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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!

Rxx

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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.

Rxx

 
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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 loomed..so 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.

Rxx

 

 

 
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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.

Rxx

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

 

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The Low FODMAP Vegan

Those of you who have read my previous post will know I have embarked on this new (well, new for me) diet plan – The Low FODMAP diet and as you are reading this, I am on day 7. One thing I must emphasize is that it is not a requirement while you are on the Low FODMAP diet to be vegan, in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not advised. But I am. Simple. Whether you’re supposed to or not, I am.

It’s a huge struggle let me tell you. Especially with something there is only limited information about online – limited in comparison to how much information is available on every single other diet plan that exists in the world. Limited in comparison to if you were doing this diet plan as a non-vegan. We are all learning, and we are all learning together.

The hardest thing about this, is knowing where to start. It’s day 7 and I’m still struggling with what to eat – what to cook, and what to bake on a regular basis. It is important to know memorise the foods you can and cannot eat – those which contain FODMAPs and those which don’t. So let me see if I can help you (and myself) here a little.

Let’s start with fruits:

Cassandra Forsythe – a nutritionist based in Conneticut has a pretty comprehensive list of those fruits (both natrual and dried) which are not suitable and suitable on a low FODMAP diet:

FRUITS TO AVOID:

Excess Fructose fruit:
Apple
Mango
Nashi fruit (Chinese Pear)
Pear
Persimmon
Rambutan
Watermelon

Excess Fructan fruit:
Persimmon
Rambutan
Watermelon

Excess Polyol fruit:
Apple
Apricot
Avocado
Blackberries
Cherries
Longon
Lychee
Nashi Fruit (Chinese Pear)
Nectarine
Peach
Pear
Plum
Prune
Watermelon

SUITABLE FRUITS:
Banana
Blueberries – buy organic
Boysenberry – buy organic
Cantaloupe
Star fruit
Cranberry – buy organic
Durian
Grapes – buy organic 
Grapefruit
Honeydew melon
Kiwi
Lemon
Lime
Mandarin
Orange
Passion fruit
Papaya
Pineapple
Raspberry – buy organic 
Rhubarb
Strawberry – buy organic 
Tangelo

Suitable dried fruits (some people are ok with dried fruits, others are not):
Banana chips
Cranberries (often are coated in sugar – only eat if not sweetened) 
Currants
Papaya
Pineapple (often are coated in sugar – only eat if not sweetened)
Sultanas
Raisins (may not be suitable for everyone…)

Special notes on fruit:
Limit intake of suitable fruits to one serve per meal.
e.g. One whole banana or orange.
Third to half a glass of suitable juice.
Small handful of berries or grapes.
Small amount of suitable dried fruit (e.g. 10 sultanas).

I have read on other websites that the largest amount of fresh fruit you should have in one sitting should be about the size of a small orange and should you wish to eat more, leave a 2 hour gap between the servings. This supposedly gives your body time to digest. I haven’t had more than a banana a day as yet – and I feel fine for now. I’ll keep you posted.

Rxx

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Vegan

 

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Enter the Dragon

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Enter the year of the Dragon – with promises of prosperity, good health and luck!

I have recently embarked (by recently I mean i’m on Day 6) of a new diet plan. Years ago, I was diagnosed with IBS (for those of you who don’t know, IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome – sounds pleasant doesn’t it?

Wikipedia (trusty source that it is) defines IBS as: a symptom-based diagnosis characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. As a functional bowel disorder, IBS has no known organic cause. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate,

Sounds fun doesn’t it? I have tried countless medications to assist in digestion, I have taken so many peppermint oil tablets to aid digestion and have drunk so much peppermint tea that I can’t even keep track anymore. But if you’re lucky enough, like me, you have a friend who is a dietician and who really looks out for your well being. Genuinely.

It goes to show how much doctors really tell you – or maybe they just don’t know enough themselves resulting in a lot of being told “you have IBS, i’m sorry, you just have to deal with it” by doctors, and a lot of “I don’t know what’s wrong with you so it must be IBS” and resulting in you having to take matters into your own hands. For awhile, I did exactly that – just deal. But as I grew up, and learned more about what I could and could not handle, I started eliminating the basics that I knew affected me – Chilli and Dairy. Slowly, I reintroduced them back into my diet, and then just dealt. I was so frustrated.

My amazing friend recommended something called the Low FODMAP diet to me. So when I heard about this I had to find out more – I asked questions and did some research on my own and now I am patiently waiting for a book to arrive in the post.

I had no idea previously, that one of the main causes of IBS is fructose malabsorption, where by absorption of fructose is impaired by deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine’s enterocytes. This results in an increased concentration of fructose in the entire intestine.

Dr. Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet in 2001. She has proven, through her research, that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS. On her website she says, FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring toFermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols*. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.

I have thus commenced my journey of this new eating plan, and I will (hopefully) post more regularly – giving you background, and insight, in hopes that it might help at least one of you as well.

Rxx

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Low FODMAP, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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