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Gingerbread Biscuits – Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soya and Nut Free, Vegan

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Food allergies and baking.  Total nightmare.  I’ve had more fails than successes (a LOT more).  However this recipe is really, honest to goodness YUMMY and we have made them many, many times.   These gingerbread men contain no gluten, dairy, soya, egg or nuts.  They’re also suitable for vegans and are low-FODMAPs.  The ingredients can all be found in any large supermarket – in fact if you have allergies you probably already have all of them in your cupboards. They are easy to make and great fun for kids to help with too (mine usually end up eating half the dough as we go along!) – perfect for a rainy day in the holidays, or a fun Christmas activity.  I’ve adapted this vegan gingerbread men recipe from  Bit of The Good Stuff to make it gluten free, plus I’ve also simplified it.

They can also be made ahead of time.  The uncooked dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, and the finished biscuits can be frozen.  They’re soft enough for toddlers to eat and perfect to take along to parties.

 

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Our homemade gingerbread men, all wrapped up and ready to buy back for ourselves at the school fete (just so the kids can join in)
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My little helpers decorating a batch of gingerbread men.

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You probably have most of these ingredients in your cupboard already!

Gingerbread Men - Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soya and Nut Free, Vegan
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 biscuits 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 biscuits 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Gingerbread Men - Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soya and Nut Free, Vegan
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 biscuits 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 biscuits 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: biscuits
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line 2 baking trays with non stick baking paper.
  2. Put the dairy free spread, sugar and molasses in a pan over a low heat. Stir frequently as it melts until well combined.
  3. Sift the remaining ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon) into a large bowl. Mix well to distribute the spices. Pour in the contents of the pan and stir well until it forms a dough (you may need to use your hands to bring it together at the end). If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it is too dry you can add a little dairy free milk.
  4. Roll out the dough in between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes as desired. Use a fish slice or palette knife to transfer the biscuits to the baking tray (they are quite delicate). Bring the scraps of dough back together into a ball and repeat until all the dough is used up.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven when golden brown and leave to firm up and cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
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On Being Different

Photo Credit: Toys R Us

If your child has allergies/intolerances, when was the first time your little one really realised they were different to everyone else?

My daughter, who has multiple food allergies, is 2 years 5 months. She knows that there are some foods she’s not allowed because they make her poorly.  In fact, lately we’ve been having conversations about it most mealtimes.  She knows that she has her own special milk, and that she is not allowed eggs, cheese, bread, etc.  She also knows to ask before eating food that other people have given her.  She’s also used to being told not to share her other people’s food.  When we go to parties, she brings her own lunchbox of food.  So she does have some understanding about her allergies, in a two year old way.  But usually, if there’s something she’s not allowed, I’ve provided a suitable alternative, and so she’s not been too bothered.

Until Monday.  We went to our usual local playgroup.  It’s a group in our local church hall, run by volunteers, and they’ve been absolutely fabulous at accommodating my little one.  The children have communal snack time, where they all sit down together and eat, with biscuits, crisps and fruit.  It’s lovely and I think it’s great that they get to have the experience of eating all together.  In the past, the food was put out in front of the children, in the middle of their table, for them to help themselves.  But to make it safe for my daughter, they now put all the food out on a different, adult-height table at the side, with each food in separate bowls.  Each parent takes a plate for their child and takes food from the selection.  They’ve also taken the time to ask me what food is safe for my girl and they do their best to make sure there is something suitable for her every week – the fruit is always fine but only certain brands of crisps are ok, and sometimes they get her some rice cakes instead of biscuits.

Up until now she’s been oblivious to the fact that her friends are eating biscuits and she’s been eating (mainly) fruit.  But this week was different.  She looked at the child sitting next to her, and saw he was eating a biscuit.  Then she looked to the other side and saw that that child was also eating a biscuit.  I watched as she then looked around every single child at the table and realised that they were all eating biscuits.  Except for her.  She looked at me, and in a very hopeful voice said, “I ‘lowed deese biscuits?”  I said sorry, no.  For a moment she looked absolutely gutted.  My heart broke for her, and I waited with bated breath to see if she was going to cry or have a tantrum.  But I couldn’t believe what happened next – she just shrugged it off and went back to pulling silly faces and blowing raspberries at her friends!

To say I was proud is an understatement! She can have a tantrum over having the wrong colour cup, but this she took in her stride.  She was more mature about it than I used to be when I was breastfeeding and dairy & soya free (otherwise she would react to my breastmilk).  The first time we went to a cafe and my husband had chocolate cake while I had to make do with a packet of crisps, I wanted to cry and sulked for at least half an hour!

So I’m hoping that this is a good sign of how things are going to go in the future, as I’m sure there will be many more occasions where she can’t have the same as everyone else.  For me, once you get used to the constant planning and preparation of managing food allergies, the biggest challenge is the emotional repercussions of always being different to everyone else.  Hopefully the silver lining is that these early experiences will help to build character and resilience, which will be great qualities to have as an adult!

How has your little one reacted to these types of situations?  Have you had a positive experience like us or have you been unlucky and had a negative reaction?  I’d love to hear other’s experiences!

What I Would Like Non-Allergy Parents To Know

I have two children on restricted diets for medical reasons, one due to food allergies and one due to IBS.  This means I have to check everything they eat very carefully to make sure that it is safe for them.  I know that you probably think that I am being neurotic and fussy, I used to think the same thing before I had a child with allergies.  Thankfully, my child with allergies doesn’t have anaphylatic reactions (yet), but she is still super sensitive to her allergens and if she accidentally eats even a miniscule amount of something she is allergic to she can be unwell for a full week.  For example, we recently ate chips at a soft play (the only safe thing on the menu), but the chips were obviously fried in the same oil as everything else.  Later that day she came out in hives, which were itchy and sore.  They lasted for three days – thank goodness for Piriton.  She also had tummy aches, trapped wind and an upset tummy, and was up in the night crying in pain.  It took a full week for whatever it was to get out of her system and get back to normal.   Just from eating something that was fried in the same oil as everything else.  I dread to think what would happen if she accidentally ate a Wotsit.

Our paediatrician has advised us not to give her any of her allergens for 12 months.  This will hopefully allow the antibodies that cause the reaction to reduce down to a level where she can eat the food safely again.  So every accidental exposure means we have to reset the clock and start again.

In addition my older daughter (who is on a low FODMAPs diet for IBS) accidentally ate a large amount of watermelon last week which caused her to have an upset tummy the next day.  Only a small reaction but still not pleasant.  It was also a pain for me as I’m currently going through a regime of food reintroductions to figure out which foods she is intolerant to, so I wasn’t able to do any more tests for three days to ensure she was clear of any reactions.

Recently my neighbour’s child, who has coeliac disease, accidentally ate two bites of a (gluten-containing) biscuit.  Two hours later she vomited, was up all night being sick, and was quite poorly for a few more days after.

For children who have anaphylactic reactions, accidental exposure to their allergen could kill them.

So I hope you can understand why sharing food is really stressful for parents of children with allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease.  It’s difficult because we of course want to teach our children to share with their friends, but we need to do this in a way that is safe for everybody.

Here’s what I would like:

  • If you would like to give my child food, please tell me first.  I need to check the packaging to make sure the ingredients are all safe.  Some of my daughter’s allergies are not on the list of top 14 allergens and will not be highlighted on an ingredients list, so you have to read every single ingredient thoroughly.
  • Even if you know the food is safe, please still let me know out of courtesy, because if I see my child eating food that I haven’t given her, I basically have a massive panic attack.  I want to run up to her and rip the food out of her hands so that I can check the packet.  For a parent whose child is coeliac, multiply this by 10.  For parents whose children have anaphylactic reactions, times a million.  Also, things can change, she may develop new allergies/intolerances, so please just check with me first to be on the safe side.
  • If you’re not sure whether a food is safe, please check with me first, and not my child.  A young child cannot be expected to for sure whether a food is safe for them or not.  The amazing range of free from foods is brilliant, but makes it harder for them to understand, because they may be used to eating bread, biscuits and pasta at home but not know that it is different from the bread, biscuits and pasta in your home.  If the child is on an exclusion diet and still figuring out what foods are problematic, they cannot be expected to remember everything that is and isn’t allowed.
  • If you are in any doubt at all don’t give it to my child even if you think they might be upset.  An allergic child is used to being told they cannot eat things, they will get over it.  In any case, I’d rather they cry for 5 minutes than be ill for a week.
  • Please tell your children not to share food with my child, especially if you know it’s not safe.  I know it seems counter intuitive as we are all trying to encourage our children to learn to share.  You could just say something like ‘Please don’t share your food with X because it makes her feel poorly’.  I also tell my child not to eat anyone else’s food but if someone offers her a chocolate button I don’t know if she would understand enough to refuse, she is only 2 after all.  My 5 year old has a much better understanding and knows that if anyone offers her food she has to check with me first.

Thank you for listening!  Food allergy parents are reliant on other people to keep our children safe, including your children.  It’s a growing issue, with food allergies and intolerances on the rise, and one I think we all need to be aware of.  If we’re sharing food with someone and I’m not sure if they have allergies or not, I always check with the child’s mum.  Even if I know the food is safe I still ask their mum if it’s ok anyway just out of respect, because they might have a rule of no snacks before dinner, or they might have eaten a ton of sugar, loads of crisps or a whole bunch of bananas already that day and the mum might not thank me for giving their child more of the same.

Have you had any problems with accidental food sharing?  How do you communicate with non-allergy parents?

Low FODMAPs Lamb Curry

Not beautiful but very tasty!
Not beautiful but very tasty!

Onions and garlic are two foods to be avoided on a low-FODMAPs diet.  They are high in fructans and can cause uncomfortable bloating and wind in people with IBS.  Unfortunately they are common ingredients in most curries as well as being in curry powder!  I’ve shared my dairy-free lamb curry recipe before, which was adapted from an original recipe from the book My Daddy Cooks, and now I’ve adapted it again to make it low-FODMAPs as well.  It also contains no peas, beans or lentils and no dairy which are also high-FODMAPs foods that are found in a lot of curries.   I’ve checked all the ingredients using the Monash University app to make sure they are all low-FODMAPs. This is a mild curry and is suitable for babies and children (it’s one of my 5 year old’s favourites).  You can also use diced chicken instead of lamb mince, if you prefer.

This recipe serves 4 adults, so we usually have some leftovers for lunch the next day.  It’s also really easy to double the recipe and freeze it to make your own ‘ready meals’ on days where you don’t want to cook.  It goes well with rice, sometimes we also have it with gluten free flatbreads, which is the closest thing to naans that I can find.

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Low FODMAPs Lamb Curry
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 2 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 2 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Low FODMAPs Lamb Curry
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 2 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 2 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: adults
Instructions
  1. Heat the garlic oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the grated ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add the lamb mince and spices and brown, stirring well.
  3. Add all the other ingredients. Stir frequently until the spinach and coconut have melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened.
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Food Allergies? Here’s How To Reduce Your Food Bills

In my last blog post I showed that ‘free from’ foods can cost double, triple or even more compared to their standard equivalent.  People with food allergies don’t get any food on prescription or any financial support.  Food allergies are particularly common in babies and young children, so this is an issue that affects families when money may be tightest.  We’ve certainly noticed a sharp increase in our food bills since our youngest daughter was born with multiple allergies.  We usually spend £150 – £200 per week for a family of four, with 2 children age 5 and 2.  I can only imagine what this will be when they are teenagers if they don’t grow out of their allergies and intolerances! For me, food is really a high priority for spending, so I try to save money in other areas first, but here are my money saving tips to reduce your food bills:

  1. Avoid ‘Free From’ Foods – they are very expensive and you often only get tiny portions.  Only buy them for the things you really can’t live without, or for special occasions!  Instead buy food that is naturally free from allergens, such as rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, meat and fish (obviously this depends on your individual allergies) – they’re also much healthier for you than processed food.
  2. Stock up on special offers – the best supermarket for special offers on ‘free from’ foods is, without a shadow of a doubt, Ocado (voucher in sidebar>>>).  I often stock up on gluten free sausages, coconut oil, flour, etc whenever I spot them, but also on normal foods – I often fill my freezer with meat!
  3. Plan your meals – I couldn’t live without my meal plan!  I plan out a whole week’s meals in advance, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and do a big shop.  Then I top up with fresh fruit and veg later in the week as needed.  This helps to avoid last minute expensive purchases from convenience stores.  I also find it helps for my sanity if I know in advance what I’m going to cook each night!
  4. Batch cooking – always cook more than you need.  You can use the leftovers for lunch the next day, or freeze them and save them as home made ‘ready meals’ for days when you don’t have time to cook.
  5. Make a shopping list and stick to it – once you’ve done your meal plan, use it to make a shopping list and only buy what’s on the list!  I find online shopping is better for avoiding temptation and impulse purchases.
  6. Use what you have – one week a month I try to ‘shop’ from my own kitchen, using up what I already have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards, and only buy fresh bits.
  7. Use cheaper cuts of meat – mince is cheap and versatile, chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts, stewing meat is cheaper but has to be cooked slowly.  You could also try introducing organ meats such as liver which are much, much cheaper and also packed full of nutrients.
  8. Boil your bones – yes I am slightly obsessed with bone broth, but for good reason – it’s free food from something you would normally throw away!  You can use it to make soups, to cook quinoa or rice, or add it to sauces.  It also contains loads of minerals including calcium, which is really important if you’re not eating dairy.
  9. Meat free meals – eating vegetarian meals once in a while can save you a bit of money, as meat is usually the most expensive element in a meal.  My children love sweet potato & butternut squash soup.
  10. Buy local – buying fruit and veg from farm shops, farmer’s markets and veg box schemes can help you to save money, and they’re also better for the environment = win-win!

What are your best money saving tips for food shopping with allergies?

Low FODMAPS Spaghetti Bolognese

Spag Bol is a classic family favourite.  We’ve recently started on a low-FODMAPs diet for my 5 year old and husband who have IBS, which means no garlic, onions or mushrooms!  So I’ve come up with my own low-FODMAPs spaghetti bolognese recipe.  I use garlic-infused oil which is low-FODMAPs and still gives a good garlicky flavour.  Serve with gluten free spaghetti, or a jacket potato.  To make it paleo, serve it with vegetable ‘noodles’ (just check it’s low-FODMAPs e.g. red pepper), or layer it with slices of aubergine to make a paleo lasagne.

This is a great recipe to double and freeze for your own homemade ‘ready meals’ for busy days or when you just can’t be bothered to cook.  It’s also great for leftovers the next day, and I quite often put it in a thermos for my daughter’s packed lunch at school.

Please note: I used the Monash FODMAPs app to check that all the ingredients are low-FODMAPs but you should follow the advice provided by your own doctor or dietician, which may vary.

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Low FODMAPS Spaghetti Bolognese
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Low FODMAPS Spaghetti Bolognese
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: adults
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over a medium temperature, heat the garlic oil.
  2. Add the carrots, courgettes and celery and soften for approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef mince and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and herbs. Stir well. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
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The Cost of Food Allergies

The only treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food(s) you are allergic to.  We are very lucky that there has been huge progress in the availability of ‘free from’ foods in the past few years.  However these foods are much more expensive than normal foods.  Unlike with coeliac disease, people with food allergies do not receive any food on prescription or any support towards the cost of substituting foods.

As an experiment I thought I’d compare the price of some everyday products with some ‘free from’ equivalents.  I usually do my shopping with Ocado (voucher in sidebar>>>) as they have the best range of free from foods (otherwise I’d have to go to more than one supermarket to get everything we need) so I’ve used their prices.

Type of Food  Normal Food Free From Food
 Milk Semi Skimmed Milk
43.6p per litre
Koko Dairy Free Milk
£1.40 per litre
 Bread White & Wholemeal Medium Sliced
16.8p per 100g
Genius Gluten Free White Sliced bread
54p per 100g
 Pasta Essential Waitrose Fusilli
17p per 100g
Love Life Gluten Free Fusilli
37.8p per 100g
Sausages Richmond Thick Pork Sausages
£4.41 per kg
Musk’s Newmarket Gluten Free Sausages
£7.81 per kg
 Digestive Biscuits McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits
21.8p per 100g
Lovemore Free From Digestive Biscuits
£1.11 per 100g
 Rice crispies Kellogg’s Rice Crispies
52.7p per 100g
Nature’s Path Free From Rice Cereal
£1.06 per 100g
 Wheat cereal Weetabix
46.4p per 100g
Nutribix
£1.01 per 100g
Flour Essential Waitrose Plain Flour
53.3p per kg
Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat Free Plain White Flour Blend
£1.53 per kg

It’s quite shocking really!  Most things are at least double, if not triple the price!  The smallest difference is from sausages, I guess because wheat is not the main ingredient.  Free from foods are also not always as nutritious, because they are not always fortified with vitamins (unlike wheat).  It’s no wonder our food bills have shot up in the past couple of years since our youngest was born, who has multiple allergies.

Why is it that people who have coeliac disease can get food on prescription, but those with food allergies can’t?  The treatment is the same (avoid the food in question).  I’m not sure where I stand on this issue.  Wheat and dairy are heavily subsidised by the government, which is why they are so cheap.  Maybe it’s time for the government to reduce or remove these subsidies as so many people do not eat them nowadays (whether due to a medical reason or by choice).  Perhaps they could subsidise other foods instead, like vegetables, which gram for gram contain far more nutrients than wheat?  I think this would go a long way to changing the nation’s eating habits for the better.

In the meantime, those who have food allergies have to find ways to get by, and my next blog post will be my money saving tips for reducing food bills.

Do you or someone in your family have allergies?  Have you noticed your food bills go up?  What do you think the solution is?

Review: Soap Nuts

Soap Nuts are an allergy-friendly and eco-friendly alternative to washing detergents.  Soap Nuts, also known as Soap Berries or Indian Wash Nuts, have been used for thousands of years by native people in the Americas and Asia.  The Soap Nuts grow on trees and contain saponin, which cleans clothes naturally and gently.  I have sensitive skin which reacts to some detergents, and my eldest daughter has eczema so I’ve tried out a number of different sensitive/allergy/eco washing detergents and alternatives over the years, and Soap Nuts are my current favourite.

1kg bag of Soap Nuts
1kg bag of Soap Nuts

We’ve been using Ecozone Soap Nuts for a few months now.  They cost £15.99 (RRP) for 1kg, or £4.99 for 300g, which works out at around 5p per wash.  You simple place the Soap Nuts in a little mesh bag (provided) according to the dosage instructions, and pop the bag into the washing machine on top of your clothes, and away you go.  Afterwards, you can leave the soap nuts to dry and reuse them up to five times.  When you’ve finished with them, they are totally biodegradable so you can pop them in the compost.

Little bag of Soap Nuts ready to pop into the machine
Little bag of Soap Nuts ready to pop into the machine

We are a family of four, with two adults and two young children aged 5 and 2.  The children’s clothes are always heavily soiled from food, grass, mud, paint, you name it!    Overall I’m very pleased with the cleaning power of the soap nuts, they get most everyday dirt out of clothes and nappies.  I usually wash at 40 degrees, I know we’re all told to wash at 30 degrees for environmental reasons, and I did when I was working full time, but when your clothes are actually properly dirty I find they need a 40 wash.  For persistent stains I usually use some Ecozone Stain Remover which works 90% of time.  I do keep some Vanish in the cupboard as well for emergencies, but I don’t use it very often.  To be honest any stains that don’t come out are mainly because I tend to just leave things in the washing basket and forget about them; domestic duties are not my strong point!

When we started using the Soap Nuts I was also using cloth nappies on my youngest daughter (we used Motherease cotton nappies).  I was pleased to find that they even get cloth nappies clean, although obviously the Soap Nuts don’t contain any optical brighteners so they weren’t bright white any more.  I did find I needed to strip wash them every couple of months (on a hot wash with some non-bio detergent) but to be honest I’ve had to do this with every type of detergent I’ve used for washing nappies.

There are other things I like about Soap Nuts too – for example, you won’t need to use any fabric softener because they are so gentle.  They also don’t smell of anything – I really don’t like artificial smells like fabric softener, and it’s also good for the butterflies (if you’re drying washing outside) as they can still smell the flowers and not get confused.  I love the fact that they’re totally natural, with no chemicals in them, and just one ingredient: soap nuts!

I bought a 300g bag of Soap Nuts to begin with, so we’ve tried them for about 100 washes, and I’ve now just purchased a 1kg bag as I like them so much.  I’d definitely recommend them if you have sensitive skin or eczema as they are so gentle.  They’re also perfect if you just want to be more eco-friendly or if you’re trying to reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.

Disclosure: Ecozone Soap Nuts and Stain Remover were bought and paid for with my own money.  This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase anything after clicking on the link, I will receive a small commission.  The cost to you is the same.  Thank you for supporting Zoe’s Kitchen!

What The FODMAP?

The good news is, our GP thinks that our 5-year-old daughter does not have food allergies!  This is a huge relief! Unfortunately, he thinks that she may have IBS, and has recommended we try a low-FODMAPs diet to manage her symptoms and pinpoint exactly which foods are problematic for her.  This is our fourth exclusion diet in 3 years, as a family, so I’m really hoping this one will be the end of it!  I spent 2 hours this weekend coming up with a meal plan that was low-FODMAPs whilst also suitable for my 2-year-old’s allergies, and then a further hour doing the online shopping and scouring the ingredients lists of everything I bought.  I also had a clear out of the kitchen cupboards and hid all the unsuitable food in a box under the stairs, in the hope that some of it will make a reappearance in a few weeks’ time. Repeat to self: it will all be worth it in the end, it will all be worth it in the end!!!

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are a group of sugars found in food and stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.  These sugars can be fermented by bacteria in the gut to produce gas.  The low-FODMAPs diet was developed by Monash University, Australia, and has been found to improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

IBS is characterised by chronic and relapsing symptoms; lower abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, wind, distension and altered bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation) but with no abnormal pathology.

I’ve highlighted the last part because it’s really important – if you think you may have IBS or any other gut issues and want to try the low-FODMAPs diet, you absolutely must talk to your doctor or a qualified dietician first.  This is because the same symptoms can have a number of different causes, and IBS is a diagnosis of last resort.  This means your doctor needs to rule out other possible issues first before starting on a low-FODMAPs diet.  It’s really important to get tested for Coeliac disease first, for example, because you need to have eaten gluten regularly for at least 6-8 weeks for the test to work.  And from our experience, once you’ve eliminated gluten, it’s very hard to reintroduce it if you are sensitive to it, because it makes you feel very unwell.

Which foods are high in FODMAPs?

High levels of FODMAPs are found in lots of different types of foods.  Here are some examples (not an exhaustive list):

  • Fruit – including apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, mangoes, watermelon and dried fruit
  • Vegetables – including onions, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, leeks, sweetcorn and cauliflower
  • Cereals – wheat and rye in large amounts such as pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits and couscous
  • Legumes –  all types of peas, beans, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, soya beans etc
  • Lactose – in milk from cows, sheep and goats, and other dairy products such as ice cream, custard and soft unripened cheeses
  • Sweeteners – honey, high-fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, maltitol and xylitol

Which foods are low in FODMAPS?

There are lots of foods that are low in FODMAPs!  Serving size is important as well, for example broccoli is ok in small quantities. Here are some examples of low-FODMAPs foods:

  • Fruit – including bananas, grapes, strawberries, berries, oranges and pineapples
  • Vegetables – red bell peppers, carrots, green beans, olives, tomatoes and courgettes
  • Cereals – rice and corn, gluten free breads, pastas and cereals (as long as they don’t contain any other high FODMAPs ingredients!), also some gluten-containing grains such as oats and spelt, plus quinoa, arrowroot, buckwheat, sorghum, millet and tapioca
  • Milk and milk substitutes – lactose free milk and milk products, oat milk, rice milk, soy milk (if made from soy protein and not soya beans), hard cheeses including cheddar, some dairy/lactose free ice creams and yogurts
  • Sweeteners – sugar, glucose, artificial sweeteners not ending in -ol, maple syrup, golden syrup, molasses and treacle (all in small quantities only)
  • Fats and oils – oils, lard, dripping, butter, margerine, mayonnaise (in small quantities as excessive fat can also trigger gut symptoms)

Managing a low-FODMAPs diet

If your health professional has recommended trying a low-FODMAPs diet, I’d definitely suggest downloading the low-FODMAPs app by Monash University (available for iPhone and Android) as you can look up different types of foods to find out if they are high or low in FODMAPs and also which type of FODMAPs they contain.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why certain foods are high or low FODMAPs so unfortunately it’s a case of checking every individual food.  The good news for those of us in the UK is that King’s College London are now working on the low-FODMAPs diet too.  If your doctor has never heard of FODMAPs, you can ask to be referred to a FODMAPs trained dietician, of which there is a list here.

You should also minimise your intake of caffeine, alcohol and fat whilst on a low-FODMAPs diet as these can also be irritating to the gut and trigger symptoms if consumed in large amounts in some people.

The good news is you should start to see improvements within a week, and you only need to follow a strict low-FODMAPs diet for 4-8 weeks before you can start trying to reintroduce some of the foods.  However this needs to be managed carefully with close monitoring of any symptoms and you should seek advice from a doctor or dietician on how to do this.  You may find that you can tolerate small amounts of some high-FODMAPs foods, or even high amounts if only eaten occasionally, or if certain foods remain problematic you will need to exclude them in the long run, for example in the case of lactose intolerance.

We’ve already seen a huge improvement in my daughter’s symptoms by excluding dairy, wheat and peas, beans and pulses, and we’ve identified that sweets are a often trigger for her too.  We’re planning to follow the low-FODMAPs diet for 4 weeks then follow up with our GP.  After that, we’ll try this plan for reintroducing FODMAPs.  Overall we’ll be following a low-FODMAPs diet for at least 14 weeks, so you can expect to see some low-FODMAPs recipes appearing on the blog soon!

Turkey, Sage and Apple Hash (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soya Free, Nut Free)

This is an easy one-pot recipe that makes a great lazy weekend brunch, good to share with friends or save the leftovers for a Monday morning treat.  The flavours of turkey, sweet potato, cranberry, apple and sage go so well together.  It makes a nice change from bacon and sausages!  You can start by peeling and chopping the onion and then prepare the rest of the ingredients as it cooks.

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Free From

Farmhouse
Turkey, Sage and Apple Hash (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soya Free, Nut Free)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Turkey, Sage and Apple Hash (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soya Free, Nut Free)
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: adults
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the sweet potato and cook for a further 10 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the turkey mince, sage and seasoning, stir well and cook until the mince is browned.
  4. Add the cranberries and apple and cook for a further 5 minutes.
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