Pumpkin Pie for Friendsgiving – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & No Refined Sugar

Pumpkin Pie with a Gingerbread Crust - Low FODMAP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and No Refined Sugar

Thanksgiving is such a quintessentially American holiday. Sure, there’s Independence Day and Halloween (etc) but we get those to some extent, or at least the Australian equivalent, back home. What I really like about Thanksgiving is the emphasis on being thankful. It may sound really corny but, given it’s surrounded by Halloween and Christmas, two of most consumption driven holidays of the year, it’s a breath of fresh air to not worry about buying lollies for greedy kids who take more than their share (yes, I’m still annoyed about that), or wonder if you’ve left anyone off your Chrissy list, or if you’ve got them something they won’t like. Instead, you just have to cook your arse off for the three days prior… but some crazy people call that “fun.”

The fact that “Fall” in Seattle is so much more spectacular than Autumn in Melbourne also helps matters along – the roads around our place looked like the trees had been decorated, that’s how bright and colourful the leaves were – in every shade you could imagine from pink to yellow to red. Give me overcast and chilly over a day that can’t make up its weather-mind any day of the week. My inner child absolutely adores throwing on my gum boots and sloshing around the local walking trails or the dog park.

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For those reading in Australia, or anywhere else that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s all about being thankful for what you have… ironically followed, in the USA, by Black Friday sales, which are a little along the lines of the Boxing Day sales in Australia. Still, I like that, for one day at least, we are encouraged to think about what we have and how lucky we are to have it.

The one problem with Thanksgiving, though, as well as Christmas and Easter, really, is that we don’t have any family over here to celebrate with… which is why I love the term “Friendsgiving.” Most, if not all, of our Seattle friends are also transplants from other parts of the US and the world, so a Friendsgiving is what we do and I love it. This year, we are hosting an early Friendsgiving at our house, so we are roasting the usual turkey with all the trimmings (gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce etc) but I had to think of a dessert.

Well, there’s nothing more American than apple pie – but I wanted to be able to eat the dessert, too. I’d tried pumpkin pie once before and liked it, so I thought I’d give it a go. To give myself something to compare my pie to, I bought a pumpkin pie from the supermarket and tried a slice (I didn’t eat the pastry and it was otherwise low FODMAP). I hated it. I double checked the ingredients and I’m sure it’s all the corn syrup (note, not high fructose corn syrup) that made it taste sickly sweet and there was also a weirdness to it that I couldn’t explain. I got my American neighbour (neighbor?) to taste test my version of pumpkin pie for me and – aside from slightly overcooking the base – she approved. She also told me that supermarket bought pumpkin pies are almost never good. Anyway, I much prefered my own recipe, if I don’t say so myself.

This pumpkin pie is lightly spiced, pumpkin-y and has a custard-like texture; the gingerbread crust plays off the filling really nicely and the whole thing is quite rich, so you won’t need to eat much.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts and contain moderate fructans and galactans in servings of 20 nuts. One slice of this pie should be FODMAP friendly but, if you struggle with almonds, try subbing in some pecan meal or even some gluten free flour for a lower overall FODMAP count.
  2. Brown rice is low FODMAP in servings of 1 cup, however it can be hard to digest for non-FODMAP reasons. If you struggle with it, try replacing it with quinoa flour, or any gluten free/low FODMAP flour blend that you like.
  3. Golden and maple syrups are 1:1 fructose and glucose, so are safe, FODMAPs-wise, in moderation. Check for any higher FODMAP ingredients, to be safe. Use maple syrup if you want to make the “no refined sugars” version.
  4. Pumpkin and squash vary in safe serving sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on the type. The pie pumpkin I used is FODMAP friendly in 1/4 cup servings and contains moderate amounts of sorbitol in 1/2 cup servings. Freshly made pumpkin puree is best by far, in terms of colour and flavour of the resulting pie.
  5. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup, any more and sorbitol becomes an issue.
  6. Cinnamon, all spice, ginger and cloves are all FODMAP friendly spices.
  7. This pie combines pumpkin and coconut cream, two ingredients that, if you eat enough, are high in sorbitol. If the large pie is cut into 12, you should be eating a safe amount of pumpkin and coconut cream; if you made mini pies, then you are in control of the size. If you are super sensitive to sorbitol but can tolerate dairy, use lactose free double cream instead of the coconut cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8-10 (one large pie, or 10 mini 5 cm diameter pies).

Gingerbread Base

  • 150 g almond meal/flour
  • 150 g brown rice or quinoa flour
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed meal
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/4 cup golden or maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pinch salt

Pie Filling

  • 450 g/1.0 lb of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or golden syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 3 large eggs

Place a tin of full fat coconut cream in the fridge at least overnight. This allows the  cream to separate from the water. When you are ready to make your filling, flip the can upside down and open it; pour the watery part into a glass and use in smoothies etc. Spoon out 1 cup worth of the thickened coconut cream and use in the filling recipe.

Sift all the dry ingredients for the gingerbread base together and put aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor, combine the softened coconut oil, syrup and egg, then pour in the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth, slightly sticky dough forms. This is your biscuit base. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before handling.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease either one large tart dish, 5 medium tart dishes or 10 small tart dishes. Break the gingerbread base dough into chunks and press it into the tart tins. This can be done a day or two ahead, just refrigerate until it’s required. Cover the dough with baking paper and pour in baking/pie balls, then blind bake according to instructions below.

While the pie shells are blind baking, blend together all the filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Let the pie shells cool for ten minutes after blind baking, before filling them until the pumpkin mix is just about to reach the top of the shell.

Baking instructions are as follows:

  • Small (5 cm) pie – blind bake for 10 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 20-25 minutes.
  • Medium (10 cm) pie – blind bake for 12 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 30-35 minutes.
  • Large (23 cm) pie – blind bake for 15 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for 45-50 minutes.

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The pies are done when the filling has darkened a little and only jiggles slightly (this will be much more obvious in the larger pie). When they are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them come to room temperature still in their tins, before refrigerating them. Leave them in their tins until you plan to serve them. Top with whipped cream, icing sugar, or candied nuts of your choice.

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Enjoy! Xo

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

How to make homemade pumpkin puree - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, healthy

Tinned pumpkin puree is extremely useful to have around – I normally have a few cans on hand for lunch or dinner time emergencies (for example, to make pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin and tomato soup) – but really, when you’re trying to impress guests, it doesn’t help you bring your A game to the table. Freshly roasted pumpkin is miles ahead in terms of taste, so, at this time of year, when desserts apparently have to follow the pumpkin theme, too, it’s handy to have some freshly roasted pumpkin puree in the fridge or freezer to whip up your favourite pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s starting to get dark at 3.30 pm already! Not that lighting has been great during “daylight hours,” anyway. Seattle is notorious for being dark and gloomy, though it doesn’t rain quite as much as Hollywood would have you believe. So I’ve been chasing it around the house for photos… you do what you have to! Though I don’t think Bailey was too impressed that his kennel was being used for a prop.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkins/squash generally contain some level of polyols, usually sorbitol. I would not eat them if I was on elimination but if you are in the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, I’d test 1/4 cup of pumpkin first, as that is what is listed as safe for all varieties except Jap/Kent pumpkins, which are safe in 1/2 cup servings. Of course, if polyols are not a trigger for you, eat as much as you can/like.

How to roast a pumpkin

This method works for any pumpkin/winter squash variety.

  • One pie pumpkin, around 1-1.5 kg/2.2-3.3 lb
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 large baking tray
  • Cooking oil

Choose a smallish pumpkin that is brightly coloured – this will give you the best chance of a strong taste. The bigger pumpkins with duller colours tend to be a bit bland. The pumpkins I chose were around 1.1 kg each and yielded approximately 450-500 g of puree.

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Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F. If you have not done so, rinse the pumpkin of any obvious chunks of dirt, before chopping it into four or five pieces and scooping/scraping out the seeds.

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Spread the pumpkin evenly around a lightly oiled baking dish of your choice and fill a small, oven-safe dish with water – this keeps the oven environment moist and prevents the pumpkin from drying out as it bakes.

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Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is fork tender (think boiled potatoes). Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes or so, then scoop the flesh out and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the skin.

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Either mash or blend the pumpkin flesh to form a puree and then store it in glass jars or zip-lock bags in the fridge (for up to a week) or the freezer (for no more than two months before quality begins to suffer).

Now you can use it for any cake, pie, bread, soup or custard recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Easy peasy!

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Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Grain Free

Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Vegetarian,

I have a confession – I am not a cookie baker. Everyone tells me how easy they are to make, which might be true; they are easy enough to mix together… but then you have to bake them. They’re not like cakes, into which I can stick a skewer and check if it’s done. There’s no fail safe method (that I know of) to judge the perfect balance of done-ness, so that the biscuits will firm up as they cool, yet remain chewy without getting too dry. It’s IMPOSSIBLE, I tell you. I think I have managed it once in my life but only after baking three separate batches of the same chocolate chip cookie dough. I’d made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe gluten free, (drools) and was *this close* to giving up and just eating the raw cookie dough. I suppose, with practice, I could get it right consistently but then I’m sure I’d bake biscuits more often and that is something my waistline does not need.

That being said, there are literally no low FODMAP biscuit/cookie options at our local supermarket. All the gluten free versions – maybe four or five brands – contain inulin, honey or agave syrup etc. I haven’t tested inulin out specifically but it’s generally in foods with other higher FODMAP ingredients, anyway, so it’s probably not much use. Besides, most of those packaged biscuits also contain a tonne of sugar and are ridiculously expensive, as well. Five dollars for a packet of gluten free biscuits that would cost no more than three dollars if they were made with wheat? No, thank you.

I decided to try my hand at a healthier cookie recipe. I chose peanut butter and chocolate because, even though I can’t stand Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, peanut butter and chocolate is an awesome flavour combination that I can’t get enough of, when done correctly. I’ll also kid myself that the choice of peanuts and almonds makes this “healthy” (combined, they’re low in sugar and high in copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin and vitamin E) and conveniently forget the maple syrup, which, although technically an unrefined sugar, is still a sugar. Shhh! Though, to be fair, I’ve used less than half of what might be found in your typical store-bought biscuit. No sugar-induced headaches here.

What resulted is a baked cookie ball that is delicately sweetened and peanut buttery, with a decadent fudge-like texture. The perfect after dinner treat with a cup of tea or coffee.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Peanuts are a legume but are generally well tolerated, FODMAP-wise, in small (2 tbsp.) portions.
  2. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts – stick to 1-2 of these balls and you should be fine.
  3. Maple syrup is low FODMAP, with a ratio of 1:1 fructose/glucose. Make sure you buy pure maple syrup, without any additives, to prevent sneaky sweeteners from getting in.
  4. Eggs are FODMAP friendly but can be an allergen/irritant in their own right.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP, check for additives.
  6. Dark chocolate is low FODMAP in servings of 30 g, see here.

Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls

Makes approx. 26-30 balls, depending on size.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup of natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch table salt

Chocolate Coating

  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chips/chunks/smashed
  • Finely chopped roasted nuts (I used peanuts and pecans)

In a bowl, beat the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, table salt and egg until smooth, then add in the almond meal. Mix until well combined and then cover and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 150 C/300 F.

Fudgey Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Place 1 tablespoon balls of the cookie dough about 2.5 cm/1 in apart on a lined baking tray; you could gently flatten them with a fork, making a crosshatch pattern if desired. Bake for 10 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through, until golden brown at the edges. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough. As you can see below, I tested out both a flattened cookie shape and a ball shape and (obviously) decided that the balls were what looked best.

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Let the cookie balls come to room temperature before melting dark chocolate (lactose/dairy free if required) using your preferred method (stove top double boiler, microwave etc), stirring until the chocolate is silky smooth. Fair warning, it is really easy to overheat and burn chocolate, so low and slow is the way to go.

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Dip the peanut butter balls halfway into the chocolate. Next, while the chocolate is still slightly soft (but not dripping), dip the coated part into a mixture of finely chopped nuts and leave to set on a baking tray. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks – if they last that long. Don’t forget to enjoy them with a nice hot cuppa.

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How to Manage your Irritable Bowel Syndrome with the Low FODMAP Diet

Hi guys, I’m really excited to announce that I was asked to write an article about fructose malabsorption for Suggestic, a website that deals with nutrition, food intolerances and restaurant suggestions. Well, apparently I was a little enthusiastic – I didn’t want to miss anything – so I needed to split the article in two. I have already shared part one, so here goes part two:

Last week I talked about fructose malabsorption, its link to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the similarities it shares with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). This week, I will expand on the “fructose friendly” dietary management strategy for fructose malabsorption – the complete low FODMAP diet – that is gaining traction as the frontline dietary method for combating IBS symptoms.

IBS is generally understood as a long-term or recurrent disorder involving the function of your gastrointestinal system, usually due to imbalances of intestinal motility, function and sensation, leading to symptoms of digestive distress. It is a common occurrence in Western countries, with up to 30% of the population being affected at some point in their lives, women generally more-so than men.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs” is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols and describes a group of readily fermentable carbohydrates that are not well absorbed in the small intestines of some people; if these carbohydrates are not broken down and/or transported through the intestinal wall and into your blood stream, they continue down into your colon, where the resident gut bacteria digest them, leading to a build-up of certain gases and short chain fatty acids, which can alter the water content of your large intestine. These products of fermentation are the causes for the wind, bloating, abdominal cramps/pain and altered bowel movements that you associate with your fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance or IBS.

The list of FODMAPs includes:

  • Monosaccharides (single sugar units) – fructose (when consumed in excess of glucose) and galactose.
  • Disaccharides (double sugar units) – lactose.
  • Oligosaccharides (multiple sugar units) – fructans (FOS, inulin), galactans (galactooligosaccharides or GOS)
  • Polyols (sugar alcohols) – sorbitol, mannitol and other sweeteners ending in “-tol.” Some polyols, such as sorbitol and erythritol, have the added effect of decreasing the rate of fructose absorption in the small intestine even further when consumed in large enough amounts.

There are hydrogen/methane breath tests that can check whether you malabsorb fructose, lactose and/or sorbitol but the other FODMAPs must be properly eliminated and then tested with a reintroduction trial (outlined below) to know whether they are causing your symptoms…”

Read more at Suggestic.com

Once again, let me know what you guys think! I sincerely hope I didn’t miss anything out – I’m planning on writing more about the links between carbohydrate malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies soon, when I have some time over the holidays.

Thank you for taking the time to read it! Have a great weekend guys – and stay tuned for the easy to make chocolate peanut butter cookie ball recipe that’s very coming soon.

Natty xo.

Could Fructose Malabsorption be the Cause of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Hi guys, I’m really excited to announce that I was asked to write an article about fructose malabsorption for Suggestic, a website that deals with nutrition, food intolerances and restaurant suggestions. Well, apparently I was a little enthusiastic – I didn’t want to miss anything – so I needed to split the article in two. Here goes part one:

“So you’ve gone gluten free. You had coeliac disease ruled out first – as you should – but you still felt that wheat was a big trigger for your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You feel better off wheat – less bloated, more energy – but you’re not quite 100 %. What could it be?

I’m sure that many of you have by now heard of the study behind the media storm that apparently refutes the existence of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Gluten is a protein that is common to the grains wheat, barley and rye. Contrary to what many of those journalists would have you believe, the researchers did not say that people who identify with NCGS are imagining it; rather, that it might actually be a different component of wheat, other than gluten, or in combination with it, that is causing them to experience IBS-like symptoms, including digestive distress, bloating and others, such as fatigue.

What then could be the culprit behind your wheat-triggered IBS? The answer: it might be fructans (also known as fructooligosaccharides or FOS). Fructans coincidentally happen to be found in large enough amounts to cause symptoms in the gluten containing grains, which includes all varieties of wheat, barley and rye; and they, along with fructose, made my first year of university… let us just say, “interesting.”

Growing up, I always had a fussy gut. When I was going through the last two years of secondary school, it got a little worse but not bad enough for me to really take notice, other than joke about it with friends. It was not until I was in my first year of university that it really got going, dictating not only the parties I could go to but things as seemingly insignificant as which seat I would take in the lecture theatres and what I could wear (think room for bloating). Luckily, my mum had an eye on me and about half way through the year (after end of semester exams really took their toll on my IBS) she read an article about coeliac disease. Digestive distress, nausea, fatigue, brain fog… I ticked most of the boxes, however, I did not have active coeliac disease. My gastroenterologist (since retired) had a game plan though and the next thing I knew I was being sent off to have hydrogen/methane breath tests to check for both lactose and fructose malabsorption*.

I had heard of lactose intolerance before, but fructose malabsorption? Well, fructose malabsorption was my answer and explained why the gluten free diet that my GP had advised me to trial earlier had helped significantly – but not completely…”

Read more at Suggestic.com.

Let me know what you guys think and please share – as awareness of fructose malabsorption spreads, it is more likely that people will be correctly diagnosed and the variety of food choices for us will increase, both at restaurants and in supermarkets.

Read part two here.

Have a great night!

Natty xo.

Low FODMAP Protein Walks into a Bar – Be NICE, Love Your Guts

nicebar

While the name of this blog clearly implies that most of what I eat isn’t from a packet, I’m also realistic (and human). I’m not always going to have homemade low FODMAP travel-appropriate snacks on hand, so having a box of these in the pantry for such emergencies would be super handy – you all know how hard it is to search the gluten free snacks at the store, only to put each one back as you go: “No, there’s agave; nope, honey; damn it, there’s chicory fibre. FINE, rice cakes it is. Blergh.”

So, when I saw a link to the first low FODMAP protein bar to be available in the US (and not too far behind Australia’s FODMAP Friendly logo launch, either!), it’s safe to say I was quite excited. I was also lucky enough to be chosen to sample it and let you guys know what I think!

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Well, here you go. I opened the sample sized packet (think fun-sized, the actual bar will be bigger: 50 g/1.8 oz and 211 calories) and…

  • I had a sniff – Mmmmm, peanuts. With visible chocolate chips. A good start.
  • I had a bite – Peanuts again! With a subtle sweetness (just sweet enough, not sugar headache inducing) and then pockets of chocolate. I had another bite (how could I not?); the texture is like a fudgey cookie dough. This keeps getting better. It’s actually sort of like the accidental grain free peanut butter cookie turned bliss ball that I am working on. Ev likes those, so I’m sure he’d like these, as well. I didn’t share, though. It was too good (and small) for that.
  • I thought it over – I like the cookie dough texture, it makes it seem fudge-like and I felt like I was indulging in something quite decadent.  I also really appreciate that it’s not overly sweet, so thanks, guys, for showing some restraint on that point. The serving size I got was enough for a mid afternoon snack (I had it at about 2 pm and didn’t get hungry again until 5.30 pm ish).

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The ingredients list will keep most people happy, too. It’s unfortunately not nut free but it is certified organic, gluten free, soy free, corn free and dairy free. Of course, it’s also FODMAP friendly but certification for that doesn’t exist (yet) in the USA. From Nicer Food’s most recent email to subscribers, it sounds like Monash University will be launching a FODMAP friendly certification program in the US in the near future and Nicer Foods is already lining up to participate. If you aren’t yet well versed in what FODMAPs actually are, read this.

In addition to sending me the sample bar, Jesse and Kate (the founders of Nicer Foods) also kindly answered some questions for me:

  1. When did you first hear about the low FODMAP diet?
    .
    Kate Watson RD, one half of Nicer Foods, first heard about FODMAPs several years ago from her gastroenterologist.  (She’s struggled with IBS for 20 years, and has had several bouts with SIBO.)  That said, when she looked into the diet, it just seemed too restrictive and complicated at the time.  (The fact that a registered dietitian came away with this impression tells you what a challenging diet FODMAPs is, and why it was so important to us to make it easier for people!)  She didn’t start following the diet until last year, when an especially painful IBS flare-up interfered with our honeymoon in Mexico – you can hear more about that story in our Kickstarter video if you like.
    .
  2. Why did you decide to create a low FODMAP protein bar and what made you choose a peanut butter and chocolate flavour? Great choice, by the way!
    .
    Thanks! We were both very frustrated with cooking from scratch for nearly every meal.  The lack of FODMAP friendly snacks or easy to prepare foods on the market was apparent and made travel challenging.   Also, Kate was burned out of working in clinical healthcare, while Jesse was recently laid off, so both of us were looking for business ideas that would actually make a difference in people’s lives, and yet at the same time, be actually viable.

    Why PB & Chocolate?  Mainly because it’s superior in every way to every other flavor in existence.  More seriously though, peanut butter is one of the few nut butters that’s FODMAPs approved by Monash up to two tbsp, and it’s a nice hearty choice for when you need a snack that’s actually going to stick with you. The bittersweet dairy-free chocolate chips add texture and a nice flavor contrast that complements the peanut butter, and completes the illusion that you are actually eating some sort of cookie dough.

  3. What made you choose these particular ingredients? Aside from them being low FODMAP, of course.
    .
    Well, PB & chocolate I’ve already explained.  Rice protein protein is the other major source of protein in the bar, along with quinoa flakes — Neither have much flavor on their own, the quinoa gives the bar some body and a nice chewy texture.  We wanted to use rice protein specifically because it is easily digested and is vegan for those who can’t or don’t do dairy at all.
    .
  4. What do each of you bring to the table? So to speak. :)
    .
    Kate is an RD with IBS who has had specialized training on the FODMAPs diet with 2 of the top FODMAP dietitians in our country.  She’s not only well informed on the diet, she lives it every day, so she’s a pretty obvious choice to design and implement a product like this.  Jesse is a jack of all trades: He’s a software developer, web designer, published author, and has experience in management, entrepreneurship, and business.  And in a small business where much of our business will be done online, all of those things end up being pretty useful.
    .
  5. When do you expect these bars to be commercially available and where? Do you have plans to expand to the rest of the US and perhaps internationally?
    .
    If all goes well, we plan to be shipping throughout the US before the end of the year.  That said, we’re not willing to compromise on quality, and we want to take the time necessary to get this right.  The best way to find out when we’ll ship is to visit http://fodmapbar.com and sign up for a notification.  We also hope to get them into stores, but can’t say where just yet.  And yes, our vision for the future includes international plans!
    .
  6. Do you hope to release new flavours and products if (and when) this bar is a success?
    .
    Absolutely. We already have two other bar flavors in development, and another low FODMAP product in a different category. We’re extremely excited :-)
    .
  7. Any tips for those following a low FODMAP diet?
    .
    It’s best to consult a dietitian who is experienced with this diet to help navigate the various phases of it, so that you can ensure you’re getting proper nutrition.

    FODMAPs is not a “forever” diet (there is a reintroduction phase), and that’s important because the goal is for people to eventually bring back in as many FODMAPs as they are able to tolerate and get as much variety in their diet as possible.  FODMAPs has been called a “learning diet” because it helps people learn their individual sensitivities so they don’t have to avoid all FODMAPs forever.  Also, your tolerance to FODMAPs may change over time, so if you fail a “challenge” to a groups of FODMAPs, try it again later.

    It’s important to stick as closely as possible to the diet during challenge and elimination phases so you can get a clear sense of what foods are triggers for you. Planning ahead and having appropriate low FODMAPs foods available when you will be traveling, while at work or school is an important part of that.  And that is part of the challenge with the diet as well.With that said, it’s our hope that our bars will make a great tool for people on the low FODMAPs diet, as well as for people with celiac, food sensitivities, allergies, and sensitive digestive systems in general.

Finally, here are the details:
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  • Company – Nicer Foods; a brand new, family owned company from right here in Washington State.
  • Phone – +1 877 248 2995
  • Email – questions@fodmapbar.com
  • Have a look at their official website.
  • Like Nicer Foods on Facebook.
  • Follow Nicer Foods on Twitter.
  • Check out Nicer Foods’ Kickstarter campaign (and score some free bars and other goodies, if you choose to back them).
  • Last but not least, here’s their Google Plus profile.

Disclaimer: Please note that while I did receive a free sample of the NICE bar, I was not under any obligation to give a review that I didn’t truly believe. These opinions are my own – and this bar is nom-worthy.

Maple Lemon Butter – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo & Vegetarian

Maple Lemon Butter - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, no refined sugar, paleo

A few months ago, I posted my Gran’s lemon butter recipe with a promise to attempt an healthier version soon. Well, better late than never, right?

As much as I love baking, photographing the end results and posting them up here for you, sometimes life gets in the way. Over the last few months my IBS was getting worse, no matter if I took it back to basic FODMAPs or not, after which I discovered that spelt, unfortunately, had begun to make it worse. I then embarked on a gluten challenge for ten weeks, to get retested for coeliac disease and wait for an endoscopy, which also took its toll and left me feeling constantly fatigued and with a shoddy immune system to boot.

Well, on Monday I had the endoscopy and I’m already feeling better now that I’m back to being wheat and spelt (fructan/gluten) free. It sounds like a quick turnaround but, given that I stopped eating on Saturday evening for the Monday afternoon procedure, used a colonoscopy prep (those things clean you out!) and knowing what I do about my reactions normally taking about 2-3 days to clear, I’m not surprised that I’m feeling so much better by Wednesday morning. I’m just glad to be able to get on with everything and not be in a brain fog haze.

So, Tuesday evening I decided to get cracking with this healthier lemon butter. Now, I say healthier, which it is, compared to traditional lemon curd – but it’s still definitely not an health food, so don’t go guzzling it down like water! Maple syrup (used instead of castor sugar) is unrefined and the grade B syrup (not pictured but delicious and flavourful) even contains many nutrients but it is still sugar. Luckily, using stevia allowed me to cut the sugar in half. The reason I did not use a stevia product as the only sweetener is that I find it can get too bitingly sweet and leave a distinctive aftertaste; by combining a natural sugar like maple syrup with the stevia drops, you get the best of both the flavour and low calorie worlds.

The result is a creamy looking curd with a nice balance of maple and lemon, both tart and sweet but not too sweet, with very minimal stevia taste.

FODMAP Notes:

  1. Maple syrup is a natural, low FODMAP sweetener. Make sure you’re not buying maple flavoured syrup.
  2. Stevia is FODMAP friendly, however many products that contain stevia also contain other sweeteners that may not be. Read the labels. I use SweetLeaf stevia drops, which contain water, organic stevia leaf extract and natural flavours. Seeing as only 1 tsp. is required to reach the sweetness of 1/2 cup of sugar, the natural flavours are not present in large enough amounts for me to be affected, if any of them are not low FODMAP. Use the sweetener that you are happy with.
  3. Lemon is a low FODMAP fruit.
  4. Eggs do not contain FODMAPs.
  5. Coconut oil is an oil, therefore contains no carbohydrates, so cannot contain FODMAPs. This is the dairy free option.
  6. Butter is lower in lactose than other dairy products due to its very low water content.

Maple Lemon Butter

Makes approx. 1 pint.

Option 1: maple syrup and stevia combination, paleo

  • 25 g virgin coconut oil or 20 g grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. SweetLeaf stevia drops (equivalent sweetness of 3/8 cup sugar)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Juice of 2 large lemons

Option 2: maple syrup and raw turbinado sugar combination

  • 25 g virgin coconut oil or 20 g grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Juice of 2 large lemons

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Gently beat the coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup and stevia (or turbinado sugar) in an heat proof bowl until well combined, then add in the eggs and continue to whisk until mixed through. Add in the lemon juice (using a sieve to keep out pulp and pips), then place the bowl over a double boiler on a medium heat.

Mix with a whisk until the coconut oil (or butter) has completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then keep stirring and slowly increase the heat until the mixture thickens. This should take 2-3 minutes.

Maple Lemon Butter Double Boiler

Keep stirring for another 2 minutes at that temperature, then divide it between two clean half pint-sized/235 ml jars and let it come to room temperature before refrigerating. It will thicken further as it cools, though is a little runnier than the original recipe. But don’t worry, it won’t run sideways off your toast!

All that’s left to do now is enjoy your treat on some gluten free/FODMAP friendly bread, on a scone as part of afternoon tea or use it to fill up tart shells. Yummo!

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