Friday, November 18, 2016

Low FODMAP Bone Marrow Broth

Hi Friends! Happy start to the HOLIDAYS! 

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. How did that happen??? Since I last wrote a blog post, my husband came back from Alaska (yay!) and I launched a new website along with Angela Pfifer, called GutRx Gurus!! And most recently...I was in Kauai for some much needed relaxation and rejuvenation....NOW I AM BACK!

The launch of GutRx Gurus has been really exciting, although also nerve racking. With a few bumps along the way, Angela and I were able to launch in late September. Collectively we are Angela, Selva, and Rebecca, each with our own unique expertise in functional gut disorders. Angela, a Seattle based certified nutritionist, has worked with many SIBO patients over the last few years and has specialized in this functional gut disorder. Rebecca on the other hand was a SIBO patient herself in Australia and has created many delicious SIBO friendly recipes and cookbooks. And myself, as local Bellingham private practice and clinical dietitian, am also seeing IBS/SIBO patients guiding them through the low FODMAP diet and offering individual nutrition therapy. So between the three of us, we have  a lot of information, a lot of tasty low FODMAP approved recipes, cooking videos, an easy to use recipe manager and personalized shopping lists, as well as a forum for members. In addition, every month a Guest Guru (other dietitians/nutritionists, NDs/MDs, and low FODMAP bloggers) provide their tasty recipes along with some new information. So come check us out!!

So what is IBS and what is SIBO?

IBS or otherwise known as irritable bowel syndrome, can be characterized by chronic diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of both. This may also include gas, bloating, intolerance to certain foods, etc. 

SIBO, or otherwise known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is often associated with IBS patients. SIBO occurs when the bacteria from the large intestine migrate up to the small intestine, causing severe GI distress including painful gas and bloating. Many things such as slow transit time (the time it takes until elimination), decreased stomach acid (due to stress, proton pump inhibitors, and old age), chronic use of antibiotics, gastric surgery, and reduced function of the ileocecal valve may contribute to the onset of SIBO. 

Although an antibiotic or herbal antibiotic protocol is required to treat SIBO, the low FODMAP diet can provide symptom relief for many SIBO and IBS patients. 

What is FODMAP?

FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) are a large group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and are rapidly fermented by gut bacteria as fuel. When all things are good, this fermentation happens in the colon, which is designed to expand and handle the gas that is produced. These sugars are GOOD when the bacteria are in the right place. However, when the bacteria have migrated up to the small intestine, which is not designed to stretch and hold large amounts of gas like the colon, we get painful gas build up and bloating. 

What is each FODMAP category specifically?

Oligo-saccharides are prebiotics. You may have heard that prebiotics help fuel good gut bacteria. And this is true! However, in the case of FODMAP sensitive individuals, it feeds the gut bacteria in the wrong place and causes severe GI distress. The two categories of oligo-saccharides are fructans (ie: garlic and onions) and galactans (beans and legumes), which often cause distress in individuals sensitive to FODMAPS.

Lactose is the sugar in the disaccharide category, which many people may already eliminate based on their intolerance to lactose. Therefore, drinking lactose free beverages, or low lactose foods such as homemade yogurt or ghee, can be well tolerated. 

Fructose is the sugar in the monosaccharide category, which includes high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, mango, honey, apples, pears, etc. Interestingly, glucose aids in the absorption of fructose. Therefore, foods that contain a balanced ratio of glucose to fructose are better tolerated. 

Polyols are known as sugar alcohols, which are often hidden in sugar free products. Sorbitol and xylitol are two examples. However, it is also found naturally in some fruits, such as blackberries, lychees, peaches, and more.

By following a LOW FODMAP diet you remove the carbohydrates and fibers that feed the bacteria in the small intestine. However, this is only meant to be a short term diet. Usually I recommend patients remove all FODMAP foods for 1 month, and then begin to challenge each individual category using a specific food item in a specific amount. Reintroduction may take some time, but this will allow for increased variety in the diet.  A LOW FODMAP diet is not ideal to follow for the long term. However, some individuals may need to follow a modified FODMAP diet based on the foods that they are sensitive to for a longer period of time or indefinitely.  See the Monash University Low FODMAP app for a detailed list of foods high and low in FODMAPS. 

So to keep this short and sweet….that's it for today…..I will most likely write more about gut health, SIBO, IBS, and FODMAPS in the future. 

Below you will find a LOW FODMAP bone broth rich in easy to digest proteins and minerals. Drink 1 cup a day for gut health. For a regular bone broth, see this recipe post! Plus, as the holidays are now creeping in on us...a hearty bone broth can come in handy in many more ways than just for gut health. Use this flavorful base in your favorite fall soups, stews, braise meats or veggies in broth for enhanced flavor, for flavorful sauces and gravies, and or drink as is!

Easy Low FODMAP Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth
Makes ~4 quarts

2lbs beef marrow bones (grass fed)
2 carrots, cut into quarters
1 medium parsnip, cut into quarters (optional)
1/2 small celeriac root, cut in half
½ bunch flat leafed parsley
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove
5 whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bones on a baking sheet and roast for 30-45 min, turning every 20-30 minutes until browned. 

Add the roasted beef bones to the slow-cooker. Pierce the bay leaf to celeriac root with the clove. Add all the veggies and remaining spice to the bones. Fill up with enough fresh filtered water to cover the bones. Program slow-cooker to cook on low for 10 hours. Remove the veggies after 10 hours and discard. Fill with more filtered water to cover bones and continue to cook on low for an additional 10+ hours if a stronger more medicinal bone broth is desired. I recommend a 24-30 hour total simmer time.

When the broth is ready pour the remaining liquid into large glass jars and cool to keep it from souring. Once cooled, you may remove as much of the fat layer as desired. The remaining broth can be thinned with water if necessary. This broth keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze in ice cube trays for later use. Season with sea salt and/or fresh herbs if used as a hot beverage. 

Note: Alternatively, you can keep the bones in the slow cooker and continue to replace the broth that is used with some fresh water. Keep simmering on low. You may repeat this for up to 5-7 days or until the broth lacks flavor. Then discard. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vegan Protein Powders - A Review

vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based
Finally I have taken the time to try a variety of vegan protein powders and review them individually. I had previously tried Vega Protein Smoothie in the past…and I did not like it. I didn't even finish the small sized bag that I had purchased. So therefore, you will not find a review for that product here.

To help narrow down my choices further, I chose protein powders that had identical protein content per serving and similar calories. Plus, I picked an original or natural flavor from each line to keep the flavor profile consistent. Personally, I do not like “flavored” protein powders because then I cannot taste the wonderful fruits and greens I place into my smoothie….and everything ends up tasting the same. And to top it off, they all had to be organic and gluten-free. Furthermore, these are protein powders that you can easily buy at your local co-op or Whole Foods. 

To keep the study consistent, I blended each protein powder with the exact same, very simple smoothie combo: 1 cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup unsweetened soymilk, ½ cup water, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom, and a pinch of Eden's sea salt. These are staples often found in a typical smoothie recipe (except maybe the cardamom). Then for the last 3 days I made a smoothie for breakfast, using a different protein powder each time, and documented my results. FYI: this is not a sponsored post. This is simply my honest opinion.

vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based
vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based, review
vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based, review

I reviewed the products for the following:

Often protein powders can be expensive, especially those made of high quality ingredients. Highlighting the price per serving can easily change one’s opinion on what protein powder to purchase.

Protein powders can often have a very overpowering flavor. Whether they have too much stevia, too much added flavors, or they simply taste like your eating dirt. So I looked for the following characteristics: is it sweet, earthy, chalky, bland, flavorful, etc? Too earthy or too unpalatable?

When it comes to protein powders, nothing destroys a smoothie more than a gritty, grainy texture. And often plant based protein powders are very texture is very IMPORTANT in the big picture.

Total calorie, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber content. Most plant based protein powders are lower in protein compared to a whey alternative. Therefore, I chose those that contained 20g of protein per serving. Plus plant based protein powders often contain added fiber which in addition to the protein, helps keep you full and satisfied for longer.

Special Benefits: 
Now a days, there are so many additional ingredients in protein powders. Digestive enzymes? Probiotics? Greens? Veg or Fruit? Sprouted? Herbals? Superfoods?

How soon did I get hungry after drinking this smoothie? Of course this can vary depending on your activity level prior to and after the smoothie.

vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based, reviewvegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based, review

Price / serv
Special Benefits
Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens  (vanilla)
Very sweet flavor compared to the other three. Sweetened with stevia only.
A bit of a gritty texture
100kcal/20g protein/3g carbs/3g fiber
Uses sprouted grains/beans for protein blend. Also incorporates 6 types of veggies, as well as digestive enzymes and 1.5 billion probiotics.
Felt hungry 1 hour after drinking this smoothie.
Amazing Grass Protein Superfood (original)
Lightly sweet but not overpowering, more earthy in flavor.
Smooth texture.
110kcal/20g protein/4 g carbs/3 g fiber.
High green/veggie content, as well as some fruits. The color of the powder is naturally green indicating high plant matter.
Very satisfying and satiating. Didn’t get hungry until 4 hours later.
SunWarrior Warrior Blend (natural)
Chalky, dirt flavor. Quite bland. Needs 2-3 drops stevia (or additional sweet fruit) for palatability.
Gritty in texture.
100kcal/20g protein/2g carbs/1g fiber
Just plant based proteins, no additional greens, or veggies. Contains goji berries and coconut.
Felt satiated for 3-4 hours.

vegan, protein powders, greens, quality, nutritionist, dietitian, plant based, review

The Verdict:

My ultimate favorite was the Amazing Grass Protein Superfood. It tasted delicious, not too sweet and not too earthy, when mixed with just the simple ingredients above. Plus it contains 7 different dried greens, 9 different fruits and veg, for a total of 2 full servings of fruits and veg alone with just the protein powder. Blend it with your favorite fruits, veggies, and other smoothie fix in's (flaxseeds, yogurt, nut butters, coconut milk, fresh herbs, etc) to turn this smoothie into a nutrient dense rockstar. In addition, my hunger was curbed the longest with this product. Therefore, if you are in a crunch this is a great morning meal replacement. CON:  Very expensive in comparison to the other protein powders.

How can you perhaps replicate this at a cheaper price? Purchase the Amazing Grass Green SuperFood and add a scoop to another cheaper plant based protein powder.

Runner Up: I preferred the Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens over the SunWarrior Warrior Blend, due to its high quality extras including 6 additional veggies, use of sprouted grains and beans, and additional digestive enzymes and probiotics. However, it was very sweet in flavor (too much stevia) and it didn't keep me satisfied for the long run. So, between these last two, it is a wash. If I were to purchase the Raw Protein & Greens, I would add more satiating ingredients to my smoothie (coconut milk, peanut butter, etc). If I were to purchase SunWarrior Warrior Blend, I would add some greens (maybe the Greens SuperFood or a handful mixed greens) and additional 2-3 drops stevia to increase palatability.

I haven’t tried all the vegan protein powders out there. Do you have a favorite that you would like to share??

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Southwest Chipotle Chick'n Salad

vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy

We are nearing the end of August already. I just cannot believe how quickly time flies by….especially if your having fun. I have been working on multiple projects and finding a few special days here and there to get out and play in the summer sun. Most recently, I went on a beautiful overnight backpacking trip with some truly amazing ladies. There really is nothing better for mental rejuvenation than spending time in the wilderness with friends. No phones. No computers. Simply just epic beauty, intimate conversations, and this overwhelming sense of peace. If you have not tried it…you must. You may never want to come back to the real world again.

Now, because I have been so busy, my blog has taken a wee break. And I am sorry. However, today I am back with a FLAVOR EXPLOSION that everyone can enjoy. It is vegan and gluten-free. This recipe was inspired by a wonderful trip to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. A cute 100% vegan restaurant became a staple during my stay. The food was amazing and the local wine superb. I couldn’t have asked for anything more satisfying than Mike’s Wine Bar. Truly a nice surprise. So my friends, please enjoy this uber delicious, screaming of summer, Southwest Chipotle Chick’n Salad. I promise it will not disappoint.

Although, I do eat animal protein, I also enjoy vegan protein options. Usually, I stick with sprouted extra firm tofu or tempeh, and of course other beans and legumes. But this time, I wanted to try something new and exciting. I have never been one to like meat alternatives, especially because they are often made of vital wheat gluten. However, recently I came across Gardein Scallopini Chick’n Filets, which are gluten free and very tasty. So, for this recipe, I decided to use this product. Feel free to swap this vegan choice with real chicken breast, or simply enjoy the salad without. You can even top this dish with seasoned fried tempeh or an extra serving of beans for more plant protein. Either way, you cannot go wrong.

vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy
vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy
vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy
vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy
vegan, gluten-free, salad, summer, chipotle, easy, zesty, southwest, corn, black beans, healthy

So I hope you fill up and fuel up with this Southwest Chick’n Chipotle Salad. With 25g of plant protein, and 17g of fiber, this meal will keep you fueled and satisfied until dinner.

Creamy Chipotle Dressing
Serves 4 (2 tablespoons each)

1/3 cup Vegenaise (original)
1 lime, juiced (~2.5 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, grated using microplaner
¾ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon Eden’s sea salt


Mix all the above ingredients together using a whisk. Store in jar and refrigerate.

Southwest Chipotle Chick'n Salad
Serves 1

1/3 cup canned sweet corn, rinsed and drained (or better yet, freshly grilled corn)
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons Creamy Chipotle Dressing
1 Gardein Scallopini Chick’n Filet
1 corn tortilla, thinly sliced**
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls mixed greens (I used a Spicy Greens mix from the Farmers Market)
A few slices avocado


In a medium bowl mix together the first 6 salad ingredients. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the Gardein Chick’n filet per package instructions and slice into strips. If you want to use regular chicken you can do that as well. You will need to season it with some spices (cumin, paprika, garlic powder), salt, and pepper and cook until done.

**Optional Step: In a small separate pan, heat a little bit of olive oil over medium heat until sizzling. Toss in the sliced corn tortilla strips. Fry until crispy and lightly browned. Season with sea salt and optional lime zest if desired.

Finally, stir in the 2 handfuls of mixed greens with the other salad ingredients. Top with sliced Chick’n, avocado, and crispy tortilla strips. Enjoy immediately.

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