FODMAP Book Review: ‘Flavor Without FODMAPs – Love The Foods That Love You Back’ by Patsy Catsos

Title: Flavor Without FODMAPs – Love The Foods That Love You Back

Author: Patsy Catsos, MS RD LD

Published: February 2014

Format: Kindle and Paperback

I have used Patsy Catsos’ website, IBS – Free At Last! regularly over the few years, both for checking ingredients for recipes intended for this site as well as for personal FODMAP research. After moving to the USA, I had to take off my Aussie FODMAP hat and put on my American one; Patsy’s website helped tremendously with that. It’s a wealth or resources and knowledge, not just in the posts themselves but in the meticulous answers to questions that have been asked below the articles.

Having been diagnosed at 18 with fructose malabsorption, it’s safe to say I learnt to cook “fructose friendly” from the word go. However, we ate a fairly routine diet growing up (as both my parents also have issues with certain foods) and I didn’t learn much about new ingredients or spices and how to use them in my dishes until Ev and I began cooking for ourselves. So, even though I might have the FODMAPs diet down pat, I occasionally need inspiration for meals (who doesn’t?), not to mention a reliable source of information about an exotic (sounding) ingredient that I’ve come across, or even ideas on how to use new ingredients that I know to be low FODMAP.

Flavor Without FODMAPs has our backs. For those of you who are new to the FODMAP diet, either because you have been diagnosed with FM, lactose malabsorption or you’re just trying to sort out your IBS, the first part of the book highlights important issues such as these:

  • Foods high in FODMAPs are still healthy, just not agreeable to our digestive systems. You can eat them up to the point that they cause you digestive upset.
  • Patsy’s philosophy is that there is no one perfect diet for good health – I love this. So much.
  • She has also distinguished between gluten and the different FODMAPs and states that a low FODMAP diet is not meant to be a permanent way of life.

In addition to those points above, the first part of the book also contains detailed information on:

  • What FODMAPs actually are and how they cause digestive upset.
    • One of my gripes is that many people use the terms “fructose” and “FODMAP” interchangeably, especially in online support groups, which just causes confusion and quite often arguments. It’s nice to have the individual FODMAPs clarified here at the outset. Fructose is a FODMAP, but not all FODMAPs are fructose.
  • Information about an elimination diet.
  • Staples of a low FODMAP pantry.
  • How to read labels for FODMAPs.
  • Menu ideas.
  • How to create low FODMAP versions of your favourite recipes, with substitution ideas and guidelines.

The second part of the book is full of recipes, which are organised into sections of breads, breakfasts, beverages, appetisers, dressings and condiments, mains, sides, soups and desserts.

I don’t have the time – or the calorie budget! – to trial all of these recipes, so I decided to pick a few and go from there.

The recipes I selected were:

Zucchini Quinoa Muffins

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When I think of zucchini muffins, my head immediately goes down the savoury route as I grew up eating the zucchini and cheese bread that my mum used to make. These muffins are slightly sweetened – which is not my preference for zucchini muffins – but the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg pull it off and after I put “savoury” from my mind, I enjoyed them. Ev, who was completely new to the use of zucchini in baked goods, liked these muffins a lot. They easily lasted in the pantry in an airtight container for a week.

We agreed that there wasn’t an overpowering taste of zucchini, that they were moist and very fluffy and that one wasn’t enough.

Gazpacho

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I thought I’d try something new, here, as I have never had gazpacho before but I love tomato soup. I was a little hesitant at a cold tomato soup but my fears were soon put to rest after tasting it. It’s tangy and refreshing, light enough to have as an entree (appetiser for those in the USA) but it becomes a little heartier when you serve it with sour cream or plain yoghurt.

The gazpacho is also better the next day, as the flavours have had all night to mingle together and tone down the sharpness of the garlic infused oil.

Asian Cucumber Salad

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Each time we would go to the sushi restaurant near our old apartment, Ev and I would get the cucumber salad. The recipe in Flavor without FODMAPs is even better than the one we’d get at the sushi place, which was already really good. This salad, as Ev put it, is “make again” good. We had it with steak and mushrooms sauteed in butter (polyols aren’t an issue for me). Delicious.

All in all, I highly recommend Flavor without FODMAPs by Patsy Catsos as a comprehensive guide to cooking delicious low FODMAP meals that are appropriate for any skill level. It’s definitely worth the purchase.

Disclaimer: While I received a free Kindle copy of Flavor without FODMAPs to review, I do not benefit in any way from, or am in no way associated with Patsy Catsos, MS RD LD or her website – just an appreciative fan of her work.

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