Low FODMAP Chicken casserole plus low fat processed food and food intolerances, incongruous ideals?

At my usual supermarket shop this morning I was very pleased to find a low dairy, low lactose own brand cream cheese. Wow – I thought – will have to give this a try, but as I always do out of habit I had a look at the nutritional information on the side of the carton. The amount of fat and saturated fat in the product was staggering 26.6g/100g of fat, 23.0g/100g of saturated fats, from coconut oil. Why is it that food that is meant for individuals who have to modify their diet as a result of allergies, intolerances or as a result of autoimmune conditions are higher in fat and calorie dense? You could argue that cream cheese is usually high in fat and you would be correct at 24g/100g of fat and 16g/100g of saturated fat but the free from brand is higher. It’s often the additional specially manufactured foods in a ‘free from’ diet that can be higher in calories than the standard alternative version, that means if you need to follow a specific diet you may be exposed to more calories as a result. Yes I do see people who are underweight and would really benefit from the extra, but I also see those who have problems in maintaining a healthy weight. For example some gluten-free bread is quite high in fat. Adding fat improves the taste and texture of free from food and you don’t often find a low-fat variety, it’s technically challenging I suppose. Yes, foods higher in fats and sugar are a treat – see recipe for chocolate covered coconut ice cream for an example, but when staples such as wheat free bread can be higher in fat this becomes more difficult to manage, if you need to control your calorie intake. Try and include plenty of alternatives such as rice, potatoes, lean meats, fish, vegetables and fruit in your diet (when tolerated) – those foods that are not processed are lower in calories, and often cheaper. This doesn’t mean you can’t have manufactured alternatives, as they are important to incorporate, to feel you are not being excluded too much, increase variety and help you to follow your diet, but try to keep these foods to a minimum of you are able. For the staples, such as bread, which is important if you need to take packed lunches, check the food labels of free from items and choose the ones that are lower in fats, sugar and calories when you can.

Check the label for nutritional information as well as the allergen labelling. Look at the following links:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/food-labelling.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/food-labelling-terms.aspx

The following recipe is a low FODMAP chicken casserole.

700g Chicken Thighs (skins removed, trim off any visible fat – use thigh meat as it imparts a stronger flavour to the dish.)

3 celery sticks including leaves.

200 mls dry white wine

5 g Fresh thyme

1 dessert spoon of garlic infused olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

freshly ground pepper and dash of salt

Measure out wine in a measuring jug and add chopped thyme, olive oil, lemon, asafoetida, pepper and salt mix well.

Cut celery sticks and place in a casserole dish with the chicken thighs.

Pour over the mix and leave to marinade for 2 hours.

Cook for 1 hour gas mark 6/200 C remove from oven and allow to relax for five minutes.

This dish was served with low-fat roast potatoes made by par boiling for five minutes, drain off water and replace pan lid. Shake the pan to roughen the edges of the potatoes and use spray olive oil to reduce the amount of fat used. Roast till golden.

If wished you can pour off the liquid when the chicken is cooked to make a sauce, drain off the fat and discard and using a small pan pour in liquid and add cornflour mixed with a little water, to thicken.

Serves 4-6 people (but not my husband, who ate considerably more! This dish prompted a five-minute face wash from my cat after having a taste – a rare occurrence.)

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