About a month ago, I won a cookbook!
It’s by Liz Vaccariello and co-authored by FODMAPs and IBS expert Kate Scarlata, whose blog I check at least every couple of days. She is an absolute wealth of knowledge, and her blog is one of the most informative blogs about IBS and FODMAPs I have ever read–plus she’s from the U.S., so her recipes call for ingredients that are found in the U.S. and the directions are in English measurements that U.S. utensils are made to measure in. (Other of my favorite blogs for FODMAPers can be found under Resources.)
When Kate was having a giveaway, I left a comment, thinking that I probably wouldn’t win–I never usually enter giveaways, but I’m always happy to have a few new low-FODMAP recipes to try, considering how difficult the diet can be to negotiate. And I won!
So for about a month, I’ve been cooking my way through the book and wanted to write a quick review.
This post is not sponsored–it’s more like a thank you! When you’re a FODMAPer, you know how overwhelming it is to meal plan and grocery shop on the low-FODMAP diet, let alone actually eat anything tasty. So I highly recommend getting a good couple of cookbooks with recipes that can get you through the elimination phase–and this is definitely one I’d go for!
Here are the things I love about this cookbook:
- Most of the recipes required common ingredients that didn’t generally involve trips to the specialty food store. I’m always happy if I can get something at Albertson’s or Trader Joe’s–Whole Foods and Natural Grocers tend to stress me out. They also tend to call for relatively few ingredients–this breakfast hash, for instance, made an awesome brunch and only called for potatoes, ham, frozen peas, allspice and cheddar cheese.
- The recipes are easy and quick to make. Almost all of them could be made in 30 minutes or less.
- All of the recipes I tried turned out really tasty. These blueberry muffins were some of the best I’d ever had. Maybe not as good as Mom’s (because whose muffins are ever as good as your mom’s?), but I can’t eat Mom’s anymore because of wheat issues, and these were a delicious alternative! They’re made with cornmeal, which gives them a really sweet, rich flavor and crunchy texture.
- Each recipe includes adaptions for those with gluten intolerance and tips for how to adjust recipes when cooking for one. (especially great for me) As a grad student, I tend to do the tupperware at work thing–a lot. : P
- Most of the recipes I tried also turned out like they were supposed to, even though I’m not an expert chef. Have you ever had a cookbook to where the recipes all look really tasty, but they never turn out, or they require two years at the Cordon Bleu just to make them? These weren’t like that at all. I tried to modify the enchilada recipe a bit and it turned out super-soupy, but that might have been my fault. Otherwise, all the recipes I made turned out with the right consistency, didn’t burn, and didn’t require perfect timing or some crazy ability to flip things in just the right way.
- Cooking a lot of my meals from 21-Day Tummy encouraged me to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet. Since many fruits and vegetables are higher or moderate-FODMAP, and depending on how busy and motivated I am, sometimes the only vegetables I get for a couple of days are baby carrots with peanut butter and spinach in my smoothies. But these recipes encouraged me to try fruits and vegetables I don’t eat as often because I just don’t know what to do with them, so my diet’s been a lot more colorful lately. This mac and cheese recipe, for instance, called for Swiss chard, tomato, and dill–three things I would not ordinarily put together. But it actually worked quite well!
- The book includes a very comprehensive list of “belly bullies”–foods that trigger IBS symptoms–and “belly buddies”–foods that soothe IBS symptoms, reduce bloating, etc. For that reason, it would be a really useful starter book for someone trying the low-FODMAP diet or otherwise making dietary changes to try to cope with a finicky tummy. It also includes a list of high-FODMAP foods to re-introduce once you’re through the elimination phase, which is awesome–a lot of low-FODMAP cookbooks don’t include any information about the re-introduction phase, which is so, so important!
There was one thing about that book that wasn’t really for me: it was focused on weight loss, and recipes were grouped into three phases, with phase one being only 1200 calories a day and minimizing carbs. With my history of anorexia, I hear “1200 calories a day” and cringe.
But that’s me. I still enjoy the recipes. Some of the serving sizes were pretty small, so I often found myself wanting a larger portion–which wasn’t possible in all cases, since it’s important to follow portion size limits in the low-FODMAP diet. *sigh
On other recipes, though, it didn’t stop me. 😏 This carrot cake slice, for example, was in the “desserts” section, but what with all the healthy ingredients like buckwheat and oat flour, carrots, Greek yogurt, pineapple, and a modest amount of olive oil and brown sugar, I figured it would be perfect for breakfast…and at breakfast, I tend to eat two “servings” of it, which I believe should still be safely within the FODMAPs limit for all ingredients. It’s really delicious, spicy, and moist–in fact, I just ate a piece of it about 30 minutes ago, and found myself nibbling a few extra bites out of the pan after my “piece” was gone.
My overall assessment: a good little cookbook! Personally, I wouldn’t follow the restrictive 21-day plan itself, but I still found the recipes to be just what I like: filled with veggies, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats, easy, quick, and tasty. The 21-Day Tummy Diet Cookbook has added quite a bit of healthy low-FODMAP variety to my diet. So thanks again to Kate for sharing a copy of the wonderful book she helped create!
This post is not sponsored. These opinions are my own.