Category Archives: Uncategorized

popchips Sea Salt Potato

Popchips give-a-way!

Good news! I have another give-a-way today!! :)

One of my favorite salty snacks are popchips! Have you tried them? I can seriously wolf down the whole bag in one sitting. Seriously.  {Don’t tell anybody!}popchips Sea Salt Potato

When popchips reached out and asked if I wanted to share my love of popchips with my blog followers…I did not hesitate saying, YES!!

But let me give you a little background…on popchips.

I truly love the Sea Salt popchips for a few reasons.  They appear to fit the low FODMAP guidelines (but like other brand name foods have not yet been tested). They have less fat and calories than most chips.  They are super tasty!  And, I really can eat the whole bag and my tummy is okay with that! I try not too…but sometimes I can’t help myself.  What I like about popchips:

  • no fake colors
  • no fake flavors
  • no fluorescent orange fingertips
  • no cholesterol or trans fat
  • gluten free

For this give-a-way, I want to share the love with my friend, Zlata and fellow FODMAPer who is also doing a popchips give-a-way! Zlata has some amazing low FODMAP recipes on her site too! She has been a huge advocate of my work…and I so appreciate that! Since sharing is caring, here is how Zlata and I are working the give-a-way together, for a chance to win: 

  •  You must follow @katescarlata and @lifeandthymez on Instagram (I post a lot! Many low FODMAP tips & pretty pics.)
  • Tag a friend in the Instagram post that you’d want to share some popchip love with and maybe tell us why you need the popchips!  And you and your friend will be entered for a chance to win 3 bags of the Sea Salt Popchips!

  That’s it! If you meet those two criteria, you’ll be entered to win!

 Note: there will be a winner and their tagged friend chosen by me and a winner & tagged friend chosen by Zlata, so there will be FOUR lucky winners!




Pelvic floor dysfunction

Happy Tuesday! Caution: I am ready to delve into a private topic today. I will be talking about constipation, specifically, dyssynergic defecation. This topic might not be your favorite cocktail party chatter …but hey, someone has to do it! So, here I go.Unknown-9

I have talked a bit about pelvic floor dysfunction in the past on my blog but not in detail. I won’t take a major deep dive on this topic but wanted to expand your knowledge a bit. I see many, many patients in my clinical practice that have been diagnosed with a pelvic floor disorder.

I asked Satish Rao, MD, Director of the Digestive Health Center at Georgia Regents University and world-renown motility specialist to provide some details for you, “Pelvic floor disorders encompass many problems that include: dyssynergic defecation, rectal prolapse, excessive perineal descent and fecal incontinence and others. Pelvic floor disorders affect 20% of the population and profoundly affects quality of life, particularly in elderly. Recognizing the problem, defining the underlying mechanism(s) and providing appropriate treatment(s) are cornerstones for successful management. This requires a multidisciplinary approach involving gastroenterologist, registered dietitian, biofeedback therapists and motility labs.”

So, what the heck is dyssynergic defecation? Dyssynergic defecation occurs when the muscles and nerves in the rectum do not work properly or in a coordinated fashion. Symptoms often present as constipation or sense of incomplete emptying. Treatment is pelvic floor physical therapy and/ or biofeedback.

According to IFFGD ( International Foundation for Functional Gut Disorders ) website, a great resource for individuals with functional gut disorders:

“It is not clear what causes dyssynergic defecation.

Muscles in the abdomen, rectum, anus, and pelvic floor must all work together in order to facilitate defecation. Most patients with dyssynergic defecation exhibit an inability to coordinate these muscles. Most often this problem of coordination consists either of:

  • impaired rectal contraction or tightening rather than relaxing (paradoxical contraction) the anal muscles during defecation, or
  • not enough relaxation of the anal muscles.

This lack of coordination (dyssynergia) of the muscles that are involved in defecation is primarily responsible for this condition.

In addition, at least one-half (50–60%) of patients with dyssynergic defecation also show evidence of a decrease in sensation in the rectum. In other words, there is a problem with their ability to perceive the arrival of stool in the rectum.

A survey of 100 patients with the dyssynergic defecation found that in nearly one-third (31%) the problem began in childhood. About an equal number (29%) appeared to have developed the problem after a particular event, such as pregnancy or an injury. In the remaining 4 out of 10 persons (40%), no cause was identified that may have brought on the condition.”

IFFGD has a good review of dyssynergic defecation here.  

How is dyssynergic defecation diagnosed?  IFFGD has a good review here.  Most practitioners can get the information they need with anorectal manometry testing. This is the test I recommend.  A small, flexible sensor is placed in your rectum (about the size of rectal thermometer.)  This is connected to a computer and a recording device that measures the pressure and strength of your anal and rectal muscles.  The test measures coordination of muscles, reflex action, sensation, strength and weakness of rectal and anal muscles. 

Outside of the low FODMAP diet, I have found that physical therapy and biofeedback for dyssynergic defecation are cornerstones of symptom management for many of my patients.  I have found in my practice–that  patients of all ages, men and women, have had issues with dyssynergic defecation.

Unfortunately, I have also found that many {not all, thankfully!} GI doctors do not order or are somewhat resistant to order testing for this condition. I think many practitioners feel that undergoing the testing, the follow up physical therapy and biofeedback is invasive, time-consuming, and that most patients would not partake in it.  Interestingly, in my practice, I find patients are very amenable to do most testing and treatment as they want to be an active participant in getting their life back!

The purpose of this post is to educate you on dyssynergic defecation.  To encourage you to discuss testing with your GI doctor if you feel that this condition may be playing a role in your GI symptoms.

I believe this disorder has been a contributor to relapsing SIBO that many of my patients experience as well.  If you are not emptying your colon properly and it remains full of stool, this impacts the motility of your small bowel.

I would love your feedback if you feel comfortable sharing your story.  I realize it is a personal one.  Have you tried physical therapy or biofeedback for dyssnergic defecation? Has it helped?


low FODMAP feta dip

Whipped Feta Dip

This recipe is amaze! So yummy!

If you like feta cheese, it’s feta, but better.

This recipe is perfect for your next gathering. Serve with rice crackers, thinly sliced sourdough white baguette (if you tolerate it) and carrot sticks.

low FODMAP feta dip

Whipped Feta Dip


  • 6 ounces feta cheese, in brine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper,optional


  1. Remove feta from brine and add to food processor, fit with steel blade.
  2. Add lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Blend until creamy.
  4. Garnish with crushed pepper flakes mixing gently into mixture.

Comfort food at it’s best.feta dip

I hope your week is going well.  I am having a great week. I bought new running shoes. Yay! I visited with my tax accountant who said I owed less $ than I anticipated….so I went shopping :) and bought 2 new dresses!  I am working on some very exciting projects which I will share with you soon! I feel grateful everyday that I work as dietitian, in a field, I absolutely love!

Oh…and most importantly, I have selected our Crunchmaster cracker give-a-way winner!! The winner is Luci C.! Thanks everyone for entering!





Research Study: Looking for Participants.

My friends at U. Michigan are researching the role of diet in fecal incontinence.  I know…a sensitive and private subject for many.  Diet can help this condition….but of course, we need to prove this with research!  So, if you experience fecal incontinence and would like to participate in this study to help researchers, the medical community and ultimately patients gain a better understanding of the impact of diet on this condition, kindly contact U. Michigan research team via phone or email: (734) 647-3374 or email at   Don’t worry you don’t need to go to Michigan to participate, much of the study is completed via phone or Skype.

“Dietary study for accidental bowel leakage due to loose/watery stools.” Study informationFI flyer

Strawberry Salad and Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken and Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad

My son is a fan of coconut chicken, so I decided to try to create a low FODMAP version. No major adjustment needed, I simply used some corn starch and gluten free Panko bread crumbs (such as Ian’s original GF Panko bread crumbs) instead of wheat flour and wheat bread crumbs. Coconut chicken

I can’t wait to try this recipe with shrimp too. I served the coconut chicken with another new low FODMAP recipe I created, Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad.Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad

Strawberries pair nicely with baby greens. I am excited for all the fresh local summer produce! Strawberries and greens

Another nice complement to strawberries is a light balsamic vinegar dressing.  I simply mixed some high quality balsamic vinegar with garlic infused oil and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and salt. I drizzled some of this dressing on the sliced strawberries. FODMAPer tip: Per Monash University app the cut off for balsamic vinegar is 1 tablespoon per serving.

A winning combo.Drizzling strawberriesI let the strawberries sit for a few minutes to infuse the amazing flavor of the dressing.
Marinating strawberries

Drizzle the remaining dressing on the baby salad greens and then top with the marinated strawberries. Salad ready to eat!

I think this makes a great low FODMAP meal. I doubled up on the portion size shown.  So good. Adding some jasmine rice would be nice too! :)Strawberry Salad and Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken with Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad


  • Serves 4
  • Chicken:
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken, cut into about 12 strips
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic infused oil
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup gluten free Panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad:
  • 6 cups baby lettuce greens (baby spinach, romaine etc)
  • 2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup garlic infused oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil large baking sheet.
  3. Place corn starch on medium size plate, set aside.
  4. Whisk eggs with 2 teaspoons garlic oil.
  5. Mix coconut with bread crumbs and place on medium size plate.
  6. Dip chicken strips individually into corn starch, then eggs, then into coconut/breadcrumb mixture. Pressing crumb mix firmly into chicken; repeat with all 12 chicken strips.
  7. Place chicken on baking sheet and add salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Place prepared chicken in oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  9. While chicken cooks; prepare Balsamic Marinated Strawberry Salad
  10. Add strawberries to small glass bowl.
  11. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Add 1/2 of balsamic mixture to strawberries and gentle stir. Set aside.
  13. Place salad greens on platter and lightly toss greens with the rest of the balsamic dressing.
  14. Layer strawberries in the middle of the salad or as desired.
  15. Serve salad with baked coconut chicken.

I hope you are having a  great week! Are you following me on Instagram? I know not all of you are tech savvy but I do post recipe ideas and new food product finds when I am at the grocery store etc…so it’s just another resource for you if you are new to the low FODMAP diet.

Certified Stamp

FODMAP food certification and Monash Low FODMAP app give-a-way!

It has been a slow process….but the low FODMAP diet continues to gain momentum and interest around the globe. I have received numerous inquires for low FODMAP diet information most recently from India and Norway!  It won’t be long, I imagine, that shopping for low FODMAP brandname foods will become much easier.  A big step in the right direction is Monash University’s newly launched food certification program.

Certified Stamp

The Monash University Low FODMAP certification program provides accreditation to food products that meet their low FODMAP and nutrient criteria.  All products will be analyzed for FODMAP content in the labs in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University. If the product is healthy and low FODMAP then the logo above will appear on the package! How cool is that? And how much easier would shopping be for the low FODMAP shopper?!

US food companies can contact Monash University to learn how their healthy food items can be low FODMAP certified.  If you have a favorite brandname food that you feel is low FODMAP AND nutritious, encourage the company to get their food product tested by the Monash University researchers! As an added bonus, products tested and approved will be featured in the Monash University low FODMAP app!

To learn more about the Low FODMAP certification program, click here.

To celebrate the launch of the certification program, Monash University has provided me with 10 promo codes to download their app on iTunes for free! Want to win a free Monash University low FODMAP diet app download?  Well, okay! Simply share the name of one of your favorite tried and true low FODMAP brandname products and you will be entered to win The Monash University Low FODMAP diet app.  This free promo code is for iTunes only!  I will give out 5 promo codes here on my blog in the next week and will also give out 5 more on Twitter.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter too for a chance to win!

almond butter bites

Almond Butter Oat Bites

Hello Friends…I hope everyone here in the Northeast is staying warm and keeping their spirits up… The 8 feet high snow drifts are unbelievable!  Nothing says HAPPY like a little oatmeal, chocolate, chia, coconut and almond bite-full of yumminess.  I make these no bake energy bites quite often for a little healthy treat.

Almond chia bitesThe good thing about these little delicious bites is that you can get creative and add a little bit of this and that depending on your tolerance.  My recipe makes 12 bite size balls and you should be satisfied with 2.  At this portion size, you truly modify the quantity of FODMAPs that you consumer that are naturally contained in the oats and almond butter–both are ‘moderate sources’ of FODMAPs.  I would not eat a whole tray of these tasty treats…Just keep that in mind!almond butter bitesMy daughter Chelsea and I whipped these up yesterday afternoon after a full day of work. They take just a few minutes to make!

I did want to take a moment and announce the lucky winners to my recent blog give-a-ways!  Jordan won the 21 Day Tummy Cookbook: Yay!!  And Deirdre won the #FODMAPer tote bag!  I am in the midst of another #FODMAPer tote bag give-a-way on Instagram–so check it out for another chance to win!!

I have a few other give-a-ways up my sleeve, including a chance to win one of my recently launched Balanced Boxes for a Digestive Peace of Mind on the go!  The idea of the box came from my desire to make embarking on a low FODMAP diet a bit funner.  I truly want people with IBS to feel less isolated and to enjoy a little pampering.  I started the term #FODMAPer so that in essence, a person with IBS might feel more like part of a community than  alone. Many people with IBS suffer in silence….and yet in westernized countries—IBS is rampant.

And remember, the low FODMAP diet is a learning diet that is utilized to help identify your personal triggers.  It is not meant to be followed long term! It is important to do the challenge phase of the diet and to eat the most liberal diet your body allows you to eat! There will be parts of the low FODMAP diet you may follow long term…but you should be able to add some foods back into the diet after the elimination diet phase.  If the low FODMAP diet only offers partial relief, work with your health care provider to uncover other possible conditions or food intolerances that may be limiting your progress.  Always read reputable articles by health professionals, be weary of people on the internet that sound smart but have no credentials.  

Almond Butter Oat Bites


  • Makes 12 balls: Serving size 2
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, optional
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Prepare a small cookie sheet or tray with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir to blend.
  3. Roll mixture by the tablespoon with your hands into one-inch balls and place on parchment paper.
  4. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator to allow the bites to set.
  5. Place balls in air-tight container in refrigerator.
  6. Enjoy for up to 1 week.



Baby Greens with Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, Orange & Pecans

‘Tis the season for pomegranates! I love these little juicy jewels! So…I decided to incorporate some tasty nourishing pomegranate seeds into a salad recipe.  Here is what I came up with…goat pomegranteI added a little of this and that and made this yummy salad. Fancy, right?

I think pomegranates add a little the holiday spirit, don’t you?  The red seeds with the salad greens just screams FESTIVE to me.  And anything with orange, pecans and goat cheese is a true friend of mine.  I think this salad might make a nice addition to my holiday menu and maybe yours?!

FODMAPers: Pomegranate seeds have a 1/4 cup limit per the Monash U. app.pomegranateSince nut and fruit quantities are limited on the low FODMAP diet, I used these ingredients sparingly just to add a splash of color and flavor.

plated salad

Baby Greens with Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, Orange & Pecans


  • Serves 6
  • 6 cups baby salad greens such as romaine, arugula, spinach
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pecans, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 orange, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
  • Dressing:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I use Maille, choose one without onion/garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Layer washed baby salad greens on a medium size platter
  2. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, pecans, and orange pieces
  3. Whisk lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy!

I hope you are surviving the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!


Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

graciousandgratefulOne of the most essential life lessons I have tried to share with my 3 kids has been the importance of being grateful and gracious.  It doesn’t take much to say thank you and be grateful for what you have.

It’s the little things in life that matter most, don’t you think?

Family and friends that love you.

Food on the table. Low FODMAP, preferably! Ha!

A roof over your head.

Oh…and a good attitude helps too.  Focusing on what you have in your life rather than what you don’t.

Sharing your appreciation for those that make your day a little bit brighter or easier can go very, very far.  I think it makes you a whole lot happier too when you share your grateful heart.

You alone have the ability to make someone feel appreciated and important…by simply opening you mouth and uttering the words thank you. How easy is that? :)

Being gracious and grateful, to me, is the essence of living a fulfilling life.  

And so, during our Thanksgiving holiday week, I would like to say Thank YOU  for all of your sweet and kind words over the past few years.  It means a lot! gratefulheart