Sometimes even the most hardcore and militant cavepeople retain ghosts of their former illnesses. What happens when eating perfectly isn't good enough? Quarantine might work. Or you could further examine your food and how it interacts with you.
FODMAPs is an acronym, not a navigational system like I first thought. It's really a group of carbohydrates, like a sugar mafia. Fermentable Oligosaccharides (multi-chain sugars), Disaccharides (two-chain sugars), Monosaccharides (single sugars), And Polyols. We’ll mostly stick with FODMAP so we don’t have to say all that.
See, your large intestine makes a wonderful home for all kinds of bacteria, which go absolutely apeshit for these sugars. They ferment the sugars that get through the earlier stages of digestion, and their homemade brew can result in everyone's favorite symptoms: gas and bloating. These are usually kitten-mild, but people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (some studies speculatively include Inflammatory Bowel Disease) or bobcat-spicy gas and bloating symptoms might consider reducing or eliminating FODMAPs (and kittens), as doing so has been shown to improve symptoms.
Luckily, the heavy hitting foods are usually long since dead and buried in the desert. Wheat and milk and beans are all high FODMAP foods, but the real kick in the pants comes from the fruits and veggies that sneak bacteria fart-fuel in. Though not comprehensive, this is a good list to start with. It’s recommended that people remove all high FODMAP foods as opposed to just a few; the gut flora are not picky.
Fructans or Galactans: wheat, rye, garlic, onion, artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, leek, chocolate, beans.
Polyols: apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, lychees, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, watermelon, avocado, cauliflower, mushroom, and artificial sweeteners like isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
Fructose: uhh, anything that's fruit. Or high fructose corn syrup. Or agave. Fructose malabsorption is more rare, however, and a breath test can be administered to determine your exact tolerance (plus, if you fail this breath test, no one is going to slap an ankle bracelet on you. Win-win).
Lactose: anything that's made from milk.
As you can see, even a Paleo veteran might cry when confronted with this list. Luckily, there’s another list. We’ll call it the anti-list. These are what’s recommended instead of the above listed foods. Grab that freakin rope and hang on.
Fructans or Galactans: bamboo shoots, bok choy, carrot, celery, eggplant, lettuce, chives, parsnip, pumpkin, tomato, garlic-infused oil.
Fructose or Polyols: blueberry, grapefruit, grape, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, passionfruit, raspberry, strawberry, maple syrup.
FODMAPs and their study not only affect the people suffering from constant functional gut haunting, but also the way we approach food science. We can quantify the effect a group of foods has on the human system, and how we deal with that effect. We’re moving from logic like, “cavemen ate this so we should too,” to, “this approach conclusively reduces luminal bifidobacteria and gastrointestinal symptoms.” Also, we can fart less on cue. And all of a sudden, science is a superpower.