What is the FODMAP Diet?

If you’ve got any kind of digestive disorder, like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), coeliac disease or Chron’s disease, the FODMAP diet could massively ease your symptoms and help you take back control of your life. But what exactly is the FODMAP diet?

FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Click To Tweet These incredibly confusing names are simply the scientific terms for short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols which are known to cause digestive problems.

The idea behind a FODMAP diet is to avoid foods which contain high amounts of the molecules listed above. By cutting out these things, you’ll put less strain on your digestive system and should see a reduction, or possibly total elimination, of your symptoms.

High and Low FODMAP Foods

The bad news is that FODMAPs are found in almost everything, which makes completely cutting them out impossible. The good news is that there’s a fair amount of foods which contain low quantities of FODMAPs that you can consume on a FODMAP diet without causing your intestines to go into a frenzy.

Examples of foods high in FODMAPs (i.e. the ones to avoid)

Vegetables: Onions, peas, mushrooms, cauliflower and asparagus

Fruits: Apples, avocado, currants, mangoes and watermelon

Grains: Rye, wheat and barley

Dairy: ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, yoghurt, evaporated milk and cow’s milk

Sweeteners: agave, high fructose corn syrup, honey, sorbitol and mannitol

Examples of foods low in FODMAPs (i.e. the ones safe to eat on a FODMAP diet)

Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bell peppers, cucumber, spinach and kale

Fruits: Blueberries, coconut, kiwi, lemons and raspberries

Grains: Millet, oats, rice, quinoa and polenta

Dairy: Brie cheese, camembert cheese, cheddar cheese, lactose-free ice cream and goat’s milk yoghurt

Sweeteners: maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, stevia and coconut sugar

As you can see from the examples above, picking out low FODMAP foods and high FODMAP foods is pretty tough and to do it successfully, you’ll need to do your research and be really strict with yourself. But for the chance to be completely symptom-free without any medication whatsoever makes it entirely worth the hassle.

The FODMAP Diet Explained

The FODMAP diet begins with an elimination stage followed by multiple reintroduction stages. The entire diet can take months to complete, but it’s one of the sure-fire ways you can safely discover which foods are safe for you to eat and which ones to avoid.

The elimination stage

The elimination stage involves cutting out every single food that’s high in FODMAPs until you get your symptoms under control. Depending on how your body reacts, this can take 2-8 weeks. When you’re feeling fine, it’s time to start your first reintroduction stage.

The reintroduction stage

This part of the low FODMAP diet is longer and more complex than the elimination stage. Each week, you pick one high FODMAP food to introduce into your diet.

Day 1: Eat a small portion of your chosen food.

Day 2: If you experience no symptoms, eat a medium portion of the same food.

Day 3: If you still don’t experience any symptoms, eat a large portion of the same food.

Days 4-7: Return to the strict FODMAP diet and avoid high FODMAP foods.

If you don’t experience any symptoms at all throughout the week, good news – the food you tested is fine for you to eat and you can add it to your “Safe” list!

If you got symptoms after day one, the food you tested is really not a good fit for your digestive system and you need to avoid it completely. Add it to your “Avoid” list.

If you only got symptoms after day two, the food is safe to eat in small potions and if you only got symptoms after day three, the food is safe to eat in medium portions.

Begin the reintroduction stage again after the four-day waiting period if you didn’t experience any symptoms. If you did get some symptoms, you’ll have to stick to a strict low FODMAP diet until you feel better and then begin the reintroduction stage.

The Importance of a Diary on the FODMAP Diet

If you’re going to give the FODMAP diet a try, it’s vital you keep a detailed food and symptom diary. Each day, write down exactly what you ate, at what time you ate it and what the portion size was. Then as soon as you feel even the slightest twinge of a symptom, make a note of it, what time you got it and how bad it was on a scale of 1-10.

You can write it all down in a notebook, keep a digital record on your computer or use a note-based app on your smartphone – whichever method works best for you and is most convenient so you stick with it. Keeping a diary while on a FODMAP diet will make pinpointing exactly which foods cause your symptoms so much easier and will help you get your digestive health back on track a million times faster.

What is the FODMAP Diet – The Final Takeaway

If you’re fed up of medication and want a more natural alternative, a FODMAP diet could be the way to go. It takes a lot of time, dedication and effort, but the first time you go a full day without any bad symptoms just by simply changing your diet, you’ll be inspired to stick with it until you’re free of digestive discomfort for good!

The Signs and Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance isn’t as serious as coeliac disease, but the symptoms can still have a huge effect on the quality of life. Click To Tweet

Gluten intolerance is not the same thing as coeliac disease, but its symptoms can be remarkably similar. It’s more than just a spot of tummy trouble, too, so if you think you might be experiencing gluten intolerance it’s important to speak to a medical professional about it as soon as you can. Today we’re going to discuss some of the key warning signs of gluten intolerance, and what to do if you think you might have non-celiac gluten intolerance.

 

The Signs of Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance isn’t as serious as coeliac disease, but the gluten allergy symptoms it causes can still have a huge effect on the quality of life of those affected by it. There are many gluten sensitivity symptoms, any of which might be present in a sufferer, following the consumption of food containing wheat, barley or rye. These are the main warning signs to look out for:

Bloating

If your stomach swells up and you feel uncomfortable and full of gas following a meal you could be suffering from gluten intolerance. This is a classic symptom which will usually appear very soon after eating. Some sufferers report looking six months pregnant following a gluten-filled meal!

Diarrhea or Constipation

It’s normal to suffer from either diarrhoea or constipation once in awhile, but if you’re experiencing either (or both) of these unpleasant conditions regularly it might be time to look at your diet. Around 50% of people with gluten intolerance experience diarrhoea after consuming gluten, whilst 25% will experience constipation.

Stomach Pain

If you’ve recently eaten gluten and you’re experiencing severe stomach pain it could be a red flag, signalling something untoward going on in your gut. Stomach pain is one of the most common complaints from people with gluten intolerance.

Headaches and Migraines

Gluten intolerance isn’t just about digestive problems. It can also cause other gluten side effects, such as headaches and even migraines in its sufferers. So, if you’re regularly taking to a dark room with a pounding head it might be time to consider your diet.

Weight Loss

If you find yourself losing huge amounts of weight, with no obvious explanation, we recommend you speak to your doctor as soon as you can. Unexplained weight loss can be an indicator of a wide range of health problems and can be a pointer to both gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. It’s all down to poor absorption of nutrients, due to the digestive issues caused by eating gluten.

Depression and Anxiety

If you suffer from digestive issues you are more at risk of developing depression, which can have a massive effect on your life. The link between gluten intolerance and depression is thought to be related to abnormal serotonin levels in sufferers, changes in the gut microbiota and gluten exorphins, which are formed during the digestion of proteins in gluten.

Muscle or Joint Pain

If you have a gluten intolerance but regularly consume gluten, it can lead to inflammation within your body, affecting both your joints and your muscles. This causes pain, which can be severe. However, it’s reversible with the help of a gluten free diet – so don’t despair!

Exhaustion

If you feel exhausted more than you think you should, with no apparent cause, gluten could be your culprit. An intolerance to gluten can head to anaemia, as a result of iron deficiency, which will mean extreme fatigue and a total lack of energy.

Rashes and Skin Complaints

One key indicator of coeliac disease is a skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy blistering skin condition which can only be resolved through a change to a gluten free diet. Other skin problems which can be improved through a gluten free diet include chronic urticaria, alopecia areata and psoriasis.

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Gluten intolerance causes a wide range of unpleasant symptoms in its sufferers, which go far beyond the typical digestive complaints you might imagine. Whilst many of these symptoms can have other explanations, if you’re experiencing several of these symptoms regularly, it’s definitely worth considering whether your diet may be the cause. The beauty of a gluten free diet is its ability to improve symptoms of gluten intolerance incredibly quickly. If you stick to a gluten free diet you won’t encounter these issues in the future.

Speak to your doctor to arrange a gluten intolerance test if you’re worried that you may have a gluten intolerance, or simply try a gluten free diet to see if you find your symptoms improve. If you’re interested in going gluten free, check out our blog for plenty of gluten free restaurant recommendations. A gluten free diet no longer means missing out on delicious food!

What Alcohol is Gluten Free_

When you’re following a gluten free diet, it’s important to not just think about the food you eat but the drinks you consume, too. While most soft drinks, like juices, pop and water, are safe to have on a gluten free diet because they contain absolutely no gluten at all, things aren’t as straightforward when it comes to alcohol.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a house-bound recluse, avoiding Happy Hour drinks with your co-workers and turning down fun party invites from your friends. You just need to brush up on your knowledge and find out what alcohol is gluten free and safe for you to enjoy as part of a gluten free diet!

Is Beer Gluten Free?

Brace yourself for some bad news, beer drinkers: most beers are not #glutenfree. Click To Tweet Beer is made from hops and barley which are loaded with gluten and not safe for coeliacs or anyone following a gluten-free diet. This applies to almost every type of beer, whether it’s light or dark, local or imported.

But all is not lost! As more and more people embrace a gluten free diet, more breweries are developing great-tasting gluten free beers. Most gluten free beers are still made with hops and barley, but they undergo a special process which removes all the gluten from the finished product.

Other gluten free beers skip the traditional ingredients altogether in favour of gluten-free alternatives such as buckwheat and sorghum. Not only does using these ingredients guarantee that the beer is totally gluten-free, but it also gives the beer a smooth, distinctive taste you don’t get with the standard drink.

Is Cider Gluten Free?

If you can’t get a hold of gluten free beer and you want something fizzy and refreshing, cider is a fantastic alternative. Brewed from apples or pears instead of barley and hops, most ciders are naturally #glutenfree Click To Tweet and are available pretty much everywhere you can buy beer.

Delicious fruity ciders in all kinds of flavours ranging from mixed berries to mango and passionfruit are becoming increasingly popular. And although they taste wonderful, flavoured ciders so sometimes contain gluten. To be on the safe side, double check with your server or barman that the cider you’re ordering is gluten-free or carefully read the label if you’re buying it from a shop.

Is Wine Gluten Free?

Wine is generally #glutenfree but the process can introduce gluten into the final product. Click To Tweet

Just like cider, most wines are also gluten free because they’re made from grapes which contain zero gluten. Although the ingredients that make up wine are gluten free, the process which goes into making wine can sometimes introduce gluten into the final product.

Some types of wines are aged in oak barrels for added flavour. And to stop the wine from seeping out of the barrel, wine producers often use a wheat paste to seal the gaps. This would result in a wine with fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten (the maximum allowed for a product to be classed as gluten free). However, someone with a very sensitive gluten allergy could still experience a reaction.

Other ways that wine can become unsafe on a gluten free diet is when certain colourings or flavourings are added. A great example of this is dessert wine, which is often coloured a deep yellow and sweetened with products that may contain gluten. Overall, for most people following a gluten free diet, wine is considered safe to enjoy.

Are Spirits Gluten Free?

Vodka, rum & tequila are naturally #glutenfree Click To Tweet

Most experts agree that distilled alcoholic drinks, even those made from grains which contain gluten, are safe to consume on a gluten free diet because the gluten is removed during the distillation process.

Are vodka, rum and tequila gluten free?

If you’re not convinced that distilling removes the gluten in spirits, play it safe and only drink vodka, rum or tequila. These spirits are naturally gluten free and therefore totally safe to drink for anyone with coeliac disease, a gluten allergy or a gluten intolerance.

Are whiskey, bourbon and scotch gluten free?

Short answer: yes. Long answer: no. Whiskey, bourbon and scotch are made from ingredients which contain gluten. Click To Tweet But if you believe what the experts say, you can rely on the information that all the gluten is removed during the distillation process, making these spirits safe to drink on a gluten free diet.

Some coeliacs and people with a very high gluten sensitivity report negative reactions to drinking whiskey, bourbon and scotch, while others experience no bad side effects at all. Everyone has different tolerance levels, so if you’ve got a really strong craving for whiskey, bourbon or scotch that simply won’t go away, we recommend you test a very small amount, to begin with and take it from there.

What Alcohol is Gluten Free? – The Final Takeaway

When it comes to gluten free food, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and it’s no different when it comes to gluten free alcohol. If you’re shopping for alcohol, read the label or do your research and look up trusted gluten-free brands before you head out to the shops. If you’re enjoying alcohol in a bar or restaurant, double check with your barman or server that what you’re ordering is gluten-free. That way you’ve got all your bases covered and can enjoy a drink without worrying about what it’s doing to your insides!

Gluten Free Las Vegas USA
Vegas is a city jam-packed with amazing restos & many of these cater for those on #glutenfree diets. Click To Tweet

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. So, if you’re planning a visit to this epic city in the near future you’ll definitely want to ensure you get the full Vegas experience! And that means no worrying about what you can or can’t eat, right? Thankfully, Vegas is a city jam-packed with amazing restaurants & so many of these cater for those on glutenfree diets. These are a few of our favourite places for eating gluten free in Las Vegas. Of course let’s not forget booze. We’ve included some restaurants offering gluten free beer Las Vegas.

 

The Cracked Egg

With five restaurants in the Las Vegas area, the Cracked Egg is a great place to start your day in this incredible city. The popular breakfast joint has a specific gluten-free menu, and there are tonnes to choose from. Gluten-free breakfasts come with hash browns, seasoned potatoes and gluten free toast. That’s one way to set you up for the day!

Mon Ami Gabi

Head on over to Paris, Las Vegas to enjoy a meal at this quintessentially French restaurant. We recommend Mon Ami Gabi for brunch, but it’s also a beautiful place for a romantic dinner. Dessert is where many a gluten-free traveller loses out, but you definitely won’t here, because there are no less than four gluten free desserts to choose from. We’re still dreaming about the flourless chocolate cake.

Wild at the Ogden

If you’re on the hunt for a gluten free pizza while you’re in Vegas, make your way to Wild. It’s a little out of the way, but it’s definitely worth seeking out this Las Vegas gluten-free restaurant. The pizza crusts are SO good, and you can wash it all down with a great gluten free beer, too.

Margaritaville

A tropical escape on the famous Vegas strip, Margaritaville is a fun restaurant, split over three levels, with no less than five bars! The gluten free menu is extensive and includes indulgent dishes like cheeseburgers, chicken or fish sandwiches and a very tempting brownie sundae.

The Cheesecake Factory

Many restaurants say they offer something for everyone, but this claim is definitely true at the Cheesecake Factory! The restaurant has over 250 menu items to choose from, which could make deciding what to have tricky… There are plenty of gluten free pasta dishes, gluten free buns, gluten free steaks and grills and a whole host of gluten-free desserts too. You might have to go more than once.

El Dorado Cantina

If you find yourself craving Mexican food we can’t recommend El Dorado Cantina highly enough. This family-run Mexican restaurant focuses on great ingredients and big, bold flavours. There are so many gluten free options to choose from, including nachos and salsas, street tacos and signature dishes. Come hungry!

Eatt

West of the Las Vegas Strip you’ll find Eatt, a gourmet French restaurant which prides itself on its healthy, fine dining dishes. The whole menu is clearly labelled with allergens, so you can easily see which gluten free dishes you can choose from. We loved the pot au feu chicken, followed by a very tasty macaron with vanilla cream, apple and cinnamon for dessert.

Veranda

Italian restaurants are typically tricky for gluten free travellers, but Veranda is the exception to the rule. This beautiful Italian is a great place to go to for gluten free breakfast in Las Vegas, as well as gluten-free lunches and dinners. You’ll find gluten free bread, waffles and doughnuts on the hugely popular gluten free sampler plate, as well as gluten free pasta and pizzas later in the day. Indulge yourself!

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Snow Crab

The snow crab at Joe’s is world famous, and thankfully it’s gluten free too! Joe’s is also known for its juicy steaks and other seafood dishes, like scallops, Alaskan king crab and plenty of exceptional fish dishes. There’s a gluten free menu so you can be assured of some great choices here.

Nobu Caesar’s Palace

Japanese Chef Nobu is renowned throughout the world for his exceptional restaurants, so if you get a chance to have a meal at Nobu you must! Japanese cuisine is great for gluten-free travellers, as so many dishes are naturally gluten free. And of course there’s a gluten free menu here, so you’ll have plenty of amazing dishes to choose from. We’ll see you at the sashimi bar.

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Have you visited Las Vegas? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experiences of eating gluten free in Las Vegas, your favourite Las Vegas gluten free restaurants or anywhere else you’d recommend!