Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fodmap Friendly Gin and Tonic

Alright, ladies and gents, I caved and bought some higher quality tonic water.

FYI, Seagram's tonic water and Schweppes tonic water contain HFCS. Most bars get their tonic water from a soda gun, so beware.

Gin: Seagram's - $9.99

It was cheap and I am no gin connoisseur.

Tonic Water: Q - $5.99 (sale)
The bottle looks fancy. In addition to Fodmap-friendly ingredients, it also advertises having fewer calories than HFCS tonic water.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fun Fact: Imodium

Imodium (or its generic form, Loperamide Hydrochloride) is a modified opioid drug. One of the effects of opium is decreased intestinal motility, meaning that it works wonders to stop diarrhea. However, unlike a full opioid, Loperamide does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so you won't experience euphoria every time you pop one to stop the diarrhea.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quinoa Palooza

Do you have to go to the Andes to get your quinoa?

No, you don't, because us greedy Americans are stealing all the quinoa from South America. Although the quinoa-importing business is thriving, quinoa may be a little harder to find than normal fare.

My local, above-average grocery store (read: better than Safeway or the equivalent generic store from your area) sells a limited amount of pre-packaged quinoa. There are 2 varieties, red and white, in small bags that cost at least $6 for one pound. In addition to pre-packaged quinoa, this store sells it in bulk. Usually buying things in bulk is cheaper because of the lack of packaging, and quinoa is no exception to that rule.

But then there's that stigma against buying things in bulk. And all of that attractive packaging:

Alter Eco Rainbow
Rainbow is stretching it. Beige and black are not rainbow colors.

 Bob's Red Mill
Bob sells a lot of other stuff besides grains like flour and seeds. He also teaches you pronunciation.

 Ancient Harvest
This one advertises no rinsing. Although no washing is required, look before you cook; there may be tiny rocks.

 Alter Eco Rainbow #2
Another rainbow misnomer. Bright and festive? Hardly.

 Alter Eco Red
Now we're invoking native American history. Also, Alter Eco is fair trade.

 Village Harvest
Finally a cool picture of the person who harvested your quinoa and his loyal alpaca.

Bulk or Packaged? How do you decide?

I prefer beige quinoa because of the taste. It just so happens that beige is also the cheapest. I've also had few problems with the unseasoned bulk quinoa. More often that not, I've found rocks in the pre-packaged quinoa, which is rather surprising. I think it boils down to this: bulk offers seasoned variety of beige quinoa and is cheaper, while pre-packaged offers the additional red and black quinoa. It all depends on your tastes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My typical dinner

Quinoa (this kind is Trader Joe's multicolored)
Butternut squash
+ whatever else is available like cumin, cheese, nori seaweed, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, sesame seed oil, etc.

The variations are endless!

Yeah, I know, I'm boring.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Alcohol Part 2: Beer Pressure and Going Out

Did you know that high fructose corn syrup is in nearly every mixer? So that means when I go to a bar, I either take shots (reminiscent of college parties) or dilute my gin with ice. Cue sad faces and tears.

Yes, that's a merman in a fish tank above a bar.

I tried to resist the temptation of mixed drinks and beer. I ordered a shot of the cheapest vodka at the above bar which was way too expensive for my poor tastes. Lean back and down the hatch, I always say. However our next stop was at a pub and since the bar was so crowded that finding a drink menu was like looking for the holy grail, I ordered a Hoegaarden. One of my favorite beers. Brimming with wheat, yeast, carbonation, and who knows what kind of complex sugars. I know... bad decision and I'm starting to feel the repercussions now. My symptoms appear like clockwork about a day after I ingest an offending food or drink.

It's not too bad to do this every once in a while, but I wish bars spent a bit more on quality tonic water and mixers than on Grey Goose.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

FODMAP. What does that even mean?

FODMAP. Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. A better/clearer name might be the Low Fermentable-Sugars Diet. Or the Reduce The Amount of Gassy Foods You Eat So You Have Less Gas Diet.

I think the odd acronym itself was the first thing that made me discouraged. I came across fodmap (no caps makes it less ominous) on the ibsgroup.org forum. The acronym was too weird, and at the time I completely disregarded diet as being a source of my problems. So, I never looked into what this diet was.

Come December 2011, I was fed up with the bloating, gas, and pain. I decided all or nothing; I might as well try fodmapping because nothing else was working. The bad thing is, the diet isn't concrete. Different websites have different safe and avoid foods. But, I started with this convenient chart:

Credit goes to user Common Response on ibsgroup.org

Looking at this list, there are more things you cannot eat than you can eat. It's daunting, but I find myself eating a lot healthier now than I ever did before.
No more high fructose corn syrup.
Quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, etc. are all better alternative grains to wheat.
Preparing most meals myself gives me control over the ingredients.
Eating out... well that's a subject meant for another post.