The Health Food Aisle Trap
Within the last decade, when the gluten-free craze hit the food industry, there arose with it the misconception that ‘gluten-free’ was synonymous with ‘healthy’. This idea lingers still, and it is shown in most of our major grocery stores; if you were to ask a store clerk where you would find a gluten-free item, they would inevitably direct you to the health food aisle. It can all get a bit confusing when you are starting out on the gluten-free path, not to mention the low FODMAP path. The truth is that even though an item is void of gluten, it is not necessarily a food that will bring with it healthful benefits; some might even be more fitted to the “junk food” aisle.
If you were to have a good look at the gluten-free products in the grocery store, you would notice that the majority of the foods are “imposters”, trying to be something that looks and feels but rarely tastes like something we wish they were wheat/gluten products! Biscuits, cereals, crackers, cake mixes, breads, pasta, etc. To make many of these gluten-free products palatable, the manufacturers bring in food scientists to work out what ingredients need to be added to make the products “sit right”, feel right on the tongue and taste good enough to not be spat out straight away. All this often means that the ingredients list on many packaged gluten-free foods is a mile long and full of unfamiliar names and numbers that, in some cases, would consider them unsuitable for a low FODMAP dieter.
All the extra effort and ingredients put in to produce a gluten-free product shows on the price-tag with the price of a single gluten-free item usually being at least double of the equivalent non gluten-free. But it’s not all doom and gloom; trekking out on the gluten-free/low FODMAP journey can be quite similar to the all-round better health journey health professionals are prescribing today.
In addition to that, as discussed on another post, IBS sufferers need to follow a low FODMAP diet, not a gluten free diet, unless of course they are also celiac or gluten intolerant.
Following are some simple tips to help you make the necessary changes to your diet and ensuring it’s as beneficial to you as it can be:
Tips To Follow A Low FODMAP Diet On A Budget
Plan your meals
Similar to any special food changes or plans, it is always a thousand times easier (just a guesstimate…) to maintain when you have a plan and a shopping list to go with it. Go through recipe books, talk to fellow low FODMAPers, search the web for appropriate meals for a week or two and write a list of what you will need to buy for them. It certainly takes the guess-work out of figuring out what to eat when you’re starving and your brain is too hungry to figure out what to eat in the moment. You will also be AMAZED at how much money you can save by going to the store with a plan and a list.
Cook from scratch
If you ask me (which you might not, but I’m telling you anyway 😉 ), the “Health Food aisle” sign in the grocery store should be above the fresh produce section. When you have worked out all of your recipes, give them a go. Get your fresh produce and herbs and spices and give it a crack. Once you have initially out-fitted your fridge and pantry with the essentials, you will be surprised how quickly you can whip something up on the spur of the moment. And you can have peace in knowing there are no bloat-inducing hidden ingredients in your meals, as well as any other nasties. Manufactures put preservatives in packaged foods to keep them “alive” as they sit on the shelf at the store. You can avoid them by cooking food from scratch. I did write a post that encourage people to eat and cook healthy food and stay off process food for 21 days. Are you up for the challenge? 😀
Buy products in season
There are many advantages of buying fruits and vegetables in season. They usually taste ripe and delicious and you know they haven’t been picked weeks ago and half-frozen to stay ripe. I often find the quickest way to determine what fruits and vegetables are in season is by their price, the products in season are usually substantially cheaper than they usually are at other times of year. For more info, search the net for such sites as http://seasonalfoodguide.com/
Shop at local markets
There are also many benefits to buying fresh produce from local markets. You can be guaranteed the fruits and vegetables are fresher and still contain much of their nutrients which they start losing after they are picked. They will very often taste a lot better and buying from markets is better for the environment, less travelling and refrigeration in big, corporate trucks. Not to mention going to the markets is a great way to connect with your local community and support local farmers. Check your local Council website to see where and when your local markets are.
Look for sales or specials and buy bulk
While avoiding most packaged gluten-free products is best, you are certainly going to have your gluten-free staples like pasta, rice, quinoa, flours, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, etc. To save money and to avoid the risk of running out of them, when you most need them, look for when these items are on special and buy a few to last you.
Consult the other member of your household
Have a chat with your family, friends, housemates etc. about ways you feel they could help support you, as you make some changes to your fridge, pantry and shopping list. Get a feel for how willing your spouse and kids are to try new meals and other low FODMAP foods. You might be surprised how much they don’t mind participating in the changes you have to make…if they even notice at all. The important thing is to communicate with those in your “eating environment”, discuss with them how important to your well-being these changes are and get them cheering for you. They might be willing to do what it takes if it means their loved one will stop breaking wind ALL of the time…
Low FODMAP Tasty Recipes
Low FODMAP does not mean low taste. You can plan tasty meals for you and your family by using the recipes on this and other sites. I am constantly creating new low FODMAP recipes and so far
Until next time I wish you all the best with the low FODMAP diet.