BRB: after the European summer

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Hey there, gorgeous readers!

I’m currently on an adventure abroad, chasing the glorious European sun.
Because I’m backpacking/roughing it, internet access is scarce and I obviously don’t have a kitchen, so I won’t be available on emails, nor will I be updating my blog while I’m away.
I thank you kindly for your patience and look forward to responding to your emails and comments and coming up with new inspired recipes in September upon my return.
I’ve got some exciting new ideas up my sleeve for this space, so stay tuned!

Stay nourished in my absence (I say this as I’m sipping on a strawberry mojito in Nice, South France. #keepinitreal). 

Life is balance.

Love love,
Ax

Note: I sincerely apologise for the hideous font changes in this post; this hostel computer is one hell-horrid machine which won’t let me format anything, and I’m about to smash the keyboard over my forehead. I’ll rectify it as soon as I find a semi-functioning computer. In the meantime, I’m off to sunbake and climb castle ruins…

Orange & Chai-Spiced Pancakes w/ Caramelised Mandarin Compote, Cardamom Coconut Cream + Candied Maple Walnuts

Holy cow, what a mouthful that title is.
If it sounds convoluted to me, I can only imagine how hard it must have been to process in your minds. Apologies, I’m a bit of a convoluted being in general.

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I promise you this recipe is no where near as pretentious as it sounds.
Are there a lot of ingredients involved? Yeah, but none of them should be foreign – you’ll probably be surprised at how many of them you’ve already got lying around in your cupboards and drawers. It pretty much just calls for staples, or what are staples in my kitchen, anyway: rolled oats, ground spices, nuts, unrefined flour substitutes, eggs, milk of some description, coconut cream and a few other essential bits and bobs.

If you don’t have all the ingredients, or even half of them, please don’t stress. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe precisely in all my life (apart from when making macaroons, when the slightest stray in an ingredient, even if only by a gram, results in a big fat fail and you swear you’ll never bake again). If you don’t have coconut cream or an orange or mandarin or pure maple syrup, don’t stress -  you can always make something out of whatever you’ve got on hand. Unless you don’t own ground spices, then you should stress. Anyone who cooks should boast a ridiculous accumulation of spices, or the fundamental spices at least, even if you don’t have the slightest clue what to use them in or if they’ve been sitting unopened next to toothpicks and stock cubes at the back of a dusty drawer for the past five years. Knowing that I’ve got a drawer jam-packed with packets and jars full of different herbs and spices provides a lot of comfort, even if I’ve only ever cooked with half of them. It’s literally impossible to create a tasteless meal when you’ve got a range of spices on hand. What’s more, they’re so good for you and they’re SO CHEAP!

As you will see, this recipe contains a wee bit of added sweetener (about 4 tsp for all components in total). Sometimes you need a ‘lil bit of the sweet stuff to do a dish like pancakes proper justice. So, no I wouldn’t eat these every single day, purely because they do contain more added sweetener than I aim for in a typical breakfast, and I’m likely to be nibbling on something later in the day that contains said unrefined sweeteners anyway. On ordinary days, the only sugar in my breakfast comes from fresh fruit (usually banana and/or berries). While it’s absolutely FINE to incorporate some unrefined sweeteners (such as maple & rice malt) into your weekly diet, sugar is still sugar and it’s not great to cover your porridge or muesli with them every single morning.
Fructose is an addictive best and the more of it you consume (refined or unrefined), the more you will crave, and the more likely you will be to devour foods loaded with REFINED sugar. Believe me, I’ve been nibbling on far more sugary things than usual lately: a drizzle on maple syrup on this, a line of dark chocolate with that, a spoonful of ice cream here and a square of Mars Bar & Malteser Slice there. It’s not the actual food in my mouth at the time that’s doing the damage because let’s face it, those amounts are not going to kill me or break my scales, but it’s the effect that it has on my brain afterwards that’s the real issue: after that little bit of chocolate or that mouthful of ice cream, all I can think about is my next sugar fix. Usually, I genuinely crave vegetables and wholesome foods, but lately all I can think about is cake and cookies. And doughnuts and Marvellous Creations and sticky date pudding and chai lattes.

Sugar truly is the devil.

With all that said, this brekky is still relatively low in sugar overall. You can definitely afford to add small amounts of unrefined sweeteners to your breakfasts a few times a week, so long as you’re not relying on them just to make it “taste good”. Remember you could always leave the sweeteners out of this recipe, but don’t expect it to taste as good. Just sayin’.
If you can’t be bothered with all the fancy components and just want the pancakes, just make the pancakes and serve them smothered with almond butter and warm blueberries instead. Deeeeelish!

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Orange & Chai-Spiced Pancakes w/ Caramelised Mandarin Compote, Cardamom Coconut Cream + Candied Maple Walnuts

Makes 3 small pancakes (serves 1)

Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbs whole meal spelt flour*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 small ripe banana
  • 3 tbs milk of choice (I used oat milk)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • tiny pinch dried ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp orange rind (finely grated)
  • 1/2 tsp aluminium free baking powder
  • pinch salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • stevia

Caramelised Mandarin Compote:

  • 1 mandarin, separated into its segments and visible pips removed if necessary
  • zest and juice of half an orange (approx. 3 tsp)
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup (or maple syrup if you don’t have any)
  • thumbnail slice of fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cardamom Coconut Cream:

  • 2 tbs coconut cream (I always have a tin stored in the fridge because the cream sets on top of the milk when refrigerated)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom, or to taste
  • stevia, to taste

Candied Maple Walnuts:

  • 2 tbs walnut pieces (macadamias or peacans would work well too)*
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Method

  1. To make the candied walnuts, preheat your oven to 160′C and line a tray with baking paper. In a small dish (you could even use a little cup), coat the walnut pieces with maple syrup. Spread out onto the lined baking tray and drizzle any excess maple left in the dish/cup over the walnuts. Bake for 5-10minutes, stirring a few times, until they begin to brown and take on a candied shell. Cooking times will depend on your oven and the size of your walnut pieces). If you’re making them in advance, allow to cool on the tray first, then store them in a little container in the fridge until needed.
  2. To make the mandarin compote: mix the orange zest, juice, rice malt, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it’s been boiling for a minute and starts to caramelise, (be careful that it doesn’t start to burn), add the mandarin segments and turn stove down to low. Stir and leave for a few minutes, or until the mandarin is heated through. Remove from stove and set aside until ready to use.
  3. To make the pancakes, blend all ingredients in a high-power blender or processor until a batter has formed. The batter should be a thick, pourable consistency. If it’s too thick, add a little milk, and add more spelt or oats if it seems too runny.
  4. To make the cardamom coconut cream, simply mix cardamom and a little stevia (optional) though the coconut cream and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Melt some coconut oil in a fry-pan over low-medium heat. Ensure that the pan is greased well enough, as the oat flour in the batter will try to stick to the pan like glue if you let it. But you’ve got this. Pour rounds of the pancake batter onto the pan (all 3 should fit in a medium/large fry-pan). Use the back of a spoon to shape into rounds if the batter is misbehaving. You know they’re ready to flip when the tops have bubbled (just like normal pancakes!). Cook on the other side for a few minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Serve in a stack with the mandarin compote, cardamom cream and candied maple walnuts. If you’re only making the pancakes, serve smothered with almond butter (this is just as delicious in my books).

Note: ingredients labelled with an (*) contain low levels of fructan and might not be suitable for people who are highly sensitive to such irritants. They’d never bother me in these amounts, but just as with any potential irritant, test your own tolerance.

Happy Nourishing!
Ax

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Another healthy pizza recipe (no, they never get old): Roasted Eggplant + Capsicum Pizza

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This recipe started off as a “I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m sick to death of staring blankly at textbooks and I’m craving pizza something chronic but I can’t be bothered with anything fancy” kind of lunch, and turned out to be my new favourite go-to meal. It was inspired in part by my new-found obsession with eggplant, and also by my yearning for comfort food: I needed something warm, and hearty and full of taste. It was the first day of Winter and also my first proper day of attempted exam study***, and in true Melbourne Winter tradition, it was so bitterly cold that I swear the raindrops could have frozen into icicles before they hit the pavement.

I’m actually eating this Roasted Capsicum and Eggplant Pizza again as I write this, the loud sounds of my munching only just obscuring Mum’s audible annihilation of her own share across the table. Unfortunately, I can hear her slight moans of satisfaction because I’m not moaning myself. I don’t even know if she knows she’s doing it. Now I’m giggling and she’s asking why (“Oh, nothing, just something on the internet!”) Don’t get me wrong, I do moan and groan in culinary delight, but just not when I’m eating and typing simultaneously – 2 tasks are hard enough to juggle, let alone 3. I also don’t moan while tasting my own food in front of others because that would just be weird and, well, wanky.

***I should clarify that by “my first proper day of attempted exam study”, I really mean “the first day that I planned to spend all my time revising, but instead the ratio of study hours versus hours of laying on my cow hide rug in front of the open fire reading cook books and planning my upcoming Europe trip was  1:5, at best”. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I’M JETTING OFF TO EUROPE FOR 3 MONTHS IN 2 WEEKS’ TIME?! How can a girl possibly concentrate on exams when her head is in the clouds (or cloudless skies, more like it) hanging over Santorini sunsets, Croatian waters, Parisian markets and picnics, Ibizan boat parties, Spanish tomato fights, Berlin beer gardens and Turkish tree houses?
But back to important pizza stuff…

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Roasted Capsicum + Eggplant Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 small wheat-free wrap of choice for pizza base (I’m loving the spelt wraps from Go Vita health stores at the moment. They’re quite big as a base for one serving, so I just cut it down to the size of a small plate. A note on wraps: if you’re at the supermarket, don’t be fooled by ‘gluten free’, ‘wholegrain’ or even ‘organic’ wrap packet labels, because they might not be as healthy as they claim to be. The majority of wrap varieties I’ve come across, particularly at supermarkets, are FULL of crap. As always, keep ingredients lists to a minimum and avoid unnecessary additives such as preservatives, sugar or anything defined by a number)
  • 1tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato paste
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 eggplant, cut into thin (approx. 3mm) discs
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red capsicum, sliced into strips
  • small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs raw pine nuts (these will toast while the pizza cooks)
  • 2 tbs grated cheese (this is obviously optional, but I included it because I try to be as transparent when it comes to my diet as possible. I don’t eat processed cheese very often, but is pizza really pizza without cheese of some description? I don’t think so. It also just so happened that my mum had bought ‘Pizza Plus’ cheese for my brother the day before, and I simply couldn’t resist the ultimate melt combo: mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan.
  • 15g danish feta, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250′C and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  2. Slice eggplant and place in a colander. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the slices and toss with your hands to coat evenly. Sit for 15 minutes. The salt will draw water out of the eggplant (water molecules follow sodium), so you’re not left with rubbery, soggy eggplant on your pizza. After 15 minutes, rinse eggplant thoroughly and dry well with paper towelling.
  3. Arrange capsicum strips on the lined tray and brush with a little olive oil. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the capsicum begins to char around the edges. When the capsicum is ready, remove from oven, transfer capsicum to a plate and put tray back in the oven while you prepare the rest of your pizza – a piping hot tray is the secret to getting a crispy pizza base!
  4. Spread the wrap with tomato paste and top with baby spinach. Arrange eggplant slices on top of the spinach and brush with a little olive oil. Follow with the capsicum, chopped parsley, pine nuts, and cheese (if using). Season with a little sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt. Place pizza on preheated tray (no foil or baking paper underneath) and bake in oven for around 15 minutes, or until the edges of the base have started to brown and the eggplant is visibly cooked. Remove from oven.
  5. To serve, top the pizza with extra parsley and crumbled feta. Cut into slices, forget about the knife and fork and enjoy each bite with your hands – true pizza style.

Happy Nourishing!
Ax

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Overstuffed Baked Sweet Potato

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During my heavenly stay at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat back in February, I couldn’t believe how many fellow guests suffered from fructose malabsorption. Out of 50 visitors, I’d guestimate that around a THIRD of us were plagued by FructMal, and the majority of the others had some type of food intolerance or a combination of them. At first I found comfort in knowing so many other individuals shared the frustrations associated with fructose intolerance. Let’s just say the short-lived comfort (aka: the calm) came before the unendurable (aka: the storm)…

Boy oh boy did these women like to vocalise to anyone within ear-shot the catastrophic burden Fructose Malabsorption had forced on their once-idyllic lives. If I didn’t have such a wicked sense of humour, I might have been embarrassed by their relentless whinging, since I was technically “one of them”. Truth be told, it was just downright hilarious. At all meal times, I’d watch in amusement as they screwed up their faces in disgust and used their forks to prod dramatically at their custom made meals as if dissecting a rotten sheep’s brain. Then, when the waiters would come around again to serve the ‘digestively normal’ diners their lentil dahls, coconut prawn curries and plum and apple crumbles, my dear fructose malabsorbers would drop their jaws and ogle –practically drooling–over their fellow diners’ meals. They’d then spend the next two hours complaining about how miserable fructose malabsorption has made them and the massive injustice of it all. While I politely smiled and nodded (and zoned the hell out), it took all my composure not to tell the Housewives of the Gold Coast to get some real problems.

Oh, you poor little lamb, you can’t eat onion or watermelon? Golly, you were really given the shit end of the stick, weren’t you?
Pahhh-lease.

It’s worth noting that 90% of the fructose-friendly meals served to us at Gwinganna were absolutely divine, and they were always more than satisfying. The lovely chef put a great deal of effort into accommodating our individual needs and creating tasty meals that didn’t leave us feeling like we were missing out. Or at least he tried to. To be honest, I don’t think the main issue for these people was fructose malabsorption itself, but rather wholesome, clean foods in general. Most of them had never before tasted quinoa, almond milk, unbattered fish, tahini, activated nuts, baked sweet potato chips, pure green vegetable juice, unsalted soups or sugar-rife desserts. The majority of them were also coming down off major caffeine addictions. They didn’t find their meals unpalatable because they’d been tailored to suit their intolerances; they found the food awful simply because they were so used to stuffing themselves with processed and refined foods full of added salt, saturated fat, sugar and chemicals. They weren’t used to eating REAL food. Simple as that.

Anyway, moving on from whinging about whingers…
Another thing I found perplexing was the amount of sweet potato being served on the ‘fructose friendly’ menu. Between the mounds of silky smooth mash, baked-to-perfection crisps, dehydrated chips, dips, chunky soups and roasted veg medleys, I was quite literally being served the equivalent of one mammoth-sized sweet beauty, or two regular-sized ones, every day. And I felt absolutely FINE – no crippling cramps, nausea, fatigue, reflux or **ick alert** repugnant wind.

After going 10 melancholy months without it (post-diagnosis), I only reintroduced sweet potato back into my diet late last year. I was still limiting myself to pathetically puny portions in the fear that I’d react to its then-perceived FODMAPs [fructose (F) and polyols (P)]. When I first developed FructMal, every web page, blog post or forum I came across painted a danger haze around sweet potato. Even my dietitian at the time, who specializes in food intolerance, said to stick to 1/4 cup of sweet potato in a sitting, and to not eat any other potential irritants with it (like avocado), to decrease the likelihood of having an adverse reaction. The dietician at Gwinganna, however, said that sweet potato is now thought to be safe for those with sensitivities to fructose and polyols (naturally-occuring sugar alcohols in certain fruit and veg, such as sorbitol and mannitol). I was over the moon, and I’ve been stuffing my face with sweet potato ever since.

What better way to celebrate the rekindled flame with my sweet lover than with an over-stuffed baked sweet potato in all its fluffy, comforting, flavourful glory?

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Overstuffed Baked Sweet ‘Tato

Ingredients

Stuffed baked potato:

  • 1 large sweet potato, washed and dried thoroughly with paper towel
  • Shredded roast chicken breast (about 100g)
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions or chives (green part only for low FODMAP)
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 15g Danish feta, crumbled (omit for dairy free)
  • small handful fresh coriander springs

Avocado cream:

  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 cup full fat organic natural or Greek yoghurt (I use five:am organics brand – omit for dairy free and replace with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp lime juice (use lemon if you don’t have lime)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt, or to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 230′C. After washing and drying the sweet potato, prick all over with a fork or sharp knife. Place sweet potato on an oven tray and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until soft throughout. Cooking times will depend on your oven and the size of your sweet potato. If the skin begins to burn, cover with aluminium foil.
  2. In the meantime, blend the avocado cream ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste.
  3. Take the hard boiled egg and use a grater to creating soft white shavings. It’s up to you whether you use the egg yolk too, but I don’t like hard yolk, so I didn’t.
  4. When the sweet potato is cooked through, sit it on a plate and cut a slit down the length of it. At this point, it’s up to you how you stuff your potato. So many baked sweet potato recipes ask you to scoop out all the flesh, season it with a myriad of herbs and spices and then stuff the flesh back in, before topping it with all your goodies. That’s all a bit too arduous for me – when my grumbling tummy has already waited an hour for the potato to bake, the last thing I’m going to do is tease myself more by stuffing around (ha! Punny) with the flesh, only to put it back in to serve, and scoop it back out to eat. Sweet potato flesh is such a natural beauty on its own anyway, it hardly needs to be masked with complex flavours. Besides, I’m all about cutting inefficient corners. I just like to chuck all the toppings over the baked ‘tato and sprinkle extra spices (such as sumac, cumin, paprika etc.) over at the end if I’m wanting like more of a kick.
  5. Serve the sweet potato topped with shredded chicken, spring onion/chives, feta, shaved egg white, coriander and dollops of the avocado cram. You can also finish it off with a sprinkle of extra sumac, cumin and paprika if you wish.

Happy Stuffing (your face!),
Ax

Banana Split Overnight Oats

Banana splits never get old. 
Overnight oats never get old.
Why not marry the two and have an all-American dessert for breakfast?

IMG_5220These Banana Split Overnight Oats are quite the breakfast treat. They’re perfect to tuck into on a wintry and couch-ridded Saturday morning, while you’re encased in a blanket  cocoon with a tea nearby. That’s if you reside in Melbourne, of course. If you’re anywhere else in the world remotely sunny/not utterly miserable, you might even be able to enjoy your oats outside…

Banana Split Overnight Oats

Ingredients

Overnight Oats:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (organic if possible)
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use coconut-rice milk), or a combination of water & milk
  • 1/4 cup natural full-fat yoghurt (five:am organics do the best organic yoghurts EVER!)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaped tsp shredded coconut
  • sweetener, to taste (stevia for sugar-free, or rice malt syrup/pure maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 heaped tbs raw cacao powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 banana, mashed

To serve:

Method

  1. Combine all ‘overnight oats’ ingredients except the mashed banana, cacao powder and sweetener. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In the morning, combine the overnight oats with the mashed banana and cacao. Add desired sweetener to taste.
  3. In a tall glass, create layers by alternating with the oats, sliced banana, yoghurt and granola. Top with a drizzle of cacao-peanut butter and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts. Dig in!

Happy Nourishing!
Ax

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IQS-Inspired Macadamia ANZAC Biccies

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Growing up, Anzac biccies made by my Great-Aunty Joyce were my absolute fave.

I’d take three of those gems at a time and submerge them in a huge glass of milk (just long enough for the two to get acquainted, but not quite long enough for the biccie to go soggy), then suck the milk out of them before allowing the buttery, golden syrupy goodness to melt in my mouth.

Sweet sentimentality…

I adapted this recipe from the lovely Sarah Wilkinson’s I Quit Sugar (IQS) website. These Anzac biccies are totally fructose free (yay!), calling for rice malt syrup instead of golden syrup or sugar, and they even taste like they’ve got golden syrup in them! Sarah’s recipe uses plain gluten free flour, but since gluten-free flour is quite refined, I replaced it with wholemeal spelt. I had to keep some Anzac tradition, so I’ve used butter in all its full-fat, dairy glory. I did consider trying a mix of coconut oil and macadamia oil instead, because I try to consume butter in small amounts, but I can’t see how a true Anzac biscuit could achieve that golden hue and distinct buttery flavour without, well, butter. You’re welcome to replace the butter with said oils, but I doubt you’d get that traditional ‘Anzac’ quality. Just to boost their yum-factor, these Anzacs have been jazzed up with macadamias. I also chopped up one of the many Loving Earth Luvju chocolates that I had left over from Easter last weekend*, and pressed chunks of it into half of the biscuits before I baked them (I used the Coconut Mylk flavour, which is sweetened with coconut nectar and thus contains a little fructose). Of course, the chocolate is optional, but isn’t it always? Chocolate or no chocolate, hmmm…

GIMME DAT CHOCOLATE!

These Anzacs aren’t quite as lip-smacking as Aunty Joyce’s, but they’re pretty darn good.

*By “leftover from Easter last weekend”, I’m not implying that I have lots of chocolate left over because I didn’t eat that much of it over Easter, although I wish this were the case. Rather, I mean that I totally overdosed on Haigh’s eggs, Kinder Surprises, Marvellous Creations, my Aunty Kate’s pav, the rocky road brownie slice I made “just for my family” (not me, of course!) and every other processed-crap-filled-thing I could get my hands on. So, the Loving Earth Luvjus are left over because last Sunday I told myself that ‘naughty’ chocolate was for Easter, and healthy chocolate was for later. Logic? There is none. Blame it on my chocolate-baby brain.

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IQS-Inspired Macadamia ANZAC Biccies

Dietary Info: Contains gluten (oats & spelt), dairy (butter) and nuts (macadamias). Fructose friendly/free (fructose free unless you use chocolate), low FODMAP (contains some FODMAPs: dried coconut & spelt flour), refined-sugar free. Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup (I use Pureharvest brand)
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp bicarb-soda
  • 2 tbs boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2/3 cup macadamias, roughly chopped
  • Optional: raw chocolate chopped into small chunks, such as Loving Earth Coconut Mylk Luvju

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150′C and line 2 large trays with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter and rice malt syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until it begins to bubble. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt. If you’re like me and froth over butter-sugar combos (like creamed butter and brown sugar while making a cake, oh my!), then this is the time to dip your pinky in and taste it. Don’t do what I did and wait until you’ve added the baking soda in the next step – it’s foul.
  3. Combine the bicarb-soda with the boiling water and add to the butter mixture.
  4. In another bowl, combine the oats, spelt flour, coconut and macadamias. Pour in the butter mixture and combine well.
  5. Take heaped teaspoons of the dough, roll into balls and place on the lined trays. Flatten slightly into a disk. Repeat until you have distributed amongst the 2 trays, leaving space in between each for spreading (and believe me, they spread!) The dough should make about 20 biscuits, unless you eat a gigantic handful of the raw dough like I did, in which case you’ll only end up with about 12. Oops.
  6. If using chocolate, press chunks into however many biscuits you wish.
  7. Place trays in the oven and bake for about  15-20 minutes, or until golden. The top tray might be ready a few minutes before the bottom – if this happens, remove the top tray and move the bottom tray into its spot.
  8. Like all good cookies, the biscuits will be very soft until they cool down. They should be slightly crunchy on the very outside and chewy in the middle. Allow to sit on trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Now grab yourself a glass of nut milk, and dunk away.

Lest We Forget, Ax

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Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

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I would have begun the title of this post with something like “Healthified…/A Healthy Spin on…/My Healthy Version of…”, but that would imply that I’m familiar with its unhealthy –and no doubt drool-worthy– original. But the truth is, before I pulled them out of the oven yesterday, I’d never tasted peanut butter & banana muffins before. And based on how good these guilt free ones taste, I’m going to make a grand assumption that the unhealthy ones must be entirely out of this world. Luckily, I’ll never need to find out because I’ve fallen madly, deeply and pathetically in love with these ones.

To be honest, I’d never even thought about peanut butter and banana muffins before. If you’ve ever had them, I probably sound downright crazy. In hindsight, they’re a no-brainer, right?
How had I not thought to combine the most versatile and, in my opinion, the best tasting fruit in the world with peanut butter (self-explanatory) in a lusciously dense and sweet muffiny form? Just while we’re on the topic of obvious combinations I’m evidently oblivious to, how GOOD would peanut butter & banana cookies be? Don’t worry, I’ll get on it. But back to the muffins…

Of course, I thought I was a genius when the *Peanut Butter-Banana Muffin* lightbulb went off. Sadly, a quick google search brought me back to earth. Apparently my ‘invention’ has been around quite some time. There’s a whole heap of sinfully calorific (and no doubt sinfully delicious), as well as healthy-ish versions out there. Despite this, throughout my searching (which wasn’t too extensive, by the way), I didn’t come across a single self-proclaimed “healthy” version that was truly healthy. That’s not to say there aren’t any out there, but all the ones I happened to come across either called for ‘natural’ sweeteners like honey or maple syrup but used a truckload of them (and thus a truckload of sugar), and then used refined flours anyway, or they’d use wholemeal flour and natural peanut butter, but ask you to put in a cup of brown sugar. Needless to say, I didn’t come across any FODMAP friendly versions, either (surprise, surprise!)
So I shut my computer down and got to work.

This recipe started off as an experiment on a whim and turned out to be a new favourite. For those of you who know about the tears and sweat of frustration that go into baking (baking absolutely is, might I add, a serious science of chemistry), I’m sure you can appreciate the thrill I got when my mum and I bit into the fresh-outa-the-oven muffins and smiled a knowing smile and nodded a knowing nod at one another, neither of us willing to stop eating for a moment to verbalise our satisfaction.

It goes without saying that these muffins are refined sugar free and fructose-friendly. For those of you with IBS/FructMal, it’s important to note that this recipe is relatively low in FODMAPs, but it’s not FODMAP free as it contains spelt flour. I can easily tolerate large amounts of spelt these days, but as I always stress, it’s important to test your own tolerance to such foods. If you’re extremely sensitive to wheat, spelt might upset you too. As such, the muffins are not gluten free, either, and they call for yoghurt (dairy), but this could probably be replaced with more mashed banana, coconut milk or unsweetened apple sauce (if you’re not fructose intolerant). They’re delicious served warm with lashings of organic butter and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, with almond butter and raspberry & vanilla chia jam, smothered with cacao-peanut butter or just on their glorious own. Next time I make these (which will be as soon as I can get my hands on some overripe bananas; the bananas in my household never seem to stick around long enough), I’ll definitely be adding dark chocolate chips.

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Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

Dietary/allergen info: Wheat free. Contains gluten (oats & spelt), lactose (yoghurt – see notes), eggs and peanuts. Contains some FODMAPs (spelt – see notes). Refined sugar free. Not vegan-friendly (contains eggs).

Ingredients

  • 270g mashed overripe banana + 1 banana, sliced, to serve.
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup full-fat natural yoghurt (I use five:am brand)
  • 1/3 cup milk (I use Pure Harvest’s Cocoquench coconut-rice milk drink, but any milk will work)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbs coconut sugar
  • 2 tbs macadamia nut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, sifted
  • 1 cup oat flour (process traditional rolled oats until a flour forms)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp aluminium free baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
  • stevia (powdered or liquid)
  • Crushed roasted peanuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200*C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with patty pans (if you don’t want to use patty pans, grease the holes with a little coconut or macadamia nut oil).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed banana, egg, yoghurt, milk, macadamia oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla until combined. Add HALF of the peanut butter (or 1/4 cup)nand stir through. Taste. (I know, I know, there’s raw egg in it so I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I’ve had far more encounters with raw cake batter in my lifetime, and not one of them resulted in salmonella poisoning). If it’s a perfect level of sweetness or just slightly too sweet, leave it. If it’s not quite sweet enough, add stevia until it’s slightly too sweet for your palate. I added quite a lot of stevia. Remember that the muffins won’t turn out nearly as sweet because you’ve still got to add the dry ingredients, lose even more sweetness as it distributes throughout the mixture as they rise in the oven.
  3. In another bowl, combine the sifted spelt flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir as little as possible, folding the mixture gently and slowly until combined and as few flour pockets remain as possible. Take EXTRA CARE not to over-stir the batter, or you will end up with a tough and unpleasant texture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the 12 patty pans/muffin pan holes, distributing evenly between them. They should be almost filled to the top.
  6. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter with 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp melted coconut oil and a little pinch of Himalayan sea salt. Divide the mixture, adding a small dollops on top of each filled patty pan, slightly swirling the peanut butter into the top of the batter so it’s not totally exposed. Top uncooked muffins with sliced banana and crushed roasted peanuts.
  7. Bake muffins at 200*C for the first 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180*C and continue to bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached (not wet). I took my muffins out at 23 minutes and they were cooked perfectly, but this will depend on your oven, size of muffins, individual ingredient disparities etc.
  8. Cool muffins on a wire rack. If you eat them straight out of the oven, you will find that they stick to the patty pans (this is because of the oats). Once cooled, they no longer do this, even when reheated. Serve at room temperature on their own as a healthy snack or warm with organic butter, almond butter, cacao-peanut butter (I use Mayver’s brand) or raspberry chia jam. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place for 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • For those of you with IBS/FructMal, it’s important to note that this recipe is relatively low in FODMAPs, but it’s not FODMAP free as it contains spelt flour. I can easily tolerate large amounts of spelt, but as I always stress, it’s important to test your own tolerance to such foods. If you’re extremely sensitive to wheat, spelt might upset you too.
  • For a dairy free recipe, leave out the yoghurt and replace with extra mashed banana or unsweetened apple sauce (if you’re not fructose intolerant)

Happy Nourishing!
Ax

 

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Summer Snapshots and Byron-Inspired Zucchini & Sweet Corn Fritters

Byron Bay over New Years was perfect in so many ways. It’s a place where music just sounds better and drinks slide down more easily. People laugh harder and they smile bigger; they share experiences and ideas that aren’t limited to the one small city they come from or the single state of mind they filter their own world through. They think more and they see more. The beaches feel sacred even though you know they’re touched and the sticky air hums with a vibe that’s simply at ease with itself. It makes you at ease with yourself. The atmosphere is so intrinsically happy that you feel at home in streets you’ve never walked through, hostels you’ve never slept in with people you’ve never met. You know every little thing is better in Byron, just because it is. If you try to explain why, you’ll only ruin it for yourself.
I guess that’s why some people love to travel so much: they have an uncontainable itch to experience those places first hand, the places that no great storyteller, elaborate travel blog or perfectly filtered photo could ever do justice to.

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I was planning on writing one blog post to celebrate my glorious week at Byron Bay over New Years (presumably in early January after my return), and another to mourn the devastating death of another Australian summer (presumably in early March after the sunny season’s decease in February). I clearly failed to deliver either post, because April is nearly upon us. Let’s just say that with two part-time jobs and a manic schedule at a new Uni, I’m lucky to fit a shower into my weekly schedule, let alone a blog post. Tear, tear.

But right now, I’ve got seven hours worth of lecture recordings to catch up on, hundreds of pages worth of academic papers to read (skim over), two research assignments to write (begin researching for) and several online tests to complete (attempt). Despite all this and my truest intentions to make a dent in it this afternoon, I’ve chosen to sit in the university library, sippin’ on chai tea with Asics-encased feet up on the couch (I don’t even put shoes on the couches at home, but I’m allowed to here because the chick next to me is doing it and the guy opposite is resting his shoes on the table like a footrest, and it’s worth noting that they look respectable, so shoe-furniture contact is therefore totally acceptable here) and I’m writing this blog post on a recipe which honours both my brazen Byron adventure, and another all-too few and far between summer season. Priorities, I tell ya! I’ve so got my life sorted.

So here we go…

 Being the well-documented scab that I am, I always have to taste every meal ordered by each person I’m out with, often when I haven’t even tasted my own dish yet. If ever they object, I justify my request by pulling out the “poor Ashlyn with fructose issues” card, whereby they’re reminded (yet again) in a high-pitched whine that I can’t actually order restaurant dishes as tasty as theirs, and that denying me the simple human pleasure of tasting toothsome delights would be inhumanly cruel.

My mum almost always opts for the ‘zucchini and sweet corn fritter’ option if it’s available on a brunch menu, so you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve tasted around 95% of the zucchini fritters offered around Melbourne. Of course, some are lovely and tasty and lovely, and some are not so. The reason I never actually order my own is because I’m yet to come across a zucchini fritter on a Melbourne menu that isn’t either full of onion or made with refined wheat flour. Given this frustration, it’s a wonder why I haven’t tried to come up with my own version before. Thankfully, a vibrant little gem in Byron Bay known as Manna Haven gave me all the inspiration I needed.

I couldn’t have been more in my element in Byron. Everywhere I turned my eager little head was a pretty sign pointing me to the nearest organic feasts, açai bowls, green smoothies, frozen coconut yoghurt bars and raw treats. Of all the wonderful cafes and stores, however, Manna Haven stood out. The Haven’s set up is charmingly quaint, the menu sublime and their service unmatched. The waiter looked totally unphased as I timidly informed him of my fructose issues. As usual, I interpreted this as him having no knowledge about fructose. When I tried again, this time asking if there was anything on the menu he thought I might be able to have, he simply said:
“Of course there is, choose anything you like!” Did he not get that I couldn’t eat half of the ingredients in every single menu item except for the herbal teas? I clearly needed to get more specific. I asked him if there was onion in their ‘Flipping Fritters’, and told him I was aware that there’d already be garlic and /or onion in the tzatziki and quinoa tabbouleh the fritters were served with, and asked if I could have a simple side salad instead. “There certainly is, but if I tell you what goes into each component, you tell me what you can’t have, and the chef will make it all from scratch!”

***angelic heaven-worshipping sound effect***

Within 20 minutes, I had a fabulous plate of zucchini and sweetcorn fritters before me, complete with a side of quinoa tabbouleh, tzatziki and a green smoothie made with ingredients of my choice to wash it all down with. I savoured every mouthful and knew that I had to make my own inspired version once I got home. It only took me over two months, but it’s finally here: my Zucchini, Sweet Corn and Feta Fritters. With gluten and dairy free substitutions, there’s an option for almost anyone (sorry my lovely vegans, this recipe calls for eggs. You’re welcome to try it without them and use a little coconut milk instead. If it doesn’t work, don’t blame me – I’m pro-eggie!)

These patties are wonderful served with eggs for breakfast, as a lunch meal with smoked salmon, avocado salsa, lemon and rocket or as a snack with pumpkin seed butter. You can even wrap them up and snack on them cold while you’re on the go.

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Zucchini, Sweet Corn & Feta Fritters

Makes about 15 fritters (serves 5)

Dietary info: vegetarian, fructose friendly, low FODMAP*, refined sugar free, dairy free option, gluten free option. Contains nuts (almonds).

Ingredients

  • 700g zucchini, grated
  • 8 spring onions (green part only), chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 420g can corn kernels* (unsweetened and no or salt)
  • 3 organic free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup whole meal spelt flour** (see notes for GF alternatives)
  • 150g Persian/Bulgarian/Danish feta (optional – omit if dairy free)

Method

  1. Place the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Toss with your hands to distribute the salt amongst the zucchini. Place the colander in a large bowl (to catch the water from the zucchini), cover and leave for 1 hour or longer, if possible. Refrigerate if leaving for a longer period of time. During this time, the salt will help to suck the moisture out of the zucchini so you’re not left with soggy patties.
  2. In the meantime, combine the sweet corn, spring onion, herbs, lemon rind and eggs. Add the almond meal and half of the spelt flour. Combine well.
  3. When the zucchini is ready, grab handfuls and squeeze out any excess water before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Crumble the feta into chunks if using and mix well but carefully, so as to not to break it up totally – little chunks of feta are best.
  5. At this stage, you can assess the consistency of the batter. You’ll most likely need to add the rest of the spelt flour, but this will depend on how well the zucchini has drained. If the mixture seems too wet, add more spelt or almond meal, mixing well between additions, until the mixture is moist enough to all hold together, able to be formed into patty shapes.
  6. Take small amounts of the batter and form into patty shapes with your hands. The first few I made were quite thick and turned out a little soggy in the middle, but then I made a thinner round and they turned out much lighter, crispier and cooked quicker (win, win, win!)
  7. Cook the patties in a little coconut or macadamia nut oil over medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through and lovely and golden (cooking times will always vary depending on your stove, pan and patty thickness).
  8. Serve warm with eggs to kick start your day, or with avocado salsa (smashed avo, chopped cherry tomatoes, coriander, lemon and chives), smoked salmon and rocket for a wholesome lunch.

Notes:

* I can tolerate large amounts of sweet corn, thought I know some people with fructose malabsorption have issues with it. The commonly tolerable amount is the equivalent to at least 1/2 cob or 1/4 cup of kernels, and there’s less than that in each serving in this recipe. Always assess your own tolerance levels.

** For a gluten free version, replace the spelt flour with another suitable flour. Buckwheat or brown rice flour should work!

 

Happy Nourishing!
Ax
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A healthy twist on a calorific classic: Banana Bread

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Banana bread is one of those nostalgic comfort foods that warms my heart.

When that glorious aroma of toasted and buttered banana bread fills your kitchen, you know you’re home.  When I was younger, I’d so often barge through the front door after school, throwing 4 thick slices of Brumby’s banana bread in the toaster before I’d even put my bag down, then smothering it with so much salted butter that only so much could melt in before the rest just pooled on top, dripping down my hands as I took each honey-drizzled bite. I remember being in awe that something which tasted as good as as cake, if not even better, could be as healthy as bread. Crazy, right?

Ha!

I may have since come to my senses, but my senses still don’t fail me: the second I smell fresh banana bread, or worse, warm and buttered fresh banana bread, my salivary glands quite literally go bananas. I just can’t help it.

Before yesterday, I’d never bothered with trying to create a healthy banana bread recipe because I didn’t think I could do the old family favourite any justice. I figured that creating a banana bread free from refined carbs, processed sugar and nasty fats would be an arduous task on its own, without having to tailor it to my low fructose and fructan need as well. But I gave it a red-hot go, and it happened to be a red-hot fluke.

Instead of the classic recipe’s refined wheat flour, my banana bread calls for spelt flour which is rich in protein, fibre and minerals, making it far more nutritious. Although it’s still a gluten-containing grain, spelt is higher in fibre than wheat and therefore easier to digest, so it’s also far more gentle on troublesome bellies. My recipe is also loaded with health-promoting omega 3 fats (almonds, chia seeds, macadamia nut oil and eggs), potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C (banana), powerful antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories (spices).

Before you get all sceptical and wonder how a healthy banana bread could ever taste anywhere near as good as its traditionally unhealthy counterpart, I can assure that my version still manages to celebrate all the things we love about the classic: the same melt-in-your-mouth texture, that gorgeous buttery flavour, the comforting taste of ripe banana and just the right amount of sweetness to bring it all together. But without any of the nasties. Hoooooooray!
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Healthy Banana Bread

Serves 14

Dietary info: Wheat free, dairy free, refined-sugar free, fructose-friendly, contains some fructans (see notes), gluten (spelt), nuts (almonds) and egg.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed over ripe banana (approx. 4 medium-large bananas)
  • 3 large organic free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
  • 1/2 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour*
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
  • 1/2 cup almond meal*
  • 3 tbs chia seeds*
  • 1.25  tsp baking powder (aluminium free)
  • 3/4 tsp concentrated stevia powder (you will need more if your stevia is granulated – see notes)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • generous pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • To top batter with before baking (optional, as pictured): 1 large banana cut lengthways, 3 tbs pecans*, 2 tbs dark choc chips (dairy free if required) + 1 tsp coconut sugar.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160*C and generously grease a loaf tin (my tin is approx. 11cm x 26cm)
  2. In one bowl, combine the mashed banana, beaten eggs, macadamia oil, vanilla and maple syrup.
  3. In another bowl, combine the spelt flour, coconut, chia seeds, almond meal, spices, stevia powder and salt. Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour banana mixture into it. Gently fold the ingredients until just fully combined. Be very careful not to over mix it because the result will be tough and unpleasant to eat.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf tin and smooth out lightly with the back of a large spoon if needed. Top with halved banana, pecans, dark chic chips and a sprinkle of coconut sugar if using. Bake for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, but still moist (don’t wait until the skewer comes out completely dry because the loaf is supposed to be moist throughout!). Cooking times will vary from oven to oven. If the top begins to brown too much while cooking, cover with a little bit of foil.
  5. Remove from the oven, allow to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  6. Serve warm or toasted with almond or peanut butter and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup, a little spread of clean jam (such as a chia raspberry jam) or organic yoghurt/coconut yoghurt and berries for breakfast. I served my Dad’s and boyfriend’s with a spread of butter, some extra choc chips and a drizzle of maple syrup – a sure winner amongst dessert fiend boys!

Notes

  • To those on a low FODMAP diet:
    Ingredients marked with one asterisk (*) contain moderate amounts of fructan. Each individual’s tolerance to FODMAPs will vary, but unless you’re super sensitive or in the early stages of your tummy troubles and still healing, said ingredients in isolation shouldn’t cause a reaction if consumed in small amounts. However, because this banana bread contains an accumulation of fructans (from spelt, dried coconut, almonds and chia seeds), plus the fructose from the bananas, it is possible that very sensitive individuals might not be able to tolerate a full serving of the bread (one 1.5cm thick slice).  If you find that you’re generally fine with these foods and you’re used to consuming similar things daily, then you should be fine with this recipe, especially if you limit yourself to one slice per sitting. ALWAYS test your OWN tolerance! I can tolerate two slices, so long as my fructose/fructan intake is fairly low in all other meals that day. Remember that it’s all about accumulation! For instance, I’d be asking for a reaction if I ate two slices of this banana bread for afternoon tea after having spelt sourdough with one whole avocado for breakfast, a handful of mixed nuts for morning tea and a salad which included large amounts of broccoli and sweet corn for lunch.You can cut out ingredients which you already know are problematic for you to reduce the overall FODMAP content of the recipe, but make sure you compensate with other suitable ingredients accordingly. The chia seeds would not require replacing. If spelt is an issue for you in large amounts, try replacing half of it with buckwheat flour. You can play around with different low FODMAP flour combinations such as buckwheat flour, oat flour, rice flour etc. if you cannot have spelt at all. Each flour will lend different textures and flavours. Other lower FODMAP swaps include, but are not limited to: ground flaxseed, peanut flour or carob powder instead of almond meal and carob powder instead of chia seeds.
  • I use pure concentrated stevia extract powder because all granulated stevia products I’ve ever come across contain inulin, which most people with IBS/fructose/sorbitol issues will not be able to tolerate. Like anything that’s pure and concentrated, a very little goes a long way. Pure stevia extract has a sweetness ratio of 1:8 (stevia:sugar), as opposed to granulated stevia’s 1:1 ratio (hence why granulated is so convenient for baking!) Thus, if you’re using granulated stevia, you will need A LOT more than 3/4 tsp to achieve the same sweetness. The best way to get the right amount of sweetness is to taste, taste, taste as you go. And come on, who apart from raw-egg-phobes ever complained about having to eat cake batter, anyway?!
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The proof is in the pud: Coconut & Strawberry Chia Pudding Parfait

IMG_3198It was around this time last year when I first tested positive to fructose malabsorption, and nuts and seeds were amongst the myriad of atypical foods my body was rejecting. A small handful of almonds eaten over the space of an hour would have me burping like I’d just sculled 5 beers, just 5 measly cashews would keep me up all night in nut-baby labour until I gave ‘birth’ several days later (sorry ’bout that charming picture), and other beloveds like macadamias, walnuts, pecans and chia seeds were totally out of the question. Instead of eliminating nuts and seeds from my diet entirely, in fear of feeling dreadful and looking pregnant, I made myself consume tiny amounts of them each week in attempt to build up my tolerance to them, even during the earliest and most painful days of my newly-developed intolerance.

That’s the thing about the devil that is FructMal: when it comes to excess fructose and fructan-containing foods –and holy guacamole there are so bloody many– you’re doomed if you do, and you’re doomed if you don’t. Let me elaborate just a little. An intolerance is not an allergy and should never be treated as one. You will not die from a few sips of apple juice, a mouthful of chickpeas or eating traces of garlic.  You could entirely avoid all the foods you’re ‘sensitive’ to for the rest of your life and yes, you might live a symptom-free life for the rest of your days, never experiencing a knotted stomach, bed arrest-inducing gas or a bout of depression again. Awesome! But you’ll also get extremely sick the moment you do happen to touch anything you’re “not allowed to eat”, your depressingly restrictive diet which consists solely of totally fructose and fructan-free foods will leave you deprived of a range of nutrients, and you’ll be left with a hypersensitive digestive system susceptible to developing further intolerances to even more foods. I simply refused to let The Devil win, and my defiance is finally starting to pay off. 

LOOK AT ME NOW!

I’M EATING TWO TABLESPOONS OF CHIA SEEDS, HEAPS OF ALMONDS, WALNUTS, PECANS, PEPITAS AND DRIED COCONUT IN THE ONE SITTING WITHOUT ANY SYMPTOMS AT ALL! COME AT ME NUTS!

It’s very exciting. Electrifying, in fact.

I’ve been tolerating a considerable amount of nuts for about 6 months now after slowing building my tolerance up to them again, but I was still afraid to eat a whole breakfast of chia seed pudding. The other morning I decided to try my luck and voila! I felt GREAT afterward!

All the proof you need is in my Coconut & Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Parfait: you need to be eating small amounts of the foods you’re told to avoid if you ever want to be able to enjoy them freely again. Now that doesn’t mean you fellow FructMalers should go and wash a falafel burger down with apple juice and cross your fingers and toes and hope for the best. Nononononono. I still stop at one tiny bit of mango or a couple of crackers with dip that contains onion and garlic, because these are among the main culprits. Still, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the milder offenders like nuts, avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, rye, spelt and other potentially troublesome grains in normal portions again! 

Of course, if you are in the early stages of your fructose woes and you know for a fact that you cannot tolerate large amounts of nuts and seeds yet, please do not eat this chia pudding in the full proposed portion. No single person’s tolerance to excess fructose and fructan is the same. Always test your own tolerance and reintroduce said ‘problem’ foods slowly.
You’ll get there, I promise!

IMG_3201 IMG_3196 IMG_3200 IMG_3173 IMG_3199 IMG_3197Coconut & Strawberry Chia Pudding Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs chia seeds (I used a combo of black and white)
  • 4 large strawberries, chopped and mashed roughly with a fork
  • 1 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup organic full-fat tinned coconut milk (or 1/4 cup coconut milk + 1/4 cup water for a less heavy consistency)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/3 cup of my Toasted Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Granola (or another sugar and fruit-free granola or muesli)
  • 3 tbs organic full fat or coconut yoghurt (optional)
  • Fresh berries, to serve (I used homegrown raspberries from my garden!)

Method:

  1. To make the chia seed pudding, place the chia seeds, coconut milk, shredded coconut and mashed strawberries in a small bowl. Combine well and cover. Place in the fridge and allow the chia to soak and absorb the liquid for at least 2 hours, or overnight so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning.
  2. To make the layered parfait, take a serving glass and spoon half of the chia pudding into the bottom. Next add half the granola, then the yoghurt if using, followed by the rest of the chia and the remaining granola. Top with fresh berries and serve.
Happy Nourishing!
Ax
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