Sunday, 23 November 2014

Low-FODMAP Mince-Pies

Well it wouldn't be Christmas without them, would it?

Hi again Fodmappers. This will be my first Christmas since going low-fodmap and I realised I'm going to have to get organised if I want to enjoy some festive treats. So for the last few weeks I've been thinking about the things that really make Christmas for me, and mince-pies have got to be top of my list.

But mince-pies are normally a bit of a fodmappers nightmare. First there's the wheat in the pastry, but even if you go wheat free there's still the apple and dried fruit in the mincemeat. If you're buying ready made there may very well be other ingredients to watch for too - did someone say fructose-glucose syrup? It was only when I decided to try and create some low-fodmap mincemeat of my own that I discovered there's even fructose-glucose syrup in tubs of candied peel!

Eventually I struck on an idea, after all there are other Christmas flavours to be had. So here's my own twist on a Christmas favourite. These are vegetarian, wheat-free, gluten-free, apple-free and don't even contain the dried fruit that is normally found in mince pies - but are still very tasty. If you're vegan you could try replacing the butter with coconut oil. I haven't tried that but I imagine it would be yummy.

The directions below are for 12 mince pies. I hope you enjoy them.

Ginger, Orange and Walnut Mince-Pies

Pastry Ingredients

200g Gluten Free Plain White Flour
100g Butter
75g Cold Water

Mincemeat ingredients

6 x 1" Pieces of Bottled Stem Ginger
Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of 1 Orange
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Cup of Chopped Walnuts

First prepare the pastry.

Put the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Work together until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
Add the water and stir through quickly until it begins to form a dough. Shape the dough into a ball and pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the pastry is resting, prepare the mincemeat.

Chop the ginger into fine pieces and put into a pan with the orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice and cinnamon. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to take on a mincemeat like texture. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Stir the chopped walnuts into the mixture.

Roll out the pastry and cut out circles using a pastry cutter. Be careful handling the pastry as gluten free pastry has less stretch than ordinary pastry. Place into a greased mince-pie tin. Put a dessertspoon of the ginger mince-pie filling into each pie and top with a star cut from the remaining pastry.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C/350F for 20 minutes being careful not to overcook. Eat warm or allow to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar for the perfect festive finish.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Low-FODMAP Eating Out - Problem Solved

I have exciting news Fodmappers - I've found an easy option for meals out!

Up until now my default meal-out option has been jacket potatoes but that does get monotonous, so this evening my partner suggested asking if the pizza restaurant had a gluten free option, and guess what? They did! You wouldn't think someone could get so excited about eating in a pizza restaurant (or maybe you would?) but I was very happy. 

Why hadn't I thought of this before? A place where you can design your own meal from a choice of pizza toppings, and pick and choose from the salad bar is perfect for us Fodmappers. This is somewhere where such behaviour is normal, not fussy (I hate that people might think of me as a fussy eater) and no-one suspects a thing.

So this is my very simple tip for meals out. 

Go to a pizza restaurant (though maybe ring first just to check they do gluten-free pizza bases). Choose toppings which you know are low-fodmap - I had goats cheese, cherry tomatoes and olives, and grab yourself some tasty low-fodmap options from the salad bar. 

Of course, you'll need to avoid the temptation of the bread sticks and mayo-type salad dressings and remember to stick to small portions. I figured out that even the individual size pizza would have taken me over the safe level of tomatoes, maybe for other ingredients too. And sadly, desserts are off limits. Having said that, half a pizza, a bowl of carefully selected salad, and a glass of water was plenty.

I should also say that the food was great! So thank you Jess (our waitress). I doubt she'll ever see this blog but she made us feel very welcome. Which is why this is my second tip of the evening. ;)

So phone your friends, book a table and enjoy your evening - and share this post to solve a problem for others too.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Protein in the Vegetarian Low-FODMAP diet

The question is - are you getting enough?

Hi again fodmappers. 

A couple of times lately I've been asked how I manage to get enough protein on a vegetarian low-fodmap diet. It's a good question because, as you probably know, many of the usual vegetarian protein sources (legumes and some nuts) are off limits. Though I felt intuitively that I do get enough, it never hurts to do a bit of research and check. So that's been my project this last week.

I soon realised that, before looking at whether I was getting enough, I had to find out how much protein I should be having. That seems obvious I know, but when you constantly see ads for protein shakes, bars and protein based weight-loss programmes, the suggestion seems to be that none of us are getting enough, let alone anyone on a restricted diet!

The first figures I came across were that a sedentary man needs 56g a day and a woman needs 46g. Those figures weren't working for me for a simple reason, and that is that our need for protein must differ according to our body size, age and health, as well as our activity levels. After a while I tracked down a suggested intake of 0.66g of protein per kg of body weight for both men and women. (1) For me that works out at 31.43g of protein per day - much less than the average guidelines.

My next task, of course, was to find out how much protein there is in the food I eat. (A summary of just one day is at the end of today's blog). It's surprising what contains what!

I've recently converted to using cups as a way of measuring dry and liquid ingredients, but if you don't have these handy little measuring devices you might like to know that 1 cup is the same as 250ml. Simply find something in your kitchen that holds 250ml and you're away.

Dairy and Milk Alternatives

  • 1 large egg = 6g
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese = 28g
  • 1 cubic inch of cheddar cheese = 4.2g
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese = 21g
  • 1 cubic inch of feta = 2.4g
  • 1 cup of lactose free milk = 9g
  • 1 cup of almond milk = 1.25g
  • 1 cup of oat milk = 2.5g
  • 1 cup of oat milk = 0.25g

Nuts and Seeds

  • 1 cup of walnuts = 18g
  • 1 cup of brazil nuts = 19g
  • 1 cup of hazelnuts = 20g
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds = 29g
  • 1 cup of sesame seeds = 26g
  • 1 cup of dried pumpkin seeds = 39g
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter = 4g
  • 1 tbsp of almond butter = 3.35g
  • 1 tbsp of tahini/sesame seed paste = 3g


  • 1 cup of cooked buckwheat = 6g
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa = 8g
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice = 5g
  • 1 cup of cooked white rice = 4.2g
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal/porridge oats = 6g

Fruit and Vegetables

  • 1 medium banana = 1.3g
  • 1 medium kiwi fruit = 0.8g
  • 1 cup of spinach = 0.9g
  • 1 large potato (baked with skin) = 7g
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper = 1g
  • 1 small courgette = 1.4g
  • 1 cup of shredded lettuce = 0.5g
  • 1 medium tomato = 1.1g
  • 1 cup of cubed butternut squash = 1.4g

Bread and Crackers

  • 1 slice of Genius triple seeded bread = 2.1g
  • 1 slice of Genius brown bread = 1.2g
  • 1 slice of Genius spicy fruit bread = 1.2g
  • 1 Kallo Organic unsalted rice cake =  0.6g
  • 1 Nairns oat cake = 0.8g


  • 100g Orgran buckwheat spirals = 11.2g
  • 100g Orgran corn and vegetable spirals = 6.9g

  • 100g of Tofu = 8g
  • 100g of canned chick peas = 4.3g

I could include much more ....

So, back to the question of whether I am getting enough protein. The only way this was going to be accurate was if I added it up as I went along. So one day last week I met a friend for a cuppa (Hi Jacqui) and kept notes.

My breakfast that day was 1 banana (1.3g) and a bowl of porridge made with half a cup of oats and 1 cup of lactose free milk (12g). Mid-morning I had a gluten free coconut and raspberry slice (4g). And lunch was a kiwi fuit (0.8g), a peanut butter sandwich on Genius fruit bread (6.4g) and a small savoury muffin (6g). The recipe for the muffin (and it's really easy) can be found here.

If you've been counting you'll know that comes to 30.05g of protein (remember I need to aim for 31.43g) and at that point I have to confess I stopped counting.

But this has been an interesting issue to explore. I had never realised what a difference there is in the protein content of the low-fodmap milks, for example, and how something as simple as a bowl of porridge can give a real protein boost to the start of your day. It's an exercise that's definitely worth doing.

And it's been reassuring. The low-FODMAP diet is complicated enough, especially for vegetarians and vegans, without worrying about protein too.

So a big thank you to those of you who have asked, you know who you are. It's been an eye-opener putting this list together, and an education. If there are any other topics you'd like me to explore, please let me know.