Sue Shepherd's Low Fodmap Food Range Review
Finally a Low Fodmap specific food range has hit our shelves. But are they just another processed packaged product?
Today I came across two items from the range. The Green Curry Meal Kit and the Roasted Pumpkin Soup. Now at the moment there's really not a whole lot of information available on them, unless you read the packet when you can find one. Sue Shepherd's new site is coming soon and there's not a great deal of media featuring them as yet.
As a result, I am going to keep my focus to the two products that I have the most information on.
The Roasted Pumpkin Soup With a Hint of Sage
Water, roasted pumpkin (37%), carrots, celery, corn starch, salt, yeast extracts, glucose, canola oil, sage (0.04%), black pepper and spices.
Four things jump out at me here.
- It contains celery - which is a fodmap due to it's polyol content. If you are highly sensitive to polyols or celery, then this may not be suitable for you. However, it's likely in such a tiny amount per serve that you won't have any problems. It would be a trial and error situation.
- Cornstarch to thicken and emulsify the 'veggie bits' with the water.
- The yeast extracts for a 'stock' style flavour (and no, it's not hidden MSG).
- The glucose (sugar) to sweeten up the mix a little. It's added, enough said. However, as glucose helps fructose to be better absorbed, this is likely a strategic move from Sue to help sensitive tummies tolerate it even more.
- Plus canola oil for a smoother texture. When it's mostly water, it's not going to be thick and creamy without a little extra help. Fat also helps you absorb certain nutrients better too, including vitamin A which you get from pumpkin. At least it's not a vegetable oil blend. Though I'd be very impressed if it was olive oil instead.
I get how in order for these products to last on the shelves, they need a few additives and flavour enhancers making them a little different to how you'd prepare at home. However, on the scheme of things that get added to commercial food items, the extras in this product are nothing to worry about.
My advice would always be make a big batch of your own and freeze portions for a rainy day. But if you can't puree your own veggies, add a little real stock, herbs and spices - then this soup is definitely an option. Plus it sure beats 90% of the other convenience soups in terms of it's ingredient list!
Serves and nutrition
The pack says it contains 2 serves. The serve size is 1 cup. To me, thats not a serve. That's a snack that I'd have with something extra. So I'd eat the whole pack - which comes in at 106 calories (446kJ), 4g protein, 2.6g fat, 8g of sugar, 1380mg sodium, and 6g of fibre.
I can't comment on the flavour as I didn't purchase it. But it costs $8 at my local Coles.
Green Curry Meal Kit
There are 3 different components to this meal kit. You get a green curry paste. A packet of rice and a sachet of coconut milk.
The rice is jasmine rice. The coconut milk, is, coconut milk. No reference to full fat or light, but I'm assuming full fat as no further ingredients were stated i.e. water and thickener.
The curry paste contains: Green chilli (34%), lime juice, coriander root, lemongrass, ginger, rice wine vinegar, sunflower oil, shrimp paste, salt, water, herbs, kaffir lime leaves, spices, vegetable gum (xanthan gum), and black pepper.
- Sunflower oil, this was expected. And again, it’s not a vegetable oil blend from random places, so that’s a positive. But it’s an extra dose of omega-6, which doesn’t help boost our ratio of omega-3:omega-6 in our favour. This is a whole other topic which I won’t discuss here though.
Xanthan gum – used to thicken and emulsify (hold together) the paste. It's an additive commonly used in commercial products. It comes from bacteria grown under supervised conditions and extracted using a multi-step process. For sensitive tummies, I would avoid consuming a lot of gums, as they can affect gut function, however evidence currently suggests that it's up to the individual's gut bacteria that predominately determines how gut function may change e.g. changes in regularity, gas. Despite some people's concerns, they have been approved for commercial use by FSANZ, our regulatory body, which means they have been cleared as non-toxic at levels used in these items. Let's take a moment to remember that this product was created by Sue Shepherd - the founder of the Low Fodmap diet and pioneer for Fodmap and irritable bowel syndrome research. She knows sensitive tummies. I'd be very, very surprised if she would put something in her food products that would do any harm!
Serves and Nutrition
The box serves two people with each serve providing - 487 calories (2047kJ), 8.1g protein, 13.3g of fat, 2.1g of sugar, 469mg of sodium, 2.8g fibre. This doesn’t include the tablespoon of oil, vegetables and chicken you add to it. Though vegetables aren’t much calorie wise, and per serve you get half a chicken breast. Which equates to about an extra 198 calories (833kJ).
That brings your total to 685 calories (2878kJ). On my terms, that’s a big meal! If you’re a female trying to lose weight, two serves of this meal and you’ve pretty much met your daily quota.
In saying this, I know it’s impossible to cater to everyone, so you could easily have it without the rice (or less) and double the vegetables. Which is exactly what I did. I added a little extra chicken too for more protein and subbed zucchini for the green beans.
It tastes just as hot/spicy and as full of flavour as any other green curry paste. Nothing lacking in this department. It’s very tasty and the full fat coconut milk gives it the authenticity it needs. I do warn you though, I was being attacked by spits of oil when ‘releasing the flavours’ of the paste. Have a guard ready (apron or partner) to block the incoming attacks!
This one I purchased for $10.
Great if you need them for convenience. Full of flavour, you won't even miss the onion or garlic. Filling, nutritious and a good portion size for the curry. A few too many calories for my usual dinner, so I omitted the rice. I'd probably swap that for quinoa instead anyway to boost the nutrient profile.
Ultimately it's great to see products coming out to suit those with IBS. It can be a challenge to find ready made foods/meals that are acceptable on a Low Fodmap diet, so I'm happy to see Sue's new range. The quality of the ingredient lists' top many of the other usual varieties too.
Let me know if you try any of the range and what you think.