They say that Necessity is the mother of all invention. It certainly was today. I was forced to be creative when making my lunch as I forgot to defrost the Turkey Breast quick cook steaks I usually have. It was actually a blessing in disguise as I am perpetually bored of eating the very same thing for lunch every single day.
I am currently on an exclusion diet as part of my effort to overcome and conquer my debilitating Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Diarrhoea (IBS-D). I was diagnosed with Lactose intolerance over 9 years ago and have been on a dairy free diet ever since, but I still suffer the ill effects of IBS-D on a daily basis. I have been on various exclusion diets and diet regimes before, all to no avail.
However, I persevered in my quest to eliminate any possible foods that may be continuing to inflame or cause my IBS-D and that is how I discovered the magic of cooking with coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable or seed oils (such as vegetable oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil). Using only coconut oil to cook the food I eat has really helped reduce my IBS-D symptoms and has also had the side effect of helping me lose over 1 1/2 stone of weight. I still need to do more research around coconut oil as there seem to be many health benefits but it is also high in saturated fat, which increases cholesterol in the body, which can lead to heart attacks! I try not to use too much though.
So this is the place I started from this afternoon, when I realised I had the choice between eating a sandwich which would make me ill or trying to conjure up a suitable Free From lunch. I am currently excluding all dairy, wheat, gluten, high fibre (onions, mushrooms, spinach, all nuts, the skins and seeds of all vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes/ zucchini, cucumbers) and vegetable/ seed oil ingredients from my diet. I am only using coconut oil to cook with, although I can still use salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground paprika and ginger in my meals, but not garlic or any chilli power!
Having so many restrictions on what I can eat and cook with is very limiting, but it forces you to be creative. All I had in my kitchen was some Tuna Fish cans (in spring water as opposed to sunflower oil – the tuna in sunflower oil cans used to inflame my IBS-D a lot, because of the oil), rice, tomato passata, dried herbs, salt, ground pepper, ground coriander, ground paprika and a jar of ginger paste. This is what i came up with. My low fibre, dairy free, wheat free, vegetable/ seed oil free, IBS friendly Tuna Fish in Tomato sauce with rice quick cook lunch.
- 1 can of Tuna Fish in Spring Water
- 250g Tomato Passata (no skins or seeds)
- 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs
- 1 tablespoon of dried basil
- 1/2 carrot – peeled
- 1/2 courgette – peeled
- 160g of cooked basmati rice
Serves: 1 or 2 people depending on hunger!
Time to cook: Less than 20 minutes. The rice takes 16 minutes to cook in our 1000 watt microwave. The actual Tuna in Tomato sauce takes only 10-13 minutes to cook, depending on how hard or soft you like your vegetables. A low fibre diet recommends cooking vegetables thoroughly and not eating raw vegetables.
- Make the rice. I just made the rice in the way I usually do, which is to put 1 cup of dried rice into a corning-ware dish, wash the rice to remove the starch, add 2 cups of water, then microwave the rice for 8 minutes uncovered on medium power, then put a microwave cover over the corning-ware dish and heat for another 8 minutes on medium power. This cooks enough rice for 4 people. You can just cook the rice as you usually do or even substitute in Gluten Free Pasta (if you want the recipe to be wheat and gluten free). I don’t use ready-made Microwave rice such as Uncle Ben’s (the one’s that cook in just 2 minutes) as they have sunflower oil in them.
- While the rice is cooking in the microwave:
- Peel the carrot and cut it into small chunks and put it to one side.
- Peel the courgette and cut that into small pieces and put with the carrot pieces.
- Turn on the hob, to medium heat, and put the saucepan on it. It needs to be a little bit hot for the coconut oil (which is solid in the jar) to melt.
- Put the 1 tbsp of Coconut oil, the salt, pepper, coriander, paprika, and ginger paste into the saucepan and mix together.
- After about 30 seconds add the Tuna Fish (drained of it’s spring water form the can) into the saucepan. Stir the oil/ spice mix and tuna together.
- After another 30 seconds add the cut up pieces of carrot and courgette to the tuna fish and pieces mix in the saucepan.
- After 1 minute add the Tomato passata to the saucepan and stir all the ingredients together.
- Let the mix fry for about another 1 minute.
- Then turn down the heat to low so that the sauce in the pan is just simmering.
- Add the Dried mixed herbs and dried basil to the sauce and stir in.
- Cover the saucepan and let the sauce cook on low heat for around 10-13 minutes.
- After the Tuna Tomato sauce has cooked you can just add it to the cooked rice and you have what is hopefully a tasty Free From lunch full of proteins and carbs that is suitable for people with Lactose, Wheat an gluten intolerances or people on Low Fibre or other exclusion diets.
This is what the finished meal should look like. Apologies for the photo being very basic and lacking style, it was a quick smart phone moment.