How to Complete a Gluten Challenge while remaining Low FODMAP (with Seitan Recipe)

How to complete a gluten challenge while remaining Low FODMAP - NOTFROMAPACKETMIX

For reasons that I have mentioned before, it is crucial to get tested for Coeliac disease (CD) before you begin any elimination diets that cut out the gluten containing grains – this includes the low FODMAP diet, which eliminates wheat, barley and rye for the two month elimination period due to their fructan content. Oats also contain a protein called avenin, which is very similar to gluten and can also cause issues in overly sensitive individuals. There are many reasons why it’s important to be correctly diagnosed (which includes ruling possible differential diagnoses out) but I’ll expand on the most relevant to fructose malabsorption (FM) or the low FODMAP diet.

But firstly, a brief explanation of CD and non coeliac gluten sensitivity.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition in which your body’s immune system reacts to the plant-protein gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives) in such a way that your small intestine lining becomes the target, causing damage to your small bowel and villous atrophy. Villous atrophy in turn leads to a reduced surface area for nutrient absorption, which can contribute to malnutrition, malabsorptive disorders, osteoporosis and many other secondary complications, such as an increased risk of certain cancers. To rule CD in or out, a blood test to check for tissue transglutaminase antibodies is performed and followed up with an endoscopy to confirm any damage to the small intestine.

Non coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), on the other hand, is not as well understood. It is the label given to those who test negative for CD, yet are still apparently affected by gluten. One study suggests that it is not the gluten in the grains but the fructans (acting alone or in combination with the gluten) that are causing sufferers to be symptomatic. Other research hints that it might be an innate immune response, rather than the adaptive immune response of CD, which causes the reaction to gluten-full foods and leads to symptoms that are very similar to those experienced by Coeliacs. Because there is no science-based standardised test to check for NCGS, the diagnosis is one of elimination – other conditions, like CD or a wheat allergy, are ruled out but you find you still improve on a gluten free diet – and NCGS is the possibility that is left.

If you do in fact have undiagnosed CD or NCGS, the low FODMAP diet isn’t anywhere near strict enough to be considered safe for you, as after the elimination phase comes the reintroduction phase, in which you are encouraged to test out foods higher in fermentable carbohydrates – this includes offending grains, which will just make you sick again. If you have CD, you must limit your gluten exposure to basically nothing (less than 20 ppm in the USA is considered safe), so even a contaminated chopping board or deep fryer could make you sick, let alone testing out a full slice of bread. If you have already been diagnosed with CD, you can skip those foods, saving you time and gut hurt… or any of your other symptoms that are caused by gluten.

Furthermore, if you have undiagnosed CD or NCGS once you have finished the elimination phase and begin to test out wheat, rye and barley, you’ll realise that they bring on symptoms (either IBS or other) and you won’t know whether FM or CD is behind them – and to test for CD, you need to have gluten in your system for an established autoimmune reaction to be visible. If you haven’t been eating gluten for as little as two weeks, any damage from CD, or any sign of the relevant antibodies, will most likely have disappeared, meaning that you will test negative, regardless of whether you have active Coeliac disease or not. This is called a false negative.

If, for one reason or another, you find yourself having been on a long term gluten free diet, yet needing to test for Coeliac disease, there is unfortunately no other way to confirm the diagnosis than to complete a twelve week gluten challenge. Instructions vary slightly but in general, it is recommended that every day, for twelve weeks, you must consume the equivalent of four slices of bread if you’re an adult, or two slices of bread if you’re a child. This works out to be 6.0 g of gluten for an adult and 3.0 g of gluten for a child, daily.

After writing the previous post, it seems almost hypocritical to tell you that I had to complete a three month gluten challenge in 2014. You can read my diagnosis story here but, long story short, I tested negative to Coeliac disease (both the antibody blood test and endoscopy) back in 2006 but then tested positive for fructose malabsorption. However, after eating largely gluten free (I didn’t worry about minute levels of contamination), I found myself, at the beginning of 2014, experiencing worsening IBS symptoms and extreme fatigue/brain fog. Ev even asked if I was broken. Now, I felt pretty certain that the culprit was the spelt flour (non-sourdough) that I had been consuming, after reading that it was low FODMAP – note, only sourdough spelt is considered low FODMAP, I had just read inaccurate information. However, the question stood: was it the fructans or the gluten that was causing this relapse?

I know that many people out there would happily re-eliminate the spelt flour and move on with their lives – but I’m not one of them. If there’s a question, I’m the type of person who needs to know the answer. So, I spoke to my GP, who referred me to a gastroenterologist and I began a twelve week gluten challenge. However, I know that fructans in wheat (and to some extent, rye) make me sick – what was I to do? The answer to your low FODMAP gluten challenge question is: SEITAN.

Seitan is a vegan protein/meat replacement that is made from vital wheat gluten, which is normally 75-80% gluten – and coincidentally, registers as low FODMAP. Now, let’s do some maths… stand back.

  • An adult needs to consume 6.0 g of gluten per day, a child 3.0 g.
  • Let’s assume that the vital wheat gluten (gluten flour) was only 75% gluten, to be safe. However, if you can get a more pure version of it, do so, as the more gluten it contains, the less likely it is to contain any FODMAPs.
  • 6.0 g / 75% = 8.0 g, so we need to consume 8.0 g of the vital wheat gluten, daily, to ensure we are getting at least 6.0 g of low FODMAP gluten. A child would obviously only need to consume 4.0 g.
  • The recipe below is in grams, to keep it simple: 240 g of VWG will give thirty 8.0 g servings or sixty 4.0 g servings.

You could just pop your seitan chunks like a form of medicine and be done with it but it was fun to experiment with it in cooking and I probably ended up consuming more than the 6.0 g of gluten on the days when we did so… which might have contributed to my gut’s unhappiness and the fatigue.

Seitan with Italian Herbs and Spices (based off Bob’s Red Mill’s basic seitan recipe)

Seitan Dough

  • 250 ml FODMAP friendly stock or water
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 240 g gluten flour/vital wheat gluten

Broth

  • 1.5 L of water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

In a large pot (I cannot emphasise this enough, seitan balloons!) bring the broth mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, mix the gluten flour, herbs, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Slowly add in the stock and stir/knead until it’s a sponge-like dough. It should be tacky to the touch but not wet. Tip it out onto a well floured bench (use more gluten flour) and knead it for a minute or two, until it becomes tougher and more elastic.

Cut it into sixths, then roll them out into logs and divide each one into twenty. There you go, you now have 120 pieces and four pieces equals one daily serving of gluten for an adult.

IMG_6475 IMG_6485

Place the seitan dough in the boiling water and boil for one hour. Watch how it expands – I needed to swap saucepans halfway through.

IMG_6486 IMG_6492

After boiling, the seitan still isn’t good to eat. At this point, I like to think of it as “raw” meat. The flavour is nice, thanks to the spices, but the texture isn’t great. Spread the seitan out on a tray to dry, then use it in stir fries, pan fry it, bake it – it all works.

Baked seitan:

IMG_6501

Pan fried seitan with mirepoix as a dipping sauce:

IMG_6505 IMG_6511

For those who were just curious, I hope you found this piece interesting. For those who have fructose malabsorption or IBS and need to complete a gluten challenge – good luck. I didn’t find it fun, in terms of fatigue, but I hope you fare differently. After getting back to a normal diet (still no active Coeliac disease, yay), I have learnt that I can cope with a bit of gluten every now and then, so it’s clearly not as big of an issue for me as the fructans are. Luckily, that means that I can still enjoy (proper) sourdough breads in moderation. Yum.

This post is intended for educational purposes only. Please run anything that I have written here by your doctor or dietitian (etc) to make sure it is suitable for your individual case.

In terms of FODMAPs, vital wheat gluten is generally considered low but it is not recommended for consumption during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. As always, it’s best to not need to do a gluten challenge at all, by testing for gluten/wheat related conditions before an elimination diet has begun but this isn’t always possible, for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately, you might react during a gluten challenge (that’s the point, after all); this method just minimises the chance of that reaction being due to the fructans in wheat as much as possible.

Ten Reasons to get tested for Coeliac Disease BEFORE Going Gluten Free

Ten reasons to get tested for coeliac disease before going gluten free

As many people are aware – and just as many people aren’t – gluten is a protein that is found in the grains wheat, barley and rye (and their derivatives). A very similar protein, avenin, is found in oats, and can also cause a gluten-like reaction in some very sensitive people.

Gluten is the trigger behind the autoimmune disease known as Coeliac disease and is also a known gut irritant for some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or any of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). For these people, eliminating gluten from their diets is crucial to improving both their gut and overall health. For others, it might be completely unnecessary.

Now, obviously, the reasons listed below are relevant for those who have access to testing for Coeliac disease, either by blood test or endoscopy. If you, for either medical, financial or geographical reasons, cannot be tested for Coeliac and you feel like gluten-containing foods set you off, then nobody can stop you from doing what you feel is necessary, using whatever resources you can find. However, I strongly urge anyone who feels like they have symptoms, either IBS-like or other, that are related to food to go and see their medical professional of choice.

So, here are my top ten reasons to check with your doctor before you begin a gluten free diet.

  1. Coeliac disease testing relies on a reaction to gluten: Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system reacts to the presence of the protein gluten as it would to an infection – with an immune response that attacks your own tissue, damaging your intestinal lining, which can cause both symptoms of IBS (pain, gas, bloating) and reactions elsewhere in the body (joint pain, headaches etc). Tests for active CD rely on looking for specific antibodies, via a blood sample, or evidence of CD specific damage to the small intestine, via a gastroscopy/endoscopy. If you have already eliminated gluten from your diet, your test results will not be reliable, as any reaction may have disappeared and you could in fact be showing a false negative.
    .
  2. To differentiate between Coeliac disease and Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS): If you suspect that the consumption of gluten containing foods precedes your IBS or any other symptoms, it is important to know which you have. If you have CD, you know that you must be careful down to the tiniest speck of contamination – less than 20 ppm, in the USA. It is unknown how “strict” those with NCGS must be, medically speaking, in terms of gluten contamination. It might be as strict as CD, less strict, or even dependent on the individual – but if you have ruled out CD, you can then work with your doctor to decide what’s best for your own case based on current medical knowledge.
    .
  3. Coeliac disease is genetic: If you have CD, one of your parents must be carrying the gene and may also have an active form of the disease, which can sometimes be silent. If you have children, it’s important to know what their chances are of developing CD in the future – this includes a blood test to check for genetic susceptibility (did you pass on the gene?) and a test for active CD, if you did.
    .
  4. Self-diagnosis can be very dangerous; you might miss the actual diagnosis! If you are having worsening digestive symptoms, gluten isn’t the only potential cause. It could also be ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or colon cancer. Each requires proper medical management, which might include a gluten free diet but it certainly won’t be limited to it. If you are not accurately diagnosed, the repercussions to your health could be severe, if an undiagnosed condition goes untreated.
    .
    Following on, if you go gluten free without any testing or medical advice, you will not get the chance to hear about other potential causes. Symptomatic malabsorption of fermentable carbohydrates is now thought to be much more common that NCGS, with a study showing that those with NCGS who began to follow a low FODMAP diet had significantly improved symptoms. This is not saying that those with NCGS don’t have a real problem, just that the culprit might not be the gluten in the wheat – it might be the fructans.
    .
  5. Coeliac disease doesn’t just cause digestive distress: The most commonly known symptoms of CD include gas, bloating, gut cramps and altered bowel movements etc. However, long-term, unchecked CD can lead to a whole host of issues, including (but not limited to), malnutrition, lactose intolerance, osteoporosis, infertility and even an increased risk of certain cancers. It’s definitely advisable to rule CD in or out and hopefully reduce your risk of developing one of the possible secondary health issues by following a strict gluten free diet with medical assistance as required.
    .
  6. Save money on healthcare: In some countries, only certain medical tests are covered by Medicare (or the equivalent) or private health insurance. Chances are that you are more likely to be financially covered for a science-based diagnostic test for CD than you are for any alternative-medicine-based tests, so why not try the standard tests first and see where they get you, before going down the potentially more expensive route. A proper medical diagnosis of CD (or any other food related illness) might also mean that your school/college/university has to provide you with suitable foods, saving you money and time on meals that you might otherwise have to prepare for yourself and bring from home.
    .
  7. Save money on unnecessary gluten free products: If you compared the grocery bills of two people who ate the same diet, except one of those people bought gluten free versions of the processed foods (bread, cereals, pasta, sauces, cookies etc), you will find that the gluten free person spends quite a bit more. If you don’t have a medical reason for buying gluten/wheat free products, you will save a decent amount of your weekly grocery bill by buying the normal versions of the products. This goes for FODMAPs, too, though we aren’t at the point of being a fad diet and most people are still finding out about it from their doctors/dietitians etc.
    .
  8. Just because it’s gluten free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy: Is a doughnut healthy? Not in my eyes. Is a gluten free doughnut automatically healthier? Definitely not. If you eliminate gluten by eliminating processed gluten-full foods and replace them with gluten free whole foods and the occasional gluten free grain like rice or corn then yes, your diet will likely be healthier than before. However, if you just replace your bagels and cupcakes with a gluten free version, you are doing nothing for your non-gluten-related overall health.
    .
  9. Social acceptance: It’s unfortunate but many people will judge those who are self diagnosed or follow what they perceive to be a fad diet. I try to educate waiters about fructose malabsorption and the fructans in wheat (if they ask, of course) when I order a gluten free meal – partly because I want to spread awareness of fructose malabsorption and FODMAPs but also because I want to distinguish myself from those who do follow “gluten free” as a fad diet and have my dietary requests taken seriously. It’s sad that I need to do this but necessary, which I’ll explain in #10.
    .
  10. Food safety and cross contamination: As I mentioned in #9, wait or kitchen staff (or, sadly, even family members) might take it upon themselves to decide exactly how gluten free your meal must be. If you don’t have a formal diagnosis of CD or NCGS from your doctor, these people are more likely to slack off with the meal prep safety and feed you contaminated food, which will ultimately affect your health and wellness. This unfortunately goes for many food intolerances, even nut allergies!

Fad gluten free (or anything-free) diets are a pet peeve of mine. I try not to be too zealous about certain things in life – I don’t want to annoy friends of mine who are not interested in digestive health, after all – but when it comes to “going gluten free” on a whim, I can’t always hold my tongue. To my friends and family, I do apologise. To my readers, though, I feel it’s something that should be put out on the internet again and again, to make as many people as possible aware of the dangers of uneducated dieting.

This article is written for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a proper medical assessment.

The FODMAP content of spelt. Is spelt low FODMAP?

Not From A Packet Mix:

A thorough write-up on spelt flour. It’s a common misconception (and one that I fell prey to at the start of 2014) that spelt flour is low FODMAP.

As the Two Dietitians explain, it is lower in fructans than wheat but only proper sourdough is truly low FODMAP in 2-3 slice servings. Read their entire post for the complete details.

Originally posted on Two Dietitians do the FODMAP diet:

http://www.zoett.nl/wat-is-spelt/ products still seems to confuse people when following the low FODMAP diet as people with IBS often report they can consume spelt without experiencing symptoms. So is spelt low FODMAP? Well yes and no is the short answer as it depends where in the world you get your spelt bread from, how much you eat, the percentage of spelt flour used and most importantly whether it was baked using the sourdough process.

When I asked Dr Jane Muir who works at Monash about spelt she said “We recommend sourdough spelt bread -the sourdough process will reduce fructans and is essential”.

So there you have it the sourdough process actually lowers the fructan content in spelt making the breads low FODMAP.  At the FODMAP research team at King’s we actually recommend 100% sourdough spelt bread as a suitable low FODMAP option. However actually finding this bread product in the UK is…

View original 482 more words

FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Shortbread Biscuits

Gluten free & low FODMAP shortbread - yum

It’s that time of year again! Crack out the tinsel, put on your Chrissy hats and get ready for temptation from all corners. Fa la la la luck. At times like this, I just have to remind myself what will happen if I tuck into a traditional mince tart and walk around with blinders on.

Christmas is my favourite time to bake. Not only do I get to make gingerbread (one of my favourite things, ever) or other types of biscuits (cookies), I get to spend time decorating them and generally being crafty. I love it but I was concerned that going wheat free would ruin my fun.

Fear not, though, as shortbread will come to your rescue. This recipe will produce buttery, crumbly, sweet biscuits that taste and look just like the real thing. Your family and/or co-workers will be none-the-wiser when it comes to your Christmas party contribution.

Oh and here’s a nifty trick – use this as a gluten free biscuit pastry base for any sweet tarts you’d like to make, just roll it out to 5 mm thick and blind bake for approx. 10 minutes at 190 C, until lightly golden. Easy!

Notes:

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 30-40 biscuits, depending on size.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and line two or three baking trays with baking paper before rolling the dough out to approx. 2 cm (3/4 in) thickness. Cut the biscuits into 2 cm by 4 cm rectangles, or use your favourite cookie cutters to make fancier shapes and use a fork to poke holes, if you wish.

Shortbread

Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until the bottoms have browned slightly but the biscuits are still soft to the touch while warm – they will harden as they cool. I normally bake in shifts, with no more than two trays in my oven at the one time, or the heat will not circulate properly – if your oven has a fan mode, you might be able to back more at once. Just do whatever works best for your oven.

IMG_6791

Once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, store them in airtight containers in the pantry for up to five days, until they are required. They do last longer but will taste a little stale – it’s best to serve them before the five day mark.

Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea and seasonal fruit – in Australia this would mean fresh summer berries, as the closest thing we have had to a white Christmas was an hail storm on Christmas morning 2006 that left a nice covering of white hail stones all over the ground. In Seattle, you might be lucky enough to get a white Christmas but they unfortunately don’t come with seasonal low FODMAP fruits – apples, anyone? – so we’d have to spread on some preserves like a strawberry freezer jam.

IMG_6829 IMG_6832

Low FODMAP Cookbook: The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet – by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley CPC

EV GT Low FODMAP cover

I have been receiving Dr. Barbara Bolen’s emails from About.com’s IBS section for a while now (at least a full year); I find them both interesting and informative, and I really appreciate the evidence that is given, to back any claims, as well – not every site does that, which can make it hard for beginners, if they don’t know who or what to trust. So, when Dr. Bolen contacted me about her new book, The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet (link to website here), I was happy to get involved. I do owe her and Kathleen Bradley an apology, though, as this post is quite late (visa issues, an epileptic dog and no internet access in Queensland got in the way). Better late than never, though, right? I am really very sorry, though!

If you aren’t aware of the authors, I will give you a quick introduction:

  • Barbara Bolen is a psychologist and health coach who specialises in digestive health. Dr. Bolen runs a private psychotherapy clinic and health coaching business in addition to serving as the IBS expert for About.com. Her previous works include Breaking the Bonds of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS Chat: Real Life Stories and Solutions (co-author) and now The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet. Knowing what we do now about how stress and depression can affect IBS (and vice versa), Dr. Bolen is in a unique position to help people optimise their mental, digestive and overall health.
  • Kathleen Bradley, CPC is a writer, consultant, recipe developer and professional coach with over twenty years of experience in the field of publishing. Kathleen was diagnosed with IBS in 2011 and has extensively researched the low FODMAP diet in order to combat her symptoms; it made sense to combine her passion for healthy cooking with recipes low in fermentable carbs in order to manage IBS and other digestive disorders. The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet is Kathleen’s first cookbook.

The low FODMAP diet, as most of us know by now (or possibly not, if you’ve only just heard of it here) is a way of eating that is low in fermentable carbohydrates. However odd this may sound, it is no fad diet. Studies suggest that a low FODMAP diet can significantly improve IBS symptoms in up to 75% of sufferers. The science behind it is beautifully simple – certain carbohydrates are more likely to be fermented (digested) by your gut’s resident bacteria than others. These carbs, known by the acronym FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), are selectively restricted in order to prevent the fermentation that leads to bloating, gas and abdominal distress, which are the hallmarks of irritable bowel syndrome. Read more here, if you are interested… or buy the book!

Here are Dr. Bolen and Kathleen Bradley’s Top Ten Tips for Low FODMAP Diet Success:

  1. Be open with others about your special dietary needs. No need to be embarrassed, simply tell people that you are on a special diet for your stomach.
  1. Read labels carefully! Watch out for those hidden high FODMAP ingredients, such as gluten, HFCS, onion and garlic flavoring, inulin and artificial sweeteners ending in -ol.
  1. Pick restaurants that offer gluten-free options. They will be more likely to be willing to prepare foods in a way that is appropriate for you.
  1. Feel free to eat protein foods, such as meat, chicken, fish and pork, as long as they are not prepared with high FODMAP ingredients.
  1. Learn to love cooking. Preparing your own food is the best way to have full control over what you are eating.
  1. Move all high-FODMAP foods and ingredients to a designated part of your kitchen or get rid of them altogether.
  1. Make a list of appropriate substitutions for your favorite foods. For example: if you love cous cous, try millet; substitute pepitas for pistachios; tamari for soy sauce; etc.
  1. Pack low-FODMAP foods and snacks to take with you. For travel, Low-FODMAP cereal or granola doesn’t need refrigeration and can work as a snack as well as a meal substitution.
  1. Don’t go it alone! Reach out to a registered dietician or certified health coach for guidance and support.
  1. Remember to periodically challenge your sensitivity to foods so as to increase the variety of foods that you can eat.

To help publicise their new cookbook, Dr. Bolen has kindly provided answers to some of the most frequently asked FODMAP-related questions:

  1. Is the low-FODMAP diet too complicated for the average person?The diet is complex, there is no doubt about that. For best success, a person should work with a dietary professional to ensure that all nutritional needs are being met. Also, it does take time to figure out what one can eat and what one shouldn’t eat. That said, once a person is on the diet for a week or so, they start to get the hang of it. They get into a routine, they develop a new set of comfort or go-to foods and find places where they know they can get FODMAP-friendly foods.
  2. Some people find that some of the foods on the Allowed list are problematic. Why is that so?

The Allowed lists typically are comprised of foods that have been tested and found to be low in FODMAPs. However, every body is unique and it may be that certain foods trigger people for reasons other than their FODMAP content.

  1. Why do some foods come up on the Restricted list on some lists and the Allowed list on others?

It is important to remember that not all foods have been specifically tested for their FODMAP content. Some lists contain foods that were characterized by “best guesses” at the time. The most up-to-date resource for the FODMAP content of food is Monash University, either through their website, their publications or their mobile app.

  1. What about foods that do not show up on FODMAP food lists?

Keep in mind that FODMAPs are carbohydrates. Therefore, there are no FODMAPs in foods comprised of protein or fat. A person on the low-FODMAP diet can eat these foods freely. When in doubt about a food that does not show up on FODMAP food lists, one can make a guess based on the FODMAP content of similar foods.

  1. Is the low-FODMAP diet safe for vegetarians and vegans?

The diet can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans due to the restriction of many legumes. The diet can be safely followed as long as there is a concerted effort to take in adequate protein. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can meet their protein needs through eggs, hard cheeses, and lactose-free milk products. For those who do not eat eggs and dairy products, low-FODMAP nuts, seeds, milk substitutes and grains can provide some protein. Tofu, tempeh and seitan (non-celiacs only) are also allowed in all phases of the diet. Last, small amounts of well-rinsed canned lentils and chick peas have been shown to be low-FODMAP. It is advisable that vegetarians and vegans work with a qualified dietary professional to ensure that they are consuming safe levels of protein.

Stay tuned for a recipe sneak peek from Dr. Bolen and Kathleen Bradley’s new book! There are so many delicious options, I couldn’t decide what to try first.

Mockapple Crumble – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Vegan

Mockapple Crumble - Low FODMAP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Vegan

Ahhh Autumn. The markets are full of bright and shiny balls of temptation known as apples. Everyone’s Thanksgiving and Christmas menus always include apple in some form of pie, cake, crumble or salad – at which point I have to calmly remind myself of what will happen if I partake: pain and misery. Good bye, apple pie; Bakers Delight’s fruit mince tarts are a distant memory. Sigh.

For years I had to be strong (or pretend I was wearing blinders) when walking past the dessert buffets at family/friend meals but no more! Enter the choko. I can’t remember how I came across chokos (also known as chayote squash in some parts of the world) but they also happen to be in season during late Summer to Autumn and they make fantastic apple substitutes. To the person or website that first mentioned them to me, I will say a massive THANK YOU!

Chokos are a low FODMAP variety of gourd that, when eaten peeled and raw, resemble an apple in texture (crisp and juicy), with a very mild taste that can be accentuated with the right sugars and spices. They are exactly what you need to make a mockapple pie or crumble and, in my humble opinion, are a much better option than peeled zucchini. So good, in fact, that in Australia there’s an urban legend that states that McDonald’s used to use chokos in their apple pies, because they were cheaper than apples and nobody could tell the difference!

The first time that I made this crumble, I treated the choko like an apple and baked it from a raw state – that was mistake number one. Choko takes a lot longer to soften than apple does, so you need to stew or poach it first, otherwise the crumble topping will be overly brown by the time it’s soft in an incredible 1 hour and 40 minutes. Yikes. I also added the same amount of starch that I would have added to an apple crumble – mistake number two. Mistakes are good, though. We learn from them and – hopefully – don’t repeat them.

After a third attempt I feel I have mastered the choko mockapple crumble; just sweet enough, the choko has the texture of cooked apple and a mild flavour that lets the traditional apple pie spices shine through, while still bringing something of its own to the dish. This filling would also work well with your favourite gluten free/FODMAP friendly pastry for a mockapple pie.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Chokos are a FODMAP friendly gourd.
  2. Dried coconut flesh is low FODMAP in servings of 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup contains potentially problematic amounts of sorbitol.
  3. Almonds are FODMAP friendly in servings of 10 nuts, while 20 nuts gets a high rating for oligos.
  4. Maple syrup, when pure, is 1:1 fructose/glucose, thus is considered fructose friendly.
  5. Cinnamon, ginger, all spice and cloves are low FODMAP spices.

Mockapple Crumble

Serves 10-12

Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

Mockapple Filling

  • 1.0 kg sliced chokos
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar or 1/2 cup dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 pot of water for poaching

Peel, then slice or dice your chokos (discarding the large centre seed) into 2 cm or so chunks. Poach them in a pot of simmering water until soft – around 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all the crumble topping ingredients and mix until they are well combined, using your food processor (or by hand/with a pastry mixer). The result will slightly resemble a sticky cookie dough. Keep it in the fridge until you need it.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Drain the choko and mix through the sugars and spices. Pour the now runny choko mix into a 9 inch pie dish and then top evenly with the crumble dough. Bake at 180 C for 45-50 minutes, until the choko filling has thickened and the crumble has turned a lovely golden brown.

IMG_6644 IMG_6646

Serve warm, with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) or your favourite FODMAP friendly ice cream (vegan if required). Enjoy!

IMG_6648 IMG_6669 IMG_6680

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.

WP_20141105_11_27_44_Pro

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.

IMG_6631 IMG_6635 IMG_6637

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.

IMG_6660

Enjoy! Xo