Introducing Dr. Rachel Pauls Food and the Low FODMAP Happy Bar

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Hi guys!

So I’ve had a brief hiatus from blogging (life got in the way, as usual) but I aim to post as often as I have a recipe worth sharing.

Today’s post isn’t about a recipe, though; I’m writing to introduce you to a new, American-based company that has begun producing low FODMAP products! I’m so pleased that people are catching up with a medically prescribed eating protocol that has helped so many control their IBS symptoms. Studies show that 75% of participants experience improved symptoms following a low FODMAP diet, so the more resources out there for FODMAPers, the merrier our guts will be!

This exciting new brand is called Rachel Pauls Food and the first product for sale is called the Happy Bar. I was lucky enough to get a sample to try and, long story short, they were pretty delicious, just as good as – or maybe better than – any comparable higher FODMAP product you’d find in your supermarket.

More information about Dr. Rachel Pauls and Rachel Pauls Food will follow after a review of the Happy Bars. Skip to the end for the contact details.

The Happy Bars

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Each Happy Bar is designed to be nutritious (yet delicious) and contains:

  • Less than 0.5 g of total FODMAPs per serving.
  • No gluten! They are certified gluten free.
  • A minimal ingredients list.
  • No preservatives, for those who are sensitive.
  • 8-10 g of protein and 3 g of low FODMAP fibre.
  • Healthy fats from peanuts or almonds.
  • 210-215 calories per bar.
  • The bars may contain traces of certain allergens, so please check the nutritional information available on the website to ascertain whether they are the right product for your needs.

I love the variety of flavours on offer. You have a choice between:

  • Chocolate Chip Delight – a classic flavour, you can’t go wrong.
  • Orange Chocolate Ecstasy – I’ve personally loved the chocolate orange flavour combination for years and, for reasons unknown to me, this is the first time I’ve seen it in bar-form.
  • Peanut Chocolate Euphoria – another great flavour mix, think crunchy peanut butter with just enough chocolate inside.
  • Peanut Maple Pleasure – Crunchy peanuts combined with rich notes of maple syrup, delicious.

While I enjoyed each flavour, my personal favourite was the Peanut Maple Pleasure – I can’t go past that flavour combination if it’s on offer and the bar was just sweet enough with chunks of peanut inside that gave it a satisfying crunch.

Happy Bars, like many healthier/higher protein bars on the market, will not taste like the sugar-laden muesli bars of your childhood. The flavours are much more refined, with just enough sweetness present to make it feel like a sweet treat without the urge to consume ALLTHESUGAR after you’ve finished eating, which, for me, is very important. Often (who am I kidding, nearly always) I’ll crave a snack when I finish my run but I’m too impatient to wait for an egg to boil and don’t want to have anything too sweet, or I’ll end up bingeing and negating the workout – these bars are perfect for those times.

Even more important (for me) was the lack of IBS symptoms post consumption! After testing out three of the flavours with no reaction, I decided to take the final bar as a snack on my trip from Seattle to Melbourne – and thank goodness I did, because it saved me from having to hunt down a suitable late night snack in LAX after I’d developed blisters on the hike between the domestic and international terminals. Sometimes baby carrots (my other go-to travel snack) just don’t cut it. The chocolate chip Happy Bar had spent around 2 days in my bag by this stage, so it help up well to the rigors of travel.

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All in all, I’d say these Happy Bars are worth a try if you’re in the market for a low FODMAP snack that is suitable for an on-the-go lifestyle or post-exercise treat.

As far as I know, the Happy Bars are currently only available for postage within the USA. I will update this information when I hear back from Rachel Pauls Food.

Interview with Dr. Rachel Pauls

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1. Who is Dr. Rachel Pauls? Are there any other team members? 

I’m a board-certified specialist in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, an award-winning educator of residents and fellows, an internationally renowned medical researcher and speaker, and a mother of three wonderful children!

I also personally experience IBS, and have been following a low-FODMAP food plan for 4 years.   It has been so successful for me, and my patients, that I want to share this information with others! We offer delicious, healthy, natural low-FODMAP foods to all those who experience digestive discomfort.

There are currently more than 20 people working to bring our yummy low-FODMAP products to market including those involved in recipe development, manufacturing, marketing, order fulfillment and laboratory analysis.

2. How did you hear about the low FODMAP diet? 

I began having IBS symptoms about 5 years ago and was thrilled when I reviewed the medical research and learned about the low-FODMAP diet.  It massively improved my symptoms, making me feel healthy and happy again.

3. Why did you decide to create a low FODMAP bar? 

My inspiration for Happy Bars came after a long search for a great tasting, low-FODMAP energy bar.  Since I couldn’t find any, I decided to make my own. In the kitchen, I utilized my baking skills to create delicious, healthy recipes. I loved them so much, I had to share them!  Then in the lab, I applied my medical and research expertise to help design a validated process to analyze food for FODMAP content. The result is Happy Bars, delicious low-FODMAP energy bars.

4. Do you have any plans for to make other food products later on? 

We currently have several other low-FODMAP products under development.  We launched the low-FODMAP energy bars first because it was the product that I craved most as an IBS sufferer and working mom for the convenience of a grab-and-go meal or snack.

5. What can people discover on your website? 

Informative videos, such as one coming shortly on the best food choices to make on Thanksgiving Day, yummy recipes, frequently asked questions, and information on the latest FODMAP medical research.

6. The Happy Bars are currently available on your website – do you aim to eventually sell them in stores? 

We are very careful about the process by which Happy Bars get from the kitchen to your door in terms of storing and shipping them.  Selling anywhere else right now would affect us being able to keep those high standards.

7. How long do the Happy Bars last and what it the best method of storage? 

Happy Bars are happiest when stored on any counter or shelf along with other similar food items. They are best if eaten prior to the date indicated on the wrapper.

8. The Happy Bars have the “Dr. Rachel Pauls Low FODMAP Seal of Approval,” what is this and can buyers be confident that this rating is in alignment with those of Monash University or Dr. Sue Shepherd’s FODMAP Friendly company? 

When we decided to create Rachel Pauls Food, we looked for a laboratory test that would scientifically analyze food for FODMAP content. We discovered that there was no lab in the U.S. currently doing this type of testing. Following an extensive review of FODMAP research from independent scientific journals, we decided to work with a well-respected, FDA-registered, Accredited food-testing laboratory and developed a validated process to analyze food for FODMAPs. Our laboratory is the only known U.S. facility testing for FODMAPs and verifies that our food is low FODMAP.

When you see the Dr. Rachel Pauls Seal of Approval, it means that I have assured through rigorous testing that the product has been scientifically analyzed and verified as low FODMAP and contains less than 0.5 g of total FODMAPs per serving.

9. You mention that your aim is to be able to test foods for FODMAP content in the US. I think that it’s great that the US will have their own, dedicated, FODMAP testing centre. When do you hope to have this up and running? 

Anyone interested in obtaining the Dr. Rachel Pauls’ Seal of Approval for a low-FODMAP food product, can contact us at seal@rachelpaulsfood.com. The Seal will only be granted to products that we have verified as meeting our criteria, including having less than 0.5g of total FODMAPs per serving.

10. Following on from the last question, how will you distinguish yourselves from Monash University/FODMAP Friendly with your testing methods? 

Our process of analyzing food was developed following an extensive review of relevant research from around the globe and is conducted under the supervision of a United States based FDA registered, Accredited independent food laboratory. We are currently the only lab providing a precise specification about level of FODMAPS in tested products. However, with the advancements being made in the study of FODMAPs, it is likely only a matter of time before many labs across the globe offer similar services.

11. Finally, any tips for those following a low FODMAP diet? 

Prior to starting any food plan or diet we recommend first consulting your doctor, dietician or other appropriate health care professional. As well, check out our blog as well as the FODMAP tab on our website.

Rachel Pauls Food contact details

Website: https://www.rachelpaulsfood.com/

Email:  info@rachelpaulsfood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelPaulsFood/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelpaulsfood/

The Low FODMAP Diet for Beginners – A Resource Package

“The Low FODMAP Diet for Beginners – A Resource Package” has moved to a new home at The Friendly Gourmand.

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The Guide to FODMAP Friendly Sugars and Sweeteners

Please view this article, “The Guide to FODMAP Friendly Sugars and Sweeteners,” at it’s new location on The Friendly Gourmand.

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The FODMAP content of different varieties of corn/maize and their derivatives

low fodmap, maize, corn, gluten free, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, fructose malabsorption, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, cornflour, popcorn, sweet corn

For a grain that is used in so many gluten free/IBS friendly recipes and products, corn tends to be a topic of contention in terms of FODMAPs. But why? It’s gluten free (unless contaminated with the protein through processing methods), that much we know, but why do some people react to corn and others not, or, even more confusing, why do different types of corn cause issues for an individual when others are well tolerated?

One of the obvious answers is that all of us react differently to different fermentable carbs, which is true – but it goes deeper than that. The problem with corn is simple – corn is not simple at all. People have sensitivities, intolerances and allergies to different aspects of corn, and not all corn is created equal. This article will deal with the fermentable carbohydrates that corn can contain, as corn allergies and intolerances are not within the scope of this blog. If you are concerned that you have an allergy to corn, please see your doctor.

Since the Native Americans domesticated corn thousands of years ago, it has been extensively bred into many varieties, all of which contain different amounts of FODMAPs, as well as different physical characteristics that lend themselves to certain uses in cuisine and industry. Obviously, for the purpose of this article, I will stick to the species of corn that are intended to be eaten.

Genetic Modification

This needs to be said. Corn is commonly found as a genetically modified (GMO) product. You may choose to consume non-GMO varieties of corn for personal beliefs, however, genetic modification does not affect FODMAP content. Unless a variety of corn is bred to contain large amounts of fructans, or have a higher fructose:glucose ratio than sweet corn (etc), the GMO corn you find at the supermarket will have the same recommended safe serving size as it’s non-GMO counterpart.

Sweet Corn/Corn on the Cob

Variety: sweet corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1/2 cob servings.

Sweet corn is the corn we eat prepared as a vegetable – on the cob, or find tinned in the grocery store. It is picked when immature, before the simple sugars have a chance to convert to starches. Delicious with butter, salt and pepper, it unfortunately has a very close fructose:glucose ratio, as well as a large amount of sucrose, so should therefore be limited to half-cob servings, according to Monash University. Of course, if you know you can eat more without reacting you may continue to do so.

Corn Meal, Polenta/Grits and Popcorn

Variety: dent and flint corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1 cup servings.

Corn destined to be consumed as a grain is picked and processed once it has matured, which means the water content in the endosperm is greatly reduced and the simple sugars have largely been converted into starch. Starch is not a FODMAP, which means that products made from corn meal, polenta and popcorn kernels (such as corn tortillas, corn bread and mamaliga) are safe in terms of fermentable carbohydrates, as long as no other FODMAP-containing ingredients have been included in the recipe.

Dent corn has a greater water content than flint corn, which has a much harder, less digestible endosperm; this is due to the differing amounts of floury vs vitreous starch (see Figure 3). For this reason, they are turned into corn meal/polenta and popcorn, respectively.

Cornflour/ Corn Starch

Variety: waxy corn.

FODMAP rating: safe.

Waxy corn contains a different type of starch (amylopectin, rather than the amylose found in the previously mentioned corn varieties), and is more effective as a thickener and stabilising agent in foods. This product doesn’t come from the entire corn kernel but is the isolated amylopectin.

Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: safe but use in moderation.

Consisting of approximately 93-96% glucose (in the form of maltose, a disaccharide of two glucose molecules), corn syrup is considered safe in terms of FODMAPs, though it should still be consumed in moderation, as it is a sugar and very high GI. Corn syrup is produced via a multi-step enzymatic process, which breaks the corn starch down into varying products, including maltose. Corn syrup is available in light and dark varieties; the dark corn syrup is mixed with some molasses, which, while it has a slightly elevated fructose:glucose ratio, should be evened out by the extremely concentrated glucose in the corn syrup.

In the USA, corn syrup is synonymous with glucose syrup, as glucose syrup is nearly always made from corn. In other countries, glucose syrup can be made from wheat, rice, potatoes or tapioca.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: high, avoid.

Once corn syrup (which is mostly maltose/glucose) has been produced, the reaction is taken a step further and the corn syrup is processed with the enzyme glucose isomerase, to convert some of the glucose into fructose. This produces HFCS-42. Liquid chromatography is used to further convert glucose into fructose, to create HFCS-90, which can be blended with HFCS-42 to create HFCS-55.

Regardless of your opinion of the health dangers of HFCS, it is NOT low FODMAP. As the varieties (42%, 55% and 90% fructose) are not labelled differently, it’s best to stay clear.

Other names include: isoglucose, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, isolated fructose and fructose syrup (the latter two refer to HFCS-90).

Corn/Maize Oil

Variety: made from the germ of corn kernels.

FODMAP rating: safe.

FODMAPs are a variety of fermentable carbohydrates. Pure corn oil is 100% fat, so contains no carbohydrates, thus no FODMAPs and is safe to use.

So, there you have it. Different varieties of corn (maize) and their derivatives all have different FODMAP ratings; however, as usual, if your tolerances vary from what Monash has suggested is safe, follow your gut.

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or a medical doctor; I have just researched this topic myself. If your health professional has advised you to avoid corn, please do so, as it might not be for a FODMAP-related reason.

Title image credit goes to: http://pixabay.com/en/users/margenauer-271373/

Meet Nicer Food’s Infused Olive Oils – Low FODMAP Flavour for your Dishes

low fodmap, nicer foods, garlic infused oil, fructose malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, gluten free, organic

About a month ago, Jesse and Kate Watson of Nicer Foods contacted me and asked me if I’d like to test drive their newest product. Given how much I liked their last effort (chocolate peanut butter flavoured protein bars, mmmmmmmm…….) I of course said yes. Please realise, though, that the opinions here are my own; even though they very generously sent me a full-sized version of each of the four flavours, I was not bound to give them a good review.

Firstly, 10 points to Gryffindor – I mean Nicer Foods – for great customer service; they have always replied promptly to my enquiries and these little beauties reached me just two days after I agreed to review them, in a well padded parcel.

For the uninitiated, the low FODMAP diet restricts garlic and onion, among other foods, based on their high quantities of fermentable carbohydrates, known as fructans (or fructooligosaccharides/FOS, part of the O group), which aren’t absorbed in the small intestine, so travel on into the colon, where your resident gut flora digest them, leading to gas production, bloating, cramps and altered bowel movements. You know, exactly what you want to read about in the review of a gourmet food product. Sorry.

For the less than savoury reasons mentioned above, those following the low FODMAP diet for relief of digestive complaints will eliminate garlic and onion varieties, which for some might seem like the end of the world for their taste buds. However, luckily for us, FODMAPs are water soluble, so foods like garlic and onion can be sauteed in oil until their flavours have seeped in, leaving the fructans behind. This means that oils infused with the essences of higher FODMAP foods can impart the flavour into your meals, without the FODMAPs. Sounds great and easy enough, right? Well, the down side to this is that you really shouldn’t store your homemade infused oils; you can make them but only if you plan to use them right there and then. Botulism, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, is caused by the food-borne bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which thrives in low oxygen, alkaline, warm environments – just like infused oils.

Personally, I’m not happy to risk a case of Botulism to have the convenience of homemade infused oils lying around and, while I’m happy to throw a couple of garlic cloves into simmering oil when I’m cooking, I most likely won’t be bothered when I am making a heat-free-prep meal, like dips or salad dressings.

So, what to do? Supermarkets and websites sell varieties of infused olive oils that we can take advantage of. But what makes Nicer Foods’ infused oils stand out from the crowd? Firstly (and most importantly), they are made with the intention of being completely FODMAP friendly, so you don’t have to worry about garlic or onion “juice” getting into the oils, like you do with others. Have you ever seen the garlic infused oils on the supermarket shelves that have bits of garlic sitting at the bottom? Chances are you may react to that particular oil – depending on how sensitive your gut is. Secondly, they taste great – more on that later – and thirdly, I’d happily support a family owned start up company over a chain-brand that probably doesn’t care as much about quality control and its customers.

So, to the oils!… Which are available online for purchase at Nicer Foods’ website for a reasonable price.

Shallot Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Great taste, a little strong but pleasant. It works wonders as a simple salad dressing with a pinch of sea salt or as part of a cooked meal. Just beware, though, that as it’s an “extra virgin olive oil,” (EVOO) I’d keep your heat low, so don’t use it while stir frying, or simply add it in at the end of the cooking process.

Meal ideas:

  • Salad dressing, with a pinch of sea salt and perhaps a dash of white wine vinegar.
  • Drizzle over your pasta of choice and throw on a few cherry tomatoes, some shredded basil and Parmesan cheese.
  • Onion replacement in hot meals, if used carefully – would work in combination with the garlic oil in any Italian or Mexican dishes that you wanted to try, such as this Bolognese sauce.
  • Jazz up your favourite low FODMAP dip recipes – this would go well in a roasted capsicum dip.

I like the shallot oil so much that it has earnt it’s own pouring spout. If I had to pick, it’d be my favourite.

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Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A pleasant and mild garlic flavour. I’ve tried store bought garlic oils before and some have had an obnoxious garlic taste but this one, thankfully, does not.

Meal Ideas:

  • Salad dressing (as above).
  • Use carefully in cooking, such as garlic free carnitas or Napoli sauce (after sauce has been reduced from the boiling point).
  • Whip up a delicious garlic infused guacamole.
  • Bake some spinach and Feta muffins, or mini quiches, using the garlic oil as part of the fat content, to spice up the flavour.

Pictured here in a green leek chimichurri sauce.

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Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Refreshingly zingy. I like the other oils a lot, too, as the steadily emptying bottles can attest – but this one speaks to my inner baker and dessert-aholic. The flavour reminds me of a lemon biscuit (cookie) that my Gran used to buy and that I now want to replicate. I wish it came in a bigger bottle!

Meal Ideas:

  • Drizzle over seafood as it’s removed from the heat.
  • Use it as part of a zesty summer salad dressing.
  • Use it as part of the fat component in a lemon-infused baked goods – I’m planning a recipe right now.

Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Herby! I love the versatility of this oil. Good quality oil – as are all the others – that can be used in a variety of ways.

Meal Ideas:

  • Make an extreme basil pesto, or add it with a bit of the garlic oil to a spinach or kale pesto for some basil flavour when basil is out of season.
  • Drizzle it into a bowl of plain EVOO and Balsamic vinegar (which is low FODMAP in 1-2 tbsp. servings) and use it as a dip for your gluten free or FODMAP friendly bread for a simple appetiser.
  • For a super simple lunch or dinner, drizzle some over freshly cooked gluten free pasta, add in some chopped cherry toms and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and you’re done.

All in all I can safely say that I recommend these oils. The team at Nicer Foods has done a great job. The fresh flavours, combined with no ill reactions on my behalf, and a friend’s rave review of my shallot oil/sea salt salad dressing (“That’s all that was in the dressing?!”) makes this a win-win product in my books.

A FODMAP Friendly Veggie Garden for Summer

Fructose Friendly Veggie Garden, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten free, healthy, organic, pesticide free, spoodle, cockapoo, homegrown

I apologise for the delay in today’s Fructose Friendly Friday post. I intended to share a low FODMAP/gluten free crumpet recipe but – unfortunately – it wasn’t quite ready to share. Hopefully next week! Anyway, I had to whip up something quickly and spring seemed the perfect time to talk about gardening.

Last year I was able to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – grow my own veggies. For the previous three years, I have been growing my own herbs in pots on our balcony, which was thankfully south facing (equivalent to north facing in Australia), so it got a lot of sun. It was great to be able to grow our own herbs but this year, we have a garden! Well, more like a patch than a full-on yard but it’s a start.

I wanted to grow my own veggies for a few reasons:

  • Price: organic veggies are expensive, as are some non-organic versions, such as zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
  • Quality: *fingers crossed* our home grown veggies will be better than store bought.
  • Control: even organic vegetables use pesticides, some of which have not been thoroughly tested (they just need to be deemed “natural”) and many are reported to be less effective than normal pesticides, so more has to be used; if we grow our own, we can be completely pesticide free. Please note, I am not anti-organic, I just wish that the organic industry was held to the same standards as the regular industry that uses synthetic pesticides. You’ll never experience judgement here for what sort of produce you choose to consume.
  • The experience: hopefully one day we will have a backyard big enough to grow most to all of our fruit and vegetable needs, as we plan to have a completely edible garden.

So, now we have a little yard. What next?

Firstly, we had to move in! We didn’t get started on our garden for two whole months, as we had to fix up inside the place – previous residents had left holes in the dry wall that needed spackling/painting and clearly had little darlings that were fond of wall art. Then we drove down to San Francisco to meet my parents for a road trip back up the west coast, which had some spectacular views.

My mum loves to garden (so much that we drove up to the Butchart Gardens – pictured below – in Victoria, B.C.) and had been telling me for months that she would be giving us a Backyard Blitz while she was staying with us. Awesome.

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Prepare your garden beds

It really was a huge do-over; I didn’t take a before photo – in retrospect, I should have – but the place was essentially a grass patch with three garden beds full of rubble, a hose with holes in it, decomposing flower pots and a random butcher’s knife that had belonged to previous tenants. It made me angry just looking at it – and a little concerned about the knife, though the scariest thing to happen was the lawn-mowers leaving the gate open, which meant the dogs almost got out.

We spent an entire day with the shovel and rake pulling out the weeds and the weed mat (awful things) and discovering that we only had about 40 cm of soil depth and the rest was building rubble that had been thrown in to raise the gardens to the second story, which was our lower living area, as the garage is at ground level, underneath it all. Your to-do list may differ but ours included:

  • Pull out as many of the rocks in the soil as possible, so we could use them in flower pots for drainage and for decoration. I’m not going to turn my nose up at free river rocks!
  • Get rid of the weed mat – not only do they mess with drainage but they stop the plants’ roots from getting deep enough to really stabilise and get at nutrients.
  • Weed like crazy and get rid of the chunks of cement that were close enough to the surface to get in our way.
  • Build the garden beds up with a decent soil and compost/fertiliser, so the plants have a chance at surviving.

We did all of the above for the two side garden beds, which were empty. The rear garden bed we just pulled out the surface rocks and weeded, as there were already some box hedges planted and, considering that we’re still renting, we couldn’t pull out the plants that belonged to the owners.

Plan your garden

What will you grow?

What do you want to get out of your garden, aside from pesticide free produce?

To narrow down which fruit and veg that we would actually grow, I did some research about the climate in and around Seattle, as well as the soil type. Seattle doesn’t have a huge growing season for summer crops, so I had to be on top of this in April. We used the following criteria to decide on what we’d grow:

  • Expensive at the supermarket.
  • Doesn’t last long in the fridge.
  • Suited to Seattle’s climate.
    • Fast growing, so they’ll be ready in Seattle’s short growing season.
    • Hardy enough to survive the Pacific Northwest’s climate.
  • Dog-friendly – so sadly rhubarb was out.
  • We need to eat a lot of them.
  • FODMAP (or Nat) friendly, see list here.

If you choose to grow your own fruit and veg, you’ll need to do some research for your own area.

Where will you grow it?

Unfortunately, our back yard is north facing, so it doesn’t get full sun. If we could pick the perfect spot, it would have:

  • Adequate sunlight.
  • Well-drained, nutrient rich soil.
  • Sheltered from the wind.
  • Close to a water source.
  • In a built up planter box, rather than rows – saves both space and your back.

But, that wasn’t the case, so we had to be realistic. Considering that flowering plants require lots of sunlight, we chose:

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Sage
  • Oat grass (for the dogs to nibble on)

And because why the hell not…

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchinis
  • Strawberries

Start your garden

To combat our short growing season in Seattle, I sprouted the seeds indoors, in front of a warm, sunny window in our kitchen.

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When the weather was warm enough to transplant the seedlings, I put them in the planter box that Ev built for me. Side note – we’ve since moved house, so the lucky people that buy our old rental will inherit it. It was sad to leave it but there was no way we were going to get it into the U-haul.

  • Feed and water your garden as required. Be careful not to over-water it, as excess moisture can lead to rotting stems and dead plants.
  • Do NOT over-plant an area of garden bed. I got a little greedy and then we had to transplant our cherry tomato plants halfway through the growing season. Though, to be fair, my last two attempts at growing cherry toms hasn’t been half as successful and the rate of growth of these two plants shocked both of us.
  • Get any support systems (stakes and cages) in place BEFORE you need them. See above.
  • Prune/maintain as required.

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The results

  • Cherry tomatoes – very successful. We didn’t buy tomatoes for 5 months.
  • Lettuce – also did really well. Best lightly sprayed with water and refrigerated for a day before use, to help it crisp up after the summer sun.
  • Chard – didn’t survive the seedling stage. There might have been a problem with the seeds, as everything else was fine.
  • Carrots – showers, not growers. They tasted alright but were small underneath.
  • Zucchinis – the plants were prolific flower-ers but they didn’t grow any successful fruit. They zucchinis would reach about 10 cm long and then begin to decompose. I was really disappointed.
  • Strawberries – the squirrels really enjoyed these. We didn’t get to taste any, as the little buggers would eat them before they were ripe enough to pick. At least it provided the dogs with some entertainment.
  • Herbs – all did pretty well in the pots/garden bed.
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This wasn’t even the biggest that the cherry toms got. They ended up three times this size – insane!

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Yup – showers, not growers.

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This year we probably won’t have much more than herbs, as we are heavily DIY renovating the inside of our new house, as well as turning the (very poorly sunlit) back yard into something nicer than a weed pit. The front yard gets a lot of sun, so potentially could be the site of  a future veggie patch, if we get the front fence up. We already know that the neighbourhood has resident bunnies, though, so it might end up being a feeding ground for them instead of us.

So give it a go. Get gardening and let me know what you’re growing!

Which Sugar Should You Choose?

Just a quick re-post today – this is a great blog post by the Nutrition Guru and the Chef. I highly recommend checking their blog out for some much needed common sense nutrition. The recipes aren’t intended to be low FODMAP, so make sure you tweak as required. But back to sugar…

Excepting – of course – a FODMAPper’s requirement for the glucose concentration to be greater than that of the fructose, no isolated sugar is inherently “healthier” than any other and it should always be eaten in moderation.

If I ever say a sugar – or any food – is “evil/bad/the devil” on this blog, you can safely assume I’m referring to its excess free fructose content, which would cause me personally to have an IBS-type reaction. I do my best, though, to stay away from that sort of language, because (plant-based) food isn’t sentient, so can’t wish us harm.

Stay tuned for a new post this Fructose Friendly Friday! Have a great week, guys!