We have all been down the road of trying to think of something new and exciting to cook for dinner. This isn’t purely a fruct mal issue, though those of us with intolerances do have to put a little more thought into what we cook/consume, especially when you’re just starting off on a new diet.
I remember it going something like this: “Oh, chicken schnitzel is quick and easy… wait, I can’t have bread crumbs. Okay then, a quick gluten free pasta dish with canned sauce it is. Shit, onions! Life sucks.” Note – since then I have found that I can tolerate onion if it is cooked til it dies, i.e. in a pot of bolognese left to simmer for 3 hours. Life is good again.
Lately, Ev and I have been attempting to buy as little as possible and to cook through our stock of canned and frozen foods. Our fridge and pantry are slowly becoming less cluttered, which is a good thing. We both hate clutter and looking at a disorganised fridge first thing in the morning just aggravated us. Plus it’s a good way to spring clean – hey, it’s spring in Australia! – our kitchen and to take stock of what we do and don’t use regularly. In times like this it’s very handy to use a website that lets you select an ingredient you need to use up and gives you meal suggestions. For people without intolerances, any recipe website out there (AllRecipes, BigOven etc.) will do the trick. I have accounts for both of them, as well as a Pinterest account and the like. The problem with any of these options is that we still have to read every recipe and manually filter or tweak those that contain high FODMAP foods. When you’re in a hurry, this isn’t really a feasible option.
However, two recipe websites have come to our rescue! I will list them in my preference order and give reasons as to why.
I found Yummly fairly recently, and I’m glad I did. Create an account (which you can do through either Facebook or Google if you don’t want a new login) and go to your name in the top right of the screen, click on it and scroll down to “taste preferences.” Here you can choose from a list of diets – vegetarian, pescetarian etc. – and allergies – gluten free, wheat free, sulphite free etc. – to tailor the recipes you will be shown after you search. It doesn’t have a “FODMAP” option, I honestly wasn’t expecting it to but it does have something that I think is even better. It has a “Disliked Ingredients” column next to the “Diets” and “Allergies” columns, so you can put in any ingredient that you don’t want in the results of your search.
This is fantastic and it avoids the inevitable disappointment I would feel when I see a delicious image, only to find I can’t have half the ingredients in the sauce. It also allows you to tailor results to your diet’s specifications, so you don’t have to stick to a complete low FODMAP meal if only a couple of carbohydrates are triggers for you. Win-win!
Taste.com.au is easy to use and it has the benefit of having recipes that I am more likely to cook – being an Australian website it will of course have more recipes that I would find appealing than a US based site. We’re all “Western” civilisations but if you were to compare the meals cooked at a general restaurant in the two countries, there would be a fair bit of difference.
It does have a FODMAP section (use the search bar and type in FODMAP), which is great and it stands to reason that, as Monash University – the centre of FODMAP based research – is in Melbourne, AUS, an Aussie website would be among the first to have a recipe list for those of us following the diet. What I don’t like about this is that the term FODMAP eliminates everything – everyone with FM or the like knows that we are all different. As I said above, I can eat cooked onions, in addition to polyols and moderate amounts of galacto-oligosaccharides. Others can eat wheat in small amounts, or even tolerate some of the unsafe fruits. The ability to specifically tailor your search to your dietary requirements is why I prefer Yummly, even if I do have to spend a little bit of time typing them in manually.
Another downside to the FODMAP search on Taste is that we are relying on the recipe writer’s knowledge of FODMAPs. I know this sounds a little rich coming from a fructose friendly blogger but the first two recipes that I randomly clicked on had ingredients that wouldn’t be widely tolerated among the FODMAP community.
- The Seafood Chowder recipe contained shallots, cream, chicken stock and recommended crusty French bread. While I know what I can tolerate after eight years of eating fructose friendly, as a beginner this would have confused me no end, as FF stock, lactose free cream and GF bread aren’t suggested; and nothing is mentioned about shallots only being tolerated by a few of us due to fructans.
- The Greek Style Roast Lamb recipe, while nowhere near as bad as the chowder, does contain 1 crushed garlic clove in the oil marinade. I know I could tolerate one garlic clove over an entire lamb roast but not everyone else can.
I kept searching and other recipes would be suitable but, considering the above two recipes were listed quite near the top of the “Low FODMAP Collection,” I think that Taste needs to do some serious monitoring, or at the least have a disclaimer. But it’s a start in the right direction.
What I’m trying to say is that, we don’t know who has decreed that these recipes on Taste.com.au are low FODMAP. Clearly not all of them are, even though they could be modified – but my problem with the list is that low FODMAP implies low all FODMAPs and it should be safe and clearly labelled; and the point of having a FODMAP search option is so that we don’t have to modify the recipes! That’s why I think the Yummly option of listing individual ingredients as “disliked” is a brilliant way to be sure that the results you get will be edible.
Has anyone else found a good recipe search engine that caters to individual foods like Yummly does? Please list it below so we can all have a look!
Have a great weekend!