I’m so excited to share this interview with you today. Emma Hatcher is a well-known name in the FODMAP world as she shares delicious gut-friendly recipes on her blog She Can’t Eat What?!. Oh did I mention she also has her own cookbook?!
Firstly, congratulations on the new book! How long did the whole process take?
Thank you so much! The whole process took just over a year and included many meetings, months of recipe testing, writing, shooting the food, editing the text and designing the finished product! It was full on – especially having a full time job at the same time – but it was so much fun and I’d love to do it all over again.
What sparked your interest in health and wellness?
I’ve had a sensitive gut for as long as I can remember, so I’ve always had to be careful about what I eat. I went to Loughborough University where people were really sporty and interested in nutrition and I also studied abroad at the University of Toronto for a semester in my second year. The city was leaps and bounds ahead with their awareness and catering for food intolerances and I wanted to bring some of that drive and passion back to the UK.
How did you turn your love of food and health into a successful career?
With many sleepless nights and lots of lists!
When I first started the Low FODMAP diet, I quickly realised there were a huge lack of recipes available that were both healthier and low FODMAP. I created my blog She Can’t Eat What?! with the aim to share my story, raise awareness of the Low FODMAP Diet and to help others in the same position and blogged at any moment I could. When I was offered the opportunity to build on some of that in a book, I jumped at the chance.
I teamed up with an organisation called FODMAP Friendly, to make sure people are getting the right (scientifically-backed) information and packed the book full of 100 recipes, along with information about what the heck the diet is and my own personal stories. I wanted to help give people that foundation I felt I never had, when it came to first cooking FODMAP friendly meals – because if you have food intolerances or allergies you shouldn’t have to feel restricted in what you eat. Food is just the best thing and we should be able to enjoy it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Last year was a whirlwind, and no day was the same. But generally day-to-day I work for Borough Market, in their Communications team. I absolutely love it and might be helping out with a cooking demonstration, styling for a photography shoot or working with the team to run an event. I also manage their social media channels and update the content on the website. Weekends I might be shooting recipes for my blog, meeting fellow authors or bloggers, or writing content for brands.
What’s it like to live in London (UK) for healthy, low FODMAP food?
London is an absolute mecca for food; it’s amazing. However although ‘gluten free’ and ‘dairy free’ are well recognised now, ‘FODMAP-friendly’ food still has a long way to go. Am I right in thinking you guys have whole cafes dedicated to FODMAP-friendly food? Which sound amazing. I’m hoping with awareness growing in the UK, especially around gut health and stress that we might get to that one-day; if not – I might have to start up my own place!
Where do you get your inspiration from to come up with so many delicious recipes?
Thank you – so many places! I’m lucky enough to work with food everyday and might be inspired by the chefs at my job, or a restaurant I’ve been to in London. My cookbook collection is starting to get out of hand and then there’s the world of Pinterest and Instagram which is brilliant. The online community is full of innovative and talented people and inspiration is everywhere – I’ve just spotted the gluten free loaf on your site and am now desperate to try it!
What’s the hardest part about running multiple social media sites?
Time! There’s never enough – it’s a constant battle.
Where do you see She Can’t Eat What?! in 5 years?
Hopefully even more of what I’m doing now, but bigger and better.
What would your perfect three course meal consist of?
That’s a tough one! I love seafood, pasta, bountiful amounts of greens, cheese, lemons, rhubarb, pastry, ice cream… the list could go on. If it could include all of those somehow that would be ideal!
What are your favourite things to eat when you are super busy?
I can never go wrong with a banana slathered in crunchy peanut butter. Most store bought on-the-go snacks or bars are high FODMAP, so if I know I’m going to be busy I’ll do my best to set aside some time to make either some flapjacks or cookies, full of oats and ingredients to keep me fuller for longer.
What’s your typical…
Breakfast: I love overnight oats with all the works – chia seeds, nuts, fruit, yogurt. It’s a great way to get in lots of fibre first thing and I’ll tailor the FODMAP amount to suit how my tummy is feeling or if I know what I’ll be eating for the rest of the day. For example I’ll reduce the amount if I know I’m going out for dinner and might have a meal that will contain some foods higher in FODMAPs.
Lunch: This will often be homemade and leftovers from the night before. Today was stuffed aubergine, with tomatoes, tinned lentils, lots of spices, herbs and a few slices of good quality mozzarella cheese. Yum.
Dinner: For a quick and easy low FODMAP dinner I love a stir fry, roasted salmon with lots of greens or the quinoa and feta patties from my book. You can make the mixture up in advance which means you can cook them as soon as you come home from work.
Dessert: During the week I’ll often end a meal with a cup of peppermint tea for digestion. But dark chocolate with sea salt is always a winner.
What advice would you give to someone who has just started out on a low FODMAP diet?
That you’re not alone! Don’t be scared to talk to others and get your hands on as many resources as you can. Facebook groups are great and also: listen to your own body. What works for somebody else might not work for you and vice versa. It takes some time and effort to work out your own gut health game plan, but when you do, it will be so worth it. Good luck – you’ve got this!
You can find Emma’s cookbook at Whitcoulls (NZ) or for worldwide by clicking here.
Emma Hatcher is an unashamed health foodie who has suffered from a sensitive gut for as long as she can remember. After years of horrible symptoms and endless frustration she came across the Low FODMAP Diet and has never looked back. Determined to share her story and help others in the same position, she set up her hugely popular food and lifestyle blog (www.shecanteatwhat.com). Full of stress-free ways to cook for sensitive digestive systems and food intolerances that are both healthy and delicious, Emma shows us just how easy, nutritious and life-changing FODMAP-friendly food can be. You can find Emma on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Photo credit: Emma Hatcher – The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen.