Monday, May 30, 2011

Elimination


Several weeks after writing that last post, I’m thinking there might just be something to this FODMAPs thing. Not that it is an easy thing to do.

I’ve never restricted the food I eat before. I’ve never been on a diet. Although this isn’t a weight loss thing, the same principle applies: dieting messes with your head.

Despite all this, after the first week of the elimination phase of the diet, I start to feel better. Actually better than I have in a while; hardly any symptoms. This seems hopeful.

It’s tricky when you have to start thinking about food in terms of what you can’t have. Especially as a professional eater – I am used to eating a (sometimes wildly) varied diet from day to day.  I might attend a lunch of Malaysian food one week; a launch for a range of diet products the next; in between doing tastings of soups or crackers or noodles or any number of recipe testings. Not to mention the myriad of food products that get delivered to my desk each week, demanding tasting. Now I have to think about whether I can try them or not.

The range of fruits and vegetables that are OK during the elimination phase is quite limited. I’m getting very creative with carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce and spinach. But also quite bored. After a short time I find I’m craving broccoli, caulifower and cabbage. Missing onions and garlic, too, although I’m making liberal use of the allowed garlic oil and the green bits on spring onions. Thank goodness I can have ginger and chillies, two of my favourite flavours; and spices are OK too, in moderation. And citrus, so I can use lemon and lime juice for flavour. Harissa has become my new best friend; because it’s made from chillies and peppers and tomato, and doesn’t have onion, it works to add an intense burst of flavour, especially to my work lunches. I’ve never been a sandwich girl, and sandwiches of gluten-free bread are pretty depressing. So I’ve been eating a lot of sort of warm rice salads, like the one below. I take the ingredients and make these up in the kitchen at work, but you could easily put it together at home the night before work.

Lunch rice salad
¾ cup cooked brown rice (I’m loving the Sun Rice quick cups – great for a desk drawer)
handful spinach or rocket leaves
1 small pepper (I’m using the little ‘vine sweet’ ones) or ½ red capsicum
1 small carrot, grated
piece ginger, grated
½ red chilli, chopped
1 small can tuna, salmon or sardines, drained
lemon or lime juice & olive oil, to dress

Heat rice if you like, or eat cold. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, toss well, add dressing and enjoy.

VARIATIONS
Use your imagination – but some things I’ve added include:
Nuts – almonds, walnuts, cashews
Pesto
Harissa
Soy sauce (gluten-free)
Grated parmesan
Grated courgette
Chopped tomatoes
Lemon zest

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