Broccoli

Broccoli is a newer addition to the low fodmap family – although particular attention needs to be made concerning which parts are low fodmap. Growing conditions and plant storage of FODMAPs affects the fodmap content of foods. A good example here is the ability to use the green parts of leeks and spring onions and not the bulb (the storage part of the plant.) The same is true for broccoli, the leaves and a small amount of stalk (less than 50g) are low fodmap – the stems alone above 50g per portion are not suitable. Testing individual components of food gives us more information about its fodmap content, and we are continuing to learn more about the diet with the valuable testing of the fodmap content of foods. It is thanks to the continued work by Kings College Nutrition department that has led to more information. Increased testing increases available foods and this makes the diet more varied, which is nutritionally more sound, but can add to the complexity of the diet making access to up to date information more critical. The best sources of information are dietitians who are fodmap trained, which is why it is recommended not to complete this diet alone.

What are the benefits of broccoli?

Nutritionally broccoli is suggested to be a powerhouse vegetable, although so are most others in their own way! The infographic above indicates that it has some good cancer-preventing properties via the content of sulforaphane – content of this chemical is affected by cooking time, and its benefits are debatable, as much of the evidence comes from studies in mouse models and cells in Petri dishes, one or two small studies in humans have been done, but certainly more information is needed. Broccoli provides dietary fibre content, which is always important for people with IBS. It contains good levels of vitamin A (more in the tops than the stalks), Vitamin C (but this will depend on how long the broccoli is cooked) and vitamin K.

What are the effects on the colonic microbiome? Well, in a small study broccoli consumption altered the variety of Firmicutes (reduced) and Bacteroides (increased) although it is really too early to say if this is beneficial in IBS or for those following the low fodmap diet. Interestingly Firmicutes have been found to be increased in people with IBS and reduction in the numbers of Bacteroides – perhaps this just represents people with IBS reducing consumption of those foods that are suggested widely on social media to increase symptoms, such as cruciferous vegetables. It would be interesting to know if including broccoli amounts recommended in the low fodmap diet improves these bacteria numbers and whether this is clinically significant.

What broccoli is unlikely to do:

  1. Detox your body – your liver, kidneys and lungs are all you need for this.
  2. Reduce ‘inflammation’ we don’t have enough information that broccoli has any effect for this unspecific term.
  3. Reduce pain in fibromyalgia

I suggest cutting off the stem of the broccoli as close to the head as possible and discarding (or using for other members of the family or feeding to rabbits), then trimming the stalks contained within the base of the head – you can then weight the stems and calculate how much to add to the dish per portion.

What other cruciferous Brassicaceae vegetables are good to include in the low fodmap diet? Pak Choy, choy sum, kale, white cabbage and red cabbage – so do include these as well as other low fodmap vegetables – remember variety in the diet is best!

Now for the recipe:

Vegan broccoli and pine nut pasta – Low FODMAP

Ingredients

300g Gluten free pasta

40g Pine nuts

1 head of broccoli

2.5 cm square of Vegusto Prosociano

1 Tablespoon of garlic infused oil

A few basil leaves

Seasoning to taste

Method

Chop the broccoli close to the head and then into small ‘trees’

Cook the pasta in boiling water using the packet directions adding seasoning

Add 1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil to a pan and roast the pine nuts.

Add the basil, cooked pasta and broccoli to the pan with a tablespoon of water the pasta was cooked in.

Combine and serve with a sprinkling of the cheese for each portion

Serves 4

https://www.nhs.uk/news/cancer/broccoli-and-breast-cancer/

https://modalitypartnership.nhs.uk/self-help/livewell/topics/superfoods/is-broccoli-a-superfood ,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30317146 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317767/

An alternative low fodmap Christmas cake

If you have fructose malabsorption and/or fructans malabsorption and you are really missing a Christmas celebration cake – look no further. Christmas cake is exceptional – like the Wedding cake, but in recent years the heavy fruit cake has gone out of favour somewhat. It is also not really suitable for the low fodmap diet despite only a small slice being recommended, being packed with dried fruit and made using wheat flour. This alternative has ingredients that provide a Christmas taste and is packed full of flavour.

This is a spiced whiskey ginger and chestnut cake

Ingredients

225g Dairy free margarine

340g Dark muscovado sugar

2 eggs (or 40g egg alternative if you have an egg allergy)

240g Self-raising gluten free flour

100g Chestnut flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 Teaspoons of nutmeg

1 1/2 Teaspoons of ground cloves

2 Teaspoons of ground cinnamon

2 Teaspoons of ginger

100g of crystallised ginger pieces

Method

Weigh out the dry ingredients and sieve them well into a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar in another bowl. Add the eggs to a measuring jug and beat them with a fork, then slowly add the egg to the wet mix while beating.

If the mix looks slightly curdled (grainy) than add a tablespoon of flour to the wet ingredients and continue to mix it well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix and stir them in using a metal spoon and a cutting and folding action, to not lose the air you have already added.

Chop up the ginger pieces finely and add to the mix. 

Place the mix into a greased 18cm cake tin.

Cook in an oven for 2 hours at gas mark 4 or 180 degrees C or until a cake skewer comes out of the mix clean (the surface of the cake was dry, and this might give a false  reading with the skewer, ensure you pierce the surface with a wider hole to allow wet mix to come out.)

I soaked the cake with whiskey to give it an added depth of flavour!

Meat free Sausages – Low fodmap

This recipe was devised as a result of trying to find low fodmap meat-free sausages and failing to find a suitable option easily. They are very tasty – although they do not taste the same as standard sausages – perhaps they are better as a result, give them a try and see! Just in time for meat-free Monday.

Ingredients

100g walnuts

2 slices of vegan gluten free bread

90g celeriac

190g roasted peppers

1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

salt & pepper to taste

Method

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz till fine. This should be a thick paste texture, but it will depend on the size of the slice of bread, just add more bread if it is too thin. Dust gluten-free flour on your hands then roll handfuls of this mix into a sausage shape, or they can also be rolled into balls if preferred. Shallow fry in vegetable oil and serve. It couldn’t be easier really!

This recipe was made at the end of a day out at The Piece Hall at Halifax – as the pictures show below, we had a great day out, but it was freezing!

🎆Bonfire bangers and mash low fodmap

Gravy, mmm, this is what most low fodmapers miss the most. I have found a ready-made beef stock from Atkins & Potts  https://www.atkinsandpotts.co.uk/products/stocks-gravies/17-stocks-and-gravies/P2724-beef-stock it does contain lemon juice concentrate, but as the stock ingredients consist of only 5% of the end product, this is unlikely to prove problematic. Not all of their products are suitable for the low fodmap diet, but this beef stock is handy and not too expensive compared with other specific low fodmap products. Some of you may notice there are only five sausages in the picture – hubby couldn’t wait and ate one of then during the preparation!

Ingredients

Gravy

1 pack of Atkins and Potts beef stock

2 teaspoons of gluten-free flour

Sausages

6 Gluten-free sausages (check other ingredients for fodmaps such as onion)

Vegetables

80g carrots

80g swede

80g celeriac

Spray oil

1 teaspoon of Italian mixed herbs

Salt to season

Potatoes

300g potatoes

salt to season

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Method

Prick and grill the sausages for 20-25 minutes until cooked

Peel, season and boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes and mash

Mix the 2 teaspoons of gluten-free flour with water to make a paste and add this to the beef stock in a pan, keep stirring and cook until thickened to your preferred thickness, add hot water if it is too thick for your taste.

Peel and chop the vegetables and spray in oil. Add the peppercorns and herbs and roast in the oven – gas mark 6, 200 degrees C until soft.

Combine and enjoy before venturing out into the cold for bonfire night!

 

 

 

 

🎃Maple + ginger Halloween cupcakes 👻

OK – what has grandma got on her scary doily-covered table for you? Yes, these small cupcakes are a great low fodmap treat for Halloween! Just don’t scare your gut by eating too many 😉

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Ingredients

175g gluten-free self-raising flour

50g butter

45mls oil

80g dark muscovado sugar

35g maple syrup (golden syrup can be used if you can’t get any pure maple syrup)

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 egg

a pinch of salt

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Method

Weight out the dry ingredients into a bowl

Add the sugar, maple syrup, butter and oil to a pan and melt slowly (do not boil)

Cool the mix slightly and add the egg

Beat with a whisk until mixed

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients

mix well

Add to a preheated oven at 170 degrees C until a skewer pierced into the cake comes out clean.

Decorate with buttercream, orange and black icing and decorative bats

recipe makes 10-12

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Chocolate & IBS – what’s the deal?

It’s National Chocolate week this week! Chocolate is a complex food for people with IBS, as it contains more than one ingredient that could make IBS symptoms worse – high-fat content, lactose in milk chocolate and caffeine. Yet it is allowed in the low fodmap diet in small amounts, plus specific chocolate types such as dark chocolate are better for those who respond to a low fodmap diet. In this post we look at chocolate in more detail:

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What is the link with higher fat content of chocolate and IBS symptoms?

Foods high in fat can trigger symptoms, particularly in respect of abdominal pain for people with functional gut problems. Reducing foods high in fat is not explicitly part of the low fodmap diet. Fat is a symptom trigger, where a reduction is often advised by dietitians. Sometimes just a reduction in the foods we consume that have a higher fat content can lead to an improvement in symptoms for some people with IBS. Not everyone needs to go on a low fodmap diet, and the importance of other symptom triggers shouldn’t be underestimated.

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Is it lactose in milk and white chocolate?

Yes, for some people with IBS – the government standard and the European directive (2000/36/EC) for milk and white chocolate state that these types of chocolate should not contain less than 14% dry milk solids. Therefore a 100g bar contains at least 14g dry milk solids, which can provide significant amount of lactose (possibly around to 50% of lactose content in non fat milk powders, Lomer, Parkes and Sanderson 2017.) 7g of lactose per 100g is likely to induce symptoms with people who have lactose intolerance when milk or white chocolate is consumed. Dark chocolate is suitable for the low fodmap diet – but it still contains fat and caffeine and might need to be consumed in moderation, if it continues to result in symptoms of IBS.

What about the caffeine?

Caffeine is a trigger for gut symptoms, and this may be the cause. The caffeine content of chocolate is as follows:

Dark chocolate contains 20mg per 25g

Milk chocolate contains 10mg per 25g

If chocolate is your only source of caffeine, you would probably have to have more than 100g per portion to induce symptoms, but if you eat chocolate alongside coffee, energy drinks and tea, it might be worth reducing your intake. Don’t go cold turkey as this can induce withdrawal symptoms – reduce your consumption slowly. This is another example where it is not the fodmap content that induces symptoms.

Check out the chemistry!

Tryptophan and serotonin link – the content of tryptophan is not likely high enough to reduce symptoms at all. Theobromine – the same applies here, no evidence that this chemical, found in chocolate, induces symptoms in IBS.

Chocolate can contain high fat, lactose and caffeine which can produce IBS symptoms. But don’t despair, if you respond to the low fodmap diet then dark chocolate is fine – everything in moderation is a good idea, and you might be able to manage a small amount as a treat during chocolate week, perhaps!