Vegan Pledge: Week Three Food Diary

Welcome to week three of my thirty day vegan pledge with The Vegan Society. You can find out why I decided to take the thirty day pledge here. Catch up on week one here and week two here. You can also click this link to check out my vegan grocery shop!

vegan meals
MY 30 DAY VEGAN PLEDGE OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON 6/7/17

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As I mentioned previously, during week two of the vegan pledge I had begun to experience some symptoms such as headaches and the breakout of a rash across my face and neck. I put these down to a detox reaction due to the huge change in diet. Thankfully moving into week three these symptoms had completely cleared up and I was keen to continue on with the pledge!

Vegan Food Diary: Week Three

Vegan Meals: Breakfast:

My breakfasts this week mostly continued in a similar vein, being comprised of fresh fruit, oats and smoothies. However I did also try my first homemade vegan fry up!

vegan meals

I used Heinz baked beans, a left over baked potato, sautéed spinach and mushroom, grilled tomato and Dee’s Wholefoods traditional vegan sausages. These are so good! I picked them up at Tesco. Compared to most other vegan sausages on the market they are free of artificial additives and are also gluten, soy and GMO free. They’re also a bit pricier but they have a good use-by date and can also be frozen. I tried these for the first time long before I started the pledge and I’ve tended to keep a box in the freezer for when I need a quick meal in a pinch. Highly recommended! I grilled the ones pictured above but I do think they taste a bit nicer fried!

Vegan Meals: Lunch

I tried a new recipe and used polenta for the first time to make this polenta and veggie bake along with a cashew and black bean burger. I topped this with some amazing siracha Vegenaise (not pictured). If you haven’t tried Vegenaise you’re missing out! Its even better than the real thing! I’ve found it in a few health food shops and some specialist vegan shops too.

vegan meals

I was out and about a lot this week and I mostly ate out for lunches so I will be sharing them in my post on eating out as a Vegan! ??

Vegan Meals: Dinner

I made a delicious sweet potato and peanut butter curry this week. Definitely one of my new favourite recipes! I served it with red and black quinoa and some coriander. Again I’ve been noticing how truly filling these whole food vegan meals are! So very full of flavour too!

vegan meals

I made another pizza dinner with a wholemeal wrap from M&S and topped with spinach, kale, cherry tomato, basil and vegan cheese. My favourite is definitely the Violife vegan mozzarella style cheese as it melts so well on pizza. This is such a quick and easy meal to make and total comfort food!

vegan meals

I also made an Indian Jalfrezi with tofu, peas, spinach and bok choi. Served with brown rice.
vegan meals

At the end of week three I am starting to feel like I’m really getting the hang of this whole vegan thing! Its definitely getting easier as time goes by.

My next post will detail my final week on the pledge leading me to a full 30 days on a vegan diet. If you’d like to take the thirty day vegan pledge click here. You’ll get daily emails to keep you motivated and help you along the way.

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Catch up on why I took the 30 day vegan pledge here and how I got on with week one of the pledge here and find my week two update here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

vegan meals

Vegan Pledge: Week Two Food Diary

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My 30 Day Vegan Pledge officially began on 6/7/17

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Welcome to week two of 30 day vegan pledge! Catch up on why I took the vegan pledge here and how I got on with week one of the vegan pledge here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

Moving into week two of the pledge marked the longest consecutive time I’ve ever spent eating a vegan diet. I began eating vegan about a week before I signed up for the pledge. Up until now I’ve only only ever lasted about a week or so on a vegan diet before slipping up somehow or going out to eat and making a non-vegan choice. Each of those “failures” or slip ups have helped me get to where I am now however. Transitioning is a process.

Week two also saw the beginning of symptoms I felt were associated with some sort of detox response to this new way of eating. More on that later!

Vegan Food Diary Week Two

Breakfast:

vegan pledge

This week I tried to get in a bit more fresh fruit in the mornings. I usually wouldn’t eat much fruit other than berries and banana, so it was nice to add in some more variety with melon, cherries, kiwi, grapes, peach, plum and pear. All the colours of the rainbow! Most mornings started with some sort of fruit salad this week. The weather was so good, making it really easy to start the day with lots of fresh fruit.

vegan pledge

Oats also remained a staple this week. The oats shown below are from the Merry Mill and I’ve added chia, flax, raspberries, banana and peanut butter. This is such a filling breakfast. Being vegan I haven’t worried much about portion size but rather I’m making sure to eat plenty to keep me satiated. Staying full on this vegan diet has been incredibly easy. I’ve often completely overestimated my portion sizes and then struggled to finish them!

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Lunch

I ate lots of salads this week for lunch. The good weather seems to make one more inclined towards salads! Below I had some homemade omega superbread with a fresh salad, Veganaise and some Indian lentil dahl – find my Indian dahl recipe here. 

vegan pledge

Below you can see the big pot of Indian dahl that I made this week – its very versatile and easy to make. I had it for dinner with brown rice and then saved leftovers for lunch. I’ve posted the recipe on the blog already. Its one I’ve made time and time again over the last few years.

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Vegan avocado bruschetta was another lunch time staple this week. Lots of garlic, shallot, balsamic, olive oil and black pepper on chopped avocado and tomato. This was so tasty and easy to throw together that I made it a few times this week.

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Dinner:

Dining al fresco was inevitable this week with the gorgeous weather. This vegan “paella” dish was so good with a glass of vegan white wine. A really tasty dinner. Check out barnivore.com to see if your alcohol is vegan. (Spoiler – most spirits are vegan but wine is more complicated as they often use fish bladder, egg or milk protein in the filtration process).

vegan pledge

Finally, I had a go at making a vegan pizza this week using some whole grain wraps I picked up in Marks and Spencer. I topped the wrap with tomato puree, dairy free pesto, oregano, basil, Vio Life vegan mozzarella, sweetcorn, mushroom, onion, spinach and fresh basil. This was made in minutes and just as good as the real thing!

vegan pledge

Week Two: A Vegan Adjustment

By the beginning of my second week on the pledge I had broken out in a rash of little white bumps all over my face and neck. This happened to me once before about two years ago when I first started introducing lots of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha into my diet. I’m pretty sure this rash signifies some sort of detox reaction. Thankfully it has completely cleared up and my skin is actually better than ever now.

I also experienced quite a few headaches this week. Again the exact same thing happened two years ago with the fermented foods. These headaches can likely be attributed to my significant change in diet having now been on a fully vegan diet about three weeks overall. I started eating vegan about a week before I took the 30 day pledge. Of course it is to be expected that my body will take a little while to adjust.

vegan pledge

I’m going to do a separate post on how I got on with eating out as a vegan having tried a few new places this week. Stay tuned for that.

Despite skin flare ups and headaches in week two I have really been enjoying the food I’m eating as I move forward towards the second half of my vegan pledge. Week three of my thirty day vegan pledge is coming soon!

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Find week three of my 30 day vegan pledge here. Catch up on why I took the 30 day vegan pledge here and check out how I got on with week one of the pledge here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

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Vegan Pledge: Week One Vegan Food Diary

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Welcome to week one of my vegan food diary! Having made the pledge to go vegan for 30 days and stocked up my newly vegan pantry I was all set to get started on my first week following a 100% vegan diet.

To be honest, I’ve been eating a largely plant based diet for the past few months but I hadn’t committed to it 100%. I had already been eating vegan for the week prior to taking the vegan pledge. I decided against backdating the start of my pledge and didn’t include the previous week as part of the 30 days. That means that when I finish the 30 day pledge I will actually have completed 37 days vegan ???? This is far more than the seven or eight consecutive days I would’ve ever managed before!

Day one of my vegan pledge officially started on 6/7/17 ????

Week One: Vegan Food Diary

vegan food diary

Vegan Food Diary: Breakfast

Porridge was an easy go to breakfast. I soaked my Merry Mill oats the night before in dairy free milk. I topped my oats with fruit – banana and frozen berry as well as adding flax and goji berry mix (from Aldi) and chia seeds. This is a great filling breakfast.

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Pancakes were another breakfast option this week! These ones were made with quinoa and flax and smothered in coconut yoghurt, maple syrup and berries!

vegan food diary

Smoothies were also on the menu. Filled with fruit, nut milk, veggies, linseed and chia with a scoop of plant based protein powder.vegan food diary

Vegan Food Diary: Midweek Dinners

The first dinner I made was a coconut chana masala. I love this meal! Served with brown basmati.

vegan food diary

I also made two sweet potato and puy lentil bakes. One went to the freezer!

I made a vegan cider and samphire chowder as shown below.

vegan food diary

Below you can see my pesto pasta with olive and sun-dried tomato and sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes. This was a quick and easy dinner to throw together and exceptionally tasty!

vegan food diary

Another super easy dinner was this loaded baked sweet potato filled with black bean chilli, guacamole, chillies and vegan cheese.

vegan food diary

Vegan Food Diary: Weekend Food

vegan food diary This pasta dish is similar to the previous one but with the addition of plenty of fresh basil. Such a yummy comfort food! I used Dove’s Farm brown rice pasta.

vegan food diary I marinated some tempeh as shown above (uncooked). Tempeh is one of my new favourite foods and this was my first time having it! I fried it and served it with some black bean burger bites, avocado salsa and home made potato wedges. One of my favourite meals this week!

vegan food diary

I also ate out three times this week and I’m going to add those to a separate post on eating out as a vegan!

I definitely ate abundantly this week and enjoyed a balanced diet which included various sources of carbohydrate, protein and fat. There were so many varieties of flavour to enjoy in each dish.

I definitely feel like I bought far too much food in my first vegan shop! I didn’t realise how full I would feel eating this way, that has probably been the biggest surprise. The good thing is that a lot of what I purchased are pantry staples that I thought would last me the thirty days – they’ll actually more likely last me two or three months!

Hope you enjoyed this vegan food diary! Lots more to come as I continue on the 30 day vegan pledge ????

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Check out week two of My 30 Day Vegan Pledge here. Find my vegan grocery shop here.  Read about why I took the pledge in the first place here.

vegan food diary

Vegan Grocery Shop: Week One

vegan grocery shop

Upon deciding to make the commitment to go vegan for thirty days, I knew I needed to stock up on some plant-based staples. Most of what I’ve included in this vegan grocery shop was purchased in Sainsbury’s. I’ll talk you through what I picked up and how I intend to use it!

Vegan Grocery Shop Essentials

1. Vegetables!

vegan grocery shop

Possibly the most obvious thing to get when doing a vegan grocery shop! I stocked up on lots of vegetables for the week including carrots, onions, leeks, parsnip and turnip for a vegan chowder I was planning to make. Spinach for salads and smoothies. Mushrooms for pastas, soups and my portobello pizzas. Beetroot, spring onion and broccoli for salads. Potato and sweet potato for mash and potato salad. Of course lots of the basics like carrot and onion would be used in a number of recipes over the course of the week.

vegan grocery shop vegan grocery shop

2. Fruit

I don’t tend to eat tonnes of fruit. I stocked up on frozen berries (not pictured) including blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, as well as a mixed summer berry frozen selection. I usually use these on top of porridge or chia pudding and in smoothies. Bananas are so nice in smoothies or with nut butter on toast as a quick and satisfying snack. I also got up a box of cherries to snack on. Avocado will be used in salads and to make guacamole ??. Lemons and limes with be used for gin and tonic flavouring various salsas, salad dressings and recipes. I picked up the bramley apples to make my own apple sauce as it is often used as a substitute in healthier vegan baking. I’ll freeze the sauce in one-cup portions.

vegan grocery shop

3. Herbs

I bought a selection of herbs for cooking with. Fresh herbs make such a difference to the flavour of any dish. My most used are probably basil and corriander. I also picked up samphire for the chowder I was making, parsley, thyme, tarragon and chives. I have a selection of dried herbs and spices too which are also brilliant for adding flavour.

vegan grocery shop

4. Beans and Lentils

Of course no vegan shopping list would be complete without a selection of beans and lentils. Buying them dry and in bulk from the likes of an Asian supermarket is by far the cheapest but for now I just picked up a variety of types. I got some dried chickpeas and black beans also (not pictured) that I will soak, cook and freeze in one can equivalent portions.

vegan grocery shop

vegan grocery shop
These were lentils I already had in the press and will be using over the next thirty days!

5. Nuts and Seeds

Another plant-based staple. I will use these in baking, salads and various other recipes. Seseme seeds are high in calcium so are good to include on a vegan diet. I also have a bag of brazil nuts (not pictured) which are high in selenium – just two brazil nuts a day will help you reach your recommended daily allowance of selenium. Also not pictured are my chia seeds and linseed/flax which I use daily in either smoothies, porridge or chia pudding. I love them!

vegan grocery shop

6. Wholegrains

I stocked up on quinoa, brown basmati, buckwheat and polenta. I also got some brown rice pasta and want to get some quinoa and buckwheat pasta from the health food shop. I love the Ogran wholegrain buckwheat pasta. I will use quinoa to make tabouleh style dishes as well as using it as a side for various dishes. Rice will also serve as a side for the likes of curries and dahl.

Quinoa and buckwheat can also be used as a substitute for porridge to change things up a bit. I’ve never used polenta before! But I’ve noticed it in a few vegan recipes so I picked up a bag to give it a go. I’ve also got some porridge oats from The Merry Mill which I got at Bloom this year. I soak them the night before and they are the best oats I’ve ever had! So porridge will also be on the menu.

vegan grocery shop

7. Tofu

Tofu is fairly new to me. I’ve never really used it before. I picked up a selection when doing my vegan grocery shop. I thought I’d try out a few types over the next thirty days. Tofu is high in plant-based protein so will help me to increase my protein intake on this diet. Its very inexpensive, particularly compared to meat! But can be used in a similar way in recipes.

vegan grocery shop

8. Vegan Milk Substitutes

vegan grocery shop

I have been using unsweetened almond milk for quite some time. The Aldi and Tesco versions are great because they are so much cheaper. I decided to branch out and try a variety of different vegan milk substitutes over the next thirty days as there are so many types to choose from now. I go through plenty of these milk substitutes making smoothies, porridge and chia pudding as well as using them in tea.

9. Vegan Cheese !!!

Vegan cheese has become so much more readily available. Sainsbury’s have their own Free From range of cheese which is completely vegan. I picked up a selection as shown below. They also have a plain cream cheese, a Wensleydale and cranberry vegan cheese and a caramelised onion vegan cheddar. I haven’t tried them yet but perhaps I will next time.

vegan grocery shop

10. Pantry Essentials and Flavourful Additions

I picked up vinegars, oils, tinned tomato, tomato purée, passata, coconut cream, vegan stock and, of course, hot sauce ?. These will be used in a wide variety of recipes.

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I also got some jars of chillies, capers and roasted red peppers. I love olives so I picked up some garlic stuffed ones as well as some sun soaked tomatoes to throw into salads and pasta dishes. The Good 4U lentil sprout mix is really high in protein and I’ve used them before in salads. I also got some fresh chillies to use in various recipes. I couldn’t resist a jar of cashew butter too!

vegan grocery shop

I was delighted to come across this vegan pesto too! So handy for pasta and pizza dishes.

vegan grocery shop

I picked up some mustard for making salad dressings. Ketchup and a few herbs and spices that I had run out of. I already have a fairly well stocked spice/herb rack so cumin and kaffir lime leaves were the only two I was out of this week.

vegan grocery shop

I got some oat cakes for snacking. I love topping them with hummus or the aforementioned vegan cream cheese ?

vegan grocery shop

And of course no vegan grocery shop would be complete without tea!

vegan grocery shop

These are the basics of my shop this week. I stocked up on a lot of pantry staples so I shouldn’t need to repurchase them over the next thirty days. Hopefully I will just need to do top up shops for fresh fruit and veg over the next few weeks. I will let you know! I already have vegan protein powder which I’ve been using for quite a while now and nutritional yeast which is another vegan staple. I’ll do weekly vegan grocery shop updates to let you know what else I come across. I am planning a separate post on vegan snacks and treats. It will also be interesting to see how much this vegan diet costs in comparison to a meat/dairy/egg/honey consuming one. Stay tuned!

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Read about why I’ve taken the thirty day vegan pledge here. Also read about my first week on the pledge here.

vegan grocery shop

Veganism Revisited: A New Vegan Challenge!

Veganism

As I mentioned over on Instagram and Facebook, I’ve decided to revisit veganism. Last week I signed up for the thirty day Vegan pledge with the Vegan Society.

Over the last few months I have spent some time learning more about the values of veganism. It is something I want to explore again, having already completed a vegan challenge back in August 2015. In fact, that initial vegan series was the very first I published when I started The Clean Coconut!

Back then, despite how much I wanted to be, I wasn’t completely sold on veganism. I didn’t feel entirely sustained on the diet and whilst I certainly reduced my consumption of animal products from then on, I didn’t completely eliminate them.

Veganism

Over the last few months I have been eating a more plant based diet than ever. I have found that eating this way really suits me and fits well with my values. I have also realised that when I initially undertook the vegan challenge I probably wasn’t eating enough calories. I was following the Beyoncé diet and even though I never felt hungry during that initial vegan week, I don’t think my body was getting the energy I needed on what was an 80% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 10% fat calorie split. The plan was quite low calorie, and even though I often doubled portion sizes and added in extra snacks, I still lost weight over the course of the week. Clearly I can afford to fill up even more on a plant based diet in order to feel truly energised and sustained!


Veganism

At the time I blamed a lack of supplementation for the weakness I felt by the end of that initial vegan week, however I now realise it was also due to the low calorie diet. I have completed many more vegan weeks since then, particularly in recent months, and I have not experienced those same feelings. I have eaten abundantly, without following any particular “plan”. I have learned that veganism can make for a nourishing and satisfying diet.

Veganism

When I look back on what I dubbed the “improvable” aspects of the vegan diet I followed in 2015, I can see how many of them have in fact now been improved upon. When I first took on that week long vegan challenge I was living in Belfast. There were absolutely no vegan restaurants there at the time. Now, in 2017, I can name at least four restaurants which cater specifically (and three exclusively) for a vegan diet. I can also name countless other restaurants which have extensive vegan menus available. Thankfully there has been a huge upsurge in people seeking to follow a plant-based diet and the market has finally begun to cater for them.

Veganism

In 2015 I also felt that there weren’t many vegan alternatives to convenience foods but this is certainly not the case now. I can think of plenty of brands offering vegan alternatives! There are also tonnes of “accidentally” vegan foods ranging from the clean eating variety to the not-so-clean-eating types (hello Oreos, Skittles and Jelly Tots!) . When I first tried a vegan diet I had to go to specialised health food shops to get alternatives like vegan cheese but these are now readily available in the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s. I can even think of three local Belfast pizzerias that offer a vegan cheese alternative on their restaurant and take away menus. These vegan options are only going to continue to grow as demand increases.

Veganism

Until now, I don’t think I’ve ever spent longer than seven consecutive days on a vegan diet at any one time. Currently I’ve been eating a vegan diet for 14 days and have committed to sticking to it throughout the thirty day pledge I’ve made with the Vegan Society (and hopefully beyond that!). I took the pledge seven days ago. I hope to share my experience with you through various blogs, reviews, and food diaries over the next thirty days.

Veganism

Of course veganism is about much more than just a plant-based diet. It is about living a life that does not contribute to animal cruelty or exploitation in any way – including via the products we use, the entertainment we choose and the clothes we wear. It can seem overwhelming but even small changes can help to create a more sustainable planet and healthier environment for ourselves and for future generations. Revisiting veganism for the next thirty days certainly can’t do any harm!

The Clean Coconut x

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A Little Life Update: Summer 2017

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Hello Coconuts!

Its been a while and its safe to say that for me, the last few months have been quite a whirlwind! If you follow my social media accounts you will know that at the end of March I was involved in a car crash which essentially stopped me in my tracks and left me with injuries that I am still dealing with. While I focused on recovery, my blog and my training definitely took a back seat! Now that summer is in full swing, I am hoping to have time to write and share new blog posts with you more frequently ?

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But it certainly hasn’t all been bad news! Many of you will also know that in June 2017 myself and my now fiancé Ciarán got engaged ?? So it has been an exciting month of catching up with friends and family and enjoying this very special time in our lives ?

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Finally, I have spent a lot of time over the past few months taking the time to reevaluate my priorities. When life suddenly stops you in your tracks and turns your plans upside down it gives you reason to think twice about what is truly important, and that has been a blessing. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends and family, near and far, who have shared in our joyous times and been so supportive in the more difficult times over the last few months.

Here’s to a deeper layer of understanding being unveiled in this journey called life.

The Clean Coconut ??

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A Dozen Convenient FODMAP Safe Options

FODMAP Safe

Low FODMAP eating takes a bit of getting used to. It can be easy to make mistakes on the diet, especially in the initial stages. Not being able to reach for a convenient snack or treat can create a feeling of deprivation and frustration. It took me a while to figure out some go-to treats or convenience foods that I could rely on while still strictly following a FODMAP safe diet.

Of course it goes without saying that some of these options are just treats and shouldn’t make up the bulk of your eating. After all, if you are living on pizza and chocolate your digestions probably isn’t likely to improve drastically!

Remember that fructose needs to be limited on the low FODMAP diet. Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Whilst glucose helps the absorption of fructose in the small intestine, thus making sucrose FODMAP safe, excess amounts of sucrose may still be malabsorbed. Therefore, it is important not to binge on sugary FODMAP safe foods as you may inadvertently be eating too much fructose for your intestine to cope with absorbing. That said, not everyone who follows the low FODMAP diet will be a fructose malabsorber.

It is important to regularly check the ingredients of anything you intend to eat on the low FODMAP diet. Product ingredients can change and while these options were perfectly safe when I was following the diet, they may not always be in the future.

Finally, remember that more and more foods are being tested for their FODMAP load, so going forward, there may be additional options that become FODMAP safe. (Yay!)

A Dozen FODMAP Safe Options:

 

  1. Pizza Express Gluten Free Margarita

FODMAP SafeI was very excited when I realised I could still enjoy pizza on the low FODMAP diet. Pizza Express’ gluten free margarita is available to buy in the supermarket to cook at home too! I picked mine up in Sainsbury’s. I also dined at the Pizza Express restaurant on one occasion and chose this low FODMAP option. When I make the margarita at home I often add my own toppings so that I can vary the pizza’s flavour. I add the likes of olives, spinach, rocket, parma ham and other low FODMAP options.

2. Mark’s and Spencer’s Made Without Wheat Chocolate Chip Shortbread Rounds

FODMAP Safe

These biscuits made for a really nice treat with a cup of tea and were also a good option for taking along when visiting friends or family.

3. Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate

FODMAP Safe

I am a huge fan of Green & Black’s and their dark chocolate is perfect for the low FODMAP diet. Again be mindful of sugar intake. I especially like to go for the 85% cocoa bar.

4. Emily Fruit Crisps:
FODMAP Safe

Whilst dried fruit is not FODMAP safe, these banana chips are safe once portion controlled. Try sprinkling on oats or pancakes for some sweet crunch. 

5. Montezuma’s Sea Dog Dark Chocolate with Lime and Sea SaltFODMAP Safe

I wasn’t sure that this flavour combination would work but actually it was delicious and something different. You can get sick of the same flavours when on a restrictive diet so I found this a nice alternative for a new burst of flavour.

6. Booja-Booja Chocolate Truffles

FODMAP Safe

Booja-Booja chocolate truffles are hands down my favourites! Bare in mind that the various flavours will contain different FODMAP loads. These hazelnut truffles  would have to be limited in portion (due to the hazelnuts), other flavours would have a lower FODMAP load. These are delicious!

7. Mini Moos Bunnycomb Bar

FODMAP SafeThis vegan and gluten free chocolate is so nice! The crunchy “bunnycomb” flavour is so tasty.

8. Doves Farm Cookies

FODMAP Safe

These Doves Farm cookies are organic and free from gluten, milk, peanut, egg and soya. They are FODMAP safe and come in a number of flavours including stem ginger (as above), a chocolate chip variation and an extra indulgent double chocolate flavour. Warning: these are addictive!

9. Artisan Bread Organic

FODMAP Safe

I can’t say enough about how great these Artisan Bread Organic options are. Check out their website to see their range. I ordered the pizza bases, quinoa and buckwheat breads, gluten free sourdough, oaties and gluten free scones. All of these options were low FODMAP, gluten free and most of them (minus the sourdough) were also free of added yeast. They are traditionally made using leaven making them easier to digest. Check out the pizza (below) that I made using one of their bases. It was incredibly good!

FODMAP Safe

10. Mothergrain Express QuinoaFODMAP Safe

Not a typical ‘treat’ but these express quinoa packs are so handy for filling out a meal. A perfect low FODMAP convenience and a great way to add fibre to the diet.

11. Big Oz Quinoa Flakes

FODMAP Safe

I used these quinoa flakes to switch up my usual bowl of oats. Another great low FODMAP option and again a brilliant way to add more whole grains and fibre to the diet. A very wholesome option!

12. My Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

FODMAP Safe

This chocolate chip peanut butter cookie recipe that I came up with is FODMAP safe. If you are in the mood to bake something up in the kitchen then give these a go!

 

There you have it. A dozen low FODMAP options that I relied on when following the diet! I hope it is helpful. Let me know what options you like best. I would  love to know what other treats and convenience foods you tend to rely on when on the low FODMAP diet too!

The Clean Coconut x

FODMAP Safe

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I love chia pudding. Apart from being one of the most Instagram-able  treats, it also packs a seriously nutritious punch. It is one of my favourite breakfasts as it is low in sugar and high in fibre, protein and good fats. I find it a great way to start the day, keeping me full until lunchtime. It also feels like a nice treat and could easily be eaten as dessert too! The good news is that chia pudding is so easy to make!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Vegan Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

Serves: 1-2

Nutrition: Approximate macros based on the amount provided for  in this recipe (or one whole serving size) and the use of Sunwarrior vegan protein powder are; 31g protein, 24g carbs and 21g fat with a total of 405 calories. The recipe contains  only 2g sugar and a massive 20g fibre to keep you full and satiated! Macros stated above do not include optional added toppings.

Ingredients: 

  • 50g or approx. 4 dessert spoons whole chia seeds
  • 5g or approx 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • 250ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 30g or approx 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder (I’m using Sunwarrior vegan protein at the moment*)

*The specific protein powder used may affect absorbency of liquid in this recipe, but not by much. I find that vegan protein thickens the pudding slightly more than whey protein.

Toppings: Optional – I usually choose a couple of options from the following list;

  • Berries – blueberry/raspberry/strawberry
  • Coconut Yoghurt
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Shelled Hemp
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Ground linseed

These toppings will keep your chia pudding low carb while enhancing the amount of plant-based proteins, fats and fibre in the finished meal!

Method:

  1. In a sealable container, add the chia, cacao and protein powder and mix. Next add the unsweetened almond milk and stir before placing the lid on the container and shaking vigorously. It is important that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed so that the chia seeds can evenly absorb the liquid overnight.
  2. Ensuring all of the seeds have been well mixed in the container, place in the fridge and leave overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir up and transfer the pudding to a bowl. Add your toppings. (If you intend taking the pudding with you to eat on the go then just add your toppings to the container and reseal until you are ready to eat!)
  4. Enjoy!

The Clean Coconut x

P.S. This recipe is very high in fibre (approx 20g before toppings are added!). It is always a good idea to gradually increase your fibre intake if you are not already used to eating a plant-based fibre rich diet ?

Chocolate Chia Pudding

28 Tasty Low FODMAP Flavour Options

As you may know, I recently spent six weeks following a strict low FODMAP diet. One of my main concerns upon beginning the diet was how I would flavour my meals. The low FODMAP diet cuts out garlic and onion, both of which form the base of many soups, sauces, casseroles and stocks. Because I love to cook, I knew I would have to get my thinking cap on and find a way to add flavour to my meals whilst still keeping them strictly low FODMAP. Below I have listed the main ingredients I relied on for adding low FODMAP flavour to my meals!

low FODMAP Flavour

Low FODMAP Flavour

 

  • Garlic Infused Olive Oil

The holy grail of low FODMAP flavour is garlic infused olive oil. Garlic is most certainly out, but FODMAPs cannot leach into oil in the same way they can leach into water. This effectively means that infusing oil with garlic and then removing all of the actual garlic pieces will render the remaining oil low FODMAP. I didn’t make my own garlic infused olive oil but I did find bottles of it in Tesco. I love garlic so for me it was a great find!

  • Spring Onion & Chives

For onions I substituted spring onion (green part only!) and chives. I was really surprised at how great they were for flavouring my meals in place of onions. I tended to use the chives in salads and the spring onion in cooked meals.

  • Asafoetida Powder

I had never heard of this spice until I started the low FODMAP diet. It is a pungent spice that is said to mimic the flavour of onion. It should be used sparingly as it can overpower a meal. I typically used a half teaspoon or so when I was making the likes of a curry or bolognese.

  • Capers

I love capers and they are a great flavourful addition, particularly to fish and pasta dishes. I often added a few drained capers to my dishes.

  • Olives

Olives seem to be something one either loves or hates – I love them! They add great flavour to dishes. For a hotter flavour variation try pimento stuffed olives too.

  • Tabasco

Tabasco is a FODMAP safe hot sauce that can be used to add flavour to dishes. I’m a big fan of hot sauce so I was glad to find one I could use while on the diet!

  • Spices

Thankfully most spices are FODMAP safe. I used plenty of turmeric, paprika (smoked and sweet!), chilli flakes and cayenne pepper while on the low FODMAP diet.

  • Herbs

Most herbs are FODMAP safe too! I stocked up on lots of fresh and dry herbs to use in my cooking. I mainly relied on basil, oregano, parsley, coriander, rosemary, thyme and sage.

  • Salt and Pepper

Plain and simple and FODMAP safe!

  • Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

I used these to make sauces for stir fries and they gave great flavour. Try a FODMAP safe soy sauce for the same effect.

  • Lea & Perin’s Worcestershire Sauce

This is FODMAP safe in small amounts – up to 2 tablespoons.

  • Mayonaise

Another great FODMAP safe condiment – make sure the brand you choose contains no added high FODMAP foods in the ingredients.

  • Tomato Ketchup and/or Purée

I sometimes mixed ketchup and mayo to make a mary-rose sauce for another low FODMAP flavour. I found tomato puree fantastic in bolognese and lasagne recipes. Be sure the ketchup you choose has no high FODMAP ingredients.

  • Fresh ginger

I usually peel my ginger root and freeze the thumbs to grate into dishes as needed.

  • Fresh Turmeric

    This also freezes well and can be added to curries and other dishes for low FODMAP flavour.

  • Fish Sauce

    Get the real thing from an Asian supermarket and use sparingly! I often add fish sauce to stir fries along with my tamari.

  • Lemon and Lime

Lemon and lime are great for salsas and salad dressings. They give a great kick and are FODMAP safe!

  • Vinegar

Vinegar is a great way to add low FODMAP flavour to salads. I often used apple cider vinegar. Be careful with balsamic vinegar as it has a FODMAP limit.

  • Low FODMAP Stock

I still made my homemade chicken stock while on the low FODMAP diet, but I had to make some changes to my recipe. I didn’t include any celery or onion but I did use green spring onion and carrot along with my chicken carcass and some other low FODMAP veggie scraps and herbs! Having lots of this stock in the freezer made flavouring my one-pot dinners very easy! I was pleasantly surprised that the low FODMAP version of my stock was just as flavourful as my normal recipe.

  • Fermented Vegetables and Pickled Foods:

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that I love fermented foods. I had to be careful about which ones I included in my low FODMAP diet. I mainly stuck to fermented ginger carrots and sauerkraut. You can pretty much ferment any low FODMAP vegetable you like to make it burst with flavour! Pickles are also great, I used gherkins in some meals while I was eating low FODMAP.

  • Cheese

There are plenty of cheeses that are FODMAP safe. Great low FODMAP flavour options are parmesan, mature cheddar, feta and blue cheese. Arla also do a great lactose free range.

  • Anchovies

I often used anchovies to make the base of sauces for pasta dishes. They add amazing low FODMAP flavour.

  • Wine

Red and white wine can be added to plenty of recipes to add a depth of low FODMAP flavour. Of course the alcohol evaporates when cooked but the flavour remains!

  • Sun-dried Tomato

These have a FODMAP limit but can be used in small amounts for added flavour.

…And for Something a little Sweeter!

low FODMAP flavour

  • Maple Syrup

A great low FODMAP sweetener. Ration sensibly ???

  • Peanut Butter

Delicious in sweet recipes. Peanut butter can also be a lovely ingredient to add to a bowl of oats or to spread on low FODMAP toast.

  • Cacao and Dark Chocolate

A perfectly indulgent low FODMAP flavour to use in the creation of lots of decadent desserts.

  • Vanilla

    Try using vanilla extract or vanilla pods when creating sweet options for another flavour option.

Low FODMAP Flavour

And there you have it; twenty eight low FODMAP flavourful additions to include in your diet. Of course I use most of the above whether I’m eating low FODMAP or not! Once you get the hang of eating low FODMAP you will start to feel less deprived and realise that there is a wealth of flavourful foods to choose from. Eating out still poses a challenge when eating low FODMAP but if you can get into the habit of cooking at home, you can be sure there are plenty of ways to create a variety of meals that are full of flavour.

Please remember that the low FODMAP diet is a medically recommended short-term elimination diet and should only be followed under the guidance of a registered, FODMAP trained dietician. Please also be aware that research into FODMAPs is ongoing and FODMAP safe foods and limits may change. Always consult the latest research and check the ingredients as these may change too. I found the King’s College London FODMAP iphone app invaluable while on the diet, as was the Monash low FODMAP app.

Don’t forget to share your low FODMAP flavour inspirations with me too!

The Clean Coconut x

Low FODMAP Flavour

 

 

Low FODMAP Diet: My Six Week Update

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Hello all!

I hope 2017 is treating you well so far. As promised in my first low FODMAP blog post, I am going to go through my first six weeks on the diet and let you know how I got on.

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In this blog post I will share lots of the meals I ate over the course of the six weeks. This will hopefully provide inspiration for those of you who are about to undertake a low FODMAP diet or are already following one. Please remember that one should not commence a low FODMAP diet without prior consultation with a registered dietician. There are many causes of digestive distress that must be ruled out before a low FODMAP diet is advised, hence why I first had to undergo testing for coeliac disease.

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A low FODMAP breakfast

I started the diet two weeks prior to seeing a dietician. I couldn’t get an appointment  any sooner and wasn’t keen on delaying commencement. I decided to use the Monash and Kings College London apps to guide me until I could see my dietician. I was eager to find out if this diet would help my symptoms and was keen to get started.

I did make a few mistakes initially, mainly due to conflicting information on the two apps. I was eating cottage cheese and canned lentils, I also had too much of some of the FODMAP safe fruits. Portion control is so important on the low FODMAP diet, its not quite as simple as completely cutting out certain foods, rather many foods can be eaten, but only in a specific portion size. Once I saw the dietician and showed her my food diary she was able to advise me on where I was going wrong.

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Too much fruit! Even though banana and strawberry are FODMAP safe fruits, the portion needs to limited to a maximum of 80g in one sitting.

My dietician also advised me to include more chia and linseed in my diet. This was great because I always loved chia and linseed for digestion but I was afraid they weren’t allowed on the diet (particularly linseed). However she assured me that during her King’s College London training it was made clear that up to four dessert spoons of linseed were FODMAP safe.

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Low FODMAP lasagne – I came up with the one myself and will share it soon!

I have to say that I didn’t really find the diet too difficult to follow. It just meant cooking everything from scratch, which is I what I usually do anyway. However, the hardest part was eating out or visiting people. I tended to just eat before I visited friends and family so that I could be sure I was sticking to the diet. I rarely ate out during the six weeks because I didn’t want to risk breaking the diet.  Baring in mind that the low FODMAP diet is a short term diet which should last not much more than 2-6 weeks, it is important to keep to it strictly during that time.

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My birthday did fall during my six weeks on the low FODMAP diet and for it I took a trip to Pizza Express as they do a low FODMAP pizza that I could enjoy! Along with a glass of red ? (I love pizza!) I have to say that it tasted just as good as normal pizza and I definitely didn’t feel deprived!

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Low FODMAP: Six Weeks In

Over the six weeks, and in particular after seeing the dietician and taking her advice on board, my bloating improved drastically, completely disappearing for most of the time. However, through my food diary I had noted two things that seemed to keep causing symptoms to reappear; eggs and Genius gluten free bread. I had been relying more on eggs as so many other foods were reduced in my diet. Eggs are FODMAP safe, as is the Genius bread. I usually ate the eggs and the bread together so I couldn’t say for sure which was the culprit. I wondered whether low FODMAP held the complete answer for me. Indeed, until I took the dietician’s advice regarding the incorporation of more linseed and chia seed into my diet I hadn’t seen a very drastic change in my digestion.

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After six weeks on the diet I did feel like I was getting somewhere. I thought I could perhaps keep the diet up but try to avoid Genius bread and eggs. I felt like I was probably 85% of the way towards being symptom free. The dietician had also advised me that it may take as much as 8 weeks to really see the results.  However, by this stage Christmas was fast approaching and my commitment was fading.

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In order to complete the low FODMAP process one has to individually test or “challenge” one’s tolerance to each individual FODMAP. Whilst doing so, the diet must remain completely and strictly low FODMAP. Essentially this would mean remaining on the low FODMAP diet for another couple of months while I tested each food and noted whether symptoms returned. At any other time of year I probably would have done so, but I didn’t feel it was worth giving up my Christmas and I wanted to enjoy my time spent both visiting and entertaining family and friends. I wanted to make my traditional Christmas pudding and mince pies and be able enjoy them. I am lucky enough not to have IBS and so I knew that any symptoms that might return wouldn’t be that bad. In contrast, I know plenty of people on the low FODMAP diet for IBS who endeavoured to keep strictly to their diet over Christmas, because a return of their symptoms would have been debilitating.

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I decided that I would ease off the low FODMAP diet as Christmas approached. That said, I often made choices that would suit the diet. Overall I was surprised that my symptoms didn’t really deteriorate very much. I kept up my probiotics over Christmas and I assume they helped my body to cope with the richer foods I was eating. I was taking Symprove in the morning (I think I must be on my fifth course of it now!) and I was taking Alflorex too, which the dietician had also recommended. She explained that she would initially recommend Alflorex  because it is an Irish brand and is less expensive than Symprove. If Alflorex doesn’t work for her clients then Symprove would be her next port of call. She was happy for me to continue on Symprove as I was already taking it. In December I saw Alflorex on special in Boots and decided to pick it up and try it out too.

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What’s Next?

My plan had been to restart the low FODMAP diet in the new year and get stuck into the challenges. I’ll keep you updated on whether I go ahead with that or not. Please remember that the low FODMAP diet is a diet which restricts a lot of healthy and nourishing foods and therefore should not be undertake unless advised by a medical professional. It is also essential that one does not remain on a low FODMAP diet long term (i.e. beyond the recommended 6-8 weeks of strict low FODMAP) before commencing reintroductions. FODMAPs feed your microbiome and may play an important role in gut health too. Many people who follow a low FODMAP diet will find that they can vary their diet greatly after they go through the reintroduction phase as they may not react badly to all FODMAPs.

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When I look back on the elimination diet I followed in 2015 after food intolerance testing, I wonder if the elimination of certain FODMAPs along with the introduction of a good quality probiotic was the reason for my improvement in symptoms at that time. I don’t recommend food intolerance testing – unlike the low FODMAP diet it is not research or evidence based. However, at that time I had eliminated eggs, dairy, yeast and gluten. this meant cutting out a lot of foods that I now know to be high in FODMAPS. These included yoghurt, milk, whey, wheat, mushroom and dried fruit. I am therefore inclined to believe that some of the foods I restricted at time are the ones that I don’t tolerate well in larger portions.

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Eggs – even thought they are FODMAP safe, they seemed to be a problem for me when I analysed my food diary. I will test them out separately.

When I did the Vegan Challenge my digestion was better than ever despite the fact that I included a lot of foods that I now know to be high in FODMAPs. These included cauliflower, garlic, onion, sweet potato, avocado and beans/legumes. I assume that if I did go through the reintroductions properly, these foods would likely not be problematic for me.

It may also be the case that an overall high FODMAP load may be harder to handle than an overall reduced FODMAP load, rather than specific individual foods being a problem.

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At the moment I am still contemplating whether or not to go ahead with the reintroduction phase. I don’t particularly want to go back on the diet strictly! Especially when it means cutting out some foods that I don’t seem to react to. That said, I also don’t want to cut out more foods than I need to in the long run, so it may be worth testing foods out in the coming months. I will let you know what I decide to do going forward! Right now I am focusing on nourishing my body with lots of whole, fresh, plant-based foods as much as possible.

The Clean Coconut x

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