Pretty Delicious Life Low FODMAP Friendly Spices
Often when a low FODMAP protocol is discussed, it comes along with a conversation centered around what CANNOT be eaten. As helpful a tool as the low FODMAP protocol is, it can feel extremely restricting to most people, especially at first, so I like to flip the script on this conversation and make sure I put what we GET TO HAVE on this protocol at the forefront of the conversation.
While we’re out here eliminating certain foods – and in some cases entire food groups – in the name of our gut health, I want to remind you of all the things you DO get to have, and there is no bigger group of foods that we FODMAPpers can indulge in like herbs + spices! OK, before you come for me with “who’s eating a bowl of herbs + spices as a meal?!” hear me out.
Right now, my fridge looks something like this: a variety of animal proteins (sea bass, shrimp, chicken, and ground beef to be less vague), about 85 tons of rainbow carrots (they are my pup’s favorite treat as well as my own), zucchini, kale, red cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, and red pepper. Let’s say I’d like to throw together some sort of white fish and veggie combo (this isn’t hypothetical, you’ll see a recipe for this coming soon!) I could simply cook them up with a little olive oil, salt + pepper and call it a day, right? Because that’s what you do when you’re on an elimination diet, right? WRONG! If there’s one piece of advice I have is DON’T SKIMP ON THE HERBS/SPICES! Unless, of course, you don’t tolerate something (do I sound like a broken record yet?!) Instead, when I prepare white fish and veggies I like to throw in spices like turmeric, paprika, and cumin to give it lots of depth. If I want to take it up a notch, I throw in a little garam masala, one of my all time favorite spices for fish + veggies. Ground beef + veggies gets a few dashes of paprika and some low FODMAP chili powder (remember, it has to be garlic and onion free! Casa de Sante does an excellent job with this.) The shrimp? White pepper, black pepper, and sumac. Please do yourself a favor and buy some sumac! Trendy, yes. Delicious, also yes.
Without tripping down the road of food science and the disservice it has done for our literal food in the name of being bigger + better, it’s no surprise that foods today don’t taste like they used to 100 years ago. I’m currently reading The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker and it has been a wildly eye opening read, to say the least. I won’t take you down the rabbit hole with me but do highly encourage you to jump down it yourself, especially if you do have gut issues which, if you’re here, you likely do. ANYWAY. Food doesn’t taste like it used to. So, we need herbs + spices to doctor up things like soups, veggies, and proteins. Using plants to improve flavor is the best way to ensure you’re enjoying a flavorful meal while avoiding any additional inflammatory ingredients that can potentially crop up in things like dressings, marinades, and shelf-stable condiments.
Herbs + spices also offer many healing properties in + of themselves which is another fantastic reason to add them into as many meals as possible. I am willing to bet you’re already familiar with the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric, amplified when paired with black pepper, but did you know that oregano is also incredibly healing for the gut? It has antibacterial properties that have been used in supplementation for things like SIBO + candida (I’ve used oil of oregano myself during SIBO treatments!)
Monash University has an extensive list of herbs + spices that are low FODMAP friendly, listed out by cuisine type for ease of reference. Anytime someone suggests to you that a dish just isn’t the same without garlic + onion, I challenge you to pull out this list and school them on all the tasty flavors your dishes aren’t missing. And if you really must achieve that flavor, please introduce yourself to the fabulously umami profile of asafoetida, an oniony, garlicy spice often found in Indian cuisine.
Moral of the story? Spice up your life, baby!
For the full list + details please visit Monash University‘s website. Graphic created by Monash Uni.