These Low FODMAP Eggplant Parmesan Rounds remind me that this Diet ain’t the worst thing to ever happen to a gal.
I’ve been avoiding talking about the Low FODMAP diet for as long as we’ve been committed and on it. You may have already realized this based on my classic beat-around-the-bush and hope nobody notices tactic. It’s been like two weeks since we’ve welcomed it back into our lives (I knew it was only a matter of time). And while we’ve been prettttty decent with it, I always get somewhat discouraged simply knowing particular things (in this case, specific foods) are no longer an option. You know what they say, you always want what you damn well can’t have.
Although tremendously more confident this time around since we’re not in the midst of moving across the country and living out of a bag, I sometimes still feel pretty limited. Even though I literally have 78786 more things to work with than the last time around. But damn, does it ever feel good to be in my own kitchen for this! I’m pretty sure the only things I had to work with last time were Tamari aka gluten free soy sauce (cause my Toronto fridge had too many versions – and yes, you best believe I lugged ’em allllll the way to the other side of the county). And rice crackers (cause I was intimidated and felt like that was the only snack on Earth Vin was allowed to eat). I know better now.
So, What is this Low FODMAP ‘Diet’ anyway?!
Alright, alright, alright, alright. Lucky for us all, since this ain’t my first rodeo, I have so very loooosely explained the basics over here. This was back a few months ago when Vin’s stomach was really acting up. His doctor suggested looking into the Low FODMAP Diet, which we so weirdly (and bravely) took on almost immediately after our very first time even just hearing of the thing. Ahhh, anything to get his stomach back in order, I tell ya! As I said earlier, we were basically moving from kitchen to kitchen (and sometimes not lucky enough to have even that), after having just driven across the country, with all our sh*t shoved wherever it could fit (aka having 0 access to any of it). All the while trying to make English of what each letter in FODMAP actually stands for/means.
Normally I’d spare us all the Science lesson. But, since I did that last time, I think it might do us good to just list out the words that are likely too big for either of us to understand all on their lonesome. At least you might get a general sense of what I’ll be going on about for the next little while under this Low FODMAP Cooking Series of mine. It’s show time, Baby!
F – fermentable
O – ligo-saccharides (Wheat, rye, legumes, several fruits and veggies)
D – i-saccharides (Lactose)
M – ono-saccharides (Fructose)
A – nd
P – olyols (Sweeteners, some fruits and veggies)
Means quite nothing when you read ’em just like that, huh? Broken down in plainer English for those that are still all “WTF, man?!”: FODMAPs are groups of carbs that people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or IBS like symptoms (bluntly put: Gut Problems) have a hard AF time digesting. Consuming them can trigger never-ending bloating, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation.
For the average Joe (aka me and maybe even you), eating high FODMAP foods on the reg really makes no difference to our bodies. Therefore, other than being the actual best girlfriend ever (and sole meal planner, prepper and cook) there’s really no reason for me to be on this diet, too. High FODMAP foods are not necessarily bad for you (tons of fruits and veggies are high FODMAP) so eliminating them when it’s not necessary probably isn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done. But ain’t nobody making two separate meals everyday. So ya gal is gonna have to settle for skipping over the onion section at the Farmer’s Market the next couple weeks.
The Basics: How it Works
Well, for one, Hallelujah! Amen! This is NOT a forever thing. The Low FODMAP Diet is broken down into phases that kinda look something like this:
Phase One: ELIMINATION PHASE
GOAL: To eliminate ALL high FODMAP foods for a period of 2-6 weeks.
On our first go with it, we actually stuck to it for the latter. Closer to 6 weeks because as time went on, Vin reportedly felt better. And better. And better. So we just stuck to it. Therefore, never formally or properly re-introduced high FODMAP foods back into our diet (phase two). Life also got in the way. My (amazingly adorable, precious, gem of a) niece was born and Vin lost his personal chef (aka me) for a couple months while we were living on opposite ends of the country. And you know that the last thing a hard working man living on his own thinks about is what he’s having for dinner. Especially if there are restrictions to worry about.
For a complete list of high FODMAP foods, Google’s pretty good for that. Although, as expressed last time, the list kinda differs from place to place. But I guess you could say the overall gist is the same. To give you a few examples of high FODMAP foods that must be eliminated completely during phase one: Asparagus. Brussel Sprouts. Cauliflower. Fresh Mushrooms (I say Fresh because canned are allowed…classic example of how FODMAPs become confusing).
Phase Two: RE-INTRODUCTION PHASE
GOAL: To slowly, one by one, re-introduce high FODMAP foods back into your diet. Important: keeping a close eye on how these foods are making you feel. Permanently eliminate any culprits.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing. It could take fo-evvva if you’re planning on doing it properly. Which we are and you should be too if you really want to know what exactly isn’t sitting well in your digestive tract. You see, you can’t re-introduce more than one food per every couple of days. You know, in order to really get down to the root of what’s causing you unpleasant gut problems as they say it could take a few hours/days after consuming something before it starts acting up in your system. So if you start shoving down hundreds of high FODMAP foods at a time, you aren’t going to be able to narrow it down and really find the bad guy.
We’re personally going to start by re-introducing the foods we use/miss the most (for the love of God, onions and garlic.) And then slowly making our way to foods Vin couldn’t care less if he ever ate again (fruit) until we’ve either successfully or unsuccessfully re-introduced ‘em all.
Phase Three: PERSONALIZATION PHASE
After the Re-Introduction Phase, normal life resumes. And now you know what high FODMAP foods your body reacts well to and which to avoid at all costs….forever!!! So you basically modify your diet to still restrict some high FODMAP foods. The type and amount depend on what you identified for your personal body and self in phase two. The goal by doing this is to hopefully end up with a happy gut. Also, a significant decrease (if not complete elimination) of the uncomfortable IBS like symptoms mentioned earlier.
WHY LOW FODMAP COULD GET CONFUSING
I wish it was just as black and white as a simple list telling you which foods are high in FODMAPs and which are low or don’t have any. Sometimes, it is and through my research, I was able to clearly mark some foods as big “NO-NOs” with no exceptions. But sometimes, like raisins for example, you’ll get a food that isn’t initially high in FODMAPs but can become so depending on how much of it you eat. That’s why portions, portions, portions are almost as important as reading the damn ingredient list when you’re on the low FODMAP diet. Although, the ingredient list one is mandatory no matter what’s in your diet, IMHO.
ON PORTION SIZES
Google will literally become your best friend during the elimination phase of the diet while you’re still trying to dream up ways of how not to pull your hair out (especially when meal planning). But I promise, as you become familiar, it gets easier. I’ll normally simply quite literally type into google “is _____ low FODMAP?!” if I’m ever unsure and more often than not, it’ll provide an answer I can at least work with.
Sometimes, it’s a strict YES or NO on whether or not a certain food is FODMAP friendly. And sometimes, it’s a little less clear. Either they haven’t been tested yet, in smaller quantities they are. It really just depends and to be completely honest, I have no idea how the portion sizes are determined (some, like the raisins, are only low FODMAP in quantities of 1 TBSP or less). I don’t ask in this situation, I just do.
ON INGREDIENT LISTS
Just don’t even get me started on the general NEED to read your ingredient lists on the things you buy, people!!! Everyday, all the time!!! FODMAP or no FODMAP!!! But since we’re here and talkin’ about ‘em, it becomes especially important in this situation. There are so many (and I mean SO MANY) hidden FODMAPs in things you would never even imagine. Classic example (and the real reason I f*cking hate buying bread on this ‘diet’) are things like ‘high fructose corn syrup,’ ‘chicory root extract,’ and ‘apple juice concentrate’ which are all high FODMAP in things like BREAD.
Like, huh?! I know I be makin’ bread lately and have none of those items on hand…just sayin’. So in other words, at first glance something may appear to be low FODMAP. But, after closer examination (literally reading the ingredients on the package), it ain’t. So be careful and make it a habit you’ll FOREVER carry with you from this point on: read those ingredients!!!
THE WHEAT AND LACTOSE SITUATION
I just want to quickly touch on this one. Because yes, these things make it a damn mission to buy some hard loved foods. But, at the end of the day, although most things (like bread, yogurt, cheese) are naturally lactose and gluten free on a low FODMAP diet, the low FODMAP diet isn’t actually either of those things. Confusion strikes again. It just comes down to knowing what ingredients in each item is high FODMAP. And if there is enough of it for the entire food to then become high FODMAP. Now, picture me in the bread isle at the grocery store. Basically a scene from a horror movie.
*Side Note: I miraculously found out that Cobs Bread (www.cobsbread.com) literally has a low FODMAP loaf which has made lunches 1000x easier ‘round here.
This was just an overview of my personal experiences and understanding of the low FODMAP diet. Don’t get it twisted, I’m no professional or expert. Hell, I don’t even have IBS or IBS like symptoms myself. But I spend a lllllot of time with someone who does. And if I have to give up something as simple as Honey in order for him to feel better in everyday life for example, then it’s see ya later, goodbye and peace out to Honey (secretly hoping it’s nothing more extravagant…lol).
We haven’t actually decided how long we’re gonna be in the elimination phase for this time around. But if you’ll be here, I’ll be updating this category as the days go on and I try to make the most of Bok Choy and Broccoli (it’s a good thing we’re not picky eaters…). So if you’re wanting to start the low FODMAP diet in hopes for a happy gut, stay tuned for many, many, many recipes to come to get ya started.
In the meantime… this Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan should do the trick.
LOW FODMAP EGGPLANT PARMESAN ROUNDS (GLUTEN AND LACTOSE FREE)Course: Lunch, Main, DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
Eggplant Parmesan but make it Gluten + Lactose Free.
What You’ll Need
1 large Eggplant, washed and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 large Egg, beaten
1 cup Gluten Free Breadcrumbs*
1/2 cup Lactose Free Cheese*
3 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tbsp Dried Basil
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
2 cups Low FODMAP Marinara Sauce* store-bought or homemade
Salt and Pepper, to taste
- To Prepare the Eggplant Slices
- Lay the eggplant rounds on a paper towel lined baking sheet in a single layer. Liberally sprinkle salt over them and let sit, at room temp, for about an hour* (this allows the eggplants to release some of it’s moisture)
- Using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, wipe the salt off the eggplant rounds and firmly press each piece down to release any excess water. Dry off each side and transfer to a plate.
- To Assemble
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Set up an “assembly line” for the process! The first plate will have your eggplant slices. The next bowl will be your beaten egg. And finally, the third bowl will be a mixture of the breadcrumbs, spices and parsley.
- Dip one slice of eggplant at a time into the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Then dip into the breadcrumb bowl, pressing firmly to coat each side. Line ’em in a single layer on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until no more eggplant slices remain.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- In the meantime, heat the marinara sauce in a shallow pot over medium heat.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon the warm marinara sauce evenly over each round. Top with shredded cheese and some parmesan, if desired. Return to the oven for additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- To Serve: Spoon some extra sauce on the bottom of a bowl or plate. Stack a few slices of eggplant over top and sprinkle with extra fresh parsley, parmesan cheese (if desired), salt and pepper. Enjoy!
- I used Panko Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
- I used marbled Mozzarella + Cheddar Lactose-Free Cheese
- I used FODY Foods Marinara Sauce – make your own or check the labels at the grocery store to ensure low FODMAP. For a Non-Vegetarian option, try using my Low FODMAP All Purpose Meat Sauce
- Prep time does not include the time it takes for eggplant to rest on the counter (Step 1)
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