11 Products to Try When You Have IBS

Ughhh…being bloated, distended or constipated (pardon my French) sucks!  You may be sitting somewhere right now (at work, in your car, about to get on a plane, at dinner, at an event), feeling like you can’t get out of the way from your bloated self (and you wore your slightly tight jeans/pants today with a button that’s pressing into your abdomen *facepalm*)!

Aches and pains concept. Woman having bad ache and pain. Female placing hands on stomach.

The distention and pain is annoying and fills you with anxiety.  It’s hard to put on a happy face when you feel so sick and sluggish.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be visible (bloating, distention) or invisible (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, depression, hopelessness).   I wish there was more awareness around IBS so people like you and me could just have friends, family and co-workers that understand. Maybe someday we can all help to grow awareness to a point where IBS is more understood and accepted as something REAL and not interpreted as something in our heads….for now, let’s focus on you.

While the low-FODMAP diet is a great dietary approach to help relieve symptoms of IBS, sometimes we need a little more than diet to help.

When you’re having stressful IBS moments, there might be other things you can do. I’ve listed some recommendations below for products you can try.

Please note that everything I’ve listed below is purely for educational purposes and it is best to discuss most of them (like supplements) with your physician.

*Remember, at the present time there is no cure for IBS, and no magical pill to take care of your symptoms, but there is hope through alternative means.

*Typically when someone is following the low-FODMAP diet, a FODMAP-trained nutritionist will suggest not taking any supplements so as to receive a more accurate indication of possible triggers of IBS.  If before or after you have tried the low-FODMAP diet and want to try the products below, all supplements listed appear to be low in FODMAPs due to the ingredients used (no lactose, wheat, or FODMAPs such as fructooligosaccharides).

Psyllium Husk: 

Several products are available to help with constipation and diarrhea but many are made with FODMAPs or ingredients you may not necessarily need.  When in doubt, use products that have the least amount of ingredients and go natural!  I personally use psyllium husk to help with constipation and it can also be used to help with diarrhea.  It can also help with hemorrhoids and IBD.  Dr. Kevin Curran, founder of EthnoHerbalist goes into more detail about the benefits of psyllium husk.  Please read his article here.  Dr. Curran holds a PhD in molecular biology and currently serves as a professor at the University of San Diego, teaching courses on Cell Biology and Ethnobotany.

  • Organic India Whole Husk Psyllium, 12-Ounce – I like this brand and I add it to smoothies, lactose-free yogurt, gluten-free and low-FODMAP cereal.
    • Learn more from the University of Maryland Medical Center about other uses, precautions and possible interactions.

Peppermint Enteric-Coated Capsules:

Another natural option to help with symptoms of IBS, I have found peppermint enteric-coated capsules to be helpful when I feel bloated like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon!  On their own, peppermint enteric-coated capsules don’t completely relieve me, but they do help.  They may work for you – just remember, we are all different and every gut is different in the way it responds or reacts to supplements, food, stress, the environment and therapy.

Peppermint has been shown to be a calcium channel blocker of muscle.  What that means is peppermint has the ability to block calcium shifts within muscle cells, enabling muscles to relax.

As reported in the New York Times Well Blog: “In a report financed by the American College of Gastroenterology and published in the journal BMJ in 2008, scientists conducted an analysis of previous studies comparing peppermint oil with placebo in about 400 patients. Ultimately, they found that only 26 percent of patients treated with peppermint oil — typically administered twice daily in capsule form, for a period of one to three months — continued to show symptoms of I.B.S. after treatment, compared with 65 percent of those who were given placebo. The scientists concluded that the evidence was compelling enough that more studies should be conducted, and that in the interim, ‘current national guidelines for the management of the condition should be updated to include these data.'”

Tea:

Any organic Peppermint tea may help to ease your gut but another tea I really like is Smooth Move Tea by Traditional Medicinals.  This tea  has not been tested for FODMAPs, however, it may help when you have constipation.  When needed, I drink this tea before bedtime and then drink a glass of tepid water in the morning and usually find relief not too long after – which means that if you have this tea make sure you’re not planning on running out of the house early the next morning or partaking in vigorous exercise – you WILL need a bathroom close by :).  I also like to take this tea with me when I travel because traveling often sets off constipation.  You can see the ingredients here.

Digestive Enzymes:

When taken right before a meal, digestive enzymes may help to break down difficult-to-digest proteins, starches and fats into compounds that make nutrients easier to digest, and they can also decrease the number of colonized microorganisms in the stomach.  Digestive enzymes help the stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and small intestine to not have to work as hard. Digestive enzyme production declines with age so people 35 years and older may benefit more from taking them. Your doctor may also suggest hydrochloric acid supplements.  Other health issues that may respond well to digestive enzymes are: Crohn’s disease, liver disease, hypochlorhydria, deficiencies in iron, vitamins B12, D and A.

Pancreatic Enzymes:

Pancreatic enzymes may bring on some mild relief when taken with meals.  They can help digest and break down foods, keeping food particles from wandering too far and deep into the gastrointestinal tract and so the bacteria is essentially starved.  Speak with your physician before use.

Water Bottle:

That’s right.  A water bottle.  Something very simple yet so effective!  I bet most people reading this post do not drink enough water.  I carry a large water bottle around with me all day to stay hydrated.  When empty, I fill it right back up and continue drinking. Sometimes I add ice and lemon juice.

Chicken Broth:

When my gut is all bent out of shape I reach for chicken broth.  It’s warm and soothing, easily digestible, low in calories and fat and rich in a few minerals.  I either make my own chicken broth at home (there’s a recipe in my book The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook) or I use this brand which is low in FODMAPs based on the ingredients used:

Pedometers:

If constipation strikes do you ask yourself: “Have I moved enough today?”  Often times we become constipated because we haven’t exercised or moved enough.  A simple 15-30 minute walk might do wonders for you.  In order to track my activity for the day and to encourage more steps and movement, I use the FitBit Zip Wireless pedometer.  I also make sure I’m drinking enough water and eating low-FODMAP sources of fiber.

Heating Pads:

Ahhh I love heating pads!  If you try a heating pad, it can act as a muscle relaxant to relieve any painful spasms and cramping you feel in your abdomen.

When sitting back with a heating pad, if you have the opportunity, close your eyes and use that time to meditate.  Your mind and the rest of your body may also relax, leaving you feeling much better than anticipated.  If meditating solo is not your thing (or you have difficulty silencing your mind as many of us do), connect headphones to your phone and use a self-guided meditation app or check out some free meditations online.  

Perhaps one of the best things you can do when you have IBS is to meditate
Perhaps one of the best things you can do when you have IBS is to meditate

Self-Guided Meditation Apps and Online Meditation:

 

Low-FODMAP Cookbook:E Low FODMAP Diet CB.indd

Looking for ways to eat with peace of mind and cook or bake delicious foods using low-FODMAP ingredients? My book  The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook features over 300 low-FODMAP and gluten-Free recipes, plus diet tips, menu plans and more!  Buy here on Amazon.  Learn more about the book here.

 

Sources:
Pimentel M.D., Mark (2008-01-01). A New IBS Solution: Bacteria-The Missing Link in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (p. 97). Health Point Press. Kindle Edition.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Looking for help on the low-FODMAP diet?  Ask me about my nutritional coaching services by contacting me here.

Be good to yourself and your gut!BEC_6825

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

 

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Recipe Preview from The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook!

Low-FODMAP Raspberry Lemon Chia Seed Jam
Low-FODMAP Raspberry Lemon Chia Seed.  Photo by Kelly Jaggers from The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook by Colleen Francioli, CNC, copyright © 2016 by F+W Media, Inc.

May is Going to Be Awesome

I am looking forward to May for a couple reasons.  For one, we will be celebrating my son’s first birthday (I am planning a Ferrari theme and think I’ll have more fun that most of the kids).  It will also be my first Mother’s Day as a Mom and May is also my birthday month as well.  And lastly it is the month of my book launch.  I wrote over 300 low-FODMAP and gluten-free recipes, plus menu plans, tips and advice (like reading labels, how to eat out, hidden FODMAPs and wellness tips to name a few) and more.  It was a very rewarding process, and I also learned new tricks – like how to type out ingredients with one finger while breastfeeding my baby!  Yes, that happened, many times.  I wrote the book in under two months, while my husband and I cared for my son at just five months of age.

I Wrote the Recipes for You

My fans have taught me a lot over the years with FODMAP Life, commenting on my blog and social media channels.  One topic that always comes up is recipes.  You want them to be delicious, flavorful, you want some of the classics and most of the time, you want them to be easy or quick to make (and I am busy too, so I understand!).  You will find plenty of recipes like those in the book, but I also included some recipes that require a bit more TLC and finesse.  My fans are from all over the world, so in the book you will also see dishes that are culturally inspired.  I also took very traditional recipes and made them low-FODMAP – the types of recipes only your oenophile or epicurean friends would respect!

More Than Just a Cookbook

The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook also includes a chapter dedicated to the basics of the diet, as well as advice and tips like how to read labels to find low- or high-FODMAPs, how to eat out on the diet, how to plan meals, and how to work in stress relief for a calm body and mind. Menu plans, low- and high-FODMAP food lists and diet resources can also be found in the appendices.

Mmmm What’s Delicious in the Book?

Some of the recipes featured are: Cranberry Almond Granola, Strawberry Coconut Almond Smoothie, Quinoa, Corn, and Zucchini Fritters, Coconut Curry Lemongrass Soup, Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary, Blueberry-Glazed Chicken, Citrus Flank Steak, Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Salsa, Mexican Risotto and Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes. Included in the book are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes, condiments, sauces and dressings, cookies, bars, desserts, drinks as well as a chapter “from scratch” featuring recipes for low-FODMAP bread, pizza dough and more. Chapters for vegetarian, vegan as well as main dishes and snacks for children also included.

How to Purchase

The Everything® Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook is available from these booksellers:

Publisher: F+W Media. Publish Date: May 6, 2016

Thanks for supporting FODMAP Life with your purchase of the book!

Good to Know

Many condiments sold today are made with high-FODMAP ingredients, however, my book includes recipes for several different condiments, sauces and dressings that you can make very easily at home and use right away or store for later use.  Enjoy the recipe below:

 

Raspberry Lemon Chia Seed Jam (Low-FODMAP, GF, Vegan)

This jam is delicious on a warm gluten-free scone, on gluten-free toast with butter, or mixed into a tub of lactose-free yogurt.

Ingredients

Makes 1 cup

  • 1/2 pint (or 6 ounces) fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions

  1. Add fruit, lemon juice, lemon zest, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Cover. Stir occasionally until fruit begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  2. Uncover and bring mixture to a boil until it develops a sauce-like consistency, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in chia seeds and cook 2 more minutes. Stir again and then remove from heat.
  4. Transfer jam to an airtight jar or other container and allow to cool, or refrigerate 2–3 hours before use. The jam will continue to thicken. Can be stored in refrigerator 2 weeks or frozen up to 2 months.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Looking for help on the low-FODMAP diet?  Ask me about my nutritional coaching services by contacting me here.

Be good to yourself and your gut!BEC_6825

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

Introducing: The First U.S. Low FODMAP Food Distributer

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Read how a young and determined student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California is working on a way to help low-FODMAP dieters in the U.S. to have more access to low-FODMAP foods and products – yes we may be closer than you think!

The first ever U.S. Low FODMAP Food Distribution organization is almost here

“The Low FODMAP diet changed my life after being diagnosed with SIBO, lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption, and IBS-C at age 19, for the best and for the worst.  While my symptoms have improved, I am frustrated and bored with the limited food options that I now have to choose from.  My eating habits revolve around reading labels, researching snack options, cooking meals, and stressing about whether or not I am going to get sick from the food I just ate.  Worst of all, I am hesitant to go on vacations and trips with friends and family because I fear that I won’t have anything to eat while away from my kitchen.  More importantly, however, I know that I am not alone in these difficulties.  This is my inspiration for starting , a food distributor for safe, certified, low FODMAP foods from around the world.  Can you imagine walking into a grocery store and finding a low FODMAP section with tons of snack options?  Just spot the FODMAP friendly stamp and put it in your cart! This sounds like a fantasy to me, but it is time to make it a reality.

“My goal is to eliminate the stress of people with IBS and other chronic digestive issues…”

“By importing low FODMAP foods from around the world, U.S. Low FODMAP Food Distribution will provide a one-stop online market for FODMAPers to nourish themselves, stress and symptom free.  It is time for us to experience the convenience of purchasing low FODMAP labeled foods in order to follow this great diet without daily hardships.   My goal is to eliminate the stress of people with IBS and other chronic digestive issues through convenient, diverse, and Low FODMAP food options imported into the U.S. and to promote the Low FODMAP certification programs to more U.S. food brands.

“Eventually, I believe retailers will realize the impact that this diet can have on millions of people’s lives, and we will begin to live that low FODMAP fantasy that I can only dream of right now.

Please come and support Randi as she grows her new venture, US Low FODMAP Food Distribution, by liking her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/uslowFODMAP .

 

IMG_8522Randi Stecki has been struggling with digestive problems since the day she was born.  After 19 years of constant stomach aches, she was finally diagnosed with lactose intolerance, SIBO, fructose malabsorption, and IBS-C.  While she was relieved that she finally had a diagnosis, her life changed dramatically as she had to change her eating habits to follow the low FODMAP diet.  Now, Randi spends a lot of time learning how to eat properly, reading low FODMAP blogs, and discovering new ways to help people, like herself, feel better with less hassle.  She recently started U.S. Low FODMAP Food Distribution to eliminate the stress of people with chronic digestive issues through convenient, diverse, and Low FODMAP food options imported into the U.S.A.

Randi studies entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California where she is continuously learning new ways to grow her business.  As a dancer, her strong sense of artistry and creativity help her develop new and innovative ways of reaching her goals.  She utilizes these skills through work with a non-profit organization Dizzy Feet Foundation and a local start-up, Revita Ink.  While Randi loves cooking, fitness, music, dance, and having lunch (low FODMAP of course!) with friends, she finds ultimate happiness and joy through helping others and is so excited to see how her new business can enhance the quality of people’s lives.

 

 

Don’t forget to follow FODMAP Life on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Looking for help on the low-FODMAP diet?  Ask me about my nutritional coaching services by contacting me here.

Be good to yourself and your gut!BEC_6825

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

 

Low-FODMAP Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

I have always loved Valentine’s Day.  Relationship or not, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to go a little further and show someone how much you love them.  Maybe you really love your BFF because she/he has been so good to you – why not surprise them with a bottle of champagne?  Or what about your immediate family – has anyone gone out of their way for you?  Simply sending a card or a virtual card to say “thank you” and “I love you” goes a long way.  Life is truly unpredictable, and sometimes the people we love most appreciate just a little show of affection!  So show someone you care right now.  In fact, you could show someone you care in five minutes with this delicious low-FODMAP mug cake 🙂

Low-FODMAP Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

 

low fodmap mug cake2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill
1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder like Nutivas Naturals
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 egg white, large

1 tablespoon smooth natural peanut butter (or allergen-friendly SunButter)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons almond milk, unsweetened

Directions

  1. Bring coconut oil to room temperature or melt just slightly first in microwave
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix
  4. Spray a mug with oil and transfer batter into mug
  5. Microwaves very but most will bake the mug cake at 1 minute on high

And if you want to be on the healthier side, here is my:

Healthy Chocolate Mug Cake

 

2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon turbinado or muscovado sugar

1 egg white, large
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons almond milk, unsweetened

Same directions as above!

Options:

  • Add 1 tablespoon low-FODMAP protein powder like Jay Robb’s Unflavored Egg Protein Powder
  • Use maple syrup instead of coconut palm sugar
  • Add unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Add 1 tablespoon crushed low-FODMAP nuts like walnuts or macadamia nuts
  • Make it vegan by using a flax egg instead of an egg

Enjoy and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Be good to yourself and your gut!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

colleen frnacioli

You’ve Got IBS. Should You Try Bone Broth?

low fodmap bone brothAnytime I hear of some “new” diet or a food trend touting magical powers I am always a bit skeptical (like most people!).  When I first learned about the low-FODMAP diet I was also on the fence until I kept digging, and digging and digging to find that the diet actually did work, was backed by science and it wasn’t a fad.  Which brings me to bone broth.  How long will the bone broth trend stay around?  Is it so 2015?  Will it not turn into a fad and become something greater….and…will it help when my IBS gets out of control?  If you are wondering the same, keep reading as I have done a little bit of research for you and also included a low-FODMAP bone broth recipe for you to try.

Bone broth isn’t new and it certainly isn’t fancy or hard to make.  You might have heard about bone broth or stock in circles of those following the paleo diet but it really can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys meat.  The nutritional value of bone broth varies depending on the amount or types of bones used, the amount or types of vegetables and also how long the broth is cooked.  As food trends go, I like this one because it’s influenced more people to cook at home and with natural ingredients.  I’ve also heard some people are ditching coffee for bone broth because of the way it makes them feel once they start the day. If you are on the low-FODMAP diet and find that coffee irritates your gut (check my grocery list to see which types of coffee or tea are low in FODMAPs), bone broth could be another satisfying drink for you.

What are people saying about bone broth?  Many say this centuries-old concoction containing collagen, amino acids and minerals has powerful healing properties, so powerful that bone broth can help soothe an angry gut, alleviate join pain, boost immunity, as well as brighten your complexion and give your hair some shine.  As for our guts, its possible that the gelatin in bone broth from the cartilage of different animals can help with leaky gut, gut flora imbalances (dysbiosis), chronic diarrhea, constipation, and some food intolerances.  Again this is all possible, but little scientific evidence exists to prove bone broth is a magical, healing wonder-drink.  One thing is for sure, the ingredients in bone broth are nutritious all on their own and when you have IBS, it’s wise to consider eating as many natural and un-processed foods as possible.  When we eat processed foods our guts and our bodies don’t know what to do with man-made food additives like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup, a high-FODMAP), artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, trans fats and MSG to name just a couple.

I’ve been given two books to review that cover the basics of bone broth, how to live healthier and a plan to follow using bone broth to help detox the body as well as heal the gut.  They are both great books but do not include 100% low-FODMAP foods or low-FODMAP bone broth recipes.  I am not going to include them here on FODMAPLife.com but you can read my reviews on them herelow fodmap bone broth1

So beyond all the things people are claiming bone broth is capable of doing for our health, there’s one thing that is for certain – I’m hearing several people say they feel good after drinking it.  That lead me to create a low-FODMAP bone broth recipe to try at home and guess what.  I really enjoyed it.  I liked the taste and I also felt it calmed my insides during a recent bout with IBS.  I had been slightly distended for a couple days but after drinking the broth, I felt less tension in my abdomen and by evening my stomach was back to it’s normal size.  Yes it’s possible something else could have tamed my insides or it might have just been the fact that I took a moment out to calmly sip the warm broth.  Either way, I have more bone broth leftover and I will be drinking it again soon.

low fodmap bone broth2

Consider trying this recipe to have bone broth on hand for when your gut needs a little boost.  You just need a couple ingredients, an oven and a slow cooker.  If you’re not sure about bone broth, I have found chicken soup to be very helpful when my gut is not doing so hot, and a few studies back up chicken soup’s medicinal value, possibly from the combination of nutrient-dense chicken and vegetables.  You can always make your own low-FODMAP chicken broth, stock or soup at home.  If you try making any other bone broth recipes make sure not to include high-FODMAPs  that are most commonly found in the ingredients like onions, mushrooms, garlic, cider vinegar and honey.

low fodmap bone broth3

Low-FODMAP Bone Broth

Makes 5 cups (40 ounces) or more, depending on how much water you use

  • 1 pound beef bones – preferably from 100% grass fed, pasture raised cattle that are hormone and antibiotic free.  I only used brisket bones but you can use one type of bone or a mixture.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk celery*
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place bones on a baking sheet and coat all sides with olive oil.  Place in oven and roast for 1 hour, turning once.
  3. Meanwhile, cut off ends of celery and cut into chunks.  Cut off ends of carrot, peel and cut into chunks.
  4. Remove bones from oven and place in a slow cooker.  Add in carrot, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, turmeric (anti-inflammatory spice), vinegar, carrot and celery.  Stir to combine.  Cover with enough water to cover all ingredients and cook for 8-10 hours.
  5. Remove cover from slow cooker and skim off fat.  Place a strainer over a large bowl and pour bone broth through strainer, throwing away vegetables and bones.  You may also keep meat from bones to make a soup or add to stir fry.
  6. Place broth in canning jars and store in refrigerator for 4-5 days or pour into 1-cup muffin trays and place in freezer until frozen.  Then pop out and place into bags and record date cooked; freeze for up to 2 months.

*A low-FODMAP per person serving for celery is a 1/4 medium stalk.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter! Follow/like/comment on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Be good to yourself and your gut!

Colleen Francioli

Certified Nutritionist Consultant
Founder FODMAP Life & BonCalme

colleen frnacioli

 

Low-FODMAP, Nut-Free Cranberry Bars!

I like doing things on my own especially if in the long run it will save me money, make me healthier and help me avoid a headache.  That’s where the term “Make-Ahead” comes into play with the low-FODMAP diet!  “Convenience bars” can be bought at the store, but you’ll find that by standing there for minutes on end, reading the tiny little print on the wrappers, that many of them are not low in FODMAPs.  Plus some cost way too much money (if you think about how many you may have in one week, it adds up!).

So making food ahead of time is probably one of the best things you can do to have a successful run with the low-FODMAP diet, and it also means less stress (which is good for your gut).  The recipe I am sharing today is very easy to make and it’s also good for anyone with a nut allergy or for kids needing nut-free snacks for school.

Bring these bars to school, to work, out shopping, traveling, to have before a workout, or to an event – sometimes you never really know if an event/party/get-together will have low-FODMAP food options.

Enjoy!

low fodmap nut free cranberry bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats* (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats)
  • 1/2 cup rice krispie or organic rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 cup ground and milled flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, preferably without added sugar

Optional:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper
  3. Use the large bowl of your mixer to combine all of the dry ingredients and then a smaller bowl to combine the wet ingredients
  4. Combine the wet ingredients into the mixer and mix well
  5. Take the mixture and slowly use a spatula to spread it out evenly in the pan.
  6. Use a separate piece of parchment paper over top of the mixture and get a heavy book or other heavy flat object to press down evenly and firmly. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 16-18 minutes (don’t throw the top layer of parchment paper away).
  7. Once done, use the parchment paper and heavy object to squish down on the bars again.
  8. Place the pan on top of a cookie sheet and find a spot in the refrigerator to let the pan cool for about 15-20 minutes.  This will allow you to easily cut the bars into any length and width you like and it will give the bars a slightly more chewy texture.  Leaving the pan to cool outside instead of the refrigerator is not recommended.

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Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Vitamin D and Other Vitamins and Minerals

Great Vitamins for your guts!
Great Vitamins for your guts!

Did you know if you have IBS or IBD that you may be deficient in Vitamin D?  Vitamin D is a game-changer, or at least it was for me.  As soon as I started taking Vitamin D3, I started feeling better and had more energy!  There are a few steps you need to take in order to feel better when you have a digestive disorder, and Vitamin D is one very important step.

As we experience changes or abnormalities in our digestive patterns, our bodies cannot fully absorb dietary vitamin D.  Vitamin D strengthens our immune system and boosts immunity.  It also helps with depression.  Are you still listening dear FODMAP Life friend? 🙂

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: “Vitamin D supplementation could play a therapeutic role in the control of IBS...Vitamin D supplementation should be considered as a part of the therapeutic protocol in patients with IBS.”  If you aren’t taking Vitamin D, please keep reading!

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D serves several purposes which can help with IBS symptoms, here are just a few with regard to IBS and digestion:

  • Enhances the immune system and stimulates the development of white blood cells (remember 70%+ of our immune system lies in our gut!)
  • Helps reduce inflammation in the body
  • Increases calcium absorption

What are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?

If you don’t have enough Vitamin D and you suffer from IBD, you risk intestinal damage. The digestive tract of people with Crohn’s disease as well as Celiac disease cannot adequately absorb vitamin D.  If you have IBS and do not take Vitamin D, symptoms would not be as severe as the type of intestinal damage from Crohn’s or Celiac, but it could mean ongoing discomfort, pain, and some of the other symptoms you unfortunately know too well.

How to Test

Consider having your blood levels checked for any deficiencies in Vitamin D or other vitamins and nutrients (this goes for children as well).  You can ask your doctor for blood tests or order them online. These tests can help determine which vitamins a person lacks and those of which they are receiving enough naturally.  Vitamin and nutrition blood tests can also detect gluten, mineral, iron, calcium and other deficiencies.  Also, taking supplements without having blood levels checked isn’t recommended as one never knows exactly how much of a vitamin they are getting from food, and also in this case from the sun (see below).

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

If you have IBS and are trying out the low-FODMAP diet, try to have your blood levels checked and consider using Vitamin D3 instead of synthetic vitamin D2.  You will want to reach steady levels, so make time to see your doctor every three months to ensure you do.  An optimal range is 40-55 ng/ml.  Also depending on where you live and how much sun you receive, your doctor may ask you to take less in the summer and more in the winter.  If you live in Juneau, AK with the least amount of sun in the U.S. or in Iceland, you’ll need a good dose of Vitamin D year-round!

Your doctor may have you take up to 50,000 IUs per week to start.  Here is a more holistic approach to taking Vitamin D:

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 15 mcg (600 IU) per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease):60-80 mcg (2,400 IU – 3,200 IU), depending on your weekly dose of sunshine; use lower does plus 1/2 hour sunshine, 4 times/week. Over age 50: 100-150 mcg (4,000-6,000 IU per day, again depending on your weekly dose of sunshine)
  • Therapy for specific problems: 125 mg -200 mcg (5,000 – 8,000 IU) per day.  At this level of supplementation, blood levels should be tested and not exceed 80 ng/ml.

Getting Some Sun

Our skin makes Vitamin D after exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays (so cool, right?).  In order to synthesize Vitamin D in the skin, sun exposure is suggested for at least a ½ hour before sunscreen is applied (unless a doctor has suggested otherwise).

A blurb image of a yellow catfish with its mouth wide open awaiting food. The catfish is surrounded by ripples on the water.

Natural, Low-FODMAP Sources of Vitamin D

  • Catfish – Super food source
  • Salmon (canned or pink, coho, sockeye cooked by dry heat) – great food sources
  • Flounder/sole (cooked by dry heat) – good food source
  • Herring (fresh), sardines (canned in oil), eggs (yolks or whole) – support food sources
  • Regular milk – as long as you do not malabsorb lactose you can have milk during the elimination and challenge phase of the low-FODMAP diet.

Warnings

Vitamin D levels exceeding 100 ng/mL can be dangerous because the extra vitamin D triggers extra calcium absorption.  Symptoms include muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones. It may also increase risk for heart attack and stroke. That’s why it’s super important you don’t take too much Vitamin D.

Other Vitamins and Minerals

Having enough magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C are also vital to a healthy gut. Here the low-FODMAP foods that are natural sources to consider adding to your low-FODMAP regimen:

Magnesium – Green leafy vegetables like (spinach and Swiss chard), nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds). Avocados. Low-FODMAP foods:

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 420 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 750 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 1,000 mg per day

*If you increase your calcium without increasing magnesium, your body might not absorb enough magnesium.  It’s recommended to take magnesium at a different time than calcium.  If you have kidney disease you would need to be careful about not getting an excess of magnesium.

Zinc – Has been cited as helping those with leaky gut and Crohn’s disease and “that zinc supplementation can resolve permeability alterations in patients with Crohn’s disease in remission. Improving intestinal barrier function may contribute to reduce the risk of relapse in Crohn’s disease.  A deficiency in zinc can lead to diarrhea, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity.  Low-FODMAP foods: Oysters, Crab (Alaska King, Dungeness, Blue), braised/ground/top sirloin beef.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 11 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 24 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: 50-80 mg per day

*Calcium will interfere with zinc absorption if there’s an excess amount in diet/supplements.  High levels of iron supplementation can also interfere.  Loss of zinc can occur from heavy sweating, surgery, alcohol use and stress.

Calcium – If you know you do not malabsorb lactose, fat-free organic Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium.  Calcium will interfere with the absorption of zinc if there is excess in food or supplemental intake. 1,000-1,200 mg per day (chelated) is suggested before bedtime and between meals as there will be more acid in the stomach. Taking Vitamin A, C and D and magnesium are important in order to maximize calcium absorption.  Low-FODMAP foods: mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 800-1,000 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 1,000-1,200 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 1,400 mg per day

*In order to maximize absorption of calcium, an adequate amount of Vitamin D, A & C are needed, as well as magnesium.  Chelated calcium (calcium citrate) also helps.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A works as an antioxidant and also increases the production of cells which increase resistance to infection in your immune system, helping to keep your system functioning normally.  It’s needed for growth within the intestinal tract and for the absorption of calcium.  Too much Vitamin A can also be toxic so take no more than 5,000 international units (IU) per day.  Low-FODMAP foods: carrots, sweet potatoes (up to 1/2 cup), squash, dark green and leafy low-FODMAP veggies as well as egg yolks.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): DRI of 900 RAE per day (RAE value -retinol activity equivalent)
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 30,000 IU from carotenoids
  • Therapy for specific problems: 50,000 IU for chronic problems and 100,000 IU for 2 weeks for an acute issue 

*Alcohol use, a vitamin E deficiency, cortisone medications and a high iron intake can all decrease absorption of vitamin A.  Also when the body is ill or stressed to the max, it won’t store as much vitamin A.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful immune booster and increases whit blood cell activity in the immune system.  It can also cause gas, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.  It is a natural laxative so do not take more than what your doctor recommends (or generally more than 2,000 mg).  Take between breakfast and lunch on an empty stomach.  Take in the form of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate.  Low-FODMAP foods: red and yellow bell peppers, raw chopped kale, raw kiwis, raw strawberries cut in halves, raw chopped broccoli, raw navel oranges, berries, fresh raw pineapple, tomatoes.

  • Minimum (to prevent deficiency): 200 mg per day
  • Preventative (to prevent chronic disease): 600 mg per day
  • Therapy for specific problems: up to 5,000 mg per day  

*Since Vitamin C moves fast throughout the body, consider taking it every four hours to maximize absorption.  Aging, alcohol, allergies, antibiotics, aspirin, birth control pills, cortisone, diabetes, environmental toxins, fever, estrogen, illness, smoking and stress can all decrease absorption or increase the need for Vitamin C.

Sources:

US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8., Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease. Sturniolo GC1, Di Leo V, Ferronato A, D’Odorico A, D’Incà R.

Are You Taking Too Much Calcium, A or D? 

The Power of Nutrient Dense Food Patti Weller, C.C.N.

The information presented on this blog post is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Should you have any health care-related questions, call or see your physician or other health care provider promptly. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.