FODMAP Friendly: 95 Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Recipes for the Digestively Challenged
“Cookbook author Georgia McDermott has transformed her personal despair into deliciousness and beauty. Her book is a roadmap for those who suffer from IBS, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, SIBO, or other digestive challenges.”
Food is supposed to nourish and sustain but sometimes perfectly healthy foods can cause extreme digestive discomfort. When this happened to Georgia McDermott, she decided to be proactive and find foods she could eat. Soon she was cooking with these foods and it seemed natural to take photographs (stunning ones) of the dishes and post them on social media. One thing led to another and since then the young cook has documented her journey in a beautiful book titled, FODMAP Friendly: 95 Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Recipes for the Digestively Challenged.
McDermott was one of those “picky” eaters and as a youngster constantly complained of a “hot tummy” and rejected easy-to-like foods such as pasta and bread. Throughout her school years McDermott was constantly nauseated by foods that a week ago she had enjoyed. Headaches were frequent and tests and scans provided no clue to her mysterious symptoms.
A gluten-free diet helped for a while and then she was bloated, full, and nauseous once more. During this time, McDermott found herself at odds with the established medical doctors as well as her family. Then, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition where the nerves responsible for the muscle contractions that push food through the digestive system are damaged or not functioning as they should. But even adhering to the guidelines for this condition did not improve her symptoms. Her frustration is evident in the first few pages of her book.
“I noticed that most doctors . . . were reluctant to believe food might be causing my ill health. They searched for external factors, such as stress. . . . Considering food is a common denominator in every single day, I found this hard to stomach. . . .”
Finally, on the advice of a friend, she made an appointment to see an integrative doctor. An integrative doctor is a qualified medical doctor who uses a holistic, nutrition-focused approach to treating patients. She was diagnosed with SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which can cause bloating, gas, nausea, and food intolerances. After a lengthy trial and error process of trying to find out how to cope with this new diagnosis, she was given an option of a low-FODMAP diet. Even though McDermott wasn’t looking forward to eliminating foods, she had to take into account her worsening food intolerances and so decided to give this new diet a try. Even then, FODMAP diet wasn’t a cure-all or magic bullet.
“So, I’m not healed, but what the low-FODMAP diet has given me is a framework around which to base my food choices.”
It has also given her “the things I am most passionate about and proud of: my career in food and this cookbook.”
A word about FODMAP: the definition for this can be found easily by Googling the acronym but it breaks down to Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (chain of individual sugars), Disaccharides (common as lactose), Monosaccharides (excess fructose) and Polyols (sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol). Common FODMAP offenders include garlic, onion, lactose, fructose, and wheat.
So armed with some self-knowledge, McDermott set out to create dishes she could eat. She shared her recipes (and journey) on Instagram via a secret account and then came a blog. The success of both led her to writing this cookbook.
Although, there are plenty of mouth-watering recipes, McDermott’s book is not your usual cookbook. Within these pages she has transformed her personal despair into deliciousness and beauty. It is a roadmap for those who suffer from IBS, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, SIBO, or other digestive challenges. This is a very personal and well researched account by someone who knows what she is writing about and is an essential tool for the digestively challenged or those who want to know more about FODMAP diet. It is comprehensive, beautifully photographed (McDermott is a food stylist and photographer, after all) and full of satisfying vegetarian and vegan dishes.
The cookbook reflects the author’s style and spirit and so the sections have alluring titles such as “Grown-up Dinner,” “Grab & Go Baking,” “The Sweet Life,” and “Getting Social.”
McDermott’s book proves being on a FODMAP diet is not limiting and includes a surprising variety of foods and recipes. Cooks can choose from Pumpkin Curry, to Mini Mediterranean Frittatas or Salted Dark Chocolate Tart, to thirst-quenching Passion Fruit Caipirinha.
Since food sensitivity varies from person to person, McDermott encourages experimentation. Cooks will need to stock up on a variety of gluten-free flours, eggs, vegan butter, coconut oil, and lactose-free milk and yogurt to try these well-tested recipes. But for anyone who suffers from food intolerances, this book will be invaluable starting point.