Low Fodmap Roasted Brussels Sprouts

brussels-sproutsA delicious recipe for this holiday season!

*Brussels Sprouts are a moderate fructan food so when serving this recipe with family and friends, make sure YOU only have a 1/2 C serving.  If you feel you’ll want to eat more (and won’t be able to control yourself), you can also substitute cauliflower for brussels sprouts as those are low-fructan foods.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
1/2 TBS Garlic-infused oil
5-7 slices bacon, chopped
Sea Salt (or Himalayan Crystal Salt) & Pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)

Chop the brussels sprouts in half
Place chopped bacon in the frying pan and saute on medium heat
Add the garlic-infused oil and the brussels sprouts
Add a pinch of salt, and a pinch or two of pepper, as well as a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want a spicier dish
Continue cooking everything over medium heat until the brussels sprouts are cooked through. Enjoy!

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San Diego’s Greenbee – So Delicious!

IMG_1710Have you ever tried a healthy green juice but it literally left you feeling green?  There are many awesome, delicious, vibrant green juices out there, and many that well, just didn’t do it for me.  However recently I was contacted by San Diego’s Greenbee to try their Greenbee Super Smoothie and Super Soup and both were delicious!


I loved the bottle with strainer that they gave me. Very convenient!


Greenbee Super Smoothie is an unpasteurized, fresh, nutrient-rich juice loaded with high levels of delicious, organic super foods.  This juice includes royal jelly (possibly helps balance hormones, increase fertility and deliver anti-aging benefits), GREENS kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, parsley and SUPER FOODS flaxseeds, spirulina, chlorella, ginger root, acerola cherry, lemon juice, banana, raw honey and apple.  

I know what some of you FODMAPers are saying!  There’s definitely some HIGH Fodmap foods in this juice, however, being the experimental person that I am, I had to see how this juice would hold up with my guts.  Did I have symptoms?  Nope.  I felt excellent.  The amount of any high fodmap ingredients was minimal.  I actually drank the juice in the morning before going to the gym, and it was the first thing to enter my digestive system.  I don’t drink coffee anymore because of both my IBS and Hashimoto’s disease, so this juice was a wonderful pick me up.

I highly suggest that if you have IBS, Hashimoto’s or any other auto-immune disease that you consider getting a local delivery service like Greenbee to ensure you have fresh juice everyday. If you already have a juicer and make great use of it and live in San Diego, CA, I still think you’ll find this juice will be one of the best you’ve ever had.

greenbee detox soupDETOX SOUP, YUM!

I also had the Super Cleanse (Detox) Super Soup, which was designed to kick-start the metabolism and detoxify the body.  It was SO luscious, creamy and no overpowering flavors.  It had me thinking that I’d love to have a little bit of it every week!  A renowned San Diego Chef helped to develop this nutritious recipe which includes: daikon radish, leeks, paprika, cayenne, curry, carrots, cauliflower, coconut oil, kale and just a tad of garlic.  I did not have any IBS symptoms from the garlic or any other ingredient.

If you are in the San Diego, California area I would definitely recommend signing up for their delivery service!  If need be, you can cancel at any time.  Right now they are offering 50% off the first week, check it out: http://supergreenbee.com/super-smoothie/half-off-first-week/  They have weekly, monthly and six month plans.

Read more about Co-Founders Dave and Kent here: http://supergreenbee.com/about/

A Review of Bioterra Herbs for Digestion

For your digestion needs, are you taking any supplements to help with gas and bloating?  I recently came across BioTerra Herbs – drug-free, eco friendly, gluten free, GMO free, vegan supplements.  They do not have any HIGH Fodmap ingredients.  BioTerra Herbs makes a product they call “belch” to help relieve stomach discomfort.  The picture on the packaging alone makes you want to belch (girl with strange make-up eating a greasy ham pizza).

digestion-belch-bloating-gas-stomach-bioterraI usually try and stay away from “heavy” meals (definition – too much food at once OR meals with too much fat in one sitting) because they tend to make me sick or bring on the IBS symptoms (you guys know the deal!).  I gave the Belch supplements a whirl after a recent client dinner – a situation where I obviously have no control over the menu.  It was at a gorgeous house where the host graciously made everything herself – all very French.  If you’ve had French food before, you would know that it is indeed heavy!  Luckily she had added in some leafy greens and chilled seafood, but I was afraid of how’d I feel after the meat course.

BioTerra suggests to take 2 capsules 10 minutes after a heavy meal.  I pranced off to the bathroom when I got the chance and took the supplements.  I did feel good the next day but I am not sure if it was BioTerra or not that helped.  BioTerra suggests using this product for at least one to two weeks because that’s when “most people feel the difference in their health herbal supplements.”  I think the true test for this supplement will come in handy (those following the Low Fodmap Diet, those with digestive disorders) during the holiday season.  Why?  That’s the only time when I can think that a week or two goes by when most might have had too much food.  Otherwise this product is just really good for people who on a daily basis, choose to eat poorly, eat heavily and do not care for their symptoms.  People like us with digestive disorders that want to make a difference in how we feel are a bit more careful (at least you try most of the time – it’s a constant learning process).

Belch is a proprietary blend of Chinese Rhubarb (root & rhizome), Sparganium (rhizome), Betelnut Palm (seed), Zedoary (rhizome), and Orange (young fruit).

If you’d like to try Belch over the holidays,  you can try a 30 day supply for $19.99.  Buy them here.  Let me know how you do!

Primal Pit Paste Review and Giveaway!

primal pit pasteOn FODMAP Life I talk about different natural foods and food products that are safer for us to eat.  We can’t forget about what we put on our skin, in our hair or on our nails.  That’s why I am slowly making the transition to KNOCK OUT the products on my shelves that have harmful chemicals and/or synthetic ingredients.  What’s my new go-to everyday product?

Ever since I tried a sample of Primal Pit Paste at Expo East last year I have been hooked!  It’s totally changed my view of deodorants.  I know there has been a lot of research about the correlation of breast cancer to the use of antiperspirants.

What’s the Deal with Aluminum?

Aluminum is a common ingredient in deodorant and antiperspirants, and is often linked to Alzheimer’s and brain disorders. It also poses a possible risk factor in breast cancer.  Aluminum compounds or aluminum salts, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. (source: Victoria Anisman-Reiner).

fodmap life primal pit pasteBack in the Day & Now

Back in the early 2000s I had tried other natural deodorants and they did not work very well – at all.  Not enough to convince me to stop using the regular junk on the shelves at drug stores.  Then I took Primal Pit Paste Sticks for a real test-drive.  I went to the sweltering hot temperatures of Nicaragua to photograph my husband surfing in April.  I was using Primal Pit Paste in Thyme & Lemongrass and left the beaches smelling fabulous.  Next stop was Hawaii in May for my birthday, and still I frolicked on land and sea and felt confident and pretty as Primal Pit Paste in Lavender guarded my pits. Then I went to an entrepreneurial event called  Awesomeness Fest in Thailand for a few weeks and tried both scents again in weather that was humid, hot or sometimes came with rainfall – still no complaints.  I felt better knowing that I was using a safe, natural product in an area that is so close to my precious boobies!

The Scoop

  • Primal Pit Paste is a truly organic, all-natural deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS!
  • Primal Pit Paste is available in Regular, light, Strong and Kids varieties. My favorites are the Primal Pit Paste Sticks in Thyme & Lemongrass, Lavender and Jasmine.  You can SHOP for them here.amy cazin
  • Founder Amy Cazin’s turned her passion of concern and love into finding a way to protect her daughter and provide the world with a safe alternative to harmful products. She turned her energy into research, and that research into Primal Pit Paste. She believes that through Primal Pit Paste, she’s succeeded in making a healthy, organic deodorant that actually works for all types of moms, dads, kids and athletes alike.
  • Her mission: is to “provide you with a truly natural and organic deodorant that not only works but is actually good for you! lav_Stick__27583.1415811144.1280.1280By spreading awareness of the known harmful chemicals and potential dangers in personal care products we hope you will Go Primal and spread Primal Pit Paste on your Pits!”
  • All products are handcrafted and made in smaller batches, so please allow up to 5 business days for your order to be prepared and fulfilled.

The Giveaway

  • It’s simple!  Just go to our page at 5p.m. PST on Thursday November 20th and you will see a brand new post.  Just comment underneath with your answer!
  • Three winners will be chosen to receive $25 gift certificates to go shopping at http://primalpitpaste.com/
  • This contest is open to everyone, worldwide!

See you on Thursday! ~ Colleen

Recipe: Low Fodmap Rosemary Chicken Salad

This delicious Rosemary Chicken Salad recipe uses only seven ingredients.  It’s lactose-free, soy-free and gluten-free! Great for picnics and parties, this make-ahead recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed larger crowds. If not serving immediately, make extra dressing and toss it in just before plating.  Delicious!

  • Rosemary Chicken Salad1/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lactose-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 cups cubed grilled chicken
  • 2 cups sliced, seedless grapes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Serves 4

In a small bowl, make dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, and rosemary. In a large bowl, combine dressing with chicken and grapes and toss until combined. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

Source: The Everything® Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley, CPC .  Dr. Bolen has been actively covering the low-FODMAP diet since the first research articles started coming out of Australia. Every day she hears heartbreaking stories about what it’s like to live with IBS.  Kathleen Bradley was diagnosed with IBS in 2011 and has studied the FODMAP diet extensively in an effort to ease her own symptoms. She has real-life experience in putting low-FODMAP recipes on the table.

Always check labels on all packaged goods used in the context of any low-FODMAP recipe prior to recipe preparation or consumption to be sure they do not contain high-FODMAP ingredients.



How to NOT Derail Your Diet this Holiday Season

santa holidays fodmap lifeHalloween is almost here, followed by Thanksgiving next month and Christmas after that. While many people find joy in the holiday season, for those trying to lose weight it can be the most miserable time of the year. Is it possible to not derail your diet this time of year?  These tips pertain to YOU on the Low Fodmap Diet or anyone with a digestive disorder.  Remember the Low Fodmap Diet is not a fad diet, and it’s not meant to be used to lose weight.  However, if you have a digestive disorder or food allergy and ALSO need to shed a few pounds, read Colin Christopher’s healthy tips for how to stay on track!

Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, and author of Success Through Manipulation:


-          Don’t skip meals this holiday season: Some people skip meals thinking they will be able to consume more goodies at Halloween, more turkey and stuffing at Thanksgiving and more of Christmas dinner.  This will guarantee your failure as it leads to increased hunger, binge eating and depriving your body of necessary calories to convert to energy.

-          Have a plan: Bad food choices are going to be in abundance this time of year.  Have a plan in place so you don’t succumb to these negative choices (especially when you need Low Fodmap variations).  Choose healthier options, drink plenty of water which is good for you and will fill you up, and stop eating when your body feels satisfied.


Colin Christopher

-          Don’t compare yourself to others: Just because Aunt Mildred shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and she’s 100 pounds heavier than you, doesn’t give you permission to go on an eating spree.  Instead, compare yourself to people more fit than you or people whose body you aspire to look like.  This will keep you on course.

-          You are responsible: If you gain five pounds at Thanksgiving, it’s your fault.  Stop blaming the holiday, the Halloween candy, the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  It’s very possible to control what you eat this time of year but it’s ultimately your responsibility.

-          Learn to say no: When Aunt Mildred insists that you try her world famous pecan pie, politely decline.  Explain to her that you are on a specific diet and very serious about getting your body healthy.  She will understand. Same goes for the kids or the neighbors with candy on Halloween.

-          Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat poorly: Many people think they can go for a long bike ride or hit the gym a few times during the holidays so they can indulge in the holiday feast.  Working out and exercise is great, but it’s never a pass to load up on bad food at the holidays.

-          Let your clothes be a reminder: Don’t wear something that fits loosely and hides any excess fat.  Wear something that just fits your body and may not be the most flattering.  Let this be a reminder when you grab for that dessert, second serving or the Halloween bowl. This is also a great way to reinforce the idea in your subconscious mind that it’s time to get healthy.

-          Traveling for the holidays is no excuse: A lot of patients tell me they indulged in fast food or a bag of chips because it was the only option at the airport.  When traveling, pack a healthy meal (with Low Fodmap snacks like veggies, fruit and nuts) before you board your flight or hit the road this holiday season.

-          Dig deep: Whether the temptation is Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies or other holiday season food, dig deep and ask yourself how bad you want to see results.  If you really commit to the process, you can lose weight (and get your digestive system) healthy – even at the holidays.  Being partially committed never works.



Love Feijoas? They are HIGH in FODMAPs

feijoas fodmap lifeAs recently reported by the researchers at the Monash University FODMAP laboratory, the team recently completed the testing of feijoas which contain high amounts of excess fructose!

“Our team has received many requests from dietitians in New Zealand about the FODMAP content of the popular fruit, otherwise known as the pineapple guava”.

The feijoa fruit is green, and around the size of an egg. It is sweet, and aromatic in flavor and has a juicy flesh. It can be found in southern Brazil (where my husband grew up!), areas of Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay as well as northern Argentina. Feijoas are also grown throughout Azerbaijan , Georgia, Russia (Sochi) and New Zealand.

 An overall rating of RED FODMAP RATING
Feijoa  – 1 serve (2 small feijoas) 100grams ( 3.5 ounces) HIGH
Feijoa – ½ serve (1 small feijoa) 50 grams  ( 1.7 ounces) HIGH

“The serving sizes specified here contain high amounts of excess fructose and intake should be avoided if you malabsorb fructose.  Avoid large servings (> 3 small feijoas, 150gm) which also contain high amounts of the Oligos -fructans. Feijoas should be avoided by people with IBS if they malabsorb fructose.  Large quantities of feijoas should be avoided by all individuals with IBS.”

Additional information from: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoa

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Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health?

john young m.d. fodmap lifeIt’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.

“There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,” www.YoungHealth.com.

“The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”

While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.

Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.”

It’s basic biochemistry, he says.

“We eat a lot more refined sugar, for instance, which is a carbohydrate that’s been stripped of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that make up a complete carbohydrate,” he says. “Our bodies can’t use that, so the cells in our digestive organs work overtime, burning up a lot of energy, vitamins and minerals to digest it, and they get nothing back. So, eventually, they grow weak.”

So – can we have a little sugar, and good health, too? Dr. Young says we can.

“The occasional slice of pumpkin pie is fine as long as you’re also feeding your cells with the nutrients they need – the minerals, vitamins, good quality protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids – to stay healthy.”  He offers these tips for staying healthy through the holidays and throughout the year.

Get your vitamin D!

Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and one of our best sources for it is sunshine. Unfortunately, many people work indoors all day, so they get little sun exposure. When they do go outside, they wear long sleeves and sunblock to protect against skin cancer. And, of course, in the wintertime, people in cold climes tend to stay inside. As a result, many of us are vitamin D deficient, and should be taking supplements.

“Vitamin D is crucial to many physiological systems, including our immune defenses,” Dr. Young says. “It helps fight bacterial and viral infections, including the flu. It supports our cardiovascular system; optimal vitamin D levels can reduce hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

“If I feel I’m coming down with a cold, I’ll take 40,000 units of vitamin D at bedtime,” he says. “The next morning, I usually feel like a new person.”

Eat your protein – 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily

In this country, we think a healthy diet means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We’ve forgotten protein, Dr. Young says.

“Our immune system is made up of proteins – our bones are 40 percent protein,” he says. “We need protein.”

When calculating your protein intake, consider: an egg has about 8 grams, and 8 ounces of fish, chicken, beef or pork have about 30 grams.

Dr. Young does not give any of his patients more than 100 grams of protein a day.

Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and manage your stress

Rest, exercise and finding effective, healthy ways to cope with stress are simple ways to pamper your cells.

 “One of the many cellular benefits of exercise is that it increases the oxygen in our bloodstream. Every cell in our body requires oxygen, so consider exercise another means of feeding your cells.”

It’s also important to manage stress during the holidays. With unchecked stress, our body releases large amounts of cortisol which, among other things, suppresses the immune system.

“Take time out to meditate, listen to music, or take a walk in the woods,” Dr. Young says. “It feels good – and it’s good for you!”

Written by: Penny Carnathan

About John Young, M.D.

Dr. John Young, (www.YoungHealth.com), is a medical doctor with more than 15 years’ experience working in emergency rooms and pediatric burn units. He’s the medical director of Young Foundational Health Center, specializing in treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes by addressing the physiological issues and not just the symptoms. 

Review: RW Garcia’s Tortilla Chips

photo: C. Francioli

photo: C. Francioli

I recently tried RW Garcia’s  MixtBag Yellow/Blue corn tortilla chips.  So delicious, crunchy and not oily!  There are many other tortilla chips that can make my stomach upset but these were very mild and easy going on my gut.  RW Garcia’s chips are also all natural, gluten-free, and verified by the Non-GMO Project as meeting or exceeding GMO avoidance standards.

Ingredients:  Stone ground yellow corn, stone ground blue corn, sunflower oil or corn oil, sea salt, water, trace of lime.

My husband had family visiting so I decided to use RW Garcia’s tortilla chips in one of my favorite breakfast recipes.  Try this next time you need to make food for a few hungry people!  For a vegetarian option, just negate the meat.


  • 2 C RW Garcia’s MixtBag Yellow/Blue corn tortilla chips
  • 5 whole eggs, 6 additional egg whites (cage-free)
  • 1 package (about 20 ounces) lean ground turkey meat (grass fed preferable!)rw garcia mixtbag tortilla chips
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder (without onion or garlic)
  • 1 TB garlic oil
  • 1 C monterey jack cheese (Low Fodmap lactose-free cheese for those following a lacto-ovo vegetarian low FODMAP diet – otherwise use monterey jack cheese)
  • 1/2 C diced organic Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 C canned lentils
  • 1 medium organic avocado, diced


  1. Mix paprika and chili powder together, and then fold into turkey meat
  2. Place garlic oil in a pan and cook turkey meat half way through, dicing into little chunks
  3. Spray a glass casserole dish with organic olive oil spray
  4. Gently pour in the tortilla chips, and lay them out as evenly as you can
  5. Take all your eggs and scramble them, then pour eggs over tortilla chips
  6. Sprinkle half of your cheese over the chips
  7. Spread the turkey meat over the cheese
  8. Spread the lentils over the meat
  9. Sprinkle over the rest of your cheese
  10. Sprinkle in the diced tomatoes
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Check the outer edges of the egg mixture and use a fork to ensure the egg has cooked all the way through. The egg should feel firm. Depending on your oven, you might need another 5-10 minutes of baking.
  12. Once done, add your diced tomato on top – serve immediately!

Serves 4-6

Here’s RW Garcia’s website where you can learn more about their other products and where to buy their MixtBag tortilla chips.  My husband tried the Tortatos which he said were awesome (it’s a potato chip and tortilla chip in one) however, this product is not suitable for the Low Fodmap diet.

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GoodBelly Review and Giveaway!

photo: Colleen Francioli

photo: Colleen Francioli

By the banks of the Ganges River, Steve Demos had an epiphany on how he could positively impact the health of people everywhere.  He soon connected with Todd Beckman, a group of pioneering veterans from the natural products industry and a new company “NextFoods” was born, the makers of GoodBelly.

I have tried GoodBelly products before but wanted to give them a good run, especially for FODMAP Life fans.  Below is a bit of education, a review and how you can take part in a giveaway to win some delicious GoodBelly for yourself!  Check back as I will continue to write about GoodBelly in the weeks ahead.

Quick Facts on GoodBelly

  1. Organic drinks
  2. Contains live & active probiotic cultures
  3. Dairy-free, Soy-free and Vegan, with Gluten-free versions as well
  4. Live and active probiotic cultures of Lactobacillus plantarum299v

But First, Your Immune System

Your immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues and organs which defend your body against invasion from harmful bacteria, germs, infections and diseases.  The protein, carbohydrate and fat composition of our foods affect the way in which our digestive tract moves food and the secretions it produces.  70% of our body’s immune system dwells in the digestive tract.  Our immune system is designed in away that it defends the body against foreign invaders including, bacteria, parasites and fungus.  If someone continuously consumes processed foods (refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and pasteurized dairy feeds) she or he will experience distress when trying to digest foods.  The other invaders to our immune system, digestive tract and overall health is STRESS and POLLUTION.  That’s why it’s important to seek out probiotics to see which ones work best with your body, to help keep you strong.

Reports on Lactobacillus plantarum299v

GoodBelly’s claims about Lactobacillus plantarum299v interested me, so I did some digging.  On GoodBelly’s website they state that “a probiotic that has over 17 research trials and almost 2 decades of demonstrated safe and effective use behind it.”

So I saw mixed reviews on how well Lactobacillus plantarum299v actually helps with IBS symptoms, but I have seen more positive than negative.  The report Randomized clinical trial: Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum299 v on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome it was concluded that in “An 8-wk treatment with L. plantarum 299 v did not provide symptomatic relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in patients fulfilling the Rome II criteria.”  However, in a research report from the Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it was found that Lactobacillus plantarum299v “is effective in correcting long-term IBS motility defects.”  Also as reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the report Clinical trial: Lactobacillus plantarum299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome stated that “a 4-wk treatment with L. plantarum299v (DSM 9843) provided effective symptom relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in IBS patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria.”

GoodBelly Ingredients

I tried the Blueberry Acai and the only questionable ingredients that were up high in the ingredients list (as they pertain to the Low Fodmap diet only) were

GoodBelly Blueberry Acai Ingredients photo: Colleen Francioli

GoodBelly Blueberry Acai Ingredients
photo: Colleen Francioli

ORGANIC OAT FLOUR and PEAR JUICE CONCENTRATE.  The organic oat flour is not gluten-free and we all know pears are on the list of foods to avoid.    The gluten-free GoodBelly quarts (noted by their green caps) are made with gluten-free oat flour. All other GoodBelly products are not certified gluten-free. The gluten-free quarts come in Fermented Coconut Water, Tropical Orange and Carrot Ginger flavors.

GoodBelly-Quarts-Carrot-Gingergoodbelly gluten free productsSo if you try GoodBelly products try the gluten-free versions that are low in FODMAPs.  Also, if anyone has worked their way through the Low Fodmap diet and has completed the elimination phase (working with one food group at a time, one food at a time) and they know that neither pears or oat flour will have an adverse affect on them, then regular GoodBelly products might work just fine.  At this time, they do for me.


To take part in our first GoodBelly giveaway, head over to our Facebook page on  October 2nd at 11a.m. EST. You will see a post regarding the giveaway -just follow the directions to win! One winner (from the U.S. only) will be randomly selected to win three vouchers for FREE GoodBelly products.  GOOD LUCK!

Subscribe to our blog, email newsletter: http://ow.ly/Bs5sj and Youtube! http://ow.ly/Bs5wj



Steve Demos, NextFoods- GoodBelly

Steve Demos, NextFoods- GoodBelly

Carageenan and the Low Fodmap Diet

Cornucopia Institute

Cornucopia Institute

For anyone who has a digestive issue like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, bloating, colitis, or chronic diarrhea, there’s more and more research that cites how carrageenan can cause gas and bloating and should be avoided.  Let’s first talk about what carrageenan is.

Carrageenan is a product derived from certain types of red algae, which is a seaweed found on the coasts of North America and Europe.  Several food manufacturers use this indigestible polysaccharide to keep ingredients in beverages from separating or its used for gelling, thickening, and its stabilizing properties. Carrageenan can be found in yogurt, chocolate, nutritional shakes, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, soymilk, ice cream and other products.  Seaweed seems harmless right? Not to people who’ve had a history of gas and bloating or other digestive issues.

All in all, carrageenan has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation (gas, bloating) as well as higher rates of colon cancer in laboratory animals.  Several animal studies suggest carrageenan as “potentially carcinogenic and that is also may promote the formation of inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”  Chris Kresser L. Ac

carrageenan fodmap life sietCharlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy at the Cornucopia Institute says: “What’s striking to me is that carrageenan has no nutritional value.”  On the website for the Cornucopia Institute they mention how “many individuals experience significant improvements in their gastrointestinal health after cutting carrageenan out of their diet.”

According to Prevention Magazine, although “derived from a natural source, carrageenan appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.”

In a research article Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments by Joanne Tobacman, MD, she said the data she reviewed had demonstrated that “exposure to undegraded  as well as to degraded(poligeenan) carrageenan was associated with the occurrence of intestinal ulcerations and neoplasms,” and “Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.”


Some of the articles I’ve researched stated that when certain studies tried to prove why/how carrageenan is potentially harmful, the amounts of carrageenan being used were at much higher doses than what a human would ingest or be exposed to from say, a cup of almond milk.  However we need to keep a few things in perspective: 1) the cleaner the foods {no additives, nothing packaged or processed} that we eat (digestive problems or not), the better 2) If anything is questionable, why even take the risk? 3) We don’t really to buy products that have carrageenan in them because carrageenan does not do anything to improve our health 4) Making our own products at home can be much safer and healthier!

Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan

Here is an excellent list provided by the Cornucopia Institute which provides both products that have carrageenan and those that do not.  Pay attention to the rest of the ingredients as well, as oftentimes you’ll find inulin, xanthan gum and other gums that can also cause distress in people with digestive issues.

5 Garlic Oils to Buy – Low Fodmap Diet

scott's garlic oil fodmap life-AVOID GARLIC & ONIONS

If you’ve been trying out the Low Fodmap diet you know that garlic and onions are a no-no as they can cause unwanted IBS symptoms.  They are HIGH in FODMAPs – fructans being the issue.  You can sauté garlic or onions in oil for a few minutes in a pan by themselves, but you do need to remove the garlic or onion before you continue cooking.  Since everyone who experiences digestive issues differently, this method works for some and not others.

One of the easier methods to getting the taste of garlic is to use garlic-infused oil.  It’s delicious and much easier than cutting up garlic and getting the smell all over your fingers – however, I will be truthful here, I grew up with most dishes being full of garlic!  My Mother Rita especially loved when we’d go to a restaurant called Emilio’s in Commack New York and there’d be whole cloves of garlic in her linguini with clam sauce…the memories are the best.

So in order to make your shopping experience easier, I’ve scouted out a few brands for you below.  You can buy them online today or go to your nearest natural foods store.


Scott’s Garlic Oil – this is the one I tried and I loved it.  You can buy it online for $8.95, or try Whole Foods where I bought it.

Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Oil BUY – $9.95

WILLIAMS-SONOMA Garlic Olio Santo Extra Virgin Olive Oil BUY $19.95

Grand’aroma Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 3) (gets GREAT reviews) BUY $18.33

DEAN & DELUCA Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil BUY $12.00

Low Fodmap Chia Seed Pudding!

FODMAP Life Chia Seed Pudding

This pudding was SO delicious!  Very easy to make, and another husband-approved dish here at the Francioli household.  Before I give you the recipe, I want to teach you about the benefits of chia seeds.  My hope is that you’ll make them a part of your regular diet.  After all, food is medicine!

  • Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and they don’t have to be ground up (like flax seeds) in order to receive their nutrients.
  • Chia seeds are HIGH in fiber – depending on your IBS symptoms and if fiber has been nice to you in the past, and you are constipated often, I’d highly recommend them to help with gut motility.
  • Chia seeds also contain calcium (read: Benefits of Calcium), phosphorus (is frequently used in the homoeopathic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome), magnesium (helps relieve constipation, relaxes the nervous system, loosens tight muscles), manganese (helps with collagen production, blood sugar control, prevents free radical damage), copper (helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract and in the release from its primary storage sites like the liver; anti-inflammatory for arthritis), iron (people with gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and crohns are usually deficient in iron), molybdenum (act as a catalyst for enzymes and to help facilitate the breakdown of certain amino acids in the body), niacin, and zinc.
photo (1)

After one hour in the refrigerator – needed more stirring!

Low Fodmap Chia Seed Pudding by FODMAP Life


  • In a blender, mix together the almond milk, maple syrup, extract and sea salt.
  • Put your chia seeds into a bowl and then add the ingredients from the blender.  Use an electric hand mixer on low or preferably a whisk to blend everything together.
  • Store in the refrigerator covered, then stir once every hour to ensure the chia seeds don’t lump up together, and that they are evenly distributed.
  • Stir one more time after you’ve removed the bowl from the refrigerator after about three hours.
  • Top with cinnamon, light coconut shreds, slivered almonds or sliced banana.  Enjoy!

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Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

FODMAP Life - Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

FODMAP Life – Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon

Last night I wanted something light and easy and very nutrient dense.  So, I paired a few of my favorite foods together and voilà!  Low Fodmap Greek Style Salmon.  This is man-approved as my husband really liked it, so go ahead and make it for the guy you love!  I’ll definitely make it for my Brother next time he visits.

INGREDIENTS (Serving for 2)

  • 2 fresh (organic if possible) Roma tomatoes, sliced medium thickness
  • 1 – 2 ounces of light greek style feta cheese crumbled (there’s about 75 cal, 6 g fat/4.2 saturated, 1.2 carb, 4 g of high quality protein per ounce in regular feta)
  • 2 pieces of wild caught Alaskan salmon (a filet serving is 2 to 3 ounces; salmon steak is usually between 4 and 6 ounces)
  • 1 C of fresh organic spinach, shredded (I like to buy it by the bunch)
  • Organic oregano
  • Organic black pepper
  • 1 TB organic capers
  • organic olive oil spray


Preheat over to 350 degrees F

  1. Use a glass casserole dish and spray lightly with organic olive oil spray
  2. Place salmon side to side in the casserole dish
  3. Sprinkle black pepper and oregano over the fish
  4. Lay the tomatoes on, completely covering the fish
  5. Top with shredded spinach leaves
  6. Sprinkle more black pepper and oregano
  7. Sprinkle on capers
  8. Sprinkle crumbled greek style feta cheese on top
  9. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Serve with a salad, summer squash or potatoes.


Spinachvitamin K, vitamin A,vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper.  It’s also a great source of dietary fiber,vitamin B1, phosphorus, zinc, protein, and choline.

Salmon -high in Omega3; vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B12 -also there’s lower risk of contamination from wild-caught Alaskan salmon (mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS)).

Tomatoes – provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a good amount of manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E.  Phytonutrients: Flavonones, Flavonols, Hydroxycinnamic acids, Carotenoids, Glycosides, Fatty acid derivatives.

Feta cheese – One oz. of feta provides 14 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for calcium, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. It has vitamin B12, phosphorus, vitamin B6, selenium and zinc.

Enjoy!  Try out this recipe and leave a comment below to show us how you did.


{resources: http://www.whfoods.com}

The FODMAP Content of Coconut Water

As with any product that suddenly becomes popular, coconut water has received both positive and negative press.  For me, coconut water has been a great way to rehydrate after a workout, a healing massage or after hours in the sun.  I give it a big thumbs up, and for those following the Low Fodmap Diet, you CAN drink coconut water but you have to be wary of the serving size.


  • Coconut water has less sugar than fruit juices
  • It contains minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium
  • It contains easily digested carbohydrates (sugar and electrolytes)
  • It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink.


According to testing (May 2014) by the Translational Nutrition research group of Monash University, a standard serving size of 250 ml (8.45 fluid oz), is high in FODMAPs.  This serving size contains high amounts of the Polyol- sorbitol and moderate amounts of the Oligos-fructans.  It is recommended that you AVOID drinking this much.  A serving size with LOW FODMAPs is 100 ml (3.4 fluid oz) is recommended as it is low in oligosaccharides, excess fructose, polyols and lactose.

As you can see by the by the containers in the photo above, the serving sizes are too big.  There are smaller bottles/containers of coconut water available at your local supermarket, but just be sure to measure out 3.4 fluid oz. in order to avoid having any symptoms.  I like to add water with my coconut water to add a bit more hydration and trick myself into feeling I’m drinking more coconut water!


“It’s important to read the label for added sugars,” says Stacy Rothschild, MPH, RD, dietitian and founder of New Leaf Nutrition in Paramus, New Jersey. “Choose the unflavored, natural varieties; otherwise, you might be consuming all that added sugar that you would get from fruit juice or a soda.”

Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS, a NYC-based nutritionist and registered pharmacist says: “Fresh coconut water has not been pasteurized, therefore it contains enzymes that help to detoxify and repair the body,” she explains. Most of what you’ll find in stores is pasteurized or from concentrate. Healthy Or Hype? The Skinny On Coconut Water


Other resources: WebMD // Huffington Post UK


More Answers – the Low Fodmap Diet

I have been pairing up with EA Stewart, Registered Dietician and nutritionist  here in San Diego, California where we both live.  She specializes in wellness nutrition, weight management, FODMAPs diets for IBS, and celiac disease.

We’ve completed two videos so far and have a few more coming.  If you have any questions about the Low Fodmap Diet, leave a comment below so we can answer it on a future episode and be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive video updates!

Are You Stressed When You Eat?


It’s no longer just the high calorie foods that could be contributing to people’s weight gain, it could be stress itself that is throwing off our metabolism and causing those unnecessary pounds. In new study from The Ohio State University (OSU), researchers found that women who experienced stress in the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in the time after eating a high-fat meal— which adds up to the equivalent of 11 pounds gained annually.

According to Dr. Perlman:

  • Everyone knows that we tend to reach for junk food to comfort ourselves when we feel stressed. Here’s another reason not to do that.
  • Not only is the food not healthy for you, but the stress affects your body in such a away that you burn less calories when you are stressed.
  • In essence, eating unhealthfully when stressed is a double whammy when it comes to weight gain.
  • As an alternative to eating, try relieving your stress by going to the gym or taking a walk to help ease your mind.

Dr. Perlman is a doctor for the stress reducing app meQuilibrium, he completed a residency in Preventive Medicine and is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Medicine and respected researcher and educator in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and wellness.

According to Me and the rest of the Digestive Disorder Community

Studies have shown that stress and anxiety tend to co-exist with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  In a WebMD article, Edward Blanchard, PhD, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany said the “most common mental ailment suffered by people with IBS is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).”  I know that when I am stressed my IBS gets worse – and I am sure if you get IBS and are reading this you can relate.  So if you do not want to gain extra pounds or experience additional pain and suffering from IBS, what can you do?  MEDITATE. According to a study published inThe American Journal of Gastroenterology, practicing mindfulness meditation over an 8-week period reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in women.

Here are some of my tips for peaceful MEDITATION:

Colleen’s Meditation for Belly Peace

  1. Sit yourself in a quiet place where you will be free of interruption.
  2. Inhale a nice long deep breath, and then exhale nice and slow.  Do this three times.
  3. Next, keep this slow and controlled breathing going and start to relax from the top of your head all the way down to your toes.  Relax every single muscle.  Be aware if the muscles in your face, neck, and chest are tense -release the tenseness.
  4. Be aware of any pain you feel in your gut – send peace to the areas of your body that are giving you pain.  Peace could be visualizing sending flowers or a soft yellow light to your gut, or imagining no distention, bloating or inflammation. Surround your gut with lightness and softness.
  5. Now imagine how you want the rest of your day to unfold, pain-free, symptom-free and positively charged.
  6. Imagine taking care of yourself, drinking enough water, getting in exercise, taking your supplements, getting to bed early.
  7. Imagine taking care of your mind – no negative talk, only positive affirmations, and a positive outlook on your body, your feelings, and your life.
  8. Think about five things or people you are grateful for – think about the feelings these people or things bring into your life.  Ask the universe (or your god – whatever or whomever you believe in) to bring you these wonderful experiences and feelings over and over again.  Say why you are grateful for each of the five things.
  9. Once you are done practicing gratefulness, think about three things you will do today to feel good.
  10. Now count slowly to the number thirty and gently open your eyes and smile.
* Try and meditate for at least 20 minutes per day.  You can set an alarm on your phone (choose a soft ring) to alert you once twenty minutes is up.  Stay tuned for the video version of this meditation.
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That's me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.

That’s me getting blessed by a holy man in Thailand in June.

Aaron’s Story – Coping with Crohn’s Disease

Here is a Aaron Blocker in the hospital on Fe. 9th: "At the hospital. Crohn's flaring and possible appendicitis. Just living the #IBD life that we all know so well."

Here is a Aaron Blocker in the hospital on Feb. 9th: “At the hospital. Crohn’s flaring and possible appendicitis. Just living the #IBD life that we all know so well.”

FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, what it’s like for anyone to have digestive disorders and how they cope through various means.  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

Coping with Crohn’s Disease

In September 2009 I had just started college and I was in between classes when I received a call from my grandmother telling me the doctor had called and had the results from some tests I had run on me to see why I was so sick, I had been waiting almost 3 weeks for any kind of news on what was going on. My grandma told me that the doctor had confirmed what she expected; I had Crohn’s Disease. I really did not know much about it and only months before had I ever even heard of the word Crohn’s Disease, so when I was diagnosed it was kind of a shock but it was also a relief to know why I was so sick. It has been almost 5 years since my diagnosis and I have been hospitalized 12 times, developed osteoporosis and broke multiple bones, Developed OsteoNecrosis of the hips and had both of my hips totally replaced almost 2 years ago when I was 20 years old and live in the doctor’s office. Going through all of that at such a young age has had a huge impact on my life, and on my friends and families lives.

I have had to learn how to cope with all of it and not let it get me down and depressed so that I can still lead a very normal life. Right after I was diagnosed I was desperate to meet people who had the same illness as me, so of course I started looking online and for any resources that might connect me with similar people. I found very few resources at the time and only came across a few little message boards and things. So I decided to start a facebook page where people could like the page and discuss what was going on and it would give me an opportunity to meet people as well. So I started the page named Support Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. This page has been the biggest coping mechanism for me! I get to meet people and discuss our diseases and the similarities, get tips on how to handle things and also give tips. It has opened many doors for me to go speak at conferences and do posts for websites such as this one and even driven me to continue my college education to pursue a degree in immunology to research Crohn’s Disease. My page now has over 15,000 likes and I am looking to turn it into a non-profit foundation to help people who have this disease.

I also have a really good support system that helps me deal with this illness. I have an amazing wife who is the most supportive person I could have in my life and looks past my disease to be with me and take care of me.

I also have some really great friends and family members that come stay with me every time I am hospitalized and keep up with how I am doing and help me in any way possible. I am very grateful for everyone in my life and the support I get, because I know some people are not so lucky when it comes to this.

I currently do not utilize the Low Fodmap Diet but I actually made a food diary of what foods I can and cannot eat and I use that as my reference for eating and managing my symptoms. I do not eat anything that has a lot of sugar in it such as candy or sweets, I have cut all of that out of my diet. I do not eat any fried foods, I bake or grill all of my  meats such as chicken or steak etc. I stay away from dairy, I use almond milk or lactose free milk when I need to use any milk products, I also do not eat eggs. Keeping to a pretty basic set of rules like this helps me maintain a good balance and helps with my disease symptoms. I am currently looking into transitioning into the Low Fodmap Diet to see how that will help me better my dieting and issues that come along with eating the wrong foods.

If I was never diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease I would not be where I am today, it turned my life upside down and has beaten me down sometimes, but I have always and will continue to get back up and continue pursuing my dreams and trying to raise awareness for this disease and to try and make a difference for people who also suffer from this condition. it takes guts facebookIf you would like to check out my page or blog you can find me at: www.facebook.com/ItTakesGuts mylifewithcrohns.blogspot.com Aaron Blocker   Please leave comments or questions below for Aaron! And Don’t forget to… Subscribe to the Fodmap Life newsletter: http://ow.ly/z2Lt5 And subscribe to our Youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPRa8N36PbU

RD Tamara Duker Answers Questions about the Low Fodmap Diet

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Duker, a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition.  She knows a thing or two when it comes to food and nutrition, cooking and eating, recipes and healthy living. She is a cake lover challenged with gluten intolerance (like so many other ladies!).  Her practice is based in New York City and she has expertise in helping people with:

  • Soft diets for dysphagia
  • Gluten-free diets
  • Low-FODMAP diets for IBS and SIBO
  • Lactose-free or low-fructose diet for digestive intolerances
  • Medically-supervised elimination diets for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Here is Part One of our interview – please read and then check back next week for Part Two:

tamara dukerCF – What would you say is the average age of people coming to see you for the first time?  Are they a mix of male and female or mostly female?  Do you find that they’ve come to see you because someone else has recommended they see an RD, or do you find you’re receiving more e-patients?

TD – While I see patients of all ages– from 11 at youngest to 80-somethings at the higher end, my “typical” patient is a woman in her 20s-40s.  Commonly she reports having had a “sensitive stomach” or “stomachaches” since childhood that has recently gotten worse, but in other cases I hear she was totally fine until one time she got sick when traveling, and then her bowels have never been the same since.  They come to see me out of desperation– either they find me via google (my name comes up a lot when you google “bloating” or FODMAP-related search terms, as I write extensively on these topics for US News), or their gastroenterologist referred them to me.

CF -What are the lactose-based products they are most unhappiest to part with?

TD – My lactose intolerant patients are unhappiest to part with pizza, ice cream and yogurt.  Often, they part with the yogurt and then suffer through the pizza and ice cream.  The problem with pizza/ice cream is that often its the high fat content that triggers IBS symptoms rather than the lactose per se–so even if they take a lactase supplement, they still may not tolerate these foods well.  They are beyond ecstatic to learn that there is a lactose-free, low fat  real dairy yogurt available, as soy yogurt tastes awful, coconut milk yogurt is a FODMAP bomb and almond milk yogurt is a sugary, carb bomb.  Healthy snacking is much more convenient when yogurt is an option.

CF – Can you please describe Medical Nutrition Therapy?

TD – Medical nutrition therapy is different from nutrition counseling or education in that diet is a prescription to treat or improve a medical condition.  Some examples of this would be: gluten-free diet for celiac disease, using soluble fiber therapy to improve IBS-D, using the low FODMAP diet to manage symptoms of chronic bloating in IBS, etc.  Medical nutrition therapy, importantly, is evidence-based and employed by credentialed clinicians, often in close collaboration with a medical doctor.

CF – Can you provide other tips for the lactose intolerant crowd/FODMAP fans?

TD -

  • Watch out for protein powders, drinks or bars that use whey protein concentrate or milk protein concentrate.  These can be very high in lactose.
  • If you use lactase supplements to help digest conventional dairy, use chewables, not tablets.  Chewables are much more effective.Take with the first bite.  Take additional dose mid-way through the meal/snack if there’s a lot of lactose.
  • Green Valley Lactose Free yogurts are the most FODMAP-friendly yogurts I have ever encountered.  If Green Valley Organics yogurt is not available in your market, look for Redwood Hill Farm goat’s milk yogurt instead– its about 40% lower in lactose than conventional yogurt, which is comparable to your typical Greek yogurt.  To reduce its lactose content even further, you can strain it for 2 hours in a paper-towel lined seive/strainer over a pot, which yields a thicker greek-style texture (lactose is water soluble, so it leaches out with the excess liquid).  I have a recipe for “Goat’s Milk Labne” here which I absolutely love.

If you have any comments, please share them below!  Thanks!  Check back next week for Part Two.

~ Colleen

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Happy 4th of July! Take it Easy Today

photo credit:  www.burpee.com

photo credit: http://www.burpee.com

Happy Friday!  It’s my favorite day of the year!

If you’re American and celebrating America’s Birthday, July 4th weekend, please take it easy with food and don’t lose patience!  You might be going to a family or friend’s party, possibly out to eat, hanging out at a BBQ – and we all know that most of the time these types of gatherings involve foods that can irritate and cause pain or discomfort – and no one wants to look like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon!

Choose carefully and wisely and if possible, bring your own food!  If you can’t bring your own food, keep my grocery list handy on your smartphone.  Here are some tips!

  • Many sausages are made with onions and garlic – stick to chicken, turkey or fish which are also lean!
  • Stick to mustard, mayonnaise, and hot sauce for condiments
  • Be careful of how much fat you consume as too much fat can disrupt your gut motility (preventing normal bowel movements)
  • If you absolutely HAVE to drink, stick to clear alcohol like vodka or gin (and please only have one drink ladies, and two max for men)
  • If you are gluten-free, many store-made potato salads contain wheat flour (I figured this out while at a BBQ recently!)
  • Watermelon, popular at BBQs, is high in FODMAPs (I know, darn!)
  • Opt for low Fodmap fruits for dessert instead of cakes, cupcakes and other desserts

Have a great time and don’t stress yourself out – but just make the best choices possible.  Whether you are in the elimination phase for the Low Fodmap Diet or you already know which HIGH FODMAPs cause you problems – celebrations or parties are hard for anyone with a digestive disorder.  And eating several different types of foods during one occasion, OR fatty foods, OR alcohol, OR foods that are high in FODMAPs OR foods that have added condiments and sauces – eeeekkk!  I know, it’s hard for us!  Be good to your body this weekend :)



Contest – Torie and Howard® Hard Candy!

While visiting the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA, an event that drew around 100,000 people and rows upon rows of booths with natural product brands, I was lucky enough to meet the founders of Torie & Howard organic hard candy.  WOW these candies were so delicious and I was happy to find that they were low in FODMAPs.  This is excellent for those that are looking for a little sweet kick – but I don’t recommend eating a ton of them – everything in moderation AND sugar is sugar after all.  I love this brand and am excited to host a contest where three U.S. winners will win one tin of each of Torie & Howard’s four flavors!  ENTER THE CONTEST HERE: https://secure.pagemodo.com/m/9BD7WB

Made with: Organic Sugar, Organic Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Colored with: Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots.

Made with: Organic Sugar, Organic Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Colored with: Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots.

Aside from loving the delicious flavors of d’anjou pear & cinnamon, pomegranate & nectarine, blood orange & honey, pink grapefruit & tupelo honey, I also enjoyed the Torie & Howard story.  It’s always moving to meet entrepreneurs that started a business based off of personal circumstance. Both Torie & Howard experienced a health related event that had a significant impact on their lives. As shared on their website: For Howard, losing over a hundred pounds led to a renewed focus on eating as healthy and nutritionally conscious as possible. On his new lifestyle regimen, it became paramount to Howard that he optimize his consumption by eating only the most delicious and healthful foods and ensuring that every single calorie consumed had earned its pleasure quotient. For Torie, it was the onset of severe food allergies that forced her to make serious changes in her life and in her diet. These new restrictions made finding satisfying snacks all the more difficult, and all the more important.


With a new dedication to nutrition in their lives and the relative lack of healthy, indulgent snacks on the market, it became apparent that the time was right to fulfill their dream of starting their own snack food company. And so Torie & Howard was born, out of a mutual love of delicious & all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body.

Some Quick Facts:

  • Blood Orange & Honey and Pink Grapefruit & Tupelo Honey if you are finished with the Low Fodmap Diet and know which foods to avoid but still need to avoid honey, these flavors do not have any honey. They are sweetened with organic sugar and organic rice syrup. Torie & Howard uses an all natural and organic compliant honey flavoring.
  • Torie & Howard can be found in many  stores throughout US and Canada, as well as internationally. Big retailers include Barnes & Noble Cafes, Whole Foods, and many fine food grocers, natural food stores, duty free shops, online retailers, Staples.com, Dean & Deluca, candy shoppes and emporiums in the U.S and around the world, airport, coffee shops, and with  many sellers on Amazon.com – just to name a few. Torie & Howard are always finding new shops to carry their products. They keep a Pinterest board of some of their retailers as they find them, and a Twitter list, too. As Torie & Howard’s Kami Bacon, Social Media Marketing Manager said: “It’s so hard to keep up as our candy is spreading out across the globe as the new hard candy classic in healthy snacking!”

**Torie & Howard products have not been analyzed for FODMAPs, however they are low in FODMAPs.

How to Prevent Bloating When Traveling – FODMAP Life

Recently one of FODMAP Life’s fans Laura Cooper asked: “Any tips on how to combat bloating for traveling to the USA next week? I am genuinely so stressed about the plane journey and I love flying.. the pain I endure in the air is awful!”  Thanks for the question Laura!

laura cooper

Laura Cooper (at left) with friend

Of course I have tips!  I always loved traveling but in the last couple of years as I began to experience IBS symptoms, I started doing my homework.

Food & Drink:

“What would you like to drink?”  Oh so exciting to have choices when the flight attendants come around, but guess what – you need to limit those choices.  Don’t have anything carbonated because it can make bloating MUCH worse!  Carbonated drinks can lead to gas buildup in your intestinal tract = the blowfish look.

Limit how many fatty foods you eat.  When people travel together, they tend to eat foods higher in fat and fatty foods in your diet can actually delay the emptying of the stomach and cause bloating, because it causes food to move slowly through the digestive tract.

During flight, the tissue in your middle ear can get swollen from the change in cabin pressure, thus restricting the flow of air to equalize the pressure in your ear cavities.  Some people like to use chewing gum to help deal with the change in pressure (I haven’t touched Trident in years), but as you may or may not know, chewing gum can cause gas and bloating.  If you can do without gum, try drinking water and swallowing or yawning.

Limit salty foods – they can cause fluid retention.

DRINK plenty of water.  Keep yourself hydrated and help keep the “train” moving!

Remember to eat and drink slllloooowwwwllllyyyyy!  “Each time you take a breath, oxygen in the air enters your digestive tract. Normally, this oxygen gas is absorbed by your digestive tract, but when you take in too much air, some of the gas remains in the digestive tract, which can lead to bloating.”  Thank you for that explanation Johns Hopkins!  

travel quoteOther Foods to Avoid While Traveling:

If you follow the Low FODMAP diet then you should be in good shape to travel!  Take a look at these gas-causing foods – all high in FODMAPs!

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts, as well as onions, garlic, mushrooms, artichokes, and asparagus.  Fruits like pears, apples, and peaches
  • Milk and milk products – cheese, ice cream, and yogurt
  • Packaged and processed foods
  • Whole grains – whole wheat and bran
  • Sugar-free candies and gums with sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol)


Have some time to kill?  Instead of sitting in the airport waiting for your plane, you can help to stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract by going for a walk. And, instead of sitting in your seat for the entire trip, walk up and down the aisle of the plane (who cares if people are looking at you – you’re beautiful and people are easily distracted) :) Traveling or not, I find exercise always helps to lessen gas.

What to Pack:

  • To help prevent and ward off bloating, bring a probiotic with you or digestive enzymes.
  • Often times it can be very hard to find healthy, clean, low FODMAP foods at the airport or on the plane.  Most everything is packaged, greasy or filled with sugar and chemicals.  You can bring your own salad, a bag of baby carrots and sliced zucchini, rice cakes, or take a look at my other snack ideas here.

One Last Thing:

I don’t know about you, but my feet, ankles and legs swell when I travel (looks pretty scary!).  So I use mild compression stockings (15–20 mmHg) and I have to say, it’s just one more thing that helps me feel better when traveling.

Bon Voyage!

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3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion

Since I have a digestive issue, more often than not I am thinking about every bite I take. I often think Will this make me sick?  Will this slow me down?  Will this hinder or help my ability to go to the bathroom?   

All exciting things to think about!  Eating should be a time when you can enjoy, not have anxiety.  Meditation can help ease the nerves and relax the body, but as some of my friends with IBS, IBD and other digestive issues, we are well aware that sometimes we are limited to controlling what happens after we eat or experience stress.

fodmap life vitamins 2There are many things you can do to prevent from feeling sick or having an accident like following the Low FODMAP diet, meditating, and practicing mindful eating.  More importantly, you can help your body by supporting it with essential vitamins.

Your digestive system is one of the largest group of organs in your body.  These organs derive energy from the food you eat and allow your body to absorb essential nutrients and help eliminate waste products that you don’t need. Like they say “you are what you eat” so it’s important to help protect your digestive system with these vitamins:

Vitamin D

If you live in an area of the world where you cannot get at least fifteen minutes of sunshine everyday, if you are obese or have digestive troubles, you might be deficient in vitamin D (people who are obese {have a BMI of 30 or greater} may have lower levels of vitamin D because fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD).

I have mentioned before in my blog that after a few blood tests my doctor determined I was deficient in vitamin D.   Some gastrointestinal diseases can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from foods, so if you haven’t done so already, ask your doctor for a blood test.  I have read from a few doctors that vitamin D deficiency was almost always the case with their gastro patients.

So what does Vitamin D do for your digestion?

Having enough vitamin D in the body can support healthy digestion. A large network of nerves send signals within your digestive tract to regulate your digestion. Remember growing up and knowing calcium was really important for your bones?  Well its also important along with vitamin D and digestion because the nerves in your digestive tract rely on calcium to transmit signals.  If there is a loss of calcium, a breakdown occurs when your nerves try to communicate.  Vitamin D regulates the levels of calcium in your system, giving your nerve cells the calcium they need to function.

Where Can You Get Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods, but you can find it in cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, mackerel and eggs (also milk, yogurt, margarine and cheese for those who are not lactose intolerant).  The other way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is by taking a daily supplement.


All the B vitamins which are collectively referred to as vitamin B complex are essential for digestion.  These vitamins aid in the process of digestion and play different roles in helping the body digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins may lead to digestive problems with rather unpleasant symptoms and can even affect the absorption of other nutrients. 

So What Does Vitamin B do for your digestion?

The role of B vitamins are mainly to get energy from the food you eat and send it into your cells.  B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they cannot be stored away in fat cells to use later; so they need to be a regular part of your diet!

Where Can You Get Vitamin B?

Vitamin B foods for the Low FODMAP diet can be found in whole grains (quinoa, rice), seafood, eggs, leafy green veggies and dairy products for those not intolerant to lactose. Through my holistic nutrition school and from reading several sources over the years, I have learned that most people do not get enough vitamin B in their diet.  So aside from eating the foods above, it would be wise to take a daily multivitamin with B supplements!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is the cleansing vitamin and helps stimulate immune functions.   Vitamin C is water soluble so it can’t be stored in our bodies.  That means that any excess present in our blood is released through our urine.

So what does Vitamin C do for your digestion?

Vitamin C is important for digestion as it helps the body to absorb iron and it also helps your body to make enough collagen. You have heard of collagen before in beauty and cosmetic commercials when brands describe how products “boost” collagen for better looking skin.  Collagen is also important  for your digestive system as it helps hold your tissues together within your fragile digestive tract.   Your body needs to makes new collagen molecules in order to keep your tissues strong.  New collagen production is essential to help heal tissue damage.

Where Can You Get Vitamin C?

If (like me) you love fruits and veggies you are in luck as many do contain vitamin C.  Strawberries and red peppers are low in FODMAPs and among the foods highest in natural vitamin C.  Other low FODMAP sources include: cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, oranges and other citrus fruits.

If you are currently not taking any vitamins and you suffer from digestive problems like me, I definitely suggest having blood tests administered to see where you may be deficient.  I also suggest working along with a Holistic Health Practitioner, as holistic medicine focuses on the whole person - to find balance in your body, mind, spirit, and emotions.  I believe this type of care is the best for people with digestive and inflammatory issues.  



May Peppermint Tea Giveaway! Ends 5/9

I am so excited to share Heather’s Tummy Teas with you, not only because the teas help with IBS, but also because there’s a personal story connected to the brand. heather von vorous

Heather Von Vorous had her first IBS attack when she was only nine years old.  She went to see a pediatrician and then several doctors thereafter kept misdiagnosing and improperly testing her.  She was finally diagnosed with IBS twenty years later. Heather has written a couple books and in 2003 she founded the Heather’s Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS symptoms.  Today’s Dietitian has featured her IBS dietary guidelines, and she regularly exhibits at the international Digestive Disease Week conference to reach gastroenterologists and internists.

Heather’s Tummy Care currently offers extensive information, products and services for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Heather’s company “is committed to caring for the environment and society.” Her facility is organic and certified with cruelty-free organic certified products in re-fillable / re-useable containers. They do not use pesticides, synthetic or sewage fertilizers, herbicides, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), preservatives, chemical additives, irradiation or animal testing.

FODMAP Life Giveaway

photo: Colleen Francioli

May Peppermint Tea Giveaway – Heather’s Tummy Tea™

ENTER NOW ON FACEBOOK!  CLICK THIS LINK Good luck!  Ends May 9, 2014.

I used Heather’s Tummy Teas the week before I went away to Nicaragua and have to say they were very soothing and calming.  I believe they also helped to “tame” my stomach leading up to my trip.  

Instead of using these teas only after you have symptoms from IBS, I recommend using them on a daily basis after every meal and definitely after dinner.  If your days are usually very stressful, you may want to consider having the tea during the day, and taking out a couple of minutes for yourself to sit and slowly sip Heather’s Tummy Teas.

Peppermint is great for people with IBS and other digestive issues.  It is classified as a carminative herb which means it helps to tone the digestive tract and relax the surrounding muscles to eliminate gas. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Peppermint “relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass,” and in test tubes “peppermint kills some types of bacteria, fungus, and viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.”  Heather describes peppermint as “a cooling, calming herb that, through dietary management, helps relieve the symptoms of IBS.” She notes that “clinical studies have shown that peppermint is exceptionally beneficial for IBS abdominal pain and spasms, diarrhea, and urgency (it will not cause or worsen constipation).” 

More Information about Heather’s Tummy Tea™ ~ Organic Peppermint is unique because it is specially formulated to contain a very large leaf size and the highest possible volatile oil content (both factors are integral to the quality and potency of peppermint). We carefully select our peppermint from the most recent possible harvest date, it is processed for minimal volatile oil dissipation, and it is packed to stay as fresh as possible. It is the volatile oils in peppermint that make it so effective for the dietary management of IBS symptoms. Menthol and methyl salicylate are the main active ingredients of peppermint. Internally, they have anti-spasmodic actions, with calming effects on the muscles of the stomach, intestinal tract, and uterus. They also have powerful analgesic (pain-killing) properties.

“I Don’t let GERD Control My Life” Angela’s Story

FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it is like for anyone to have digestive or inflammatory health issues. There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” where you can read about others’ experiences with different digestive and inflammatory issues.  Today we welcome Angela Kinder, Angela Kinder is from Central Texas and is the owner of Edge of Insanity edgeofinsane.blogspot.com a frugal living blog where she often talks about her life with GERD.

Angela Kinder

Angela Kinder

In the Spring of 2008, I was rushed to the emergency room one morning because I had what I thought were chest pains. I was immediately whisked into a room where I was handed the terrible news – I had GERD. I had heard of it, but never thought I would get it.

So that afternoon, I decided to do some research on it. What I found out is that a small cluster of people who had their gallbladders removed can develop GERD because their bodies aren’t producing what they need to digest things that cause acid reflux. Since I had my gallbladder removed in the 5th grade, I knew I was part of that small cluster.

I tried taking Nexium, but the side effects were worse than having GERD! So I stopped taking them (with my doctor’s permission) and decided to change my diet and use liquid Maalox to control flare-ups. I stopped eating anything too spicy, salty, greasy, fatty, and even stopped eating raw onions. For a while, I would hardly have any symptoms, unless I messed up and ate something I wasn’t supposed to.

Now that it is years later, I still have my GERD. I haven’t eaten a jalapeno since that diagnosis and only eat cooked onions. I occasionally have the foods I’m not “supposed” to, but I control my GERD by cleansing my body regularly.

At first, I thought GERD was like a death sentence for me and my love of food. I even let it control how I ate or what I drank. But now, I control it with a somewhat balanced diet, exercise, and determination to not let it get the best of me. I may never eat jalapenos again, but that’s okay.

*Check back on FODMAPLife.com again for more of Angela’s story.

Low FODMAP Breakfast for Three

My Mom is visiting and I wanted to make something for her and my husband that I could enjoy too. This recipe is easy, quick and healthy!

For this recipe you’ll need:
1 glass casserole dish, greased with olive oil spray
Whole eggs and egg whites – I use 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites for each person
1/2 C tomatoes, diced
3/4 C thawed frozen spinach
1 TBS fresh rosemary
1 TSP parsley
Cracked black pepper to taste
1/8 avocado per person for garnish

Whisk all the eggs together then pour into the casserole dish.
Take the spinach and spread out in the egg mixture, then add tomatoes, rosemary, parsley and black pepper.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. You may need to bake longer – just watch the eggs to see when they become thick around the edges of the casserole dish. Use a fork to test and make sure the eggs are formed and no longer runny.


low fodmap breakfast

low fodmap breakfast recipe

10 Facts About FODMAPs

fodmapsDr. Sue Shepherd developed the Low Fodmap Diet back in 1999.  She has been able to prove through her research, that limiting dietary FODMAPs can be an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS.   Other researchers and Registered Dietitians across the world have also been able to prove the effectiveness of this diet.  Aside from IBS (which I suffer from) there are other gastrointestinal, and inflammatory disorders and diseases that can also be treated naturally whilst sticking to a low Fodmap diet.  The facts below are what I have learned from Dr. Shepherd and several other experts.

1) FODMAPs are…

  • Fermentable – rapidly broken down by bacteria in the bowel
  • Oligosaccharides – fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Disaccharides – lactose
  • Monosaccharides – fructose and…
  • Polyols – sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, polydextrose, and isomalt

stomach_pain_b&w2) FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small bowel.

3) Multiple types of FODMAPs are usually present in most meals.

4) Fructans are most likely the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS (Dr. Sue Shepherd).

5) If your symptoms improve after following the Low FODMAP diet for two months, it is recommended to slowly reintroduce one FODMAP group at a time to see how well you can tolerate them.

6) On the Low FODMAP diet, wheat is only a problem ingredient when consumed as a wheat-based carbohydrate food like cereal, breads, or pasta.

7) A low FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet.  When you are on the low FODMAP diet you can have oats and small amounts of wheat, barley and rye.

8) A fructan is a polymer of fructose molecules. Fructans with a short chain length are known as fructooligosaccharides. Fructans can be found in foods such as agave, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions (including spring onions), yacon, jícama, and wheat.

9) When bacteria in the large intestine receive molecules not absorbed in the small bowel, they break these molecules down quickly.  This produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane gases – otherwise known as unpleasant times for people like us!

10) A lactose-free diet is not a dairy-free diet.  Lactose is present in most dairy products.  The Low FODMAP diet can benefit those who suffer from lactose intolerance by helping them to reduce lactose intake.

SIGN UP for our newsletter today by clicking here.  You’ll receive more tips about the Low FODMAP diet and learn more about IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, GERD, gastroparesis and other digestive and inflammatory conditions.  We also send out notifications about monthly giveaways of FODMAP-friendly products, plus interviews with Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, Holistic Health Practitioners and more.

What is Gastroparesis? Melissa’s Story

melissa's gp fightFODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it is like for anyone to have digestive or inflammatory health issues.  There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” and I am so happy to welcome Melissa to our community as she will continue to share her story about living with Gastroparesis, a condition that reduces the ability of the stomach to empty its contents. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5 million Americans live with Gastroparesis.  John Clarke, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

“I owe it all to the desire for self preservation and listening to my body’s needs.”

Melissa’s Story

I go by Melissa “GP Fight” McElfresh in the GP Community. What is GP? It is the shortened version of the medical term Gastroparesis; which basically means Stomach Paralyzed. This is what I have. It is unknown how I got GP, but my best guess is from the extensive whiplash.

For several years (post-whiplash) I experienced pain when drinking water, abdominal pain when bending over and nausea. The nausea was worse during my period, so my doctor would change the birth control pill every six months. She would have other reasons of ‘common’ reasons why I had the other issues.

During the third year I started to have chest pain. Again, the Dr without testing, told me it was Acid Reflux and gave me GERD medication. The fourth year the chest pain got to the point that I thought I had cracked a rib and the nausea was so intense I was trying not to vomit. This was 24-7, for the past few months! I went to the ER, where they ran a lot of tests, didn’t find anything and gave me a higher GERD Rx. The next day I went to my doctor and she ran a few more tests, which all came back clean. She didn’t know what was wrong and decided to send me to a Gastroenterologist who started off with ordering an Endoscope (yep, clean again).

The specialist then wanted to do a Gastric Emptying Study (GES). I told my husband I am DONE spending money on tests that come back fine, I was not going. This was going to cost us close to $2,000!! He convinced me to go. Good thing I did. This was when I was diagnosed with GP. The GI doctor put me on a low-fat and low-fiber diet (common) for six months and asked that I come back if I was not better. She lacked the GP knowledge I needed, so after one year of gaining no ground, I found a new one.

At this point I was vomiting every morning, couldn’t make it full days at work anymore, hair was falling out, I was blacking out, had no energy and in so much pain (felt like a cracked rib). This lasted for 18 months! The new doctor ran some blood work and I was able to add some supplements to what I was trying to ‘eat’. I could only consume 1 cup of food (soft or liquid) every 3 – 4 hrs. We even tried low dose antidepressant; which is believed to numb the stomach nerve endings, reducing pain and nausea. Six different Rxs later, nothing helped.

I ended up loosing my 15 year-old job and unemployment would not take me. Shortly after, we lost our house on the 5.5 acres. Later I filed for disability and lost that too. Even my GI didn’t have anything left for me, until I needed a feeding tube. I was lost and alone with trying to fight gastroparesis.

One day I decided this was not how I wanted to live my life and began to change. Starting with finding my trigger foods (very hard I must say) and then going Gluten and Dairy Free. I don’t follow FODMAP 100%, but fairly close and I can honestly say that I am much better. The pain and nausea are tolerable, no black-outs, no vomiting, energy is better and the dizzy spells are a sign I need protein. I am working two days a week, I set up an on-line store for GP awareness items, and manage several FB Pages.  I volunteer for a few non-profits and blog on my website. I owe it all to the desire for self preservation and listening to my body’s needs.

If you have a GI Track issue, I fully recommend you look at the food you eat and try a low-FODMAP Diet in stages. Please explore my blog at www.MelissaGPfight.com if you want to know more about GP. Thank you for your time!

Amanda’s Crohn’s Story

Amanda Preston

Amanda Preston

FODMAP Life is about bringing people together, supporting one another and educating all about the FODMAP Diet, and what it’s like for anyone to have digestive and inflammatory health issues.  There’s a new section on our website called “Your Story” and Amanda is the first to share her story with Crohn’s disease.  I am so happy she has decided to tell her story and help others on their journey.  If you would like to submit your story, please submit at least 200 words, plus a short bio and a photo of yourself to: itsafodmaplife {at} gmail {dot} com.

Amanda’s Story

Health Background: I was born with a heart valve deformity, kidney deformity, reflux esophagitis, and anemia. As a child I developed asthma and osteopenia. Moving into teen years, I gained kidney stones (we found four when I was fourteen but I have made a total of eight as of today) and IBS. My last known diagnosis was Crohn’s in August of 2013. I have lived at doctors’ offices my whole life and have checkups often with every doctor to monitor my conditions.

My Journey: My junior year of high school I began having stomach pains, unusual bowel movements, and nausea on and off. My doctor blamed it on stress and possibly IBS since it ran in my family. So, I continued my days as best as I could by managing my other health problems along the way. My doctor had added b-12 on top of my iron supplements to take every day and I had surgery to remove a kidney stone that got stuck on the way out. Senior year is when it started getting worse for me. It seemed like anytime I ate, my stomach would get upset and I would have stomach bloating so bad I felt like I was a balloon about to pop and it made it look like I was pregnant.

After I graduated, I made a sick appointment with my doctor for intense pain that seemed to fill my whole mid-section. He sent me home with pain medication and told me to see my Urologist but by the time I saw him, the pain was gone. Going to the doctors and not getting answers seemed to be my life and I was miserable. November 2012, I ended up in the hospital because I had severe stomach pain and could not keep anything down (through both ends). I ended up staying in the hospital for a week with what seemed to be a bacterial infection with no known cause at the time. After getting out of the hospital, I felt amazing for the first two weeks, I assume because they had me on so much medication it was a temporary fix. As the weeks moved on, it felt as if my condition (we weren’t aware of what it was yet) was getting worse and worse. I was calling off of work, missing days of school, and my social life was non-existent. I was the definition of miserable. The only things that didn’t make me sick to eat were rice and mashed potatoes and if I had too much of them, I would get sick anyway. I woke up bloated, ran to bathroom all the time, and felt like I was going to be sick if I moved too much. My doctor told me to take it easy, start probiotics, and that I felt this way because it was just the way that my body healed. It has always taken me a lot longer to heal, a paper cut should be gone in a couple days and it takes at least two weeks to heal for me. I kept listening to him because he was the doctor and he knew what was best, so I thought. The next time that I went into the doctor I saw somebody different and it was the best choice I have ever made. He found blood in my stools so he referred me to a Gastroenterologist and gave me dissolvable Zofran so I could hopefully start keeping things down. They work so much better than the suppositories!!! After months of every testing imaginable, I got married and went on my honeymoon knowing that when we got back, my new doctor would finally be able to give us some answers.

Unfortunately, we ended up coming home a day early because I was too sick for us to enjoy ourselves. So August 8th 2013, I walked into the doctor’s office scared but excited that I would finally have answers and ultimately a cure. I ended up walking out crying because I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and there is no cure for that. It was devastating for me at first knowing that I would have to go my whole life with a sickness but it now made sense why my Iron and B-12 levels were so low and my white cells were high. The first medicine we tried was Pentasa four times a day but after the first day, I felt like I was going to die. My muscles hurt so bad and were so sensitive I bumped into the couch and almost got a Charlie horse. My beta blockers couldn’t stop my heart palpitations and my heart rate was high. She had me the stop the medicine right away and I was so disappointed. The next thing we tried was a daily journal of what I ate and how I felt along with Lialda and I was excited because even though it was more expensive, it had a better rate of lower side effects. After the first couple days, I felt the way that I did when I was on Pantasa. My doctor stopped that medicine and began Xifaxan for bacterial overgrowth which worked wonders!!! I have not felt this good in a very long time.

During my checkup we looked through my journal and she recommended the FODMAP diet which is where I am now. It was very hard at first because a lot of the alternatives in the FODMAP diet are nut related and I am severely allergic to all nuts. We found out that I have a very big sensitivity to the FODMAPS and I have almost completely eliminated every one from my diet. I cannot even express how hard it was at first but it was the best thing I could ever do for myself. I have never felt this “normal” in years and it is amazing. I am still new to this diet but my family has been so supportive and it is better than any medicine could ever do, without all of the nasty side effects. Between this diet, exercise (swimming, biking, and toning muscles), and lots of vitamins/probiotics I honestly feel amazing and I finally have my life back now. We are still adjusting vitamins and I will be starting shots soon but I am proud to say that after four months of being on this diet, my intestines are now healthy enough to eat salads and some raw fruit and veggies (in very small amounts). I now only have to go to the doctor once a year unless something changes and I have control of life, my body doesn’t. If I could have one bit of advice for anybody, it would be to not give up! You know your body more than anybody else does and voice to your doctor if you don’t agree with something. If I had spoken up earlier, it might not have taken years for me to get to this point. Take control of your health and don’t let your health control you!

Which Foods Contain Gluten?

no wheatIf you have Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1 Diabetes and cannot have any gluten and are following the low FODMAP diet, this post is for you.

Says expert, Expert Patsy Catsos, MS, RD: “Gluten-free diets are very popular right now for a wide variety of conditions. When you eliminate gluten, you also eliminate wheat products that contain fructans, one of the FODMAPS carbohydrates.”

For everyone else not needing to watch gluten intake – fructans and other FODMAPs, but NOT gluten are restricted on the Low FODMAP diet. You should aim to buy gluten free grains (wheat free). Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center say you “do not need to follow a 100% gluten free diet as the focus is on FODMAPs, not gluten.” You can buy gluten free grains made with low FODMAPs: potato, quinoa, rice or corn and avoid gluten free grains made with high FODMAPs.  Also, gluten free products are wheat free and suitable for fructose malabsorption. Please still pay attention to possible fructose ingredients such as onion, honey and fruit.

So, back to the crowd of Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease (me) and Type 1 Diabetes: Read this list to make sure you know which foods contain gluten.

As a refresher – what is gluten?  It is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and some with Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1  Diabetes should speak with their doctor about avoiding all foods that are made with these grains.

Here is where you will find GLUTEN:

All wheat-based flours and ingredients

  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Germ
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale

Bread groupCommon foods with gluten and alternatives:

  • Bread – instead try: gluten free breads.  Check out this article from the Huffington Post: The Best Gluten-Free Breads: Our Taste Test Results
  • Cereals – instead try: gluten free cereals, cornflakes, wheat free muesli, porridge
  • Cookies, cakes – instead try: gluten free cakes and mixes and flour-less cakes
  • Condiments, gravies, sauces – instead: make your own
  • Couscous – instead try: buckwheat, polenta, millet, sorghum
  • Flour Tortillas – instead try: corn tortillas
  • Muffins, pastries – there are some gluten free versions but make sure you know all of the ingredients!
  • Pasta – instead try: gluten free pasta, rice or pasta made from quinoa


  • Beer – opt for wine or clear alcohols instead.  Yes there are gluten-free beers, but beer should be avoided in general for anyone with digestive or inflammatory conditions.
  • Broth in soups and bouillon cubes
  • Candy – some more brands have been popping up lately, offering gluten-free candy.  Read the labels as always!
  • Fried foods – I stay away from fried foods anyhow.  Fried foods can cause IBS symptoms and are also full of saturated fat, and buildup from saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats can cause hard deposits (plaque) to form in your arteries.  Many fried foods are made with Canola Oil, a GMO product. “In it’s hybridized and modified state (Canola Oil) it can cause a large number of health issues.”
  • Imitation fish
  • Licorice – choose brands that do not contain wheat flour!
  • Matzo has gluten, but there is hope for gluten-free brands like this one or this one.
  • Meat – many lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages contain wheat gluten.  As always when buying meat, buy organic!  I happen to like the Applegate Farms brand.
  • Modified Food Starch – ANYTHING modified should always be an automatic RED FLAG for you.
  • Oats – buy gluten-free oats as most commercially grown oats can become contaminated during growing, harvesting or processing.
  • Potato Chips (flavored) – some processed flavorings for potato chips contain wheat, barley or rye.  Stay on track with a clean diet and avoid potato chips.
  • Pickles – be wary of any pickles with malt vinegar or corn-based vinegar.
  • Salad Dressing – for those following the Low Fodmap Diet, it’s best to make your own dressing with olive oil, low fodmap herbs and vinegar.  If you find a dressing on the shelves that is not high in FODMAPs, make sure the dressing does not contain a thickening agent like modified food starch.
  • Soy sauce – many contain wheat.  If you’re going out for some sushi, keep a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in your purse/bag!
  • Veggie Burgers – I love veggie burgers but many contain wheat gluten.  I checked out this recipe, it looks good but she does not list gluten-free oats or gluten-free soy sauce, so make the necessary changes: veggie burger recipe

Here’s to your health FODMAPers!

Delicious Gluten-Free Cookie Review!


If you are looking for foods low in FODMAPs it can be a little tricky.  The best policy is to make food at home, but in some cases you might stumble upon products that will do the trick!

While looking at products online, I stumbled across Among Friends® Hand-crafted Baking Mixes and took a look at their line of baking mixes.  I found Shane’s Sweet-n-Spicy cookie mix and decided to give it a try.  Let’s first take a look at the tasty ingredients:


Certified gluten-free oat flour, natural brown sugar, organic cane sugar, molasses, organic ground flax seed, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove, lemon peel, star anise and anise seed.  All LOW in FODMAPs! So I got to baking and when finished, my house smelled lovely from the molasses – such a nice, comforting smell!  Then my husband and I tried them with decaf lemon tea – so good!  You can taste the molasses, cinnamon, ginger, clove and lemon in this satisfying and light cookie.  I am definitely making these again!  *I had to leave them in the oven for a couple minutes longer than specified on the package.  *If you are lactose-intolerant, you can swap out the butter for coconut oil.

Want these cookies?  Sign up for my email newsletter to be automatically entered to win.  Sign up here: http://ow.ly/tI63T 

If you would like to buy these online, order here: http://amongfriendsbakingmixes.com/cookies/shanes/


Low FODMAP Juice for Hypothyroidism

I just had this 4 oz. organic juice of lemon, orange, carrot and ginger and it’s so good. You see, I suffer from digestive issues and I have trouble with energy because of my hypothyroidism.  Some raw and organic fruits and veggies really help as they give me natural energy (not processed foods) and because they are organic, they have fewer chemicals and pesticides which can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland.

I had a visit to the the doctor today and we are trying to get an accurate analysis of my thyroid. I’ve been dealing with hypothyroidism for the last couple years and it was not discovered until my Mother suggested I get a few blood tests done (she also has Hypothyroidism).  This is now the second doctor, but Dr. Margot J Aiken (endocrinolgy, fertility) is a specialist so I believe this go around will be better than the general doctor I first saw.

My hypothyroidism affects my energy levels, my sleep, mood, makes me dizzy, and I get cold easily. It can make my skin itchy, my fingernails brittle, and lately it’s been getting worse with palpitations and tremors. So much fun! I sometimes look like a zombie when working out but I give it my best. Ahhh I miss the days when I could workout forever!

So what’s the connection between Hypothyroidism and IBS?

“Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce a sufficient amount of hormones necessary for the cells throughout the body to work properly.” (re: ).  Hypothyroidism affects the digestive system and can trigger bloating and constipation.  You can also get diarrhea which is a result of someone who has SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome.  On a recent visit to a gastroenterologist, he was certain I had SIBO – but we are still testing.  Today Dr. Aiken asked if the first doctor I saw (the general doc) said whether or not I had Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition which is one of the most common causes for Hypothyroidism.  I said I asked and the doc said no – but was I accurately tested? After testing now (see below for some of the blood tests I am taking tomorrow) we will figure out what is going on, but it’s important to note that people with Hashimoto’s disease are at a greater risk for Celiac disease – hence why the Low FODMAP diet is a great consideration for people with Hypothyroidism.

Taking thyroid medication has sometimes helped with my IBS but I still get many of the IBS symptoms here and there. It’s a long process learning and narrowing down all the possibilities for my symptoms.  Before thyroid medication I would have IBS so severe that distention would last for weeks to months on end. Having a stomach comparable to a woman six months pregnant sends various signals to the brain like: “What the hell? I’m working out but I feel like I’m not losing weight.” “I have to go out? What am I going to wear to cover up my belly?” “I think I should come up with a name for ‘it’!” “Nope, not going to eat that, or that, or umm that.” “I’m not buying new clothes for a while!”


I have learned that when you are a patient, you cannot rely completely on what the doctors say, and not all doctors are organized so you have to sometimes remind them what you need.  I am not suggesting self-diagnosing by way of “Googling”, I simply mean that it’s important to do your research and understand all the tests that exist for your individual health condition and which doctor or specialist is the right choice.

If you have IBS symptoms, very low energy and symptoms typical to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (see below) it won’t hurt you to go see an Endocrinologist and have some tests ordered.

Other Takeaways:

  • Ask around to see if anyone in your family has thyroid issues. Remember, it runs in my family!
  • Have your thyroid levels monitored in a timely manner, as suggested by your doctor
  • Take your medication on time, everyday, and wait 30 mins before eating
  • Eat clean foods that will give you natural energy and not slow you down
  • If you are getting a lot of fiber from vegetables, learn about goitrogenic foods and how they can act like antithyroid drugs – here’s a great article from a lady I follow on Twitter, Mary Shomon @ThyroidMary
  • When you go and see an Endocrinologist or hormonal specialist, ask about getting the following tested: TSH, Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine, Thyroid antibodies, and Vitamin B12 and Iron

Symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

I have more to share about the thyroid gland and will post about it in the future – there is much to share like what foods to eat or avoid, how much carbohydrates you should have (to prevent blood sugar swings), how to alkalize your body and other tips to keep your thyroid healthy and your IBS under control.

Here’s to you!

Spices and Herbs for Your FODMAP!



Need to spice things up? Here is a list of Low FODMAP herbs & spices and how they are used around the world:

  • Allspice (Jamaica pepper, English pepper) – Used to flavor stews, meat dishes, desserts, BBQ sauces.
  • Asafetida (or ‘hing’)- “Some vegetarians in India are required, for religious reasons, to shun onions and garlic. They have come to rely on {Asafetida} a potent resin as a replacement.”  This spice smells foul to most but once you drop some in hot oil, you will enjoy a similar taste to onions and garlic.
  • Basil – the main ingredient in pesto, it also tastes lovely with mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil (insalata caprese), mixed in to pasta at the last moment, and soups or Thai dishes.
  • Bay leaves – are a fixture in European, Mediterranean and American meals.  Leaves are used whole and then often removed before serving stews, braises, pâtés, sauces, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes.  There are several different types of bay leaves (bay leaf) which have mild to strong flavors.
  • Caraway – the fruits have a pungent, anise-like flavor.  It’s used in breads, added to sauerkraut, and used in desserts, liquors, casseroles and Indian dishes.
  • Cardamom – (black and green) has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance.  It is used as a spice in sweet dishes, in savoury dishes and used as a garnish in basmati rice.
  • Cayenne/chili pepper – a hot chili pepper used in hot sauce, buffalo wing sauce or other spicy dishes.  It is high in vitamin A. It contains several other vitamins.
  • Celery seeds – used when making pickles, potato salad, BBQ sauce and in spice rubs for meat.  *Celery oil and celery seeds have been noted by several sources as unsafe during pregnancy.
  • Chervil – has a faint taste of liquorice or aniseed and is used to season poultry, seafood, vegetables, omelettes, salads, and soups.
  • Chives -used on top of baked potatoes, in omelettes, pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches.
  • Cinnamon -used in or on top of desserts, in oatmeal, in cakes, in preparation of chocolate, in spicy candies, coffee, tea and more.  It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to help with digestion.
  • Cloves -are used to flavor meats, curries, and marinades.
  • Coriander – the seeds have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed and are used in chutneys, salads, salsa, guacamole and used as a garnish in other dishes.
  • Cumin (ground or whole seeds) -has a distinctive flavor and aroma and is used in cheese, breads, stews, soups, chili, pickles and pastries.
  • Curry – is a mix of complex combinations of spices and/or herbs, usually including fresh or dried hot chillies.  Used in meat, fish, lentils, rice and vegetable dishes.  Curries are used all over the world and vary depending on cultural, religious and familial tradition.  I use curry with quinoa, spinach, as well as eggs, stir-fry, in soup and sometimes in gluten-free oats.
  • Dill – Fresh and dried dill leaves are are aromatic and are used to flavor fish, soups, pickles and more in Europe, Central Asia and the U.S.
  • Elderflower -used in beverages and syrups.  In Greece if it is used in yogurt, it’s safe for the FODMAP diet as long as you are not lactose intolerant.
  • Fenugreek -is included as an ingredient in spice blends and also used as a flavoring agent in imitation maple syrup, foods, beverages, and tobacco.  It can be used to help constipation, and inflammation of the stomach. It is often used to increase milk supply in lactating mothers and has helped reduce serum glucose and improve glucose tolerance in some people with diabetes.
  • Galangal -In its raw form, galangals have a stronger taste than common ginger.
  • Ginger – is an herb that is aromatic, pungent and spicy and used in stir fries and many fruit, vegetable dishes and in fresh green juices.  It is used as a spice and also as a medicine. It can be used fresh, dried and powdered, or as a juice or oil.  It can help with gas and diarrhea.
  • Juniper berries – can be compared to rosemary for their piney taste.  They are used to flavor lamb, wild boar, pork, chili and marinades.
  • Kaffir lime leaves- from the Kaffir lime tree, the leaves are highly aromatic and used or dried, depending on the recipe or usage.  Used in curries, soups, fish cakes, salads, in rice and marinades.
  • Lavender -flowers and leaves can be used fresh or dried.  Used in salads, breads, cakes or use as a garnish on top of lactose-free ice cream.  It is used for skin care, sunburn or for aromatherapy.
  • Lemon basil – should be used fresh and added during the last moments of cooking.  Use in pesto, insalata caprese, bruschetta, seafood, soups and sauces, vegetables, with Low FODMAP cheeses and more.
  • Lemongrass -a stalky plant with a lemony scent, it provides a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to many Thai dishes.  Look for firm stalks with the lower stalk being pale yellow in color, and the upper stalks green in color.
  • Lemon myrtle -has a beautiful fragrance and a calming effect when used as a tea.  It is a powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal agent.  Use in fish, cake and chicken recipes.
  • Lemon thyme -is a hybrid thyme that has a citrusy, flowery aroma that blends well with chicken, fish, salad dressings and a variety of sauces and vegetables.
  • Liquorice – made into liqueur, candies and sweets.  Used as a flavoring in soft drinks, and in some herbal infusions where it provides a sweet aftertaste. Italians like to eat unsweetened liquorice in small black pieces made only from 100% pure liquorice extract; the taste is bitter and intense.
  • Mace -from the nutmeg tree, two spices are derived from the fruit: nutmeg and mace.  Both are a little similar in smell and taste.  Nutmeg is slightly sweeter and mace has a more delicate flavor. Mace is used in light dishes for its bright orange, saffron-like color.  Mace is used in potato dishes, meats, stews, sauces, baked goods and more.
  • Marjoram -has sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle-Eastern cuisines, marjoram is synonymous with oregano.  Used green or dry to season soups, stews, dressings and sauce.  This herb herb contains many notable phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins.  Some of its compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  When fresh it has high levels of Vitamin C, it also has high levels of Vitamin A, an ample amount of Vitamin K and iron.
  • Mustard (seeds/condiment) – This is such a great go-to spice for people following the FODMAP diet, looking for some flavor to add to sandwiches, meats, salads, dressings, sauces, soups, marinades and BBQ sauce and gluten-free pretzels.  It is very low in calories and contains selenium and omega 3 fatty acids.  Mustard has iron, calcium, Vitamins A & C.
  • Nutmeg -used in dessert and savoury dishes as well as with pasta and spinach.  The nutmeg tree originates in Banda, the largest of the Molucca spice islands of Indonesia. “Ingestion of small amounts of nutmeg is harmless to the body, however the consumption of 1 to 3 whole nutmegs (in excess of 1 teaspoon ground) can cause wild hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, and/or circulatory collapse within 1 to 6 hours after ingestion. Very large doses can be fatal.‘”
  • Oregano – I grew up on oregano!  My Italian Father liked to cook family recipes and my Irish Mother also knew how to cook Italian so oregano was found in our sauces, salads, sausage dishes, other meats and pizza.  Depending on the climate and region where oregano is grown, it can have a robust, full flavor with a slightly bitter and peppery taste or a more delicate aroma and sweeter taste.
  • Paprika -a spice made from ground, dried fruits of Capsicum annuum (bell pepper or chili pepper varieties or mixtures so color varies from bright orange-red to deep red). It is high in Vitamin A, and 1 TB provides 7% iron, 5% Vitamin B-6 and 3% magnesium.  Use it with chicken, crab, fish, goulash, lamb, potatoes, rice noodles, shellfish, stroganoff, veal.  Gluten-free goulash recipe
  • Parsley –  is a very nutritious herb and has high amounts of Vitamin K and A and also has Vitamin C, folate and iron, volatile oil components and flavonoids. Choose Italian flat leaf parsley for hot dishes.  Use on grilled fish, in sauces, salads, soups and sautés and combine with lemon and salt to use as a rub on meat.
  • Peppermint -it is used in tea and for flavoring desserts, gum, and toothpaste but it also is powerful in helping with abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and bloating (or wind).  Italian investigators indicated that people who used peppermint oil over a four week period reported a major reduction in IBS.
  • Poppy seeds -seeds are used, whole or ground, as an ingredient in many foods like bread, and cake, sprinkled on top of pasta, sauces and used as a thickener.
  • Rosemary -has a bitter, astringent taste, is highly aromatic and used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings, sauces, breads and roast meats.  Used fresh and dried. Rosemary is high in iron, calcium and Vitamin B6.
  • Saffron -is an expensive spice, derived from the flower of Crocus sativus.  It has been described as “metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes.”  It has been used medicinally for several years.  Use it your next Low FODMAP seafood, soup, stew or rice noodle recipe.
  • Sage -used in butter, olive oil, sausage, and several dishes.  This was also another herb my family used often.  Pair sage with eggs, chicken, lamb, polenta or pineapple!  Sage can be used to reduce gas and it’s also an antispasmodic, used to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating.  The essential oil of sage contains alpha- and beta-thujone, camphor, and cineole, which are antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. The volatile oils in sage kill bacteria, making the herb useful for all types of bacterial infections.
  • Sesame seeds – “Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known to humanity.”  Sesame seeds are used whole for its delicious, rich nutty flavor.  You’ll find them mostly in baked items like bagels, crackers and breads.  The Japanese use them in sushi, salads and baked snacks.  They are also found in Chinese dishes like dim sum and sesame seed balls.  Sesame seeds are also popular in India, Korea, Vietnam and Africa.
  • Spearmint – leaves can be used fresh, dried or frozen.  Spearmint is used to season lamb in Indian cuisine.  It is also used in alcoholic drinks, candies and gum.  You can use spearmint tea to help with a stomach ache.  I have seen spearmint used in many High FODMAP recipes unfortunately, so you might just use it with lamb or other meats.
  • Star anise - is the fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China.  If you do not know what star anise is, chances are you’ve probably seen these eight-pointed, star-shaped fruits.  Star anise is used in five-spice powder, braising sauces and stews and dipping sauces and tea.  It’s used with pork, beef, chicken, eggs and shirt ribs.
  • Sumac – these plants grow in North America and Africa.  As a child growing up in Long Island, I remember sumac for its bright reddish drupes that would easily rub off on skin.  The sumac fruits are ground into a powder and used in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to meats, kabobs and salads.  Sumac is also used is Arabian, Iranian and Jordanian cuisine.
  • Szechuan pepper - can be used whole or ground into a powder and mostly used in Szechuan cuisine.  It has slight lemony overtones and is not as hot as other peppers. It’s also one of the blended ingredients use for five-spice powder.
  • Thyme - used fresh and dry and also retains its flavor after drying more so than other herbs.  I love to sprinkle thyme in eggs, on top of chicken, and in soups or chowders.  Check out this recipe using thyme.
  • Vanilla – is a flavor derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla.  Three majors species of vanilla exist globally and all derive from Mesoamerica, including Mexico.  It’s the second most expensive spice (saffron first), and can have a mild, delicate, spicy or strong aroma.  We use either the whole pod, powder, extract or vanilla sugar (vanilla mixed with sugar).
Photo: Larry Hoffman

Sweet Marjoram Photo: Larry Hoffman

*Buy organic, fair trade whenever possible
*Look into growing your own herbs and spices
*Use spices and herbs to bring life and excitement to your meals!

*Some spices and herbs will help you to benefit from vitamins, minerals, compounds as well as phytonutrients, like:

  • Parsley: Lutein
  • Chili peppers: Capsaicin
  • Tea: Polyphenols

*If you have IBS and do not handle spicy foods very well, use the above spices according to your individual tolerance.

Sources for this post:

6 FODMAP Friendly Foods to Relieve Gas


Thanks for visiting!  If you are new to our community and do not know about FODMAPs, read this post to learn more: 10 Facts About FODMAPs

Try any of these FODMAP friendly foods to help relieve gas:

  1. Water – Drink plenty of it to help “flush” out your system (eh-hemm, get the train moving as my Mother would say)
  2. Peppermint – The University of Maryland’s Medical Center states: “peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass.”  Try enteric coated peppermint capsules, peppermint leaves and organic peppermints (not made with sugar alcohols).
  3. Cinnamon – In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is used to balance digestion and help restore the stomach to a balanced state.  Sprinkle it on lactose-free yogurt, kefir, in gluten-free oats or use it after you eat to aid in digestion by adding a teaspoon to decaf green tea.  If you have diabetes, sprinkle cinnamon on high carb foods to lower the impact on your blood sugar levels.
  4. Fresh, raw Pineapple – Bromelain, found in pineapple, is an enzyme that aids pineapple chunksin digestion and helps prevent inflammation and swelling. I have found many sources that say you should consider eating pineapple alone so the bromelain isn’t used up digesting other food.
  5. Flax seeds – Making a smoothie?  Need a topping for your lactose-free yogurt?  Add some flax seeds as they can prevent excessive gas and fend off constipation.
  6. Green juice – made with kale, spinach, lemon, ginger and carrots. Green juice can help alkalize the body and reduce gas. (source -Ravi Raman#FODMAPLifeTip – plan on drinking this fresh juice only if you will have access to a toilet for a couple of hours as it may help flush you out – quickly!

SIGN UP for our newsletter today by clicking here.  You’ll receive more tips about the Low FODMAP diet and learn more about IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, GERD, gastroparesis and other digestive and inflammatory conditions.  We also send out notifications about monthly giveaways of FODMAP-friendly products, plus interviews with Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, Holistic Health Practitioners and more.

Share this post!  Thanks and be well – Colleen

FODMAP for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

GoogleImageIf you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD), you know what it’s like to have to run to the bathroom on a moment’s notice. You know how scary it is to be in a situation where there is no bathroom in sight – the fear of not finding one in time.  The fear of most any social situation.  It’s not something that’s easy to talk to people about.  I have friends that battle with IBD and I can relate to their bathroom troubles.  Though I do not have IBD (I might have SIBO – still waiting on a diagnosis) I have come pretty close to not making it, a few times, in public no less.  My husband has been VERY supportive, patient and helpful.


IBD is a chronic condition with irregular intervals of active disease (flare-ups) or with little or no disease activity.  It involves chronic inflammation in all or part of the digestive tract. Symptoms can develop over time, and there are many theories about what causes IBD, but none have been proven thus far.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD including 140,000 children under the age of 18.


For those with inactive IBD, dietary options are limited, however, the Low FODMAP diet may help one to better navigate a daily routine.  It is not a cure as unfortunately no cure exists yet.

As compared to most of the general population, fructose and lactose malabsorption are more common in those with IBD (source).  Also a small amount of people with IBD cannot tolerate gluten.  Researchers have suggested that there could be links between IBD and a diet high in fats and sugars. With that being said, reducing high FODMAPs may help those with an inactive IBD who also experience IBS symptoms.

A liquid diet, often referred to as ‘enteral nutrition’ may be prescribed to some people with IBD.  This treatment can last for less than a month to two months. It provides all necessary nutrients to patients and then a solid food diet can be re-introduced, like the Low FODMAP diet.  There are other means suggested to help with symptoms like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the use of herbal remedies.

If you know someone that has IBD, tell them about the Low FODMAP diet and ask them to speak to their doctor about it!

Live the FODMAP Life!  Don’t forget to join us on Facebook


5 Healthy Steps for FODMAP

IMG_5118Since the year began I have seen a tremendous amount of people on Facebook and Twitter say that they’ve started the Low Fodmap Diet.  This is great news!  I’ve seen a few people asking for advice or tips on how to navigate the diet and honestly the best and safest approach is to work with a Registered Dietitian.  If for some reason you cannot afford one (meeting with one should not be a problem as many more RDs offer Skype consults), here are 5 Healthy Steps you can take to eat healthy right now.

  1. Get a Breath Test.  I had one of two breath hydrogen tests.  The first was to see if I am fructose intolerant (still awaiting the results) and the second is to check for lactose intolerance.  Dr. Sue Shepherd, PhD and founder of the Fodmap Diet says that if you discover that neither fructose or lactose are causing you symptoms you’ll be able to include them in your Low Fodmap diet, “although a negatibe breath test for fructose and lactose does not mean you won’t benefit from restricting the other remaining FODMAPs.”  She also recommends that if you do not have a breath test that you should “avoid all FODMAPs for the initial two months” of the diet.
  2. Reduce your intake of red meat.  Red meat is a trigger food for people with IBS.  It’s high in saturated fat and animal protein which is difficult to digest for most people.  If you are going to have it, make sure the portion is no larger than the palm of your hand, or what is considered a serving.  Also, cut it into smaller pieces to help with digestion.  For an extra healthy you – eat certified organic meats (no growth hormones, drugs or antibiotics).  If your doctor says you can avoid red meat altogether -great! For your protein needs try skinless chicken, seafood (careful of salmon and other oily fishes), egg whites, nuts, and non-dairy milk.
  3. Just say no to another glass.  Alcohol can greatly increase symptoms.  While you are following the Low Fodmap diet it’s recommended by Fodmap experts to avoid it completely so you can get a better sense of what affects your gut once you start to slowly introduce food back into your diet.  If you’re going to drink, one glass max is recommended for women and up to two for men.  If you can, opt for clear alcohol like a vodka with ice, water and lemon (soda water can cause gas).  Remember alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, cause irritability, limit a person’s tolerance for stress and it increases the risk for several diseases.  And we all know it also puts on the pounds!
  4. Stop eating when you are full.  Be aware of your eating.  Eat slowly.  When you eat slowly you will have a better chance of not over-eating.  You will give your gut and brain enough chance to catch up with each other and say “thanks, that was great!  I’m full!” Also, eating too fast can cause excess amounts of air to be trapped in your stomach which can cause belching and more gas. Avoid disruptions like watching TV, working on your computer or using your phone.  When possible, eat with a friend, co-worker or with family.  Be aware if the person sitting next to you is eating fast and don’t follow their lead.  Take the opportunity to ask them nicely and calmly to slow down and enjoy the meal with you.
  5. Forget about what you can’t eat.  Remember, while you are trying the Low Fodmap diet, you are bringing yourself closer to possibly understanding what causes your symptoms – and if you truly follow the diet, you might be able to avoid medications and create a new, healthy lifestyle for yourself.  There are several foods that are low in FODMAPs and by doing this diet you will also negate several more foods that are very unhealthy for you anyhow.  My motto – the cleaner the foods, the better your life.

Good luck and let me know if you need any referrals for a Registered Dietitian.  Please leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Breath Test Round 1!

So I haven’t been able to eat or drink since last night and I’m at UCSD’s gastroenterology department. What’s on the TV? Dozens of food commercials. The latest being a sultry woman’s voice talking about cookies covered in “riiiich dark chohhhhclate.” Ha! I’ll be fine but this is torture! ;)

Today I’ll be taking a breath test. I will drink something, then burp into a blue bag a few times over a period of three hours. They will measure the type of and amount of gas coming through to see if I’m intolerant to fructose. I have done research and found that this type of test is not fool-proof so I may not know what to do about my diet! I’ll work with my doctor after and see what he says. The next test is in January for lactose.
Just hoping for answers!


Bloated Yoga! And Yoga for IBS

Tonight I took a hot yoga class. Though I like to relax and be in the flow during yoga, it’s hard to connect when I’m so BLOATED from IBS. I have no idea why I got it so bad today. My husband remarked that I have a bigger belly than our pregnant friend!

My plans were to go running tomorrow morning but if I’m still the same way, running will be very painful. Everything across my abdomen is tight feeling, yet stretched out. I feel like my entire mid-section is a balloon but I’m surely not floating!

I found a great article with yoga poses for IBS (with pictures). Take a look: http://palomino73.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/yoga-poses-for-poor-digestion-and-i-b-s/

There are a couple videos out there if you just Google “yoga for IBS.” I found this one and liked it. It’s pretty simple – take a look and tell me how you do! yoga for IBS

I LOVE Cheese! What Can I eat on Low Fodmap?

Lactose is on the high FODMAP list and if you malabsorb lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products, you should limit cheese that contains lactose, like:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Haloumi

Most hard cheeses and other matured or ‘ripened’ cheeses (brie, feta, camembert) are low in lactose or lactose-free.  When lactose is not completely digested, it contributes to abdominal
bloating, pain, gas, and diarrhea, often occurring 30 minutes to two hours following the consumption of milk and milk

So again, where is Lactose found?

Cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk

“What Should I Limit?”
Limit foods high in lactose such as yogurt, ice cream, milk, and ricotta and cottage cheeses.

If you feel you might be lactose intolerant, make an appointment with a Gastroenterologist to see which test she/he suggests -a Lactose tolerance blood test or a Hydrogen breath test. Lactose tolerance tests measure the ability of your intestines to break down lactose.

Out to Eat – Brazil Style!

Being married to a Brazilian, I have the wonderful opportunity to enjoy an exciting culture – the people, music, food, dancing the samba – it’s a carefree way of living!  One thing I like about Brazilian culture compared to my own is that when families get together and have dinner or a holiday party, they spend hours together, and it never feels rushed.  That’s what its like at Fogo de Chão®.

brazilian food

Our friend Pat, working away at his dinner! It’s definitely a manly experience!

Fogo de Chão is a franchise with restaurants across the U.S. and Brazil.   The founders are from the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil. The brothers were influenced by the “centuries-old Gaucho culture, a rich blend of traditions from European immigrants and Brazilian natives.”  The main attraction of this chain of restaurants is the meat; how it is prepared and how it comes out to your table in droves.  This style of preparing and eating meat is better known as the churrasco, or the Gaucho way of roasting meats over pits of open fire.  Whenever I have been to a churrasco, whether here in the states with our Brazilian friends or in Brazil itself, the meat is served in small pieces and passed around.  It’s typical to be standing around, chatting it up, eating slow and just enjoying the company of everyone.

Eating at Fogo de Chão could be somewhat difficult for someone with IBS like myself, but the other night I was able to navigate the salad bar and the meat.  I chose items at the salad bar that were stand alone and not mixed with anything else. For the meat, I ate slow, had small pieces (all low FODMAP), but knowing my body, meat doesn’t always digest very well.  So I chose meat that didn’t have thick bands of fat on the edges, and I also had chicken.  I had very slight symptoms today and that is to be expected when I am not cooking for myself.

It’s not always easy eating out when you have IBS, and when you are trying to follow a low FODMAP diet.  It’s nice to know more menus include gluten-free items now,  but remember many of those are not FODMAP friendly.  The cleaner you eat, the better – but get to know the low FODMAP veggies and fruits.

The more you work at FODMAP, the more you will remember of what you should avoid eating, as well as how much you should limit for low FODMAP.  If you ever feel frustrated, reach out to me!  I’m right there with you.

Oh Really? FODMAP Facts to Know

These are a couple of things I have learned along the way with my own day-to-day life with FODMAP:

fomdap FB timeline factsJust because a food is gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s FODMAP friendly.  Remember you need to reference HIGH FODMAP foods against whatever gluten-free food you’re thinking of eating.  Ex: All fresh vegetables are gluten-free but veggies like Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Onions, Garlic are HIGH FODMAP foods.

Medications can contain FODMAPs, so be sure to read labels. (Source: The National Center for Biotechnology and Kate Scarlata, RD).

As you might have noticed, Gluten restriction has become “popular” in our society as a fad.  However there are those who truly need to restrict gluten, like for the management of Celiac Disease, IBS, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome and others.

Need to sweeten something up?  You can use Sugar, Glucose, Sucrose or Pure maple syrup.  Stay away from Agave, Honey, High fructose corn syrup, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Maltitol.  Also to be avoided is Splenda.  I personally do not use Splenda, but this product is said to alter friendly gut flora which consists of a complex of microorganism species that live in your digestive tracts.  You need healthy bacteria to protect against sickness and disease, to regulate your stomach and intestines, and prevent the growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria.  I highly suggest taking probiotics everyday as extra precautionary measure for your health!  I like the brand Udo’s.

Individual reactions to utilizing the FODMAP do vary, so the diet involves an initial elimination phase followed by trials of various foods to determine your sensitivities.  So it may not be the “end of the world” for you – there might be some HIGH FODMAP foods that you can have, but you’ll need to try the elimination phase first.

If you are thinking about starting the elimination phase, the low-FODMAP diet requires close dietetic supervision.  Search for local Registered Dietitians in your area!  You can try your search here: 13903_466511523403048_1138574333_n

This applies to me right now: In clinical trials, three-quarters of affected adults who reduced their intake of FODMAPs, also saw improvement in their IBS symptoms (Book: The Complete Low-fodmap Diet by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson, creators of the FODMAP diet).  So far I have had little symptoms and I can attribute any to an oversight on my part.  Getting used LOW FODMAP life means being super careful.  The more food you can make on your own, the better!

As you can see, I also have dietitians, clinical nutritionists and doctors to thank for information above and Monash University.  I recently downloaded their app and will let you know what I think in another post!

Gluten Free Product Review: Jovial Organic Cookies or Enjoy Life?

I like cookies.  No, I LOVE cookies!  I pretty much like any sweet or dessert aside from strawberries in my dessert – I would rather have strawberries on their own.  So, while searching for cookies to have as snacks, I came across Jovial Organic Chocolate Vanilla Cream Filled Cookies Gluten Free.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.  The vanilla cream inside tasted very good but the cookie itself was dry and crumbly.  In two cookies there are 160 calories and 7 grams of fat (2.5 saturated), 10 g sugar, which I was surprised because the cookies are literally so light.  I would try these again if the cookie itself was soft or chewy.


My favorite cookies are still Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I am satisfied after eating two of these cookies.  They are soft, chewy, have a bit more mass to them and they taste really good.  Plus, 2 cookies are only 140 calories, 4 g fat, o g saturated fat and 9 g sugar.  These cookies have white rice flour and light buckwheat flour – both FODMAP friendly (as are the rest of the tasty ingredients)!  I have found these cookies in all my local health food stores.  If you do not see the Enjoy Life brand in your local market, just ask the store manager if they’ll consider stocking the shelves or you can always order online here.

I have tried a few other gluten-free, fodmap friendly cookies but if you have a few you like, please comment below!


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