Sweet Potato Brownies

1 word… YUM! These brownies tasted so incredibly yummy and were filled with nothing but healthy ingredients! A great dessert to share with the family without all of the guilt 😛sweet-potato-brownies

Ingredients

1 sweet potato

1 banana, ripe

3 eggs, beaten

¼ cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of pure maple syrup/ honey

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 tablespoons of wholemeal flour/flaxseed/almond meal

3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Makes- 20 brownies

Time- 1 hour

Process

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel and dice sweet potato into small pieces. Place in a bowl with a small bit of water and into the microwave for 8 minutes or until soft.
  3. Mash sweet potato and banana until smooth. You can do this by hand or in a food processor.
  4. Add remaining wet ingredients and combine (eggs, olive oil, maple syrup/honey, vanilla essence).
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined into a smooth texture (flour/flaxseed/almond meal, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and choc chips (if adding).
  6. Place mix into a brownie tray and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Allow brownies to cool then eat away 🙂

Vegetarian Cauliflower Pizza

I’m obsessed with cauliflower at the moment! It is such a versatile veggie which you can substitute for so many different things! I was a bit hesitant about how cauliflower pizza would taste, but boy, I was not disappointed! My dad, who is the fussiest eater I know, even scavenged a whole piece and has requested a cauliflower pizza night soon!

 

Makes- 1 medium pizza

Cooking time- 45 minutes

Ingredients

Base-

¼ head of cauliflower

1 tab parmesan cheese

1 tsp mixed Italian herbs

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp garlic infused oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings-

½ cup tomato passata

Small bunch of basil

1 tab extra virgin olive oil

4 mushrooms

¼ large capsicum

3 leaves of silverbeet

½ fresh tomato

Grated cheese (to liking)

 

Process

  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees celcius.
  2. Chop cauliflower into manageable pieces. Put chopped cauliflower into food processor and pulse until cauliflower is fine.
  3. Place cauliflower in the microwave with ¼ cup of water for 8 minutes, or until soft. Stir at about half way.
  4. While the cauliflower is in the microwave, place passata, half the basil and olive oil in a small saucepan and simmer over a low heat. This allows the passata to gain a nice basil flavour!
  5. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, remove and strain all excess water from the cauliflower. I find it is easiest to put the cauliflower in a clean tea towel and strain the liquid from it that way. This will allow you to get a crunchy base.
  6. Place strained cauliflower into a bowl with parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, beaten egg, oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine the mixture.
  7. Place the cauliflower mix on a greased tray and spread to make a pizza-like shape. Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden.
  8. While the base is cooking, chop the vegetables for the toppings. Wilt silverbeet in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Once wilted, remove from heat.
  9. Once the base is golden brown, remove and spread tomato and basil passata on top. Add fresh vegetables and wilted silverbeet. Top with cheese of choice and basil.cauliflower-pizza-3
  10. Return the pizza to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.16299423_1725338484446068_6714497077858108211_n

Banana Berry Pancakes

This has got to be one of my all-time favourite breakfasts! Who doesn’t love pancakes with the added bonus of them being filled with nothing but healthy goodness?!

Makes: 4 pancakes

Ingredients

1 ripe bananapancake-ingredients

1 whole egg+ 1 egg white

1 tab of almond meal/ wholemeal flour

1 tab flaxseed

2 tsp teff seed

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tab low-fat milk

½ cup of mixed berries/ banana/ fruit of choice

2 tabs low-fat greek yoghurt

2 tsp chia seeds

Optional:

Add 1 cap of protein of choice

Process

  1. Process banana, eggs, milk, almond meal/flour, flaxseed, teff seed and cinnamon in a nutribullet. You can do this by hand by mashing the banana and combining the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Heat pan on medium heat for about 2 minutes. I used a non-stick pan, but you can use extra-virgin olive oil spray on the pan if necessary to ensure pancakes don’t stick.
  3. Pour mix onto pan into 4 pancakes. Cook until edges begin to bubble and flip. Repeat on the other side, ensuring mix is cooked through. Ensure pan isn’t too hot, as pancakes will burn
  4. Heat frozen mixed berries up in the microwave for about 30 seconds and mix, making a nice warm healthy berry coulis.
  5. Top pancakes with yoghurt, berries (or other fruit) and chia seeds. Serve warm!berry-pancakes

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fritters with Avocado and Mint Yoghurt Sauce

These have got to be one of my favourite lunches and dinners on a hot summer night! They are packed with vitamin A, fibre and are oh so yummy! A great, easy meal which is a hit with all ages and can be served alongside a light salad or some fruit!

Makes: 18 fritters

Ingredients

FrittersF1.jpg

1/3 large sweet potato

1 large zucchini

1 large carrot

4 spring onions (white part removed)

4 large leaves of silverbeet

6 eggs

1 tab milk

½ cup of plain flour (preferably wholemeal)

Cracked pepper, to taste

1 tab extra virgin olive oil

Optional add ins-

½ tasty cheese

¾ cup of corn

Other chopped green veggies such as spinach and kale instead of, or as well as the silverbeet.

Sauce

3 tablespoons of low fat Greek yoghurt

½ large avocado

½ lemon, juiced

Small bunch of mint leaves

Cracked pepper, to taste

Process

  1. Finely chop spring onion and silverbeet. Set aside.
  2. Chop sweet potato, zucchini and carrots into manageable pieces on put through a food processor on grate mode.
  3. Place processed sweet potato, zucchini and carrot into a strainer. Squeeze out excess moisture. This prevents you from having soggy fritters.F2.jpg
  4. Combine sweet potato, zucchini and carrot mix with spring onion and silverbeet. Add beaten eggs (with the milk beaten in), flour and cracked pepper. Mix until combined.F3.jpg
  5. Heat pan with olive oil on medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into ramekins and flip when golden.F4.jpg
  6. For the sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor or nutribullet and pulse until combined. Adjust according to taste.
  7. Serve fritters warm or cool with avocado, mint yoghurt sauce.f5

Note- Fritters can be frozen. Freeze them in separate freezer bags and pull them out on those days when you are stuck for time at lunch or dinner!

Cauliflower Special Fried ‘Rice’

This isn’t any plain old special fried rice; the rice in this dish is actually made from cauliflower!

But how can cauliflower taste like rice? Believe it or not, it tastes just like rice with the benefits of it being lower in kilojoules (calories), a great source of vitamin C and tastes super yummy! What more could you want?!

The following ingredients I have used are just a guide. I usually chop up whatever veggies are in the fridge and some which are on special at the supermarket. The more veggies you put in, the better so don’t be scared to add a few more :)!

Serves- 4

Preparation & Cooking Time- 35 minutes.

Ingredients

16425262_10154982896918559_288667518_n

15 prawns (you can replace with 2 small chicken breasts)

4 eggs

6 large leaves of silverbeet

2 large handfuls of baby spinach

2 large carrots

1 small head of broccoli

½ large head of cauliflower

1 red capsicum

1 cup of frozen pea and corn mix

1 handful of green beans

½ bag of bean shoots

4 spring onions (white part removed to make low FODMAP)

1 chilli

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil

Cracked pepper to taste.

Process-

  1. Finely chop chilli and spring onions. Place in wok/ large saucepan with garlic infused oil and prawns.
  2. Before cooking the prawns (or chicken), chop the carrot and broccoli and place aside in a bowl with the peas and corn. Also chop the silverbeet, green beans, capsicum and cauliflower and keep separate.2
  3. Cook the prawns (or chicken) on medium heat until cooked through. 4
  4. Once the prawns (or chicken) are cooked, place the peas, corn, broccoli and carrot into the wok/ saucepan and mix ensuring the veggies are cooking evenly. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes, ensuring the veggies are still crunchy.5
  5. While the first lot of vegetables are cooking, place the pre-chopped cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until fine with a rice-like texture.3
  6. Put the capsicum, green beans, silverbeet and baby spinach into the wok/ saucepan and toss through the mix. Add and stir through the cauliflower mix. Cook for approximately 2 minutes. 7.jpg
  7. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and cracked pepper to taste. Allow the mix to continue heating on a low to medium heat for a few minutes.8.jpg
  8. While the mix is heating, scramble and cook the eggs in a separate pan.
  9. Add the cooked eggs and bean shoots and heat for a further 2 minutes.9.jpg
  10. Serve warm 🙂10.jpg

Can a Low FODMAP Diet Reduce Digestive Discomfort?

When I first heard the acronym FODMAP I had NO idea what it meant. Was it a food map? Does F stand for fructose? It honestly was a mystery to me.

Today’s blog post will focus on explaining the terms FODMAP, IBS and how to manage symptoms through a low FODMAP diet.

What is IBS?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and represents a wide range of symptoms of digestive discomfort including bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, a noisy abdomen and excessive wind1,2. Some sufferers also experience muscle aches and pains and urinary frequency and urgency (irritable bladder)2. The variety and severity of symptoms differ between individuals1.

It is important to understand that if you do suffer from a number of these symptoms, it does not automatically mean you have IBS and/or food intolerances*. You must consult with your doctor so they can monitor these symptoms and perform tests to ensure you are not suffering from another condition2.doctor

*Note- Some people may suffer from IBS and have no food intolerances or malabsorption and some people with food intolerances may not have IBS.

What are FODMAPs?

The term FODMAP stands for:

Fermentable- promptly digested by bacteria present in the bowel

Oligosaccharides- fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides

Disaccharides- lactose

Monosaccharides- fructose

And
P
olyols- sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol2.

Many of you may now be even more confused. What are these long words which end in ‘saccharide’ and ‘ol’?

  • Saccharide= sugar

-Monosaccharide: contains one sugar

-Disaccharide: contains two sugars

-Oligosaccharide: contains less than ten sugars

-Polysaccharide: contains more than ten sugars2.

  • Polyols= sugar alcohols2.

All you need to take from this acronym is that it represents a group of carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine which can lead to digestive discomfort2.

How are the FODMAPs and IBS related?

The small intestine poorly absorbs FODMAPs, which results in the release of fluid into the small intestine1. The presence of this fluid can result in abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea1. The undigested FODMAPs can also act as food for bacteria present in the small intestine2. When bacteria feed on these undigested carbohydrates, they produce gas which can cause bloating and abdominal pain1.

We all produce gas when consuming FODMAPs so why do some of us suffer from IBS and others do not? This comes down to differences between individuals including:

  • The amount of gas individuals produce
  • How our bowel responds to bloating
  • How effectively our abdominal wall moves the gas formed by the bacteria
  • How sensitive our bowels are
  • How our brain responds to signals sent from our gut2.

diagram-fodmap

Image sourced from: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/mal-absorption.html

Limiting the amount of high FODMAP foods consumed by IBS suffers has been shown in several studies to effectively manage and reduce such symptoms of digestive discomfort1!

What is a low FODMAP diet?

A low FODMAP diet, as the name reveals, does not contain high FODMAP foods which can cause excess gas production and fluid release, reducing digestive discomfort in many sufferers2. The diet still does contain FODMAPs, but in lower amounts, to assist in the management of symptoms2. Below I have listed examples high FODMAP foods to avoid and low FODMAP foods to include in your diet in an effort to reduce IBS symptoms.

It is important to note that everyone is different. One food may be fine for one IBS sufferer, but cause symptoms in another. For example, some IBS sufferers can tolerate lactose while others cannot2. It is important that you work with an accredited practicing dietitian when adopting a low FODMAP diet. A dietitian will ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs while developing a meal plan which works for you.

*The foods listed above were sourced from ‘Food Intolerance Management Plan’ written by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson2.

Steps to identifying what may be causing your digestive discomfort

  1. Identify changes in digestive function. This may include feelings of nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, excessive wind and altered bowel movements.
  2. Monitor changes and potential causes. If they persist, consult your GP.

– It’s a great idea to keep a food diary prior to consulting with your GP or dietitian as this may assist in the diagnosis process.

  1. Your GP is likely to run several tests to identify possible causes, including tests for coeliac disease, abnormal gut bacteria, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer (if risk factors indicate possibility) and other causes.
  2. If other conditions are ruled out and symptoms continue, your doctor may diagnose you with IBS.
  3. You may undergo hydrogen breath tests to identify if the cause of your digestive discomfort is a result of a food intolerance or malabsorption. Your doctor can refer you to undertake such tests.
  4. Consult with an accredited practicing dietitian to devise an appropriate meal plan to alleviate symptoms.
  5. Your dietitian can assist you with re-introducing FODMAPs into your diet one at a time.

 

Tips to assist in managing food intolerances, malabsorptions and/or IBS

  • Source a variety of resources, such as Dr. Sue Shepherd’s ‘Food Intolerance Management Plan’, to help gain a further understanding of the low FODMAP dietFODMAP Friendly
  • Always check menus before going out for meals to ensure it is safe for you to eat there; call if necessary
  • Checkout Sue Shepherd’s range of low FODMAP pasta sauces, curry bases and soups available in most major supermarkets
  • Print out a complete list of low FODMAP foods you can eat and high FODMAP foods you can’t eat and stick them on the fridge; this will help both you and your family/partners/room-mates when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals
  • Source and trial a number of low FODMAP recipes, this will assist you in learning how to adapt your old favourites to become FODMAP friendly
  • Use a number of herbs and spices, as well as garlic infused oil to flavour your food! Your meals don’t have to be plain and boring!
  • Follow @lettuce_talk_nutrition for insight into what a low FODMAP diet looks like on a daily basis 🙂

food

For more information check out:

http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet/

http://fodmapfriendly.com/

 

Bibliography

1              Nanayakkara, W. S., Skidmore, P. M. L., O’Brien, L., Wilkinson, T. J. & Gearry, R. B. Efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for treating irritable bowel syndrome: the evidence to date. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology, Vol 2016, Iss Issue 1, Pp 131-142 (2016), 131 (2016).

2              Shepherd, S., Gibson, P. & O’Meara, M. Food Intolerance Management Plan.  (Penguin, 2012).