I found what sounds like the most delicious ingredient in my local organic food store this week: Milanaise Roasted Coconut. These Roasted coconut chips look delicious!
The product is attractively wrapped, with a little window to show the large flakes of roasty-toasty coconut. Best of all, according to the back of the package, it’s the only ingredient. I was very surprised when I discovered my old brand of shredded coconut was really a cocktail of ingredients!
According to the Monash FODMAP App, a half cup of shredded, dried coconut gets a yellow warning light, as it contains a moderate amount of polyol-sorbitol. (Incidentally, I had a tough time finding the coconut on the FODMAP App, as raw coconut isn’t included – just the dried and shredded type, which is considered a ‘processed’ food. So it’s listed towards the bottom of the list. Incidentally, coconut milk is given the green light).
I usually add shredded coconut to a recipe, so I don’t think I’d eat more than a quarter cup at a time, which is given the green light by the app.
So what should I do with my new package of Roasted Coconut?
This is a recipe I tried this summer on a whim, and I have to admit it’s pretty cool. I bought the package of Bob’s Red Mill whole seed chia to include with some granola bars I was making. On the back of the package is a recipe for a rather unique jam. With some slight modification I was able to turn it into a FODMAP Free Blueberry Chia Jam.
According to Authority Nutrition, Chia is loaded with fiber, protein and antioxidants, and we all know how good blueberries are for you! After checking out the Bobs Red Mill website, I see they note that the recipe is High in fiber, lactose free, Low Cal, Low Carb, Low Fat, Soy Free and Vegan.
The interesting thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for pectin – the package notes that chia is a ‘nutrient rich substitute for pectin’. Because of this, it doesn’t call for much in the way of sugar either. The 1/4 cup of Agave syrup was easily swapped for a more FODMAP friendly Brown Rice syrup.
Here’s the recipe, right off the package with the minor sugar substitute:
FODMAP Free Blueberry Chia Jam
3 Cups fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup Brown Rice syrup
1/4 cup Chia Seed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine berries and syrup in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until berries soften. Add chia seed and cook, stirring often, until very thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Store in refrigerator. Makes 10 servings. Keeps best refrigerated or frozen.
The resulting jam has a mild flavour and fun texture. I love it loaded on a piece of my toasted gluten, egg and dairy free bread. Or a rice cracker for a snack!. I find that regular jam is often overwhelmingly sweet and this is a nice alternative. It also makes a smaller batch than most jam recipes, so is a little more convenient for a home cook like me.
Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy fresh food from the garden or farmers market! I have a rhubarb plant tucked into the corner of my yard and it’s the first thing I can harvest each year. One of the things we look forward to is a warm Rhubarb Crumble, spooned over ice cream (or frozen coconut, rice or soy milk for those of us with dairy intolerances!). A FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble is a wonderful spring and summer treat…
I adapted this recipe from the one printed on the back of the GoGo Quinoa package. Apples are a no-go, so it took just a little tweaking to make this into a FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble recipe.
FODMAP-Free Rhubarb Crumble
Chopped rhubarb, enough to fill at least 1/2 the depth of the pan
6 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. Earth Balance dairy free baking margarine
Grease the pan, add the chopped rhubarb. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the rhubarb. Add small dots of margarine to the top.
For the crumble:
4 tsp Earth Balance dairy free margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
Melt the margarine and toss with the sugar, flour and flakes. Spoon this over the rhubarb in the pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until crust is golden and rhubarb is tender (approximately 25 minutes).
This is a terrific way to use rhubarb. Rhubarb is given the green light on the Monash FODMAP app, so it’s nice to have this option for fresh fruit!
The Husband and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this year, and decided to treat ourselves to our first trip to NYC. As always, I’m nervous about travelling with IBS, but I’m determined to not let it hold me hostage (see Manifesto #3; I will be free ). Travelling to New York City was The Husbands idea, but I was pretty confident that I could make it work, now that I have a few travel strategies in place.
Packing and preparing for our trip was a bit of an ordeal…. What clothes should I bring? What will we want to see and do? Our friends and family jumped in with many helpful suggestions – unfortunately MOST of these suggestions centered around restaurants. At first I didn’t mind, but after being told of the millionth pastry shop that we simply ‘must try’, I had a little snit and mild panic attack. My wonderful, supportive, patient husband sat me down – and helped me see that we were going to NYC to:
A) celebrate our anniversary, and
B) SEE (not eat) New York City.
So with my priorities straightened out, I packed my negligee and supplies for ‘camping’ in a hotel. My hotel kitchen kit holds granola bars (FODMAP Free), an empty lunch kit, plastic cutlery, a few Ziploc baggies, napkins, some dish soap, and for my first few hours in a new city, some rice cakes, organic peanut butter, travel sized almond milk and tea bags. OK here’s the thing: I know we are staying in a nice hotel in the middle of civilization, but I never assume that I can quickly get my hands on the basics. And I’m not a good person if I can’t have a cup of tea (with milk) and a small breakfast FIRST THING in the morning.
WE had a fabulous time! Our hotel was new and bright, we were located close to Times Square and found the city to be overwhelmingly awesome – so much to see and do and the people we met were very friendly (thanks to the complete stranger that helped us figure out the subway!).
Our first morning we were able to find a well-stocked grocery store – The Food Emporium – where I could load up on peanuts, rice crackers, safe deli meat, fruit and more. We stocked our little hotel room fridge and I was good to go!
My breakfasts were peanut butter on rice cakes with a strong cup of tea. Lunches were mostly granola bars, bananas, nuts – but I did order a lovely salad with grilled chicken (just olive oil for dressing) at Le Pain Quotidien in Central Park one afternoon. I had planned on being a bit more daring for dinners, but honestly, we were so exhausted from hiking around Manhattan all day that we both enjoyed a coffee-table picnic in the hotel room, catching whatever movie was on in the evening. Munching on sliced turkey, sharing grapes and sipping a bottle of wine was a surprisingly romantic dinner!
We did try out an Irish Pub for dinner once (we stopped in earlier that day, asking if they had baked potatoes available on the menu – only later did I realize the humour of doubting an Irish Pub would serve potatoes). I brought a (pop-top) tin of tuna, ordered a baked potatoe, green salad and olive oil on the side – no, it’s not fancy, but it keeps my tummy happy!
Thanks to my cautious eating, I felt awesome the entire trip – we did so much sightseeing and covered a lot of territory. When I asked The Husband if he really was ok with not eating out at fancy New York restaurants he looked at me like I was daft: “Do you know how much money we’re saving?!”.
So, travelling to New York City can be done if you have IBS! Here’s what worked for me:
Bringing my emergency kit purse with a change of clothes – this is especially comforting on the flight. I didn’t need it, but feeling in control keeps the tummy calm.
Making sure our hotel had a bar fridge
Bringing my ‘hotel kitchen’ kit
finding a grocery store close to the hotel
I did try to google ‘NYC FODMAP friendly restaurants’ but didn’t get much that was helpful
Maintaining the perspective that I’m travelling to see and do. Not eat.
Having a plan for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and not relying on spur of the moment choices.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary and a big treat for us to see this magnificent city. I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary gift….
Living on a special diet, no matter if it’s for diabetes, IBS, or other reasons brings it’s own special challenges. Once I was able to figure out WHAT I could eat safely (this took me about 2 years), I was then left with the challenge of making sure that I could have safe foods easily accessible. One thing I really missed was being able to toss a granola bar into my purse. I needed to discover a FODMAP free granola bar!
Most easily available granola bars are filled with ‘healthy’ ingredients that don’t sit so well with my tummy. Apples, honey, dairy, wheat and even sometimes ingredients that I can’t pronounce, let alone try and spell!
I did discover the granola bars from Nature’s Path, and found two types that are safe – but one of them is pumpkin flavoured, and I’m not a real fan of pumpkins in anything except pie (and that will now be a memory from my pre-IBS days).
So I checked out recipes on the internet and from my cookbooks. I mucked about in my kitchen. My biggest disappointment was ending up with a crumbly mess that didn’t stick together – I made the mistake of putting one of these (wrapped in saran) in my purse and it didn’t survive the morning before disintegrating.
After some experimentation, I did end up with my go-to recipe, that I’d like to share with you.
There are three secrets to making a granola bar that sticks together and doesn’t fall apart:
I use Organic Brown Rice Syrup by Lundberg (no doubt there are other suppliers of this product). I can find this at both my local health food store as well as Safeway, and it is a FODMAP free substitute for corn syrup.
Be cautious of how many ‘dry’ ingredients (particularly the oats) that you add to the recipe. Adding a little ‘extra’ can result in a dry bar with not enough ‘stick’. The total amount of dry ingredients should not exceed 6.5 cups.
Boil the ‘wet’ ingredients for about 2 minutes, before adding dry ingredients. If you’ve ever made candy, you know this is an important step.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s really flexible. I change it up all the time.
1/3 cup Earth Balance or other margarine substitute
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Brown rice syrup
3 cups rice crispies
1.5 cup quick oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup diary free chocolate chips
In a large, heavy pot set on medium heat, combine the margarine, brown sugar and rice syrup. Stirring constantly, bring to a light boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in dry ingredients. Press into a 9×13 lightly oiled pan. Let set, remove from pan and cut into bars. Individually wrap bars in saran, store in freezer until needed.
As I mentioned, one of the key things to not having a dry crumbly bar is to control the urge to add too many dry ingredients (particularly the oats). I usually measure out the dry ingredients beforehand to make sure I’m not over the magic 6.5 cup amount.
The fun part of this recipe is that if you remember this rule, you can mix up the ingredients for variety. I’ve removed the chocolate, increased the coconut and added chia seeds:
I’ve added the candied orange peel that I’ve had left over from my Christmas baking:
If you don’t want your chocolate chips to melt into the bars, you can add them just before you turn the batter out into the pan.
If you add peanuts, be aware they may be oily and not stick to the bar. I find if I use Spanish peanuts and chop them up they stay put.
I take large Ziploc bags of these whenever I travel. One of these and an orange or banana will do me for lunch if there’s no other safe options available. They keep well, are convenient to have on hand and are definitely a sanity saver!
I have to admit that this winter is wearing on me. It takes a great deal of effort to talk myself out of wearing my oversized flannel shirt every day! I’m so lazy that I might as well be hibernating – and that’s why this recipe for Chicken Chili and Pasta is perfect. It’s very, very easy and is one of my go-to recipes for when my tummy isn’t feeling well. Very FODMAP friendly!
It’s also quick and uses so few ingredients that I almost always have them on hand. It’s a good recipe for beginner cooks to learn.
Chicken Chili and Pasta
1 Package of ground chicken (you could substitute ground turkey as well)
1 can of Aylmer Accent Fire Roasted diced tomatoes (they have no onion or garlic included)
1 Tsp Cumin (I add more because I like it)
salt and pepper to taste
Cooked Rice Pasta (I use the Tinkyada brand)
That’s it! That’s all the ingredients!
First brown the ground chicken in a frying pan (I sometimes use a bit of olive oil). Once browned, stir in the cumin, salt and pepper and tomatoes. Simmer for about 5 minutes and serve over cooked pasta!
This recipe serves 3 hungry people and I often will double the recipe to make extras for leftovers to keep in the fridge. Because the Aylmer diced tomatoes are so chunky, I will sometimes add half the can as is, and then blend the rest with my hand blender in the can before adding it.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how far I’ve come in the year I’ve been on the FODMAP diet. This time last year, I was a real mess – I remember clearly thinking ‘just shoot me’, when I thought about living the rest of my life with the pain and diarrhea and exhaustion. I credit the FODMAP diet with giving me my health and life back – I’ve been able to make great progress in all aspects of my Manifesto! One thing I haven’t really addressed is point number 5: I want to be prepared for the future. Why not look at food labels for FODMAPs?
As I see myself ageing, I see myself having difficulty managing a FODMAP diet. Already, trying to read itty bitty ingredient lists (hello Campbell’s soup), on the sides of food products can be a challenge, never mind the likely eventuality of ending up in a Seniors Residence, dependant on others to cook for me. Will they know what food products are FODMAP friendly? Why not IBS food labels for FODMAPs?
I think it’s time I started doing my small bit to try and make some changes. I see in Australia that some enterprising souls have set up the FODMAP.com website, which encourages food companies to identify their products as being FODMAP friendly. I contacted them and this is what they tell me:
“Nice to hear from you, we are based in Australia but we have already had Fodmap Friendly Certification approved in all countries including Canada. We are currently just launching worldwide so at this stage no specific organisation in Canada at this stage but hopefully soon the food manufacturers will get on board and assist all those people who have difficulty in finding food they can eat throughout the supermarket. This will make their lives so much easier.”
I think I’m going to try and do my bit to see if I can get food processing companies in Canada/North America thinking about utilizing the FODMAP friendly label.
To start, I’ve picked three food products (that I’ve mentioned on one of my previous Top 10 lists), and I’m going to write the companies with the following message:
I am writing to you to express how very much I enjoy your product.
I discovered this product after I began to follow a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (google it for more information) – the idea is that foods that are high in FODMAPs cause great digestive discomfort (gas, bloating, diarrhea) for many people, including people suffering from IBS.
These fermentable sugars are in many, many foods (honey, garlic, apples, among many others), and it is difficult to find prepared foods that are free (or low) in these ingredients. That’s why I was so please to find your product: it is now on my grocery list nearly every week.
The FODMAP diet is gaining in awareness and is an effective way to battle IBS. Many people are learning about the diet, but most find it difficult to follow because there are so few food products clearly labelled. I would ask that you consider labelling your products so that we can more easily locate and purchase foods that we can eat. Australia has a FODMAP labelling program already in place, and it is approved for use in Canada. You can check out their website fodmap.com, to learn more about this program.
The three products I’ve chosen to start with are:
Earth Balance Vegan cooking and baking sticks (www.earthbalancenatural.com)
It’s that time of the year again… Christmas!!! Over the years I’ve gone through Christmas with a varying degree of enthusiasm. There was the Christmas that I celebrated by making Martha Stewart look lazy. There was the Christmas that wasn’t so much celebrated as… endured. This year I fall right in the middle of the two extremes and I have to admit part of my hesitation is the challenge of FODMAP-free baking for Christmas. Can it be done? Yes!
The lights were up on our house at the beginning of December, the tree was up the following weekend. We sent out about 60 Christmas cards (complete with cheezy family photo), and have attended various parties. The one big thing that was missing from my Christmas preparations was the marathon Christmas baking that I used to do.
Now that I am dairy, egg and FODMAP intolerant, my tried and true Christmas baking recipes just make me a tad blue. I did attempt last year t0 modify shortbread using rice flour and goats butter, but the cookies were a crumbly mess. I vowed then not to attempt to bake Christmas cookies again.
But, another year later, I feel like something is missing from the Christmas festivities if I don’t do some baking. There’s’ nothing worse than having food around that I can’t eat, so I asked The Husband and The Son what kind of Christmas cookies were their favourite and I would bake only that. The Husband chose shortbread so I bought butter for the first time in years and made him up a batch of that (careful not to lick fingers!!). The Son surprised me and chose gingersnaps.
“But those aren’t Christmas Cookies” I said.
“That’s what I want” he said. So that’s what I made for him.
Of course, all this baking made me crave some treats that I could have too, so I did some experimenting. I used the basic white cookie recipe that I got out of the Living Without magazine, and attempted something… Christmassy.
I experimented and came up with three different cookies and I’m quite proud of them. Not only do they look great on the cookie tray, they are so tasty that someone who didn’t know they were dairy free, egg free and FODMAP free (including gluten free), would be surprised.
Here’s my recipe for the Citrus Pops. They are soft and sweet, with a crunchy citrusy zing. Very pretty on the plate too!
FODMAP Free Baking – Citrus Pops
1 box gluten free vanilla cake mix
1/2 c Earth Balance baking margarine
1 heaping tablespoon of egg replacer (of choice) and 3 Tbsp of water
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 cups Icing Sugar (more if needed for consistency)
Sugar water (see candied peel recipe)
Candied orange and lemon peel
Mix cookie dough, it should be very soft. Use damp hands to roll into balls (dough will be sticky), and bake on parchment at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from parchment and cool.
Add 1-2 Tbsp sugar water to the icing sugar and beat. Add more icing sugar or sugar water depending on consistency. You want a thick, but not too dry icing. Dip tops of cookies into the icing (use spatula to smooth over the top of the cookie) and then dip immediately into candied peel (I kept the orange and lemon candied peel separate so I had two different types of cookies).
Let icing firm up and store.
Candied Orange Peel
4 cups water
2.5 cups sugar
1 cup sugar (for dredging)
Wash oranges thoroughly. Peel oranges, trying to keep pieces as large as possible (makes the next step easier). With a sharp knife, slice off as much of the white part (pith) as possible (it’s bitter). Dice the peel finely.
Combine water and first amount of sugar into medium pot over medium heat. Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add peel and simmer for about 2 hours (check frequently to make sure pot doesn’t run over or dry out). I’ve seen advice not to stir, but I run a spoon around the sides once or twice. Remove from heat and let sit to cool. Drain in colander (keep this sugar water to make the icing).
Dredge the peel in sugar (about 1 cup), and place on parchment covered pan in a 200 degree turned-off oven to dry out. Check to make sure the oven isn’t too hot – you don’t want to bake these! Let the peel dry out (you can leave them for an hour or overnight). Store in a dry location.
This works with lemon peel as well, but I found the colour didn’t stay as vibrant after boiling. To spruce up the colour, I put the 1 cup of sugar (for dredging) in a clean empty jar, added 1-2 drops of yellow food colouring and shook until the sugar was the desired colour. I then dredged the boiled peel in this before drying out in the oven.
The Citrus Pops have been a big hit around here, and also generates some interest when I take them to gatherings. Many people have food intolerances, and they welcome something safe to indulge in!
I have been wanting to do a review of the Living Without magazine for a while now, as it is an important part of my life with IBS. Living Without is published bi-monthly by Belvoir Media Group LLC and is a fantastic resource for people who are living with food allergies and intolerances.
At the beginning of this year, I was pretty much at the end of my rope – I had diarrhea and cramps all the time, my bloating was painful, I was exhausted and very discouraged with the help I was getting (or not getting ) from my physician and naturopath. I discovered the Living Without magazine on the shelf of a shop that I didn’t normally go into, and was intrigued by its tag line: “The magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities.”.
Inside this issue was an article written by Rory Jones titled: FODMAP: Road Map for IBS. Rory included a small ‘cheat sheet’ listing of foods to avoid and foods to enjoy. I had nothing to lose at this point so decided to give it a try. It was my hallelujah moment – within a week my symptoms eased off and I felt hugely better.
This article literally changed my life. I now really look forward to the Living Without magazine arriving at my door.
Every issue contains a variety of articles on a wide range of IBS related issues. Asthma, infertility, and backpacking have been just a few of the topics covered this year. I particularly enjoy reading the Research Round Up Department and always get a laugh out of We’ve Got Issues (irreverent solutions to your real life allergy drama), written by April Peveteaux.
Living Without is one of the few magazines that I actually am interested in the advertising! The new products that are being made available to folks with Celiac, IBS, Food intolerances and allergies are a ray of sunshine, and I’m appreciative of this place to see what’s new to the market.
And the recipes!! In the April/May issue Lisa Stander Horel authored a fabulous article on baking Big, Fat, Soft Cookies that was so exciting to me. I plan on using her Vanilla Soft Cookies as a base for my Christmas baking experiments this year. With a dairy, egg and FODMAP intolerance, my baking options are slim – but Lisa’s ideas have given me something to work with.
If I have one concern about the magazine is that the latest issue doesn’t have the tag ‘the magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities ‘ on it, but has replaced it with ‘gluten-free living at it’s best’. I hope it’s not going to focus on just the gluten free aspect of food issues, as I find there are a large collection of publications dedicated to this area already. The rest of us, with wider ranging issues, really can benefit from a magazine that includes us too….
If you can’t find Living Without on the news stands, check out their website Living Without . Hopefully you will find this resource as fantastically helpful as I have!
I’m swamped by tomatoes!! I had to pick my garden’s bounty of tomatoes because of the impending frost, and when I peeked in to check on them a week or so later, I discovered they had all ripened at the same time. I needed a plan to do something about it!
I’ve already frozen some tomatoes (washed, frozen whole), made up some pasta sauce, and have tinkered around with my usual salsa recipe to use up the last of the tomatoes… I love salsa, and am so glad that tortilla chips are allowed on the FODMAP diet.
Of course, the big problem with purchased salsa is that it contains a lot of garlic and onions, both of which are high on the FODMAP list. I left out the garlic (I could use garlic flavoured oil, but I didn’t want to add oil to this recipe(, and just used the green tops of onions. to get that satisfying crunch, I made sure I added lots of diced red and green pepper. If someone didn’t know this was a ‘special’ recipe, they wouldn’t be able to figure I out form the taste!
Gutsy Broad’s FODMAP Free Salsa
This is makes just a small amount, and easy to double or triple if you need to make more. The dicing and draining take a little while, but it’s a fairly fast and easy recipe. If you like your salsa crunchier, add more red or green pepper. The amount of cilantro can be easily adjusted to taste as well.
4-5 tomatoes (finely diced)
1/2 red pepper (finely diced)
1/2 green pepper (finely diced)
2-3 stalks green onion (diced)
handful cilantro (diced)
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and let sit for a half hour or so. There will be lots of liquid at the bottom of the mixture, use a sieve to drain off. (I retain the drained juices and will use them in another recipe).
I find this salsa tastes better the next day, after the flavours have blended a bit. This salsa keeps well in the refrigerator, so is a great make-ahead dish for a party or the big game.
Served with tortilla chips, this is a terrific and nutritious snack that even The Husband and The Son enjoy! The Son currently doesn’t like spicy foods, but it would be easy to add pepper or pepper flakes to up the zing factor.