Being able to read ingredient panels to detect FODMAPs is an essential skill for a low FODMAP diet. But label reading adds considerable time to your grocery shopping and it takes time to learn. So it’s no surprise that I’m constantly asked which foods and brands are low FODMAP. Most people don’t want to spend extra time reading labels while they’re shopping. And they definitely don’t want realise they’ve accidentally bought a high FODMAP product after they get home.

So I’m starting a new monthly series on the blog… FODMAP Finds, for people with IBS. These articles will help you to learn about packaged foods that are suitable for a low FODMAP diet. While some highlighted products will have been tested for FODMAP content, many won’t have been. Instead, these untested products are what we call “low FODMAP based on ingredient”, meaning that their ingredients suggest that they’re highly likely to be low FODMAP.

FODMAP Finds, for people with IBS {July 2017} | A Less Irritable Life

 

In each monthly FODMAP Finds, I’ll review products that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • a new find
  • an old favourite, which may be new to you if you’re just starting out
  • a low FODMAP certified product
  • an everyday product that you may not have appreciated the usefulness of
  • and a restaurant or café.

Lastly, I want to make it clear that FODMAP Finds is not advertising for brands. No one can buy their way into this. I’ve tried every single product and everything I write about each product is my own opinion. And I’ll only ever tell you about high quality products that are genuinely useful for a low FODMAP diet, because there’s no point eating safe foods if they taste terrible or aren’t worth the cost.

So let’s get started with the first round of FODMAP Finds.

Note: even if these products aren’t available where you live, reading through the reasons why these products are FODMAP Finds will help you to get better at selecting low FODMAP products.

 

1. Sanitarium So Good Unsweetened Almond Milk

 

Product ingredients:

Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), mineral (calcium), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), natural flavour, salt, mineral salt (sodium bicarbonate), vegetable gum (gellan), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), vitamins (B12, B2, B1). All ingredients are of non-animal origin.

Why this is a FODMAP Find:

This is a new find that I’m very excited about. While this isn’t a new product, it does have a new recipe that has substantially improved this almond milk and makes it noteworthy.

Very few almond milks have a calcium content that’s equal to cow’s milk. In fact, there used to be only one on the market in Australia that did. But the revamped version of So Good Unsweetened Almond milk now contains 120mg calcium per 100ml, which is an exact match for cow’s milk. So it’s now one of only two almond milks that I recommend to people on a low FODMAP diet who also need to avoid dairy.

As a bonus, it also has added B vitamins, including B1, B2 and B12. This is something that the other almond milk I recommend doesn’t have. Cow’s milk is naturally high in B2 (riboflavin) and I’ve always been a little concerned about my B2 intake with my added need to avoid dairy, so I love this addition. And for vegans, the addition of B12 is incredibly useful and something you normally only see in soy milks.

Read more about choosing low FODMAP non-dairy milk alternatives.

For more information:

Sanitarium So Good Unsweetened Almond Milk is available in major supermarkets in Australia. You can find out more information from the Sanitarium website.

 

2. Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Product ingredients:

Ingredients: Australian extra virgin olive oil, roasted onion oil (<2%).

Note: this product is certified as FODMAP Friendly.

Why this is a FODMAP Find:

Replacing onion in recipes is essential if you want to make your meals low FODMAP. There are several ways you can do this, but one of the easiest ways is to use an oil that’s infused with onions. Since FODMAPs aren’t soluble in oil and so can’t transfer to the oil, this lets you get the onion flavour without the FODMAPs. But in case you’re still hesitant, it’s worth knowing that FODMAP Friendly has certified Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so you can use it with confidence.

Now, the Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil isn’t a new product by any means. In fact, it’s an old favourite that’s one of the staples in my kitchen. While I don’t use it every time I want to replace onion in a recipe, there are certain times I prefer it to other options:

  1. When I want to add onion flavour without adding a green colour to the dish. Onion is usually pale in colour, so there are some dishes where adding green makes them seem weird. Soups, risottos or egg-based dishes are good examples. And using Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil circumvents this problem.
  2. When I want to really ramp up the onion flavour while keeping it low FODMAP. I do this by using the low FODMAP parts of green onions, leeks or chives and then also adding Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  3. When I have no other onion alternatives in the house. Having a bottle of Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the cupboard means I can always add onion flavour to any recipe.

For more information:

Cobram Estate Roasted Onion Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available in major supermarkets in Australia. You can find out more information from the Cobram Estate website.

 

3. SOME Foods Classic Tomato Sauce {PICK OF THE PACK}

 

Product ingredients:

Ingredients: Tomato (93%), basil, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, grape must, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, acidity regulator (citric acid).

Note: this product is Monash University Low FODMAP Certified.

Why this is a FODMAP Find:

It’s tempting to lump all low FODMAP products in the same basket as if they’re just regular products adapted to make them low FODMAP. But products made by SOME Foods stand out because their philosophy is to create gourmet products and ensure those products are low FODMAP.

When I first started the low FODMAP diet, it sapped my love of good food. I was more focussed on finding foods that wouldn’t upset my tummy, rather than on quality and flavour. And I’d all but given up on finding gourmet products that I could eat.

But then I opened up a bottle of this sauce. I’ll admit I initially baulked at the price, disbelieving that any tomato sauce should cost so much. But the first mouthful of this sauce dispelled any concerns. The quality, texture and flavour of this sauce is exquisite. The flavours are perfectly balanced, allowing you to detect each flavour, without any overpowering the rest. And the texture is more like a freshly made sauce than a bottled sauce. In fact, I wouldn’t complain if this was served to me at a restaurant.

I enjoyed the SOME Foods Classic Tomato Sauce with some potato gnocchi, which allowed the sauce to really shine. Such a simple meal, yet such perfection. It’s been far too long since I’ve enjoyed a pasta sauce this much and I have no intention of waiting so long to enjoy it again.

And since this product is Monash University Low FODMAP Certified, you can enjoy it with worrying about the ingredients.

For more information:

SOME Foods Classic Tomato Sauce is available in independent supermarkets in Australia or from the SOME Foods website. You can find out more information from the SOME Foods website.

 

4. Mayver’s Dark Roasted Peanut Butter Smooth

 

Product ingredients:

Ingredients: Just roasted peanuts (99.3%) & salt. No added oil, dairy or sugar.

Why this is a FODMAP Find:

You’re probably thinking… “peanut butter, big deal”, but stick with me here.

Peanut butter is low FODMAP, even at large portion sizes. It’s the only nut or seed that comes in a premade spread and can be eaten in large amounts without overdoing the oligosaccharides.

This is a big deal because peanut butter is high in protein, fibre and energy, which benefits anyone struggling to get enough of these nutrients. For instance, people who can’t tolerate dairy, vegans and some vegetarians, athletes, and anyone with low appetite. So while peanut butter is a regular everyday product, it’s exceptionally valuable on a low FODMAP diet.

I have several types of peanut butter in my kitchen – I normally eat it at least once a day – and the Mayver’s Dark Roasted Smooth Peanut Butter is my favourite for spreading on sourdough toast. The dark roasting adds a richness and depth of flavour that turns regular peanut butter into a real treat. I eat it for snacks, for a fast breakfast or lunch, or any time of the day I know I need a quick energy hit.

As an example, recently I’ve started running in the mornings before breakfast. But if I run on an empty stomach, I get very low in energy and it messes up my whole day. So I’ve started eating a piece of sourdough toast spread with Mayver’s Dark Roasted Smooth Peanut Butter and a smear of jam. This gives me slow-release carbs, fast-release carbs, protein, and some low FODMAP fibre. I eat it about 1 hour before I run and it works a treat.

For more information:

Mayver’s Dark Roasted Peanut Butter Smooth is available in major supermarkets in Australia. You can find out more information from the Mayver’s website.

 

5. Vanilla Orchid Thai Restaurant, Warrandyte, Victoria (Australia)

 

Why this is a FODMAP Find:

Can you imagine a restaurant where the wait staff are not only happy to discuss food intolerances or allergies, but also know which foods are likely to be safe before checking with the kitchen? Well that’s what you’ll find at Vanilla Orchid Thai Restaurant in Warrandyte, located in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

They can’t tailor all meals for a low FODMAP diet since onion and garlic are an integral part of many Thai dishes, especially the curries. But if it’s possible to change a dish, they’re more than happy to do so. And they do it without making you feel like you’re a hassle. I’ve been there twice over the last 6 months and the food and service were excellent both times.

Menu options:

The menu is designed to cater for allergies and there are options to suit strict gluten-free and nut-free. And since most Thai food is dairy-free, except for some desserts, avoiding lactose is easy.

The last time I went, we had a banquet-style meal that was completely low FODMAP. Can you imagine that?! My sister insisted we adapt all meals to suit me and we were all very happy with the end result, including her two boys aged 8 and 10.

We ordered:

  • Fried Rice with Prawns, with no onion or garlic. This was simple but delicious and I loved that they used locally sourced Australian prawns.
  • Pad Khing, Ginger Stir Fry with Beef, with no onion or garlic. They also needed to alter their ‘special stir fry sauce’, which contained a mushroom sauce, and remove the mushrooms. But it was still very good and had lots of flavour.
  • Pad Thai with Chicken, with no onion or garlic. This was the favourite of the entire table.

We each had separate desserts and I got the only one that was dairy-free, the Coconut Custard. The accompanying mango ice cream was given to my nephews, but the coconut custard was more than enough for a satisfying dessert. And it was delicious too.

For more information:

Vanilla Orchid Thai Restaurant is located in Warrandyte, Victoria. You can find out more information from the Vanilla Orchid website.

 

Read about other FODMAP Finds and product reviews

 

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