Low FODMAP Meal Plans, Recipes, Videos & More

Cooking with Onion, Garlic and Spices on the Low FODMAP Diet

So, you’ve just gotten introduced to the FODMAP diet, but where on earth do you start? Can you put an end to your IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms that have been troubling you for quite some time? Cooking without garlic and onion can be daunting, as they add tons of flavor to any dish. However, there are different ways to flavor your food without the troublesome symptoms.

Why can’t I cook with garlic and onion?

Onion and garlic contain a carbohydrate called fructo-oligosaccharides (or fructans). Our bodies do not have the enzymes to digest this carbohydrate. Therefore, they are fermented in the gut and lead to irritable bowel symptoms. It is best that you avoid consuming garlic and onion while on the elimination phase of your low FODMAP diet, even if the amounts are small. Read below for top tips and tricks to achieve a flavorful dish, without adding garlic or onion.

Replacing Garlic:

Cooking with garlic is tricky if you are following a low FODMAP diet. If the garlic is cooked in water, the fructan content will leech out into the water and contaminate the food. However, if the fructans are cooked in oil based dishes, the fructans will not leech out.

In other words, you can cook with garlic only if there is oil involved. Here’s how:

You can make a garlic-infused oil as a base to your dish. First, you take one clove of garlic and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Heat the whole clove on the stove with the olive oil, and take the clove out once the oil is fragrant. Then cook as you normally would. Therefore, you get the garlic flavor, without the contamination of fructans! Want a stronger garlic flavor? Use the garlic-infused oil at the end of the cooking process.

Still too sensitive to the fructans? Not sure if you want to risk it? Then try different alternatives to garlic. For example, use the green parts of spring onion as an alternative to garlic. Test out some flavorsome spices as a great way to flavor up the dish without worrying about FODMAP restrictions. For example, you can try out ginger, fresh herbs, cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika to list a few. Or, you can purchase spice mixes for the perfect blend of FODMAP friendly flavors.  

Replacing onion

Like garlic, onion can also cause IBS symptoms. In order to replace onion in your favorite dishes, try these alternatives:

1) Spring Onion & Leek Tops:

You can chop off the white part of spring onions and leeks, and use the green portion in cooking your dishes. It will produce an aromatic, herby flavor to your food, without the fructans contaminating the food. Make sure to trim off a large chunk of the green top that is close to the white part. If you want to enhance the flavor, use the spring onion leafy part as a garnish to your dish, or add in at the end of the cooking process.

2) Parsnips: Grated parsnips are wonderful as a soup base, or recipes that require tons of onion. Fry them up with a little bit of olive oil, to create an aromatic and delicious infused oil for your dish!

3) Celery: Celery is a wonderful way of adding a salty taste to your dish. However, be careful! Don’t use more than 1/8 cup of celery per serving, as it is high in mannitol.

4) Chives: This herb is a wonderful addition to any savory dish, containing similar flavor notes to garlic and onion. You can use dry and fresh forms when cooking.

5) Asafoetida powder (also known as hing): This is the powdered form of a tap root sap of the Asafoetida plant. It is extremely strong and pungent, and is only required in small amounts. Try adding a pinch in your dishes, by infusing the oil with the powder to decrease the strong odor. Learn more about asafoetida, which has been used as an onion and garlic substitute for thousands of years, here.

Can I eat spices on a Low FODMAP diet?

Most spices and herbs are okay on the FODMAP diet, in moderate quantities. Do not exceed 1 tsp. when using spices. However, some spices that contain onion and garlic may cause symptoms in some individuals, due to the presence of fructans. Always read the label of spice jars, to ensure that there is nothing that is on the FODMAP foods to avoid list, such as wheat, garlic and onion.

Some spices also contain chemicals that can trigger symptoms in IBS sufferers. For example, some chili powders contain capsaicin, which can irritate the gut and cause discomfort in some individuals suffering from IBS. Also, a natural chemical called salicylate is found in many spices, and can also cause pain to IBS sufferers. Use spices carefully and take note of what spices trigger symptoms for you!

Want to get your hands on some FODMAP friendly spices? Check out Casa de Sante’s comprehensive product range, to ensure that no low FODMAP dish is ever bland! These certified products are 100% onion and garlic free, gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, all natural, with no artificial colors or flavors added! You can find stocks, spices and seasonings to suit almost any dish you prepare; from Indian seasoning to BBQ rubs.

Cooking with FODMAP does not have to be bland! There are tons of ways to replace onion and garlic to create an equally flavorful dish. Play around with different spices, and use FODMAP friendly spice mixes. Always remember that everyone’s tolerance to FODMAP foods are different. Always consult a dietitian or doctor before making major changes to your diet

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