Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

Maple Oatmeal Pudding Pom(egranate) Parfait

I love pomegranates!

BUT… They Are High Fructose Tally Food Item.  The good news?  This recipe only uses a few tablespoons, so if you have a few fructose enzymes in your daily allotment to spare (or a roll of Smarties in your cupboard), then your gut should be just fine 🙂

Maple Oatmeal Pudding Pom(egranate) Parfait

.5 Cup – Oatmeal (I prefer Quaker Old Fashioned) – Cooked
1 Tbsp – Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding (I prefer Sugar Free to save calories)
.5 Cup – Unsweetened Almond Milk (Original or Vanilla would both be great here)
1 Tbsp – Maple Syrup of your choosing (see below for options) 
2 Tbsp – Fresh pomegranate seeds (or substitute your favorite berry)

Directions:

Before.) Prepare your fresh pomegranate seeds by removing them from the crazy maze-of-a-fruit they come in.  Here is a link if you’ve never tackled a pomegranate before.  They are work, but totally worth it!  http://video.about.com/gourmetfood/Pomegranate.htm   

1.) Cook oatmeal per package instructions. While it cooks…
2.) Mix together the pudding mix and almond milk, and whisk together till thickened (approx 1-2 mins)   *Note: Dairy Milk works fine too, but you may need to add some water if your mix is too thick.
3.) Once the oatmeal is done, mix it with the maple syrup.
4.) Assemble the parfait with a layer of oatmeal, pudding, and sprinkle of berries, and repeat two more times.

Maple Oatmeal Pudding Pom Parfait

How easy is that?!  And a calorie bargain at 230 cals/recipe!

Fructose Malabsorption doesn’t mean zero fruit in your life.  You just have to find a balance, and eat your fruits and veggies wisely.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at HappyAndFructoseFree@gmail.com

Happy Eating to All 🙂  ~ Lindsey

Syrup Options for Fructose Sensitive Folks

** SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE **  All syrups are  High Fructose Tally Items, so you must be very careful for the rest of the day if you choose to splurge.  You only get a certain amount of enzymes per day and it depends on your tolerance.  Experimentation is necessary but fear is optional 🙂

Make it (the easy way) ~ Karo Light Corn Syrup + Water (to desired consistency) + Maple, Vanilla & Butter Flavoring to taste.

Make it (from scratch) ~ Add 1 cup of water to 3 or 4 cups of sugar + 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar (makes it stable in the fridge for awhile).  Bring to a boil until sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat then add flavorings to taste like above.

Make it from scratch (with berries) ~ Take any frozen berry and add some water to a pan and let reduce to a fruit syrup.  Add sugar and spices to taste, and if it is too liquidy add a bit of flour (gluten free works great) and stir constantly until thickened then blend for a smooth texture.  You can also strain out the seeds once the berries are blended (prolly best to do before you add the flour).

Buy it ~ Pure Maple Syrup.  As long as it is 100% pure then it is safe in moderation.

Buy it ~ Mrs. Butterworth’s Lite Syrup.  The new formula IS FREE OF HFCS and I had a total party in the cereal isle when I realized this!

–> But manufacturers can change formulas at any time, so ALWAYS CHECK THE INGREDIENTS, even if you have bought this item a million times.  Better safe then sick!

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Holiday Food Adventures – Merriment With Minimal Bloating

What is scarier than eating at a restaurant?  Eating at the home of a loved one that doesn’t ACTUALLY understand fructose malabsorption and your other dietary needs, but sure tries.

They don’t put french fried onions on top of the green bean casserole just for you, but they forgot about the half onion they cooked in the dish.  You plate up a bunch only to find little the little tummy bloating pieces three bites in… you know if you eat any more you will get very sick, but if you don’t clean your plate you  may hurt some feelings.  It is a Lose-Lose Situation, but with a few techniques you can avoid these awkward moments and save your gut.

Plan Ahead: Start The Food Conversation Early

Know your schedule and know your tummy.  Initiate conversations about what is on the menu with the host(s) several weeks in advance, and offer to bring items that are often contaminated with onions, garlic, tomatoes and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  My key targets:  

  • Anything that is creamy and sweet likely has Cool Whip, which ALWAYS has HFCS,
  • Casseroles & Soups usually contain onions and crushed tomatoes
  • Bread items like dressing/stuffing or dinner roles that are purchased.  HFCS lurks in many commercially baked goods.

Starting the food conversation weeks in advance allows you to help your hosts think through the menu, and educate them where excess fructose likes to hide.

Plan Ahead: Build Up Your Fructose Enzymes & Pack Dextrose Candies (Like Smarties)

Remember, it isn’t about avoiding fructose entirely (that would be impossible).  Making smart food choices on the few days before and on the holiday, and spreading your fructose items through the day, will make all the difference to your tummy during the holidays.

So, you know you have a big Thanksgiving holiday looming, and you’d really like a single piece of pumpkin pie with Reddi Whip (not Cool Whip/HFCS) and a serving of your favorite veggie casserole.  The good news is that if you only have fructose malabsorption you CAN likely have the items you love, and all you need to do is plan ahead and eat smart on that day.  Make sure your body has all of its fructose enzymes built up over a few days to take on the excess fructose on the holiday, plus don’t forget to pack some dextrose candies for just before and just after the meal (Smarties are my favorite because they come in small packages and are easy to eat discreetly).

Since Fructose Intolerance is a type of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, one of the best things we Fructose Folks can do for ourselves is…. are you ready for it?

–> Do Not Over Eat!!! <–

Overeating overwhelms our already sensitive gut, so eat smaller meals more often.  Have one scoop of your favorite veggie casserole with cornflake topping (High Fructose Tally Item) with your potatoes and turkey (Low Fructose Tally Items) first.  Then snack on a crescent roll (Medium  Fructose Tally Item) with butter while everyone is finishing their giant plates of food and waiting for dessert.  If you tummy is already gurgling at you then get your piece of pie to go and save it for later… like when you get home.  Or if you are feeling good, then go for a small piece and see how your tummy reacts.

Everyone’s fructose tolerance is different, but you can help your body digest these troublesome foods better so they don’t case so much bloating.

Plan Ahead: Don’t Arrive Hungry

See the previous note.  Overeating is setting your tummy up for failure, and you will pay the price.  Trust me… I have done this more than a handful of times (not happy).  Arriving partially full is critically important and means that the deliciously dangerous foods around you won’t look so appealing and “worth the risk.”  The frosted sugar cookies may be delicious, but they will also max out your fructose allotment for the meal and make your sick when you eat that piece of pumpkin pie.

This Fructose Aware Lifestyle is all about trade offs.  For this meal will you choose…

  • High Fructose Tally Item #1: Frosted Sugar Cookie
  • High Fructose Tally Item #2: Favorite Veggie Casserole
  • High Fructose Tally Item #3: Slice of Pumpkin Pie

I choose, for dinner the veggie casserole, and for a late dessert the pumpkin pie OR the cookie.  Take the third home to eat tomorrow.  

Easy as… Pumpkin Pie 🙂

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to tweak recipes, so please share with me the foods you are craving for the holidays but are afraid to tackle.  I am always happy to help!

Email me anytime at HappyAndFructoseFree@Gmail.com

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The Meat, Carb & Dairy Trap – A World Without Fruits & Veggies…

The Meat, Carb & Dairy Trap (as I am calling it) is a food battle that I am still figuring a way out of.  A Fructose Malabsorber’s world while trying to adhere to the strictest of diets can easily turn into this crazy unhealthy food trap.  A world without fruits & veggies is one that is full of sadness, and since my realization that Fructose Malabsorption IS Irritable Bowel Syndrome I have been testing my limits with the naturally delicious fruits and veggies that tempt me daily…

Here are some tidbits I have discovered during my daily food experiments that will hopefully help uncover the answer to your own complicated tummy puzzle & avoid falling into the dreaded…  Meat, Carb & Dairy Trap!!!

1.)  Wheat turns into fructose when it gets broken down in your gut.  

As an admitted carb-oholic who lived as a vegetarian for a solid decade, I love CARBS!  Pasta, English Muffins, Bread, Crackers, Cookies… you name the carb and I am so there!  The trick to not getting sick is that they must be enjoyed in small quantities, spread out throughout the day & NEVER trust it if you can’t read the ingredients.  HFCS is lurking around every corner in processed-carb-land.  Be very very careful.

2.)  Lactose and Fructose are sugar relatives, if you will.

Though I’m not a full blown Lactose Intolerant, I am sensitive to it so I always keep some lactase pills (the enzyme with breaks down lactose in our gut) with me if I am having a dairy splurge.  Cheese and ice cream are two food groups in my diet (yes, food groups… mmm).  Did you know that if a cheese shows zero grams of carbs on its nutrition information that it is technically free of lactose?  Lactose is a sugar and therefore a carb… food for thought 🙂

Speaking of ice cream…

Always be leery of anything in the frozen isle.  HFCS frequently hides here too.  If you are looking for a yummy and simple ice cream, I always have Breyer’s All Natural Vanilla and Mint Chip in my freezer.  Just a few simple ingredients and absolutely amazing!  I must note that it is full fat ice cream so moderation is key because…

3.)  Fat is not an IBS / FMr’s friend.

Red meats, cheese, delicious potato chips (which I had for dinner… guilty), butter & full fat ice creams are all culprits in the fat department.  From an FMr’s standpoint, it is best to avoid red meats, and moderate all other fat sources.  The all-encompassing theme with this type of lifestyle is… Eat a variety of tolerated foods in moderation over many small meals during the day. 

4.)  The issue of getting enough fiber.  

Knowing that FM is a branch of IBS, it is worth noting there are two extremes in the IBS universe: loose bowel movements or no bowel movements.  I fall into the not so many movements category, so I need fiber desperately, but I can’t have most natural sources of fiber because they are all contaminated with fructose (aahhhh!!!)  What’s a person to do?  Culturelle probiotics work well, but they get pricey quickly.  Chia seeds are great and I eat them all the time, but they just aren’t enough for me.

The solution to my tummy puzzle is a single cup of light roast coffee in the morning (which I take with a tsp of sugar and a dash of Land O’ Lakes Fat Free Half & Half  since theirs has the fewest ingredients.)   While most people drink coffee to wake up their brain, the caffeine jump-starts my IBS system.  A second cup… then I’m sick 😦   So K-Cups are brilliant for me, but depending on which variety of IBS you lean towards, caffeine can actually be harmful by making a runny situation even worse.

5.)  Fruits and veggies are NOT the enemy.  

I have struggled with this trap of meat, carbs and dairy since I first got diagnosed (which for me quickly evolved into just carbs and dairy because most meats are chewy… that is besides the point).  I recently found I could tolerate many more fruits and veggies than I originally imagined.

Fresh spinach is always on hand at our house, and I try to eat a salad every day with shoestring carrots (just a small handful), sunflower seeds, either Feta or Parmesan cheese depending on my mood, with some homemade dressing (the easiest variety is one-third yellow mustard, one-third unseasoned rice vinegar or distilled white & one-third olive oil, then season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar and I always add some dried herbs because I’m crazy).

I can have a few slices of cucumber, zucchini or green pepper, and I eat celery and cook with scallions all of the time.  Oh!  Can’t forget avocado!  Avocados are very interesting from the FMr’s perspective…  They have more fructose than glucose, but their quantities are soooo small that the ratio doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t eat the whole thing… they are nature’s butter after all … see note 3 🙂

And fruit is a little more tricky…

but now that it is officially berry season and I have painfully little self control… more often than not when I walk past the display of amazing smelling strawberries at the store I just can’t help myself.  But I have learned through multiple times of getting sick that I can have 2 strawberries and a 3rd will send me running for the bathroom.  I buy them fresh sometimes, but I always have frozen and freeze dried berries on hand to cook with when I’m feeling fruit deprived.
Here’s a yummy recipe for you fruit cravers out there!

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Cake:

Serves 8 or 1 soon-to-be-sick Fructose Intolerant person who ate the whole thing… don’t do that.  Moderation Is The Key!)

Ingredients:

1-1/3 Cup AP Flour (Gluten Free AP Flours are great too)
3/4 Cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/3 Cup Sugar (you can add some dextrose too if you’d like, since it can only help)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Milk (I love Silk Pure Almond!  I cook with the unsweetened original & drink the sweetened vanilla or chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth)
1/4 Oil (I like canola in this application)
1 Egg
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries, Strawberries or Raspberries (keep frozen until ready to add to batter)

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 400*F and grease an 8″ or 9″ round baking dish.
2.)  Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, and in a separate bowl combine wet ingredients (milk through egg).  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until the batter is slightly lumpy but uniformly moistened.
3.)  Fold in the frozen berries (chop the strawberries into smaller pieces if using) then pour into prepared pan.
4.)  Cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the pan and it looks golden brown and delicious on top.
5.)  Cool on rack for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
I hope that all of this information is helpful, and if you are craving something that you really shouldn’t have let me know.

I love an FM food challenge so email me at HappyAndFructoseFree@Gmail.com with your food craves 🙂

Happy Berry Season!

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Fructose Friendly Treats: Chocolate Part I

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Out of all of the “Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Egg Free” specialty items that I have ever tried, these chocolate chips are my hands down favorite find. Their amazingness is only reinforced with the fact they made it through every stage of my dietary needs evolution. Whether you are living with or without dairy, soy or gluten, these little pieces of chocolatey joy will be loved by all… guaranteed!

They are great to snack on, and their miniature size is perfect for enhancing pretty much anything. Pancakes, smoothies, cereal, trail mix, oatmeal, and cookies… Now that you mention it, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are my favorite!  YUM!!!

Cookie Enemy Number 1: Brown Sugar

Since molasses is problematic for we Fructose Free Folks, and…

molasses + white sugar = brown sugar

… we sadly have a hole in many of our favorite recipes.  I looked all over the internet to find replacements, but no great options appeared.  Only honey (nopers), agave (I wish), true maple syrup (maybe… depends on your tolerance, or you could make your own out of sugar and dextrose, but that is separate delicious blog…).  So, my friends, we are left with white sugar.

You won’t even miss the molasses in this recipe 🙂

Lindsey’s Fructose Friendly Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies:

Happy Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, margarine, or substitute, softened
  • 1 cup  sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar & 1/2 cup dextrose to cut the Fructose Load)   *If you are new to Fructose Malabsorption, you need to invest in some dextrose… More info to come 🙂
  • 1 pkg.  (small) JELL-O Sugar Free Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp.  baking soda
  • 1 cup  flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (or more if you like a drier cookie)
  • 1 cup add in of your choice.  I choose Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Beat the butter and sugar (and dextrose) in a large bowl until light in color and airy.  Add the dry pudding mix and stir until well-integrated.  Then add the eggs and baking soda until the mixture is uniform.
  • Add in the flour gradually until a consistent dough forms, then add the oatmeal and chocolate chips.
  • On to prepared baking sheets, drop tablespoon-sized cookie dough and leave 2 inches between them.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edge turn golden brown and delicious.  Cool for one minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.

And of course you can mix up the flavors!  Check out some lemon pudding with 2 cups of flour and no oats.   Bake them just the same, then add your favorite royal icing (in moderation of course) and you have a perfect bit of sweet and tart happiness that everybody will love.

I would love to hear your favorite cookie adaptations, or sweet habits you are having trouble breaking post-diagnosis.

Best wishes for a Fructose Friendly New Year in 2013!

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Fructose Free Staples: Part V

Daily Multivitamin & Probiotic Dietary Supplement

When many fruits & veggies go off the menu permanently it should be no surprise that you absolutely need to take a multivitamin & probiotic to maintain your health. The challenge is finding safe products and remembering to take them everyday.

Vitafusion is an allergy-friendly brand in general (all of their gummy vitamins are completely free of wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts & soy) and their daily multivitamins are made with sugar so I these fit right into a Fructose Malabsorber’s lifestyle.

Did I mention that they are gummies?  Healthy, chewy, and sweet, these vitamins take me back to my childhood and make this daily necessity something to look forward to 🙂

Culturelle makes a number of great probiotics that are fantastic for everybody, since, let’s be honest, we all could use a little help maintaining the bacteria balance in our digestive systems.

On top of that, there is a capsule made specifically for those of us with some common dietary needs!  Look for the little banner at the top of the box that says “Dairy and Gluten Free.”  No yogurt needed, and we still get all of the benefits.  Hooray!

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Fructose Free Staples: Part III

It is wonderful to make everything from scratch, but having convenient fructose free pantry staples are important to maintaining your health and your sanity on those crazy-busy days.

Here is another installment of the Fructose Free Staples that keep me Happy 🙂

Cereal

 

~The key to success is always learning~ Please check out the updates at the end of this post 🙂

I have been addicted to cereal for as long as I can remember.  Going though each level of my dietary-needs evolution I lost more and more of my beloved breakfast options every time.  Fructose malabsorption is doubly tricky in the morning because even the cereals that are organic, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free often times use honey, molasses, or fruit to sweeten them.

Thankfully, I already had Gluten Free Rice Krispies in my pantry after I got my Fructose Malabsorption diagnosis, and I stumbled upon the toasted oats cereal by Full Circle when I had to ditch my Rice and Corn Chex.  Both are crispy, light and perfectly satisfying with milk or on their own as a late morning snack.

Hooray for Fructose Free Breakfast!

Instant Rice

Yes, a rice cooker and good ol’ fashioned long grain rice is delicious, but there are (many) days that I simply don’t have that kinda time to wait around.

In addition to their instant rice, Minute Brand now has super convenient single portion cups that only take a minute in the microwave and they come in an array of flavors.  We fructose free folks are best to stick with the plain white and brown rice versions.  Quick note, the Ready to Serve Cups do contain soy.

Peanut Butter

I know… PEANUTS are not PISTACHIOS (the only nut that is OK’d for people living a fructose free lifestyle), but transitioning from a vegetarian lifestyle I absolutely cannot live without peanut butter.  Small steps…

This particular natural peanut butter from Skippy only uses sugar to sweeten, and it doesn’t require stirring.  Easy, delicious, and affordable!

If you have access to freshly made nut butters, go for it!  They are awesome and are certainly the healthiest option, but I find that this peanut butter is a “Happy (Fructose Free) Medium.”

Please remember to test your tolerance with peanuts before diving in, and always Enjoy in Moderation 🙂

~The key to success is always learning~ Updated 10/14/12

Over the past few months I realized that I don’t digest brown rice very well.  Luckily I can still work with normal wheat flour.  Here are a few more cereals that are free of honey, brown sugar/molasses, and dried fruits.

My new favorite cereal is Special K – Original.  The first ingredient is rice, and it has lots of added vitamins and minerals (including iron which I am having a tough time getting enough of right now), plus fiber which all Fructose Malabsorbers need.  ~This cereal contains wheat and milk products~

Here are a couple sweetened cereals that I have found to be safe for my tummy.  *As always, please test your tolerance first and enjoy in moderation*

Craving Chocolate?  Bear River Valley – All Natural Cereals makes an excellent version of Cocoa Pebbles called “Choco Chomp.”  The name might be a little silly sounding, but this delightful cereal soothes my chocolate urges frequently and has earned a permanent spot in my kitchen.  I love it!  To keep my portions under control I often add a 1/4 cup to a bowl of Special K.  Plus you still get some yummy chocolate milk afterwards a without a ton of extra sugar.  Oh happiness! 🙂 ~This cereal does contain wheat~

Craving Cinnamon?  Cascadian Farm Organics makes a convincing version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, called “Cinnamon Crunch” that uses whole grain wheat and only sugar with dextrose (which is our friend) to sweeten.  Amazing!  I find these make perfect portable snacks, but it is sooo hard to stop eating them.   I would recommend getting some snack-sized zip-top bags to avoid any self-control related sickness (Been there, done that.  Totally worth it, but now I try to prevent it :)).  ~This cereal contains both wheat and soy~

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Fructose Free Newbie – Week 2 – Weekend Travel

Traveling for anybody with food allergies is a little nerve-wrecking, but for people living with Fructose Intolerance it is nothing short of terrifying

Lurking around every corner there is an unassuming salad, a seasoned piece of chicken, or worst of all… chips & salsa.  As a vegetarian, free chips & salsa or breadsticks with a meal was fantastic!  Being free of fructose… it becomes a staring contest.  Then terrible thoughts creep into your mind as you fantasize about the spicy/garlicky deliciousness in front of you.

But do not despair. 

Depending on your diet that week maybe one bite won’t be a tummy tragedy, but it is a risk.   Your best ally in situations such as these is… *tah dah* Preparation!

Pistachios are safe, portable and delicious, so I have some on me at all times.

Making your own hard candy is another great way to create long lasting and portable treats.  My personal favorite is Glass Candy, and this version doesn’t use corn syrup 🙂

Check it out!  (Makes approx. 1 pound of candy happiness)

Ingredients:

2 cups of sugar ~ 1 cup of water ~ 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar ~ 1 Tbsp. flavoring of choice ~ Liquid food coloring of choice ~ Powdered sugar for dusting (Note: does contain cornstarch)

Directions:

Prepare a baking sheet with canola oil or non-stick spray of your choice.

Prepare the sides of a large saucepan same way, and then combine the sugar, water and tartar in said pan.  Turn stovetop to medium-low and stir constantly until there are no visible sugar crystals in the mixture.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and increase the heat to medium.  Bring the deliciousness to a boil and cook, without stirring, until it reaches the “hard-crack” stage (approx 300-degrees F).

Remove from the heat and add the flavoring and coloring.

Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces.  Coat with powdered sugar and store in an air-tight container.

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