One thing we are keen on here at Cooking for the Sensitive Gut is the idea of ‘managing’ the foods in the diet that may trigger symptoms. One group of foods which many patients overly restrict are those containing FODMAPS (Fermentable oligosacchararides, disaccharides, monosacahrides and polyols). Many foods that contain FODMAPs such as fruit vegetables and whole grain cereals are foods which are otherwise very nutritious and good for the gut. They provide the substrate for gut bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids that enhance the healthy composition of gut microbiota. They are also a good source of fibre that keeps the content of the gut moving along. So it is important to manage, rather than overly restrict, FODMAP containing food in the long term.
It is always worth remembering that other factors can trigger symptoms such as tiredness, stress and generally feeling under the weather. So if you are fine eating a particular food one day and the next you are not – something else may have triggered the symptoms.
The idea of managing these foods in your diet means being knowledgeable about which FODMAPs are contained in different foods and understanding, the portion size you can eat without triggering symptoms.
Just because a food or ingredient contains one or more of a FODMAP does not mean you should not eat it but that you should be cautious. Eat a little of it – see how you get on and then if it does not trouble you make a note of it and eat it in a similar portion on another time. This strategy works very well for most people.
One good way of learning which foods contain high levels of these fermentable carbohydrates is to check the database of a reliable smartphone app. We use two apps to do this – The MONASH University Low FODMAP diet app and Food Maestro. Both are available form App stores.
When we devise and test a recipe we always consult the food database in these apps and then highlight any foods which contain high levels of FODMAPs. We also flag up the portion size of the food which is low in FODMAPs and then leave it up to you to adjust this according to what you can manage. People vary a lot in which foods they can and cannot tolerate.
These week’s cooking has been inspired by the garden which is full of tender, courgettes with their delicate bright yellow flowers which remind me of a blackbird’s yellow gape. They are great steamed but they are also lovely stuffed with minced beef, herbs and cheese which can easily be adapted for vegetarians. It is one of our ‘forgiving recipes’ because it can be left gently cooking in the oven without spoiling and leftovers can be eaten the next day. Courgettes are low in FODMAPS.
For the stuffed courgettes
- 8 medium sized courgettes
- 100 g sourdough/gluten free bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp chopped herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, tarragon
- 100 g lean minced beef or back bacon (optional)
- 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese ad a little extra for serving
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Olive oil to drizzle
- 200 ml passata
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of dried oregano
- Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways. Cut a V shape along the length of each courgettes half and gouge out the seeds with the point of a teaspoon. This forms an indent for the filling. Place the courgettes on a baking tray and set to one side. Discard the courgette seeds.
Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the egg. Mix the ingredients together well and gradually add enough beaten egg to form a stiff mixture. If you are making a vegetarian version of this stuffing – leave out the meat and add another tablespoon of grated cheese.
Fill the courgettes with the stuffing and don’t worry if any spills over onto the baking tray. Cover the baking tray and courgettes with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Insert a pointed knife into the courgettes to check they are cooked. If not return the tray to the oven for a few more minutes.
Remove the foil and cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes or until the filling begins to brown.
While the courgettes are baking make this simple tomato sauce. Fry the sliced garlic in a little oil until golden brown. This flavours the oil with garlic. Remove the garlic flesh from the oil and discard. Remember the flesh of garlic can cause symptoms in some people.
Add the passata, bayleaf and dried oregano and seasoning and cook gently for about 10 minutes until a thick sauce has formed.
Serve the stuffed courgettes with the tomato sauce and diced potato baked in the oven at the same time as the courgettes. The courgettes are also lovely with rice – either brown or white.
There are more lovely recipes and lots of useful advice in our book Cooking for the Sensitive Gut (Pavilion 2016) available from Amazon
For more information on how to manage your sensitive gut for this link to the IBS Network