Hoping to open a FODMAPS cafe one day with delicious food that people with intolerances, like me, can actually eat!

Archive for September, 2011

The inspiration behind the FODMAPS cafe

Being on the low-FODMAPS diet can be a struggle – especially when eating out.

Sure, more and more restaurants are catering for those who are gluten-free, but they are still throwing onion and garlic into everything. And GF desserts still contain large amounts of dairy, meaning that those who are also lactose-intolerant are unable to indulge after their meal. So basically I’ve found myself resorting to a simple steak and salad (with some sneaky fries, because it seems that I don’t react to them) and being one of those difficult customers that places a  million requests with my order – ‘What does that come with?’ ‘Is it cream or tomato based?’ ‘Please ensure there’s no onion or garlic.’ ‘Just balsamic vinegar please’ ‘No, no gravy…no sauce…just plain. Thank you.’ I once even pre-ordered my meal a few days before a Hen’s Night dinner at an Italian restaurant, knowing that it would be far too difficult to shout my difficult order over a noisy table.

But the idea to open a cafe that catered for people with a range of food intolerances came to me the other week as the result of a few factors.

Firstly, a colleague of mine was talking about his multiple career endeavours over the years; which included opening a dog grooming salon (with no previous experience) and a restaurant, which he ran for 8 years. When we asked him why he had had so many career changes, he simply said “Well, I’ll never wonder ‘what if’, will I?” I thought that was a very fair response. My husband and I have talked about starting our own business, but we’ve never agreed upon an idea that really inspired us. So it’s definitely something that has been on my to-do list – and I’m not the type to like the ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ scenario.

The other thing that happened was my craving for a stir fry. I’m now unable to purchase stir fry sauces because practically every single jar contains onion or garlic on some level. So I googled some GF recipes – as a starting point. Upon finding a peanut satay recipe, I swapped the garlic and onion for cayenne pepper and the honey for maple syrup, making it a FODMAPS friendly meal. The result? An absolutely delicious meal! It made me think – if only cafes and restaurants could do this!!!

So the idea sparked from there. Wouldn’t it be awesome to open a cafe where people like me could dine and safely know that no sneaky onion or garlic, fructose or lactose would appear in my meal? I could source a whole bunch of recipes, adapting them where necessary, and put together a menu. Putting my idea on Facebook, many friends with intolerances or coelic’s disease said that I had their support!

I know there is much to do before opening the doors to my cafe, but I’m feeling extremely inspired and it just feels right. 🙂 I’ve now established this blog and a new Twitter account to get ideas from people and make this dream a reality one day.

Wish me luck!! 🙂

Living on a low-FODMAPS diet

For over 10 years I have experienced delightfully embarrassing sensations after eating food.

Originally thinking that it was caused by the fizzy drink I consumed with dinner, I cut it out completely and replaced it with juice or water. Over the years I cut out other foods that I pinpointed as causing issues, such as sausage rolls, meat pies, fried chicken, garlic, onion etc.

But last year, my symptoms seemed to get worse. I was experiencing painful cramping while at work and found that I reacted badly after the healthy processed foods I took along for lunch; such as canned soups and pre-prepared low fat microwavable meals. Then I starting having reactions from a basic Greek Salad and decided that enough was enough.

So I was tested for food intolerances and the results came back positive. I was definitely lactose intolerant (which explained the reactions after eating fetta cheese in my salad at lunch) and was potentially intolerant to foods from the fructan galactan group. So what did I do about this new information? Well, I hung up the phone after a brief 10 minute phone call with the doctor and with my messily scribbled notes… I went on living my life.

Sure, I started taking lactase tablets prior to eating dairy (there was no way I was giving up my regular intake of chocolate and ice-cream) and continued to avoid garlic and onion. But that was about it. I found my symptoms eased a bit, but nine months later I was diagnosed as having chronic constipation and my GP said it was probably caused by my intolerances.

So I started seeing a Dietician in July, who put me on the low-FODMAPS diet. FODMAPS stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides (fructans and galactans), Di-saccharides (lactose), Mono-saccharides (fructose) and Polyols. These sugars can be poorly absorbed by the small intestine and lead to an excess of water in the bowel, causing lovely reactions! Apparently, all humans lack the enzymes required to break down fructans and galactans, therefore these are malabsorbed in everybody. However, for some people (a.k.a me) the reactions can be more severe. Lucky me!

So I eliminated all potential trigger foods, slowly reintroducing them one by one. So far, I’ve pinpointed that I’m intolerant to lactose (surprise, surprise), fructose and onion. However, I’ve found that I’m often okay on Day 1…it’s just Day 2 and Day 3 which kill me!

So I’ve become a major pain for family and friends who want to feed me. I’ve basically told them all to just give me plain chicken or beef and salad. And I’ve gotten used to ordering the steak and salad while eating out. And when it comes to dessert I’ve told them to forget it. Dark chocolate, selected fruit and a cup of tea will have to do. It can be bloody frustrating, I tell you!!

But there are some benefits. I’m now 4kg lighter and much more toned. My energy levels have increased as well. But I miss my desserts that don’t say ‘gluten free’ and ‘lactose free’ (and ‘taste free) on the label!

But I know it will be worth it in the end!!

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