Friday, February 28, 2014

Chocomole kisses

"We love to nap but we really love to eat! How about you?"
Chocomole Kisses are soooo delicious but I have to tread lightly because they contain avocado, a highly nutritious food that has fermentation issues. I admit I used to eat entire avocados, totally unaware of their potential to be malabsorbed by individuals, like myself, who lack certain enzymes, necessary for the digestion of carbohydrates.

Chocomole Kisses

Avocados, one of the main ingredients in Chocomole Kisses, have a fermentation potential (FP) of 6. On the FP diet, one tries to stay between 20-30 total FP for the entire day! Foods are given an FP value, based on their net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), fiber content, glycemic index and types of sugars they contain. The FP diet is designed to help individuals with IBS-like symptoms and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

I avoided avocados during the first few weeks on the FP diet. I decided to reintroduce avocado in limited quantities because they contain so many nutritional benefits and have cooking versatility. I also am reintroducing in small quantities some of the foods I eliminated while on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, the past four months. These foods include chocolate and seeds and nuts (butters), also ingredients in Chocomole Kisses. 

Chocomole kisses have a combined FP value of 1.5 per small kiss. The whole recipe which makes about 9-10 kisses has a total FP of 14. You can see that those of us with FP problems do not want to go whole hog with these delicious bites or they will wipe out our entire day's FP allotment. I am teaching myself to be satisfied with one.

Here's what you need:

1/2 medium avocado (2.8 ounces)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sunbutter or almond butter (unsweetened)
2 T. softened coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
liquid stevia (no alcohol), to taste

Here's what you do:

Blend all the ingredients in your food processor until smooth and creamy. Drop the mixture by small teaspoon fulls onto a parchment-paper lined pan. If you really want to get fancy, use a pastry dough  bag to make real chocolate kiss shapes. Place the kisses in the fridge to firm them up. Store in the freezer in a container and enjoy in small quantities for the FP diet.

Recipe contributed to:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Scrutinize carbs for fermentation potential; have a gelatin chai tea latte with no carbs

Chai tea latte with gelatin, no carbs
My IBS symptoms have lasted for years, eventually morphing into leaky gut, bacteria and candida overgrowth, food intolerances and fibromyalgia. Carbs have always seemed to be the enemy. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, a restrictive elimination diet for autoimmune sufferers, helped me identify that "yes, carbs were/are my problem" because I lack many of the enzymes necessary for their digestion.

Now, I believe I have found something that actually helps reduce my symptoms. It's called the "fermentation potential" of carbohydrates. The molecular bonds in carbohydrates are quite complex and depending on how complex may cause them to be absorbed or poorly absorbed. Those malabsorbed carbohydrates may result in fermentation and bacterial overgrowth.

What I am calling the "fermentation potential" diet is based on the book, Fast Tract Digestion IBS: Science-based Diet to Treat and Prevent IBS and SIBO without Drugs or Antibiotics by Norman Robillard.

 The diet builds on the science behind the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), FODMAPs, Paleo and GAPS eating plans. Many of the foods, allowed on these diets, are too high in fermentation potential (FP) for individuals like me with SIBO and candida. FP is based on glycemic index, net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and types of sugars.

The book includes FP tables which list foods, serving sizes, glycemic index and FP. You select foods to eat based on a low fermentation potential. The goal is to have a total low FP for the day of beween 20 and 30. A low FP for a single meal would be 0-7.

Yes, getting the FP that low can be challenging. It requires a food scale to weigh carbs to get the correct amount to prevent going too high on total FP. I have been trying to stay between 20-25 total FP to get my symptoms under control.

Here are some examples of vegetables with low FP:

bok choy, 2.8 ounces, FP 1
zucchini, 2.8 ounces, FP 2
leafy lettuce, 2.8 ounces FP 2
celery, 2.8 ounces, FP 2
spinach, 2.8 ounces, FP 3
cauliflower, 2.8 ounces FP 3
chard, 2.8 ounces, FP 3

Many of the foods I had been relying on (e.g. winter squash, carrots, coconut flakes, coconut flour, coconut butter, kale, avocado) are too high in FP. Along with focusing on FP, I also am working on trying to elevate my stomach acid through the use of HCL-pepsin supplements, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in my water.

How about a little urban mushing after we rest?
My greatest challenge is finding enough to eat that is not high in fat as I have no gallbladder. Lately, I have been enjoying quite a few Gelatin Chai Tea Lattes, with no carbs. I am finding Great Lakes Gelatin from grassfed cows to be a superfood.

Here are some the benefits of eating/drinking gelatin:
- Supports skin, hair and nail growth
- Good for joints and can help joint recovery
- Can help tighten loose skin (like the kind you get after having four babies in five years…)
- Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track
- Rumored to help improve cellulite
- Great source of dietary collagen (side note: collagen is too large to be absorbed by the skin, so those skin creams are pretty useless… get it internally and use coconut oil for lotion!)
- Source of protein (though not a spectacular one) but its specific amino acids can help build muscle.”

Here's what you need for a Gelatin Chai Tea Latte:

12 ounces of brewed, hot red or green chai tea
2 T. Great Lakes gelatin
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg and cloves
sweetener of choice

Here's what you do:

Pop all your ingredients in a Vitamix or other heavy-duty and heat resistant blender. Blend until your tea latte forms lots of foam. Serve immediately. Extra bonus: if you don't feel like drinking it all, cool your beverage in the fridge and it will form gelatin.

Recipe submitted to:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Brown mustard kale chips

Brown mustard kale chips
I have had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms for years. Doctors have labeled the cause as everything from gastroparesis and candida to "you're a mystery." Candida was the only explanation that was credible. Until last summer, bacteria overgrowth (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth-SIBO) was added to my list of probable causes.

SIBO is where the small intestine and sometimes the stomach have bacteria in large numbers that are not supposed to be there. The result is IBS symptoms, including bloating, nausea, digestive distress, burping, etc.
Last summer, I took a round of antibiotics, followed by antifungals, to kill off the excess bacteria and then the subsequent opportunistic candida. Unfortunately, the treatment didn't stick.

Now, I am treating my SIBO and candida using a restrictive diet with a few botanical supplements thrown in.

I'll have to give credit to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol for helping me identify what my triggers are. Before that restrictive elimination diet, I had no idea. I just knew I continued to suffer with symptoms.

Most people need to eat more low-glycemic carbohydrates, like grains, veggies and fruits. In my case, carbohydrates of all kinds are the enemy. Even my vegetables that I have relied on so heavily in the absence of grains and most fruit could be potential problems.

Why? The reason is carbohydrates, which include vegetables, have complex molecular bonds that make them difficult to digest for some people. I would be one of those people. Without certain enzymes, the vegetables and other carbs sit around in the gut and ferment. The result is an overgrowth of bacteria and the resulting IBS-like symptoms.

"Don't worry, Mom. You'll get better."
There is no quick fix for this problem. It can take two-three years of following a rigid diet of foods with low "fermentation potential (FP). FP is a measure of how easily a food is digested or incompletely digested. Folks on this diet must eat a lot of protein and fat as opposed to carbohydrates. Carbs must be carefully measured and weighed  to avoid going too high on the FP scale. Some of my favorite veggies, such as butternut squash, have to be eaten in very small quantities to avoid tipping the FP scale in favor of the bacteria.

The goal is to eat foods that have an FP of zero as much as possible. Most veggies have an FP 1-16. Even kale has an FP of 6, meaning it has a high possibility of being not digested.
My Brown Mustard Kale Chips have to be eaten in small quantities and chewed at least 20 times per bite to even have a chance of not causing me problems. I still enjoy them but only a few at a time.

Here's what you need:

1/2 bunch of kale, leaves removed and torn into small pieces
Dressing of 2 T. brown mustard (I used Eden Brown Mustard), 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 T. apple cider vinegar and juice of 1/2 lemon.

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the kale and dressing. Toss the kale with about 2 T. of your mixture. Reserve the rest for salad dressing. 

Spread the kale on your baking sheets. Put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before putting the kale in storage containers.

Recipe submitted to:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Improve your digestive health and enjoy golden beet veggie delight

Golden beet veggie delight
I have been on a journey to find digestive health for a decade plus. You'd think by now I'd have acquired all the information/tools I need to correct my problem with the help of numerous individuals in the healthcare field. Sadly, that is not the case.
 I have suffered with reoccurring poor digestion, and candida and bacteria overgrowth, associated with low stomach acid. I supplement with Betaine HCL-Pepsin (Hydrochloric Acid) to correct low stomach acid. 
Suppressing bacteria is one of the chief roles of stomach acid.

Recently, I discovered a few new things an individual can do to improve digestion. Here are some new tips as well as oldies.

 No. 1:
DON'T take antacids: they contribute to bacterial overgrowth because they suppress stomach acid.

No. 2:
How to test for low stomach acid:
First things in the a.m. before breakfast, drink one cup of water with 1/4 tsp. baking soda mixed in. Time how long it takes until you burp. Repeat for four days in a row to get a pattern.
Burp within two minutes: adequate acid.
Longer than two minutes: low stomach acid.
Burp immediately: high stomach acid.

No. 3:
Increase your stomach acid by drinking lemon water right before a meal or taking 1-2 T. of raw lightly filtered apple cider vinegar in water.

No. 4:
Try to avoid drinking liquids with a meal as it dilutes stomach acid.

No. 5:
Eat lightest to heaviest foods on your plate. This means veggies first, next carbs, lastly protein and fats.

No. 6:
Drink dandelion tea.

No. 7:
Try digestive bitters. Take 30-45 drops three times a day in a little water on empty stomach. Bitters help speed up digestion by increasing secretions of liver, pancreas, stomach and small intestine.

No. 8:
 To reduce bloating, drink lemon and ginger tea. Make your own tea by mixing hot water, lemon juice and raw ginger.

No. 9:
Chew your food well, at least 20 times per bite or until the food resembles a paste.

"Mom's been working on her digestion. We're working on getting enough rest."
Try making the Golden Beet Veggie Delight and enjoy it with the help of these digestive tips.

Here's what you need for one serving:

4 asparagus spears
1 golden beet, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 large chard leaves
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
lemon-olive oil dressing: mix juice of 1 lemon with 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. water, salt and pepper, and Herbes de Provence

Here's what you do:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread golden beet, zucchini and asparagus spears on the baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast veggies until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Check often as some get done faster than others.

In the meantime, chop your chard. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the chard until tender.

To assemble, start with a base of chard and pile on veggies. Drizzle with lemon-olive oil dressing.

Recipe contributed to:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coconut mousse pie with berries

Coconut mousse pie with berries
My love affair with coconut butter and all things coconut has hit a glitch in the road. I cannot (at least temporarily) eat the healthy and delicious delights from the coconut tree. That doesn't mean I can't share a recipe for a luscious treat I made before coconut and I parted ways----Coconut Mousse Pie with Berries.

Here I was thinking I had no recipes to share for Valentine's Day. Luckily, I snapped a few photos.

Here is what you need for the filling:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 T. gelatin from grassfed cows (or make it vegan by using agar-agar powder)
1/2 cup coconut butter, softened
Liquid vanilla stevia, to taste
pinch of salt
Topping: fresh or frozen mixed berries, sweetened or not
Optional: Make it lemon flavored by squeezing in the juice of one lemon

Here is what you need for the crust:

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

Here's what you do:

Use a seven-inch pie pan. Mix the coconut and coconut oil mixture. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pie pan. Place in the fridge to firm up.

In the meantime, make the filling. Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin powder on top. Allow to stand for one minute. Whisk in the gelatin and heat the milk until hot but not boiling. Let cool to room temperature.  Place the cooled mixture in your food processor or Vitamix. Add the softened coconut butter, stevia and salt. Blend until everything is evenly distributed and the mixture begins to thicken.

Pour the filling into your pie pan with the crust. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with fresh or thawed frozen berries.
Does this look relaxing? It is to pretzel-boy Misha.

Recipe shared with:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cauliflower nuggets with chimichurri sauce

Cauliflower nuggets with chimichurri sauce
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, an elimination diet for individuals with autoimmune diseases, has guided my eating for the past four months. Recently, I eliminated foods on the FODMAPs diet to solve some additional food problems.

One of the problems with being on such a restricted diet is there aren't a lot of food options. One tends to glom onto one particular food and eat too much of it.

Yes, this is a confession. I adore coconut and have eaten too much of it, especially given the fact that I have no gallbladder. In the absence of a gallbladder, the liver has to take over the function of processing fat in the body. I think I would have gone on blissfully eating tons of coconut if it hadn't been for getting my blood checked recently.

After all, coconut is healthy, right? It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial healing properties, both of which I was going for by eating a lot of coconut. Of course, that's when eaten in moderation.

I guess the lesson learned is beware of how much fat, whether good or bad, that you eat, especially if you have no gallbladder. All of this means, I will be very sad when Valentine's Day rolls around because my favorite treats all use coconut and I cannot eat them right now.

The FODMAPs diet for individuals lacking certain digestive enzymes also stirs me clear of cauliflower. But I made Cauliflower Nuggets with Chimichurri Sauce before I added the FODMAPs. Cauliflower is healthy and delicious and hopefully not a problem for you.

Here's what you need for two servings:

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 handfuls of mixed greens
1 cup of cucumber, cut into matchstick pieces
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
salt and pepper

"I think I'll nap while you get my dinner ready."
Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cauliflower nuggets with a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and tender. 

In the meantime, make the chimichurri sauce. Put the fresh cilantro, olive oil, garlic, onions, dash of salt and pepper in your food processor. Process until smooth and creamy.

Once the cauliflower nuggets are done, toss with chimichurri sauce. Serve on a bed of greens and top with cucumber pieces. Enjoy as a side and add a protein of choice.

"We'll both nap while you get dinner ready."
Recipe contributed to: