5 low-fodmap food flask lunches


I’ve always been a packed lunch fan, mainly because I’ve always been a picky eater and I’m afraid of finding nothing I like. However, it’s also a great way to keep costs down. Since I’m very lazy, I plan my meals for the week so that I can basically eat leftovers for lunch every day. I heat them up the following morning and I’m good to go!

My go to meals are:

  1. Paella – my favourite is this Tesco recipe with adjustments to make it fodmap friendly. I usually add some chorizo (which I know means it’s rice and chorizo and not paella!) and sometimes some spinach or kale too. If adding chorizo, Lidl have one without any garlic or onion which I’ve been fine with but if you’re in elimination stage you might need to be extra careful.
  2. Sausage casserole – I actually think this tastes better the following day from my flask! I use an adapted recipe from the Nosh student cookbook but I’m sure there are lots of recipes available.
  3. Sweet and sour chicken– I think people sometimes think I’m eating leftover Chinese takeaway for my lunch! Works well with quorn chicken style pieces too. Any kind of stir fry with rice noodles works.
  4. GF Gnocchi BakeBecky Excell’s recipe is delicious and easy, and tastes fab on day two or three!
  5. GF Pasta – I usually have this with a tomato sauce, sometimes with salami or some fodmap friendly sausages too. But you could add pesto or whatever takes your fancy!

Bonus: I couldn’t not include soup! Occasionally I’ll make and freeze some soup at the weekend to last me a while, in case my during the week cooking plans don’t work out. Two of my favourites are tomato and carrot or carrot and coriander. Extra lazy Lisa does this in the slow cooker, for minimal effort.

If you’re looking for a food flask recommendation, this Thermos Food Flask was recommended to me by a friend and it’s fabulous. It’s pricey, but I’ve undoubtedly got my money’s worth out of it! Remember to preheat it with boiling water first. During placement I make my lunch about 6:30am and it’s still fine to eat after 1pm.

If you have any more fodmap friendly lunch suggestions, please let me know! I’m always keen to add something else to my repertoire!

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January Update

This is a fairly quick post from me, as this month has flown by! In January I…

  • Cooked more 
    This was one of my goals for 2017 and so I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking is not my thing at all, so I’ve got plenty of room for improvement! I’ve tried out a couple of new recipes this month. I made a lowfodmap version of these delicious chocolate and raspberry brownies and they were fantastic. The recipe in the BBC Good Food Gluten-Free cookbook is identical to this but with GF flour, and then you can use a fodmap friendly spread instead of butter and all dark chocolate. Definitely not something to make if you’re trying to keep healthy but they were absolutely delicious. They did take ages to cook (like an hour instead of the recommended 35 minutes) and they were better enjoyed with a spoon as they were super gooey, but honestly these might be the tastiest chocolate brownies I’ve ever had. No bias from me whatsoever 😉 
    I also tried Karljin’s healthy strawberry crumble recipe. She recommends it as a breakfast but I made it as a quick dessert. It was super easy to make and I thought it was really tasty, but had to eat it solo over two days myself as the cooked strawberry wasn’t for Craig (all the more for me!).

    chocolate and raspberry brownies, strawberry crumble, courgette pizza


    My absolute favourite meal is pizza, and I’ve been exploring various gluten free pizza bases. One of my uni friends mentioned courgette base pizza to me, and so I gave it a go! Pre courgette-crisis, this is a fairly simple alternative base. I can’t remember what recipe I used but there are loads if you have a google. Mine turned out to be a fail because I didn’t make it thick enough and it totally stuck to the tinfoil and had to be scraped off by Craig (he stepped in at this point to save the day), who then rolled it so it was like a courgette burrito instead. The photo above makes it look quite revolting but it was delicious, I promise! It was a bit of a faff squeezing the water out of the grated courgette but it was so tasty that I think it was worth it. A lot tastier that some of the GF pizza bases I’ve tried!
    I tried yet another pizza base alternative, from Emma Hatcher’s The Fodmap Friendly Cookbook. I was so so excited for this to arrive because I love the recipes on her blog. She has included a recipe for a buckwheat flour pizza base which was another success. I’m excited to try more recipes from her cookbook!

  • Went to Paris!
    Paris! My favourite! We had a (last minute for us) weekend trip to Paris to celebrate my Dad’s 50th birthday.

    Opera Palais Garnier, chocolate mousse at Chez Janou (for two!), the Pantheon, Place des Vosges


    I spent my Erasmus year in Paris and absolutely fell in love with it- I’ve been back once but this is the first time my family have. Paris is wonderful any time of year, winter included, which I feel isn’t necessarily the case for everywhere. There are countless museums to visit, but this time we did a guided tour of the Opera Palais Garnier and went up the Tour Montparnasse again (I think this is a fantastic alternative view of Paris- you can see everything and miss out on nothing!). We also ate a lot. I tried to at least stick to being wheat free as I knew it was going to be tricky to be totally fodmap friendly. I thought I might as well enjoy myself for the weekend and suffer the consequences armed with peppermint tea and peppermint oil capsules. This was manageable but uncomfortable for the weekend but I arrived home on the Sunday with an incredibly bloated and painful tummy. Was all the delicious food worth it? Definitely! And if nothing else, I suppose it serves a reminder of why I’m bothering with this super restrictive low-fodmap diet: it really does make my life so much more pain free.

  • Fodmapped fairly successfully
    I’ve been doing well on the low-fodmap diet, apart from the weekend I was in Paris. Over the next few months I want to try a more systematic reintroduction of foods, in the hope that I’ll have better success. The basic idea is that you have a little bit of something that only contains one kind of fodmap on the Monday, see what your symptoms are, a little bit more on the Wednesday if you can, see what your symptoms are, then if you’re fine have a larger portion on the Friday and see how you manage. So there’s a reintroduction week for each fodmap type. I’m reluctant to try this while I’m on placement so I think it will probably be March until I do so properly.

Until next time, all the best from me!

 

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My 2017 Goals

Happy New Year!

With the start of a new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolutions. Resolutions are a bit much for me because, realistically, I just know I’m very unlikely to keep them and I don’t like to put unnecessary pressure on myself. Actually there was one year when I was nine and I totally stopped biting my nails overnight, after years of trying, but I think that’s the only time I’ve ever managed. However, I’m a big fan of setting smaller goals for myself and whilst I know you don’t need to wait until the new year, there’s just something about the clean slate that makes me put a bit more effort in.

In 2017 I will…

Run 10K
It turns out I really like running and I’ve settled quite happily around the 5km mark. I want to give myself a challenge this year to make it up to 10km.

Go on Duolingo more often
I used to be really good at going on Duolingo but I’ve since had to start my Danish and German trees from the bottom again because I just couldn’t remember enough. I’d like to better at it this year!

Read 20 books
I love reading, and I’ll never manage to read as much as I want to. I use goodreads so I’m now very aware of how many books there are on my ‘to read’ list! 

Watch The Godfather trilogy
I’ve just never watched The Godfather and it feels like one of those films that you should have seen, so 2017 is going to be my year to get that sorted out!

Try to like broccoli, rocket and salmon
I used to be the pickiest eater ever (or at least that’s what it felt like to me). I’ve got much better, but have now had to cut a whole load of foods out again with my low fodmap lifestyle. I just don’t like any of these but I know I should, so I’m going to try. 2016 was the year of the courgette for me, so who knows what I can achieve in 2017 😉

Write in my journal 3 times a week
I’ve kept journals on and off for years, and it’s so nice to be able to flick back through them. I’m going to try to write something at least three times a week. It’s actually a really therapeutic way to end the day- depending on what your day’s been like I suppose!

Cook more
Craig (voluntarily) does most of the cooking, and now that I’m basically having to make everything from scratch it is quite the undertaking. It’s not something I particularly enjoy but it’s something I need to get better at.

Be kind to myself
I think I’ve been getting better at self-care this year, and it’s something I know I’ll need to keep making a conscious effort to do when life is super busy.

I know it might seem silly to set goals like this but I just think that if you don’t at least try to make a change, then nothing will change. And really, all you can do is your best. I’m excited!

Let me know if you’ve set yourself any goals! Wishing you all a wonderful start to the year and all the best for 2017.

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December Update

I hope you’ve all had a fun, relaxing Christmas and that you’ve enjoyed plenty of chocolate and mince pies! I’ve finished my lactose-free advent calendar and survived my first ‘fodmap friendly’ Christmas much better than I’d expected to!

I cannot believe how quickly 2016 has flown by. Can you remember being little and how six weeks of summer holidays felt like forever and ‘a year from now’ felt too far away to comprehend? I can remember sitting in my flat in December last year with one of my best friends talking about how fast our final year of uni was going and wondering ‘is this it from now on?’- would time just continue to get faster and faster? I know people say time goes faster as you get older, but I thought I was still too young to notice!

This year I graduated, then started another uni course to train to be a teacher. I was lucky enough to travel to Paris, Copenhagen, Nice, Florida, London and Berlin. I also said a (hopefully temporary) goodbye to wheat, lactose, onions, garlic, beans, as well as a whole load of other formerly loved foods, and tried to embrace a fodmap friendly lifestyle. In a bid to better look after both my physical and mental health I started running, which turned out to be very good for my poorly tummy, and I’ve actually managed 288km this year! I was hoping to make it up to 300km by the end of the year, but I’ve not been very well since I got back from Berlin so I don’t think it’s on the cards this year. However, in the excitement of all the Black Friday sales, I bought a half price place in the Women’s Running 10K in Glasgow next year! It’s not until August so I’ve got loads of time to get up to that distance, but I thought it would be motivating for me.

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48 hours in Berlin at Christmas

Craig and I are back from a very cold 2 days in Berlin!

Where we stayed:
The EasyHotel in Mitte. This was our second stay here and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back a third time! What you compromise on room size, the location makes up for. I think it’s about a 15 minute walk to Alexanderplatz, or you’re very well linked by the U-bahn and trams just a minute from the hotel.
We actually had a slightly larger room this time- the last time we stayed here we couldn’t both get through the door at the same time as the ‘standing space’ on the other side was so tiny! The bathroom is a little partially frosted cube, so you need to be comfortable with whoever you’re sharing with. Bed was super comfy, but maybe that’s just because we’d done so much walking we’d tired ourselves out!

What we ate:
I was quite nervous about how my tummy would cope while I was away- it definitely wasn’t as placated as it is when I’m eating totally low fodmap, but was actually okay. I took peppermint oil capsules as well as the probiotics I’ve been advised to take by the nutritionist, and I think this helped too.
We headed straight from the airport to a Konnopke’s for some currywurst. We’d been here before as it’s apparently one of the best currywursts in Berlin. I’ve not eaten enough to verify, but it’s certainly very tasty! Since our flight was delayed we ended up here about 4pm I think, so we ended up not eating again that evening.

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My Little Box – December 2016

I wanted to share this because the arrival of a My Little Box always makes my day! It’s a monthly subscription box, and so for £15 a month you get a little surprise in the post with a selection of home and beauty goodies. I subscribe on and off depending on what my bank balance is like. It does feel like quite a lot to spend, but I’ve basically stopped drinking coffee and alcohol so my justification is that this is purchased with the money I’m saving!

I love My Little Box because of the selection of products- I’ve had gloves, a cushion cover, a coffee cup, even a t-shirt as well as some lovely trial sized makeup products. You always get a product from My Little Beauty, their own brand, and these have been some of my favourites. Plus, you get a little magazine related to whatever is in your box.

I was so excited to open the December box. Each box has a theme, and quite fittingly this is the Christmas Box. Look how pretty it is.

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My December Box contained:

My Little Box | A candy cane (now hanging on the Christmas tree!)

My Little Box | A ‘Feu de bois: un matin d’hiver’ scented candle

Kusmi | A little tin of ‘Tsarevna’ tea (a blend of black tea, orange and spices)

Tiptree | A tiny pot of salted caramel spread

Lou. Yetu | A gold cuff bracelet

L’Occitane | A mini almond shower oil

My Little Beauty | A smokey eyeshadow duo

Courrèges | A sample of  ‘Hyperbole’ perfume

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I think it’s a lovely selection. The candle is a particular favourite as it smells so festive. I’m very pleased with the mini shower oil and perfume as it means I don’t need to decant anything for taking to Berlin for our super quick trip. I’m excited to try the tea too! I love having the opportunity to try things I normally wouldn’t, and everything here feels like a special treat. And that’s really why I love it so much, a wee present to me from me!

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November Update

It’s officially winter!

I’m not a fan of the dark nights and the cold at all. However, I had very comforting thought that it is less than a month until the days start getting longer again. That seems within reach to me! This month has been very busy with uni and other bits and bobs. I’m on placement and I’m actually really enjoying it. I mean I’m knackered, but that’s because I’m getting up so early in the morning to leave at 7am. I’m progressing, getting positive feedback, and gaining some more self confidence in actually being able to do something (and not just write about it). I do like a challenge!

In terms of my poorly tummy, I was back to the doctors at the start of the month. I’ve now been on this low fodmap diet for four months. It’s recommended as an elimination diet for two months, but every time I try to reintroduce something I get a very sore tummy. I’ve been worried that part of this is mental, as I’ve never really had the best relationship with food. However, I had a really sore tummy last week and couldn’t think what it could be because all I’d had was a very ‘safe’ breakfast of gluten/wheat free rice crispies and lactose free milk. Turns out, I’d used ‘normal’ milk by accident. So, at least that explained that one! At the doctors, when I said I was struggling to reintroduce anything he told me to just keep at it. I don’t think it’s sustainable and neither do the research papers I’ve read about it. But what do you do, when there’s seemingly a huge amount of food causing you pain? I’ve booked an appointment with a nutritionist recommend by a friend next month, so I’m hoping that a different approach will be useful.

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Review: Brunch at Loudons

Where? Loudons Cafe and Bakery, 94B Fountainbridge, Edinburgh.

I love breakfast. It is undoubtedly my favourite meal of the day, and sometimes I do eat it for all three meals. Going out for breakfast or brunch is one of the things that has become more difficult with not being able to eat a whole load of stuff. So, I was very excited to hear that Loudons in Fountainbridge has plenty of gluten free options, and a couple even looked fodmap friendly too. Hooray!

Something to add about eating out on a low fodmap diet: I’ve found some conflicting advice about wheat and gluten. I’m pretty sure that I’m wheat intolerant as opposed to gluten intolerant, because I seem to be fine with oats. Gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean wheat free, but I’ve not found any problems so far eating gluten free food when I’m out.

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What’s this all about?

So what’s this all about? I’ll give you a bit of an explanation as to what’s going on with me.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been having lots of painful, very unglamorous, stomach problems. I’ve been back and forth to the GP countless times, and been prescribed a myriad of tablets, none of which provided any relief for me. It’s been absolutely rotten and I feel like I’ve struggled to be taken seriously. At some point, a doctor wrote down the words ‘low fodmap diet’ and told me to look it up. I was unimpressed by this further lack of advice but, after some googling and more tummy problems, I went back to the doctors a couple of weeks later and asked for more information. This time I saw a different GP, who knew absolutely nothing about the low fodmap diet, but looked it up while I was there in front of her and suggested I try it.

This low fodmap diet has been the only thing that has worked for me, and I’m both happy and sad about that. Obviously, I’m absolutely thrilled that I can go back to feeling healthy and pain free. But there’s part of me that is a little bit sad that this pain free life comes with a lot of limitations. At home, I’ve stopped having wheat, lactose, beans, garlic, onions, and a whole load of other fruits and vegetables. It’s great to feel better, but I’m really quite frustrated by the fact that eating an apple makes my tummy sore. Also, I’m worried no one is ever going to invite me round for dinner ever again.

The thing about the low fodmap diet is that it’s supposed to be an elimination diet. You give your tummy time to settle whilst you eat all the safe foods and avoid all the high fodmap ones and then you’re supposed to reintroduce foods and work out what your body can’t cope with. My problem is that everything I’ve tried to reintroduce has still given me a sore tummy.

My mum is really caught up with why this has happened. She keeps saying ‘But when you lived in Paris, you could eat bread and pastries and you were fine!’ I don’t get it either. But the point is my tummy is in  a lot of pain, which wasn’t the case a few years ago when I was living the Parisian dream, and this is the only thing that has helped so for now I’m going to go with it.

The other thing I’ve found that helps is exercise. I started running towards the end of my Erasmus year in Paris. My best friend runs a lot and she made it sound fun, and it was a great way for me to explore. I did the Couch to 5K plan properly in January/February this year, and since then I’ve been running as regularly as I can. I usually run 4-5km around three times a week. I absolutely love it, it’s a great way to start the day and I have time to focus and clear my head. I really notice the negative effects on my body and my mind if I don’t run. I’ve been going to more classes at the gym too, and again, it all makes my sensitive tummy feel better.

So, I’ve had a bit of a lifestyle change. I’m cooking almost everything from scratch (or my lovely boyfriend is, who has taken to this all remarkably well!), exercising as much as I can fit into my schedule, and I’ve felt better than I have in ages. But it’s been a huge shock to the system, and I’m finding it really hard and really frustrating. I can’t just go out for a meal anymore, because half the things on the menu are ‘high fodmap’ foods, and it’s a really complicated one to explain to people who think I’m on some sort of fad diet. Alcohol doesn’t really agree with me either and I’ve found it more difficult than I would have anticipated to account for my not drinking socially. What’s even worse is that I can’t have any fruit juice or anything fizzy, so I’m literally sat drinking water, or cranberry juice for a special treat!

I’ve found a couple of blogs from people suffering from similar intolerances and this has helped me loads, knowing that it’s not just me. I’m hoping that in writing this, I can provide similar to support if you’re in my boat too. It’s also some motivation for me to keep going and keep eating new things, and not just eating the same food for every meal. 

I promise it won’t all be doom and gloom and me whinging about my tummy. When I asked my parents what I should call this blog my dad suggested calling it ‘laughing Lisa’, to which I replied ‘but Dad, I’m really not very funny’. Mum and Dad said ‘well, we do laugh at your expense a lot!’ So if you want, now you can do the same! Hopefully I’ll share some easy recipes and where/how to eat out. You get to do it all with me, because it’s all new! You can keep up with my running progress, and I may even share a photo of me with my full ‘running in the dark’ regalia. For someone who doesn’t wear a bike helmet, it’s very safety conscious and I’ll encourage any laughing at my expense. I’ve got some plans to blog about some more fun stuff too, so please do stick around! 

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