When I was first diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption I remember desperately googling to find what I could and couldn’t eat. Over the past couple of years, I have ended up with a bit of a “pantry essential” list that may help you if you are unsure of where to start. This list is by no means conclusive, and I am sure that I will be adding to it constantly. But you have to start somewhere!
- Gluten Free Pasta – now this is a tricky one. There are many out in the market and let’s face it, a lot of them taste revolting. The trick with GF pasta is to read the recommended cooking times on the packet and stick to it. One minute over and you may end up with a gluggy mess. I find that pasta made with a combination of ingredients stacks up better. For example, rice pasta can be really horrid, but rice/corn pasta has more body and taste. Good brands are Silly Yaks Gnocchi & Casalera (which you can buy from the gorgeous Ali from Three Ducks or at other good suppliers)
- Flours – when you are starting out, don’t be confused by all the different flours as there are A LOT. You can get Gluten Free all-purpose Self Raising Flour and Plain Flour at your supermarket. Start with these and as you start to make more adventurous things, then expand into playing with different combinations. One of my favourite bloggers, Shauna from the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef has a fantastic post on how to mix your own flours – read it here.
- Almond Meal – great for baking. A lot of recipes will require almond meal.
- Gravy – Oh how I LOVE gravy…… especially on hot chips… mmmmmmm. Now, using your normal Gravox instant gravy powders is okay (if you are only gluten-free as they have a GF variety) but these usually contain onion which is a shocker for Fruct Mal. I use Massel gravy mix – it is great and doesn’t seem to cause any symptoms but please test this for yourself as everyone with FructMal is different. It is also Lactose Free!
- Liquid Stock – as per above, Massel reacts the least with my stomach.
- Cereal – I have two favourites, The Fruit Free Clusters and Gluten Free Maple Muesli.
- Corn Cornflour – do not be fooled into thinking that all Cornflour is Gluten Free. A lot of varieties contain wheat – you will need to buy Corn Cornflour (insane I know).
- Gluten Free Pizza bases – great as a quick meal – I use two brands – Silly Yaks (who I post about quite a bit because I love their products) and Gluten Free Pizza Bases from the Old Time Bakery
- Gluten Free Breadcrumbs – easy to find in the health section of the supermarket and handy to have in the pantry.
- Frozen Berries – as fruit consumption is so restrictive when you have FructMal, I always have frozen berries in my freezer to throw on my cereal, to top pancakes with, and to add into any muffins I bake.
- Rice Crackers (test which ones have “reactive’ seasoning though) – my favs are Peckish.
- Something that all FructMals’ know and we don’t talk about much is the result of eating the wrong thing. It can be VERY BAD and embarrassing, and if you are staying with friends or sharing a bathroom etc, it is always a good idea to have a spray bottle of air freshener with you – the best I have found is Orange Power. This stuff is magic, it kills any odour and saves much embarrassment – I take a bottle (as they are quite small) whenever I go away or stay in a hotel etc. As it is in a pump pack (non-aerosol) it is also okay to take on flights. BEST FIND YET!
- Another item for your “reaction” days – Lactalose – This is a sugar in liquid form (more info here) and if it has been a couple of days since you have had any “action” in the bathroom (which can be the other end of the spectrum with Fruct Mal), or if you have horrid cramping, this will fix you up. Ask your chemist if they have lactalose (it may have another name and will cost about $8.00 a bottle) – this will “flush you out” but not in a sudden, horrid way. If I take this at night, the next day I have a nice cleansing if you know what I mean.
- If I start to get heartburn or a bad cramping immediately after eating something, I take a good swig of Aloe Vera juice . This doesn’t stop the pain or bloating or “aftermath” but it lessens the severity a great deal. Aloe Vera juice is available in the health food section of the supermarket or at health food shops. I have also seen Aloe Vera Juice (some in various flavours) in Asian Grocers and even in some cases in 7-eleven stores in little drink packs.
- Asafoetida powder also known as Hing. This Indian spice has a strong, pungent flavour and can be used as an onion replacement. The trick is to use it sparingly as it has a powerful and unpleasant smell when raw but once added and cooked into your dish, it produces a smooth flavour, similar to that of leeks and has the aroma of sautéed onion. Hilariously, it is also known as Devil’s Dung.
- Blueberry syrup/maple syrup etc. I have Blueberry syrup in my fridge which I can add to pancakes or other dessert type dishes. Always check your labels though, as everyone is different as to what they react to.
- Pure icing sugar – Icing sugar mixture, also known as confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar, is sugar crushed together with a small amount (about three percent) of cornflour – and as mentioned above, cornflour (in some cases) contains wheat! Similar in appearance, pure icing sugar is also made from granulated sugar but contains no cornflour. If you are gluten intolerant, be sure to choose pure icing sugar over icing sugar mixture.
- Sweet treats / lollies - always check your labels as many confectionary items contain wheat glucose syrup (sometimes listed as just glucose). This goes for chocolate too, so where possible, buy gluten-free chocolate and check for other hidden nasties.
As I come across more essentials, I will add them to the list!