We are experiencing unprecedented times right now with the widespread concern of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are witnessing wiped-clean grocery shelves, rampant closures of schools, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, and more. This, along with long periods of social distancing, can put a strain on our emotional wellbeing and IBS symptoms.
If you are like me, an IBS sufferer, you may have additional concerns, such as not having low FODMAP foods available due to grocery store shortages, less access to exercise (a wonderful way to destress) due to fitness facility and yoga studio closures, and lack of toilet paper – this is a real concern!
Stress can negatively affect IBS symptoms as the gut and brain are strongly connected. Because of this, stress management is so important right now. Please find ways to unplug, relax, breathe, move your body, and focus on positive thoughts. Please give yourself a few hours break every day and disconnect from the media — the news can wait.
Here are a few helpful suggestions:
- Yoga – bonus, many poses can help with IBS.
- Exercise – take a walk or run outside. Maybe stream a workout video from your TV, computer, or phone.
- Call a friend or family member.
- Write a letter.
- Take a hot bath.
- Try any of the many stress relief apps available such as CALM, Headspace, Simple Habit, Luminosity Mind, Aura, and more.
Being well-prepared with the basics
Many low FODMAPers purchase specialty products such as gluten-free breads, gluten-free pasta, low-FODMAP certified products, and more. Based on some personal communication and social media posts, there appears to be shortages of many of these foods in many cities nationwide.
It is important to remember that a low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free or dairy-free diet. While many low-FODMAP products are in fact gluten/dairy-free, you do not need to follow as restrictive of a diet as someone who has Celiac disease or a milk protein allergy. Please refer to the Monash app for safe servings of wheat and dairy as this will likely expand your options and reduce unnecessary shortages for those of us who really need these products. Listen to your health authorities and just try to keep the recommended amount of food on hand versus stockpiling.
Here are some staple low-FODMAP foods that have a longer shelf life:
- Rice (any kind)
- Rice noodles
- Corn tortillas
- White potatoes
- Sourdough bread – watch portion and consider freezing to extend shelf life
- Gluten-free flour
- Frozen green beans
- Broccoli – fresh or frozen
- Carrots – fresh or frozen
- Frozen blueberries and strawberries
- Low FODMAP nuts- keep these in the freezer to keep fresh longer
- Rice cakes
- Peanut butter
- Frozen and canned seafood, poultry, and meat
- Tofu and tempeh
- Canned chickpeas and lentils
- Rice and oat based cereals
- Lactose-free milk*
- Lactose-free yogurt*
- Almond or rice milk
- Aged cheese
- Garlic-infused oil
* Lactose-free dairy items often have a longer shelf life than regular dairy products. Check use by dates, you may want to buy a few extra right now.
If you need help finding low-FODMAP food products, check out the Spoonful app (iOS, Android). No need to scan every item, especially as we are trying to minimize physical contact. Just look for green highlighted foods in the Discover section to find low FODMAP foods.
You can also use the search bar to find specific low-FODMAP brands. For example, search bread and you will find several green highlighted options to choose.
Tip: Try to have a week or two worth of meal ideas planned to avoid buying too many non-perishable food items.
Online shopping and grocery delivery
There are also variety of grocery deliver services that may be servicing your hometown for a minimal charge.
- Google Express
- Amazon Fresh
- Click List
Online shopping – this is a great option, especially if you are searching for specialty foods and pantry staples. Here are some of my favorites.
Check out FODMAP Everyday’s low FODMAP Amazon Shop for dozens of low-FODMAP food ideas.
Thrive Online Market is a subscription-based online grocery store that sells many low-FODMAP foods. Check out the shop by diet link and click on low FODMAP or click here for many gut-friendly food items. Please note, Thrive Market is experiencing delays of 1-2 weeks due to heavy traffic.
Are you looking for fresh produce and ways to reduce food waste? Check out these online produce boxes – Imperfect Foods, FreshDirect, Full Harvest, GrubMarket and FreshToHome. I hope that one of these amazing companies is selling to your zip code.
FODY Foods sells low-FODMAP certified foods directly from their website and stores nationwide. FODY states that everything is in stock online and available. FODY warehouse is based in Chicago, and orders typically arrive in 2-5 business days via FedEx.
Casa de Sante
Casa de Sante sells many certified low-FODMAP foods. The warehouse is located on the east coast, and orders are delivered in 2-3 days or longer based on your location. They have ample stock of their low-FODMAP spices, protein shakes, and more.
Bars & snacks
Enjoy Life and Go Macro have many certified low FODMAP snack bars and treats available at grocers nationwide and online. These may be worth stocking up on as they are non-perishable and rather convenient. Go Macro offers a 20% off code for your first order online. Enjoy Life is running a bit late right now (todays orders will ship in 1 week per website) due to high demand.
Prepared Low-FODMAP Meal Services
Are you looking for already prepared low FODMAP meals? Rest assured these companies are taking all necessary precautions to ensure your food is safe, delicious, and on time.
ModifyHealth is operating to full capacity and able to meet the need of the communities with low-FODMAP meal deliveries nationwide. At this time, there are no challenges with their preferred route of deliveries. ModifyHealth delivers healthy, tasty low-FODMAP meals and they also offer telenutrition visits for those who need a FODMAP-trained RD to consult with to help them navigate all phases of the low-FODMAP diet. Please use the code myfodmapfriend for a discount.
Epicured delivers 5-star chef-developed low-FODMAP meals to the northeastern US. They are keeping up with orders and continue to provide high-quality low-FODMAP meal and snack options right to your door so you do not have to cook.
We hope this article provides you with some useful tips to help you survive this challenging time while keeping your IBS symptoms in control.
Stay healthy out there and we wish you well.
Very helpful indeed. Im new to this and the learning curve is steep
Wishing you the best! Let us know how we can help.
Your app has been a godsend. I spent 6 months last year working through the Fod Map diet on doctors orders. I now know I must avoid onions, garlic and corn syrup. My food choices have expanded and your app has really helped. I can not use the color system because it would eliminate foods I can eat like dairy and breads. In the future I would love to see you develop a color code for those of us who must maintain.
Also I have noticed you have some things coded green that contain onions, onion powder, garlic or corn syrup. I noticed it in catsup and mustard first. I have to check the label even if it is green.
Hey Sue – glad you’re enjoying the app overall! The color code idea for maintaining the diet is a really good one. Thanks for bringing it up.
And yes, despite having onion/garlic, some ketchups and other condiment products have actually been tested low FODMAP by Monash at reasonable serving sizes. For these products, we have marked them green.
More info here in case it’s helpful: https://www.fodmapeveryday.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-low-fodmap-condiments/
This was a great read! I’m new to this diet and your app has been super helpful as well! 🙂
On a different note when eating out, are there any specific fast food places (i.e., Chipotle, Subway, Pizza places, Starbucks, etc.) that have certified low FODMAP meal/drink options? I’m also vegetarian. Eating out has probably been the hardest adjustment for me – I’m lost. The only safe thing I know if is creating your own salad but that’s about it. Not sure if I’m missing something else.
Hey Alyssa – so glad you found it helpful!
And yes! Eating out can be very tough. We actually did a video on this topic last week with Mollie from FitFabFodmap. She’s a low-FODMAP eater who did a writeup on what to order across different cuisines. As far as specific restaurants, perhaps we’ll do a blog post on it soon 😉