Saturday, March 29, 2014

No-cook chocolate chip bars

Homemade chocolate chips (SIBO-friendly in small quantities)
 My unwanted sidekick is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). It's probably been hanging around getting stronger and stronger for a really long time, kind of like a superhero's nemesis. Now, it's my turn to turn the tides on SIBO. More info on SIBO here:
No-cook chocolate chip bars
 Generally, with SIBO, you try to avoid foods that are difficult to digest because they have high fermentation potential (FP). But every now and then, you have to feed your former self. You know the one who likes sweets. An occasional "treat" with self-control can prevent binges and giving SIBO more super power over you.
Here's what you need for the no-cook chocolate chip bars:

3 T. raw almond butter
2 T. melted coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract (no alcohol)
2 droppers full of vanilla liquid stevia (no alcohol kind)
1-2 T. homemade chocolate chips

Here's what you need for the homemade chocolate chips:

2 T. melted coconut oil
1 T. cocoa powder (I use one low in fiber, less than 1 gram)
1 T. sunbutter (unsweetened
2 droppers full of vanilla liquid stevia

Here's what you do:

Prepare the homemade chocolate chips. Soften the coconut oil and sunbutter. Add the other ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a small loaf pan, about 4 X 7. Allow the chocolate to firm up. Remove from the pan and break into small pieces. Store in a container in the freezer.

For the no-cook chocolate chip bars, combine the raw almond butter with coconut oil and other ingredients. Pour the mixture into a 4 X 7 loaf pan, allow to firm up. Remove from the fridge or freezer. Leave out for a few minutes to soften the cookie mixture up. Then, press in a desired amount of your homemade chocolate chips.

Cut your bars into desired sizes. If you have SIBO, make the bars tiny, tiny, tiny. Freeze the extras and eat occasionally.

 There's nothing like two friendly, hyper dogs to take your mind off of the evil nemesis, SIBO. Check out the video of Misha and Nika, our two fur kids, doing one of their favorite things, urban mushing.Urban Mushing Now and Zen

Recipe contributed to:

What you may not know about IBS?

Meditation can help with IBS. Make sure you have no fur-kid distractions.
I thought I knew a lot about IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). But what I recently found out (after 10+ years of suffering) has been the most important. Up to 80 percent of the 50 million IBS sufferers in the U.S. may have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

If you have IBS, join me in my journey with my unwanted sidekick, SIBO. There won't be as much variety in food as carbs are limited but we can share what to try, eat and whatever else seems to be helping.

Here's what is commonly known about IBS:

  • I knew IBS caused me stomach pain, severe cramps, bloating, burping, gas, frequent constipation, loose stools, diarrhea and a sense of incomplete evacuation.
  • I knew that symptoms often arrived unexpectedly and trigger foods were unpredictable.
  • I knew it was called a "functional" disorder because they can't find anything physically wrong inside the stomach or intestines.
  • I knew IBS was a diagnosis of "exclusion" because they can't figure out what's causing your symptoms.
  • I knew there were a whole bunch of theories about what causes it including gut motility problems (got it), immune system reactions, atypical brain-gut interactions, overgrowth of candida but no definite connection (got it), food allergies or intolerances (got it).
  • I knew doctors diagnosed IBS based on common symptoms because there is no widely accepted test.
Here's some other stuff I knew that didn't really do me much good:
  •  Diet recommendations were all over the map and not grounded with science; some helped; some made it worse.
  • Eliminating foods based on food intolerances from antibody testing had little bearing on improving symptoms. In fact, studies show poor results (about 10 percent have improvement).
  • Other diets I've tried (low carb, Paleo, FODMAP, SCD) had slightly more success but not enough to declare "eureka!"
  • Drugs have limited effectiveness and numerous side effects (some potentially dangerous).
Here's what has been most important and offers new hope (in the long run, not the short term):
  •  The real cause of IBS symptoms may be gut bacteria or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
  • 78 percent of patients with IBS had SIBO, according to a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
What is SIBO?
  • SIBO is an abnormally high number of bacteria in the upper part of the small intestine.
  • These bacteria become harmful and produce toxins, enzymes, intestinal gas, disrupt digestion, cause discomfort and damage the small intestine.
  • The symptoms of SIBO are the same as IBS: diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, acid reflux (burping), flatulence, nausea, fatigue.
  • In severe cases, individuals develop leaky gut and autoimmune disease.

Get your sleep while dealing with SIBO

What causes SIBO?
  • Stomach motility issues (slow digestion)
  • antibiotic use
  • reduced stomach acid
  • immune deficiency
  • trouble absorbing carbohydrates such as lactose, fructose
Get plenty of Vitamin D

How do you diagnose SIBO?
  • Most patients with IBS show SIBO through a positive lactulose breath test; in controlled studies, 83 percent had SIBO. (Finding someone to do this testing may prove difficult.)
  • Stool testing also can show overgrowth but you cannot be certain where the harmful bacteria is hanging out, although certain types of bacteria may be indicative.
  • Symptoms and patient history also may be used to diagnose.
How do you deal with SIBO? This is the hard part!!!!
  • Antibiotics have had limited success. In my case, no success.
  • Diet is the only other option. I am using the low fermentation diet plan. This means I limit carbohydrates that have a high fermentation potential (FP). Problematic carbohydrates are lower glycemic, higher fiber, contain certain sugars, and for various other reasons, are hard to digest. These types of food stick around too long and cause fermentation.
What's the prognosis?
  • I have been on the low FP diet for about three months. It was extremely rough going at the start. Now, things are getting easier but I still have some rough days.
  • I cannot paint a perfect picture of this. However, the other diets I have tried did me more harm than good. They tended to be too high in carbs, especially those low glycemic and high fiber, and difficult to digest.
What's next?
Consider looking at SIBO if you have tried everything else, reached the end of your rope or just want to see if this is the answer. More ideas and what to eat can be found in Fast Tract Digestion IBS: a Science-based Diet to Treat and Prevent IBS and SIBO by Norman Robillard, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Celebrate spring blueberry, lemon, chocolate bars

Spring blueberry, lemon, chocolate bars
Can you believe spring is finally here? I think Mother Nature forgot to give my neck of the woods the memo. I decided to celebrate spring anyhow with a delicious treat that kind of stretches my current "fermentation potential" diet.

I suffer from IBS-like symptoms, caused by overgrowth of candida and bacteria in my gut. Monitoring the "fermentation potential" (FP) of the foods you eat helps hold bacterial growth in check and over time causes a realignment of good-bad bacteria.

Avocado, chocolate, blueberries and almond butter are among the chief ingredients in my spring celebration bars. All of these foods are considered to be among some of the healthiest on the planet but pose problems for those of us with impaired guts because of their FP.

I don't want to give up on these wonderful foods so I decided to splurge but will nibble, rather than chow down, on these bars. The recipe yields about 10 small bars, each with the FP of 3. My goal is to stay within 20-30 total FP per day.

Here is what you need:

Bottom layer:

3 T. raw almond butter
1 T. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract (no alcohol)
stevia or other sweetener, to taste

Middle layer:

1/2 small avocado
1/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1 T. coconut oil
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract (no alcohol)
stevia or other sweetener, to taste

Ganache or top layer:

1/4 cup cacao powder
1 T. coconut oil
dash of sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. almond butter
stevia or other sweetener, to taste

Here is what you do:

Soften bottom layer ingredients in a small bowl. Spread on the bottom of a small loaf pan, lined with parchment paper. Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up while you are preparing the middle layer.

For the middle layer, blend the ingredients in your food processor. Spread evenly on the bottom layer and return to fridge or freezer. Note: Allow the middle layer longer to firm up.

Finally, prepare the top layer. Soften the coconut oil and almond butter in the microwave. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Spread over the blueberry layer. Allow to firm up before cutting into 10 small bars.

Have your little spring celebration and store the extra bars in the fridge or freezer.

Misha, the husky, cuddles his little fox buddy.
Happy spring!!!

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Peppermint oreo ice cream sandwiches

Do you find yourself not getting enough relaxation? Misha, our husky, has a certain flare for relaxation, as you can see in this photo. 
Author Misha reading a copy of his book.

 He has put all his secrets to relaxation in Misha’s Ultimate Relaxation Guide, an e-book.
He will send you a free copy if you like Leave a comment telling me you would like a copy, where to send it via e-mail and your guide to relaxation will be on its way.

Misha's book is guaranteed to give you a laugh or two, and these peppermint oreo ice cream sandwiches will take care of your St. Patty's Day sweet tooth.

I am still following the "fermentation potential" (FP) diet, post Paleo Auto-Immune Protocol. I have to calculate the FP of everything I eat which means I will be eating this sparingly. But that is a good thing because you learn to savor each bite. FP is a measure of how easily or how hard a food is to digest. 

Knowing the FP of foods is especially important for those of us with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). Keeping one's daily total FP low helps control symptoms, commonly labeled IBS.

Here's what you need for 3 small ice cream sandwiches: (FP per cookie: 3)

For the cookies:

3 T. unsweetened almond butter
3 T. cocoa powder
2 tsp. softened coconut oil
liquid vanilla stevia (no alcohol)-1/2 dropper full
dash cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract (no alcohol)

For the filling:

1/2 small avocado
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. mint extract (no alcohol)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Here's what you do:

Mix softened almond butter and coconut oil with all other cookie ingredients. Use a regular teaspoon to measure out each cookie and place on a piece of wax paper. Place the cookies in the freezer to firm up.

In the meantime, make the filling. Blend the filling ingredients in a food processor until creamy. 

To assemble, place a teaspoon full of peppermint avocado filling between two cookies. Put the assembled cookies back in the freezer to firm up. That's it! Now settle back and enjoy a no-fuss cookie.

Recipe contributed to:

Want some other ideas for St. Patty's Day:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grab a peppermint avocado pattie and get relaxed with Misha's book

Do I look like an author? If you've been following Mom's blog, you probably know me as Misha, one of Sheree's fur kids. Well, I just penned my first book. I call it Misha's Ultimate Relaxation Guide.

I guess you could say I have a certain flare for relaxing. I've put all my secrets to relaxation in one book. I should charge a few dog treats for my book but I'm giving it away for free because I know you humans could use some help relaxing.

To get my e-book, all you have to do is sign up to follow Mom's blog and leave a comment that you signed up or already are a follower and want my book. Do this by Monday (3/17) to get my book hot off the presses!

I admit I am an attention hog so next, share this blog post with all your friends. Finally, make sure I have your e-mail address where you want my book sent. Also, extra comments telling me how cute I am would be appreciated.

Peppermint Avocado Patties
Once you get my book, snuggle up with it and one of Mom's Peppermint Avocado Patties. The recipe makes 12 small patties with a total fermentation potential (FP) of 11. Mom is really monitoring her carbs for FP or how easily the carbs are absorbed or not absorbed. The recipe uses avocadoes, which have a higher FP of about 6 per 2.8 grams.

I offered to eat all the avocadoes for her but she said, "No way, husky boy." Can you believe she'd treat an author that way?

Here's what you need for the avocado patties:

1 small avocado, about 3.3 g.
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
liquid stevia, 1-2 droppers full, depending on your taste
2-3 tsp. mint extract, alcohol-free
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Here's what you need for the chocolate coating:

1/4 cup cacao powder
liquid stevia, to taste
1-2 T. melted coconut oil
dash of sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. sunbutter, unsweetened
optional: 1/2-1 tsp. additional mint extract

Here's what you do:

Mix all the pattie ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Use a teaspoon to measure the amount for each pattie. Drop onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Shape into patties. Place the patties in the freezer to firm them up before covering them with chocolate.

Next, mix up your chocolate coating. Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in the other ingredients until smooth.

Once your patties are firm, coat them with the chocolate. Use the immersion technique to coat the patties. Or spoon on the chocolate to one side. Allow to firm. Then flip and repeat on the other side.

No matter which technique you use, it's all good.

Don't forget. Get my book by Monday (3/17) and start relaxing like me!

Recipe contributed to:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lemon cheesecake in a mug, paleo

"I know you were napping, Bailey, but I'm a hyper malamute who wants to play."
Eating foods to avoid fermentation in your gut can be challenging but rewarding, especially if you have been battling mysterious IBS symptoms for years. That's my story. I have been a mystery to doctors for years.

Now, after a decade+, I know I have SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) as well as the tendency toward candida overgrowth. Oh, joy, no wonder no one wanted to tell me. SIBO is no easy problem to deal with but I am getting relief by following a low fermentation potential (FP) diet.

My eating habits have changed a bit but I am able to eat a wider variety of foods, as long as I monitor how much of each food I eat. 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).

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.

Lemon cheesecake in a mug, paleo

I wasn't eating any dairy (lactose-free only), eggs (organic yolks only), grains (Jasmine rice only), nuts/seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds), chocolate or drinking coffee/green tea while on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol but now I am.

I make my own lactose-free yogurt from organic milk but recently I discovered a great product, called Lifeway Farmers' Cheese It's made with milk from grass-fed cows that is free of rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormones) and antibiotics.I used it to make this luscious, lemony Lemon Cheesecake in a Mug.

Here's what you need:
2 T. of Lifeway Farmers' Cheese (lactose-free) or 2 T. plain yogurt (lactose-free) or both
1 T. gelatin (Great Lakes brand) Note: use less of this if you are using a whole egg.
1 egg yolk (or whole egg, if tolerated)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
liquid stevia, alcohol-free, to taste (I use about half a dropper full)
dash of salt

Here's what you do:

Blend ingredients in a food processor for a smooth texture. Skip this step if you don't care if it's smooth and mix in a mug. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave one more time for 30 seconds. Yes, it smells delicious but you have to put this baby in the fridge and chill until firm.
 Recipe contributed to:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cauliflower fried rice, paleo

"We love playing but we also love relaxing."
The old diet trick of filling up on veggies does not apply to everyone. Some of us are sensitive to all kinds of carbs, and veggies are carbs too. That's what I am finding out with the "fermentation diet" where you decide what to eat based on the food's fermentation potential (FP) or likelihood of being readily absorbed versus malabsorbed.

Foods that are not easily absorbed create the potential for bacterial (SIBO) or candida overgrowth. The diet described in the book, The Fast Tract Digestion: IBS, by Norman Robillard, lists the FP of all kinds of food. Veggies are actually among some on the lower end of the FP scale. Here is an example of low to moderate: lettuce greens (FP 2) and cucumbers (FP 2) to beets (FP 5) and collard greens (FP 6).

However, the amount per serving is quite restrictive, especially for the higher FP veggies. For instance, you get about 1-2 slices of beet compared to two cups of lettuce greens. So you can see, filling up on veggies creates issues for some of us. Legumes, grains are too high to even consider.

But the diet actually works provided you weigh your servings with a scale, don't fudge and keep your total FP for the day low (20-30). I am saying this as one who is dealing with small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) My symptoms all but disappeared when I kept my total FP around 20. When I went too high on the FP, some of my symptoms reappeared.

Cauliflower fried rice
Yes, this is my new FP-sized serving of cauliflower fried rice. Previously, it would have filled a plate as opposed to a bowl. Of course, if you are not following the FP diet, you can eat more!

Here's what you need (Total FP: 10-1 serving):

3 slices of cucumber
1/2 small zucchini
1 small stalk celery
3 baby carrots
2 small stalks of bok choy
cooked chicken
3 cauliflower florets (about 3/4 cup)
olive oil for stir-frying
1-2 tsp. coconut aminos or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Here's what you do:

Process the cauliflower into rice by pulsing it in your food processor. Dice all other veggies. Cook your chicken in a little olive oil or other cooking fat. Set aside. Add a little more oil and stir fry the veggies until cooked. Add the chicken back in. Heat with desired amount of coconut aminos or tamari, depending on your preference. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Recipe contributed to: