Displaying items by tag: fructose malabsorption diet
The Top 15 Lessons I Have Learned From Starting A Blog About Fructose Malabsorption:
In August of 2017 my daughter and I visited a local bakery to pick up a piece of cake. This cake and bakery are well known in the Minneapolis area. It truly is divine, delectable and downright sinfully good. Our plan was to share the piece of cake and watch the movie "Titanic". My daughter had been begging me to watch the movie all summer. I kept putting off her request because who watches a movie in the middle of August in Minnesota? August is fantastic in Minnesota. Most of us spend our days outside boating, swimming, hiking, golfing, playing tennis, picnicking..you get the picture. August is all about enjoying the glorious weather before the winter hits and we are back to hibernating. My son was off at overnight camp, my husband was playing golf and I decided to embrace her movie request. It finally occurred to me that, yes, my daughter was asking to spend 3 hours with me watching a ship sink. I didn't just need to watch this movie with her; I was lucky she asked me.
Anyway, back to the cake. As usual I always ask for the ingredient list in a bakery item when I order it. Even if I have ordered this same item 1000 times before I always ask. Trust me, both my daughter and I know what a fructose volcano feels like and don't want to make that mistake again. The bakery assistant gave me one of those looks when I asked for the ingredient list, "it's one of those ladies, can't she just order the cake and move on." I held my chin up high and didn't let her annoyance annoy me. We diligently waited for her to return from the kitchen and hand us the ingredient list assuming it would contain the same ingredients we use at home to bake a cake: flour, eggs, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, butter. This time I was completely shocked when she handed me the list. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP was the second ingredient listed! Yes, HFCS! How could our favorite bakery cheat on us? We felt betrayed. Needless to say we did not purchase the cake and have not returned.
Even though both of us were somewhat heartbroken we decided not to mourn the loss of the cake. We chose to take on the challenge and bake an even better cake. Flash forward four hours later, both us were crying as Jack couldn't fit on the rather large piece of floating door, lamenting the fact that Rose would be all alone, and devouring our cake. To be honest, it wasn't as pretty as the bakery's, but it was delicious and totally safe. As I was tucking Grace in that evening I said out loud for the first time, "wouldn't it be fun if we had a website all about Fructose Malabsorption?"
These are some of the most famous last words in our house. Somewhat of an, "oh no, she didn't really say that out loud did she? " Just so we are clear when I say something out loud that typically means it is going to happen and it is most likely something I have been considering for sometime. When I say it out loud it basically means I have already created a google doc on the how, why, when and where of my new idea.
My family was shocked when I told them about my idea. I am the least likely person to start a website because my tech skills are not savvy, they are almost nonexistent. For example, today I could not figure out how to turn the flashlight on on my phone. I usually solve my technological misgivings by texting my kids. They are the resident "Best Buy Geek Squad" at our house. Typically, they make fun of my lack of tech prowess. I constantly need to remind them that I didn't have email in college or a cellphone until after the birth of our first born. Yes, I used to live in the dark ages.
Why did I speak those words out loud? Because, I felt called to do it for my daughter. It is really hard to live with Fructose Malabsorption, especially when you are a little kid. I wanted to find a way for her to own her food intolerance and share her frustrations and discoveries. I, too, needed an outlet. Somedays I don't want to have Fructose Malabsorption. I just want to wake up and go to that local bakery and gorge myself on a piece of cake. But, I can't.
This idea kept gnawing at me, finding ways into my dreams and filling up all of my thoughts. Honestly, I was super scared to take on this challenge. But, I kept coming back to images of my daughter not eating at school and social events, sitting in the corner feeling like she was different. I needed to do this for Grace. I wanted her to see that I am willing to do things I am scared to do. If I can tackle the technical/website component of this adventure than maybe Grace can start tackling her fears and frustrations. The more I thought about it the more I wanted the challenge...I kept thinking you don't grow in life unless you try new things.
On March 1st Families Balancing Fructose will celebrate our one year anniversary. In the last year I have learned how to back end edit a website, upload pictures, analyze google data and navigate social media. Almost one year in I feel like a tech genius! One year ago I didn't even know how to create an embedded link in a document. And, now my kids even ask me tech questions!
As I reflect on the last year I realize there are so many lessons learned beyond website editing. I have learned so much about my gut, other people's guts, my daughter's determination and grit, and how to embrace Fructose Malabsorption and celebrate it
Lesson 1. Everyone has a unique gut and unique gut voice. Our individual gut is like a second set of fingerprints. We need to find this voice and listen to it. We can learn what works and what doesn't work. We know how to feed our guts, how to make healthy choices and how to find joy in safe eating habits. Fructose Malabsorption makes us intuitive eaters.
Lesson 2. All sorbitol including natural occurring sorbitol in stone fruits is a definite no for my gut and my whole body. I try to eat a very diverse diet, but choose to avoid sorbitol at all costs. On the flip side gluten and other foods on the FODMAP list work for me. I can eat small amounts of garlic and onions. A few times a month I enjoy green beans. Back to lesson #1, each of us has a unique gut. We all react differently to FODMAP foods and need to use this protocol they way it was created. The FODMAP program was created to help us determine are gut fingerprints. It wasn't created as a safe diet for all of us. If you want to learn more about FODMAPS take a closer look at my blog.
Lesson 3. Protein is so good for my body. Eating protein sources with essential amino acids aids in the digestion of fructose. For the last few years I have intuitively known that protein is my gut's friend. I have even figured out that if I want to eat vegetables or fruit that are higher in fructose eating a protein source with it helps. I never knew scientifically why this worked, but I intuitively knew why. Recently one of my new Fructose Malabsorption friends shared an article from the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition that proves my theory. Amino acids, found in proteins, have been scientifically proven to aid in fructose absorption. This discovery has caused me to change my breakfast options. Occasionally I add sausage links or whole milk cottage cheese to the breakfast rotation. This discovery has also changed the lunches I pack for my daughter at school. Grace and I wrote a blog about school lunches and it includes 6 lunches that are low in fructose, kid friendly and easy to make.
Lesson 4. Eating a diverse diet is good for me and my body. The more I try to eat in moderation, not eliminate a lot of foods, and balance my daily fructose intake the happier my gut feels. My gut is not happy when I limit my diet to only a few items. My gut flora is diverse and craves a diverse diet. In one of my earliest blog articles, Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion, I begin to explore this topic.
Lesson 5. Most days I eat the same thing for lunch. I am very utilitarian when it comes to my midday meal. I don't want to think about Fructose Malabsorption and the fructose content in food. When you have Fructose Malabsorption eating can become a pain in the you know what! You constantly have to research and plan and think and prepare what you are going to eat. However, let's look at lesson 4. I need to switch up my daily lunch routine. Over the last year I have added new protein sources, a different collection of vegetables and have created many new salad recipes and simple vinaigrettes.
Lesson 6. My new Facebook Fructose Malabsorption friends have taught me a lot about gluten and glyphosate, and why organic flour can be different especially if it comes from a European country. My grocery purchases have considerably changed due to these lessons. I am now purchasing imported pasta and have decided it's ok to give your child white bread.
Lesson 7. My brother had an unfortunate agave incident this summer. Much to his dismay we learned a lot about the agave plant.
Lesson 8. I have always wondered why balsamic vinegar gives me a tummy ache? And, why has it taken me 10 years to find the answer? Balsamic Vinaigrette used to be my go to order out at a restaurant and consequently my go to way of leaving the restaurant feeling yucky. My thought was vinaigrettes are healthier than dressings like ranch or caesar, dressings with more fat and; therefore, a better option. Why then was I feeling bloated and why was my gut yelling at me when I was choosing balsamic vinaigrette? I had no idea what was in balsamic vinegar and to be honest didn't realize I needed to know. It hadn't occurred to me that my healthy choice was not healthy for me. I didn't know that balsamic vinegar could contain anything other than vinegar. And, I assumed it was a healthy choice because it was low in fat and I was putting in on a salad.
Lesson 9. Are you like me? Do you feel like the words "COCONUT SUGAR" are everywhere? In your Facebook and Instragram feeds? At your favorite restaurants and bakeries? What's the deal with coconut sugar? Can we believe all of the health claims about coconut sugar? Is it a healthier option compared to table sugar?
Lesson 10. Over the last year Grace has finally owned her Fructose Malabsorption and wants to write about it. Grace's first article details how to navigate social outings when you have a food intolerance.
Lesson 11. In addition to Facebook I have connected with a lot of fellow FM patients around the world. They have given me a lot of great advice, including new ways to explain Fructose Malabsorption to your friend, neighbor, relative and restaurant waiter.
Lesson 12. Recently I’ve been revisiting old cookbooks that have been collecting dust on my shelves. I found the Strawberry Shortcake cookbook my grandmother gave me in 1980 when I was four years old. What I love most about this cookbook is that it encourages kids to get in the kitchen, make a mess, and start experimenting with flavors. There aren't any complicated directions that need to be followed. Truly, the whole goal is to engage kids in new and unusual smells, textures, tastes and sights; and to be proud of something they created with their own two hands. I also own my mom's Joy of Cooking cookbook that was published in 1964. You will not find any glossy pictures in this book, just simple recipes and tips on how to cook fresh in season food. This last year I have made a lot of recipes from these two cookbooks and highlight them on our website.
Lesson 13. Last fall my cousin, Cari, a millennial, told me about a conversation she was having with her friend about fructose and my rotisserie chicken blog. Cari was shocked to find out that rotisserie chicken necessarily wasn’t a safe food and that a multitude of mass produced additives could be hiding in chicken. Honestly, I was shocked, too. I had no idea Cari and her friends cared about their food choices as much as I do. Cari doesn’t have a food intolerance; and is a healthy 26 year old who loves trying new workout classes, going out to dinner with her friends and exploring Minneapolis. Why does Cari care so much? Do other millennials like her make food choices based on similar convictions? The answer is, YES. According to the Washington Post, “millennials are the largest U.S. age demographic, and as such they are key tastemakers.” Millennials are savvy eaters. They demand transparency on food labels. They want to know where their food is sourced and do not want any hidden ingredients. These are my kind of people. I, too, demand transparency. I want to know exactly where my food comes from, what is hiding in it and how my health could be negatively or positively impacted by my food choices. The millennial population knows 6 truths about fructose that we all need to know.
Lesson 15. I have also learned this year that it is really hard to take a good picture of food. If you live in the Minneapolis area and want to be my photography intern contact me. I am in need of help. I actually wrote a blog about my photography issues.
When living with Fructose Malabsorption it is really difficult to find "ready made to go" food at the grocery store. Life is busy and life is easier when you can grab something from your pantry, rip open the packaging and enjoy it as you walk out the door to work, school or a hockey game. Yet, I am not willing to sacrifice my daughter's health for convenience.
I have yet to find a commercial granola bar or breakfast bar my daughter can enjoy. Honestly, I have probably wasted hours of my life looking at granola bar labels at my local grocery store and the co-op. Most are made with some sort of man-made sweetener and have a lot of added non-sugar, sugar (sugar that is made in a factory and doesn't come from the Earth).
In our house we prefer to eat things made with real sugar. Why? Because I know what is in real sugar; 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Sugar is a safe food for my daughter when she eats it in moderation. For every gram of fructose she eats there is an equal amount of glucose to balance out the fructose. Glucose is like a spaceship helping to transport fructose in our bodies.
Recently, I have been experimenting with breakfast bar recipes. My goal was to find a "to go" breakfast or pre-hockey snack for Grace that packs a punch. I wanted it to be low in sugar, higher in protein, high in vitamins and minerals, and contain good fats. I also wanted to make something that could be frozen easily and then re-heated as needed. I added no salt sunflower seeds because they add a good crunch; and contain Vitamins B and E, and magnesium, iron, potassium and protein. The ground flax seed is high in Omega 3's. Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and tastes great!
Low Sugar Breakfast Bites with Peanut Butter, Flax Seed, Sunflower Seeds, Oats and Dark Chocolate:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup real peanut butter without added sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups quick oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup no salt sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed
- 4.5 ounces dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a mixer combine the butter, peanut butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs and mix at medium.
- Add the flour, baking soda, oats and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Add the sunflower seeds, ground flax seed and dark chocolate and mix on low until combined.
- Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and drop onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes.
- Allow them to cool.
- Allow the breakfast bites to completely cool before placing them in the freezer. I like to let them cool on the cookie sheet, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then transfer them to a freezer ready container. This prevents them from sticking together.
- We purchase our peanut butter from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
- The more cocoa in your dark chocolate the less sugar. For this recipe I used Nestle Simply Delicious chocolate chips. They are made with 3 ingredients: dark chocolate, sugar and cocoa butter. You could make these bars with even less sugar if you used straight up dark chocolate chopped into tiny pieces. I actually think my daughter would love them made with dark chocolate and will try that next time.
- You could make this recipe gluten free by using a different flour.
- You can easily add other seeds and nuts to this recipe.
- About a month ago I started a science experiment; a sugar science experiment to be exact. I have been reducing the amount of sugar in all recipes by 50%. It is working. It doesn't change the recipe or the taste. For more information on this experiment check out My Sugar Experiment. I am planning on trying it with this recipe, too.
Most days I eat the same thing for lunch. I am very utilitarian when it comes to my midday meal. I don't want to think about Fructose Malabsorption and the fructose content in food. When you have Fructose Malabsorption eating can become a pain in the you know what! You constantly have to research and plan and think and prepare what you are going to eat.
It is a daily grind. I can't just on a whim go out to lunch or pick something up. Yes, there are restaurants I can visit and safe options at my local market; but, I don't have the flexibility that most people do. My diet takes work and thought. And, sometimes on super busy days I don't have extra time or brain energy to give to lunch.
Over the last few years I have found that it is easiest to take the guesswork out of lunch. I want to eat something that isn't high in sugar and is nutrient dense. I have discovered my body does best when I limit my daily fructose intake to less than 15 grams a day. I choose to find 90 % of that fructose in fresh vegetables.
Occasionally, I indulge in a homemade treat. Most days, I don't. My gut and; therefore, the rest of my body is happiest when I listen to my gut and eat good, clean food.
There are benefits to this diet. It isn't all bad. My food choices are mostly whole real foods and safe products that are made by companies who are transparent and committed to making clean products made from real ingredients. I feel healthy, I have lots of energy and I am happy. I have become an intuitive eater. I know what works for me and my unique gut.
Each day my lunch consists of a protein source, fresh vegetables and a simple vinaigrette.
Eating protein sources with essential amino acids assists in the absorption of fructose. For the last few years I have intuitively known that protein is my gut's friend. I even figured out that if I want to eat vegetables or fruit that are higher in fructose eating a protein source with it helps. I never knew scientifically why this worked, but I intuitively knew why. Recently, one of my new Fructose Malabsorption friends shared an article from the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition that proves my theory. Amino acids, found in proteins, have been scientifically proven to aid in fructose absorption.
I like to vary my daily protein source. Some days I eat leftover baked chicken or salmon, and other days I add roast beef or Wild Planet Albacore Tuna to my salad. My dietitian has told me many times that it is very important for gut health to vary our food choices. We have millions of gut flora swimming around in our digestive system and we need to feed them and keep them happy.
Each of us has a unique gut, like a second set of fingerprints. What works for me may not work for you.
We do know that vegetables for the most part are low in fructose compared to fresh fruits; and also contain glucose and glucose helps fructose absorption. All vegetables are not created equally. Asparagus, peas, jalapeño peppers, and broccoli have higher amounts of fructose compared to other vegetables. Personally, I can tolerate these vegetables in small amounts and do not eat them everyday. Many people living with Fructose Malabsorption also struggle with FODMAPS. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chicory leaves, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, karela, leeks, mushrooms and snow peas are high in FODMAPS. Like the high fructose vegetables, I occasionally eat asparagus, cauliflower, artichokes and mushrooms. I always partner these vegetables with a protein source and limit my intake to 1/4 cup.
If you would like to learn more about sugar digestion and the fructose content in vegetables and fruits check out my blog: Cliff Notes© on Sugar Digestion.
My favorite salad dressing is Here Lemon and Basil Vinaigrette. It is sourced from local farms, does not contain any artificial flavors nor preservatives, only uses real ingredients, and best of all the flavor is divine. It is made by "Here". Yes, "Here", meaning right here, close to home, this dressing is sourced and created. I am not the only one who has discovered this dressing. Many times when I visit my local Whole Foods Market this dressing is sold out. I am actually somewhat devastated when it is not available. This dressing is so good it makes me smile when I use it. Our family uses it on fresh salads and as a marinade on grilled chicken. My son, Jack, told me that this dressing makes, "the best chicken he has ever had". That's right, here, at my house I am making the best chicken with "Here" dressing. Check out their company's story.
I also enjoy making simple vinaigrettes with dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon, olive oil and herbs. Did you know that balsamic vinegar has 7.4 grams of fructose? I didn't discover this fact until last summer and actually wrote a blog about it. How was I completely in the dark about this? With Fructose Malabsorption I learn something new everyday.
Apple cider vinegar has 0 grams of fructose, yes, 0, totally safe! My favorite vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard is:
Apple Cider Vinaigrette (serving size, 8):
I tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
My favorite mayo is Just Mayo. I 100% agree with their mission: "sustainable, healthier food that is affordable and delicious". Why do they call it "Just"? Simply, because it is "Just" good and "Just" the perfect thing for our body. Like their label states: "What is Just-an adjective, meaning guided by reason, justice and fairness". I use it in my tuna salad recipe, greek chicken salad recipe and cranberry chicken salad recipe.
What is your favorite lunch? Share with Me, let's connect, teach each other and build a Fructose Malabsorption community.
I love recipes that can be made in one pan: a crock pot, an instant pot, a dutch oven, a casserole dish, a sheet pan or a bowl. This recipe combines two of my favorite cooking essentials in an easy and healthy family meal. How wonderful is that? Less clean-up? Yes! Still a delicious meal? Yes! You can cook this entire meal on one sheet pan (minus the rice you steam in the microwave) and serve this meal in one bowl. Last summer I adopted the concept of using bowls at dinner time. Why should they only be used during breakfast? A bowl is so easy, so easy to clean up and makes a simple dinner feel a little more special. And, basically a bowl is an individual casserole. I love a good casserole when everything is merged together and the flavors of the individual whole real foods start to intermingle and eventually date each other. Casseroles are my jam!
- 3 large bone-in chicken breasts with skin
- 1/2 cup peeled and large chopped carrots
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped into large chunks
- 1 sliced zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into large chunks
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 bags Grain Trust Steamed Rice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large cookie sheet.
- Add the chicken, carrots and onion to the pan and roast for 25 minutes.
- Add the additional vegetables 2.5 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast an additional 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to 170 degrees.
- While the chicken and vegetables roast, combine the additional 2.5 tablespoons of olive oil with the vinegar and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
- When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, remove the pan from the oven. Shred the chicken and remove the skin and bones.
- On the sheet pan add the vinaigrette and stir everything together including the juice on the pan.
- Let this sit for 3 minutes and steam the rice.
- Divide the rice, chicken and vegetables among four large bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.
- Yes, you need to use bone-in, skin-on chicken. It helps to boost the flavor and keeps the chicken from drying out.
- Any vegetables can be substituted in this dish.
- If you are on the FODMAP program this recipe could be a good challenge in terms of the onion.
- I use apple cider vinegar in this recipe vs balsamic vinegar because balsamic vinegar has 7.4 grams of fructose and apple cider vinegar has 0. That is a lot less sugar! To learn more about balsamic vinegar check out my blog.
- We cook a lot of rice in our rice cooker, but I always keep Grain Trust Steamed White Rice in my freezer for times when I need rice in 3 minutes straight from my microwave. Grain Trust, "grains are always: ethically sourced from farmers who earn living wages, organic, naturally gluten-free, and grown without the use of GMO's."
Why are so many Americans discovering they have a gluten sensitivity?
Why are European countries not seeing a similar trend?
Is a baguette purchased on the streets of Italy different than one purchased in an American supermarket?
Is it worth it to purchase organic flour?
Should we choose to only purchase bread from local bakeries that are committed to using organic and non GMO products?
Should we be concerned with the recent news headlines about RoundUp, specifically glyphosate?
For the last few months I have been asking myself these questions. I wonder why so many of my friends have been diagnosed with a Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)? We are all in our 40's and 50's. Why now? We ate gluten and bread and pasta as children, but why do these products upset us now? What has changed?
These questions have been tormenting me lately. Every time I look at a baguette or purchase flour or bread it is like a little badger is poking me in the backside and prodding me to do a little research. Rather than ignore this trend and these nagging questions it is time to find an answer.
I spent the last weekend doing a lot of research online and in print and asked my dietitian a lot of questions.
Here is what I have discovered:
1. Yes, it is not just my friends. Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is on the rise in America. (a) Nutritionists, dietitians, naturopath doctors and gastroenterologists have been inundated with new patients who react negatively to gluten containing products.
2. Italy and London are not seeing similar trends. Anecdotal and scientific evidence has shown that Americans with NCGS are able to visit Italy and England and eat fresh baguettes and pasta without gastro distress. (b)
3. Yes, an Italian baguette is very different than a baguette found at your local grocery store that has been mass produced. Dr Lauren Deville in her article "Is Bread Different in Europe?" simply explains the difference. There are 5 types of wheat. In America 60% of wheat planted and harvested is of the hard red winter or hard red spring variety. These two varieties of wheat are predominately planted because they have a higher gluten content. Why is a higher gluten content favored by American farmers? " A higher gluten means better bread, because gluten is “sticky” and therefore rises better, making a fluffier loaf." (b) Like most everything in America it is all about sacrificing taste and safety for a better, faster product. Europeans and organic American farmers tend to use the softer versions of wheat that have less gluten.
4. I also discovered that American bread manufacturers have altered their recipes and added extra gluten. Wait a minute, yes, extra gluten has been added to the flour! This extra gluten is added to create a texture like that of fresh baguettes found at Italian bakeries. Why are we doing this? We could have the same Italian bread texture if we just went back to basics and made bread from scratch in small batches. (a)
5. There is a prevalence of chemicals found in American mass produced breads that are not found in local small batch bakeries one can find in Europe and America. This is where my research became alarming to me. This is why my intuition caused me to only purchase bread from our local bakery, Breadsmith, and write a blog last year entitled, "It's Ok To Give Your Child White Bread". I knew there was something up with when I couldn't pronounce all of the chemicals listed on mass produced grocery store bread when I wrote this article, but I didn't know why they were dangerous. Now I do and it honestly scares me. Here are a few of the chemicals that can be found in mass produced breads and why they are dangerous:
a. microbial transglutaminase: This is an added enzyme that activates gluten and can cause an immune response, basically it is added to make the gluten more "sticky" (a)
b. amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs): These proteins are added to wheat to prevent parasite infestations. Added ATI's also can cause an immune response in our bodies (a)
c. Glyphosate: Glyphosate is found in RoundUp. Glyphosate has been directly correlated to gut infections, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Autism. (c) (d) (a)
Why would we want to eat bread tainted with these chemicals? No wonder Americans are getting sicker each and every year.
6. Dr. Lauren Deville describes one other important factor in her article. Traditional breads made in small batch local bakeries, especially in Europe, use buttermilk in their recipes. Why buttermilk? Before commercial yeast was invented in 1879 local bakers used sourdough starters to create their confections. Sourdough starters contain bacteria that release carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The carbon dioxide makes the bread rise. The lactic acid breaks down the gluten and makes it easier to digest. Buttermilk plays a similar role. It contains lactic acid which I now know helps to breakdown gluten. (b). Mass produced American breads are not made with buttermilk, but made with commercially available yeasts that do not cause this same effect; hence, they contain more gluten that is hard to digest.
So, what do we do if we don't live in Europe?
What type of flour should we purchase?
I think the first rule is to shop local. Use the internet, find a local bakery near you and start asking questions about their ingredients. Our local bakery, Breadsmith, is a Kosher bakery and uses safe flour. Flour that is organically grown and processed. Flour that is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Let me know where you purchase safe bread. I have created a "Share With Me" page on my website. You can share your bakery with me and I will add to my map of the USA that includes a spotlight of safe restaurants.
I prefer to use Hodgson Mill Organic Flours.
All of my research makes me wonder.....
What would happen if we purchased or made bread that:
contained soft wheat organic flour;
bread that didn't contain any scary chemicals;
and bread that included buttermilk or a sourdough starter?
Would we see a decrease in NCGS? Could we reverse our body's immune response to gluten? Would we be able to enjoy a fresh baguette?
You know how you have those stories in your family that you pass down from generation to generation? Those stories that always make you laugh as soon as they are mentioned and transport you instantly back in time? In my family our stories include Sao Feng from Pirates of the Caribbean, David Hasselhoff and Captiva Island, a mule deer, banana tubing at Grandview, and the Minneapolis Pedal Pub. These stories are our favorite stories to tell. When ever we meet someone new and have them over for dinner one of these stories inevitably comes up in conversation and makes us laugh so hard our cheeks ache. These are the stories that define us. When told, these stories turn strangers into friends and awkward moments into intimate gatherings.
Over the 4th of July we spent 10 glorious days on Gull Lake with my parents, my brother and sister in law, my nieces, my cousins and a good friend. After a long day on the water or on the golf course we would all meet on our screened-in porch for dinner, a few cocktails and lots of story telling. 10 nights of family time and laughter is so good for my soul. I reconnected with my family and was reminded why it is so important to spend time with those we love.
One evening, my brother and cousin declared it Margarita Night! They are both avid athletes and conscientious about their diet. They primarily eat food from the Earth and limit man-made highly processed food products. So Margarita Night did not come from a mix. My brother spent a painstakingly 30 minutes squeezing fresh limes and purchased an "organic" tequila. It was 93 degrees and 93% humid in the shade that evening so the margaritas went down pretty quickly. Needless to say we laughed a lot and retold many of our favorite stories.
Later than evening, after my brother and his wife had put the girls to bed my brother started to feel kind of yucky. At first he noticed his gut was talking back to him. It was rumbling and gurgling and basically yelling at him; warning him that something was about to happen. Then the intense pain set in. The pain in your gut that makes you sweat and you don't know if your body is going to eject the invader from your top end or bottom end. I will not get into the rest of the details, but will let you know that my brother's gut decided to purge the intruder through the back door.
The next morning I looked at my brother and instantly knew something was wrong. He had dark circles under his eyes and looked a little green. He told me what happened, and I simply looked at him and said, "you have been agaved!". "Agaved?", he questioned. "Yes," I responded. "The supposedly organic tequila you purchased was made with 100% agave syrup".
My brother gave me one of those looks like here we go again - my sister, the know it all, it about to impart wisdom on her little brother. In fact, I was.
I informed my brother that "agave syrup is basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food.” (a). And, agave syrup is actually higher in fructose than high-fructose corn syrup.(b) It contains 90% fructose. I concluded with the simple fact that the agave plant is used as a natural laxative in herbal medicine practices. (c). Hence, that is why he spent the evening having a "Dumb and Dumber moment".
My brother was shocked. He assumed the tequila he purchased was healthier. After all, it's label claimed it was a healthy choice. It was made with agave syrup and agave syrup is a "natural product". Clearly my brother had been duped. He was trying to make a healthy choice, one that concurs with his food beliefs and diet culture. My brother had been "agaved"!!!
Even Dr. Oz has been "agaved". In 2014 he posted the following on his blog: "Over the past few months, I’ve become increasingly concerned about a sweetener that I’ve recommended on my show in the past. After careful consideration of the available research, today I’m asking you to eliminate agave from your kitchen and your diet." (d)
Later in the day my brother started to feel better and was ready to laugh about his evening. I did feel bad for him, but I also knew that this would become one of those stories we add to our collection. I now lovingly refer to it as: "My brother and the agave incident."
d. Dr Oz's Blog
Earlier this spring I purchased four white square bowls from T J Maxx on a whim. It was one of those purchases I wasn't planning on, felt a little guilty about, and it caused me to question my shopping habits. I could have returned the bowls and eliminated my guilty conscious, but instead I decided to embrace the bowls. And now three months later the bowls have turned out to be one of my best decisions! I definitely don't fell guilty anymore and am actually proud of my purchase. The bowls have completely transformed my weekly meal planning. I find it is easier, healthier and a lot more fun to eat dinner out of a bowl.
I typically start with a theme like Southwestern, Mediterranean or Asian. I steam rice, marinate protein and add fresh vegetables and a vinaigrette based on my theme. I think the kids love it because I allow them to make the bowls their own way. Yes, they need to include fresh vegetables, but that is my only rule. If they want to add pickles, crushed up taco chips or hot sauce I say, "go for it". Let's live on the edge, break the rules and add a little creativity to our dinner time.
Jack and Grace especially love Southwestern bowls. I add a little cilantro and fresh lime juice to the rice which reminds them of one of their favorite take out food restaurants. Jack loves to add fresh avocado and Double Take Verde Good Chile Salsa to his bowl. Grace prefers sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. I always add fresh greens and kale to every meal. My husband likes roasted bell peppers. All of our bowls are a little different, but that is ok. We are sitting down eating a meal together and that makes me happy.
Cilantro Lime Rice:
- I steam 6 cups of white rice for our family of four. We all love leftovers.
- When the rice is finished add juice from 1/2 of a lime, 3 tsp oil, 1.5 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and .5 tsp of garlic salt for each 1.5 cups of white.
- If I steam 6 cups of rice I would quadruple this recipe.
- Our favorite rice cooker is the: Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter. You can find it online at many retailers. We use our rice cooker at least two times a week. White rice is the perfect compliment to so many different types of cuisines. I also love that using a rice cooker allows you extra prep time when you are trying to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes. This rice cooker can be set 11 hours before you plan on serving dinner. It is a huge time saver.
- I rely on a manual citrus squeezer. My hands are not very strong and sometimes I struggle to squeeze lemons and limes. There are many great options online.
- We cook a lot of rice in our rice cooker, but I always keep Grain Trust Steamed White Rice in my freezer for times when I need rice in 3 minutes straight from my microwave. Grain Trust, "grains are always: ethically sourced from farmers who earn living wages, organic, naturally gluten-free, and grown without the use of GMO's."
- If you are following the low FODMAP program the garlic salt in this recipe could work well for the challenge phase of your diet.
Southwestern Chicken Rub Recipe:
For each pound of protein combine:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons cumin
- .75 teaspoon garlic powder
- .5 teaspoon ground oregano
- .25 teaspoon salt
- .25 teaspoon ground thyme
- .25 ground red pepper
- I use this same rub recipe on flank steak and shrimp.
- You can prepare the meat in advance and let it stay cool in your fridge until you ready to cook it.
- If the weather is nice I prefer to grill my protein. However, we live in MN and occasionally during our freezing cold winters I am forced to broil the protein or saute it on my stovetop. If I saute protein I like to add 1 tsp of oil to the recipe.
My daughter, Grace, played in a hockey tournament last month. Let me be honest, this is not an unusual occurrence in our house. With 3 hockey players in our family there are a lot of hockey tournaments filling up my calendar!
As soon as my 11 year old hits the ice Grace’s sweet, cuddly, “love bug” persona gives way to this aggressive, determined to win athlete. Grace works her tail off and cheers on her teammates with equal zeal. She truly loves hockey tournament weekends, and adores her hockey friends. She thrives in this environment.
Typically, in between games we host her hockey friends at our house for post and pre-game meals. Jeff and I love sitting around the dining room table with her hockey friends, watching them interrupt each other, and reveling in this time spent together. Last month we hosted 3 friends for a pre-game pasta meal. I made my “Mama Sorem” Meatballs and Caesar salad. The four girls ate as if they were division one football players sitting down at a training table.
At the game later that night one of the mom’s asked me what I served. She was shocked to hear that her picky, non-adventurous daughter ate salad. I wasn’t shocked at all. I simply looked at her and said, “Caesar salad, it’s the gateway salad.” My friend laughed, looked at me with a doubtful expression and repeated, “Caesar salad, the gateway salad?”
“Yes, Caesar salad, it the first salad you try, the one that tastes so good that it opens up your palate to branch out and try more exotic salads like Italian,1000 Island and even Greek salads.”
My friend was thrilled that her daughter had branched out. She wanted to know more.
“Why the Caesar salad?”
“How can I take advantage of this new found discovery?”
“Ooh, what can I hide among the Caesar dressing?”
Honestly, I am not sure what gives Caesar salad a cult like following among Jack and Grace’s friends. You would think ranch dressing would be more idolized. After all, Caesar salad is made with anchovies. Gross! I love Caesar salad, but would never eat an anchovy and highly doubt my kids would either.
I think the Caesar loves comes from the Romano cheese. It gives it that tangy, nutty sweetness.
Once I discovered the magic of the Caesar salad I started taking advantage of it. I would micro-chope cucumbers and radishes into tiny matchsticks, and dice broccoli into minute pieces and hide it among the creamy Caesar dressing. Fork by fork Jack and Grace would eat all of the hidden vegetables. It undoubtedly is magic!
One of our favorite summer meals is Chicken Caesar Salad. I make my "Mom's Oven Chicken", slice it up on a bed of power greens, clean out my vegetable drawer, add any vegetable we have left over, and top it off with Caesar dressing. It’s a quick, easy and healthy dinner on my table in 30 minutes.
- 3/4 cup Thrive Market Greek Olive Oil
- 1/2 shredded Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 2 dashes Sky Valley Sriracha Sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Just Mayo
- 2 teaspoons Maille Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (equivalent to two cloves)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Our family prefers Just Mayo. It is minimally processed, made in small batches, non-GMO, dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free.
- I like to use Maille Dijon Mustard. It is a simple recipe, but adds the right amount of pungent flavor to any dish.
- Lately I have been shopping online at Thrive Market. We recently discovered the Greek Olive Oil. It is organic, non-GMO, raw, vegan, has no trans fats and no artificial ingredients, is preservative-free, and comes from a single origin.
- My kids love when I make my "Mom's Oven Chicken" or Chicken Milanese with Caesar salad.
- I like to use a Zulay citrus squeezer. It helps me get the last drop out of every lemon.
When you have Fructose Malabsorption you can still bake. Use real ingredients that work for your body and limit your daily fructose load to 15 grams. We like to use real sugar because it has an equal amount of fructose and glucose. Glucose is like a spaceship helping to transport the fructose in your gut.
Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance. If your body doesn't like gluten than use gluten free flour. If your body doesn't like butter or milk, find a substitute. When you bake for yourself you can control all of the ingredients.
Sometimes you just have to eat a piece of cake! And, half the fun in eating cake is creating something you love and you know works for your unique gut.
This article is by Grace Sorem, age 11.
I really like to bake. Cupcake Wars and Cake Wars are two of my favorite shows because I enjoy learning from them and how the bakers are challenged both on taste and presentation. For my 5th grade graduation present I received "The Cake Bible" which is a recipe book all about cakes. My parents and grandparents also gave me cake decorating tools and a fancy cake plate. My favorite ingredients are chocolate and lemon. Last week for my grandparents I invented a new cake combination. I made a yellow butter cake. In the middle of the two layers I added a raspberry coulis with a hint of lemon. My frosting was a lemon buttercream that I created all by myself. My grandpa, that loves cakes, told me that it was, "one of the top 3 cakes he had ever tried in his life." He also told me that his decision had nothing to do with me being his granddaughter. My mom says my cake is, "heavenly". My dad doesn't really eat cake and he had two pieces. My brother likes to be my assistant baker so he can taste test everything. We have an inside joke in our family where we say to each other, "I need to have another taste of that to make sure it isn't poisonous". We love to taste test as we are baking! The next cake I am going to try baking is a chocolate cake with a graham cracker crust in the middle and a marshmallow frosting, topped with crushed graham crackers and a chocolate drizzle.
Cake Ingredients from The Cake Bible, page 39:
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons Rodelle vanilla
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
Cake Directions from The Cake Bible, page 39:
- "Prepare two 9 inch cake pans.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl combine the yolks. 1/2 cup milk and vanilla.
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients on low for 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Increase to medium speed and beat for 90 seconds.
- Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
- Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for 25-30 minutes."
Raspberry Coulis Ingredients and Directions from Grace:
- In a medium sauce pan combine 4 cups raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Break the raspberries down as you stir it.
- Let cool.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting and Directions from Grace:
Combine 2 sticks butter (at room temperature) with 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Using an electric mixer beat on medium high until light and fluffy.
Grace's Directions for Assembling the Cake:
- Bake the cakes and let them cool.
- While the cakes are baking make the coulis and let it cool.
- When the cakes and coulis are cool add the coulis in between the two cake layers.
- Make the buttercream frosting and cover the entire cake.
- Make sure you use real lemon juice. I have tried using lemon extract and it tastes like chemicals. We use a Zulay citrus squeezer to squeeze the lemons. It is a lot easier.
- Have fun decorating the top of the cake. I added raspberries in the shape of a heart.
- Let the butter come to room temperature by itself. If you use the microwave it changes the butter and the cake isn't as good.
- I like to decorate my cake on a cake stand so I do not need to transfer it again.
- I always listen to music when I bake. It makes it super fun.
- My grandmother likes to mostly eat gluten free. We discovered a great gluten free flour mix that tastes divine in baked products. Mix 24 oz brown rice flour, 24 ox white rice flour, 24 oz sweet rice flour, 20 oz tapioca flour and 2.5 tablespoons Xanthum Gum in a large container. When baking equally substitute this mix cup for cup if a recipe calls for regular flour.
Here is a picture of my cake:
This is a great quote for people who love to bake and for people who love to eat cake!
FODMAP: a closer look
When I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption 10+ years ago a low FODMAP diet didn’t have the notoriety of today. Low FODMAP recipe books did not exist. Apps dedicated to tracking a low FODMAP diet were not readily available. A low FODMAP diet was not the standard protocol, and patients didn’t have access to the technology we do today with misleading information.
In 2008 after my diagnosis my doctor and dietitian advised me to limit my daily fructose load to less than 15 grams per day, avoid all man-made highly processed products, steer clear of all man-made sweeteners that are high in fructose, keep a food journal, and most importantly eat a diverse diet of real whole foods. A low FODMAP diet was never suggested to me.
Now in 2018, ten years later, I am thriving. My gut is not yelling at me. I do not go to bed so bloated that I look 3 months pregnant. I have a ton of energy and am happy.
Yes, there still are limitations in my life. We rarely go out to eat, and when we do we search out a local, chef driven restaurant committed to using real whole food ingredients. Most of the items in our grocery cart are not convenience items. My cart is filled with whole foods found in the perimeter of the store. In addition to weekly runs to the grocery store we visit our local bakery, Breadsmith, at least twice a week to purchase fresh baguettes and sandwich bread. A fair amount of my time is spent meal planning and cooking. I still get very nervous when eating at a friend’s house; worried that I might eat something that doesn’t agree with me. But, I can live with these limitations because I feel so much better than I did when I was first diagnosed. I know what doesn’t work for me. I have an answer and I know how to treat my intolerance by eating real whole food.
When I started my website adventure in the fall of 2017, I didn’t realize how different my journey to gut health would be compared to people who are diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today. When I was diagnosed only two books were available at my local bookstore about Fructose Malabsorption and neither mentioned the low FODMAP diet. When I originally googled Fructose Malabsorption, hardly any websites were dedicated to Fructose Malabsorption and suggested diets. The only websites I could find were rare medical journals. I didn’t even own a phone and had no idea what an app was.
Honestly, I feel lucky. My only sources of information were my dietitian and my doctor. I knew my body couldn’t process high amounts of fructose and I knew how to simply eliminate that from my diet. I didn’t have incessant food product marketing, fad diets and debunked health claims clouding my understanding of how to treat myself.
So here I am trying to help people with Fructose Malabsorption, trying to connect with others who have children like I do who live with Fructose Malabsorption. And, I am faced with this new reality: access to information on our phones and computers trumps visiting a medical professional.
Given this new reality, I want to understand what it is like to get diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption today. What are the hot topics? Where do people look for help? What diet is most suggested?
A low FODMAP diet appears to be the most suggested diet when diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. There are 100+ books on store shelves about FODMAP diets. Google FODMAP and you could spend a lifetime looking at all of the websites. And, let’s be honest-we all look to the internet for health advice.
So, what is FODMAP? FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols-a mouthful! Basically, FODMAPS are foods that aren’t well absorbed in the small intestine, pass into the colon and undergo fermentation by bacteria. Please understand this is a natural process. Fermentation by bacteria should happen in your colon and is good for you. Everyone should eat FODMAP foods. They are high in fiber and contain vital nutrients. We know now that bacteria lives in our gut for a reason and is important to having a healthy gut.
Why then is a low FODMAP diet suggested? Who invented the FODMAP diet and why?
A team at Monash University in Australia led by Dr Peter Gibson and Dr Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet. Dr Gibson, Dr Shepherd and their partners knew that FODMAP foods caused fermentation in the gut. Their theory was that if a patient reduced FODMAP foods, then consequently they would have less fermentation and less symptoms. Their original patients felt better and had less symptoms. The low FODMAP diet was born! This is where social media, food product marketing and debunked medical claims found on the internet took a great idea and altered it.
I am definitely NOT advocating against the FODMAP diet. What I am advocating for is to use this diet the way it was meant to be used. In actuality, it wasn’t a diet when Monash University introduced the low FODMAP concept. It was a diagnostic tool used to help patients with IBS regain a healthy gut. There are 3 phases of the low FODMAP diet, not one.
- A low FODMAP phase where you limit your FODMAP foods for 2-6 weeks under the care of a medical professional.
- A re-challenge phase where you slowly re-introduce foods and journal your symptoms. This phase takes 6-8 weeks and assistance from a medical professional is suggested.
- The third phase is an adapted FODMAP diet program. Your medical professional will create a lifestyle diet for you that is diverse and includes tolerable FODMAP foods.
The FODMAP concept is not a diet. It is a tool to help you settle your gut and determine what works for YOU and doesn’t work for YOU!. It is not a 100% lifestyle change. Each of has a unique gut biome, and the goal of this concept is to listen to your gut and figure out what makes you unique.
So why are people living a low FODMAP diet lifestyle?
I think there are multiple reasons for this.
- When we have known what it is like to have IBS and not to have IBS it is scary to think about eating something that might not agree with you and make you feel sick again. The concept of reintroducing food can be daunting.
- I also think the wealth of information, albeit fake information on the internet, is pushing people to try the FODMAP diet without understanding the original concept.
- And, since all of us our guilty of using the internet to diagnose and treat ourselves we are not searching out relationships with medical professionals who can help us.
Why not stay on a low FODMAP diet for ever? What are the consequences?
If you eliminate FODMAPS you are eliminating many real whole foods that are beneficial to our health. FODMAPS are needed to maintain a healthy bacterial population in our colons. They promote healthy bowel movements, decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In addition researchers at Monash University (where the FODMAP concept was born) recommend, “that a low FODMAP diet be followed strictly for just two to six weeks...and not be followed as a permanent diet for life” (www.fodmapguru.com). The originators of the FODMAP concept do not suggest a long term low FODMAP diet.
Truly, I can see a lot of benefits from the 3 phase FODMAP approach. What took me years to determine regarding my unique gut could have been discovered in a matter of a few months if I had known of and adopted the FODMAP concept. For example, I learned after a lot of trial and error and food journaling that sugar alcohols, like sorbitol don’t work for me.
If you choose to follow the low FODMAP concept, then consult a trained doctor and/or dietitian who can guide you along your food journey. Thriving with Fructose Malabsorption is possible. It takes time to understand your gut’s voice, but it is worth it.