A couple weekends ago I had the honor of being a part of the official blogging team for the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo, in Del Mar, San Diego, CA. It was a great event, with some familiar faces behind some of the brands that I love and new faces for brands I had yet to discover.
As you know on the low-FODMAP diet, reading labels on food products can take some time and we are very limited to the snacks we actually can eat. With that said, I want to make a point that there are many whole foods that you CAN eat on the diet and those are certainly more important than getting your hands on some tasty snacks. Ahhh but sometimes I know we all need something to fill in the gaps of hunger during the day or to make snacking more enjoyable. That’s why I love being your detective and finding more foods for you to enjoy! I also found some items that could be used for lunch or dinner so read on!
The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in San Diego is a smaller-sized expo compared to Expo West which I will be attending this March, so I won’t have as many products to share now as I will from Expo West. As expected I found many breads that had high-FODMAPs like inulin, honey or had more than one gum in the ingredients. Some people with IBS have no issues with something like xanthan gum but may when additional gums are present in the bread. Pea protein can be an issue too and I write more about that later in the blog post.
Before I share my review of products from the show, I wanted to take you through some examples of ingredient labels for the brands I visited to give you a little bit of practice on how to be your own detective next time you shop! High-FODMAP ingredients are highlighted in red and ingredients that may be problematic are highlighted in amber. Anything with a ? means it’s probably OK to consume but the ingredient hasn’t been analyzed as of this writing:
Example of a wheat-free bread: Water, Mixed Wholegrain Flours (Sorghum Flour, Rice Flour, Corn Flour, Millet Flour, Teff Flour, Quinoa Flour(?), Amaranth Flour), Potato Flour(? not analyzed yet for FODMAP but may be suitable), Flaxseeds, Corn Starch, Tapioca Starch, Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Pea protein, Teff Seeds (? possibly OK), Red Quinoa Seeds, Chia Seeds, Sourdough (fermented Quinoa, Corn and Rice Flour), Psyllium Husk, Yeast, Salt, Inulin, Sugar, Canola Oil, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Citric Acid (a mold inhibitor), Malic Acid (a mold inhibitor), Tartaric Acid (a mold inhibitor). There are still many wheat-free breads that need to be fully analyzed for their FODMAP content and I hope to see more and more products evaluated by Monash University low FODMAP Certification program very soon.
Example of a pack of Cookies: Juice Concentrate (Grape, Apple, or Pear), White Rice Flour (could be an issue) , Expeller Pressed Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil), Light Buckwheat Flour, Date Paste, Millet Flour, Molasses, Crystallized Ginger (Ginger, Cane Sugar), Unsweetened Applesauce (Water, Apples), Natural Rice Dextrin(? made when rice starch is broken down by a common enzyme called amylase, acts as a preservative when combined with natural fruit juices. Used to retain moisture, softness and freshness), Ground Ginger, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Vanilla, Ground Nutmeg, Rosemary Extract.
My Favorites From the GFAF
Here were some of my favorites from the #GFAF show:
These Maple Sugar & Sea Salt pumpkin seeds snack by SuperSeedz is made with low-FODMAP ingredients and would make a great snack or sprinkle them on a salad or on top of half a small sweet baked potato! You could also mix these seeds with some macadamia nuts, or top them on salad, in soup or add them to your next recipe for gluten-free bread, pancakes or muffins! These seeds are made with maple sugar which is mostly sucrose.
Freedom Foods Maple Crunch Cereal (Australia)
“Tastes like a pancake breakfast, only crunchier.” So true! This is one of the most delicious gluten-free cereals ever! I love having it with some almond milk. It’s sweet but not overly sweet and I love how crunchy it is. Ingredients: Gluten Free Flour Mix (76%) [Rice Flour, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour (21%), Corn (Maize) Flour] Cane Sugar, Psyllium Husk, Maple Syrup (2%), Canola Oil, Salt, Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Flavours.
Glutenberg Beer! (Canada)
Thankfully on the low-FODMAP diet you can have beer, but please don’t go wild. If you are serious enough about the diet, an occasional glass of wine (no dessert wine or sticky wine) or beer is OK if you really must have some. Alcohol is an irritant to the gut so if you can hold off on alcohol for the entirety of the diet – that’s awesome! If you are looking for a delicious brand of beer when you’re ready to kick back, Glutenberg is where it’s at (I mean the name is awesome right? Sounds like one of my Jewish friends from back in New York). This beer is especially awesome for celiacs or those with a gluten-sensitivity (like me). They are the ONLY gluten-free beer brand that’s 100% gluten-free. They use 100% gluten-free ingredients and their beer doesn’t contain a single trace of gluten (0.00 PPM). “At the brewery, we are entirely devoted to the production of gluten-free beer. This means that not a single ingredient containing gluten enters the plant. What’s more, all of our beers are 0,00 PPM-tested by an independent lab. Finally, we conduct an ELISA test on each brew.” I tried their Blonde and White varieties and liked both, especially the Blonde. Here is where you can find them distributed in the U.S.
These Sugar Crisp cookies by Enjoy Life are also new to me. While I did not have the chance to taste them I did check out the ingredients and they appear to be low in FODMAPs. The only real item in question is the konjac flour (derived from tubers of the elephant yam; a soluble dietary fiber that is similar to pectin in structure and function) which has not been tested and analyzed yet by Monash University for its FODMAP content. However, it is listed near the end of the label which means it is present in smaller quantities so I don’t see a huge issue there. Ingredients: Flour Mix (White Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Buckwheat Flour), Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals, Palm Oil, Brown Pure Cane Sugar, Natural Flavor, Salt, Vanilla, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (a white, water-soluble solid that serves as a buffering and chelating agent), Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum (can sometimes cause issues in those with IBS), Konjac Flour (listed as one of the last ingredients, so present in trace amounts), Rosemary Extract.
What Didn’t Make the Cut for Low-FODMAP But Might be Great for Graduates
The foods I am going to share here are more for graduates of the low-FODMAP diet – those of you who have successfully finished both phases of the diet and know which foods are your pesky triggers for IBS. Here I will explain what I found so that you can be the judge and decide for yourself whether or not you want to give them a taste test. I tried them all and did not have any issues, but we (all of us with IBS) are all different in the way we handle food.
I checked out Tera’s Whey Goat Whey Protein, plain, unsweetened and had the chance to taste test and it was good, but not amazing. It tastes exactly the way you may think – like mild goat milk. Goat’s milk yogurt is low in FODMAPs but full cream goat milk is not. This product does not contain any cow’s milk, but it does contain goat’s milk – goat whey protein concentrate and sunflower lecithin. I would suggest this product if you need a protein powder option and you also know you do not malabsorb lactose.
Daiya (pronounced day-ya as I learned from the lovely ladies at the booth because this whole time I have been pronouncing it more like die-ya) is a great brand, especially for those who need to be dairy free or who are vegan. What I have found in many dairy free or vegan products is pea protein, which is another ingredient I’d love to see tested and analyzed (soon please Monash!). Pea protein is made from yellow split peas and found in protein shakes, bars and other food products. An 1/8th cup of thawed peas (they are green per Monash) is moderate in FODMAPs, however yellow split peas are not on the Monash list, so a few things:
- I do not know the FODMAP content of yellow split peas
- I do not know the FODMAP content of pea protein – the yellow split peas go through some sort of processing to make the pea protein so I am not sure how that affects the FODMAP content
- Pea protein is included in Daiya’s Cheezy Mac near the middle of the ingredient list but I am not sure exactly how much is used
- Onion is listed on the ingredients list but it is the last ingredient which means it’s present in trace amounts (no issues here -but remember I’ve already completed the diet and know my “FODMAP Threshold”)
I did enjoy their Cheezy Mac when I got home from the expo and it’s totally guy approved. My husband said “even I like it” which goes a long way from someone who eats meat everyday. I did not have any issues at all and I also had some fun with the noodles by adding in ground chicken meat that I seasoned and browned slightly in a pan. Also I need to note that onion is listed allllll the way at the bottom of the list (which means it’s present in smaller quantities). I personally have issues with raw onion or garlic but if cooked and I have them in small quantities, there’s no issue for me. You may be different! Decide for yourself if you’d like to try this product or consider having a little and see how you do. Again – no issues at all here, just a huge smile after enjoying the gooey “cheez” and noodles!
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Be good to yourself and your gut!
Certified Nutritionist Consultant