The Secret to Low FODMAP Cooking
When you first hear about the low FODMAP diet, it sounds so bland and uninteresting. The thought of low FODMAP cooking is boring and hard, and you’re wondering how you’re going to make tasty food. You find out garlic and onion are high in FODMAPs, but these 2 ingredients seem like such crucial ingredients to flavour. Then there’s the dilemma of what to do without wheat, which is such a staple to so many meals. You’re convinced that you’re going to have to learn how to cook again from scratch and spend hours searching for specific low FODMAP recipes.
I can promise you that’s not the case. There are some fabulous low FODMAP recipes out there, but you don’t have to spend time hunting them down. You can make some simple swaps to the recipes that you know and love, to make them low FODMAP. You just need to know what those swaps are.
So, here we go.
MAKING LOW FODMAP COOKING EASY
The first thing to talk about when it comes to low FODMAP cooking, is the fact that certain cooking techniques can actually lower the FODMAP content of lots of foods. This means you can make some quick choices when buying ingredients in the supermarket, that will lower the FODMAP content of your meal. For example, canning foods lowers their FODMAP content, because fructans and GOS (FODMAPs that can be dissolved in water) seep out of them and into the surrounding liquid. So, when you strain the veg (chickpeas, for example) and discard the liquid in the can, you’re discarding lots of the FODMAPs! Another example is with tofu. Firm tofu has a lot of pressure applied to compress it, which removes the liquid from it that contains the FODMAPs.
Here are a few to try
Choose canned, rather than dried lentils/chickpeas - 50g canned chickpeas/lentils are low FODMAP, whereas the same quantity of dried are high FODMAP.
Choose canned or pickled, rather than fresh beetroot - 60g canned/75g pickled are low FODMAP, whereas the same quantity fresh is high FODMAP
Choose firm tofu, rather than silken - 160g firm is low FODMAP, whereas even 75g silken is high FODMAP
QUICK RECIPE SWAPS
When you start the low FODMAP diet, you don’t want to have to get rid of all the recipes you used to cook and start completely from scratch again. You don’t want to spend hours and hours searching for specific low FODMAP recipes that you can make. Well, you don’t have to. It’s 100% possible to fit the low FODMAP diet into your existing cooking regime, with a few low FODMAP cooking tips.
You can take the recipes that you know how to make and that you enjoy eating, and make some simple swaps. All you need to do is identify the high FODMAP ingredients, and swap them for low FODMAP ingredients. There’s a substitute for most of them! Then you’ll still be eating your tasty, nutritious meals, but they’ll also, importantly, be low FODMAP. Win win.
Here are some key high FODMAP ingredients with their low FODMAP alternatives
TRYING DIFFERENT GRAINS
Grains is another hard one when it comes to low FODMAP cooking. So many of our traditional grains and cereals are wheat-based and therefore high in FODMAPs. For example, pasta, cous cous, wheat flour, gnocchi, noodles, bread. With the rise in popularity of the gluten free diet, you can find gluten free alternatives to all of these in almost every supermarket now. The problem with gluten free products though, is that there are normally other sneaky high FODMAP ingredients in there. Also, they’re normally highly processed, with lots of additives to replace the gluten, so they may be low FODMAP, but they’re not healthy for your gut. They might actually leave you feeling worse then when you were eating wheat!
I’d encourage you to try replacing some of these high FODMAP foods with some less traditional and well known grains, that also happen to be low FODMAP. Some examples of these are polenta, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, amaranth, millet, rice and sorghum flour, spelt and popcorn! As you can see, there are so many options of healthy, unprocessed, low FODMAP grains to try. Experimenting with these will really help to expand your diet, and you might find something you’d never tried before that you absolutely love.
Why not pick one of these and try it out this week?
ADDING FLAVOUR WITHOUT ONION AND GARLIC
The thing that most people struggle with when it comes to low FODMAP cooking, is the lack of garlic and onion. As I mentioned, these 2 ingredients seem so crucial for flavour. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got used to using garlic and onion as a base for most meals…pasta, chilli, stir fry, marinades for veggies. Everything. Garlic and onion feature on the ingredients list of most recipes, especially sauces, marinades, dips and dressings. They make our food taste delicious!
When I first heard about the low FODMAP diet, I thought I’d be eating plain rice and chicken every day. I’m a massive sauce lover. I hate plain, dry food. So, you can imagine how I felt about this. However, when I started experimenting with other ways of adding flavour to food, I was so impressed. I realised you can have amazing, flavoursome food, without a speck of garlic or onion in sight. I’m super sensitive to garlic and onion, so I never cook with them any more, and I really don’t miss them at all. I eat really tasty food every day!
Here are some FLAVOURSOME low FODMAP ingredients to try
Herbs - parsley, basil, coriander, thyme, rosemary
Spices - cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, chilli
Asafetide powder - add a pinch for an onion-like flavour
Garlic infused oil
Green tips of spring onions
Lemon + lime juice
..I’ve also got an amazing (according to me) low FODMAP pesto recipe you can try
As you can see, low FODMAP cooking does not need to be boring and you don’t have to completely start from scratch. There are some simple changes you can make to what you’re cooking at the moment, to make sure you’re cooking delicious, healthy food, that’s also low FODMAP.
Things to try:
Switching to canned/pickled/drained varieties of foods
Swapping out high FODMAP recipe ingredients for their low FODMAP alternatives
Trying some new grains
Adding flavourful ingredients that aren’t onion and garlic
Happy low FODMAP cooking!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. What are you going to try when you’re cooking this week? Let me know in the comments.