pumpkin granola bars

Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

Fall is here!

leavesLove the changing colors of the leaves…Autumn in New England is SO gorgeous.

In the spirit of the season…I decided to try some pumpkin spice granola bars!  After all, if small amounts of  canned pumpkin are low FODMAP then why not add a bit of pumpkin-y deliciousness to a recipe?   MMMMMmmmm.

First, I started with a generous handful of walnuts…and chopped them up!walnutsThe ingredients looked so good…I sneaked a taste. Yup, I helped myself to a spoonful of the mixture. :) and it was yum.

granola bar mixture

Then…I baked ‘em up…let them cool.  And ate one. pumpkin granola barsSo…here’s  the deal about US pumpkin and FODMAPs:  1/4 cup canned pumpkin per sitting is low FODMAP but portions in the 1/2 cup range are high.  Portion DOES matter when it comes to FODMAPs. But, I bet you already knew that!  It’s been a long time in coming. I sent the Monash team 4 cans of pumpkin a while back for testing…but they are so busy testing foods that we finally just got the scoop.  Be sure to keep on and eye on  Monash’s new FODMAP research blog found here for the latest! And I  hope you get a chance to stop by my new website too!  And for those who are patiently waiting….I started my probiotic/ gut microbiome post today….stay tuned. Promise… I will get it done!

Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars


  • Should make about 10 smaller size granola bars. Serving size: 1 bar
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon all spice


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Blend all ingredients together. Press very firmly into 8 x 8 square pan that has been lightly greased.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. Refrigerating will keep the bars firmer.
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pumpkin & mums

New Resource for FODMAPers!

Today’s tip will be short and sweet.  US canned pumpkin FODMAP results are finally here!!pumpkin & mums

It seems forever ago that I sent canned pumpkin to the Monash researchers.  In fact, I sent several boxes of US foods for testing.  What we learned:   Canned US pumpkin has moderate amount of FODMAPs.  Small amounts, 1/4 cup canned,  such as in an otherwise low FODMAP  slice of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread or maybe a granola bar is low BUT 1/2 cup canned is moderate. Portion size matters!!  So…of course, this week’s recipe will feature some pumpkin….stay tuned!

The great news is that the Monash researches now how a blog to keep us all up dated on their latest FODMAP findings.  This will be a valuable spot for all of us to check periodically for the latest news straight from the lab down under.  So without further adieu…here is the link for the Monash blog!


Quick Tips for the low FODMAP Vegetarian

Today, I thought I would provide a few tips for the vegetarian low FODMAP followers.   It’s tricky following the low FODMAP diet while enjoying a vegan diet as many of the traditional protein sources on a vegan diet are rich in FODMAPs.  My intern, Laura, compiled this great handout while working with me which offers some great tips: Vegan Menu Planning Low FODMAP.  I also offer a vegetarian FODMAP patient education handout in my handout packet to be used by registered dietitians.IMG_0275It’s  important to remember that the low FODMAP diet is a learning diet so you should be able to add back small amounts of legumes per your personal tolerance after the elimination diet.

Legumes with the lowest FODMAP content per Monash U app  include: CANNED lentils and chickpeas.  {Whole Foods has a suitable onion and garlic free canned lentil product, Westbrae brand.}  Having  legumes sitting in the water in the can for months allows some of the galacto-oligosaccharides to leach out into the water.  JUST remember to drain and rinse canned chickpeas and lentils prior to consumption!  The cut off amount for canned chickpeas is 1/4 cup per meal and 1/2 cup canned lentils per meal.

For a vegan low FODMAP diet, include suitable legumes as above, quinoa, buckwheat, firm traditional tofu, tempeh, suitable nuts, nut butters and seeds can boost your protein intake.

If you are following a lacto-ovo vegetarian low FODMAP diet diet–including lactose free milk, suitable low lactose cheeses, lactose free cow’s milk, lactose free yogurt such as Green Valley brand, and eggs will help up your protein intake.

Laura’s handout in the above link provides much greater detail and tips for vegetarians so do check it out!

I promise, I will provide a write up on the probiotic symposium I attended at Harvard Medical School….I have been busy working on other projects. :)

I am just about ready to launch my new website (this blog will stay the same!) …so my blog and site might be down a few days.  Hang tight!



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!