The crunchy stables – nuts, seeds and grains

The crunchy stables – nuts, seeds and grains

When I first started this diet I had a very basic food pallet. It wasn’t that I was a bad cook but my diet very much resembled the one, I had grown up with and I wasn’t much for experimenting – not because I didn’t want to but I just didn’t know where to start and since what I ate seemed to work fine there was no reason to change it.

However being on this diet has introduced me to a whole new world of foods and flavours and my kitchen is overflowing with things, that I hadn’t even heard of when I started my FODMAP adventure two years ago. Being a vegetarian is initially hard on a diet that restricts or excludes so many of the typical stables like beans and pulses and it takes a bit of creativity to make sure you cover all vitamins and minerals.

Nuts, seeds and grains are a brilliant source of these so here I’ve made a list of the different types that are stables in my kitchen.

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Nuts:
– walnuts
– hazelnuts
– almonds (whole, flaked and grounded)
– pinenuts
– macadamian nuts
– pecan nuts

Seeds:
– sunflower seeds
– pumpkin seeds
– linseeds (golden and brown – whole and grounded)
– poppy seeds
– chia seeds (whole and grounded)

Grains:
– rice (long grain, balsamic, brown and wild)
– quinoa (whole and flaked)
– buckwheat
– oats
– spelt

Flours:
– rice (brown and white)
– buckwheat
– spelt (white and wholemeal)
– quinoa
– Dove’s farm bread mix

Of course you don’t need to run out and buy it all as soon as you start the elimination phase but you will notice that as the first couple of weeks have passed and the initial frustration and despair that might come with the diet have been replased with a certain amount of devilish “I can do this” experimentation in the kitchen, your stash will slowly grow along with your confidence and wellbeing!

Me…. The party pooper!

Me…. The party pooper!

This week my amazing daughter turned 5 so today it was party time! All her best friends were coming over to play musical statue, pass the parcel, beat up the Olaf pinata that my very creative husband had made(!) and frighten the cats with Frozen sing-along.
I love hosting children parties and see how my daughter and her friends enjoy all the food and activities I have prepared and I much prefer a small personal party to the play center ones and completely turn into a 50’s housewife replica to cook, bake and make for days before the party.

This year however I wasn’t alone in my preparations – my ibs was with me all the way! This is how my last couple of days went…

Thursday:
I wake up to get ready for work (my last work day before half term) and right away my stomach feels the need to tell me that it’s nearly that time of the month again by sending stabbing pains from my stomach down in my legs. I put on a loose dress (I know I’m going to need it later) and throw my Buscopan and painkillers in my bag along with a stash of peppermint and ginger/lemon tea! As the day goes on my stomach grows rapidly as my chances of a toilet trip decreases and by 16.00 when it’s time to go home I look 6 months pregnant, my ovaries are trying to drill their way out of my body and I’m absolutely desperate for a pizza and a cold glass of cola! So happily home I bake a lovely low fodmap spelt pizza with lactose free cheese, tomato puree, basil and fresh pinapple and I eat like I have been starved for weeks… In the evening I decide that my body needs to relax to be ready for my busy Friday, so I put a film on and throw my feet up and although I sound like a silent trumpet I feel great (hurray PMS pizza)!

Friday:
Today the cramps hardly give me a chance to open both eyes before they attack and signals to my body that it’s time to make up for the lack of toilet visits I had yesterday. I run to the toilet, force down breakfast and take my daughter to school. Back in the house I pay the toilet another visit and decide that it’s probably easiest to leave my book (The world according to Garp, one of my absolute favourite books) in there. I clean the house and put away toys while I wonder if you can permanently insert a drip with peppermint tea. I start on the birthday cake, a low fodmap/ vegan chocolate cake, determined to work through the cramps and I reason that since I felt so good yesterday evening, eating the leftover pizza for lunch must be just the thing I need… Big mistake! It turns out that some of the pains and the increased opportunities to read my book is actually a reaction to the amount of spelt flour I have consumed (pesky fructans!) and through the afternoon I read another couple of chapters in my book. I place myself in lotus position on the floor with my heating pad on the stomach and spend the last hour before the school run covering strawberries in chocolate and sprinkles.
For dinner I make my spinach, tomato and lemon risotto knowing that it’s one of my safe dishes when the ibs monster is raging (recipe will follow in another blog post.
After my daughter has gone to bed preparations continue and a lovely pattern forms: lotus position on floor, heating pad, wrap presents for pass the parcels, a cup of ginger tea, toilet, lotus position, heating pad, ice birthday cake, a cup of peppermint tea, toilet…. rinse and repeat while making a fondant Olaf, sorting party bags and putting decorations up. Finally I go to bed thinking that surely Saturday will be better!

Saturday:
PARTY DAY! Despite last nights optimism, today starts in the same way as yesterday did and the cramps and toilet visits have now been joined by nausea, headache and hot flushes. I pick up my routine where I left off yesterday but now I have to alternate my heating pad between my stomach and my neck to cover both my cramps and my headache. I bake pizza swirls with the heating pad dangling around my neck and dress my daughter in her Frozen dress while trying to strangle the nausea with Tesco’s gluten free ginger biscuits before I jump in a hot shower and find yet another loose dress.
I’m ready for the rascals to take over my home! It’s just 2 hours where my body has to behave…
I constantly sip ginger tea, eat some more risotto, read a chapter or two in my book and stay way clear of all the party food – even the birthday cake that I made especially fodmap friendly so I could have a slice. And I enjoy the happy look on my daughter’s face as she wins musical statue and pulls a party bag from the beaten pinata. She swirls and sings to her hearts content and when all the children have gone home she throws her arms around me and thanks me for a wonderful day! At least she hasn’t noticed that the ibs monster is raging or that I literally was a party pooper.

By evening my stomach has calmed down, most pains are gone and I can again enjoy my book outside the toilet so I sit back and hope that tomorrow will be a calmer day.

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Low fodmap and vegan chocolate cake – whole cake or cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups of your choice of allowed flour, such as maize, spelt, rice or buckwheat flour
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (make sure it doesn’t contain milk powder)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 vegetable or coconut oil (or whatever you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 180’c/gas mark 4 and grease and line a tine or prepare paper cases

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl

In a seperate bowl mix all wet ingredients and then pour them into the dry ingredients and mix until all lumps are out.

Pour the mixture into tin or cases.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes for cupcakes or 30 minutes for a large cake.

Leave to cool before cutting or decorating.

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I just used a normal vanilla butter icing made with lactose free milk for the middle and ready to roll icing to cover it. Because it was for children I decorated it with chocolate stars and white chocolate fingers but it could easily be decorated with fruit, berries or dark chocolate instead to make it more fodmap friendly.

Banana, blueberry and nuts breakfast muffins

Banana, blueberry and nuts breakfast muffins

Breakfast time is my enemy! I always fall into the trap of eating the same old thing every single day until the mere thought of it is enough to make me feel sick… at the same time I find it such a risky meal of the day to experiment with because if it goes wrong I know I’ll have a very long day of discomfort ahead of me.
However I did gather enough courage to try some extremely lovely muffins from Design Eat Run!
I will admit there are no evidence of my batch as they all went so fast so I have borrowed a photo from Design Eat Run’s blog.

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I did tweak the recipe a little bit too as I can’t handle too much oats at one time, so I did half oats and half wholemeal spelt flour. On my last go I didn’t have any walnuts either so I used macadamian nuts instead, which was equally as tasty.

Pop over and give them a go, they really are addictive!
http:// http://www.designeatrun.com/2014/09/15/breakfast-muffin-recipe/

Following a diet… Any diet!

Following a diet… Any diet!

We’ve all tried it at some point in our life – dieting! A for many hated word that is associated with strict rules, little pleasure and horrible, non-enjoyable food. But diets are one of those things that we love to hate and it is still becoming an increasingly big part of society, just look at book shelves in your local supermarket. LCHF, low GI, Paleo, Atkinson, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, gluten free, dairy free, GMO free, vegetarian, vegan and tons of others diets are being offered us to make our bodies, our minds and our lives healthier.

For many a diet is something you go on to loose weight. It’s often a temporary or even seasonal and very often reoccurring thing too, like the post Christmas diet or the pre-holiday diet, a quick and fleeting attempt to get rid of the extra pounds and gain the desired body. A ritual that we repeat year after year. But for some, like vegetarians or vegans the diet becomes a way of life. However all diets have the same basic guidelines; you follow certain rules and possibly restrictions regarding food in order to gain a result – weight loss, health benefits, showing your beliefs etc.

The low FODMAP diet is a forever changing and evolving diet and if you put 50 people all following this diet in the same room together, chances are that not two of them will have the same eating habits. This is because the diet is a guideline, a map to lead you in the food jungle, but how and how much you follow the map depends on individual sensitivities, how long you’ve been on the diet, old eating habits and even culture.

When you first go on the diet it might seem very limited, confusing, time consuming, scary and expensive but for many it quickly becomes a lifestyle. An adventure rather than a challenge, a gift rather than a punishment, a way to feel free again and to live a life that’s not controlled by our body but by us and what we put in our body.

People’s views of diets are quite interesting. If you’ve successfully dieted and lost a lot of weight, most people will look at you with a certain admiration because of your achievements. They will even look to you for advice… However if you follow a diet because of food sensitivities or allergies and don’t want to poison your body, people often think you are awkward and attention seeking…. Logical, right?!?!?!
Most people are against diets, thinking it’s a way to unnecessarily control the body and deprive it of what it actually needs but done right, not with extreme body changes but with wellness in mind, it can be a healthy, positive and interesting journey!

This is me…..

This is me…..

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I have ibs (irritable bowels syndrome)… There, I said it!
Some people will say it’s all in my head. Others will say I just need to eat better and drink more water (you know, increase fiber, don’t eat junk, cut out sugar, eat lots of fruit and vegetables etc etc). Many will say that everybody has a bad stomach once in a while and it’s no big deal.
But some will say they know just how I feel!

I follow the low FODMAP diet to try and control symptoms. Most days it works but there are still days where, if it was possible to do a stomach transplant, I would be first in line!  I call these my poop days – not because it’s necessary what I spend my day doing but because that’s how I feel!

The main purpose of this blog is for me to have a place to gather all my FODMAP and ibs information; articles, recipes,  research etc and to track my journey and experiences …and possibly inspire others.
So welcome and please excuse my lack of blogging skills🙂