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


dessert cheese plate

Thankful for Cheese!

Happy Thanksgiving week to you and yours!

Thanksgiving reminds me to take inventory of what I am thankful for…thankful for youThe Scarlata family is gearing up for a fun, relaxing holiday with family.  My brother-in-law is flying in from Canada and my son will be home for the holiday! :) My just shy of 90 year old mom and all three kids will enjoy the holiday with us.  So…what more could I ask for? :)

My favorite part of the holiday is the pre-game time.  Chilling out and catching up with those I don’t see that often.  I love appetizers…and my favorite is a good cheese plate.

So this Thanksgiving I am giving thanks for cheese! :)

Most cheese (unless its very wet) is low lactose and low FODMAP approved.  If the cheese is hard and aged–it tends to be the lowest in lactose.

I love bringing a nice cheese plate to any holiday gathering as it’s easy to put together…requires NO cooking and travels well.  Adding a few pretty sprigs of greenery makes it even prettier!

cheese plateI created a savory cheese board on the left and a sweet version on the right.  Olives (dressed up with a spring of rosemary), Swiss cheese, Chai BellaVitano cheese, baby carrots and some stacked brown rice crackers make for a tasty savory cheese plate.  I might add some prosciutto too for the Italians in my world!

My dessert board features Taza chocolate–salted almond (amazing!), Taza Cape Escape cranberry jam a sweet jam with a hint of chocolate, Camembert, and some California red grapes. Russ surprised me yesterday and took me to Taza chocolate on a surprise road trip! BEST husband ever!

dessert cheese plateFor more Thanksgiving holiday inspirations–check out my 2013 post which features more holiday recipe links.

And a Low FODMAP stuffing recipe (I include a non-FODMAP and FODMAP version).

Hope this post inspires you to create some yummy low FODMAP treats for your upcoming holiday!

Safe travels to you and your family and… enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

drizzling sauce over smothered chicken

Smothered with Love Chicken

I found a recipe for Fancy Pants Chicken…on Pinterest and Facebook.  Love Love Love that name!  But of course, it was not fully suitable for the low FODMAP diet…so I tweaked the  recipe and here it is!!

smothered chickenYou’ll love this cheesy lusciousness.  So good.  All the flavors work so nicely together.

All you do is top boneless chicken breasts with prosciutto and spinach.  Drizzle with a delicious low FODMAP sauce and bake it up.drizzling sauce over smothered chicken

Remove from the oven 5 minutes prior to being done and top with shredded mozzarella cheese….and you will feel the love literally oozing from this tasty dish.

We enjoyed the smothered chicken with sprouted red rice ( a new product from Trader Joes–cooks up in 3 minutes! love that!), and tri-colored carrots. Easy and tummy friendly!

Smothered with Love Chicken


  • Serves 6
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3 ounces each)
  • 6 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 4 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 1 cup low FODMAP chicken broth (I made mine w/ Savory Chicken broth packets)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or use 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused oil
  • 8 ounce package of part skim shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Layer chicken breasts into bottom of 9 x13 casserole dish that has been lightly oiled.
  3. Top each chicken breast w/ 1 slice of prosciutto.
  4. Cover chicken with baby spinach.
  5. Mix broth, lemon juice, basil and garlic infused oil.
  6. Drizzle over spinach.
  7. Cover the casserole dish loosely with tin foil.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and spinach wilted.
  9. Remove from oven and add mozzarella evenly over chicken.
  10. Put casserole back in oven for 5 minutes until cheese melts.

This recipe is a new family favorite.  Good enough for company or anytime you are feeling a little bit fancy! :)


Flavor-up your Low FODMAP Diet!

No need to eat bland foods while following the low FODMAP diet.  In fact, there are many yummy spices and fresh herbs tested by the Monash researchers that have been shown to be low FODMAP.freshherbs

My favorite low FODMAP fresh herbs include: basil, rosemary, tarragon and cilantro.  Fresh herbs add a little color and vibrant taste to your low FODMAP recipes!  Tarragon and rosemary add such wonderful flavor to chicken, cilantro adds zest to your Asian-inspired stir fries or Mexican dishes. And fresh basil is so yummy on your wheat free pizza or generously topped over your gluten free pasta.  I love to mix diced tomatoes, garlic infused oil and fresh basil and toss in my warm low FODMAP pasta.  Garnish with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and you in are full flavor heaven!

Here are a few tips to keep the flavor and not the FODMAPs in your recipes!

  • Use fresh herbs such as: basil, coriander, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme!
  • Spice it up with all spice, cinnamon, cumin, five spice, paprika or turmeric!
  • Use garlic or onion infused oils in place of onion or garlic!
  • Spoon a little Dijon mustard into your meat marinades or homemade low FODMAP salad dressing recipes.  Click here for a few of my favorite low FODMAP salad dressings!
  • Season sauces or create broth with Savory Choice chicken, turkey or beef broth concentrate. NO onion or garlic added and is delicious! {Don’t select the vegetable broth as that contains onion!}
  • Sprinkle some granulated maple sugar over your lactose free plain yogurt, oats or low FODMAP French toast.

The Monash University app is a great resource for learning what spices and herbs have been tested.  Food testing is ongoing–so consider supporting Monash U research and purchase the app.  More info here about the app!

And hope you enjoyed today’s tip! Have a great week everybody!!

pb cookies ready to eat

Flour-less Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Cookie

I have been on Pinterest a little more than I want to admit these days.  And I stumbled onto a flour-less and butter free peanut butter cookie.  So I printed off the recipe, tweaked the recipe (I can’t help myself) and created a yummy low FODMAP cookie recipe for you.

Hello, flour less butter free peanut-y yumminess. flourless pb choc cookies

I found the original recipe here.  

This recipe made 18 good size cookies.  You could definitely make the cookies smaller and get 20 or 22 cookies.  I made half the batter pretty much as written subbing in brown sugar and adding a little more oats.

In addition to dark chocolate chips which I rough chopped first… (check out my broken tipped knife that I broke trying to cut squash….yikes!)Dark chocolate chipsI added a little chopped walnuts and a handful of shredded coconut–which to me, really zipped up the cookie a bit.pb cookies ready to eatThis weekend, Russ and I organized our dining room.  Our dining room table is one of my favorite pieces of furniture and it would be really nice if you could actually see it!  It is somewhat of a catch-all for laundry, papers, boxes, crafts supplies…you name it.  It’s been a 2 day process to get some semblance going in there….but we are making serious headway.  Boy, it always feels so good to get organized.  By nature, I am very unorganized.  I am too busy learning, crafting and having fun.  Cleaning or sitting still ….yeah, I am not very good at that.  :)

I had a busy week. I flew to Omaha and did a webinar and live talk to a large group of dietitians on FODMAPs and the benefits of using sprouting foods for digestion and nutrient intake. This is my second trip to Omaha to speak this year!  I love being on the road and meeting new colleagues…but it always is good to come back home.  I love love love traveling….but I am a homebody in general. How about you?

Today, I did want to announce the winner of the The Everything Guide To The Low-Fodmap Diet: A Healthy Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders book!  This book was graciously donated to me to give to one of my blog followers! Yay!  The winner is…..<drumroll>  Mary!! Mary, you have been notified via email!  And thanks EVERYONE for sharing all your amazing and tasty recipe ideas!!! I so appreciate it. Will work on a Thanksgiving post soon too.

Up next, a yummy chicken recipe!!

And here is the Flour-less Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie!  Do you best to limit to one or maybe two cookies per sitting!! MMMMMmmmm!! Enjoy!!

Flour-less Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Cookie


  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter, well stirred
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips, rough chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoon shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened w/ sugar works)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. In medium bowl, add peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla and blend to mix
  3. Add in eggs and beat with mixer until well incorporated about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add in oats and baking soda.
  5. Fold in chocolate, walnuts and coconut
  6. Drop dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie and 2 inches apart.
  7. Flatten top of cookie with hand to make them rounded and prettier!
  8. Bake until edges are light brown about 9 minutes.


20% off The Balanced Box For A Digestive Peace of Mind

November is the month of giving! The Balanced Box For A Digestive Peace of Mind is a wonderful way to share the love with your favorite FODMAPer….including yourself!!

instagram_SALEThe box is full of low FODMAP goodies…belly friendly food samples, a grocery planning tool, recipes and serving suggestions! All wrapped up special for the low FODMAP diet follower.  balanced box

Take a peek! Check out The Balanced Box For A Digestive Peace of Mind: Click here!

leftover pork

Jam & Ginger Marinated Slow Cooker Pork

I am a big fan of Sarabeth’s spreadable fruit.  This week, I decided to marinate and slow cook a pork tenderloin with some of Sarabeth’s Raspberry Key Lime spreadable fruit mixed with a few other delightful low FODMAP ingredients.

Sarabeth's Jam

Including  my most favorite garlic infused oil, Boyajian garlic oil. Ammaaazing!Garlic oil

Plus a little ginger, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, a dash of rice wine vinegar….and a little green scallions too!  I cooked the pork, drizzled with my marinade, in the slow cooker so it was super tender and delicious.  You can slice the pork or shred it –either way, it’s all good.

Pork tenderlion with SarabethsIf you have some leftover, just let it soak in more of the sweet and savory sauce.  This recipe makes a delicious leftover!leftover porkI love creating a recipe in my mind…and have it come out this tasty! :) Yay!

Jam and Ginger Marinated Slow Cooker Pork


  • 1-1.5 pound pork tenderloin or boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2/3 cup Sarabeth's Raspberry Key Lime Spreadable fruit or other favorite low FODMAP jam such as strawberry
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (dried) or 1 tablespoon fresh grated
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 scallion, green part only, sliced


  1. Add pork or chicken to slow cooker placed on low heat.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients (except scallion) in small mixing bowl and drizzle over meat in slow cooker. Turn meat around to cover with sauce.
  3. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours until meat cooked through and tender.
  4. Slice meat or loosely shred.
  5. Garnish with a spoonful of sauce from slow cooker and a few sliced scallion greens.

Oh….and as promised I have a great book give-a-way!! Have you seen this new FODMAP book yet? Bolen bookThe Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet was written by Dr. Barbara Bolen and Kathleen Bradley.  Dr. Bolen is an IBS expert for and we are twitter friends. :) Kathleen is a FODMAPer! Their book includes a great introduction and overview of the low FODMAP diet.  I was SO happy to see some well needed information on small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIB0)–a condition that impacts so many of my clients– included in the book as well.  SIBO symptoms mimic those found in IBS–bloating and gas seem to be the two most significant. There are 150 low FODMAP and gluten free recipes in the book! Can’t wait to try the coconut shrimp recipe (YUM!), Grilled Chicken Parmigiana and for my sweet tooth…the Cranberry Walnut Balls.

Want to win The Everything Guide to the Low-FODMAP Diet? Then…please leave a comment about your favorite holiday low FODMAP recipes–and if you have a link to the recipe–provide that too. I want to create a holiday post in December with many of your great ideas! Any and all ideas welcomed!

And lastly, I have been asked by a Nutrition Masters student at Tuft’s University to post a notice about a study that she is doing.  If you fit the criteria for this study and are willing to help Joan Marie out–she would be most grateful.  Here is Joan Marie’s request:

I’m seeking individuals who have successfully been able to adhere to a low FODMAP diet for at least four months. I’m a Masters student (studying Food Policy and Applied Nutrition) and am conducting an informal Positive Deviance study seeking to identify individuals who have been successful with sustaining a low FODMAP diet and, specifically, HOW they are doing it. With enough respondents, the study will be able to identify the practices that lead to successful low FODMAP adherence, which will be useful to others who are new to the diet and/or struggle with adherence. Because this study is informal, it requires minimal  personal information and time to respond. For those who give permission, I may want to contact them for follow-up questions.

Participants may respond anonymously; no names or contact information is required unless they would be open to a few follow-up questions. People can respond directly to me  at

I need individuals who meet the following few criteria:

  • Successfully followed a low FODMAP diet for at least four months
  • Are adults (>17 yrs)
  • Live very busy lives
  • Are, preferably, a parent, but not required

If that’s you, please share the following:

  • Age
  • Partnered or single (optional)
  • Number of children, if any (optional)
  • Perceived level of “busyness in life” on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being lots of free time and 10 being no free time
  • Approximate number of hours per week spent commuting/traveling

And, most importantly:

  • Things you do that help you follow a low FODMAP diet
  • Description of HOW you do them

If you would be open to a few follow-up questions, please mention that it your email response and provide the best email contact for Joan Marie to contact you!

Thanks Everyone!



New Low FODMAP checklists

I have been working on some new FODMAP diet checklists for you!  Hope you like ‘em!  :)

Here’s my latest LOW FODMAP food checklist:

Click here for printable low FODMAP food checklist

LOWFODMAP!CHECKLISTAnd here’s the HIGH FODMAP food list:   

Click here for printable HIGH FODMAP checklist

HIGHFODMAP!CHECKLISTAnd remember to learn the latest about FODMAP food composition, consider purchasing the Monash U low FODMAP diet app.  Monash U is the leader in accurate and up to date  FODMAP food analysis.


Change with the Seasons

Spring has always been my favorite time of year…new leaves sprouting, tulips and daffodils emerging from the cold soil and the joy of knowing summer would soon be here…but living in New England, the fall is the most magnificent visual.   My mother always had a sprig of bittersweet in a vase in our home during fall…and I am too, taken by its beauty.IMG_0654The end of fall always felt a little bittersweet too….as I somewhat dreaded the cold winter soon to come.  But, I am learning…. it’s important to change with the seasons. To embrace what each season brings. To be present and engaged in the gifts of the day… living each day  to it’s fullest.  Darker nights and colder days transition our lives to more home centered living.  More cooking (yay!), more home projects (well-needed), more snowman making (love a snowman!) and maybe even some sledding. :)  I’d like to try something new this winter…maybe snow shoeing.

So today’s tip…embrace the day. Each and every one. Try to find the beauty in what you have rather than focus on what you don’t.  

Bloom where you are planted.

P.S. Lisa P won Crystal’s Gastroparesis book! Congrats Lisa!!

Another book give-a-way soon….and you’ll love it!!

Crystal's bok

What the heck is gastroparesis?

Today’s topic will be about a functional gut disorder called gastroparesis.  In short, this is a condition in which the stomach is very slow to empty.  Typically, strong muscular contractions push food through your digestive tract. In gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly.  This inhibits food from being emptied adequately. Gastroparesis can lead to nausea, vomiting, fluctuations in blood sugar and contribute to poor nutrition.

Typically, the test to determine if someone has delayed stomach emptying is called a gastric emptying test.  For additional info on gastroparesis and testing, WebMD has a great overview here. I have worked with quite a few patients that have both IBS-C and gastroparesis.  There is also an overlap of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIB0) in patients with a diagnosis of gastroparesis–so discuss this possible relationship with your gastroenterologist to see if you should have testing for SIBO.

One of my favorite educators on this topic is Crystal Saltrelli.  Crystal is a Certified Health Coach, speaker, and author  that helps people worldwide learn to live WELL with gastroparesis. She’s a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the author of Eating for Gastroparesis and Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis. Diagnosed with idiopathic gastroparesis herself at age 23, Crystal is living WELL in western NY with her husband and their two-year old daughter, Lilianna.  I was fortunate to meet Crystal this summer as we both joined the Digestive Health Alliance to lobby congress for more funding for research for functional gut disorders such as IBS and gastroparesis.kate and crystalThe DHA is the grassroots arm of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).  IFFGD is a great resource for accurate digestive health information, support, and assistance about functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders.  While writing this post and adding proper links to sites, I noticed a photo of the group I lobbied Congress with is on the  the front page of DHA’s website.  How cool is that?!  IFFGD just published some great info on gastroparesis in their DigestiveHealth Matters newsletter.  I joined IFFGD to receive their informative newsletter and learn about great breaking new research but also to support  their efforts to help people with functional gut disorders.

Here are a few take-a-ways that I think people with functional gut disorders should know about gastroparesis:

  • Symptoms of gastroparesis include: nausea, vomiting, stomach fullness after a normal size meal–shortly after eating.
  • It’s important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
  • Gastroparesis can occur in all ages.
  • There are dietary interventions that can ease symptoms including minimizing (not eliminating) fat and fiber.  And a low FODMAP diet helps symptoms for some people too!

Crystal recently published her latest book, Eating for Gastroparesis, which has great tips, recipes and lifestyle guidelines for those living with this gastroparesis.  I, for one,  will be trying Crystal’s recipe for a Pina Colada smoothie which looks super easy to make and yummy!! :)  And the GREAT news is the I have a copy of this book as a give-a-way! If you have gastroparesis and want more information…please leave a comment after this post and include your favorite sites to receive accurate info & recipes for gastroparesis AND you will be entered a chance to win this AWESOME book!


Crystal's bok

This is my second post on gastroparesis, so check for more info here including a great low FODMAP gastroparesis food checklist by health coach, Stephanie Torres.