Monday, May 22, 2017

Low-FODMAP Egg Roll Bowl

Low-FODMAP Egg Roll Bowl  /  Delicious as it Looks

I had almost forgotten about this recipe. I had the recipe written and photos taken about five months ago, but it got pushed to the back burner. Five months ago, about in December and January, I went through a very rough time. I know that May is Mental Health Awareness month, so I thought it might be a good time to share what I've been through the past couple of years.

About two and half years ago, my mom became gravely ill and we almost lost her. She is a paraplegic and had some complications that resulted in her stopping breathing. It's a long, complicated story, but I'm happy to say that she is still with us today and doing better than ever. It was a long road to get her here though.

After my mom first became ill we decided to move back to Iowa to be closer to my parents. It has been a good move for us. There are more job opportunities here for civil engineers and we both had very little trouble finding jobs. I decided to go back to engineering part-time, while still doing my blogging and photography. About a week into my new job, I was contacted by a publishing company about writing a cookbook. It was a dream come true, so I couldn't say no. A couple months later, I had a book deal.

Ice Crystals on Window

Now I was tasked with writing a book, being an engineer, doing food photography, and blogging whenever I got a chance. During this time, my mom gave us a big scare and we almost lost her again. So add the stress of that onto everything else. Oh, and did I mention that I also threw out my back? Yeah, I was in so much pain and couldn't bend over for a couple of months. How was I supposed to work in the kitchen, writing a cookbook and taking photos, with a bad back? Well, somehow I managed (and healed through physical therapy) and now I have a cookbook published. So it all worked out. But wow, those were the toughest months of my life and it took its toll.

After my book was done and my mom was healthy again, I finally had time to breathe. I thought my life would go back to normal, but what happened instead was just a slow downward spiral. I stopped taking photos, I stopped writing recipes, I was lucky to get a blog written once a month. All I had left was my engineering job. I pushed everything else away. And then my dog died. I was burned out and my depression got worse and worse.

It finally came to a head last December when I sank into a deep depression. I couldn't get out of bed for about a week. I knew something had to change. I started medication and therapy and decided to quit my engineering job so that I could just focus on me and get back to doing what I'm passionate again. So here I am, back to my photography, back to writing recipes, back to blogging and being creative. I'm even thinking about going back to school (at the age of 42) to study graphic design!

Yellow Butterfly on Flowers

I've suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my adult life (and also IBS, which I know is quite common). I thought I'd share my story to help remove the stigma that comes with mental illness. Despite my struggles, I've always been a good employee. I'm also a loving wife, sister and daughter. I'm just me, but sometimes I have a cloud over my head. Sometimes I struggle. That doesn't make me any less and I'm still a worthy member of society.

My advice is to take care of yourself and don't take on too much. It's okay to say "no." Looking back, I probably shouldn't have taken the book deal, it was just too much. But I did, and I'm even more proud of my work, because I know what I went through to get it all done. There is a big part of me, however, that wants to fight the "lean in" and "year of saying yes" type of society that we live in right now. How much are we giving up of ourselves by always striving, always succeeding? Why don't we just live? And please don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We just can't do it all by ourselves.

So I hope you enjoy this recipe. It was written during a time that I wasn't doing the best, but hopefully the recipe is decent enough. Egg rolls are probably my favorite Chinese dish, but of course they are full of wheat and are fried. Well, this is a good replacement. It's the filling of an egg roll, served in a bowl. You can eat it as is, or over some rice. I like to eat it over brown rice. It's delicious and filling.

Low-FODMAP Egg Roll Bowl  /  Delicious as it Looks

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Egg Roll Bowl
Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
serves 4


3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari sauce, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1 lb. ground pork or turkey
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 ½ teaspoons canola oil
4 cups shredded cabbage (not savoy)
1 cup shredded carrots
Salt to taste
4 scallions, thinly sliced (green parts only)

  1. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, sugar, garlic oil, vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
  2. Combine ground pork or turkey with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Brown and crumble over medium-high heat. Drain fat and remove from skillet.
  3. Add canola oil to the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add carrots and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, and then add the cabbage and stir-fry until it just starts to wilt, about 2 more minutes.
  4. Add the browned meat and sauce mixture to the cabbage and carrots. Season with remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and salt to taste. Stir and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with green onions and serve over rice if desired.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of FODY Foods, which means that if you click on any of the links and purchase the product, I receive an affiliate commission. However, please note that I only recommend products that I myself enjoy, am excited about, and that I feel provide value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adverstising."

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