July 06, 2015

Paleo Cherry Recipe Wrap-Up (Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free)

Vacation. That might be my new favourite word. At least right now. You want to know why? Because that's where I am right now. On vacation. It. Is. Glorious.
After months of hearing me talk of nothing on the blog other than my internal medicine exams I am finally able to focus on other things. Passing those exams was a huge relief. I was pretty sick of talking about them, and I am sure you were very sick of hearing about them!

So what am I doing with my vacation? Lots! Reading (lots of reading), playing tennis, bike riding, cooking, visiting the local Farmer's Markets, running, laying by the pool and soaking up as much natural vitamin D as I can, and most importantly, NOT studying!

I am actually visiting my parents place on Lake Kalamalka in British Columbia, and if you have never been here I highly suggest you make the trip. The weather is always perfect, the lake is one of the prettiest I have ever seen and there is amazing fresh produce everywhere. Basically it's my version of heaven.

I mentioned that I have been doing a lot of reading. And I mean a lot of reading. It is no secret that I love to read. My ideal vacation involves me, a beach, and a good book. I could sit on the beach and read for days. I just never get bored. Anyone else with me? And I have read some really great books so far on this holiday including:

Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe
My Secret Sister by Jenny Lee Smith and Helen Edwards
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
An Invisible Thread by Laura Schrod 
All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Have you read any other good books lately? I am always looking for reading suggestions so please let me know!

In other, food related news, it is officially cherry season! Are you excited? If not you should be! I have never met anyone who doesn't like cherries. You just never hear people say "cherries are so gross." Nope I am pretty sure those words have never been spoken. They are just so delicious! And since I am in the Okanagan there are fresh cherries everywhere. Like everywhere! It also means I have access to unlimited, free, cherries from my neighbour's tree. Pretty great right? Not that I am trying to make you jealous or anything...

And in honour of my love for cherries I have put together a Paleo Cherry Recipe Wrap-up for you. In here you will find ice creams, muffins, pies, cakes, meat dishes... the list goes on and on. There are 30 recipes in total for you to choose from so I am sure you will find something in here to make. I am already planning out which dishes I want to try first! It's so hard to choose!

And before you get to the recipes, as always I would be thrilled if you visited my social media pages on Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter

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Ice Cream and Frozen Treats 

Lavender Infused Cherry Ice Cream from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Simple Black Cherry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream from And Here We Are

Cherry Almond Ice Cream from Life Made Full

Dairy Free Cherry Popsicles from A Girl Worth Saving

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream Sundae from Comfort Bites Blog

Cherry Cheesecake Popsicles from A Girl Worth Saving

Baked Goods

That's a Damn Fine Cherry Pie from Greens of the Stone Age

Tart Cherry and Almond Mini Scones from Merit and Fork 

Smoothies and Drinks 

Cherry Vanilla Smoothie from A Girl Worth Saving

Cherry Ripe Paleo Smoothie from The Lazy Paleo

Peach and Sour Cherry Smoothie from The Foodie Teen 

Cherry Pear Spinach Smoothie from Delicious Obsessions

Tart Cherry Lemonade from Whole Hog Paleo

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie from A Girl Worth Saving

Crips, Bars and Muffins

Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins from Living Healthy with Chocolate 

Paleo Cherry Crisp from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Paleo Cherry Almond Crisp from Merit and Fork 

Cherry Almond Muffins from The Nourishing Home

Cherry Chocolate Bars from A Girl Worth Saving

Chocolate Chip Cherry Muffins from Gutsy by Nature

Meat and Eggs

Peach and Cherry Frittata from Plaid and Paleo 

Oven Roasted Duck with Coconut Cherry Reduction from Pure and Simple Nourishment


Orange Creamsicle Chia Seed Pudding from Simple Roots Wellness 

Cherry Clafoutis from Grok Grub

New Twist on Caprese from The Nourishing Home


June 22, 2015

The Low FODMAP Diet: Is It Right For You? (Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Health Information)

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a good day.

If you are a follower of the blog you may remember that a few weeks ago I joined the 2 Strong Guys for a podcast, and one of the topics we discussed was FODMAPS and the low FODMAP diet. So I decided it was time I put together a post dedicated to this topic since the scientific evidence supporting a low FODMAP diet is slowly starting to increase.

So first of all, what are FODMAPS? FODMAPS is an acronym that stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Dissacharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Yes it's a mouthful. Let's break each of these down to examine each one individually.

Fermentable: These carbohydrates are sugars that are broken down and digested by bacteria in the intestines, producing gas and other by-products.

Oligosaccharides: These are short chains of carbohydrates that are linked together. There are two types: fructans (a chain of fructose molecules) and galacto-oligosaccharides (a chain of galactose molecules). Fructans are found in foods like wheat, rye, onions and garlic. Galacto-oligosaccharides are found in legumes and it is known that humans have a hard time breaking these molecules down in the small intestine. 

Dissacharides: Disaccharides are two carbohydrate molecules linked together, and lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products, is a type of disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose.

Monosaccharides: These are single carbohydrate molecules, and fructose, the sugar found in many fruits and some vegetables, is a monosaccharide. Fructose does not require any digestion before it is absorbed. When foods containing equal amounts of fructose and glucose are eaten, glucose helps fructose get absorbed. However, when fructose is present in a greater proportion than glucose, fructose absorption depends upon the activity of sugar transporters located in the intestinal wall. The ability to absorb excess fructose varies from person to person and in people with fructose malabsorption, the capacity of sugar transporters is limited and excess fructose travels to the colon where fermentation occurs.


Polyols: Polyols, or sugar alcohols, are a type of carbohydrate that humans can only partially digest and absorb in the small intestine. Examples include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt. 
These sweeteners have a much slower absorption rate than traditional sugar, and only a small amount of what is eaten is actually absorbed.

Okay so now we know what FODMAPS stands for, but what is the big deal? 

Well, FODMAPS have been linked scientifically to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), unexplained abdominal pain (Goebel-Stengel et al., Melchior et al.) and intestinal symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis) (reference and reference). And a low FODMAP diet has been found in multiple studies (reference) to help relieve the symptoms of IBS, functional abdominal pain and symptoms in Crohn's or Colitis patients. And since IBS is the most common digestive disorder worldwide, affecting anywhere from 5-20% of the population (reference), which currently does not have a known cure, any dietary strategy to help patients with this condition is a big deal. 

And why does this diet work do you ask?

Well, on reaching the small intestine and large intestine, FODMAPs increase the osmotic pressure in the bowel (this is a fancy term meaning they draw water toward them) and provide a substance for bacterial fermentation which ultimately leads to gas production, abdominal distension and abdominal pain or discomfort. So by eliminating these problematic foods these symptoms are reduced and the abnormalities that have developed in the intestinal cells can be restored. 

Yep that's right, the most common digestive disorder in North America has scientific evidence linking foods as a culprit. And treating patients with IBS, functional abdominal pain and inflammatory bowel disease with a low FODMAP diet helps improve or eliminate symptoms (Magge et al.Halmos et al.de Roest et al). I love it when science supports what so many patients intuitively know!

There is also very recent evidence showing that a low FODMAP diet can alter the type of bacteria in the gut (reference) which we know can have a huge impact on not only bowel symptoms, but many other chronic diseases as well. Remember that a healthy gut equals a healthy body. And more and more systemic and chronic diseases are being linked to abnormalities in the gut flora. Diseases from thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, multiple sclerosis, lupus, autism, obesity, diabetes etc... the list goes on and on! So if you haven't had success with the paleo diet alone, you might consider trying a low FODMAP diet to help restore your gut flora and achieve greater healing. 

So now that you know what FODMAPS are, here is a list of foods that should be avoided while on a low FODMAP diet: 

High FODMAP Foods (Unsafe to Eat) 

   Fructose: Honey, Agave, Apples, Mangos, Pears, Watermelon, Blackberries, Nectarines, White peaches, Apricots, Plums, Peaches, Pruines, Mango, Persimmons, Canned fruits, Orange juice,  High Fructose Corn Syrup (which we aren’t eating on a whole foods diet anyways – right?)

   Fructans: Artichokes, Asparagus, Sugarsnap peas, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Pumpkin, Mushrooms, Green peppers, Garlic, Leeks, Onions (brown, white, Spanish, Onion powder), Spring Onions (the white part), Shallots, Wheat, Rye, and Barley (although as usual I recommend avoiding all grains)

   Lactose: Dairy products 

   Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils and Chickpeas

   Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and isomalt

Yes I realize there are a lot of foods listed there. So what can you still eat? A lot! 
Here is a list of suggested foods to continue eating:

Low FODMAP foods (Safe To Eat) 

Vegetables and Legumes
  • Alfalfa
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli – avoid large servings
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Butternut squash 
  • Carrots
  • Corn / sweet corn- if tolerable and only in small amounts – 1/2 cob
  • Courgette
  • Chilli – if tolerable
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant / aubergine
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Ginger
  • Kale
  • Leek leaves
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Parsley
  • Bell peppers, except green 
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions / spring onions (green part)
  • Spinach, baby
  • Squash
  • Sweet potato – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato – avoid cherry tomatos
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberry
  • Canteloupe
  • Cranberry
  • Clementine
  • Dragonfruit
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew and Galia melons
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon including lemon juice
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Passion fruit
  • Paw paw
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberry

Meats and Eggs
  • All unprocessed meats are allowed (chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, bison, duck etc.) 
  • Eggs 

Fish and Seafood
  • Canned tuna or salmon 
  • Fresh fish
  • Seafood (e.g. Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, Oysters)

  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut butter, coconut flakes, shredded coconut - **NOTE: coconut is a grey area food in the low FODMAP diet, some experts say it's tolerated, and others don't so you will have to see for yourself

It is generally recommended that you eliminate the high FODMAP foods for 6-8 weeks. If your symptoms improve you know you don't tolerate FODMAPS. However, you may not need to eliminate all the FODMAP foods forever. Some people tolerate certain subgroups of the FODMAPS better than others. Once the 6-8 weeks are up I recommend adding one food back in at a time for a period of 3-5 days and watching for symptoms. Start with a small amount and gradually increase over that 3-5 day period. If your symptoms come back, you know you can't have that particular food, or only in small amounts. This is a great time to use a food journal and chart what you are eating. And remember, symptoms may not appear the same day that you eat the food, you need to monitor for symptoms for a few days after re-introcuding each food item. This is why the food journal is so crucial to the food re-introduction process. It will also allow you to keep track and remember how you felt a few days or months down the road when you are staring at a particular FODMAP and wondering whether to eat it or not! 

I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if you try this diet and how it goes for you! As you know I always love hearing from you. And if you have any questions please let me know.

And as always I would love it if you visited my social media pages: Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter

And here are a few resources to help you with recipes and more specific advice on how to implement the low FODMAP diet:

The Low FODMAP 28 Day Plan

The Quiet Gut 

The Complete Low FODMAP Diet

The Everything Guide to the Low FODMAP Diet

Monash University Low FODMAP Diet Guide

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Banana Coconut Crunch Cereal (Paleo, GAPS, SCD, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Egg Free)

Hi friends! How are you doing? Fabulous I hope. I know I sure am. You want to know why? Because I am on vacation! Yep it has been 11 months since I have had a vacation. I cringe just writing that. Horrendous isn't it? Well I am making up for some lost time with two whole weeks at the lake. In the sun. Getting a tan. Sounds glorious doesn't it? I'm not trying to make you jealous or anything (ok maybe I am just a little) but I am sure a happy girl at the moment. Yes I still call myself a girl. What age do you think that is no longer appropriate? Woman just sounds so old. I'm not ready to be old yet. Not at all. I will be holding onto that girl title for as long as I can. Maybe once my patients finally stop mistaking me for a medical student will I be forced to accept that I am really getting older. Hopefully that isn't any time soon. 

In some other very exciting news I found out on Friday that I passed my internal medicine exams! I can officially call myself an FRCPC now! You have no idea how relieved I am by this. This has been the most challenging year of my life by far. Physically, emotionally and intellectually. And I would not have gotten through it without the help of my amazing study group, family and boyfriend. I seriously cannot thank these people enough (you know who you are). Now I can finally relax and start focussing on more enjoyable things like friends, family, the blog and whatever else I choose. Oh the freedom! Plus I will finally have something else to talk about on here. I know it was getting very monotonous hearing about the same thing with every darn blog post!

Today I am sharing a cereal recipe that was inspired by this recipe that I posted months ago. Although I made some major modifications by cutting out the eggs, decreasing the added sweetener and using bananas instead, adding some coconut milk and coconut flour. And I am pretty pleased with how this one turned out I must admit. This is not only a great breakfast option, but works well for snacks as well. Add it to some mixed nuts and dried fruit for a paleo friendly trail mix option. Or add nut milk or coconut milk, top with some fresh fruit and eat it for breakfast. Or just snack on it plain. This recipe only lasted a few days in my fridge before I had eaten the entire batch so if your taste buds are anything like mine you should enjoy it! Plus this one is nut free, dairy free, egg free and compatible with both the SCD and GAPS diets. So it should be able to please all of your dietary needs!

I really hope you like this one! I would love to hear what you think of it. And as always I would be thrilled if you stopped by my social media pages on Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter

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Banana Coconut Crunch Cereal Recipe (Paleo, GAPS, SCD, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free)


1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
1 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup pureed ripe bananas (I used 2 large bananas)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350F
2. Place the sunflower seeds and shredded coconut into your food processor and process until you have a fine flour
3. Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl
4. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir well to combine
5. Add the wet ingredients and mix well with a spoon or pastry blender

Now you have 2 options depending on if you want square cereal or round cereal (see below) 

Option One: Square Cereal (this is the easier version)
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Transfer half the dough to each baking sheet and cover with another piece of parchment paper
3. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 3-4mm thick
4. Using a knife, cut 1 inch squares into the dough
5. Place in the oven and cook for 24-28 minutes (NOTE: if you are like me and don't roll the dough evenly, the edges may cook quicker so I recommended checking at 20 minutes and taking out the edge pieces if they are browning)
6. Remove from oven and allow them to cool to crisp up
7. Serve and enjoy! 

Option Two: Round Cereal 
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Form 1-1.5 cm round balls of dough with your hands and place on the baking sheets (this should make enough for 2 baking sheets)
3. Place in the oven and cook for 14-18 minutes (until they are browned or crisp on the outside) 
4. Remove from the oven and let cool to crisp up 
5. Serve and enjoy!

Print Recipe

NOTE: This cereal can be stored in the fridge for at least one week. And because of the bananas it may turn a slight green colour. Don't be alarmed it is still okay to eat!