Blueberry pie filling for 2 (nom)

picture of blueberry pie filling

Because, pie day. And because E says I’m not always the best influence. (Moi?)


So the recipe. We make it a bunch in the summer when there are gobs of blueberries everywhere. It also happens with the strawberry excess.

2.5 cups blueberries, divided. Can use frozen, too.

3 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

dash of salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or whatever feels right.

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

dash cinnamon

Whisk water, cornstarch, sugar and salt until smooth in a saucepan. Heat over medium high with 2 cups of blueberries. With fresh it takes 2 min, for frozen, about 4 min. Stir continuously until the mixture boils. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries, extract, oil and cinnamon.

Pour into a 7 X5 pyrex or whatever heat safe dish you have. Let cool in the fridge, and enjoy.

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low histamine, a small amount is low fodmap…

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Sweet Potato Pie–Low Histamine, Low Fodmap-ish

Sweet potato pie!

Nom nom nom…

This is a reboot of a classic, if I do say so myself. I see a lot of people challenged with low histamine diets…and they are challenging! This recipe follows the SIGHI list with mostly 0s and a few 1s*. If you know what that means, I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.

Why I like it better than the original–roasted sweet potatoes are always so delicious. Wash and impale 2 big sweet potatoes, slather them with coconut oil. Put on a lined cookie sheet. Pop in the oven at 400 degrees. Turn them every 25-ish min, and when they smell amazing they are done.

Why I like “impossible” (ie crustless) pies. Because I don’t always feel like making a pie crust. Sometimes you feel like a crust….sometimes you don’t. Sounds better if you sing it.

Re: FODMAPs, 1/2 a cup of sweet potato is low FODMAP, but unless you’re eating more than 1/4 of a pie, this shouldn’t be an issue. Pro tip–more that 1/4 a pie per serving is generally considered unwise in most circumstances for optimal digestion. Coconut flour is also high for 3 TBSP, but 3 TBSP is half a pie, and if you’re eating a 1/2 a pie, well, again, probably not the best idea on a range of fronts. So while a low FODMAP amount of coconut flour isn’t determined, if you’re eating a 1/10th (or so) of pie, there’s a good chance it’s low-ish FODMAP.

My 2 cents–If you are following a low histamine diet, it’s a challenge, especially at the holidays. I do try to encourage people to experiment with higher #s ASAP. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat.
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 2 TBSP tapioca starch
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 15 oz = 1 2/3 cups freshly roasted sweet potato
  • 2/3 c maple sugar (I imagine cane sugar would work, haven’t tried it, though)

Preheat oven to 325. Put the top ingredients in the Vitamix and let it do its magic. It will get hot, and takes about five minutes. If you don’t have a Vitamix or Blendtek, it’ll be yummy, just grainy.

Pulse sweet potato and maple sugar in a food processor. Pour into pan and voila! The separate mixing is because otherwise you get whipped pie, which is yummy, but the texture is just wrong for a normal sweet potato pie.

Bake for 20-25 min or until top is firm. Chill in fridge for 3-4 hours before cutting. (do not cut when hot). Stores really well in the freezer!whole pie!

*arrowroot and tapioca aren’t on the SIGHI list, but are generally considered low histamine on most resources.

Want to do a crust-ful pie? ok. Leave out the tapioca. Use a g-free crust of your choosing…any with a rice blend should work.

Enjoy, and have a great holiday season.

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My Twisty, Turny, Bendy Journey

It’s Ehlers Danlos Awareness/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (EDS/HSD) Awareness Month in May.

As a reasonably private person, I debated whether or not to share my hypermobility journey. I decided to, because I’ve been experiencing symptoms since I was 2 years old(!), had pain for 28 years (!) and actively looking for a diagnosis for 20 years (!) including seeing people who promoted themselves as EDS experts and who gave me often conflicting and incorrect info.

So…even in the best of circumstances, it is NOT easy to get diagnosed. Even for someone who is well-educated and extremely stubborn.

A very brief history–I had a bunch of dislocations as a child, then had muscle tears, knee problems, hamstring issues, shoulder problems, jaw problems, etc. And then the POTS stuff…but it only became really bad when I developed ankle instability 18 years ago which got bad enough that for a time I literally couldn’t stand or walk. That was when a doctor first mentioned hypermobility to me 18 years ago. I understood EDS and hypermobility as the same thing then (nope). Later, I was told that I could get gene tested if I wanted (again, no—the genes for hEDS aren’t identified). But I was told that it wasn’t a major part of my clinical picture, so it wasn’t worth pursuing (*sigh*)

Yet the mixed messages continued. I’d have some doctors or PTs who would say wow, you are the most hypermobile person I’ve treated. And then next dr, would say, well, you are hypermobile, but your score on the Beighton scale isn’t high enough. And I’d be scratching my head. Yes? no? Why different answers? What is going on here?

And when I had my most recent bout of intense bizarre symptoms, where the ligaments in my feet literally collapsed, leading to the loss of most of the cartilage in my feet and bone swelling, I wanted a diagnosis. Side note–most of my doctors did not believe me. I needed to get an MRI showing loose ligaments before anyone would believe there was a real problem, and my symptoms went on for ~18 years before my symptoms progressed that far. 18 years of going to doctors, begging for help. That is straight up appalling.

So–if I didn’t have EDS, what was happening? How could this be a mild form of anything?

I went to one of the top experts in the country, who explained that it didn’t matter if I had EDS or HSD, I needed treatment. He was clear that the label had nothing to do with the amount of impairment patients experienced. I’m extremely hypermobile, but just not as profoundly in the joints examined for the EDS testing.

And that made so much more sense to me….because what I’ve been experiencing is not mild. It’s just distributed in different joints than what is captured by the Beighton scale. And research has shown that isn’t the best way to measure hypermobility anyway.

So. There are not enough trained health care practitioners of any sort aware of EDS and HSD, and so much need. I am so grateful for all the EDS Society does to train and advocate. I am extremely fortunate that I *could* just go to an expert—there are far too few! I’ll be sharing a little more of my story, and a little more education on my website in the next month.

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Chocolate Almond Cup

I like beautiful desserts that look elegant but are easy. I’m not going to say I’m lazy, exactly, as much as I value my time and energy, and, well, both tend to be in short supply.

But I like pretty desserts, so here we go.

Chocolate almond cup
Yum! Chocolate almond cup

Mini tart pan—I imagine you could use something else, too!

If desired, line tart pan with wax paper for ease of cleanup.

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 90 seconds, or until melted. Pour half into tart pan.

Scoop almond paste into a ball, and then roll out into a disk between two sheets of wax paper. Fit on top of chocolate layer.

Pour chocolate on top.

Decorate as desired.

Allow to harden, then gently press on bottom to release.

If low FODMAP, SPLIT with a friend! Monash allows .85oz almond meal, which is 24 grams—but the almond paste also includes sugar and water within that weight, so this is a best guess.

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Mint Lemonade Spritzer

Lemonade has to be one of E’s favorite things. Especially in the summer. I was trying to link to this recipe and then I realized it wasn’t on my blog. Had to fix that!

Mint Lemonade Spritzer
Mint Lemonade Spritzer

This version is FODMAP friendly. Of course, you can always change the sweetener. I always make this when E is holding martial arts class at our house, which means a 90 min workout during hot weather, so simple carbs are often a nice treat. As always, sweets are a treat…best in moderation. 🙂

  • 5 lemons, preferably organic
  • small handful mint leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 oz plain seltzer
  • 1/3 cup sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup water

Wash the lemons. Juice 4 of the 5 lemons in the 4 cups of water. Slice the other lemon. Put the lemon juice in the water, along with the juiced lemon halves and the mint leaves overnight to infuse.

Make a simple syrup–easiest way is 1 minute in the microwave with 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water. stir with a spoon. When it cools, pour into the pitcher.

Right before serving, add in the seltzer for some bubbles. This recipe makes about 6 servings. A single serving (one cup) is low FODMAP.


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G-Free Meringue Bunnies

Gluten-free, Kosher for Passover, low FODMAP Bunny meringues!

The picture above is last year’s bunnies. This year’s bunnies are cuter…or at least, I think so. I finally posted the recipe and a “how-to” video on my website. Hop on over!

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I spent a year letting go

I didn’t try to improve

Or work harder

Or longer

I didn’t go to many conferences

Or trainings

I didn’t speak

Or write

I just sat


I had migraines bad enough that I couldn’t see very much

And so that’s all I could do.

I worked some, but at a very different pace

I let go of pushing

I’d occasionally see posts about friends, and their big plans

New launches, and conferences, and papers

I felt joy for their new adventures

It’s great to be in the phase of growth

And yet I honor that each season has its cycle

Mine has required stillness and restraint

Sometimes trees grow beautiful flowers

Sometimes they sit in majestic silence

I’ve grown this year, in simply being able to value my non-doing self.

Because, who am I, really, if I’m not producing?

At last, I find the answer.

I am


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Contamination in Lentils :(

I’ll just try to stick to the facts here: I am extremely diligent about following a strict gluten-free diet. I do eat Amy’s products, and have for years.

Earlier this week, I was having a can of Amy’s Lentil soup, and something felt funny in my mouth…and it was a kernel of grain. In speaking to a colleague and looking online, I’m quite certain it is wheat or barley.

I’m extremely frustrated. I feel lousy and grumpy. I’m also upset professionally, as I’ve been recommending Amy’s for years. I also realize that there are many larger issues at play in terms of general contamination of lentils with wheat. It’s been an issue for several other companies, as one of my eagle-eyed clients discovered a few years back. Gluten-free Watchdog addressed this several times…this is unfortunately not a new problem with lentils. But it’s also not yet a resolved issue.

It’s a reminder to me of how much of a toll it can take to be strictly gluten-free. I have absolutely no problem not eating regular bread or asking questions or bringing my own foods, but not to be able to trust that items that are marked gluten-free are actually gluten-free…that’s a big stressor. Usually, soups are my go-to especially when I go on meditation retreats. The last thing I need is to feel like I need to scrutinize every single lump in my bowl.

So…check your beans, especially lentils. Support companies like Gluten-free Watchdog that keep the community safer. And keep writing and advocating as you can.

I’ve contacted Amy’s and will post their follow up here. Thus far, they’ve asked for the lot # and the grain itself. My hope here is to provide a reminder/nudge for awareness; this problem is not limited to Amy’s, and I’m certainly hopeful that this leads to better and safer practices.

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Paleo *le sigh*

I know, there are many things to worry about in the world, and this is low on the list. I do get frustrated when I see RD publications giving the same party line about the risks of a Paleo diet and not mentioning the growing group of studies actually examining the relative pros/cons of the diet. For the record, I know the staff has a commitment to good work and quality writing. I think this story missed the mark in terms of providing a balanced view of the current research.

If there’s a belief that there’s a value in seeing a nutrition professional, because nutrition is about facts, not beliefs, professionals should be talking about the data and not opinions, right? Even and especially when it doesn’t line up with what we learned in school.

I know grains are the bottom of the food guide pyramid, or plate. Citing data on whole grains vs refined actually isn’t relevant to the question of the relative merits of grain-free diet and how that may differ by disease state. It actually fully misses the point.

From my perspective the data is interesting and encouraging, but it also isn’t a slam dunk. I’d rather see bigger studies and ones that are better controlled. I went into some of the weaknesses in the early literature in a prior post.

FWIW, I’m not a Paleo advocate per se. I am a research advocate. 😉  It seems like Paleo advocates say there are mountains of research (nope) while others suggest there’s no study, which isn’t true, either. I have mixed feelings about Paleo and think there are pros and cons–and more importantly, pros and cons giving a given person’s needs, medical history and lifestyle. Generally, I am more interested in what is on someone’s plate than what trendy label is attached to it.

I think the newest study on autoimmune Paleo and IBD is fascinating, and so is the MS research and the rest of the studies below. And it does seem that a Paleo diet has helped people safely lose weight and improve CVD risk factors, which is what counts at the end of the day.

Because I’m short on time, I’m only including research here through 2016, which is the last time I did a thorough lit review. Detailed references are below the charts. I don’t have time right now to update for 2017-18

Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.

O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.

Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

Boers I, Muskiet FA, Berkelaar E, Schut E. et al. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Oct 11;13:160. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-13-160.

Bisht B. A multimodal intervention for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: feasibility and effect on fatigue. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May;20(5):347-55

Pastore RL, Brooks JT, Carbone JW. Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations. Nutr Res. 2015 Jun;35(6):474-9.

Boraxbekk C J, Stomby A, Ryberg M, Lindahl B, Larsson C, Nyberg L, Olsson T, Diet-Induced Weight Loss Alters Functional Brain Responses during an Episodic Memory Task. Obes Facts 2015;8:261-272

Stomby A, Simonyte K, Mellberg C, et al. Diet-induced weight loss has chronic tissue-specific effects on glucocorticoid metabolism in overweight postmenopausal women.Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 May;39(5):814-9.

Manheimer, E.W., van Zuuren, E.J., Fedorowicz, Z., Pijl, H. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102:922–932.

Otten J, Mellberg C, Ryberg M, et al. Strong and persistent effect on liver fat with a Paleolithic diet during a two-year intervention. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Jan 20.

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Maple Spiced Nuts

Fiending for a quick and yummy dessert? I love this recipe, and it’s a staple at our house in the colder months. I first posted a version in 2014, and I’ve got the tweaks and specifics on making it FODMAP friendly below.

It’s delicious, versatile and I can have a dessert or gift made and on its way in 10 minutes. Sweet, huh?

I can’t count how many times I’ve made this recipe over the last few years. Everyone has the taste or texture that they adore. I think I’m in love with sweet and sticky (although my nutritionist brain says, hey, the sugar content isn’t crazy for a dessert!)

Although I prefer making these with walnuts, pecans, almonds, any mixed nuts work too. And on the off chance that you don’t really like sticky, reduce the maple syrup to 1/4 cup and you’re good to go–the coating is thin and crisp, and there’s still enough sweetness to make it work.

I generally use pumpkin pie spice to give these a little kick, and you can ramp up the cayenne as needed for your taste.

Oh, and of course this is naturally gluten-dairy-egg-corn-soy-grain-refined sweeteners-free, Paleo friendly and vegan. Low FODMAP notes are below*

Serving size: 1/4 cup, makes 10 servingslightly glazed

  • 2.5 cups nuts–either all pecans/walnuts, or use a mix of 1.5 cups pecans or walnuts, 1/2 cup hazelnuts, 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Put the nuts in a skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper and grab the other ingredients. You’ll start to hear the walnuts sizzle, and add in the maple and spices (not the salt). Allow them to cook and bubble, stirring occasionally until the syrup is almost dry, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and scoop the walnuts onto the parchment. Quickly spoon the excess maple goodness onto clumps of nuts.

Allow to cool, enjoy or bag as a gift. Keep in a covered container if they last that long.

*to ensure this is low FODMAP, use nuts and seeds that are low FODMAP. Pecans, walnuts are best because the maple sticks best to them. You can add in macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds too. Use smaller proportions of almonds or hazelnuts in your mix since these are higher FODMAP.

Monash lists ~36grams as an acceptable serving of mixed nuts, which is ~18 nuts or about 1/4 cup serving.

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