Hello! I’m Karen. I’m a Canadian currently living in England, a mum to two little girls. By day, I work in communications for a small NGO. By night and even more on the weekends, I cook, not just to feed my family but because I love to experiment in the kitchen while trying to teach my daughters about the world and about food.
My parents were immigrants, I grew up in quite a multicultural city, and I’ve done a fair bit of travelling, including living in several different countries, so I’ve always loved eating and cooking a variety of international cuisines.
Given my tendency toward foodie-ism, it was initially heartbreaking to me when I found, after the birth of my first child, that I could no longer eat gluten. It was even more of a downer when, after the birth of my second child, I found I had debilitating gut issues even when I wasn’t eating gluten. Eventually I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as gluten intolerance.
I haven’t formally been diagnosed with celiac disease, but I was incorrectly advised to begin a gluten-free diet before getting the blood test that screens for celiac disease, so I’m not totally certain it was accurate. Either way, I have a severe and unmistakable reaction to gluten so I avoid it totally. You will therefore never see a gluten-containing recipe on this site.*
FODMAPs are different.They’re types of sugars, not necessarily sweet-tasting, that are poorly digested by many, especially people with IBS. Some foods contain no FODMAPs, some contain a little and some contain a moderate amount or a lot. I have to avoid the ones that contain a lot but I can eat a fair bit of the ones that contain a little and a little of the ones that contain a moderate amount. Therefore, most of the recipes on this site are low-FODMAP but some are moderate-FODMAP. I can eat the moderate-FODMAP ones in limited quantity if I haven’t been eating too many other moderate-FODMAP foods that day.
It has taken awhile but I’ve mostly stopped feeling deprived in the food choices available to me. Especially when I do my own cooking, I can enjoy a wide variety of cuisines again, even if I have to use an alternative recipe to eliminate gluten and high-FODMAP ingredients. There are still particular foods I miss, like apples, onions and croissants, and I can’t say my IBS symptoms 100 per cent disappear even when I’m following the low-FODMAP diet strictly, but I’m now functioning normally and feel much better overall.
I started this blog partly to help people like me, but really, it’s about tasty, internationally inspired food that can be made and enjoyed by just about anyone. I hope our family’s kitchen-based exploring of the world inspires your own.
*Note: some celiacs need to avoid even gluten-free oatmeal and all dairy. I have no problem with gluten-free oatmeal and I can eat a limited amount of low-lactose dairy so I do include those ingredients. Most times it’s possible to use a non-dairy substitute.