to two months. It provides all necessary nutrients to patients and then a solid food diet can be re-introduced, like the Low FODMAP diet.  There are other means suggested to help with symptoms like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the use of herbal remedies.

If you know someone that has IBD, tell them about the Low FODMAP diet and ask them to speak to their doctor about it!

Live the FODMAP Life!


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How to Start the Low FODMAP Diet

GoogleImageIt all seems a bit confusing right?  Learning about FODMAPs, what they stand for, what they potentially do to our digestive system, which foods you can have, need to limit or completely avoid.  There’s also conflicting information from Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.  At the end of the day, it’s your body and you need to take control and carefully monitor what works and what does not work for you.  Have patience because decoding the intricacies of your digestive system might take some time. The exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is still unknown, and there is no medical cure for Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.  However, if you have any of these issues you may be able to benefit greatly from the Low FODMAP diet.  It’s a natural approach to easing symptoms and during the process, you will also learn more about your body and how to treat physical and mental symptoms.  Here are some basic tips to get you started:


1. Once you begin, keep a food diary.  Write down everything you eat and drink.  Make note if you were eating fast, watching TV, using the computer or playing with your phone at the same time. Make note of any exercise and any stressful situations you had each day.  You’ll want to keep your food diary going for the entire length of the Low Fodmap Diet (at least two months).  The food diary will help you to keep an accurate account and get you closer to knowing your “triggers.”

2. Eliminate all FODMAPs for two months – fructans, GOS, lactose, excess fructose and polyols.  According to Dr. Sue Shepherd, if you know you can completely absorb fructose or lactose “you need not restrict your intake.”

3. Know your portions –

  • a) Do not eat more than one serving of fruit per meal or sitting (1 serving = 1 C or one whole piece of fruit).
  • b) Avoid eating these wheat products in large quantities -wheat, rye, barley (breads, cereals, pasta and cookies).  You can still enjoy small amounts like pieces of cookies in low fodmap ice cream or bread crumb coatings.
  • c) Soft cheeses are allowed but only up to 2 ounces
  • d) If you have fructose malabsorption you do not need to avoid fructose completely, just as long as there is more glucose than fructose, you can then eat moderate amounts.  If you have IBS, foods can be considered a problem if they contain more than 0.2 grams fructose in excess of glucose per serving –some fruits have the most amount of excess fructose over other foods.
  • e) Use low fructose sweeteners, but in moderation like: maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, brown sugar.
  • f) Watch out for anything listed as “sugar-free” or having sugar alcohols (these ingredients often end in “ol”).  These Polyols can cause symptoms for people with digestive disorders if they contain more than 0.5 grams total polyols per serving.

Check out my Low Fodmap Grocery List for more foods and portions

4. Timing is everything so get testing done as soon as possible.  I had to wait weeks for mine to be scheduled.  So as you’ve begun to avoid all FODMAPs, go and see a gastroenterologist and ask for blood and breath tests.  Hydrogen breath tests can help you to determine if you are fructose and/or lactose intolerant (malabsorption), have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome (SIBO) or rapid passage of food through the small intestine.  Blood tests can help you determine if you need to avoid gluten.  These types of tests though have not all been extremely efficient, so in some cases, by keeping an ongoing food and activity journal you might get a better sense of the real food and stress triggers.  If you are used to getting your Vitamin D from milk products, you may want to introduce Vitamin D2 and D3 vitamins into your diet.  Consult with your doctor to ensure you are not or do not become Vitamin D deficient.  Learn more about the 3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion.

5. Whenever possible, put together FODMAP-free snacks so you will always have something on hand to enjoy. Vegetables, fruit, wheat-free bread and crackers (gluten-free for Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease), rice cakes, nuts (no pistachios or cashews), decaf green tea.  Stay hydrated!

6. Read food labels – make sure to always read a food label to see if the food is Low in FODMAPs.  Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so the first couple of ingredients will make up most of the food product.  If a food product contains high FODMAPS, but they are in small amounts and listed towards the end of the list of ingredients, it should not cause you symptoms or be of concern.

7. Exercise – I have found that exercise always helps me with IBS symptoms (except running, that can make it worse).   Even if you do not have a regular workout routine, try to at least walk everyday for 30 minutes.  You might get rid of a lot of gas and cramps that way.


  1. There will be times when you might be unprepared or simply cannot find suitable foods while on the Low FODMAP diet.  You are not going to starve, so take those opportunities to drink more water or decaf green tea until your able to find nutritious food again.  If you were unprepared take note if it brought on any anxiety.  Remind yourself to have a plan of action to be prepared next time.
  2. Learn how to meditate.  Sit in a quiet place without distractions for at least ten minutes and close your eyes.  With long slow breaths, breathe in and out and think about all the reasons you are so grateful to be taking care of your body.  Visualize your body as light as a feather; your tummy no longer distended, your clothes fitting the way they should.  See yourself smiling and waking up feeling energized.  See yourself feeling better with no cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and/or constipation.  No feelings of sadness or frustrations.  Only lightness, only positivity.  Only normal bowel activity 🙂
  3. People are going to be nosy.  If you are in a social setting and everyone is sharing an appetizer you cannot have, or you need to ask the server to negate some ingredients, just simply say with enthusiasm “I don’t want {insert FODMAP food here} today, I’d rather have something else” or “that looks really good, enjoy!  I’m having the xxxx instead.”  Remember, your FODMAP Life is no one’s business unless you want it to be or it’s someone close to you that will support you no matter what.  Anyone who is going to make a big deal out of it will only make it worse for you so consider sharing less details with them.  For the supporters, share your Low-FODMAP Grocery List so they can learn more in the process!  Who knows, maybe they’ll surprise you with something low-FODMAP.

Once your symptoms have improved over the two month period, you can start by re-introducing one FODMAP sub-group at a time, one food at a time, in a normal portion size. Have a healthy day! ~Colleen subscribe-now

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5 Healthy Steps for FODMAP

IMG_5118Since the year began I have seen a tremendous amount of people on Facebook and Twitter say that they’ve started the Low-FODMAP Diet.  This is great news!  I’ve seen a few people asking for advice or tips on how to navigate the diet and honestly the best and safest approach is to work with a Registered Dietitian.  If for some reason you cannot afford one (meeting with one should not be a problem as many more RDs offer Skype consults), here are 5 Healthy Steps you can take to eat healthy right now.

  1. Get a Breath Test.  I had one of two breath hydrogen tests.  The first was to see if I am fructose intolerant (still awaiting the results) and the second is to check for lactose intolerance.  Dr. Sue Shepherd, PhD says that if you discover that neither fructose or lactose are causing you symptoms you’ll be able to include them in your Low-FODMAP diet, “although a negative breath test for fructose and lactose does not mean you won’t benefit from restricting the other remaining FODMAPs.”  She also recommends that if you do not have a breath test that you should “avoid all FODMAPs for the initial two months” of the diet.
  2. Reduce your intake of red meat.  Red meat is a trigger food for people with IBS.  It’s high in saturated fat and animal protein which is difficult to digest for most people.  If you are going to have it, make sure the portion is no larger than the palm of your hand, or what is considered a serving.  Also, cut it into smaller pieces to help with digestion.  For an extra healthy you – eat certified organic meats (no growth hormones, drugs or antibiotics).  If your doctor says you can avoid red meat altogether -great! For your protein needs try skinless chicken, seafood (careful of salmon and other oily fishes), egg whites, nuts, and non-dairy milk.
  3. Just say no to another glass.  Alcohol can greatly increase symptoms.  While you are following the Low-FODMAP diet it’s recommended by FODMAP experts to avoid it completely so you can get a better sense of what affects your gut once you start to slowly introduce food back into your diet.  If you’re going to drink, one glass max is recommended for women and up to two for men.  If you can, opt for clear alcohol like a vodka with ice, water and lemon (soda water can cause gas).  Remember alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, cause irritability, limit a person’s tolerance for stress and it increases the risk for several diseases.  And we all know it also puts on the pounds!
  4. Stop eating when you are full.  Be aware of your eating.  Eat slowly.  When you eat slowly you will have a better chance of not over-eating.  You will give your gut and brain enough chance to catch up with each other and say “thanks, that was great!  I’m full!” Also, eating too fast can cause excess amounts of air to be trapped in your stomach which can cause belching and more gas. Avoid disruptions like watching TV, working on your computer or using your phone.  When possible, eat with a friend, co-worker or with family.  Be aware if the person sitting next to you is eating fast and don’t follow their lead.  Take the opportunity to ask them nicely and calmly to slow down and enjoy the meal with you.
  5. Forget about what you can’t eat.  Remember, while you are trying the Low-FODMAP diet, you are bringing yourself closer to possibly understanding what causes your symptoms – and if you truly follow the diet, you might be able to avoid medications and create a new, healthy lifestyle for yourself.  There are several foods that are low in FODMAPs and by doing this diet you will also negate several more foods that are very unhealthy for you anyhow.  My motto – the cleaner the foods, the better your life.

Good luck and let me know if you need any referrals for a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist like me.  I offer nutritional coaching – learn more here.  Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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Causes of IBS

How IBS can start

bloatedfish2There are many ways to which symptoms from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can start.  For me it has been a certain type of food, or lack of exercising, sitting for long periods of time for work and definitely stress.  IBS has caused severe pain, social and emotional agony.  It’s no fun at all!  

I have always been very passionate and health and wellness and for the last seven years I have ate mostly clean foods – but some foods, even in little portions have caused symptoms, some of them lasting for weeks.  So here is a list of possible causes for IBS :

  • If who suffer from IBS you may have a colon that is super sensitive to certain foods or stressful situations, which cause the many unfavorable symptoms
  • Food or liquids in your intestines may move rather slowly, which means extra fluids are absorbed, resulting in constipation; or it’s the opposite – the contents move too fast, and its diarrhea 😦
  • You could experience sudden contractions that come and go, or stop working temporarily
  • You could have a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract
  • And problems with bowel movements could be due to abnormal serotonin levels in the gastrointestinal tract.

gastrointestinal tract

Like I mentioned above, stress can play a role in IBS.  It can worsen symptoms (it does).  And what are other ways that symptoms can intensify?

  • Eating heavy or fatty meals (fried food, mayo, whole milk, ice cream, pasta sauces, meat)
  • Eating a lot of different foods at one (think Thanksgiving, a wedding, party)
  • Consuming dairy products (try products with almond or rice milk)
  • Foods with gluten like wheat, rye and barley or other breads and baked goods
  • Beer (it’s hard to give up completely so I just go for a small glass or I sip someone else’s beer)
  • Carbonated drinks (soda is bad for you anyway!)
  • Caffeine (just give it up for a week – you will feel better)
  • And ladies if you’re on your period, that can also cause extra sensitivity

So what can you do about IBS?  Exercising everyday will help, even if you just go for a walk.  Avoid the trigger foods mentioned above.  Learn how to meditate when you are experiencing stressful situations – your gut depends on it!  And if you have not already heard, the low-FODMAP diet has helped me and it could help you!  Try this video for meditation at home or at work! 

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