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

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Happy new year!

Hello fellow low-FODMAPPERS!

Welcome to 2015. Hopefully it’s a year filled with happy, non-bloated tummies! One of my resolutions for the new year is to place more focus on this blog and expand my range of recipes for you to try out. There’s a couple that I have played around with a few times but haven’t yet uploaded here – but I’ll get onto that very soon.

However, to kick off the new year I wanted to get some input from you, my followers, in regards to what kind of recipes you are looking for. Are you after main meals to cook for your family and/or guests? Entrées, desserts, or snacks? I know that my sauce post has been particularly popular – would you like more sauce inspiration? Or is there anything else? Please comment below and let me know!

I’ve been on the low-FODMAPs diet for a while now and I’m lucky that I have family and friends who try to cater for me where possible. But if anyone you know is struggling, feel free to point them in the direction of this blog. Cooking without gluten, lactose, onion or garlic etc IS possible!

Speak soon,


Exciting new low-FODMAPS soups and stock!

Sue Shepherd's Stock and Soup

Dear FODMAPs Followers,

Check these out! My latest discovery! Actually, to be honest it was my Grandpa’s original discovery; in an attempt to cater for me for dinner, he sourced the vegetable stock from the health food aisle in his supermarket. I then wondered – does MY local supermarket stock them?! So I checked out my local Coles supermarket and sure enough, I found these babies! They are Dr Sue Shepherd’s products, who is the woman who introduced the low-FODMAPs diet, so you know that they are perfect for our tummies. I LOVE the fact that they have ‘No onion and garlic’ slapped onto the packaging; one of my well-versed phrases when eating out!

I have yet to try them out, but I’m pretty confident that they’ll taste pretty good! Will let you know!

Apologies to anyone whose outside of Australia. I believe these are only appearing in Coles supermarkets at the moment.


Click here to read the official announcement about the range.


Just found a couple of bloggers commenting about the range:

Sue Shepherd’s Low-FODMAP Meal Kits Review

World first FODMAP Friendly food range launches – by Emma Stirling APD


Ways to settle an unsettled tummy

To say that the low-FODMAPs diet is slightly restrictive would be an understatement.

So of course there will be times when you’ll bend the rules to eat something that you’re intolerant to or experience bloating and pain when a chef sneaks something  into your food that your stomach struggles to digest. I admit that I feel a bit like a circus freak when my usually flat stomach bloats out to the size of a 6 month pregnant woman within half an hour of eating onion or garlic (or both!) It’s a great little trick, but dealing with the feeling that my stomach is so bloated that it could be popped with a pin isn’t very pleasant at all.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve experimented with a few different ways to settle my tummy after accidentally or intentionally eating something I’m intolerant to.

I’ve supplied a list below of what helps me. I’m interested to hear about what works for you!

lemonandgingerteaTwining’s Lemon and Ginger Tea

This usually works pretty well for me when I’ve got cramping or bloating – I usually drink the Twining’s brand. However, I’ve found that the results aren’t instant. Also, after drinking so many cups of the stuff over the last 18 months, I’m a little bit over it! The best way to consume it is by cutting off the teabag string and keeping the teabag in your mug while drinking.

greenteawithjasmineLipton’s Green Tea with Jasmine

Personally, this works a lot better for me than the lemon and ginger tea. I don’t leave the teabag in though – I just leave it in for 1-2 minutes maximum. The results are practically instant – almost as soon as I finish my mug of tea my stomach is almost 100% better. All cramping is gone – with maybe just a little bit of bloating leftover (which isn’t painful – just not very flattering!) Often, I finish the tea and continue working/watching TV etc and only realise later how better I feel. I’m not a big fan of green tea on its own – I need the one with jasmine. I buy the Lipton’s brand – not sure if Twining’s have the same flavour available. However, it’s important to note that it contains caffeine – so best not to drink it too late at night! Here’s an interesting article I found about how it’s beneficial for stomach pains.

leda-biscuits-gingernutLEDA Gingernut Cookies

These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, egg free and suitable for vegans – but they’re definitely not taste free! While they are a little tough to bite into, they’re a great treat to munch on when my tummy is being a pain. After 1-2 cookies, I’m usually feeling a lot better! You can easily find them in the health food aisle at the supermarket, which is very convenient.

Real-Foods-Corn-Thins-Organic-Gluten-FreeReal Foods Corn Thins

When I’m feeling a bit nauseated post-‘bad’ foods, I find that eating a couple of plain Corn Thins settle my stomach pretty well. I don’t recommend them for cramping or bloating though – you’ll just feel fuller. These can also be found in the supermarket – near the crackers and savoury biscuits.

That’s about it – but I’m discovering new things all the time. I’m also drinking Yakult on a daily basis as a proactive way to improve my stomach sensitiveness – but not 100% convinced that it’s working for me.

I look forward to your feedback!


Still having my good days and bad weeks…

My best friend during the most troublesome tummy times…

I’ve now been on the low-FODMAPs diet for 16 months. So how do I feel?

Well, I’d love to say that I feel 100% awesome, 100% of the time, but I can’t. I often have bad weeks where something has set me off and I can’t settle my tummy down again. It’s only when I do a complete detox and limit myself to the blandest foods and lemon & ginger tea that I start to notice a difference. But then I ‘bend the rules’ again (as advised by my dietician to build up my tolerance levels) and I’m feeling pretty average again. What a fantastic way to live – NOT!

But while I often curse my stomach, at least it’s given me the motivation to get creative in the kitchen. And I’m still determined to start up that cafe one day! Even more so when I want to eat out at a cafe or restaurant and even the salads aren’t an option because they’re full of onion, red cabbage or shallots!

Tonight I tried out Rick Grant’s chicken seasoning mix to go with my gluten free chicken schnitzel. I simply added the seasoning to the schnitzel as the last stage before putting the chicken into the hot oil on the frypan. And it was so tasty! It has a peppery taste, which went really well with the lemon juice I served it with! So I recommend that you give it a go. 🙂

Well that’s it from me for now. Hopefully I’ll have another recipe to share with you soon!


A few of my favourite things… (Lactose Free)

One of my best friends was recently put on a lactose free diet and she couldn’t believe how many foods she suddenly couldn’t eat. I was happy to share some advice about my favourite lactose free products – that are easy to find at the local supermarket!

ImagePeter’s 99.9% Lactose Free Ice-cream

This ice-cream has got to be the best invention ever! You can’t even tell the difference in taste when comparing it to normal ice-cream, but your tummy definitely knows the difference.

It’s very creamy and tastes a bit like the McDonald’s ice-cream cakes – even more so when you add coloured sprinkles. 🙂 But it’s best not to add any toppings or maple syrup – you’ll make it way too sweet.

My sister-in-law found this in the cold section at Coles and it has had a permanent presence in my freezer ever since – obviously I’ve had to regularly replace it!

ImagePaul’s Zymil Lactose Free Milk

Apart from Peter, it seems that Paul also knows what he’s doing when it comes to yummy lactose free products!

It taste just like ‘normal’ milk – perhaps slightly sweeter. It’s ideal for those who aren’t fans of soy or rice milk.

This product is available in full cream, lite and skim.

Zymil also has a thickened cream product, which is the perfect replacement for normal cream for cakes, desserts etc.


Danone Activia Yoghurt – Berries flavour 

While this product isn’t lactose free per se, I find that I don’t react badly to it. This is because it contains an exclusive probiotic culture called Bifidus ActiRegularis, which can reduce digestive discomfort.

Not everyone with a lactose intolerance can handle it though, so it will require a bit of trial and error. But it’s much nicer than soy yoghurts or no yoghurt at all!

That’s it from me for now – but please let me know if you discover any other awesome lactose free products!

No more Tummy Troubles!

Hey everyone,

I’ve been a bit slack with my blog and Twitter lately, but now that I’m noticing that the low-FODMAPs diet is becoming a world-wide phenomenon (the best thing since gluten free bread) I think it’s time to get back into it.

Since starting this diet back in July last year, I’m now feeling great! I was hoping that I would be able to go back to eating the way I used to, but have now acknowledged the fact that it may never happen. So on a daily basis, I am following the low-FODMAPs diet – testing my boundaries from time to time. But I still take Lacteeze tablets before consuming dairy – that’s one risk I’m a bit too scared to take!

The good news is, I can’t remember the last time my tummy was so trim and flat. I used to wake up with a flat stomach, but as soon as I had breakfast, the bloating would set in. Not to mention how my tummy looked before bed after a full day’s worth of food! But that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. My stomach looks the same at night as it does first thing in the morning.  It’s such a great feeling. It makes me realise that my efforts were worth it.

However, I still feel like a burden when eating out with friends or at family dinners. Everyone tries to cater for me, which is lovely, but I feel bad when my mother-in-law goes to the effort to make a whole other dish just for me because the recipe for the main dish contained onion and garlic. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that it is definitely possible to cook food without it! Hence, one of the reasons behind the FODMAPs Cafe and these recipes. So how’s the cafe going, you may ask? Well, while the cafe idea has become something of the distant future (due to me developing my current marketing communications career and thinking about starting a family over the next couple of years), it is still something I want to do. In the meantime, a cookbook is the way to go!

So what do I eat on a day-to-day basis? For breakfast I usually eat gluten free cornflakes with maple syrup and lactose-free milk, or gluten free toast with margarine, peanut butter and vegemite. (On two different slices, not mashed together!) However, I have found that I can tolerate wholemeal bread – just not for two days in a row. So it’s great that I have that option – just in case there’s no GF bread at the supermarket during my weekly shop.

For lunch I usually have a salad or sushi. Or leftovers from the night before. Where I currently work there are heaps of Korean, Japanese and Chinese restaurants and cafes, but unfortunately I’m too scared about my potential reactions. So if I’m unable to bring in my own lunch to work, its sushi or a salad from the sandwich shop. But I’m starting a new job in a few weeks at a university – so I’m hoping that the food options are slightly broader…

Dinner is the meal where the variety comes in. Might be steak and salad, spaghetti bolognaise, peanut satay stir fry or lamb chops. My husband has a great way of making lemon and tomato lamb chops. I’ll have to put the recipe up here sometime. But I’ve started to get bored of these foods, so think it’s time to start going through the cookbooks! I’m also willing to try your recipes, so please send them through.

Dessert is usually a cup of black English Breakfast tea (or I treat myself with one of my various fancy herbal teas) with 2 gluten free biscuits or a small bowl of my 98% lactose free ice-cream with a couple of spoons of raspberry sorbet. Or I have some dark chocolate – or milk chocolate if I’m up for it!

In terms of snacks, corn is my staple. I’m actually surprised that I’m not ‘corned’ out by now! I munch on corn chips and popcorn in addition to grapes, strawberries and lately, blueberries. I’ve also found that I can tolerate ‘Activia’ yoghurt – I know of two other lactose intolerant people who can tolerate it, so give it a go and see if it works for you. I also eat some nuts and dried fruit, but have to keep the dried fruit to a minimum due to my fructose intolerances.

Well, I think that’s it from me for now. For those just starting the low-FODMAPs diet, hang in there. It really does get easier and it’s worth it in the end. I’ve actually become ‘regular’ for once in my life – it’s just annoying that my stomach has picked the time that I should be leaving for work!

Speak soon,


Nearly finished this diet…or have I?

So this week I re-introduced cabbage. Oh how delightful! Ate the delicious cabbage with some gluten free soy sauce and worcestershire sauce on Thursday night. It tasted quite nice going down, but three days later I’m still recovering from it. I was meant to re-introduce it 2-3 times this week, but after my reaction from one day, I don’t think that’s necessary. I’ve been so very bloated…

The next and last step on my FODMAPS elimination diet is to give gluten a go. I’m hoping it goes smoothly because I would love to have burgers and wraps again when eating out. And move beyond the somewhat boring salads and steaks I’ve been forced to eat instead.

While on this diet, I’ve discovered that I’ve reacted to most things – apart from the Poloyol food groups (apricot, cauliflower etc). This is obviously very annoying because it means I will basically need to continue on this diet for a bit longer, if not indefinitely. Over the last few weeks, I’ve attempted to have small doses of lactose and been okay. But I if I attempt to eat ‘naughty’ foods two days in a row, even if it’s a small dose, I’ve found that I often react.

I’m seeing my dietician again this week and I know she will help me as much as possible. Apparently she can handle eating yoghurt everyday now and she has the same intolerances as me. I look forward to taking control again. And not constantly checking food labels. And not constantly saying no to onion and garlic. And not being the ‘difficult’ dinner guest.

In the meantime, I’ll keep sipping on my lemon and ginger tea and putting up with my inconvenient intolerances!

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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