Category Archives: Vegan

The Low FODMAP Vegan: What is Gluten?

When I tell people i’m on a Gluten-Free, Vegan Diet (It’s easier than explaining to them about FODMAPs in a small time-frame without them losing interest) the one question I get the most is “What is Gluten?”. So I decided that it would be a good idea to dedicate a post to this – in hope’s of answering your questions, and also educating myself a little more.

Gluten, as posted on wikipedia is a protein composite which is found in foods processed primarily from wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is the substance which gives dough it’s elastic texture, helps it hold its shape, helps it rise and often results in a chewy texture in the final product.

Usual products containing gluten include (but obviously are not limited to, and if you are looking to go gluten-free my best suggestion to you is reading labels – you’ll be surprised at what really does contain gluten and what doesn’t. When an item is specifically labelled gluten-free then you can trust it – if not – always read!) bread, cakes, crackers, cookies, cereals, pizza (the crusts) and pasta. Other products you may not be aware of which usually contain gluten include (but again, not limited to): soy sauce, beer, salad dressings, malt vinegar and cous cous.

So why Gluten-Free?

For people on a low FODMAP diet it is important to eliminate gluten because by eliminating gluten, you automatically eliminate wheat products containing fructans. Yes. Wheat contains fructans – this is bad on a low FODMAP diet.

Well there we have it. What is gluten – in a nutshell. I hope I have helped. Do let me know if you have any questions about anything – I’m happy to help with what I do know, and if I don’t know – i’ll surely do my research!



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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Uncategorized, Vegan


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The Low FODMAP Vegan: The Proof is in the Pudding

Facebook has been great for me recently – I joined a FODMAP intolerance support group and just having that interaction with people from all accross the globe that you wouldn’t meet otherwise, and just interacting, bouncing ideas off, sharing experiences. It really does make you feel like you’re not alone in the world when it comes to how you feel because of what you eat.

The transition to a low FODMAP diet was not easy – and still isn’t. I won’t sugar coat anything for you, sorry. It requires a huge amount of dedication, will power and above all else – organisation. You need to plan what you’re going to eat, what cravings you think you might have – stock your cupboards full of things you CAN have – and eliminate ones you can’t.

I’ve been on the low FODMAP diet for 4 weeks tomorrow. It has been an amazing journey so far, and I’m sure it will continue to be. I have had my slip-ups, with products containing dairy, wheat, processed sugars, onions, garlic and chickpeas. Let me tell you this – the suffering wasn’t worth it. I did it out of frustration sometimes, and out of the simple need to satisfy a craving other times. It has completely made me appreciate how valid the statement You Are What You Eat is. So that is my motto going forward.

After 4 weeks you would have thought this process has gotten easier – but in fact i’ve reached a stage where i’m more frustrated now at the lack of options I feel are available. But, my new targets are to become more familiar with foods I can eat before introducing ones i’m unsure about so I can do this when I’m ready and not simply just out of frustration.

The ultimate question – has this worked for me? So far yes. I feel better – more energised. The bonus? I’ve lost 2kg without even trying. No exercise. I’ve now kicked my butt in gear and hitting the gym 2-3 times a week (well, that’s the plan – i’ve been once – another 2 more times this week to go!).



Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Vegan, Weight Loss


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The Low FODMAP Vegan : Sofa-Surfing

At the weekend (or even during the week), there’s one thing every single one of us loves to do and that is sofa surfing. Even for a couple of hours, we relish in the ability to just curl up, chill out, and watch tv. It becomes somewhat, therapeutic – something each of us cherishes now that we all have crazy work-filled lives. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mum, a young professional or have been working for years – there’s nothing better than coming home, sitting on the sofa and relaxing after a long day or even a long week.

This time, my weekend of sofa-surfing (I’m starting to become obsessed with this phrase today – it may only last today however, so please excuse me) was filled with some educational documentaries. The kind that you stumble across on the TV but gross you out so much that you change channels immediately, thus proving our inability to accept change. But I’m at the stage in my life where I feel the need to change – change what I eat and my daily routine. I always felt sluggish and bloated – the lack of energy or ability to wake up in the morning was killing me. But the one thing that was worst for me, was that food was not exciting anymore – everything seemed to make me feel sick or bloated or tired. Almost like the feeling that you get when you’ve gone to a buffet lunch and eaten your fill and the fill of 10 others (oh come on, admit it, you’ve done that at least once in your lifetime – there’s no sense hiding it from yourself!)

The two documentaries I watched were Earthlings and Forks over Knives. Now if you have any sense of compassion or are a lover of meat or simply want to remain ignorant about the way in which animals are treated in the production of both meat and dairy products then I suggest you don’t watch it. But it is an incredible eye-opener. I must admit, I couldn’t watch more than about 10 minutes at a time – I was disgusted and now various images are ingrained in my head – hopefully for a lifetime.

The documentary begins with a simple definition of Earthlings : One who inhabits the planet earth – this is not limited to humans, but also includes every living being from insects all the way through to reptiles and mammals of all kinds. Once you grasp this basic understanding, it then moves on to discuss racism and speciesism in particular. The way in which humans are unbelievably dependant on animals, for everything from food, to clothing, entertainment and scientific research. It provides an in-depth study of the way in which we humans treat animals and use them to benefit ourselves. It was deeply insightful – and something that would put almost anyone off eating meat for anywhere from a day, to a lifetime. Let me tell you that even a day of not eating meat would be beneficial to you in ways you couldn’t imagine. The full version of Earthlings is available on youtube..

Forks over Knives was a definite compliment to watching Earthlings. Discussing in great detail about how there is scientific evidence to prove that a completely plant based diet has effects on reducing diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The documentary goes on to say how processed foods are far more calorie dense than natural foods, for example, 500 calories of veggies would fill your tummy completely and signal to your brain that it’s full, but 500 calories of meat would only fill your tummy to 50% and 500 calories of fat would have little or no effect in signalling your brain that your tummy is full because it feels like it is empty.

To conclude my sofa-surfing post which proved to be incredibly favourite quote from Forks over Knives:

Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food. -Hippocrates



Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Uncategorized, Vegan, Weight Loss


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The Low FODMAP Vegan: Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

The worst thing about being on this low FODMAP diet is not knowing what to make when you have a craving and don’t stock 20 different types of gluten-free flour in your house. I had Sourghum and Tapioca flour – which i’ve been trying to make use of – i’ve made chocolate brownie bites, banana muffins, and now, chocolate chip cookies.

The more I eat them, the more I love them. But they didn’t come easy – I had a few disasters along the way as I was adapting a recipe to my own needs and disregarding things like the wet : dry ingredients ratio. I suppose I better start at the beginning…(you’ll have to excuse the awful photos, i still havent mastered the art of food photography – i’ll get back to that one at some point!)

I started with the following ingredients:

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp egg replacer with 3tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sourghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (dairy free if you can, i used dark chocolate chips)

I used my new stand mixer with a paddle attachment and creamed together the oil and sugar. Added the egg replacer and vanilla. Beated well. In a separate bowl, combined the dry ingredients. Added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed for a minute to incorporate. Stir in the chocolate chips. Droped by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Baked for 8-12 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 180C until the sides and top are golden brown.

So far it looked good..

Ok so it did look a bit on the shiney side..too much oil maybe? I gave it a go anyway and put them on my baking sheet oh so carefully…

Ok now it really looked greasy…and they really kind of…smooshed into each other and spread way too much. I didn’t take a picture of it in the baking tray..I was way too dissapointed with the look, but when I tasted them – all I wanted was more! So how was I meant to rectify this?

I added another 1/4 cup of sourghum flour, put it back in the mixer with the paddle attachment, wizzed away for a bit until it was all incorporated, and then tried again, this time – they turned out better – didn’t spread as much, but resulted in slightly cakey cookies that tasted awesome. Even my dad liked them and you wouldn’t be able to tell they were gluten free. By no means are they the best GF, Vegan chocolate chip cookies in the world, but definately a great first try!

The ones at the top of the plate in the picture are the smooshed out ones that just crumbled in your hands – way too oily. The lower ones are far less oily – much tastier.

I’ll keep trying though!


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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Baking, Cookies, Gluten Free, Low FODMAP, Snacks, Vegan


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The Low FODMAP Vegan: Snack Attack

There’s nothing worse than sitting at your desk all day with a craving for something to much on and feeling like you can’t eat anything and that you are turning into a tree with greens coming out of your ears.

That’s how I felt today. Lucky for me the Life Cafe in Wanchai, small as it is, has a snack section that suited my needs perfectly – I found these Banana Chips which, in small doses, suits me perfectly.

The best part was reading the ingredients on the back: Bananas. That’s it. Nothing added, nothing extra. They are the perfect desk-side sweet treat and a fab FODMAP friendly snack since bananas are on the allowed list. The FODMAP food list suggests you limit dried fruit intake to 1tbsp at any serving, and spread servings out by 2 hours. Well I’m not one to have measuring spoons at my desk so I had about 10 of these banana chips in my serving and it suited me just fine.



Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Gluten Free, Low FODMAP, Snacks, Vegan


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The Low FODMAP Vegan: Sunday Brunch

I had the worst experience last night having eaten dinner out – at a regular restaurant. I recently have been visiting organic, vegan restaurants – Life and Veggie SF Cafe  -where the staff are great at understanding your requirements. But last night was an experiment at a Chinese restaurant. Despite asking them for no garlic / onion – and only eating allowed greens and a minuscule amount of tofu. I don’t know what did it – but I felt awfully gassy, bloated and had to run to the loo. It was the most unpleasant experience. I am not eating out again for awhile! It just wasn’t worth it.

But this morning I was craving. I want to make banana muffins with some of the overly ripe bananas I have sitting in the kitchen, and the more I searched, the more my tummy rumbled. But my fear of last nights dinner still what to do?

Something simple, and tasty was my solution. I had bought some everything-free rice bread the other day which  I had frozen in individual portions – 2 slices per freezer bag – So i took one of those out and started to toast the bread on low heat in the oven.

I then took one small ripe tomato and cut it into 4 thick slices, put it on a baking tray, drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil – sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and then found some dried rosemary in the cupboard. I took maybe 1/4 tsp of rosemary and crushed it up in my fingers and sprinkled it over the tomato. I then put this in the oven at 150 degrees C for about 15 minutes.


I was still looking for something to add a little more flavour to this dish and then it hit me. I had a pot of fresh basil growing on my balcony looking a bit sorry for itself. So I pulled off 4 large leaves. By this time, my toast was done and I pulled my sliced tomato out of the oven – it smelled great! Simply, I layered it up – put the basil on top of the toast and the piping hot tomatoes (2 slices to each slice of bread) on top of that. It was simple but  perfect.

This is a great FODMAP friendly brunch – an open faced tomato and basil sandwich on toasted rice bread.




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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Brunch, Gluten Free, Low FODMAP, Recipes, Vegan


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The Low FODMAP Vegan – Part 2

Firstly, I apologise for the lack of creativity I am currently experiencing..hence the generic title for this post. I am starting to get a little frustrated.

When I started this Low FODMAP diet last week it was Chinese New Year here, and the couch potato that I was during my 5 day weekend – I did no grocery shopping. I stuck to the vegetables at hand – to be fair the markets were closed and the supermarkets jacked up their prices – why? Because they could.

So when I finally got around to doing some grocery shopping the other day in the supermarket – mainly looking for snacky foods and some pre-packaged no fuss foodness I just got frustrated. Reading ingredients and realising that almost everything that I picked up, I couldn’t have – something had dairy in it, something else had garlic in it – it was ridiculous. Even without the frustrations of being on this Low FODMAP diet – being Vegan in this country is more than frustrating – even the soy cheese has caesin in it! Outrageous!

Anyway, I did manage to pick up a few things – some gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, nut free cereal bars, some rice bread (at an extortionate price – but I might make my own from now on), soy milk and some soy yogurt.

So back to this list that you must memorise..we started with Fruits yesterday – now what about everything else? I thought it might be simpler to show you a chart I found – apologies – I can’t remember where exactly I found it – so please don’t assume I am taking credit for putting this together – I’ve just found it incredibly helpful and I’ve stuck it to the front of my fridge to help me…my advice is you do the same.

Do remember that some of the items on the allowed list may not suit you – it’s still really trial and error, and some on the not allowed list you may be ok with in moderation. It’s up to you – if you want some more direction on what you should eat and when I suggest you contact and work through a program with a nutritionist / dietician.

That’s all..for now.


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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Vegan


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