About two years ago I had to give up coffee. I tried everything from fake coffee to powdered additives (javacid) to low acid coffee, but I just couldn’t drink it. I actually realized that most of these fake coffees and additives contain chicory root. If you have IBS, I’d be willing to bet that you can’t tolerate it. Inulin and agave are now being used more than ever in everything. It is the new high fructose corn syrup. It is overused in gluten free products.
Chicory root and agave are forms of inulin, and are basically interchangeable. Since I gave up coffee, I thought, ok, tea should be safe. There is a world of flavored teas out there that I could explore. There is also a world of hurt. Tea is not as unassuming as you might think, especially if you have IBS.
There were certain teas I was drinking that would upset my stomach, and I couldn’t figure out why. At first, I thought it was the “non-dairy” creamer that isn’t really non-dairy. So I gave that up, but still had stomach issues. Then I looked at the Fodmap list, and a light began to dawn.
The below excerpt is from Tips on tea for the fodmap crowd.
Most of the teas tested had polyols, fructans and GOS. But some had low enough amounts to be deemed low FODMAP. The lowest FODMAP tea options include:
- Peppermint tea
- Green tea
- White tea
- Black tea
HIGH FODMAP teas:
- Fennel tea
- Chamomile tea
With the total FODMAP cut off per meal being 0.5 gram, Chamomile tea hit the o.8 g mark in one serving of tea and Fennel had a bit more!
Dandelion and Chai tea were under the 0.5 gram mark but a bit higher than the lowest FODMAP options.
Oolong tea was in the moderate to high zone, so perhaps a 1/2 cup of this tea might be okay but would not have a full tea cup.
Instant coffee registered high in FODMAPs (about 1.0 grams per serving…again, the cut off is 0.5 grams) while espresso was low FODMAP (YAY!!) Carob powder registered VERY high FODMAP too. Cocoa powder was high FODMAP Boo!;( in servings > 3 teaspoons.
But of course, listen to your body, tolerance to FODMAPs is individual.
I used to drink Moon cycle tea at “that time of the month” It did help with my tummy issues, but contained fennel. Fennel is great for relieving bloat, but you have to watch out for too much. I used to drink oolong tea, but had to give it up because of tummy issues. Watch out in chinese restaurants. Chamomile can also cause tummy upset.
You should also watch out for flavored teas. Much to my chagrin, a box of salted caramel tea I just purchased contains chicory root. That would explain the tummy upset! Again, read labels. From the fodmap list:
- Tea, black with added soy milk
- Tea, chai, strong
- Tea, dandelion, strong
- Tea, fennel
- Tea, chamomile
- Tea, herbal, strong
- Tea, oolong
I can drink chai and black teas if I don’t make them too strong. I used to let the teabag sit in the cup for a good five-ten minutes when I was working. The tea would be too strong and would upset my stomach. What I usually do now is put a cup of cold water and a teabag in the microwave and nuke for 1 minute 15 to 1 minute 20, depending on the size of the cup. I find that is just the right strength. But your tolerance will vary.
Fodmap tolerance is an individual thing. Some of us can eat or drink certain things on the list, some of us can’t. It’s bit different than gluten or dairy intolerance.
Yes, I still miss that coffee buzz. But like giving up gluten and dairy, it is necessary for me to abstain for health reasons. And that is the most important reason of all.