Book Review: The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders*
One in ten people suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including my significant other, Lewis. This book is the first one I purchased once Lewis’ doctor recommended implementing a low-FODMAP diet. For those of you not familiar with the low-FODMAP diet, its focus is on helping you better manage IBS and other digestive issues. It does this by avoiding foods that have been found to cause discomfort in your digestive tract. These include Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols (a.k.a. FODMAPs).
What Are FODMAPs?
The primary oligosaccharides found in foods that are FODMAPS are fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides. To help you avoid them, the book has helpful charts that rank high, moderate and low-fructan foods side-by-side. This helps you identify key foods to avoid and your best substitutions. That said, this has, so far, been the most difficult part of converting our eating to a low-FODMAP diet. Why? Because stone fruits, artichokes, garlic, onions, wheat-based products, and beans were all part of our usual weekly menus.
Luckily, through food elimination, we found that lactose wasn’t a trigger food for either of us, so we have been able to keep it in our diet. Wheat-based products have long been an issue for me (despite my stubbornly continuing to bake and eat them). Eliminating gluten from our diet (even before we started the low-FODMAP approach) improved Lewis’ IBS symptoms in addition to managing my gluten sensitivity.
In addition to a third of the book being devoted to explaining the low-FODMAP approach to eating, it has a good number of easy yet flavorful recipes. Over the past month, I’ve tried many of them, with the following being our favorites so far:
- Pork Ragout
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Stir-Fried Pork with Chile and Cilantro
Why You’ll Like This Cookbook
This book provided a good way to get acclimated to a low-FODMAP approach to cooking. First, it gave me confidence in knowing I wouldn’t sabotage our efforts by including something in our meals that was on the long foods-to-avoid list. It also provided me with ideas on how to create flavorful dishes without my old standbys onions and garlic.
Another benefit the book provides, for those of you who are a fan of following a set menu plan, are 14-day meal plans. In addition to a general plan, it includes plans tailored for vegans, vegetarians, dairy-free, and low-fat eaters.
This book has become my handbook for following the low-FODMAP diet. I’ve copied several of the charts and stuck them up on my refrigerator next to the grocery list and weekly menu so I can easily refer to them. The only way this book could be improved is to have the charts bundled together in the appendix as laminated pullouts. I highly recommend this book for anyone starting out on a low-FODMAP diet.
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