Gluten Free and Happy in Trinidad!

What is a fodmap?

FODMAP is an abbreviated term for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Basically these are molecules that exist in foods. They are sometimes poorly absorbed into the digestive tract. When this happens they become a food source to the bacteria in the large intestine. Hence, the individual develops symptoms that are suggestive of gastrointestinal disorders. These include nausea, pain, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation to name a few. Different individuals may have varying symptoms some may have fever from inflammation and others may even develop insomnia and anxiety.


What is a fodmap diet?

This is a form of  dietary therapy for patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders. It also scales foods on the high end of the map and the low end of the map. Usually, the low fodmap diet plan is recommended by gastroenterology specialists. This plan includes avoiding foods that are ferementable, oligosaccharides (fructans), dissacharides (excess lactose), monosaccharides (excess sucrose) and polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt). The diet of the patient and symptoms are then monitored for their improvement.


If you are on a low fodmap diet how will you survive in Trinidad?

It is very easy! You do not have to go all vegan and buy the expensive stuff! Just get creative with your new menu! I will fill you in on where these fodmap items are available! You can use your low fodmap diet plan as a guide to make your shopping  list. You can easily find some of the fruits, vegetables and rice at supermarkets, farmer’s markets and then there are the gourmets grocers. The local food guru Trinichow has already compiled a list of gourmet grocers and health food stores so click the link to see the options in Trinidad and Tobago below.

Gourmet Grocers & Health Food Stores in Trinidad & Tobago

Do not get too frantic about the cost of your new diet or where you may find these items or what if they are expired?! The reality is that Trinidad and Tobago like many other destinations have realized the need for accessibility and availability of the aforementioned items. Hence, there are entrepreneurs capitalizing on this opportunity to meet this demand. More significantly, it has been recognized that gastrointestinal diseases and symptoms are a prominent issue in today’s society.

In addition Trinidad and Tobago can boast of  a registered charity for patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders. The National Association of Crohn’s and Colitis of Trinidad and Tobago enhances patient education and well being as well as public awareness for early diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, Trinidadian born and raised Dr. Anthony Kalloo made a breakthrough discovery in gastroenterology with his Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery which means surgery without incision of patient. He was well received with the distinguished educator of the year award from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Caribbean American Heritage Award (CARAH) in 2009.

My Tips

1. Work out a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu

20150613_200443(1) (Breakfast – gluten free bagel with cooked spinach and cheddar/hard cheese)

IMG-20150615-WA0010(Breakfast – Gluten free English muffin with baby spinach and cheddar cheese)

N.B. Sometimes I use almond butter as a spread with these muffins and bagels. Feel free to use what you like and what is on your low fodmap list!

IMG_20150615_194548(Lunch – Rice Lasagna with minced meat, green beans, carrots, cheddar, olive oil)

N.B. This was lunch for the “meat eaters” who are not on the low fodmap diet so there are some high fodmaps in this rice pasta like corn, peas, onions, garlic, ketchup, tomato paste. So you do not necessarily have to be vegan or on this diet to enjoy gluten free meals. By the way they absolutely loved it!

20150616_083830(Lunch- Herbed Potatoes )

N.B. It was  boiled,  strained, drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, paprika, rosemary, marjoram and chilli. I had this with grilled fish and a side of baby spinach. So you do not have to be all fancy and there are lots of listed low fodmap herbs you can play with when creating your food. See what is available to you first before you go shopping. I even had dhal, rice and bhagi aka cooked spinach for one of my meals.

IMG_20150615_172115(1)(Dinner – Gluten Free Pizza– olive oil, cheddar cheese,olives from the low fodmap)

N.B. The thing to note here is that this was again created for the “carnivores” who do not live on a diet plan. There are items like chicken salami, pasta sauce, ketchup, green bell peppers, onions, corn from the high fodmap on this pizza.

2. Include dessert , fruit, snack and water intake


(Snack – Gluten Free Brownies)

N.B. These are basically done. Everyone ate them and loved them. You do not have to be a vegetarian or pescetarian or vegan to enjoy this! These brownies are the end result of a brownie mix that requires water, eggs and olive oil to be added to it to create the brownie batter.

20150614_113935(Fruit – Kiwis)

N.B. You can create your own fruit bowls from the low fodmap or find the fruits that you like and use them!

3. Create a budget

4. Identify your closest low fodmap shopping areas

Gourmet Grocers & Health Food Stores in Trinidad & Tobago

N.B. I found some of my low fodmaps at Superpharm, the regular supermarket and the farmer’s market.

5. Make a shopping list

20150611_164605(Shopping – This is what I got from my shopping spree)

6. Go shopping!

7. Start creating!

8. Enjoy the labour of your love!

9. Research more recipes

10. Enjoy!

Your health is your wealth!

Take care of you first!