I was so thrilled to learn a few months ago that the lovely Emma Hatcher (aka @shecanteatwhat) was working on a recipe book for the low FODMAP diet. Her book, The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen, is out now and contains 100 low FODMAP recipes that span breakfast, dinner, snacks and sweet treats to boot.
Em starts the book by sharing an experience that many of us relate to, walking us through the perils of IBS: the social stigma that exists around the syndrome and the journey that followed after she learned of the low FODMAP diet. I LOVE that Em talks about breaking the taboo around IBS. It’s not an easy topic to speak out about, and with 1 in 7 suffering from the syndrome it’s so important that we start talking openly about our experiences and the steps we can take to make our bodies feel better!
At the start of her book, Em takes the time to walk us through the diet, explaining how best to go through the various phases. She goes on to talk about this new way of cooking, and lists out staple kitchen ingredients which is hugely useful.
Then come the recipes. First, we get a good grounding in low FODMAP essentials like how to make fluffy quinoa and grains that many will be unfamiliar with, i.e. buckwheat. Very useful for those embarking on the diet for the first time.
There are then a whole host of yummy looking recipes, including low FODMAP juices if that’s your thing, snacks and sides and lots of sweet things in there too. The mains look deliciously light and fresh, but the majority don’t look to be huge portions so I’m not sure how well the recipes would cater to those needing more hearty meals and bigger portion sizes.
A note on lactose! The materials my dietician supplied me with, distributed by the NHS, did make it clear that you can enjoy 2 tbsp of regular yoghurt (i.e. not lactose free) in one portion. This is a bit of a life saver but it didn’t come through in the book. Em also uses lactose-free butter, which is confusing to me as butter contains no carbohydrate and therefore no lactose. Too much fat can irritate your tummy if you have IBS, but there is no need to switch to dairy-free butter, just use sparingly if fat is a trigger for you.
What’s really useful is Em’s sample menus at the back of the book, where she combines recipes for five occasions i.e. having the girls round for dinner. It’s a really nice idea – it would have been brilliant if she’d included a weekly sample menu too!
The recipes I can’t wait to make…
- Breakfast: Fluffy banana cinnamon pancakes
- Lunch: Aubergine quinoa rolls
- Dinner: Creamy polenta with mozzarella & burst tomatoes (right up my street!)
- Sweet treat: Hippie bars
I think this is a wonderful book, filled with inspiring recipes and content that make a hugely bewildering diet accessible and fun. This is a great step in the right direction for the low FODMAP diet and I’m confident that Em’s book will encourage many, many people wherever they are on their FODMAP journey!
The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen is published by the same publisher who brought us the Deliciously Ella series and a host of other aspirational diet books. Because of this, my fear is that this fantastic book might result in the low FODMAP diet being unfairly lumped together with these lifestyle fads so currently in vogue, potentially drawing the wrong kind of attention to what currently is the only proven long-term treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. This is a diet that should only be followed with the support of a GP and registered dietician. Em does stress this repeatedly, however if a book as aspirational as this one is published alongside books on clean eating, I can see its contents falling into all sorts of the wrong hands. Please only buy this book if you have already sought the proper medical guidance following your IBS diagnosis; the low FODMAP diet is not one to be adopted because you sometimes feel bloated after a big meal (we all do!).
I was at Em’s launch of The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen last week over at Borough Market, trying all sorts of wonderful sweet treats from her book. I’ve pictured some of these below so you can see for yourselves how tasty these look! Em, I wish you all the best for this book; it’s fab to see something like this in print and a brilliant achievement that I know will inspire many people.