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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!

Rxx

 

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

 

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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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38 Days

38 Days – that’s how long my vegan “stint” lasted this time. It’s no secret that i’m not a full-time vegan. As much as I would like to be, it’s incredibly difficult in a city like Hong Kong, especially for a foodie like me. I always struggle with what to do and where to go to eat out. As much as there are fabulous vegetarian restaurants and one in particular is a vegan favourite – they are few and far between and life as a vegan if you eat out, get’s very repetative – same places, same dishes – i’m not that kind of girl.

So i’ve opted for a semi-vegan lifestyle – vegan lunches and non-vegan dinners. Eventually, when I find myself willing to spend more time working out a vegan menu at home, it will mean vegan full time again – when? I don’t know. For how long? Again, i don’t know. But the challenge awaits.

In the meantime, a new challenge – to lose weight. I find, that everytime i do a vegan “detox” when i come off it, i put on all the weight i may have lost as fast as lightening. So i’ve decided now a food diary is the way to go. This inherently makes me feel guilty if/when i snack on anything as I don’t want to write down any seemingly unhealthy foods, so if i’m writing down everything that i’m eating, i can’t eat any inherently bad foods. Not as easy as it sounds.

Additionally, a lovely friend of mine signed me up to a 1-month trial at a gym – complete with Bollywood aerobics and Yoga…so attempting to frequent that, get into a routine, then hopefully – not give it up. The classes provide the structure and the motivation that I lack because once you get home after a long day – the last thing you want to do is change into trainers and trackies or swimmers and head down to the gym/pool. Even though they’re only a stones throw from home. Instead, the structure of going to classes (not close to work or home mind you but that’s another story..) seems to work. I just hope it lasts.

I am the kind of person that gets more motivated when I see results, and so far…no results. Reducing portion sizes at both lunch and dinner, limited healthy snacking during the day – let’s see how we go. I’ll keep you posted. But do bare in mind that this is no longer my whole-ly vegan blog…it shall return one day, just not today.

If you do however, need advice on being vegan…I can still give you that – so don’t hesitate to ask or post questions.

I leave you now..with some fabulous gluten-free / vegan cookies I discovered awhile ago and didn’t get round to posting:

They are fab, available in Hong Kong and I would totally buy them again – bonus point: you can’t really tell they’re gluten free.

I also experimented with some gluten free vegan chocolate cupcakes…but that’s another post altogether.

Rxx

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Gluten Free, Vegan

 

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