Since being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome I’d spent a lot of time worrying about my summer holiday. “What if the food has garlic/onions?”, “what if there is not dairy/gluten free breakfast option?”, “what am I supposed to eat for lunch if I can’t get a sandwich?” There was a whole host of questions and stress, all ultimately leading to the fear that this years holiday would be like the last where I was unwell for days.
So when we finally arrived in the outstandingly beautiful Poreč in Croatia earlier this month, I could have never anticipated just how much of a eating adventure it would be…
As it turns out the hotel was very good on the non-dairy front, I had a whole host of meats for my morning protein fix and lactose free and rice milk (turns out I rather like rice milk) to choose from at breakfast. So everyday started with a bowl of oats and fruit and then some rice crackers with meat. While my milk was strictly non dairy most days, dairy is where the first discovery lies in this trip. Through some cautious sampling I learned that (after avoiding it for 13 years) I can eat cheese and ice cream! Granted it’s only hard cheeses and 1 scoop portion wise for ice but this is an astronomical discovery of pure joy for me, two of my favourite treats are back on the menu!
In fact I discovered that there are plenty of awesome options on a low FODMAP diet, over the week I sampled some awesome risottos (cuttlefish was my favourite) and tucked into plenty of fresh fish, meats and veggies. I strongly suspect that I ate some disallowed food as pretty much everything is made with garlic &/or onions and one of the rissotos did have mushrooms but I seemed to survive as long as I stayed sensible and kept portions small.
Aside from the occasional naughty choices (breadcrumbs, mushrooms) the only real issues I faced were 1. Under ripe bananas (I love them, my stomach does not) and one evening when we went to the hotel grill restaurant. The grill restaurant was a preset menu and in reality was all FODMAP friendly food however, I am a child of the “you can’t leave till you finish all of your dinner” generation. So this meant I attempted to consume the overly generous offering of food (there were enough fries to feed 6 people), had the food confiscated by my partner and spent the next 2-3 days in significant discomfort. Honestly when it comes to controlling my willpower, I doubt I’ll ever learn…
So in short I worried a lot for nothing, FODMAP is tough in some aspects (mainly no Bread) but there are so many alternative options that I actually barely noticed that I was on a restricted diet. I’ve come home inspired and ready to make the most of what I’ve learned, namely with the desire to up my polenta and risotto game and get cheese and ice cream back into my life!
For now though it’s back home to a rather chilly feeling Scotland, oh well at least I have this memory to keep me warm!
This was today’s lunch experiment and I was so pleased with it that I decided I must waste no time and get it added to the site!
This beauty is the 2nd of my Low FODMAP Recipes but it’s really a great. One for everyone as you’re free to make it your own by adding your own favourite spice combo!
I teamed them with some M&S “Made without Wheat – super seeded sandwich thins” and some of my own homemade Asafoetida Mayonnaise (another awesome recipe I need to add) and it was awesome! I’m looking forward to trying this one again and topping it with a bit o’ cheese!
Go check it out and give it a try, you won’t regret it! Just click the photo to be taken to the recipe!
So a little more standard Blog update today and hopefully I can have more of these going forward (although I always say that and have yet to follow through on it).
In order to kickstart a more involved life and hopefully career in the food/fitness world I went to the “Allergy and Free From” show in SECC Glasgow today. Not exactly a premium food fitness event you say? Well I myself am lactose intolerant so from a food perspective this was something that felt worth a look!
As an added bonus I scored a free Ticket to the Scottish Cycling, Running and Outdoor Activities show as well! (I’ll write about this another time!)
The Allergy and Free From Show:
When I arrived my stomach knew right away that we were going to have problems. When it comes to food, my brain has no off switch; I will pretty much eat until I throw up, and today there were free samples everywhere.
While I was rather gracefully inhaling the all the free food one thing became apparent. All I had eaten was about 6 varieties of chocolate brownie along with cakes and cookies.
When I first realised I was dairy intolerant, I don’t recall ever thinking “oh god how will I live without chocolate brownies?!” Why were there so many brownies in this place? I supposed in the same way “sex sells” I guess events like this need to wheel out the sexy food to pull in the crowds, but seriously it was 80% cake, cookies, sausage rolls and deep fried fish and chips. Tesco was the redeeming provider here with savoury meals but again, microwave meals aren’t exactly the answer to my dairy free prayers. I’d like to have seen some more stands with healthy foods and ingredients like the Doves Farm stand; I could have easily cleaned out my bank account here had they only taken card payments…
Which takes me to a small rant/point; as someone who worked in the innovation dept in the finance industry. Why are these events so antiquated on the payment front? There were a so many things I would have bought, but couldn’t because it was cash only (& no way was I paying £1.75 to use the ATM). Admittedly in my unemployed state it was probably for the best, but still there are so many e-payment systems these days the whole “cash is king” approach feels very dated.
The final thought for the day was the reality that “Free from” still largely means “Gluten Free”. I have no problem with gluten (& let’s be honest, neither do about 90% of people that claim they can’t eat gluten) but annoyingly it’s trendy to not eat gluten, so while pretty much everything is gluten free (a super huge win for coeliacs though so not all bad), dairy free is still a tad rare. Not all was lost though, both Tesco and Sainsbury’s saved the day with vegan cheeses (never thought I’d write that). Seriously I tried vegan cheese about 13 years ago on first discovering my dairy intolerance and it was so vile that I vowed never to buy it again, but the samples I tried today actually tasted like cheese so I may be add cheese to the menu again!
So here’s the show in short:
I cannot live on brownies alone. More savoury options and less fast food
Vegan cheese is nice: who knew?!
If you’re a coeliac, you’re options are growing (win!)
Where was Arla? They have some of the best lacto free stuff around but were distinctly absent?
I ate too much food, now I feel sick. Damn brownies…