SIBO-Friendly Beef Chili

@againstallgrain Slow Cooker Beef Chuck Chili (I adapted to make SIBO friendly) topped with cilantro and @ieatrealfood.recipes Zucchini Cheese #sibo #sibofriendly #ibs #ibsdiet #lowFODMAP #easy #dinner

Would you believe it if I told you that it only took me 10 minutes of active prep time to make last night’s delicious chili recipe?  I threw the ingredients in my crock pot before I left for work and came home to a delicious smelling house and warm food.  Note: if your crock pot does not have an automatic switch to turn from low to warm, you will need to make this on a day where you can manually change it after six hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 T ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat (preferably grass-fed)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup green onion (green part only for low FODMAP), finely sliced
  • 26.46 ounce container POMI chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (make sure to find one that does not contain garlic or onion)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:

1. Add ghee or coconut oil to slow cooker / crock pot.  Turn to low and allow slow cooker to preheat while you chop bell pepper and green onion.

2. Add beef stew meat, bell pepper, green onion, POMI chopped tomatoes, spices, and water.  Give chili mixture a good stir.  Heat on low for 6 hours.  Serve with any of the below optional toppings.

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped (SIBO friendly if you do not have issues with sulfur/high thiol foods)
  • Avocado, diced (generally not SIBO friendly due to FODMAP content- use with caution)
  • Zucchini Cheese- (SIBO friendly)- make ahead of time using this recipe
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt (Dreamboat brand is sugar free)- not SIBO friendly due to probiotic content

Add-Ins to stretch recipe: do you have a large family?  Or perhaps it is not realistic (or healthy) for others in your family to be on as extreme of carbohydrate restriction as you?  No problem!  You can make this recipe stretch by cooking up some beans and rice to go along with it or serving with a side of starchy veggies.

  • Beans & Rice (not SIBO friendly)
  • Sweet Potato (not SIBO friendly)

SIBO-Friendly Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie

(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, paleo, egg-free, low FODMAP, SCD, low sulfur)

The recipe is finally here!  Last year I was the one who had to sit there staring at my family while they ate dessert.  This year, I vowed to be able to enjoy it with them.  I had to experiment a couple of times to get the pie just the way I wanted it, but I have officially created a SIBO-friendly pumpkin pie recipe that your guests won’t even realize is “special.”

Kitchen Equipment:

  • Food processor
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • Glass pie dish
  • Medium saucepan
  • Egg beaters for optional whipping cream

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely crushed sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil + a little more for greasing the pan (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon clover honey (or other SIBO-friendly honey- see siboinfo.com)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 2 teaspoons gelatin (this is the one I used)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk + 1/2 cup water (must use gum-free coconut milk such as this one in order to be SIBO-friendly)- you could try substituting lite coconut milk, but the flavor will not be quite as creamy
  • 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (can be canned or make your own using a pie pumpkin- personally, I used half of each)
  • 3 tablespoons clover honey (or other SIBO-friendly honey)

Optional Additions:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Generously grease bottom & sides of glass pie pan with approximately 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.
  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans until very finely chopped (about 15-20 seconds).  They will begin to stick to the bottom edges of the food processor just a bit.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, finely chopped pecans, sea salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil & 1 tablespoon honey.  Add vanilla extract.  Stir melted mixture into dry ingredients.
  5. Add crust “batter” to greased pie pan.  Use your fingers to press down firmly, beginning at the center and working your way to the edges.  This step is very important, so take your time.  If you do not make sure the pie is firmly pressed, it will be very crumbly.  See photo below of what the crust should look like before going into the oven.
  6. Bake crust 10-13 minutes.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.  It is done cooking when golden brown.
  7. In a medium saucepan, combine gelatin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons water.  Stir to form a paste.
  8. Add coconut milk and water, pumpkin puree, and honey.  Heat on low for about 10 minutes, until warm throughout.  Use the side of your spoon to break up any chunks of gelatin.  The mixture should be smooth and warm when done.
  9. Pour filling into crust and allow to set in refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  10. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut pie into 8 pieces.  Be extra careful when removing the first piece.  Serve with any of the recommended additions.

pie crust

***In order to keep this SIBO-friendly, make sure that you limit yourself to one piece per day.  Additionally, depending on how able you are to handle carbs, you may need to limit your carbs from other sources.

Have a friend who might enjoy this recipe?  Share this link on Facebook or have them follow me on Instagram: @sibowithhope

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thai Lettuce Wraps

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Caution: raw vegetables can be problematic for individuals with poor digestion.  This recipe is intended for individuals who have reintroduced raw veggies or are using this recipe as a way to see if they are ready.  Dr. Siebecker recommends remaining on the SIBO diet for 1-3 months before introducing raw veggies (see SIBO Food Guide).

I have always been a big fan of Thai food, especially salad rolls with a delicious peanut sauce.  Unfortunately, there are all sorts of ingredients in those that I can no longer eat (rice, garlic, peanuts, sugar, soy, who knows what else!).  Here is my take on SIBO-friendly salad rolls, also known as Thai Lettuce Wraps.

This recipe is perfect for the end of the week for several reasons: butter lettuce lasts a while if you leave it attached to the stem, the sauce is super quick and easy to make, and the filling ingredients are flexible which allows you to use up any veggies left in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Butter lettuce leaves (approximately 3 large leaves)- the loose bunches are easier to pull apart without breaking the leaves

1/5 or 1/4 lb chicken or turkey breast (cooked to your liking)- I like to bake mine at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes

Sauce (all you have to do is add the ingredients to a bowl and stir):

1/4 c finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (approximately 1/2 c loosely packed before cutting)

1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger

2 T salted almond butter (or unsalted and add some sea salt)

1.5 teaspoons coconut vinegar (substituting apple cider vinegar should be fine)

1.5 teaspoons walnut oil

1.5 teaspoons coconut aminos (this is a soy sauce alternative that can be found at natural grocery stores)

Optional Filling Ingredients: thinly sliced cucumber, beets (boiled then thinly sliced), shredded carrots (these might be too hard to digest), sliced tomato (nightshade- might cause inflammation).

Organic Urine Acid Test Confirms Sulfur Suspicions

I do not remember ever being as excited to go to a doctor’s appointment as I was today.  Why?  Because today I got to see the results of my Organix Comprehensive Urine Profile from Genova Diagnostics.

One of the markers that I found to be interesting from these test results was that I am positive for MTHFR.  While my gene testing also showed this, gene mutations are not necessarily expressed and it is only when they are expressed that they lead to issues. The Organix urine test informed me that not only do I have MTHFR, but it is activated and could be creating an imbalance in my enzyme function.  Based on my genetic testing, I know that I am heterozygous for the A1298C gene mutation (that means it came from only one of my parents).  I actually found this piece of information out in September, but the doctor who ordered the blood test told me that having only one copy of this gene mutation does not generally cause problems.  However, my own research (see links below) and confirmation from my SIBO doctor today has led me to believe otherwise.  I still may do 23andme testing to gain an even better understanding of my genes and figure out if there is anything else going on that would leave me susceptible to bacterial infections.

Here is what was indicated on my summary of abnormal findings:

Fatty Acid Metabolism: This may explain why all of the women along my matriarchal lineage have developed gallstones.

Adipate: Very High

Suberate: High

Carbohydrate Metabolism:

Pyruvate: High

Energy Production Markers:

Cis-Aconitate: Very Low

Methylation Cofactor Markers: confirms MTHFR gene mutation

Formiminoglutamate: High

Oxidative Damage and Antioxidant Markers:

8-Hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine: High

Detoxification Indicators: confirms my difficulty with detoxification (elevated liver and kidney levels) and the fact that sulfur is an issue for me

Glucarate: High

Pyroglutamate: High

Sulfate: Very High

Summary:

I have not had a chance to really sit down and sort out all of the pieces, but I wanted to get my results out there for those who have similar issues and want to start looking into getting this test done for themselves.  It is clear that avoiding sulfur foods and promoting healthy detoxification will be important for my healing process.  I plan to detoxify slowly so that I do not overwhelm my already fragile system.  I would like to get into a regular hot hatha yoga practice and support my immune system by receiving nutrient IVs that are tailored to my specific needs (as determined by my organic urine acid test).  Further reducing my bacterial overgrowth will also be a piece of the puzzle.  To start, my SIBO doctor has me using Berberine Complex from Integrative Therapeutics.  I will be checking back in with her in two weeks to discuss the results of this treatment protocol.

Links for some of my research:

Hydrogen Sulfide Gas Health Impacts: my SIBO doctor actually asked if she could keep the copy of this patent that I brought to her.  We both agreed that hydrogen sulfide was likely an issue for me.  However, I recently took the Protea Biopharma gut dysbiosis test and had a negative result.  I am uncertain whether the test is inaccurate or whether I actually do not have hydrogen-sulfide producers in my small intestine.

MTHFR from Stop the Thyroid Madness

Methylation/MTHFR by Dr. Amy Yasko

The Delicate Carbohydrate Balance with SIBO

Carbohydrates are the most frustrating and confusing part of the SIBO healing process.  Bacteria in the small intestine LOVE carbohydrates and they express their love by leaving you bloated, gassy, experiencing abdominal pain, and with all the other lovely gastrointestinal symptoms.  Here is the confusing part: bacteria do not love all carbohydrates equally.  See Low FODMAP.  For example, I could eat 20 grams of carbs worth of carrots (about two large carrots) and feel just fine (as long as they were cooked).  If I exchanged those 20 grams of carbohydrates for some bread, or even some onion or fruit, we would have a very different picture on our hands.

If you analyze Dr. Siebecker’s SIBO Food Guide, you may notice that the high carbohydrate vegetables are the ones that tend to be prohibited.  Unfortunately, I was not able to touch many of the items in the SCD legal/Low FODMAP category without symptoms. The foods that I ended up being able to eat were all very low carbohydrate.  For about five months (May-September) I was using my digestive symptoms to determine whether I was eating too many carbohydrates.  The problem with this method was that I reacted to almost every carbohydrate, reducing my carbohydrate intake to only about 20 grams per day on average.  This was much lower than the recommendation I had received from my SIBO specialist of 60-100 grams daily, but I hadn’t realized it because I did not sit down and count out my carbs.  I really wanted to re-introduce more carbohydrates, but every time I did, my skin became itchy (which I had been told was a manifestation of leaky gut) or I would hear fluidy noises and feel tenderness in my intestines during my nightly abdominal self-massage.

My fatigue over my five month extreme low-carb expedition became worse and worse.  My T3 stopped converting to T4 effectively (resulting in free T3 levels as low as 1.8 L in July), but my TSH was also low (.58 in July).  I had signs of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism at the same time.  My own research, consultations with my doctors, unsuccessful experimentation with T3 supplementation, and successful experimentation with carbohydrate reintroduction led me to realize that I was suffering from Euthyroid sick syndrome.  I was starving my body of carbohydrates, so it was reacting by making me so fatigued that I wouldn’t expend much energy.  It is pretty much the equivalent of turning your phone on “battery saving mode” (and keeping it there for 5 months) when you need to make it last a few extra hours.

One day, incredibly frustrated by my fatigue and tempted by the guest chef cooking delicious gluten free quinoa salad and almond torte in front of me, I caved.  I ate small portions of both of these items and have not turned back since (well, at least not in my quest for carbohydrate challenging).  After indulging, I was sure that I would pay the price the next day with symptom flare ups.  I waited and waited, but nothing dramatically out of the ordinary occurred.  My intestines were a little fluidy and tender, but for the first time, I had no itching from the grains.  I thought it was a fluke, so a couple days later I purchased a New Cascadia Gluten Free Baguette and ate a couple of slices each day.  Sure enough, my itching was gone.  My digestive system gave me a little bit of trouble, but it wasn’t unbearable.  My brain started functioning somewhat normally again- I could concentrate on my homework, comprehend things, and remember things better.  I had more energy (although not completely back to normal).

I am trying to think of what could have led to my miraculous tolerance of selected grains and more carbs (I am now averaging about 60 grams per day).  Did my immune system suddenly kick in because of a nutrient IV I received two days before?  I had done these four times before without this effect.  Or could it be the four days of sulfur-food avoidance and two days of chelated molybdenum that cleared some of my methylation pathways?  Read more about that here.  Perhaps it was the combination of the two?

Whatever the reason, I am thrilled by my renewed ability to function and I am hopeful that I am moving in a positive direction.

Another step forward occurred with an ileocecal valve manipulation from my SIBO specialist on Thursday (two days ago).  She said that my ileocecal value appeared to be stuck open.  She worked on some very tender points and moved some things around.  Last night, during my intestinal self-massage, I experienced NO tenderness and hardly any fluidy noises.  This is quite a miracle considering all the things I ate yesterday that I am “not supposed to”: 10 hazelnuts, 1/2 bunch baby turnip greens, 1/2 small sweet potato, 2 baby turnips, 1/2 very small bell pepper, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 cup cooked white jasmine rice.

I am very thankful to be surrounded by such talented and caring doctors, to have parents that will do anything to help me heal, for a boyfriend who maintains a positive outlook when I feel hopeless in my health struggle, and for the supportive instagram community of individuals enduring similar health challenges.