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Recipe: Low FODMAP Crustless Quiche

10 Sep

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I’ve been experimenting a little with the Low FODMAP diet. For those who don’t know what “Low FODMAP” is, I suggest taking a look at the information on the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet page. In brief, FODMAPs are carbohydrates (including fructose and lactose, among others) that are malabsorbed by people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, causing the symptoms that IBS sufferers get. A Low FODMAP diet is often used for an elimination diet trial for those with IBS to find what an individual may or may not be able to tolerate. Tolerance to different foods can vary greatly – some may be able to tolerate lactose while others may not, for example.

At this point I’m simply experimenting with some recipes in preparation to do the Low FODMAP elimination diet. Being a lover of food, I’m not a big fan of the idea of having to cut out so many different things! But I’m slowly warming to the idea knowing that I’ll be healthier because of it and may not have to be so restrictive long-term if I find I can tolerate certain things! For now, I’m drinking lactose-free milk, finding ways to add flavour to savoury dishes without onion or garlic, cutting out high-fructose fruits, and trying to cut wheat flour out of recipes in favour of Low FODMAP alternatives such as quinoa flour (used in this dish), almond meal, or spelt flour. Its challenging to say the least!

This recipe is based on my classic crustless quiche I’ve made for years. Basically, you can add any filling to it that you like! I seem to vary what I use every time I make it. Previously I’ve made more the traditional “quiche lorraine” style, or have added mushrooms, different types of cheeses, you name it! It really is as versatile as your imagination. This time I opted for fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, kabana sausage (I’d usually use bacon but didn’t have any on hand), and a small amount of cheese (the original recipe calls for 1 cup of grated cheese, I use about half that quite happily). I used some herbs to help with the flavour, and subbed quinnoa flour that I’d milled myself instead of the usual plain flour. It had a touch of the bitterness you can get with using quinnoa flour, but it balanced well with the other flavours in the dish and my other-half didn’t even comment that it tasted different to how I’ve made it previously. Success!

LOW FODMAP CRUSTLESS QUICHE:

nutritional quiche 3 eggs
1/2 cup quinnoa flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups lactose-free light milk
1 piece kabana sausage (or bacon, etc.), sliced or diced & lightly cooked
Mixed herbs, to taste (chives are good in place of onion or garlic)
1 cup (roughly) fresh baby spinach leaves
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup light grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease an oven-proof dish.

In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, flour, baking powder, milk and herbs and beat until well combined.

In the oven proof dish, layer the kababa, spinach, and tomatoes. Pour over the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for roughly 40 minutes, or until set and starting to brown on top. Serve with a side of salad or on its own as a light meal.

Nutritional information from Calorie Count, based on 6 servings.

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Recipe: Cranberry Chia Bliss Balls

31 Aug

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I have to admit, I have a weakness for snacking when I’m bored. During down-time at work I find it all to easy to turn to that half block of chocolate hiding in the cupboard, or that bag of potato chips being shared around. I’ve found that the more health-conscious I’ve become, the less I enjoy those processed foods high in sugar, salt, and goodness knows what else.

I decided to trial making my own bliss balls that I could have on hand for snacking or before exercise. I came up with this recipe based on what is in my cupboard, and might have been a little heavy handed with the flaxseed meal. But I think they turned out OK! They aren’t overly sweet, and even with the small amount of cocoa powder they aren’t particularly “chocolatey”. I can’t wait to try my hand at another batch using different flavours, and would consider adding some protein powder in future to make an after-exercise treat.

This recipe made 8 bliss balls, and is very low in sodium, high in dietary fibre, contains no cholesterol, and is also high in manganese and magnesium. While I’m not well versed in raw and clean eating, I believe you wouldn’t have to make too many changes to these to satisfy the requirements for either – substitute cacao powder and a vanilla bean instead of the cocoa powder and vanilla essence. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in that assumption!

CRANBERRY CHIA BLISS BALLS:

cranberry chia balls nutritional info4 dried dates, soaked for at least 30 minutes in enough water just to cover (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Vanilla essence (or scrape a vanilla bean), to taste
Ground cinnamon, to taste
3 tbsp dried cranberries
Chia seeds, for covering

Process the soaked dates and remaining water in a food processor. Add the almond meal and flaxseed meal, processing until a sticky dough forms.

Add the cocoa powder, vanilla essence and cinnamon and mix until combined (can knead, use an electric mixer, or food processor). Knead or mix through the dried cranberries.

Shape into 8 balls, and roll in the chia seeds to cover.

Nutritional information from Calorie Count.

Making the right changes

14 Aug

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When I started out on my journey to get healthy, I was the same as everyone else. For years I’d found it easier to keep making excuses than making a change in my life. I’d always been blessed to be a “skinny person” in spite of a fairly sedentary lifestyle for most of my teens and early 20’s. For years I thought I’d taken the “healthier” option of purchasing low-fat or light options of milks, margarine, and cheese, and thought that pre-packaged soups and frozen meals were as nutritional as the “real thing”. I looked at my figure and gathered I couldn’t be making too many “bad” mistakes with my life if I was still slim.

After a number of events in my life, I knew it was time to make the change to be healthy late last year. No more excuses this time. No more joining a gym to only go once in a blue moon, or hiding behind ignorance of what really goes into pre-packaged foods, or trying to do too much too soon. This was it.

My advice to anyone standing at that fork in the road at present is to make it easy on yourself. Yes – EASY. But please don’t mistake what I’m saying here – making a huge lifestyle change is a big deal, it will be a struggle, but one you will thank yourself for. What I mean is that you have to make the changes early on that you know you can stick to. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

I think a lot of people who don’t succeed in their attempts to “get healthy” try to conquer the world on their first attempt. Don’t try to go from couch potato to running 10km! You’ll hate it and probably injure yourself in the process! If you’ve got a weakness for a bowl of ice cream before bed every night, don’t try to go cold turkey on day one.

Here’s some of the little changes I started out with:

  • Find a form of exercise you enjoy: In my case, this was running. A few years ago I tried doing cardio and weights at the gym and hated it, and working out in front of a room full of strangers (ie. taking a class) seemed like my own personal nightmare! I found it impossible to form a habit of going to the gym because I hated being there. However, when I started out running I really liked it. I found freedom in hitting a track near a local creek – it gave me some “me” time to clear my head and enjoy being outdoors.
  • Don’t overdo it: Like I mentioned above, if you go from doing no exercise regularly to attempting to run 10kms you’re going to struggle, or hurt yourself. For me, a nice way to try to achieve this balance was to use the RunDouble Android app on my phone. It helped me to pace myself. If you’re more of a gym type, chat with a trainer to find a work-out plan that will be right for you. If you like group classes, make sure you start out in something that is aimed at beginners. There’s no shame in being new to fitness, particularly if you’re determined to make a change!
  • Don’t subscribe to the “fad” diets straight off the bat: By “fad diets” I mean the ones that involve a radical change. Perhaps one of these diets might suit you, but chances are if you attempt to go from your regular dietary habits to strictly “paleo” or “clean eating” (for example) you’ll find it a little too tough. I’ve seen far too many people I know cut something – or many things – completely out of what they eat in the name of improving their diet, only to then crave and binge on these foods. This is why, personally, I’ve taken the “everything in moderation” approach for my own healthy eating. I still eat cake, I still have dessert, I still drink milk and eat meat. I just am more sensible about which options I choose, the portion sizes, and how often I eat some of these things. I’ve found it much easier to still enjoy the things I love – I don’t feel like diet is a “punishment”, and I’m actually enjoying my healthier foods (like spinach!) more than I ever thought possible. Ease into the changes, don’t expect them on Day One.
  • Make being healthy a habit: They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and even longer to break old ones. Try to find time every day to exercise if possible. For me, its not possible to run every day. I set aside 3-4 mornings a week where I have a good run, and on other days I try to make a conscious effort to move as much as possible – take the stairs, stand and walk around rather than sit at a desk all day. Since I got into this habit, it now feels strange not running on the days I usually would!