GMOs: What are they?

When I asked what topics you were interested in learning more about for an upcoming Tuesday Tip post…I received a few requests for information about GMOs.

GMOs stands for Genetically Modified Organisms.

I am not an expert on GMOs but I asked my colleague, dietitian Nicole Cormier, who is better versed in this topic to give us all a helping hand and explain a bit more about this controversial subject. UntitledHere’s Nicole’s recap for those of you who are interested to learn a bit more about GMOs:

According to the “Non GMO Project”, it is estimated that about 80% of processed foods in America contain GMOs.

So what exactly are GMOs?

GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are plants or animals whose genes have been intentionally altered to produce a desired effect. Creating GMOs is an  experimental biotechnology that involves merging DNA from different species and creating combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that likely would not occur naturally.ucm352115-1

Photo credit: fda.gov

Where might we find GMOs in our foods?

Some key crops that are currently being genetically engineered for human consumption include: soybeans, corn, tomatoes,  canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and some zucchini and yellow squash.

There are no labeling laws in place in the US to say if a food has been genetically altered or not. Some foods have volunteered to be part of the GMO project which provides a verified seal on non GMO food. Per the Non GMO Project website:

“What does ‘Non-GMO Project Verified seal’ mean? 
The verification seal indicates that the product bearing the seal has gone through our verification process. Our verification is an assurance that a product has been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance:

  • We require ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients—any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form must be tested prior to use in a verified product.
  • We use an Action Threshold of 0.9%. This is in alignment with laws in the European Union (where any product containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled). Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products. Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.
  • After the test, we require rigorous traceability and segregation practices to be followed in order to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product.
  • For low-risk ingredients, we conduct a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets to determine absence of GMO risk.

Verification is maintained through an annual audit, along with onsite inspections for high-risk products.”    Look for this seal:Unknown-50

Corn and soybeans are pervasive ingredients in processed food products throughout our supermarkets. There has been a growing amount of scientific evidence has shown that GMOs could potentially be harmful to humans, including our gastrointestinal tracts. You can find a detailed non-GMO Shopping Guide just click here!  The research in this area is limited, however, as studying the impact of food changes that are abundant in the food supply is difficult to sort out. 

GMOs are not currently required to be listed on food labels in the US. Many other countries, 64 to be exact, have already enforced GMO labeling on products, or even banned GMOs altogether.

This past year, the Massachusetts GMO labeling bill has been at the forefront of legislature’s attention. Even though nearly half of the legislature has officially endorsed GMO, it was not passed. MA Right to Know GMO will be working on having another bill created for next year.

A big thanks to Nicole for filling us in on some GMO basics.  If you’d like to learn more about Nicole’s practice and interests..then please visit her webiste here.  She has the cutest bike logo on her site.

A few more GMO resources should you care to learn a bit more:

A good recap on GMOs here!

Food and Drug Administration review on GMOs

The purpose of this post is to inform not add fear.  This biotechnology has been around for 20 years.  From my perspective, less is more.  I don’t fear every bite of food I take…but I try to purchase non GMO foods when possible.  

Next post will include a recap on the probiotic symposium I attended last week! And some news from Monash University coming next week. Stay tuned!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!


shrimp cake

Shrimp Cakes with Lime Chili Aioli

Today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes from  the Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan…Shrimp Cakes with Lime Chili Aioli!

shrimp cakeSuper yum! The lime aioli is so delicious.  Admittedly, I just used a commercial brand of mayonnaise instead of the homemade in the book and added a bit of lime juice, lime zest, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Soooooooo good.

Add a little rice and salad and you are good to go.

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I enjoyed a great walk with my daughter, Chelsea and another walk with Lucy {you know…my crazy chocolate lab} and Russ.  I also squeezed in a run w/ my friend Sara.  The weather has been so warm ….and I don’t believe I am saying this….but I am looking forward to a little chill in the air.

I was fortunate to fit in some cooking this weekend too.  A new pumpkin granola bar which made my kitchen smell like the flavors of fall…all spice, cinnamon and a pumpkin. YUM!

I will be sure to share this with you soon!

Last week, I learned I was accepted into the University of Chicago’s Preceptorship Program for Celiac Disease!  This is a 2 day intensive program in which I will present a patient case study and be educated by some of the world’s best in celiac disease care.  I am super excited I was selected! :)

I hope to get a recap on probiotics for you soon too…from the Harvard Medical School Probiotic Symposium I attended last week.  There was not much information about IBS and probiotics but rather how our gut microbiome (the various microbes: yeast, bacteria, viruses that live in our gut) changes in different stages of our life and with various infections or exposure to different food products and even with farm living and the potential role of probiotics during these various life stages or events.

Shrimp Cakes with Lime Chili Aioli


  • Serves 4
  • 1 pound of large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 scallions, green part only, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice and grated zest of lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In the bowl of a food processor pulse the shrimp to coarsely chop it.
  2. Add the egg, scallion greens, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Pulse briefly to combine. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs and pulse briefly to combine.
  3. Form the mixture into cakes. Roll the cakes in the remaining 1 cup of bread crumbs.
  4. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  5. While the shrimp cakes rest, in a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, paprika, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and sea salt.
  6. In large non-stick pan, heat the oil over med-high heat until it shimmers.
  7. Working in batches, fry the cakes until they are golden brown. About 4 minutes per side.
  8. Serve the cakes with aioli.
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Gluten Free Does NOT mean Low FODMAP!

Let’s start with the basics: FODMAPs are small carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) and gluten is a protein! So…the low FODMAP diet is one is which we are paying attention to carbohydrates…along with good nutrition, of course!


There is some overlap between a gluten free diet and a low FODMAP diet. Wheat, Barley and Rye contain both FODMAPs and gluten.  But a low FODMAP diet is not necessarily a gluten free diet and a gluten free diet is NOT a low FODMAP diet.

venndiagram2Choosing a gluten free bread will ensure the bread doesn’t have any wheat, barley and rye…..BUT it doesn’t ensure that other FODMAPs are NOT in the bread!

Common FODMAP ingredients found in some gluten free breads, cereals and other gluten free products include:  honey, chicory root extract (inulin), soybean or other bean flours, apple or pear juice concentrate, dates, figs, and/or agave.

The low FODMAP diet is not a gluten free diet as traces of gluten found in foods are generally allowed on the low FODMAP diet.  Examples of low FODMAP but NOT gluten free ingredients would be traditional soy sauce, which contains small amounts of wheat  or wheat starch (a long chain carbohydrate–FODMAPs are small chain carbohydrates).

Yes, you will modify your gluten intake while you minimize wheat, barley and rye on the low FODMAP diet…but you might not completely restrict gluten unless you have celiac disease, non celiac gluten sensitivity or your health care provider has advised you to include the gluten free restriction as part of your nutrition plan.

So…remember choosing a gluten free item at the grocery store doesn’t automatically mean it will be suitable for your low FODMAP diet.

Always read ingredients.

And the winners of the Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan are Susan R and Jen M! Congrats to both! And thanks for all the wonderful comments, as usual, you guys are the best! :)


breakfast sausage & book

Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan Give-A-Way

Who wants a chance to win a fabulous low FODMAP meal planning and cookbook?  Earlier this year, I was asked to review this book and provide the foreward!  I know you’ll love this great new book that is hot of the press!!  And check out these tasty low FODMAP breakfast sausages I made with a recipe in the book! YUUUUMMM!

breakfast sausage & bookI made the sausages on Saturday and then Russ whipped up this nice breakfast for us on Sunday.  I had never made my own homemade sausage patties before and found the recipe so easy and delightful!  I may never buy store bought breakfast sausages again.  I upped the sage in the recipe a little because I love the flavor.  Soooooooo good!

Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan provides so many yummy recipes from Chef Salad with Turkey, Ham and Ranch Dressing, Enchiladas with Olives and Cheddar, Lemon Pepper Cod with Braised Fennel…to…Oat Crumble with Rhubarb Sauce, Butterscotch Pudding, and so much  more.  The book provides meal plans, grocery lists, and prep ideas to help keep you ahead of the meal planning.  I am not being paid to say these nice things….I really do like this book! The publisher did provide the 2 books for give-a-ways for you…my wonderful blog followers.

Want a chance to win this fabulous cookbook? Just leave a comment regarding your favorite resources for low FODMAP recipes.

LowFODMAP28DayPlan_9781623154202_AmazonThis week I will be spending Monday and Tuesday at Harvard Medical School learning about probiotics.  I love learning and feel grateful to live near so many great educational institutions that provide wonderful opportunities to learn more about digestive health and beyond.

I will be sure to share any great take-aways from this conference that pertain to digestive health.

flourless peanut butter & banana muffins

Flour-less Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins

Hello Friends.  I hope your week is going great and those of you in New England are enjoying the chillier air!

Colder weather for me says, ‘Turn on the oven and get baking!’.  How about you?

Today’s recipe share is a Flourless Peanut Butter and Banana mini muffin.  This was a recipe inspiration from Pinterest found on the original site here! I modified the recipe a little. My muffins didn’t come out quite as cute as hers….but tasted yummy!flourless peanut butter & banana muffinsWithout flour, these little tasty treats are quite moist.  They were a hit with the family.  And the good news…no special ingredients necessary.  I made a small batch (8 mini muffins) but feel free to double the recipe. All of the ingredients go into the blender and then into the muffin tins. Easy peasy.

Oh…and Julie K is the winner of the Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcake book! Congrats Julie and a BIG thanks for all of your responses about how you chill out and relax!  So many great ideas and reminders that it is so important to give yourself permission to do nothing!

Flour-less Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins


  • Makes 8 mini muffins {Can double recipe}
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used all natural Teddie brand)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini muffin tin by spraying w/ oil or adding paper muffin tin liners
  2. Put all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) into blender and blend until creamy about 1 minute.
  3. Pour mixture into muffin tins filling about 3/4 full.
  4. Top with about 4 chocolate chips per muffin, if using.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Enjoy!
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Take a well-being inventory today!

Today’s tip is not a FODMAP tip but rather a mental health tip!

It’s important every now again to take a personal pulse check.  Check in with yourself and ask, “How are you feeling today?”

Maybe you feel happy, relaxed and/or calm but maybe you find yourself feeling a bit frenzied, too busy and stressed? Or maybe you just feel something in-between.

UntitledLast week I presented a talk on FODMAPs at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Generally it takes me about 45 minutes to get to Boston from my home.  But traffic was awful and it took me over 2 hours to get into the city.  I was so worried I would be late for the talk.  It was soooooo stressful! :(

But  I made it to the talk on time, with time to spare, and my talk went perfectly fine.  Phew!  But…what I did learn….was that the stress can really made me feel tired and beat up.  What I really needed was a weekend of doing nothing.  So…that is exactly what I did….nothing! Honoring and listening to your body is so important especially when you are dealing with chronic health issues.

Instead of running around like a crazy person this weekend …I took it down a notch and relaxed.  I snuggled with my chocolate lab, Lucy and hung out with my family.  It was just what I needed.

Lucy…seriously…is THE cutest!Lucy exhausted

And guess what?  I started this week feeling relaxed, rested and ready to go.

So…check in with yourself every now and again.  And take a well needed time out when you need it! It’s all good….and you deserve it!

And to help you feel more happy…I have a cookbook give-a-way! Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes!! A sweet little book with amazing gluten free cupcakes recipes from strawberry shortcake to lemon blueberry cupcakes.  Not all of the recipes are low FODMAP–but many can be adapted by subbing in lactose free milk and lactose free sour cream (Green Valley has a lactose free sour cream in the US).  So leave a comment about how you relax and chill out when you are tired and need a break if you interested in a chance of winning this cute little book!cupcake book

Coming soon….a new low FODMAP cookbook with amazing recipes! Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan book give-a-way! …and of course… more FODMAP news and more give-a-ways too!

colorful dragon fruit

Beyond the Banana

In a fruit rut?

Do the same fruits wind up in your grocery cart every week?  Perhaps you might give dragon fruit a try.  Check out this gorgeous fruit!colorful dragon fruitFriedas.com contacted me to see if I would like some of their delicious dragon fruit and of course, I said, “YES!”  Friedas has a nutrition campaign called, “fear no fruit”, in an effort to help consumers try new and unusual produce! I love this concept.  Check out more here!

Russ and I purchase a big bowl of pre-cut fruit at Whole Foods just about every week.  I know I would save a few bucks if I did the dicing myself…but the reality is…I definitely eat more fruit when I leave that job to somebody else. :)  So for us, it’s worth the extra money. Fortunately, so many fruits are allowed on the low FODMAP diet…just don’t eat a fruit salad the size of your head! One serving per sitting!

whole food fruit bowl

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to buying fruit, how about you?   I do, however,  LOVE trying new produce when I find it… and dragon fruit is one of those fruits that lured me in!

Dragon fruit is a low FODMAP fruit option (yay!) and has a mild but tasty flavor.

Want to learn more about dragon fruit? Check out my colleague and fellow dietitian, Monica Lebre’s informative post here!

Whether it be fruit or even life…it’s easy to get in a rut.  Try to step outside your typical fruit bowl…and explore and enjoy new tastes, flavors and life experiences.


Always listen to your body!

Today is Tuesday! So… here’s your tip!

postit_tipThe low FODMAP diet is an evidenced based diet shown to help improve symptoms in 75% of those who suffer with IBS…but sometimes there are overlapping food triggers for people with IBS. Not every one is sensitive to a cup of coffee ….but some people with IBS can be particularly bothered by the stimulant effect of caffeine.  If that’s you, go slow on the joe!

Fat can stimulate movement in the intestine…which for the person with fast transit of the intestine…eating a particularly fatty meal can send you running for the loo.  And if you have an overlapping diagnosis of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (many IBS patients do–in my estimation) then fat digestion can be impaired.  Gut bacteria get to your bile, a substance that is made in your liver and secreted from your gall bladder to aid fat digestion, before it can do it’s job!  In small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), the bacteria render the bile inactive.  Since bile helps make fat into digestible units—fat maldigestion can occur in SIBO.

Small amounts of acceptable low FODMAP alcoholic beverages seem to be well tolerated in my experience (a glass of dry white or red wine, for example) but OVERdoing alcohol is not recommended…of course, for general health BUT also alcohol can pull water into the intestine and lead to diarrhea. NO thanks!

We are all a little different…Always listen to your body.

Today’s post inspired by my intern, Amy Beliveau! Thanks Amy for the great Tuesday Tip!

shrimp taco w pineapple salsa

Grilled Shrimp Tortilla with Pineapple Salsa

Hello Everyone!

Today’s recipe was inspired from our August trip to Nantucket. Millie’s is a great restaurant we pass biking our way to Madaket Beach.  Millie’s makes some awesome quesadillas filled with fresh seafood.  I opted to make a lower FODMAP version at home..  a grilled corn tortilla topped with grilled shrimp and pineapple salsa! Can you say, freakin’ delicious?Best shrimp tacoI had never grilled a corn tortilla before…  Have you?  I simply sprayed the fresh corn tortilla with oil (you can use a Misto oil sprayer–or buy oil at the grocery store already in a spray bottle such as International Collection Spray Oils) and then threw (placed might be better choice of words) the tortilla on the grill to brown it up!  I loved the texture:  a bit chewy, crunchy and all around tasty.

I then placed some prepared raw shrimp on a skewer and popped that on the grill.

A bit earlier, I made a little pineapple salsa.  I topped the grilled tortilla with a few grilled shrimp, a smattering of shredded cheddar cheese, and a tablespoon of the  tasty pineapple salsa.  I was in heaven. A nice blend of savory and sweet!

The recipe below is for the pineapple salsa:  Simply cook up 2 tortillas, 5 medium shrimp and 1/4 cup grated cheddar per person.  The salsa will serve about 6 people.shrimp taco w pineapple salsa

Pineapple Salsa


  • Serves about 6; Top 1 tablespoon salsa on top of grilled fresh corn tortilla topped with 5 grilled shrimp, beef OR chicken strips and 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fresh diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced in quarters
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, deseeded, and diced
  • 1 medium jalapeño, deseeded and diced {optional}
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Mix ingredients together, add fresh herbs right before serving.
  2. Can be made up to a day in advance stored in refrigerator.
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Upcoming topics:  SIBO, GMOs in foods, Tips for eating around the globe (focusing primarily on UK), and the launch of a fun product I think and hope you will like !


Low FODMAP diet is NOT a FOREVER diet!

The low FODMAP diet has helped SO…many of my clients with IBS!  Teaching the low FODMAP diet and seeing so many patient’s lives turn around has been SO rewarding!

I love my job! 

But, it is important to know… the low FODMAP diet is a learning diet NOT a life long diet.


Although it is awesome to feel a sense of calm in your otherwise tumultuous belly…it really is important to undergo the challenge  (or re-introduction) phase of the low FODMAP diet and attempt to re-introduce FODMAPs to identify your personal triggers.  If you have tried to re-introduce foods without good success, consider the following:

  • Are you doing the re-introduction correctly? Choose challenge foods that only contain one FODMAP.  An apple would not be a suitable first line challenge food as it contains multiple FODMAPs.  Honey or mango are  good fructose challenge food choices as  they only contains excess fructose NOT other FODMAPs.
  • Do remember to stick with your low FODMAP diet while attempting your FODMAP challenges.  If you are dining out, drinking a few cocktails and attempting to add back FODMAPs…your results might be a bit skewed!
  • If you failed ALL challenges despite being guided by a FODMAP knowledgable dietitian, consider the possibility of an  overlapping issue such as: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, dumping syndrome, food chemical intolerance (histamine, salicylate), or gluten sensitivity, to name a few.
  • Try ‘gentle’ food challenges! When challenging garlic (fructans), don’t  add several cloves of garlic to your meal to really identify if garlic puts your belly in a tail spin. Try adding small amounts such as a 1/2 of a clove at first and up to 1 clove per meal.

The low FODMAP diet has beens shown to reduce  beneficial gut bacteria {Study here}. Since our gut bacteria play an important role in health and disease, scientists don’t know the implication of following a low FODMAP diet long term.  As a dietitian, one of my goals for you is to enjoy what you are eating and to have as varied a diet as your tummy will allow.

So.. don’t forget to re-introduce some FODMAPs after the elimination phase of the diet.

Don’t be afraid to try to reintroduce foods. Tolerance to food will change overtime as your gut bacteria likely get back in balance.  Go slow.  Get help from a knowledgeable registered dietitian.  And…listen to your body!