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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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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What I’ve Learned In My First Year… & Some Very Helpful Books

So I have officially made it to my 1 Year Anniversary of being a Fructose Malabsorber, a diagnosis that has changed my life drastically.

I started this blog a year ago because I want to be a positive resource for people who are struggling to keep their tummies happy, just like I do every day.  It is hard, there is no way around it.  And I’ve been sick a lot, despite my best efforts to keep on a strict diet.

I had a “Lightbulb!” moment a couple weeks ago, and though I’m embarrassed it took me so long to put these pieces together, I’m going to suck up my pride and share this with you in the event you find yourself continually sick while trying your best following the “Formal Food List.”

Here it is… I am fructose intolerant.  I was given a food list, but I never really understood how my diagnosis fit it or compared to the larger diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrom.  My understanding of it now…

Fructose Malabsorption IS Irritable Bowel with an Extra Focus on Fructose! 

Open the flood gates to piles of  books on IBS, FODMAPs and Tummy-Friendly Recipes!!!  These resources are wonderful!  I purchased The Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Well with IBS (which I LOVE).  It is a fun read and bursting with useful information.  Now I know that the historically “safe” “staple” carbs in my diet are likely the source of my continued tummy trouble.  I am not intolerant of wheat, BUT wheat is a fructan (which turns into fructose once gets broken down in your gut), and must be eaten in moderation (which is my second problem…*guilty face*).

Here are the books I am excited to read in my 2nd year as a Fructose Malabsorber…

Click on the book to be linked to the associated Amazon page 🙂

Eating Well with IBS

IBS Free At LastLow FODMAP Diet

And as always, please feel free to email me at HappyFructoseFree@gmail.com if you have any specific questions or just want an understanding person to listen to your story.  I am happy to help in any way I can 🙂

Happy Tummies For All in 2013!

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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 Friendly Crowd Pleasers: Pesto

I’m two months into this new fructose malabsorption lifestyle, and even though it gets easier every day, I still find myself craving marinara sauce… a lot. Then one day it dawned on me. The only way to satisfy my cravings for Italian food is to tackle another Mediterranean staple… Pesto.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Garlic and Parsley and Pine Nuts, oh my!”

That is true to some degree. In its traditional form, pesto is a fructose malabsorber’s nightmare, but the beauty of this sauce is that is perfectly adaptable for nearly anybody’s dietary and budgetary needs.

The Challenge: Pesto Sauce

Pesto lovers everywhere have lamented over the price of pine nuts forever (those itty bitty things are EXPENSIVE). Because of this fact there are many recipes available that have been adapted for other nuts like walnuts, or our very favorite green nut… Pistachios!  Hooray for pistachios! They can even be purchased in bulk without shells for easier cooking.

Pesto Solution #1: De-shelled Pistachios.

Parsley, being cheap and around every corner, always finds its way into pesto recipes, but it is full of fructose so be strong.  We have an excellent and equally accessible replacement with significantly less fructose… Spinach!  Add a little dried basil and oregano and you won’t even miss that other herb.

Pesto Solutions #2 & 3: Fresh Spinach & Dried Herbs.

Now let’s talk about garlic, our delicious enemy. It is absolutely ubiquitous in virtually every culture’s cuisine, and integrated to the point that there’s no escaping it… or can we?

Yes, there is an option.  But what boggles my fructose-intolerant-brain every day is how the product of garlic and onion could be our main replacement for both of them.

Pesto Solution #4: Shallots

Now that we are armed & dangerous… Let’s begin 🙂

Lindsey’s Fructose Friendly Pesto Sauce

Base Ingredients: (makes approx. 1-1/2 cups)

  • 2/3 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup de-shelled pistachios
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper, or to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. – 2 tsp. of chopped shallots, depending on tolerance.  Adds a slight punch of flavor that makes this pesto feel more traditional.
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup water.  If you can handle some dairy, the flavor and texture of the Parmesan is very satisfying, however it does thicken the sauce quite a bit.  The additional water puts it right back where it was.
  • 1/4 tsp. – 1/2 tsp. each salt & a sweetener (sucrose, dextrose, etc.).  This adds a lot of depth to the flavor.

Directions:

  1. In blender or food processor, add spinach, olive oil and water and mix until the spinach is evenly broken down.  It will appear loose at this point.
  2. Add the pistachios, basil, oregano, black pepper, and any optional ingredients.  Blend until the mixture is uniform.

Now you have a fructose friendly pesto sauce.  Now what?

The options are nearly endless…

Pesto Pasta Salad

  1. Cook 1 lb of any pasta, then drain and chill with small amount of olive oil
  2. Mix 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce and combine with the pasta
  3. Top with sliced black olives and/or cheese, and chill until serving

Other options

  • Add a some extra olive oil and use it as a pizza sauce.  It is delicious!
  • Mix it with cream cheese or mayonnaise and use it as a sandwich spread or dip.  The sauce works straight too, but the fructose tally adds up faster that way.  Portion control will always be the main battle to avoid an upset tummy.
  • Top mashed potatoes with a dollop of pesto for and interesting twist on a staple.  Fun fact, if you mix it into the potatoes it kind of looks like guacamole.

Please share any tasty uses for this pesto with me at happyfructosefree@gmail.com, or simply reply to this post.

Happy eating to all! 🙂

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Fructose Free Staples: Part II

Convenience items are worth their weight in gold when you are Fructose Free.

Here are some more items I cannot live without:

Canola Mayonnaise

I owe this Fructose Free discovery to my husband, Micah, 100%. Newly diagnosed, I was wandering aimlessly up and down every isle of the grocery store when I stumbled upon the wall-o-mayonnaise. I knew you could make your own fructose free mayo, so I began to dig…

Jar after jar and bottle after bottle… Lots of mayo, but not a single one to eat.  As I was storming off in frustration, Micah hollered at me. He found this awesome canola-based mayo from Hellmann’s and it is now has a permanent spot in our fridge.  Its “staple” status is only reinforced by the fact is both yummy and only 4 grams of fat per serving!

No High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and the new formula does not contain soy, but it does contain corn starch.  Some Fructose Free Folks have to watch their corn starch more closely than others, and if cornstarch sends your tummy into bubbles it is super easy to make your own.  Check out  this link!

Fructose Free Mayonnaise Recipe

Armed with this Fructose Free Staple you have lots of potato salads, tuna salads, and CHICKEN SALADS available for your happy eating 🙂

Canned Chicken

Speaking of chicken salad, canned chicken breast makes short work of a healthy meal on the go.  After reading dozens of labels on different brands of canned chicken breast,  I finally found one without corn starch! 

This particular brand comes in bulk (at Sam’s Club), and is tasty to boot, so it is a great choice for those living with and without cornstarch!

My Chicken Salad Recipe

~ 1 can of Member’s Mark All Natural Chicken Breast ~ 2-3 Tbsp. of mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you like your chicken salads ~ 1 stalk celery chopped finely ~ 1 Tbsp. Heinz Yellow Mustard (which doesn’t contain garlic powder like most other brands) ~ 1 Tbsp. dried chives (splurge on the vibrant green ones in glass jars, not the off brands that look (and taste) like onion soaked paper.  Totally worth it!) ~ 1 tsp. paprika (if tolerated) ~ salt and pepper to taste ~

Stir to combine, then dive in with your favorite fructose free potato chips or toasted bread!  Or refrigerate so everything is ready to go for lunch tomorrow.  Your choice…  I would also recommend making a double batch… it tends to disappear around here very very quickly.

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Fructose Free Staples: Part I

We all have busy lives. It is a known fact, and when fructose malabsoption is also a fact of life… convenience flies out the window. But there is no reason you have to go hungry!

Check out these quick, easy, healthy kitchen staples that make my life loads easier.  I absolutely cannot live without….

Tortillas

These tortillas made their way into my home after ridding my house of gluten, and they have remained after three more more dietary needs were added. These are a winner! This particular brand of tortilla hides in the freezer section of my local health foods store.

It is not necessary to purchase the expensive tortillas. If you can tolerate a certain brand of flour tortillas, go for it!

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

The best thing about tortillas is they are a blank canvas. If I need a filling dinner to-go, I snag a tortilla from the fridge with some precooked lentils or beans, whatever seasonings I feel like that day, some baby spinach, and some cheese (I use Daiya Brand since it is dairy and soy free… its not the same as real cheese, but as far as I’m concerned the people who came up with it are magicians).

Pop it open faced in the microwave for 1 minute, and roll it up so the melty cheese seals it at the top. Done! 🙂

Box Potatoes

Rarely a day goes by where I do not have a serving of this fast, warm, carb-y deliciousness.  It is a great post-11-hour-work-day snack so I can think rationally about dinner instead of giving into the fructose loaded salsa and corn chips that are lurking around the corner.

As a bonus, if you use water instead of milk and olive oil instead of butter it is very low in calories and fat, and you can jazz it up with some onion or garlic water (instructions coming soon), homemade veggie stock, or any number of herbs and spices.

If you are also lactose intolerant, beware of other instant potato brands as I have found several that contain milk and butter in dried form.

More staples to come 🙂

~The key to success is always learning~ Update Added 10/13/12

Since I posted these first staples I have learned that I, personally, cannot digest brown rice very well but I seem to handle standard wheat flour, white rice, and quinoa okay.  Always listen to your tummy when finding your own happy foods list. Keeping a food journal is very helpful in determining patterns since often the symptoms won’t show up for a day or two.  

Transitioning away from vegetarian lifestyle continues to be the hardest part of living with Fructose Intolerance for me, personally.  Previously I note lentils and beans as suitable options, however my body does much better with shredded chicken as the protein (I would recommend poaching some chicken breast, shredding it, and freezing it in individual portions).  The problem with lentils, beans and chick peas is they are Galactans, which contain multiple chains of sugars that all people have trouble breaking down into digestible components.  Anyone with a digestive disorder and associated gastrointestinal upset will be better served by staying away from these vegetarian staples. 

If you are/were a vegetarian and live with Fructose Malabsorption I would love to hear from you so we can share techniques of sneaking more meat onto our plates.  Please email me at happyfructosefree@gmail.com

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Reducing/Eliminating Whole Grains Leads to a New Tummy Problem

Reducing your whole grain and fibrous fruit & veggie intake can very quickly wreck havoc on your bowels… not fun to talk about, but it is absolutely vital for anybody to feel healthy.

I discovered cranberry juice cocktails (with lots of apple and grape juices mixed in) after my first week of going gluten free, and it helped a bunch.  Since apples and grapes are out of the picture now, all we have left is pure cranberry juice.

This particular variety of pure cranberry juice I found at my local specialty food store, and I must tell you upfront that it is not cheap… BUT!!!   You can still reap all the tummy benefits by diluting it with water and simple syrup.  That quart shown easily turns into a gallon for me (1 quart juice, 1 quart simple syrup or more to suite your taste buds, and 2 quarts water).  Plus we all need more water in our lives anyway 🙂

To Make: Combine equal parts Sugar & HOT Water and wait until all of the sugar dissolves. This is when the liquid becomes clear again.

I’m not sure if, like me, you got curious one Thanksgiving while making cranberry sauce and just had to see what a fresh cranberry tasted like…  BAD IDEA.  Tart, tart and more tart.

This cranberry juice is ALL JUICE, so it desperately needs sugar.  Simple syrup is super easy, and a must have for all Fructose Free Folks.

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Fructose Free Happy Hour!

Ratio: 2 parts Tonic Water to 1 part Gin

I am very excited to say that after YEARS of getting sick off of seemingly every type of alcohol… I have finally found a cocktail that agrees with my tummy!

Hooray for Gin & Tonic!!!

Not only is it readily available but it also inexpensive as far as bar drinks go.

Happy sipping while being Fructose Free 🙂

A Useful Article on Gin & Tonic

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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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