I have my serious head on today as I have seen a few people recently lamenting how they can't afford a low-FODMAP diet and I'm not so sure that's true. I'll be completely honest with you when I say, I even wonder if that's just an excuse not to start. We can all find plenty of reasons NOT to change what we're already doing (it took me years to leave a job where I was no longer happy and I kept finding reasons, or maybe excuses, to stay) but when you know that some simple changes to what you're doing can make you well, what reason would you have not to make that change? (Actually I'm genuinely interested to know what reasons you may have, so please feel free to let me know in the comment box below).
But back to the issue of cost.
I understand that money can be tight (I only have a part time job myself and have all the usual household costs) but I choose to make my health my priority, and I want to encourage you to do so too. There is nothing - not your relationships, your family or your job - that will not actually benefit from you looking after your own health. Think about that for a moment. How often have you missed out on a family event or had to let down colleagues at the last minute, because you were ill?
So assuming it is just the cost that is holding you back, here are my tips for an affordable low-fodmap diet. I even let on how I make a meal for two (with some to spare) for less than £3.
1. Think about where you shop. A supermarket might be convenient but don't assume that they are always cheaper than your local market or greengrocers.
2. Buy in bulk. Consider ingredients, such as rice and oats, which you can buy in bulk and can be stored in large jars for when you need them. Check out the world foods sections of your supermarket (or visit your local asian store) for big bags of rice. Also a great place to find larger packs of spices.
3. Shop with a friend and share those 'buy one get one free' offers.
4. Buy seasonal produce. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are cheaper than those that aren't. This isn't rocket science but it's easy to forget. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself to some strawberries in the winter, if that's what you fancy, as long as your budget allows.
5. Make the most of potatoes. Potatoes are something of a fodmappers friend. Not only are they cheap but you can bake them, boil them, mash them, roast them, add them to soups, or add them to a curry. You could even try replacing a pastry crust with a layer of mashed potato.
6. Cook in bulk and pop the rest in the freezer. Unless you really enjoy cooking, the chances are that there'll be days when you fancy a day off. That's when you can turn to your freezer and enjoy a meal you made earlier.
7. And that takes me to my final tip. There's no getting away from it, certain low-fodmap ingredients are pricey. Gluten-free bread being a prime example. But if you pop one in the freezer on the day you buy it, you can take out slices as you need them. At least none will go to waste.
And that just leaves me to share my absolutely low cost (less than £3) low-fodmap meal for two.
You'll need a stew-pack (I got mine in Lidl's for £1.50) a couple of potatoes, some spring onion greens and herbs or spices according to your preference.
Simply chop the root veggies into nice chunks, place in cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Add herbs or spices. I like to use some ginger, cumin, turmeric and pepper. I also added a spoonful of yeast extract instead of a stock cube. Stock cubes often contain onion or garlic so are best avoided.
Simmer until you're hungry - and serve. One stew pack made two BIG bowls of soup with enough left over to go in the freezer. So easy, so tasty and so cheap!
So there you go Fodmappers, if you haven't yet started your low-fodmap diet, what's stopping you? Not the price I'm sure. ;)
'Til next time - Stay Fabulous! x