Are there any good low Fodmap recipes you could recommend for people with IBS?
The list of high-Fodmap (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) foods can be daunting, with certain grains and cereals (wholemeal bread, wheat pasta), legumes and pulses (red kidney beans, baked beans), lactose (milk, yoghurt), fruit (apples, peaches) and vegetables (garlic, onions, mushrooms) that cause digestive trouble typically off the menu. The diet involves swapping these high Fodmap foods (ie, short-chain carbohydrates) for low alternatives, then reintroducing them one by one over time, to discover what you can and can’t tolerate. “It’s not a forever diet,” explains Emma Hatcher, author of The Fodmap-Friendly Kitchen Cookbook. “The aim of the game for a healthy, happy gut is to try to add as many Fodmap-containing foods back into your diet.” (Of course, anyone embarking on this – or, indeed, any – diet should first speak to their GP.)
As to specific dishes, the difficulty is that different people are susceptible to different things for IBS, says David Atherton, author of Good to Eat. Certain fruits are generally a good option, though: “Make a smoothie bowl of frozen strawberries and blueberries, and top with oat-based muesli and grapes for breakfast.” Egg-obsessive Atherton is also partial to kedgeree (“just don’t put the onions in”), while Hatcher favours shakshuka with crusty, gluten-free bread. “Tomatoes are low Fodmap up to a certain amount, and you can add red peppers and spices such as paprika, too.”
Keep lunches and dinners simple with meat or fish and a side of seasonal veg in low Fodmap portions. “We’re cooking lots of mackerel at the moment,” says Cornwall restaurateur Emily Scott. The author of Sea and Shore pops butterflied fillets (get your fishmonger to do this for you) under a hot grill or in a hot oven for five or so minutes, then serves with a zingy, peppery salad. “It sounds retro, but make ribbons out of small courgettes, add lemon juice, good olive oil, sea salt, and rocket.” Alternatively, try flat fish: Scott, who cooked for Joe Biden at the recent G7 summit, puts lemon sole under the grill “and throws summery, high-note herbs – chives, thyme – on at the end”. Again, she dresses with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, then serves with new potatoes and a green salad.
Hatcher, meanwhile, saves her spuds for a warm lamb salad with watercress, toasted hazelnuts and chimichurri, which she makes using garlic-infused olive oil in place of actual garlic. For that, she heats olive oil in a pan, adds garlic cloves, cooks and strains: “The Fodmaps in garlic aren’t soluble in oil,” she explains. Roast chicken is another crowdpleaser, and Hatcher serves hers with tarragon mayo. “You won’t want people to follow your diet with you, but you’re not going to want to cook two meals.” For something meat-free, Atherton turns to grains (rice, quinoa, amaranth). “Taste them halfway through cooking, because some bite is nice. Drain, sit in cool water, so they stop cooking, drain again and add a classic honey-mustard dressing [if you can tolerate small amounts of honey].” Toss in chopped cucumber and tomatoes, too.
Far more important, however, is the fact that dark chocolate is low Fodmap. Eat it as is, or make Hatcher’s chocolate pudding, a recipe from her latest ebook with dietitian Kaitlin Colucci: melt dark chocolate and butter over simmering water, stir through eggs whisked with sugar and vanilla, fold in gluten-free flour and salt, and bake for 25-30 minutes. A scoop of ice-cream wouldn’t go amiss, either.