Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

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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Fructose Free Newbie – Week 1 – “Base Diet”

“Base Diet” is not a technical term, but for me it represents the strictest limitations that your dietary needs could require.   The WORST CASE SCENARIO… if you will be so dramatic with me.

When it comes to fructose, I am struggling to achieve any sort of Base.  It doesn’t help that there is a lot of conflicting information out there on what is and is not OK for us fructose free folks to eat…  but the link below is the most restrictive food list that I’ve found.

Yes, this particular list is the scariest thing I’ve seen in a very long while… possibly ever.  So, naturally, this is what I’m shooting for:

The Terrifying Food List

If I can maintain this diet for a week I will have considered it a victory, but don’t hold your breath.  Though I question calling a “hash brown” a vegetable, they seem to be on the right track.  Also, if you want sympathy from people about your new dietary challenge, send them that link and they cannot help but see how crazy your new lifestyle will be…

But!!!  Don’t be sad.  There is certainly hope

Fructose free lifestyles, as with many food intolerances, operate on a gradient and each person is different.  The good news is that you might be able to have your Almond Milk & Banana Ice Cream with Crunchy Peanut Butter and eat it too!  Yay!  (Recipe will be coming…)

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Newly Diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption

I was diagnosed on May 9th, 2012 via a breath test.

It is my goal for this blog to be an easy-to-use and friendly resource as we learn to navigate our new food universe without fructose.

More will be coming very soon!

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