Swedish Egg

Swedish Egg

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Hydrochloric Acid: SIBO Wants You.

Here's a trick question for you. We all know the acronym SIBO refers to an overgrowth of bacteria, in a place it does not belong (the small intestine). But how and why did that bacteria overgrow there in the first place? The answer is: it depends.

Many cases of SIBO are caused by infection. Some nice person traveling in South America catches a stomach bug, and the next thing you know, they’ve got post-infectious IBS and SIBO. For others (*blush*) it’s long-standing IBS with chronic constipation that gets the ball rolling. And then there’s that little-discussed culprit: eating disorders. The research may be scant, but in my personal experience, as a clinical nutritionist and through my involvement with various IBS discussion groups and boards, it appears that many SIBO sufferers have experienced anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. (You can count me in there, too. Full disclosure.)

Eating too much too fast isn’t good for anyone, but it’s especially problematic when what goes in doesn’t come out. Folks with eating disorders seem to develop IBS or other digestive problems across the board. Those who develop acid reflux are often prescribed drugs like Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) to inhibit hydrochloric acid production (makes sense, right?). But, surprise! People taking PPIs are at high risk of developing SIBO.

The thing is, not only do we NEED hydrochloric acid to properly digest our food, we need it to digest (i.e. kill) germs. Stomach acids help to maintain proper gut pH levels in the gut and subsequently prevent the overgrowth of pathogens and bad bacteria. The less gastric acid we produce, the more alkaline our GI tracts become, and the more likely that Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth will follow.

Reduced acidity in the stomach may be caused by PPIs and antacid drugs like Tums, but that's not all. Low stomach acid also results naturally from the normal decrease in gastric HCl production that occurs with age. And low stomach acid essentially cripples the antimicrobial effects of healthy gastric phase digestion. Bacteria, parasites and yeasts that survive gastric phase digestion due to low levels of hydrochloric acid go forth, thrive and multiply in the warm, dark moist environment of the small intestine. 

Meanwhile, poorly broken down food particles (notably carbohydrates) that linger in the small intestine without sufficient acids and enzymes to digest thembut plenty of bacteria to frolic withundergoes fermentation. Fermentation inside the closed tube of the intestine creates trapped gas, and from there you get symptoms such as pressure, stabbing pain, increased feelings of fullness, embarrassing flatulence and belching.

Hello, SIBO.

Now for the good news. You can boost your hydrochloric acid levels by taking a Betaine HCL SUPPLEMENT. Betaine HCL comes in tablets or capsules, and it’s not expensive. Look for a product like this one that delivers 750 mg or so per pill, and ALWAYS TAKE WITH FOOD. Betaine HCL will help boost protein digestion, increase vitamin and mineral absorption, lower gastric pH and kill off bad pathogens in your stomach and upper GI tract.

Dosing Betaine HCL is a bit of an art. To find out the actual dosage that’s right for you, start by taking one pill per meal. Then, increase your dose gradually, day by day (2 pills per meal, then 3 pills per meal, etc.) until the point where you start to feel a slight burning sensation in your gut. That is the sign you’ve reached your tolerance level. Once you’ve determined your tolerance level, drop back to the next level down and take that many going forward. (Or you can just do what I do: use your intuition and, depending on the size of your meal, take 1, 2 or 3.)

Geeky Note: Isn’t it weird to think that hydrochloric acid, one of only six strong acids on earth, is made INSIDE of our bodies? And that it can be contained in a pill, which you can safely put in your MOUTH?! Click here to see what HCL does to an apple...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Leaky Gut and SIBO: Are they BFFs or not?

A lot of people (like me) who end up with SIBO just started out with plain old IBS. Studies have found that anywhere from a meager 10% of IBS patients all the way up to a whopping 84% (hel-lo!) will test positive for intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Not all people with IBS get SIBO, therefore, but if you have SIBO, you pretty much are guaranteed to have IBS. SIBO and IBS go together like outlaws in love.

Lots of people with IBS also test positive for increased intestinal permeability—sometimes referred to as gut barrier dysfunction, and commonly known as "leaky gut syndrome."

A leaky gut situation results from chronic irritation, inflammation and immune activation in the GI tract. Alcohol abuse, aspirin and other drugs, toxins, trauma, synthetic food additives, food allergies and food intolerances (think gluten, casein, even potatoes) are some possible causes of leaky gut syndrome.

Anyway, the other day I was wondering if I have leaky gut. My thinking was that if both leaky gut and SIBO are common in people with IBS, leaky gut might be common in people with SIBO, too. Makes sense, right? But evidently, the association is not that straightforward.

A 2009 study titled The Relationship between Small-Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Intestinal Permeability in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Park JH, et al. Gut Liver. 2009 Sep;3(3):174-9) looked into this very question.

Researchers compared the digestive tracts of 38 people with IBS and 12 healthy controls without IBS. All subjects were tested for both SIBO and leaky gut, and the results were surprising.

Yes, incidence of leaky gut was higher in subjects with IBS, as expected. However, in those people with IBS, the presence of leaky gut was NOT correlated with the occurrence of SIBO.

The researchers stated, "no significant difference in intestinal permeability was observed among the patients with IBS-D, IBS-C and IBS-A". [Note: A=Alternating Diarrhea and Constipation, but sometimes called M for Mixed.] In other words, leaky gut was equally common in IBS of all types.

Not so with SIBO. The researchers had expected SIBO and leaky gut to go together like cheese and crackers, but contrary to expectations, no significant difference in leaky gut occurrence was observed between those IBS patients with SIBO, and those without.

Take home message: If you have SIBO, 
you may or may not have leaky gut syndrome, too.


If you want to find out if you actually have leaky gut, you can take a test such as the famous Lactulose/Mannitol urine test—in use since the mid-1970s and available from places such as Genova Diagnostics. The test is pretty basic. You drink a pre-measured amount of two sugars, lactulose and mannitol, in solution, and then pee in a cup at 30-minute intervals over a 6 hour period. Typically, only mannitol, the molecularly smaller of the two sugars, is rapidly absorbed by villi in a healthy, intact small intestine, after which it is excreted in urine. The chunky disaccharide lactulose molecule is too large for normal villous absorption, and therefore should not show up in the urine, unless it managed to "leak" through the intestinal lining due to swelling, inflammation and weak gut barrier function. So depending on how much lactulose appears in the urine, leaky gut is there or not.

A nice cup of bone broth, with herbs.
If you DO have a leaky intestine, your next step is deciding how to address it.

It goes without saying that numero uno is maintaining your diet upgrade and continuing to avoid all the fermentable sugars and starches that feed SIBO bugs.

In addition, I suggest you consume bone broth made with marrow bones or meaty bones (not cartilaginous joint bones) and either drink a cup daily, or use the broth regularly in your cooking.

Leaky gut or not, bone broth is deeply nourishing for the intestinal lining.

Next, consider supplements. Interestingly, some of the so-called "top supplements" for treating leaky gut syndrome are verboten, or at least highly questionable on a SIBO-friendly diet. FIBER supplements? No, thanks! PROBIOTICS? A big question mark for SIBO peeps. (We already have too many bacteria in our guts—much of which may be the right bacteria, but in the wrong place—so adding in more doesn't necessarily make a whole lot of sense.)

But there are a few SIBO-friendly supplements that I really do like for treating leaky gut syndrome. Two favorites are L-Glutamine powder and Hydrolyzed Collagen powder—supplements that can be stirred into water and taken daily to help heal your inflamed intestinal lining. I also recommend taking digestive support with meals, both to help promote proper food digestion and breakdown, and to help minimize the chances of large undigested food particles traveling too far down the digestive tract where they can interact with and irritate your gut lining.

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that directly enhances gut barrier function and protects the endothelial cells lining your small and large intestines. Glutamine has been shown to help support the rapid turnover, healthy reproduction and maintenance of these cells. Glutamine also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut lining, to help further promote healing.

Collagen is a short chain protein, or peptide, that occurs naturally throughout the body as a building block of connective tissue. Collagen peptides are present in hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, cartilage and the endothelial cells lining both vascular and intestinal tissues. Collagen contains high levels of the amino acids proline and glycine which, along with L-glutamine, are critical players in repairing a damaged intestinal lining.

Digestive Enzymes supplement the function of your pancreas, an organ designed to secrete digestive enzymes every time we eat. Pancreatic enzymes are required to help us break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates. However, pancreatic function decreases with stress and age, and many of us just don't produce a sufficient quantity to do the job. Taking supplemental pancreatic enzymes or plant-based digestive enzymes can make a HUGE difference in how well you digest your meals.

Betaine HCl is a form of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Hydrochloric acid is naturally produced in the stomach to initiate protein digestion and to kill pathogenic microbes every time you eat, but again, production decreases as we age, or may be impaired by medications such as proton pump inhibitors prescribed for reflux. Many people with IBS and SIBO have hypochlorhydria, a fancy term for low stomach acid production. Taking extra helps.

I have not been tested for leaky gut syndrome and don't know if I have it, but I am currently taking a few supplements to help support digestion and promote intestinal comfort. Since readers often ask what I personally am eating or taking to treat my SIBO, I'm sharing this short list with you in friendliness, not as a prescription. (For a prescription, please email me to set up an appointment!)

Pancreatin Select is a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme that contains pancreatic digestive enzymes along with extra lipase, ox bile, digestive bitters and betaine HCl. It's fantastic. I take one or two per meal. And I'll take an additional capsule or two of straight up Betaine HCl if I'm eating a large protein meal. These two supplements are fantastic for increasing digestive power and vitality.

I also just started taking a Hydrolyzed Collagen supplement which, surprisingly, tastes awesome—kind of like whey protein. I'm hoping it will help fortify my gut lining, but other researched benefits include stronger bones, stronger joints and improved skin tone and texture, so we'll see how that goes!

Finally, I've been enjoying a drink of GI Select at least a few times a week. This product combines L-glutamine with other gut healing ingredients, comes in a powder you mix with water and tastes like lemonade. I find it to have a very soothing effect on my gut while being refreshing and hydrating. (Drinking enough water is always an issue for me, so anything that makes water taste better gets two thumbs up from Sexy Sibo.)


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

SIBO Green Juice ~ The Cat's Meow

Back in the day, I was a big juicer. Detox and juicing were, in fact, a major part of my whole nutrition program, which you can read all about on my old blog, Eat to Evolve!

Then came SIBO. Since my diagnosis a year and a half ago, I pretty much left raw foods and juicing behind. But not all juice is verboten on Sexy SIBO. Today, I'm plunging back into Juice Land with a scrumptious, 100% green, SIBO-safe juice that is knocking my proverbial socks off. You may like it, too. (Apparently Clyde does, and he's a super cool cat.)


SIBO Green Juice

3 Lg peeled cucumbers
1 Lg head romaine lettuce
1 bunch cilantro
1 or 2 juicy limes

Run all ingredients through a juicer such as the Breville juice fountain. Makes one quart incredibly delicious, detoxifying green juice!

Drink your greens - I mean business!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Baby Spinach & Salmon Patties

This very simple dinner-for-one is quick to prepare and super delish! I'm having it tonight for the second time in a row, that's how good it is.

The recipe below makes one good sized patty. Double or triple amounts depending on number of mouths to feed. One tall can (14.75 oz) of canned wild pink salmon should make 3 good sized patties. If you're dining solo like me, keep unused portion of salmon in the fridge—ideally in a covered glass container to preserve flavor—and consume within 3-4 days.

Tonight, I served my Baby Spinach & Salmon Patty atop a simple shredded carrot salad, nestled alongside a sweet pile of fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes. The carrot salad was made with a peeled carrot, which I peeled further into shreds and then tossed in fresh lime juice with a dash of chipotle chili pepper plus a sprinkle of Herbamare seasoned salt for pizazz. Herbamare is one of my favorite salty condiments when it comes to dishes made with fish, eggs or avocado. (NOTE: SIBO peeps should always peel their carrots and other veggies, in order to reduce overall fiber content and avoid associated fermentation.)

Baby Spinach & Salmon Patties

1/2 cup drained, canned salmon
1/4 avocado, more or less (about 1 heaping Tablespoon, after mashing)
small handful of baby spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
generous pinch each: black pepper, dill weed, cumin powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to mash gently until well combined. You don't want to oversquish the salmon, but rather strive to retain an essence of fluffiness.

Once well combined, form salmon mixture into a patty using your own two CLEAN hands. and fry in healthy fat of choice (a little bacon grease, butter, ghee or coconut oil) on medium heat, preferably in a cast iron pan if you have one, but stainless steel will do.

Flip patty after 5 minutes or so and repeat, to heat through and brown both sides nicely. Voila! Dinner is served :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

SexySibo Safe Foods List - Updated

It's been 16 months since I posted my original "Safe Foods List" in one of my first posts on this blog. Well, today I have a new Safe Foods List to share with you. Because Things Change.

This is something you, too, will discover, as you modify your diet and advance, stall or heal on this journey. Don't consider it a setback if a food you used to be able to eat without any problem suddenly starts bothering you. Be prepared to adapt. Dealing with SIBO is an ongoing and transformational challenge. Your diet will always be a work in progress. Just keep paying attention! When you stay in sync with the body's changing needs, you can keep symptoms at bay, feel a million times better and beat the bloat, one day at a time, every day. Oh, Yeah.

2016 *NEW* SexySibo 
Safe Foods List

animal protein
-seafood (salmon, tuna, shrimp, cod, etc.)
-meat (beef, lamb, Paleo bacon, etc.)
-fowl (chicken, turkey, duck)
-bone broth & meat stock

cooked vegetables
-green beans
-winter squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn, etc.)

lactose-free dairy
-aged hard cheeses (best are those made with raw milk, and goat/sheep milk)
-full fat Greek yogurt (no added gums/pectins) or 24-hour yogurt (GAPS style) -1/2 cup serving
-heavy cream (no added gums/pectins)

safe treats & sweets
-dry wine
-distilled spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey)
-chubby checkers (see recipe on this blog!)
-non-fermenting sweeteners: monkfruit (Lakanto); erythritol (Zero); stevia
-lemon & lime juice


Second Tier Safe Foods - I avoid these if symptomatic, otherwise I do okay with them.

raw veggies (stick with cooked veg when symptoms are present!)
-lettuces of all types
-carrots & baby carrots
-green herbs (chives, dill, cilantro, etc.)
-ripe tomato
-red bell peppers

fruits (not for every day, but nice every now & then)
-avocado (up to 1/4 medium avo. per meal)
-blueberries, other berries - 1/4 cup

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Takra--an Ancient Ayurvedic Digestive Remedy

While discussing SIBO with a colleague who specializes in Ayurvedic medicine, I learned about an ancient digestive remedy known as "Takra" - loosely translated as "buttermilk". You make it by blending yogurt with with water until a foam forms on top, then remove the foam in stages until only liquid remains; then add spices specific to your dosha (Ayurvedic type) and health concerns. For IBS, a basic blend of black pepper, cumin, turmeric and Himalayan pink salt might be appropriate. Other recipes suggest coriander and ginger.

According to the website trueayurveda, "Takra or buttermilk, not to be confused with the buttermilk we buy already prepared by other methods in the store, is a liquid preparation prepared by continuously churning yogurt in water. This preparation is used in many diseases and is overall quite healthy for the human being. It is a great treatment for IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, oedema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many more."

I haven't tried Takra yet, but I'm intrigued. The first question is what yogurt would I use? "Fresh yogurt is best" means making my own, ideally. I did once make 24-hour yogurt with raw milk from the farm, but it was a lot of work. I think store-bought 24-hour yogurt, which is extremely low in lactose, could do, at least for starters. (I like the Bulgarian yogurt sold in glass jars from White Mountain Foods. According to their website, it contains just 5 g of lactose per cup.)

The big recommendation for this remedy is to make it fresh EVERY DAY, using a ratio of 1 cup of yogurt to 4 cups of water. The takra made with that is divided into thirds, to be consumed over the course of one day in three divided doses, each taken 20-30 minutes before a meal.

If you're interested in trying Takra, please let me know how it goes! I'll report back on my experience, too, but I didn't want to wait for that to share. Recipe instructions and further details may be found by following the link below:

Atmayaan Arogya Sangha: Takra: Butter milk -The healthy drink Butter milk is known as “Takra” in ayurveda. Its properties and medicinal qualities are described in as fo...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Jasmine Rice Muffins ~ Pumpkin Spice & Coconut

It's taken me a while to figure out how to make a SIBO-safe muffin. I really thought about it a lot! What flour could I use? Um, none. In terms of grain-based flours, wheat of course is out, spelt is out, brown rice flour is out, any "gluten-free flour" blend is still packed with starch, so it's out, too. Then you have your nut flours, the foundation of most Paleo baking. But nuts are still really high in fiber, not to mention dense. A little bit might be okay, but not a whole muffin full. Think lead belly. Not appealing.

That's when inspiration struck. Why not make my own flour from Jasmine rice, the ONE safe, non-fermenting grain in the world, which I know about from the work of Norm Robillard and his brilliant Fast Tract Diet. For some reason, Jasmine rice is so starchless and fiberless (and probably nutrient-less, lol) that it doesn't feed gut microbes at all, at least not when you eat it in the proper quantity which is one half of a cup of cooked Jasmine rice. This translates to 1/4 cup of raw Jasmine rice...and from there, these muffins were born.

Once my idea hatched, I spent several weeks dreaming up a Jasmine rice muffin recipe. There was sweetness, flavor and texture to consider. I went with raw Jasmine rice that I grind myself, rather than pre-cooked, another option. For sweetener, Golden Lakanto (a blend of monkfruit and erythritol—zero calorie, zero glycemic, zero fermentation potential) works perfectly. There's a little (but just a little) bit of coconut flour and shredded coconut in the blend, while mashed, cooked Kabocha squash adds depth and consistency. (You could also use butternut squash, or even pumpkin itself.) It's a miracle I hit it perfectly on the first try. But I did. Here they are!

Jasmine Rice Muffins with Pumpkin Spice & Coconut 

Makes 9 muffins


¾ cups raw, uncooked Jasmine rice
¼ cup coconut flour
4 Tbs shredded coconut (+ a little more for sprinkling on top)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 pinches Himalayan pink salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup Golden Lakanto sweetener
3 large pastured eggs
¾ cups mashed Kabocha squash
½ tsp natural vanilla extract
¼ cup melted butter, coconut oil or combination of the two

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 muffin tins with butter or coconut oil. Use a nut/seed grinder (or coffee grinder) to grind the raw Jasmine rice into coarse flour—it will feel like cornmeal between your fingers. Combine the Jasmine rice flour with remaining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place butter or oil in the warm oven to melt. Use a whisk to beat the eggs well in a separate bowl. Add mashed squash and beat again until there are no lumps. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Finally, beat in the melted butter/coconut oil, adding it slowly so the temperature doesn’t shock the eggs.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and begin adding the wet ingredients mix as you stir. Do your best not to overwork the batter. It will be very thick! When fully combined, divide batter between 9 muffin tins, filling each cup a little more than ¾ full. Press sides of batter down with your fingers to smooth and round the top. Sprinkle a bit of shredded coconut and add a tiny dot of butter on top of each.

Fill empty muffin cups half way with hot water. Put muffins in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or a little longer, up to 30 minutes depending. When tops start to brown and a sharp knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, they are done!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Breakfast Sausage Skillet with Rainbow Peppers & Jasmine Rice

My friend Sarah and I met for our weekly Mount Toby jaunt this morning at 7:30 and went for a 1.5 hour hike on empty stomachs with just a cup of tea between us. Normally I'm good with only glycogen for fuel—I like tapping into those stores—but for some reason, trudging up that hill today felt hard and long. By the time I got home I was super hungry. So I made a Breakfast Sausage Skillet.

When it comes to healthy, fast and easy, cast-iron skillet cooking can't be beat.

To make this dish, sautée some chopped rainbow peppers and a diced chicken sausage in cooking fat of choice. (I happened to have bacon grease on hand, but you could use butter or coconut oil, too.)

When the peppers are soft and the sausage is beginning to brown, add a half cup of cooked jasmine rice and some chopped tender leafy greens such as chard, spinach or arugula. Stir and cook until the greens start to wilt.

When the greens start to wilt, push everything to the sides of the pan to make a ring. Add a little more fat to the bare pan surface in the middle, and crack an egg right in the center.

Cook the egg 2-3 minutes, uncovered.

Then cover the pan and cook another couple minutes until your egg is done the way you enjoy it. If you like, you can sprinkle a little grated cheddar cheese all over the top before covering the pan, too.

Note: covering the pan "bastes" the egg so it comes out with a white coating on top. If you prefer the classic yellow, sunny side up egg look, skip this step.

(And how about that yolk, my friends? That is the color of a fresh, local, pastured egg yolk. The deep golden yellow color means it is rich in eye-healthy, antioxidant lutein. And that it tastes delicious.)

Once the egg is cooked to your liking, add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a plate or bowl and add a fresh green herb to garnish.

I used fresh chives from my spring garden, but parsley or dill would be nice, too.

 Bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jasmine Rice Custard

On Sunday night I stayed up late, watching and then decompressing from the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones which took forever to load on my device due to the massive number of fans all over the world tuning in at the same time. It was an action packed episode, meaning lots of viewer adrenaline was generated—not the best way to promote a calm, sleepy sensation when the credits roll and bedtime finally arrives, which I mention here on Sexy Sibo only because the entire experience led to me waking up somewhat ragged the next morning and craving a soft, warm, comforting breakfast.

Usually I don't eat breakfast at all, so clearly something was up, but I can't talk about it because *SPOILER ALERT*

(Haha I would never.)

Because I only just made up this recipe yesterday, it is a work in progress. The idea was to create a sweet and creamy rice custard, which meant eggs and cream would be involved. I figured I'd need a double boiler to prevent sticking and burning, but I don't own a double boiler, so I improvised by nesting my smallest pot inside my biggest pot. The small pot contains the rice mixture. The big pot contains 4 cups of water, which you bring to a boil on high heat, turn down and keep at a low boil during cooking. Both pots get covered to keep in the steam, and it's the steam heat that cooks the custard.

If you own an actual double boiler, by all means use that to make this recipe, but you don't officially need one as long as you have two pots that can nest completely inside each other with their lids on.

I was pretty happy with how my Jasmine Rice Custard came out. To sweeten it, I used 2 teaspoons of erythritol and, to be honest, it wasn't really sweet enough. I managed, but next time I might use 3. Ideally, I'd add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top but sadly, I still can't eat either of those without bloating, pretend as I may. Erythritol or Lakanto (erythritol plus monkfruit extract) are my safest bets. (Stevia would work, too, but yuck—I think it would ruin this. I only like stevia in cold things like lemon water and lime gimlets.) Cinnamon also adds some sweetness of its own, not to mention the luscious heavy cream you pour on top.

This recipe makes two servings. If you are just one person, that means you'll have to eat serving number two tomorrow. If that is the case, be sure to heat it up!! When rice cools down, the starch molecules transform into "resistant starch" and feed SIBO bugs. But when you heat the rice back up, the resistant starch magically turns back into normal starch and, because this is Jasmine rice, the only rice that doesn't ferment, you shouldn't react.

Enjoy this comforting dish for breakfast or dessert. ♥

Jasmine Rice Custard
Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup raw, uncooked Jasmine rice
1 cup water
1 pastured egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
2+ teaspoons erythritol or golden Lakanto
1 teaspoon butter, ghee or coconut oil
heavy cream to pour on top

With a whisk, beat the egg in water with vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt until frothy. Pour over rice in top of a double boiler or in a small pan that can fit inside a large pot with the lid on. Stir in erythritol or Lakanto and butter, ghee or coconut oil. (I used ghee—it's wonderful!—but any of these healthy fats will do.)

Bring water in the bottom pan to a boil, cover both pots and keep at a low boil for 20 minutes. Give the custard a stir at this point, and continue cooking another 10 to 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and custard is firm.

Transfer a half cup of the custard into your favorite breakfast bowl, pour heavy cream on top and dust with more cinnamon. If you can tolerate honey or maple syrup, drizzle on top.  Better yet, sprinkle with golden Lakanto—it's pricey but perfect for this use, as it looks and tastes like brown sugar.


SIBO ADVISORY: One half cup of cooked Jasmine rice is the safe serving size. More than that and you may be asking for trouble.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Microbial Politics

Reblogged from Evolution in a Toxic World by Emily Monosson.


20160401_101408Recent studies suggesting that we each have our own microbiome fingerprints  and studies of the microbiome’s potential to influence our behavior has prompted a group of scientists at OneF Pharma to investigate the utility of microbiome fingerprints for determining personality traits. “Imagine the potential,” says Jody Smith, a researcher for the company, “crime scenes, job personality tests, even – as we demonstrate – politics.”
Their most recent paper published in PLOS-BS, shows how the microbes detected in fingerprints collected by scientists from podiums following recent political debates can be used to identify specific politicians. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for example leaves behind prints filled with bacteria like Staphylococcus epidermidis a species that tend towards mutualism – or win-win for both bacterial host and human host; while Donald Trump’s microbiome are lighter on the mutualistic bacteria, dominated instead by species like Stahpylococcus aurelius, which can cause superinfections, spreading at the expense of the host’s microbiome.
“These are really just superficial tests,” cautions Smith, “because these are skin bacteria. Those that influence behavior are gut bacteria. But we are working on that too – collecting samples from cutlery and drinking cups used at the debates.”
[Correction: There is no evidence that Donald Trump’s microbiome is loaded with more offensive Staph compared with Bernie Sanders and vice-verse. Happy April Fools! ]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Introducing... Chubby Checkers ~ in delightful Pumpkin Spice! flavor :)

Okay, I admit it. I've been holding out on you. All the way back in October, I began working on a recipe for a sweet treat that is completely safe for SIBO and absolutely delicious! But I wanted to get the recipe as close to perfect as I could before I shared it with you.

I believe that day has come.

Anyone on a SIBO-specific diet knows one thing: there aren't a lot of legal treats involved. Back in my raw food days, a few Medjool dates with almond butter, some soft Turkish figs and raw cashews, or a row of organic dark chocolate after dinner were daily practice. Those days are gone, but not the desire for something sweet to delight the taste buds or finish a meal.

I call these delightful little treats Chubby Checkers. I suspect that they may be (*blushing*) my single greatest gift to the SIBO community. But of course that is for you to decide. 

Chubby Checkers are the Sexy Sibo version of a "fat bomb," essentially a carb-free, sugar-free candy containing mostly fat. Mine also contain some low-FODMAP protein powder for flavor and texture.

When it comes to low-FODMAP protein powder, there are just two choices: whey protein isolate or beef protein. (I know, gross. Just accept and move on.) Unfortunately pea protein, hemp protein, rice protein and other vegan protein powders contain FODMAPs, so we can't use them. It has to be beef protein or whey protein isolate. (Note: it's very important to use only whey protein ISOLATE, not whey protein concentrate, because only the isolate is lactose-free, and lactose is a FODMAP.)

The fat I use to make Chubby Checkers is raw, organic cacao butter—the best!

For protein powder, I've been using Pure Paleo from Designs for Health. Pure Paleo is created from something called Hydro-Beef and comes in Chocolate or Vanilla flavor. I've also used Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate from Bluebonnet, which is super high quality: cold processed, grass fed, the works. If you can't find Bluebonnet, it's fine to substitute with another whey protein isolate but read the label and, if the product is sweetened, make sure the sweeteners are strictly one of the following: stevia, erythritol or monkfruit (aka lo huan guo). No other natural sweetener is SIBO-safe.

If your protein powder is not sweetened, you can use one of the above sweeteners, or Lakanto. Crystallized sweeteners need to be ground up before adding to batter.

To create the "checker" shape you'll need a silicone mini-muffin mold, which you can buy online or someplace like Bed, Bath and Beyond for under ten bucks. If you don't have a silicone mini-muffin mold, you can still make this recipe using a shallow dish lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. When the candy hardens, just peel off the paper and cut or break the candy into pieces. I recommend you invest in a silicone mold, though. It makes a nice presentation and it's fun to use, especially when it's time to pop out the checkers!
So far, I've got THREE yummy flavors of Chubby Checkers ready to share with you. But I wouldn't want to overwhelm. So today, I shall present to you just the latest: Pumpkin Spice!

Next up will be two different chocolate versions. I'll post a link from here to that page when it's up. Stay tuned! And enjoy. xo

Chubby Checkers - Pumpkin Spice!

This recipe makes 12 checkers.

2 oz raw cacao butter
1/3 cup Vanilla Pure Paleo powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt (about one third of a quarter tsp measure)

Chop cacao butter into chunks if it isn't already broken up, and melt it in a Pyrex or ceramic dish, on VERY low heat, in your oven or toaster oven. My toaster oven has a low setting of 150 degrees F. At that setting, the cacao butter takes about 20 minutes to melt.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate dish. When cacao butter is melted, remove from oven and let it cool down a bit. Then, stir in the dry powdered ingredients using a whisk or fork. When batter is smooth and fully mixed, use a spoon to distribute it evenly between the 12 cups of a silicone mini-muffin mold. Transfer mold to fridge and allow candy to harden—this takes about an hour, tops.

Pop Chubby Checkers out of the mold (super fun part!) and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Recommended serving size: 2 checkers.
Pumpkin Spice! Chubby Checkers

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich Hack

One of the easiest SIBO restaurant hacks is what I call a deconstructed sandwich. In other words, please hold the bread. 

Usually we think of sandwiches for lunch, but the breakfast sandwich is a great bargain and often comes with a nice mix of cheese and veggies, too. 

This one featured fried egg, mushrooms, cheddar and arugula. Yum!

Potatoes on the side are not for SIBO beginners. I've been at this a while and can now handle a spud here and there. If you're just starting out, pass on the home fries, pay an extra buck and ask for greens instead. 

I got this deconstructed breakfast sandwich at a sweet little cafe called Bread and Butter in North Amherst, Mass. It was pretty delicious!

Note: I asked for an extra egg because I was extra hungry. Pricewise, you pay more for two eggs but breakfast sandwiches always cost less than Benedicts, omelettes or scrambles, so it evens out. :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Hot Toddy - a classic winter warmer

Drinking cold beverages when it's cold outside is counterintuitive at best. Enter the hot toddy. I learned how to make this delicious, warming drink last December and all I can say is: What took me so long?

A hot toddy is basically warm, sweet lemon water plus whiskey. Whiskey is one of the SIBO-safe alcoholic beverages, along with most plain spirits and dry wine. (We need to avoid the higher carb drinks like sweet rum, brandy and beer.)

I like Jamieson's whiskey in this drink; it's mild, smooth and flavorful without being overpowering. I use erythritol to sweeten (in place of the traditional honey or sugar) to guarantee 100% SIBO safety.

To make 1 Hot Toddy you need:

1/2 fresh lemon 
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon erythritol sweetener (Zero)
1 jigger of whiskey (1.5 oz)
about 1 cup boiling water

Directions: Put water on to boil. Cut a nice, round slice of lemon off the end of the lemon half and stud it with three cloves. Juice remaining lemon into a teacup. Add the studded lemon slice, along with the teaspoon of erythritol. 

When water boils, pour half of it over lemon juice/clove blend until tea cup is about half full, and allow to steep for a minute or so. Add the whiskey, then top off with more hot boiled water to fill cup. Stir and sip!

For a nice variation, make your toddy with hot ginger tea instead of plain hot water. If you're in a fancy mood, a cinnamon stick makes a nice garnish (and stirrer) too. Very yummy all ways.