Monday, 20 July 2015

The Fabulous FODMAP Recipe Challenge

Hi Fodmappers - Fancy a bit of a challenge?

A while ago I wrote a post telling you how I gained a more varied diet through FODMAP but since then I have found myself slipping back into a pattern of eating the same things all the time. Isn't it funny how quickly we can get into a rut with meals especially when we're pushed for time!! So lately I have been making a conscious effort to do things a little differently. And that has meant me having another look at what foods I can include on FODMAP in order to add a little more variety to my diet.

So I have set myself a challenge and that's simply to do things differently! For me this has meant coming up with meals like the one above. What's different about this? Well I realised I hardly ever eat new potatoes for a start. And I know I've never had cooked green beans in a salad before. (They're actually very good). I've also discovered a fondness for combining nuts and cheese and, let's face it, it only takes a moment to sprinkle some nuts or seeds on top of a salad. These little changes aren't time consuming but they do make meals more interesting. And it's important to have as varied a diet as possible.

And I'd like to invite you to take up this challenge too.

The Fabulous FODMAP Recipe Challenge

You are invited to share an idea which can be anything from breakfast to brunch to baking! It can be an idea for a family meal or it can be your variation on a working lunch. In fact it can be almost anything as long as it's vegetarian (or vegan) and, of course, needs to be low FODMAP.

I'd also love to know why it is different from what you normally eat. (This challenge is all about getting out of your recipe rut.) Maybe you're doing something interesting with herbs and spices or perhaps trying a vegetarian recipe for the first time? If that means you're trying one of the recipes on this blog that you haven't tried before, that's good too.

Share your meal idea in the comments below, or better still, post a photo to my Facebook page or to Instagram. (Instagrammers please use #fabulousfodmapchallenge so I can see what you come up with). I shall feature my favourites in a future post.

So let your imagination run wild. I look forward to seeing what wonderful meal ideas you come up with.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous. x

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Anyone For Strawberries And Cream?

Hi again Fodmappers

Apologies for my recent absence. Unfortunately my partner recently had an accident which resulted in him needing surgery. To cut a very long story short he's now home and recovering, though still in a lot of pain. Sometimes blogging has to take a back seat for a while.

But I wanted to stop by quickly to share some good news with you. If you're watching the Wimbledon final today this is what you'll want to know. And it's simply this. Strawberries and cream are low FODMAP!

Yes you read that right. Monash gives the green light to a portion of up to 10 medium strawberries and up to half a cup (125ml) of whipped cream, though if you are particularly sensitive to lactose you might prefer to opt for a lactose free cream. Either way it's good news for summer and for tennis fans.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Low FODMAP Festival Survival Guide

Hi Fodmappers

Hope you've got your wellies ready? It's festival time! And you know what that means? Food, drink and festival loos! I know that sounds like a Fodmapper's nightmare but don't panic! A little planning will get you a long way. And with that in mind, here's my ...

Low FODMAP Festival Survival Guide

First choose your Festival

If you have tickets for Glastonbury this weekend then it's probably too late to talk to you about choosing your festival. But for those of you who haven't - this is where a successful festival experience starts! Choosing the festival that's right for you can mean you have an event to look forward to, rather than one you'll dread. This is important, not only because you want to enjoy yourself, but because many people find their IBS is triggered by stress. If the mere thought of a huge festival and thousands of people worries you, then that's not the event for you. Luckily, there are plenty of festivals out there (from rock, jazz, folk, medieval festivals, literary and food festivals - to name but a few) so you're not short of options. So start by choosing one that you will enjoy.

Location, location, location.

When you're thinking about your event, you might also want to think about the location. Big events in far off places are all well and good when you're feeling well. But when you're not, do you really want to be stuck miles from home in a muddy field? Only you know how well controlled (or not) your symptoms are, and how ready you are for the festival loo experience. (We get to that a bit more in a minute). If you're not feeling great (yet) you may want to look for an event happening near to home. You'll be able to relax knowing that you can easily nip off if you do need to beat a hasty retreat.


Once you've decided on your event you might want to start thinking about what you're going to eat. Festivals can be great places to discover new foods and it's likely that there will at least be gluten free and vegetarian options available, but they may not be completely FODMAP friendly. Be prepared to ask whether the food contains onions, garlic, soya etc. This is where food festivals come into their own. The sellers take pride in knowing about the ingredients and in talking to you about the different food on offer. Don't worry about being seen as a fussy eater. At a food festival everyone is a fussy eater. That's kind of the point.

Of course if you're camping you can take a stove, some pans and all the ingredients you'd use at home. You could even make cooking for your friends part of your festival experience. Be sure to remember to pack some wheat free cereals and a carton of long-life lactose free milk for breakfasts.  Rice cakes, peanut butter and bananas are another great festival stand by.

If you're just going for the day, why not take a picnic? Make some gluten-free sandwiches to take with you. Cucumber sarnies with the crusts cut off are so British, and so summery. A tub of salad, some carrot sticks to nibble on, nuts, plain crisps and a selection of cheeses should keep even the hungriest Festival goers happy. Or take a mini barbecue and rustle up some vegetable kebabs and grilled halloumi. Yum!


Let's face it, festivals are a chance to let your hair down and most people like to enjoy a drink or two (or more) as part of the event. Unfortunately alcohol is a gut irritant and can trigger symptoms for a lot of people. But this doesn't mean you have to avoid alcohol altogether. One glass of wine or one can of beer should be OK - especially if consumed with food.

You should also be aware that coffee, strong tea and certain fruit juices can also trigger symptoms so make sure you have a bottle of water to hand.

Festival Toilets

This has got to be the one thing that makes even the most hardened festival-goer cringe. Festival loos are never the most pleasant (I pity the people who have to clean them) but for Fodmappers they have to be the scariest thing about a Festival. If it's not the long queues then it's the inevitable lack of toilet paper when you get there. But I'm sure you don't need me to remind you to pop some toilet paper into your bag. That's just a normal day out, right?

But if you're going to Glastonbury, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. They now have a range of different loos including provision for people with disabilities. In fact, they are so proud of them that the loos even get their own page on the Glastonbury Festival website. Who would have guessed?

As for the queue, you may just have to forego etiquette and nip to the front. Needs must.

And Finally

Remember that a festival is a great opportunity to meet up with friends, enjoy some fantastic entertainment and most of all, have some fun. So relax (remember that bit about stress?) and have a great time.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay fabulous!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ice Cold and Elegant - Introducing Faloudeh

Hi again Fodmappers

Well it's another glorious day here and the garden is alive with bees and butterflies and the hum of distant lawn mowers. I really need to be cutting the lawn too but I just have to share my latest discovery with you first.

Today's recipe comes from an ancient city of 'poets, gardens, wine, nightingales and flowers' where it has been enjoyed for over 2000yrs. Elegant and sophisticated, it's reminiscent of Sherbet and Turkish Delight crossed with a Slush Puppy. It's light and refreshing and the perfect summer treat.

Faloudeh (or Faloodeh) is one of the oldest cold desserts in the world - though I admit I only discovered it recently. (Thanks The Simple Things.) Originating from Shiraz in around 400BC it combines rosewater and lime or lemon juice with sugar syrup and noodles to create a dish which is as exquisite as it sounds.

What's more, it's easy to make, it's suitable for vegans and, of course, it's low FODMAP. And if you're having friends round to dinner, this is going to impress!


Serves 4


1/2 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of rosewater
Juice of half a lemon
1 block (approx 50g) of rice vermicelli noodles

Optional - Squeeze of lime juice, slice of lemon or freshly picked mint garnish.


Add the sugar and water to a pan and heat until dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add the rosewater and lemon juice and stir.
Pour into a large tub with a lid and pop into the freezer.

Place rice noodles in a pan and add boiling water.
Allow to stand for slightly longer than the instructions suggest as they need to be soft.
Rinse in ice cold water until cool.
Add to the sugar syrup solution and stir.
Return tub to freezer.

After approximately 1 hr remove the tub from freezer and fluff contents with a fork to break up any ice crystals which are forming.
Return to freezer and repeat twice more at half-hourly intervals.
Allow to freeze for at least 2 hrs.

Serve ice-cold in a glass topped with a slice of lemon, a squeeze of lime juice and a sprig of mint. And maybe a little Persian poetry?

I'm already looking forward to relaxing in the garden with a glass of Faloudeh in my hand. (I have some in the freezer right now). And with that in mind, I'd better get out there and mow the lawn.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay fabulous.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

How To Make Tasty Wheat-Free Pasta In Minutes

Hi Fodmappers

I hope you're well and enjoying some sunshine wherever you are? It's been a funny few weeks here but it does seem like summer is finally on it's way. And with summer comes salad!

I love salads (I've never understood why some people find them boring?) and earlier this year I treated myself to a spiralizer so that this summer's salads can be even more fun! So today I've been making zoodles!

For those of you who haven't discovered zoodles yet, they are simply courgette/zucchini pasta. (You can't get a lot more 'wheat-free' than that). They are known as zoodles because zucchini + noodles = zoodles. But if you don't have a spiralizer - don't panic! A vegetable peeler will do the trick.

I also made a yummy vegan low FODMAP pesto, because pasta and pesto are made for each other.

This was my first foray into the land of nutritional yeast. I'd never fancied it (you have to admit it doesn't sound appealing) but it's actually very good. It's light and cheesey and, I'm glad to say, not at all yeasty. The finished pesto is fresh and full of flavour. A real 'deli' pesto without the price tag.

So here's how to make a tasty wheat-free pasta and vegan pesto in minutes. Perfect for those summer evenings or for popping into your picnic basket.

Wheat Free Pasta and Low FODMAP Vegan Pesto

Serves 2.

You will need

1 courgette/zucchini
5 brazil nuts
5 walnuts
A good handful of basil
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
(Non vegans could replace the nutritional yeast with cheese)
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Pinch of salt.


Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, cut the courgette into ribbons. Set aside in a bowl.

Put the nuts, herbs and nutritional yeast into a mini chopper or food processor and pulse. Add the vegetable oil and salt.

Stir the pesto through the courgette ribbons and serve.

It's really that easy, that quick and and that summery!

And if you happen to be curious about the little flowers in the picture, they are basil flowers and they are fantastic! Too pretty and too tasty not to use.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How (And Why) To Be A Mindful Eater

Hi again Fodmappers

As Fodmappers we know we need to be mindful of what we eat but is that the same as mindful eating?

Today I am delighted to bring you a special guest post from my friend, and fellow health blogger, the fabulous Samantha Russell. I hope you enjoy.

How (and Why) to be a Mindful Eater

Are you looking for a simple way to boost the goodness you already get from your meals? Mindful eating might be the practice you’re looking for.

It’s becoming increasingly obviously that when it comes to health, wellness, and food there is a lot more going on than simply the kinds of foods we eat. While following a low FODMAP diet is an awesome way for many people to work on digestive issues, health concerns, IBS, or other health situations, we can also start to look at our thoughts and behaviours and use them to improve our lives too. In this post we are going to explore the idea of ‘mindful eating’ and how this practice can help you do everything from get more pleasure and nutrition from your food, to aid your digestion and help you lose weight. It’s exciting stuff!

Why try mindful eating?

So, first of all, why should you care about mindful eating? Isn’t eating nutrient-dense, low FODMAP food enough?

Well, it certainly can be, but if you want even more bang for your buck when it comes to your way of eating, getting mindful can have a range of benefits including:

  • Finding more pleasure in food
  • More efficient digestion
  • Improvement of digestive complaints
  • Improvement of emotional or binge eating behaviours
  • Being better able to hear the bodies hunger and fullness signals

How can simply being mindful achieve all this? As I see it, there are two main ways:

1. When you sit down to a meal, or really pay attention to what you are eating, feel it, smell it, and see it, you begin what’s called the ‘cephalic phase of digestion’. Basically, this is the very first phase of your digestive system, and it’s in your head. That’s right - our digestion starts in the brain!

When you see, smell, taste, or even vividly imagine food and eating your body begins to prepare to digest the food. You literally ‘get your juices flowing’. Wikipedia suggests that a whole 20% of your gastric secretions (juices in your tummy and gut that helps you break down and absorb your food) comes from this ‘head phase’ of digestion - so if you’re not paying attention and don’t stop to notice or think about your food, you’re missing out on a big contribution to your digestive system. Obviously, if you are having issues with your digestion then you want all the help you can get, so eating mindfully and getting the cephalic digestive phase going is a great idea.

2. When you concentrate on eating and enjoying your food, you relax. Relaxation is really important to digestion, pleasure, and appetite. The more you notice your food, the less you will worry about other things and this allows your body to properly send, receive, and act on all the complex messages and reactions that need to happen for healthy, happy mealtimes. Stress is a major contributor to digestive complaints, and so relieving stress, especially while we are eating and immediately after is essential to improving your experience.

What is mindful eating?

Ok, so that list of benefits and explanations has you interested? Now you want to know: What is mindful eating and how can I do it?

Well, the simple part is that mindful eating means really being present when you eat. Pay attention to your food, think about eating as you do it, and feel the experience of eating. This means no multi-tasking during meals or snacks. It as easy (and as difficult!) as that.

So, how do you do it?

  • Eat slowly (Harvard Medical School has some suggestions on how to do this)
  • Use your senses to explore your food (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound)
  • Focus on eating. This famous study found that distraction (in this case listening to two different lectures at the same time) reduced the amount of water participants absorbed for an hour after they drank it. If we can’t even efficiently absorb water while distracted, proper nutrition is going to suffer as well.
  • Sip your drink and chew your food. This will not only help you slow down, but will mean you can taste your food (yay for cephalic phase digestion!), and it’ll be really well prepared for great digestion once it makes it to your stomach and intestinal tract.
  • Be prepared for thoughts and emotions. You may find some stuff comes up when you slow down and eat mindfully. Stress around food, body image, eating, health, or anything can bubble to the surface when given this kind of quiet and space to do so. The best thing to do is to try to let it go and return your attention you eating. Jot it down to think about later if you must, but don’t get caught up now. Now is for the food.

However you feel like achieving it, that is totally fine. You may like music while you eat, you may prefer the quiet - it’s all about how it feels to you. There are a couple of things you should try to avoid, though.

What shouldn’t you do?

  • Over analyse or over-think. You don’t have to spend 45 minutes with a handful of nuts, sniffing each one and imaging it growing from a seed, being harvested, blah blah blah, until you eat it. You just have to eat the nuts and think about eating the nuts while you’re doing it.
  • Stress about it. The whole point of mindful eating is stress reduction. If you’re trying out a technique and it leaves you MORE worried, stressed, or feeling like you ‘failed’, stop doing that! Try something else, be gentle with yourself, and enjoy the process.

This whole process should feel good, pleasurable, and kind. Sure, it may be a little uncomfortable at times, as you deal with old habits, stale or out-dated beliefs or emotions, and so on, but I trust you to know the difference between those feelings and when something is legitimately not working for you.

So, if you are on a journey to better digestion try practicing mindful eating as you go. I’m positive it will have nothing but benefits and is a perfect accompaniment to the wonderful recipes here at Fabulous FODMAPS!

This post was written by Samantha Russell, the blogger and Eating Psychology coach behind Live the Whole. Her site and services are dedicated to helping people be happy, healthy, and whole no matter who they are, where they are, or what they do. She takes a holistic mind-body approach to health, with a particular focus on the effects of stress, psychology, and belief systems on our health. You can read more from Samantha at

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous. x

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Take A Low FODMAP Pizza My Heart Now Baby

Hi again Fodmappers

Talk about not enough hours in a day, right now there aren't even enough days in the week! So what is a Fodmapper to do? What I need right now is low FODMAP fast food. So tonight I'm making pizza!

This week also happens to be National Vegetarian Week and the lovely people at the Vegetarian Society are travelling round the UK sharing pizzas with the people they meet. As a vegetarian that seems like another good reason to indulge in a little cheesey, tomatoey (is that even a word?) yumminess - made in the way only Fodmappers know how.

So here's what you need to make your own low FODMAP fast food pizza.

You Will Need

Gluten free pitta bread
Tomato puree or tomato ketchup
A few slices of peppers
Some olives
Grated Cheese
Oregano and Basil


1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Meanwhile spread a little tomato puree or tomato ketchup onto the pitta bread. (Tomato ketchup has been shown to be low in FODMAPs). Add the grated cheese, peppers, olives and sprinkle with herbs.
3. Place the pitta pizza on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for approx. 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to golden.

And there you have it. Low FODMAP fast food for busy Fodmappers. And if you're not busy? Well everyone deserves a night off now and then.

Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous. x

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Wheat Free Tabbouleh You'll Want To Share

Hi Fodmappers

National Vegetarian Week is fast approaching and this year it's all about sharing! And as sharing food can be problematic for those with IBS I thought it would be fun to join in with the spirit of this event in a low FODMAP way. So I've come up with a low FODMAP recipe you can safely share with your friends whether they are vegetarian or not.

Tabbouleh is one of those innocent looking summery salads which nevertheless can be problematic for Fodmappers. Most recipes uses couscous or bulgar wheat which are high FODMAP and can cause the symptoms we know too well. Luckily quinoa makes a great low FODMAP alternative.

Quinoa is highly nutritious. It is a complete protein (meaning that it contains all essential amino acids) so it's a particularly useful addition to a vegan diet or whenever extra protein is needed. It also contains magnesium, calcium and manganese, as well as B vitamins and vitamin E. And it's very easy to prepare.

The other Tabbouleh ingredient which can cause digestive problems, is onions. Though I normally replace onions with the green part of spring onions in cooked dishes, I have left them out altogether here and added plenty of herbs and spices instead. I'm pleased with the result - it has plenty of flavour despite the lack of onions. And when sharing food with friends I'm sure you'd rather be safe than sorry. Try it and let me know what you think.

Spicy Low FODMAP Quinoa Tabbouleh


1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup of water
A little oil of your choice
1 tomato
Approx 3" cucumber
2 Tbsp of olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
Fresh coriander
Fresh mint
Salt and pepper


1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and drain.
2. Heat a little oil in the bottom of a saucepan and toast the quinoa until it stops popping.
3. Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce the heat and allow quinoa to simmer until all water is absorbed.
5. Transfer into a bowl and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork.
6. Quarter the tomato and remove the seeds.
7. Dice tomato and cucumber and add to the quinoa.
8. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice and spices.
9. Add a generous amount of coriander and just a little mint to the dressing. Pour over the quinoa salad and stir gently.
10. Season to taste.

Serve with wheat free walnut and rosemary soda bread and a green salad.

Share the love.

'Til next time Fodmappers - Stay Fabulous. x