I am considered “medically interesting” for multiple reasons too long and convoluted to explain in this blog post. Starting off this post in a positive way, I wish to say I try to be at peace with my medical conditions and I am eternally grateful for all the help and treatment the NHS has provided.

Due to my medically weird body, it was recently recommended to me by the doctor that I try the low FODMAP diet. Diet in this instance is not a weight loss aid but a medically recommended plan of foods to eat and foods to avoid. This diet was designed to help people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut issues. It involves lowering your intake of certain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides (carbohydrates and sugars) and polyols (e.g sugar alcohols) to reduce symptoms such as severe abdominal pain and bloating. Long story short, there was a very extensive list of things I couldn’t eat. This included: onions, garlic, apples, overly ripe bananas, mango, large portions of chickpeas and lentils, lactose (although I don’t eat dairy anyway), sweet white wine, glucose-fructose syrup, gluten etc, the list goes on. More info, including the different phases of the diet, can be found here on the KCL website.

I initially struggled quite a lot, as someone who tries to eat a mainly plant based diet. However, once you overcome the “I can’t eat XYZ” negativity, it becomes quite easy to adapt recipes to your requirements.

So after that fleeting introduction to FODMAPs here are 3 handy tips which I found useful!

  1. I am used to making food from scratch but everyone craves shop bought biscuits and crisps every once in a while. For this reason I recommend the FODMAP app by KCL which allows you to scan many supermarket products to discover if they are FODMAP friendly – this app seems to be tailored to UK supermarkets. There is also another app by Monash University in Australia which may be more useful for Australian readers, although I haven’t tried it. I found the app super helpful and saved a lot of time as i just had to scan it instead of check ingredients one by one!
  2. Alternatives for onions and garlic – they seem to be in everything… So my recommendation are: grow your own spring onions so you can keep harvesting the green shoots, make your own garlic oil and purchase some asafoetida – a powder which tastes like onion, garlic and celery when added to meals! Photograph of a bottle of homemade garlic oil, garlic bulb, a jar of growing spring onions in water, and a pot of asafoetida.
  3. Encourage others to eat with you – whether that be cooking dinner for your flatmates, family or partner its always easier to restrict your intake of particular foods when you aren’t segregated from those that you live with.

A few of my favourite recipes :

Breakfasts

Vanilla-berry quinoa porridge – Takes some time but definitely worth the wait, my go-to breakfast for a busy day!

Photo of vanilla-berry quinoa porridge. Topped with slices kiwi, ground flax seeds, blueberries, raspberries and maple syrup.Vanilla-berry quinoa porridge: serves 1. Ingredients: 50g quinoa, 1.5 tbsp Chia seeds, 1tsp vanilla bean paste or extract, 100ml almond milk, ½ tsp Cinnamon, ½ tsp Nutmeg, ½ tbsp Maple Syrup, 180ml water, Optional; frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, kiwi and ground flax seeds. Method: Add quinoa, chia seeds and water to a pan, bring to the boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the Quinoa and add the vanilla, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup. Simmer for a further 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked, the grains should have white halos around them. Serve and top with berries, sliced kiwi, flax seeds and extra maple syrup.

Berries and ground almonds – Quick and easy, looks a mess when mixed together but tastes beautiful.

Berries and ground almonds recipe: Serves 1. Ingredients: 20g frozen blueberries, 20g frozen raspberries, 3 tbsp almond milk, Few drops vanilla extract, 2 tbsp ground almonds, ½ tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp ground flax seeds. Method: Add the frozen blueberries and raspberries to a bowl and microwave for 1 minute until just defrosted. Add the ground almonds, almond milk and vanilla and mix. Drizzle over maple syrup and flax seeds, how easy was that!Lunch

Eggy bread – Simple, yet delicious! My current favourite comfort food.

Eggy Bread recipe: serves 1. Ingredients: 2 slices of gluten free bread, 1 egg, Splash almond milk, Garlic oil, Salt, Pepper (optional). Method: Crack the egg into the bowl, add the almond milk and salt and pepper. Heat the garlic oil in the pan. Cover the two slices of bread in the egg mixture ensuring it is soaked all the way through. Add the soaked bread to the pan and fry on both sides for about 4 minutes until golden and crisp.

Carrot, ginger, parsnip soup – Such depth of flavour, I have had multiple requests for this. It is the perfect winter warmer.

Carrot, ginger and parsnip soup: serves 4. Ingredients: 8 carrots, 4 parsnips, 4cm long piece of ginger, 1.2 litre liquid - either home made stock or shop bought stock cubes made up using packet directions, ½ tsp salt, Pinch of white pepper, 1/2 400ml tin reduced fat coconut milk, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp asafoetida, 2tsp turmeric. Method: Chop veg and ginger roughly - core parsnips if necessary. Add veg and ginger to a pan with all the seasonings: salt, white pepper, turmeric, paprika, asafoetida. Add the vegetable stock and mix everything together. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for at least 25 minutes. Blend using a hand blender and add the coconut milk. Taste to check seasoning and spices, adjust if necessary. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk and coconut flakes - enjoy!Slide3

Dinner 

Vegetable and coconut stir fry – super easy and nutritious meal!Veg and coconut stir fry recipe: serves 4. Ingredients: 280g rice noodles, 5cm chunk of ginger, Handful of green spring onions, Coconut flakes, 2 x 1 tbsp garlic oil, 2 x 2tbsp Gluten free soy sauce, Few shakes of fish sauce, ½ tsp chilli flakes, 2 peppers (any colour) - sliced, 1 tin of bamboo shoots, 200g bean sprouts, 4 carrots cut into thin 3cm batons, 1 head of broccoli - florets and stem sliced into relatively thin pieces, 1 can reduced fat coconut milk, 1 tbsp brown sugar. Method: Soak rice noodles in hot water until just softened, then drain. Meanwhile add 1tbsp of garlic oil to a wok and heat. Chop the ginger and spring onions finely, add these to the pan with the chilli and coconut flakes. Cook for a minute and add the broccoli and carrot batons. Add 2 tbsp of soy and a few shakes of fish sauce. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and fry for 2 minutes. Stir together the brown sugar, 2 tbsp of soy and a few shakes of fish sauce. Take the drained softened rice noodles and add them to a hot frying pan with the remaining garlic oil and then stir in the sugar soy mixture. Add the coconut milk to the vegetable mix and leave it to simmer very gently whilst the noodles cook. Allow the noodles to fry for a few minutes stirring occasionally. They will become crisp and caramelised in parts and remain soft and silky in other parts. Serve noodles - I normally cut them with scissors as they tend to stick together! Add vegetables ontop and enjoy.

Fish fingers and chips – No recipe for this one, just Young’s Gluten Free Fish Fingers, Asda Steak Cut Frozen Chips and a side salad. (Yes you can still have quick easy freezer meals!)

I was on the low FODMAP diet elimination phase for 4 weeks however now due to different tests my doctors wish to run, unfortunately I have had to stop it. It is likely I will continue with the low FODMAP diet at some point or have other strange dietary restrictions! Perhaps I will delve deeper into my medical history at some point in the future. Watch this space for updates.

Remember if anything feels wrong with your body, see a doctor.

Did you learn anything from this post? Do you have some amazing low FODMAP recipes? Please share them below or comment on my instagram or twitter pages!

Disclaimers: Please consult a doctor before attempting a low FODMAP diet, I am not a trained dietitian or doctor these recipes are merely suggestions.

The vanilla quinoa and carrot soup recipes are adapted versions of recipes from the low FODMAP cookbook – “She Cant Eat What”.


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