I’ve been learning a whole lot about the gut, digestive health, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the low FODMAP diet as of late. It’s fascinating stuff! The low FODMAP diet is a relatively new protocol for managing symptoms of IBS, and research has proven it to be successful in relieving the symptoms of 75% of people dealing with IBS and digestive health issues. Diet is an obvious factor when it comes to our digestive health, but other factors like gut bacteria, stress, caffeine consumption, exercise, hydration, and eating patterns can also have a significant impact on how well our bodies absorb nutrients and whether or not the digestive process causes us uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and abnormal bowel movements. These things can really impact your day to day life, and prevent you from living fully and confidently. Sometimes, the only advice given to people with digestive health issues (diagnosed or not) is to eat more fiber and drink more water, which usually doesn’t help. The low FODMAP diet is a welcome addition to IBS and digestive health symptom management, and it’s seeing real results!
FODMAPs are specific types of fermentable carbohydrates (sugars) naturally found in foods that make these foods difficult to digest. Foods high in these fermentable sugars can especially irritate the digestive symptoms of those with IBS, as they sit undigested in the large intestine and ferment which produces those aforementioned uncomfortable symptoms.
If you are working with a Registered Dietitian to implement the low FODMAP diet as a part of your health care plan to manage IBS or other digestive health issues, you usually start by eliminating all foods high in FODMAPs (there are a lot!) for a period of time until you achieve symptom relief. This diet can be very restrictive, but it is somewhat temporary. Once symptoms have subsided, you begin a re-introduction phase where you slowly add foods back into your diet on a trial and error basis to figure out which types of FODMAPs your body can handle and which ones are problematic.
The low FODMAP diet was developed out of Monash University in Australia. They are constantly testing new foods for FODMAPs to keep their database current and to provide the gold-standard in reliable FODMAP information. They have come out with a convenient app that allows you to search through foods that have been tested to see whether they are high or low FODMAP, and which types of FODMAPs a food is high in.
Gluten is typically avoided when following a low FODMAP diet, but don’t be fooled, gluten free and low FODMAP are not the same! Gluten is the protein found in wheat, whereas as FODMAPs are sugars! Gluten free products are usually consumed on a low FODMAP diet because the three grains that contain gluten – wheat, barley, and rye – also happen to be high in FODMAPs. Lactose is also a common culprit behind those uncomfortable digestive symptoms, so lactose free milk and yogurt, as well as dairy free milk alternatives make good substitutes.
This zucchini loaf uses quinoa flour. Although quinoa is low FODMAP, quinoa flour has not specifically been tested and approved by Monash yet, so it might be something to try in a re-introduction phase instead of the strict elimination phase if you’re serious about getting your digestive health on track. FODMAP levels can differ across the same foods depending on how a particular product is processed, so it’s important to always check the app and not just make assumptions. The rest of the ingredients are tested and approved as low FODMAP, so they should not cause any digestive distress issues. This moist and tender loaf has a wonderfully soft texture – it’s not at all crumbly like some gluten free baked goods can be! Mildly sweet with tart bursts of lemon and raspberry in every bite!
P.S. It’s wonderful served warm with some butter! A little drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon never hurt either.
Lemon + Raspberry Zucchini Loaf
- 1 cup zucchini, finely shredded and pressed
- 2 cups quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup rasperries, frozen
- Start by grating the zucchini. Once grated, place into a sieve and push up the sides of the sieve to evenly distribute. Place a few layers of paper towel on top of the shredded zucchini and then place a bowl on top of the paper towel that fits nicely inside the sieve. Add weight to the bowl, or apply pressure to press out as much water from the zucchini as possible. Wet zucchini will leave you with a loaf that doesn’t set up in the oven.
- Measure the quinoa flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Mix until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, eggs, canola oil, and lemon juice.
- Add zucchini to wet ingredients, then combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir to evenly combine.
- Grease a loaf pan, and pour in batter. Spread raspberries evenly over the surface of the batter.
- Bake at 350 for 60 mins, or until cake tester comes out clean.
**Note: If you’ve never baked with quinoa flour before, it does have a stronger taste than regular wheat flour, and some other alternative flours as well. Try splitting it up and using 1 cup of a low FODMAP gluten-free flour blend and 1 cup of quinoa flour if you would like a more mild flavour. If gluten free isn’t a priority for you, you can also swap the quinoa flour for regular wheat flour in the same amount and decrease the cooking time.