FODMAP Friendly Special Occasions

It can be difficult as a dedicated FODMAPer when it comes to special occasions – eating out at restaurants, going to a dinner party, work function or Christmas party. The traditional Australian celebration foods are a disaster for us with sensitivities, so you will need to be prepared.

Do your homework

Check out menu beforehand at the restaurant. Do they have any gluten free options that can be adapted to your other intolerances? Can you get simple meat and vegetables without gravies or sauces? Is the chef happy to adjust a dish for you? Most places are happy to cater for you, and if they aren’t, you’ll know to avoid it in the future (Or option B: eat there, go nuts – gluten, onion, CABBAGE – then destroy their toilet, and leave a note encouraging them to be more flexible with the menu)

Bring a plate

If there is a work morning tea, BBQ or birthday, bring a plate of FODMAP friendly food to share. Let the host know beforehand that you have food intolerances, and that you will be bringing a salad or a sweet. Chances are someone else present will be gluten or lactose intolerant, and will appreciate having something to eat too. New BFF perhaps?

Send a list or share some recipes

Some of my wonderful friends and family still invite me over for dinner, even though I am the worst person to cook for. They insist on making something for me, so to help them out I send a list of my food intolerances and/or some of my FODMAP friendly recipes to help them out.

Here are a couple of quick and easy dip recipes for you to try for your next social occasion:

Basil Pesto Dip

Makes: about one cup

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews (or almonds work well too)
  • 40g hard cheese (parmesan, cheddar, whatever!)
  • Grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, grind nuts, cheese and lemon rind and juice until you reach desired consistency (you might like this quite chunky). Add basil leaves and olive oil and process until basil leaves are finely shredded. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Pop into a container, and keep in the fridge for around a week.

 

Sweet Potato Dip

Makes: about two cups

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews (or almonds work well too)
  • 50g hard cheese (parmesan, cheddar, whatever!)
  • Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 roasted sweet potato*
  • ¼ – ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce or a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, grind nuts, cheese and lemon rind and juice until you reach desired consistency (you might like this quite chunky). Add sweet potato, chilli and olive oil and process. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Pop into a container, and keep in the fridge for around a week.

*I roast sweet potatoes in the oven with 1 tsp coconut oil for around an hour

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Famous FODMAP Friendly Granola

Breakfast can be tricky for those following a low FODMAP diet and are short on time in the morning. So I have a couple of options for you. The first is an amazing cereal style substitute, inspired by The Natural Nutritionist (www.naturalnutritionist.com), as you might find store bought gluten free cereals too expensive, and too full of refined sugars. This has been really popular amongst my friends and family who have tried it. Let me know what you think!

Granola

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 Makes: about 7 serves

 You will need:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup almond or flaxseed meal (any nut meal or LSA will be fine!)
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup

 Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl combine coconut, roughly chopped almonds, meal, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and chia seeds.

 Melt coconut oil in a saucepan, and pour over dry mixture. Add rice malt syrup and mix thoroughly. Spread mixture out on a baking tray and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes. Cool, and store in an airtight container. I use around half a cup.

 Serve with your choice of FODMAP friendly fruits (I use 100g strawberries), greek yoghurt (lactose free if needed) and milk (unsweetened almond milk or lactose free) Substitutions can be made, I often add some maca powder, Vital Protein Pea Protein Isolate or macadamia nuts.

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FODMAP Friendly Winter Warmer Part 2

Winter is upon us, and there is nothing better to warm you up than a fragrant, spicy veggie-packed meal. This dish is fantastic because you control the level of spice and the vegetables you use. If you prefer to eat seasonally, you can fill this up with beautiful fresh winter veggies, or you can use whatever is sitting in your fridge right now.

Chicken Laksa

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Serves 4-6

 You will need:

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbs red curry or laksa paste (I prefer red curry, add more paste for a stronger taste)
  • 2-3 chicken breast fillets or 4 thigh fillets
  • 1 400g can coconut cream (don’t buy light varieties, use full fat)
  • Vegies of choice. I use:
    • 1 sweet potato or 2 cups pumpkin
    • 1 carrot,
    • ½ red capsicum
    • 1 zucchini
    • ½ bunch brocollini
    • 1 bunch pak choy
    • ½ cup crushed peanuts OR natural crunchy peanut butter

 Dice vegetables. Lightly steam carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin (I pop them in a microwaveable container with a few drops of water for 3-4 minutes)

 In a large fry pan or wok, heat coconut oil over medium heat to melt. Add paste, and cook for 1 minute before adding chicken. Cook chicken until lightly browned.

 Add coconut milk and 2 cups water. Stir to combine. Bring it almost to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add vegetables and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When vegies are tender, add peanuts or peanut butter.

 Serve over ½ cup brown rice or quinoa. For a lower carb/grain free option eat as a soup with no rice or quinoa.

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FODMAP Friendly Chocolate and Vitamin P

I read an article recently on the topic of the role of food in metabolism health and weight control. Sounds like fairly standard stuff – eat natural, whole foods that are nutrient dense. But this article mentioned something they called vitamin P – P for ‘pleasure’. It explored the idea that food must be satisfying in nutrients, volume AND is pleasurable to eat. The author suggests that binges and cravings can be reduced or completely eradicated if we eat ‘pleasurable foods’, which is a huge win for those struggling with weight issues.

With that in mind, we need a FODMAP friendly snack, high in ‘Vitamin P’, that still ticks all of the nutrient dense, refined sugar free boxes. I use raw cacao powder in this recipe, because it is high in protein, filled with antioxidants AND is one of the best food sources of magnesium. Magnesium is a great stress buster, so if you feel like a little relaxation, make some of these! Enjoy!

Chocolate Cups

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Makes: about 20 small cups

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 -4 tbs raw cacao powder OR cocoa powder
  • 3 tbs almond meal OR other nut meal (try hazelnut for a Nutella flavor)
  • 3 tbs fine desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbs rice malt syrup (OR more or less, depending on how sweet you like things
  • Small patty pans or baking paper

Melt coconut oil in a saucepan, and allow to cool slightly. Add in dry ingredients and stir well. Add rice malt syrup, and taste to test the sweetness level. Put a teaspoonful in each patty pan or put blobs on baking paper, and put in the freezer to set. I keep mine in the freezer, they just need 3-4 minutes on the bench before you serve.

OPTIONS:

Peanut Butter Cups: After you have added rice malt syrup, add 2-3 tbs of natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, depending on the texture you like!), mix thoroughly and put into pans

Cherry Delight: After you have added rice malt syrup, add 3 tbs finely chopped glace cherries, mix thoroughly and put into pans

Try experimenting with other flavours that you like – peppermint or orange essence would be amazing, or throw in a few tablespoons of cacao nibs for some crunch.

Stay tuned for homemade choc-hazelnut spread recipe coming soon!

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FODMAP Friendly Protein Supplements

Protein shakes sometimes have a bad reputation for making people fart. For people who have a number of food intolerances, the reaction can be so bad they might get us kicked out of the gym! Whether you are active, a vegetarian, or just looking to up your protein intake, I have found a couple of suitable brands: The Healthy Chef Organic Pea Protein and Vital Protein Pea Protein Isolate. I love the Vital Protein chocolate flavor!

Why protein?

  • Protein rich foods have a high satiety factor, and take longer to move through our digestive system, helping us feel fuller for longer
  • Protein helps keep our blood sugar levels steady
  • Protein must go through more processing by our body to utilize it, and this processing burns more calories than eating the same amount of protein or carbohydrates
  • High protein foods can be delicious! Naturally occurring high protein foods like chicken, beef fish and eggs are amazing, and check out some of my ideas below

A few tips when dealing with protein in your diet:

  • Aim for at least 1.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight
  • Aim to eat a minimum of 30g of protein at a time
  • Get most of it from natural sources, and supplement if needed

Now you wont feel bad about trying my Chocolate Protein Muffins. If you stocked up on the things from my ‘favourite food’ list, you should be ready to make them now!

 

Chocolate Protein Muffins

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Makes: 10 muffins

 You will need:

  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • ½ cup chocolate pea protein powder
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk OR lactose free)
  • 3 tbs rice malt syrup

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

 Combine the coconut, almond meal, cacao powder, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well.

 Add lightly whisked eggs, coconut oil and rice malt syrup to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes before putting into greased muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until the middle springs back when poked.

 OPTIONS: To up the fibre and omega 3 content of your muffins, you could use only ¼ cup almond meal and add ¼ cup ground flax seeds. To make your muffins more like ‘choc chip’ muffins, add a couple of tablespoons of raw cacao nibs. You don’t have to use cinnamon, but it does help to regulate your blood sugar response when you scoff these.

 

Other Protein Boosters

  • Mix 1 tbs chocolate protein powder with 3 tbs natural cultured yoghurt (lactose free if needed)
  • Try my Filling FODMAP Chocolate Pancake from blog post: ‘10 of my favourite foods (FODMAP friendly of course!)’
  • Make a delicious breakfast smoothie, mixing a banana, protein powder, 1 tbs chia seeds, 1 cup of milk of your choice and some ice cubes in a blender
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FODMAP Friendly Winter Warmer

As we head into Winter we start to crave comfort foods – hearty soups, stews and casseroles. Gluten free and FODMAP friendly soups, stews and casseroles might seem impossible, but fear not, I have a whole series of these to keep you warm. The recipe included tonight uses 500g of beef cheeks, purchased at ALDI for around $4.50! The secret in making these cheap cuts of meat mouth wateringly tender is all in the slow cooking. Pop it on in the morning before you go to work, and come home to an amazing casserole and a house that smells delicious and inviting. This is a super easy recipe, I hope you love it as much as I do. Happy cooking!

Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks with Roasted Vegetable Mash

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Serves: 2-3

You will need:

  • 500g beef cheeks
  • 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbs sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds

For the Roasted Vegetable Mash:

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 150g pumpkin
  • 150g sweet potato (about half a sweet potato)
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ tsp gluten free chicken stock (onion free if necessary)
  • Splash of milk (whatever kind you use)
  • 50g tasty cheese

In a slow cooker or crockpot, mix tomato, paprika and fennel seeds. Add in beef cheeks, turning a few times to coat on tomato mixture. For slow cooker, cook on low for around 8 hours or on high for around 5 hours. With 30-60 minutes to go, remove meat from pot and slice or dice into small chunks. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you could do this in an oven, cooking for around 5 hours at 140 degrees Celsius.

For the mash, roast diced vegetables at 170 degrees Celsius for around 30 minutes or until tender. Place in large bowl with stock and milk. Roughly mash, and then stir through grated cheese.

Serve casserole mix on a bed of mash, with some chopped parsley if desired.

OPTIONS: Use chicken (thigh or breast fillets) or lamb shanks instead of beef. Roast any veggies you have – other great options are potatoes, parsnips or zucchini. To make the mash extra creamy, add a tablespoon of natural or Greek yoghurt, sour cream or cream (depending on your tolerances!) Instead of mash, you could serve this with a gluten free pasta, but you cant forget to stir some cheese through!

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10 of my favourite foods (FODMAP friendly of course!)

FODMAP friendly eating is fantastic for those who suffer gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea and constipation. Let me tell you I am thrilled at the reduction in my general farty-pants-ness (so is my husband!) BUT it does take some dedication. Stocking up on versatile items that are nutrient packed ‘super foods’ and are naturally FODMAP friendly is a great start.

You will find these ingredients appear in many of my recipes. Happy Shopping!

Coconut Oil – I use this in just about everything. It is a short-medium chain saturated fatty acid, and is actually pretty darn good for you. Saturated fat was long considered to be the enemy of heart health, but we now know that naturally occurring saturated fat (like coconut oil) are good, and it’s the trans and hydrogenated fats that are to be avoided. Be sure to buy virgin, unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil, and you will enjoy benefits like reduced sugar cravings, improved thyroid function and digestion, increased metabolic rate, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory action. I also love other coconut products – cream flour and shredded!

Versatile VeggiesSome veggies are off limits to us FODMAPers, so you will need to adjust some of your usual recipes. Carrot, Asian greens, pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, capsicum, tomato, spring onion, zucchini and sweet potato can be used to make a huge range of salads, soups and side dishes

Almond MealGluten free flours are typically made of refined rice, tapioca and corn flours, all of which cause blood sugar spikes, which can lead to metabolic dysfunction and weight gain. I avoid these and bake with almond meal! Available in all supermarkets, almond meal has the added bonus of being high in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Perfect in FODMAP friendly muffins. May be substituted for other nuts, feel free to experiment.

Unsweetened Almond MilkWhen following a low FODMAP diet, we only have a few milk alternatives available to us: lactose free, rice and almond. (You can make many types of nut milk, but these are the only ones available to purchase in supermarkets) I avoid rice milk as it is high in sugar, and I will occasionally have some full cream lactose free milk (don’t buy low fat cows milk), but unsweetened almond milk is my new favourite. It is amazing in smoothies and baking, and tastes good enough to drink on its own.

Berries and Citrus FruitsThese are low sugar fruits, with the right fructose to glucose ratio, and are high in vitamin C, antioxidants and all sorts of other goodies. Great as a snack, in smoothies, in baking, on pancakes and as a dessert.

CheeseNeed I say more? Just avoid fresh deli cheeses like ricotta and feta. Hard cheeses and brie and camembert should be fine. Avoid having cheese with crackers (remember we want to avoid the sugar spikes associated with starches found in crackers and other such products), instead pop it on a nice homemade pizza (recipe coming soon!), omelet, or enjoy on its own.

SeedsSpecifically, I love sunflower, pumpkin, flax and chia seeds. Fat, fibre, protein and Omega 3. You can get these pretty cheap too! So many uses, look out for them in posts to come. Nobody can seem to decide if quinoa is a seed or a grain, but either way, it is a great substitute for a whole range of grains in your cooking.

Meats and EggsSorry if you are a vegetarian, but I love meat! We are going to experiment with some different cuts of meat – beef cheeks, chicken thigh fillets, lamb shanks – and all the old favourites. Be careful when buying tinned fish – many of the flavoured varieties contain onion, garlic or other non FODMAP friendly things.

Organic Rice Malt Syrup or Steviathese aren’t technically ‘good’ for you, but are much better than regular sugar or artificial sweeteners (which can be hard for tummies to tolerate, among other reasons). We need just a little bit of these for some of our recipes. Rice malt syrup is cheap, look for it in the health food section. Stevia is with the normal sugar and sweeteners in the baking aisle.

Pea Protein PowderProtein is the building blocks for a healthy body, and is readily available in plenty of natural whole foods. However, many of us need a little extra help to get a sufficient amount of protein (more on how much is sufficient another time!), and traditional protein powders are a disaster for the low FODMAP eater. Pea protein is easy to digest, vegan (if that matters to you), low in sugar and delicious. I use this in smoothies, cakes, slices and even hot chocolate. Stay tuned for some Pea Protein recipes!

 That’s great. Now how do I use them?

Breakfast Ideas!

FODMAP Friendly Omelet

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Makes: 1

You will need:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 eggs
  • ½ zucchini, grated
  • splash of milk (lactose free or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 20g grated tasty cheese
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • 50g roasted pumpkin (Leftover from Roast Pumpkin Salad)
  • 90g tin flavoured tuna (I love basil or sundried tomato)

Lightly whisk the eggs, adding in a small splash of milk and the zucchini.

 In a small fry pan, melt the coconut oil and swirl to cover the bottom of pan. Pour in egg mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes over a low heat, and then carefully flip over.

 Once you have flipped the omelet, sprinkle with cheese then spinach leaves. Allow cheese to melt and spinach to wilt slightly. Spread roasted pumpkin and tuna on top. Once egg is set, carefully slide omelet onto a plate. Serve immediately.

 

Or how about a…

 

Filling FODMAP Chocolate Pancake

Makes: 1

You will need:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mlk (lactose free or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs almond meal (OR I often use 1 tbs almond meal and 1 tbs ground flax seeds)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (rice OR pea)

 Combine coconut, almond meal and protein powder in a bowl. In a separate  bowl, whisk eggs lightly and add milk. Pour egg mixture into dry mixture and mix well to combine.

 Melt the oil in a small fry pan, and warm pan for a minute. Pour pancake mix in, and swirl to get even coverage. Cook for a few minutes, when you see some bubbles starting to come up, flip the pancake carefully and cook for a further minute.

 I like to serve mine with a tiny dollop of natural yoghurt and some strawberries. If it isn’t sweet enough for you, drizzle half a teaspoon of rice malt syrup over pancake.

 OPTIONS: You can add ½ tsp cinnamon to help keep your blood sugar stable, 1 tsp chia seeds for extra Omega 3, 1 tbs raw cacao nibs for some chocolatey crunch. Simply pop any combination of these in with your dry ingredients at the start.

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